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Title: The Cruise of The Violetta
Author: Colton, Arthur
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Cruise of The Violetta" ***

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THE CRUISE OF THE VIOLETTA

By Arthur Colton

New York

Henry Holt And Company

1906


[Illustration: 0001]


[Illustration: 0009]


IN MEMORIAM

C. W. Wells

DEDICATED TO

HARRY L. PANGBORN and

GEORGIA W. PANGBORN

THE CRUISE OF THE VIOLETTA



CHAPTER I--DR. ULSWATER

|IN the Fall of the year when Krakatoa blew its head off in the East
Indies, and sent its dust around the world, I fell sick of a fever
in the city of Portate, which is on the west coast of South America.
Portate had the latest brand of municipal enterprise and the oldest
brand of fever. But they call any kind of sickness a fever there, to
save trouble, and bury the alien with as little trouble as possible.
I started for home, and came as far as Nassau, which is a town in the
Bahamas. There, a wasted and dismal shape, I somehow fell into the hands
of one Dr. Ulswater, who tended and medicined by back into the world of
sunlight and other interesting objects.

Nassau runs up the side of a bluff and overlooks a blue and dimpled
harbour. Dr. Ulswater at last began to take me with him, to lie on the
rocks and watch him search in the harbour shoals for small cuttlefish.
He used a three-pronged spear to stir them out of their lairs, and a
long knife to put into their vital points with skilful surgery.
They waved and slapped their wild blistered arms around his neck and
shoulders, while he poked placidly into their vitality. So, being
entertained and happy, I recovered from yellow fever.

By that time my handsome name, given by parents who recognised my
merits, “Christopher Kirby,” had come down handily in Dr. Ulswater’s
usage to “Kit,” and we loved each other as two men can who are to each
other a perpetual entertainment.

Dr. Ulswater was a large, bushy man in the prime of a varied life. Born
an American, he had studied in German universities, practised medicine
in Italy, and afterward in Ceylon. One of his hobbies was South-American
archaeology. He owned a silver mine in Nevada, and kept a sort of
residence in New York at this time, and was collecting specimens for
a New England museum. So that he was what you might call a distributed
man, for he had been in most countries of the globe; yet he was not a
“globe-trotter,” but rather a floater,--in a manner resembling sea-weed,
that drifts from place to place, but, wherever it drifts or clings, is
tranquil and accommodating. He seemed to me suitable to the tropics and
their seas,--large, easy, and warm of body; his learning like the sea,
mysterious and bottomless; his mind luxuriously fertile, but somewhat
ungoverned. His idioms were mixed, his conversations opalescent; his
criticism of himself was that he had not personality enough.

“No, my dear,” he said, wrapping a dead cuttlefish up neatly in its own
arms, “I am like a cuttlefish whose vital point is loose. You are
an ignorant person, with prepossessions beyond belief, and absurd
deferences for clothing and cleanliness; but you have personality and
entertaining virtues. Therefore I will let you smoke two cigars to-night
instead of one, and to-morrow maybe three, for your sickness is becoming
an hypocrisy.” Then we went over the rocks to our boat and the sulky
sleepy negro boatman, the doctor with his flabby bundled cuttlefish, and
I with a basket full of coral and conch-shells. The boatman rowed us out
over a sea garden with submerged coral grottos; pink and white coral,
branching and the “brain” coral, sea-fans and purple sea-feathers, coral
shrubs, coral in shelving masses; also sponges, and green hanging moss,
and yellow, emerald, and scarlet fish, silver, satin, ringed, fringed,
spotted;--all deep beneath in their liquid, deluding atmosphere,--a cold
vision, outlandish, brilliant, and grotesque, over which we floated and
looked down.

“Hypocrisy, pretence, illusion!” went on Dr. Ulswater. “Yet we attach to
these words a meaning of praise or condemnation which begs the question.
The personality is all, the point of view. To observe an alcyonoid polyp
through thirty feet of water, an ineffable vision! or under a microscope
which pronounces the ineffable vision hypocrisy, pretence, illusion!--in
which is there more truth? Is not my hypocrisy an intimate truth of me?
Hanged if I know! There is a new yacht in the harbour. We will go to
it.”

And we moved across the calm glassy harbour toward the long white steam
yacht.

It was a handsome sea-going vessel. Its brasses glistened in the
afternoon sunlight. _Violetta_ was its gilt-lettered name. Sailors were
busy forward, and a striped awning was over the after-deck. As we drew
near, a woman stood up under the awning and came over to the rail; she
had some knitting in her hands. I asked if we might come aboard, and
the doctor grumbled at me in disgust,--something about “frizzle-brained
women.”

“Of course you can,” she said, decisively. “Wait till they bring the
steps,” and she disappeared.

“Ha!” he said, “steps! And a Middle West accent! Very good.”

We went aboard, leaving the negro in his boat, and under the striped
awning made the acquaintance of Mrs. Mink and a stout, blond-bearded
sailing-master, Captain Jansen.



CHAPTER II--MRS. MINK


|MRS. MINK was a pleasant looking woman, though somewhat thin, and
with sharp gray eyes. She wore a plain, neat black dress, such as a
self-respecting woman might wear to church in some small inland city.
A large flowered rug covered the deck, a round mahogany table in the
middle of it. There were a hammock and a number of upholstered chairs,
each with a doily on the back of it. A work-basket stood on the table,
brimming with sewing materials. A white crocheted shawl hung on the back
of a chair, a red paper lampshade over the electric bulb.

The scene wakened sleeping associations of mine. Just such a shawl
my maiden aunts wore in Connecticut, just such doilies were on their
rocking chairs, just such flowered carpets were in their parlours. They
dressed like Mrs. Mink too, but, to the best of my recollection, were
not so agreeable to look at.

That weird glistening sea garden of coral and purple feathers and
improbable fish was fresh in my mind, with Dr. Ulswater’s talk, both
undomestic, paradoxical, and showing coloured objects slumberously
afloat in a transparent and deluding element. The wide blue harbour; the
steep white town buried in tropical foliage; the big spruce yacht,
too; the yellow-bearded Swede Jansen, and the crew in flat caps and
jumpers--all these belonged to the world as I had known it of later
years. With the line of the awning came the abrupt change; there ruled
the flowered carpet, the centre table, the doilies, the provincial
feminine touch, the tradition and influence of a million parlours
and “sitting rooms” of the States. One missed the wall paper, and
mantelpiece, the insipid and carefully framed print, and the black
stove; but Mrs. Mink seemed to have made herself at home, so far as she
was able, and the effect was homelike.

All this while Mrs. Mink looked critical, and Dr. Ulswater was
introducing himself and me, and presently I became aware that Mrs. Mink
was telling Dr. Ulswater her story.

It appeared that she came from the small city of Potterville, Ohio,
whose aspect might be inferred and pictured--a half-dozen brick business
blocks, a railway station, a dozen churches, dusty streets,
board sidewalks, maples for shade trees--mainly young and not too
healthy--clapboarded frame houses with narrow piazzas, a thin,
monotonous current of social talk, a limited and local existence.

Until the year before, the fortunes of Mrs. Mink had hardly led her
beyond the borders of the State, nor away from Potterville for more than
a few days.

Mr. Mink, a silent, plodding man--as I gathered--a banker, counted a
well-to-do citizen, but not suspected of unusual wealth, had died the
year before, of a natural and normal sickness. There must have been a
secretive element in him, something now forever unexplained. He had
sat at his desk in his bank. Away from the bank he had never alluded
to business. He had not liked any habits to be altered. No one in
Potterville, not even the bank cashier, certainly not Mrs. Mink,
suspected that Potterville harboured a millionaire. But when Mrs. Mink
found herself a widow of extensive and varied wealth, she set herself
to consider the situation. So far the story was partly inferential. Mrs.
Mink spoke with some reserve.

When the size of her income was explained to her by her lawyer, who was
also her neighbour, she cried, in some alarm, “What _shall_ I do?”

He said: “Get a steam yacht. Go into high society, and found a college.
Spend it on the heathen. Make your name immortal in Potterville.”

“But,” said Mrs. Mink, narratively, “I thought those were too many
different things. But when I was little I often wished I could see the
equator, and now I rather wanted to see the heathen, and the idols
that have pictures in Sunday-school quarterlies. The more I thought of
parrots and monkeys and bananas and Foreign Missions, the more I knew
what I ought to do first. Because I knew more about Foreign Missions
than about colleges, and I thought tropical countries would be nicer
than high society.”

“Admirable!” cried Dr. Ulswater, suddenly. “What logic! For subtle
inference and accurate reasoning, look at that!”

Mrs. Mink looked surprised.

“But I felt sure that it would be better to be comfortable while I was
examining the missions, so I went to the lawyer, and he sent me to some
people who made ships. After that everything was plain.”

“Plain!” cried Dr. Ulswater. “It’s a syllogism.”

“The ship-dealer was very kind,” said Mrs. Mink, reflecting. “He got
the _Violetta_ and Captain Jansen. It has been quite pleasant so far.
But----” She hesitated.

“But you haven’t yet seen what you seek for,” said Dr. Ulswater. “You
have taken but a step into the imperium of the tropics. You have far to
go. I have been on the road these twenty years. Imprimis, I will show
you the model upon which the heathen idol is constructed.”

He brought up the cuttlefish from the boat and unbundled it. Mrs. Mink
thought it was somewhat uglier than any pictures of heathen idols.

“The faith of the savage is based upon fear in the midst of wonder,”
 said Dr. Ulswater. “This is an incarnate terror and obscure nightmare
seen moving through ineffable sea gardens. Behold the seed of religions.
You are wise, madam, in desiring to see and to hear, to know the miracle
of the world. Everywhere two miracles confront each other, the visible
world and the soul of man beholding it, but custom and usage are
blinding; that is to say, the more you get used to a thing, the more you
don’t see it.”

Mrs. Mink nodded.

“The soul of the heathen,” continued Dr. Ulswater, musing, “and that of
the missionary are both remarkable.” Mrs. Mink looked suspicious; but he
continued, musing: “There is, at this moment, an insurrection in Haiti,
a bad-tempered mountain blowing up in Peru, and ten thousand miles from
there a large brown idol, that I know well, sitting in the woods in
Ceylon, with green jade eyes and silver finger-nails. And they’re all
turned over once a day.”

Something about Mrs. Mink, self-contained, quiet, and decisive,
looking at him with shrewd, unbewildered eyes, seemed to rouse him to
conversation; or else he had an object in being entertaining. Captain
Jansen and two or three blue-capped sailors were near, and stood at the
corner of the cabin listening, while he talked on, talked immensely,
talked gloriously, talked like the power of Niagara, until the tide ran
out and the sun set, and Mrs. Mink said, “Now you’ll stay to tea,” so
decisively that we stayed to tea.

In the cabin were green curtains and pink lamp-shade, wall paper and
framed prints, a radiator, biscuits, cake, preserves, a red-haired Irish
servant-girl named Norah, and Mrs. Mink at home. She was thoughtful.

“Do you _have_ to collect cuttlefish?” she asked at last.

“I? No. I do what I like. Why?” Dr. Ulswater’s innocence of manner was
perhaps too elaborate. “My curly-haired young friend must not go back
to his job for some weeks in South America, for he is not yet a
grizzly-bear. He is languid, like a jelly-fish.”

“Well, I shouldn’t dare ask any one away from business. But I have some
spare rooms, and I would be pleased if you and Mr. Kirby would visit me.
It would be a great help, if you aren’t too busy.”

“We are your grateful guests,” said Dr. Ulswater, elaborately.

When we came to go, the sulky negro and his boat had disappeared.
Captain Jansen offered to take us ashore. Dr. Ulswater bundled up his
cuttlefish. Mrs. Mink said, “He’s dreadfully untidy.”

“Admirable!” cried Dr. Ulswater again. “It’s a select word, a creative
description! He’s a regular litter. His very vital point is loose.”

We slid away in the starlight.

“What personality!” muttered Dr. Ulswater. “What point of view! Untidy!
The very word! She buys a steam yacht, furnishes it in the style of
Potterville, Ohio, and starts off to examine Foreign Missions. Why,
sure! That’s easy!”

Captain Jansen chuckled: “I see men try sheet her more’n once, but they
don’t. She have a head.”

“Untidy!” muttered Dr. Ulswater. “Untidy!”--as if he foreboded trouble
in that word.



CHAPTER III--AND THE TWENTY PATRIOTS


|WE left Nassau the following morning. On the third day we passed the
Inaguas and sighted Tortuga. They were days rich with the tropical
outpourings of Dr. Ulswater, into whose warm Gulf Stream of conversation
Mrs. Mink now and then dropped cool comments and punctuations that
excited his luxuriant praise. What Mrs. Mink thought of Dr. Ulswater was
not so clear.

The green cliffs of Haiti overhung a white surf, and the lapping mouths
of half-submerged caves below; above was the tangle of the forest, great
pendant leaves, sweeping and coiling creepers. It was the hot morning of
the fourth day. There was a thin, shining mist about, and Dr. Ulswater
quoted:

                   “... soft and purple mist

                   Like a vaporous amethyst,

                   ... red and golden vines

                   Piercing with their trellised lines

                   The rough dark-skirted wilderness.

“Vaporous amethyst!” he murmured, sentimentally. “Gaseous spirit of
jewel! Ah, Mrs. Mink! Lyric poetry, is it not a religion?”

Mrs. Mink shook her head.

“You see a distinction. You are right. You would say, in the worship of
beauty the ethical element is too subsidiary. You would point out the
lack of rigidity and purpose.”

Mrs. Mink did not commit herself. We watched the smoke of a steamer
coming toward us from the east.

“I see the deep’s untrampled floor!” murmured Dr. Ulswater.

The steamer, a dilapidated side-wheeler, drew nearer, and a small cannon
was plainly to be seen in the prow, but the only men in sight were a
negro at the wheel and another walking the bridge. As they came within
hailing, the cannon went off suddenly, the ball boomed overhead, and
struck, spat! against the cliff, and on the deck a crowd of negroes
sprang up and fell to dancing, howling, waving their guns. Mrs. Mink
said, “For goodness’ sake!” while Dr. Ulswater and I went to join
Captain Jansen.

“Yas,” he said, “I didn’t know. If I know, I got avay.”

Three boat-loads of negroes were coming to board us. In the prow of
the first was one tall and thin, with a gold-laced regimental coat,
a tasselled sword, a wide-brimmed straw hat, and the dignity of a
commodore. They drew under the side, and Dr. Ulswater and this Commodore
talked Haitian French.

Then they scrambled aboard, marched aft in an orderly manner, squatted
on the deck against the rail at the edge of the flowered carpet. Most
of them grinned sociably and chattered to each other. The crew of
the _Violetta_ remained forward discussing them. Dr. Ulswater, the
Commodore, Captain Jansen, and I sat down under the awning in the
upholstered chairs, together with Mrs. Mink. Dr. Ulswater explained,
cheerfully:

“He says he’s an insurrection. He admits that we’re not the enemy, but
says he’s got to have the _Violetta_ in order to triumph over the tyrant
of Haiti. When he has triumphed we will be rewarded,--meaning he’ll be
in a position to pay damages. He thinks our consciences will reward us,
too. He thinks that’s a strong point,--maybe stronger than the other. He
has only that one war-ship, and he needs another in order to attack the
navies of the tyrant. If you ask whether he’s innocent or clever, why, I
give it up, but I guess he’s superlatively one of them. He appears to be
calm.”

“Do you mean he wants me to give him the _Violetta?_” asked Mrs. Mink,
sharply.

“Something resembling that, and it’s not so unnatural,”--Dr. Ulswater
waved his hand balmily,--“you know, from his point of view----”

“Nonsense! I sha’n’t do anything of the kind!”

“But--well--I gather his innocence is such that he might get up and take
it.”

“I’d like to see him! Who is he?”

She was sharp-voiced, alert, and keen. Dr. Ulswater seemed bewildered.

“Yes, but I gather he’s a sort of patriotic pirate,--piratical so far
that it might not do to irritate him.”

Mrs. Mink softened a degree: “Is he patriotic?”

“My experience in this neighbourhood,” said the doctor, “has been that
patriotic leaders, who are down on the tyrant, are generally looking for
his job. But now, as they appear to be some two or three to one of us,
and armed, and, technically speaking, to have the drop on us,--why,
there’s a West-Indian proverb to the effect that ‘A spider and a fly
don’t bargain,’ but I would suggest something diplomatic, something
perhaps a little yielding. Something of that kind.”

The Commodore all this while sat stiffly upright, with one hand on the
hilt of his tasselled sword and no expression on his face, glaring away
from us across the sea. It seemed to me that his bearing couldn’t be
natural to a being with human weaknesses, and that it went beyond the
real requirements of his uniform. I judged he had gotten it off an
equestrian statue.

Dr. Ulswater began to talk with him again. Of the military, on the edge
of the flowered carpet, some looked genial, some murderous--most of them
genially murderous. Captain Jansen pulled his beard and looked meekly at
Mrs. Mink, and Mrs. Mink examined the Commodore critically.

“He says,” resumed Dr. Ulswater, “that it’s a military crisis, and he
must have another war-ship or go under. When he has conquered the ships
of the tyrant, he will reward us. His remarks, like his manner, are a
bit monotonous, but I gather he’s nearly, what you might call, on his
last legs. He rather intends to put us all ashore.”

“Fiddlesticks!”

“A--certainly! You think------”

“Fiddlesticks!”

Dr. Ulswater subsided.

“Ask them if they don’t want some coffee. Ask how many are left in the
other ship. They can have some too.”

Dr. Ulswater reported that they did; that there were five on the
war-ship; that the Commodore was gratified to find madam accepted the
necessity amiably.

The crew and all of us hurried under Mrs. Mink’s orders. She collected
cups and glasses. She called for three kettles of boiling water to the
cabin, and closed the door. There were six of us, including Captain
Jansen and the Irish girl, Norah.

“Now, Dr. Ulswater, you must help. Listen! You must put them to sleep.”

“A----

“_Listen!_ These two kettles will hold about thirty cups. Don’t give
them too much. See that they all drink it at the same time. Send a pot
to the other ship. When they’re all asleep, put them ashore. Now don’t
tell me you can’t, or you haven’t anything to do it with, because you
_must!_ I won’t stand it! The idea of giving up the _Violetta_ to be
shot at! How do I know what would happen to it? This pot we’ll keep for
ourselves, and pour into the blue cups. _Hush!_ Don’t talk to me! Ask
them to drink a health or something to something or other, so they’ll go
to sleep together. Give up the _Violetta!_ That silly, conceited thing
sitting up there like a barber’s pole and asking me that!”

“You want some knock-out drops!” gasped Dr. Ulswater.

“_Hush!_ Laudanum, laughing-gas! You know. Hurry!”

Dr. Ulswater gazed at her with speechless admiration, took the two
kettles, and disappeared in the passageway toward his cabin.

“Captain Jansen, you’ll take this gray pot to the other ship, and only
one man with you, so they won’t suspect; as soon as they’re asleep you
better tie them up and come back. Put the trays on the table, Mr. Kirby,
and the cups and things on the trays. Keep the blue cups together. Do
you know if they like sugar?”

Dr. Ulswater returned.

“Now take the gray pot, Captain Jansen. We won’t serve here till you
get there. Norah, pour them fuller. Dr. Ulswater, you must go out and
explain. Tell them it will be ready in a few moments.”

Dr. Ulswater opened the door and went out, muttering, “Wonderful!”

The Commodore sat as before, holding his sword-hilt. The military sat
between the rail and the edge of the carpet. Dr. Ulswater made a speech,
which appeared to please them. Captain Jansen and one of the crew rowed
away in the boat, the captain nursing the gray pot and the tea tray on
his knee.

Mrs. Mink filled cups, glasses, and tins.

“I hope it will make that barber’s pole sick. There! Captain Jansen has
gone up, Dr. Ulswater! Tell them about taking it all together. Tell them
to wait till we’re ready. Mr. Kirby, you’re spilling. Take care of
the blue cups, and let the men pass the other trays. You two go to the
right, you two to the left, you to the other end. Now we’re ready.”

Norah was pallid. The twenty patriots took their cups in hand and waited
with wide, grinning mouths. Dr. Ulswater lifted his coffee-cup.

“À la Patrie!” he cried. “La Révolution! Ça ira! Let her go!”

“They haven’t all emptied their cups, Dr. Ulswater!”

“Encore!” thundered the doctor. “La Révolution! Videz toutes! Bottoms
up.”

“Goodness!” cried Mrs. Mink. “How they look!” and ran into the cabin,
followed by Norah, shrieking.

Under the spell of Dr. Ulswater’s powerful drops the twenty negroes
stared, grunted, fell back, twitching, kicking, astonished, breathing
in snorts. Glass and china crashed on the deck. One of them staggered
up with a yell and dropped again. One rolled half across the flowered
carpet. The Commodore struggled for an instant with his tasselled sword,
and subsided, muttering. The long rows of limp and ragged men, of black
faces and open mouths, were ghastly and still. A gun was discharged on
the war-ship.

“Tie them up!” cried Mrs. Mink from the cabin.

Dr. Ulswater turned about, beaming at me. “A remarkable opiate, that,
Kit! I always said so,” and pulled out his notebook, and made notes,
aloud: “On two of the subjects evidently painful in action--ten to
twenty seconds--per man three grains--muscular contractions, followed
by total relaxation and coma--in case observed dissolved in solution of
coffee--Remarkable!”

“Tie them up!” cried Mrs. Mink again.

Captain Jansen, with his man, came back and reported that his cases had
been disorderly. One of them had discharged his gun and fallen down the
gangway.

We carried them, one by one, to the boats and tugged back and forth
across a hot and heaving stretch of water, till they were all landed.
Some of them were stirring and made a noise.

When the last boat-load was gone, Dr. Ulswater and I came back under the
awning. Norah was washing dishes in the cabin, Mrs. Mink sweeping the
deck with a broom. The guns lay along the scuppers. She stopped, and
lifted a troubled face to Dr. Ulswater.

“Will it do them any harm?”

Dr. Ulswater seemed subdued: “It will make them sick at the stomach.
A--a moral lesson.”

“I should think as much!” she said, sweeping vigorously. “That impudent
barber! Did he want to be President?”

“I understood he had ambitions.”

She hesitated again: “Do you think the revolution ought to succeed, if
their government is very bad? Or would it be better to stop it?”

Dr. Ulswater gasped again, but recovered himself, and brought his mind
back to gravity and consideration: “My observation has been that,
though tropical governments are sometimes objectionable, these frequent
violences seldom improve them, and create distress. I think it is
generally more benevolent to back the existing state of things.”

“Oh! Then I think Captain Jansen had better tie something to the other
ship, so that we can pull it after us and give it to the other people.
Anyway,” she ended, sharply, “I’m sure that conceited thing would make a
bad President.”

It was high noon when we steered away for Cape Haitien, towing the
war-ship. On shore two or three revolutionists were climbing a gully in
the cliffs. Others were sousing their heads in the surf. More of them
seemed to be still sick or drowsy. Mrs. Mink went to take a nap. Dr.
Ulswater and I leaned against the rail. Captain Jansen edged toward us.

“My, my!” he said. He rubbed his beard a moment, shook his head
thoughtfully, and went forward.

Dr. Ulswater pressed his handkerchief to his wet forehead. The heat was
great.

“Kit,” he said, solemnly, “this is a discovery. Personality to burn.
Captured by desperate insurrectionists, she demands knock-out drops. She
puts them to sleep with a coffee-pot, and bundles them ashore.
And why not? She balances the issue of a people, tows off a war-ship,
and squelches revolution. Why not? And yet, what a phenomenon of
intrepid reason! What a woman!”



CHAPTER IV--THE TROPIC AND THE TEMPERATE


|WHEN a chicken drinks,” said Dr. Ulswater, “he lifts his head and
thanks God, but when a man drinks he doesn’t say anything. That is a
West-Indian proverb.”

I said: “It’s a good proverb.”

“Well,” he went on, “I should say it was, with the chicken, possibly, so
to speak, a somewhat mechanical ritual.”

We were nearing the end of our cruise. I never wanted less to go back
to Portate, but my health was too boisterously good to be denied. It was
toward the end of November. In the land of steadfast people, the frost
would be on the grass, the wind in the yellow corn-shocks, the good folk
gathering to their annual feast of gratitude, far from these lazy seas.
Old women with white hair and knitting, old men walking with
canes, pink-cheeked girls and big-handed men, children storming the
banisters--they would all be there.

“What will you do on Thanksgiving day?” I asked, thinking of the cool
cornfields and familiar faces, of farm-yards and houses where chickens
used to drink in prayerful attitudes, where men also thanked God when
they drank, or ate.

“I have left it to Mrs. Mink. She is considering it.”

“How?”

“She is considering me. It amounts to the same thing. Her decision, I
should say, would determine my attitude on the question of gratitude.”

“What do you mean?”

“I have requested her to consider me matrimonially,” he said. “I fear
she is considering me in the light of Foreign Missions.

“I have presented to Mrs. Mink,” he continued, “as bearing on the point,
one of the clearest analogical arguments you ever saw. It is as follows:
The business of the tropic and temperate zones is to entertain and
supplement each other. They trade experiences--as they trade crude
rubber for sewing machines--to the profit of both parties. Put them
together and there arises in the mind of each a sense of romantic
surprise. Providence has supplied the need of man for permanent
astonishment by a trifling gradation of heat, so that when either shall
feel the need for something miraculous and incongruous, it has only to
find the other. I have pointed out to Mrs. Mink that her sailing in the
tropics was only falling in with this arrangement of Providence, and
she was pleased to hear it. Going about on loose seas in lazy climates
sometimes had seemed to her a lax and disorderly kind of conduct, and
having it attached that way to Providence made her feel better. I said
to Mrs. Mink: ‘It’s a doctrine of the present age that the tropics are
best administered and managed, for the good of all, by the temperate
zone. Civilisation is now tending to that end. Now, you, Mrs. Mink, are
a temperate zone. I am a tropical one. You have administrative ability.
I am a heterogeneous person, untidy, overflowing, and hankering to
be administered. You are the one, I am the other. Hence our mutual
functions, destinies, relations to each other, have been arranged and
foreordained by Providence. _Quod erat demonstrandum_.’ That was my
argument to Mrs. Mink.”

I said: “It’s a good argument. How does she like it?”

“Mrs. Mink,” he said, “is reflective but unconvinced. The extent to
which she is unconvinced is alarming. I can’t deny it.”

I left them the day after Thanksgiving, at San Juan in Porto Rico,
and went back to Portate. Singular town, Portate. Singular man, Dr.
Ulswater. Singular planet around which the _Violetta_ was setting out
with its critical, exploring prow.

It was some two months after, when I received Dr. Ulswater’s first
letter. Altogether he sent me four letters. Letters! rather manuscripts,
documents, written in his own mellow and tumultuous style. They made
that wandering hearth and home of the _Violetta_ a vivid enough picture
to my mind. I followed its course from sea to sea, from island to
island, wishing myself aboard her. Here follow the documents.



CHAPTER V--FIRST DOCUMENT. DR. ULSWATER’S NARRATIVE: FIRST ADVENTURE


Trinidad--_January._

|WHAT a world! What a woman!

From the way in which Mrs. Mink collected you and me, it was clear
that she had a knack, a genius, nay, even let us say, a tendency toward
collecting people. In point of fact, no sooner were you gone than she
collected a Professor of Logic.

His name was Simpson, Professor Simpson. It was at San Juan. Why did
she collect him? Now you speak of it, I reckon it was for a sort of a
breakwater to me. Gracious heavens! It wasn’t for want of logic. Never!
But it is just possible that she found me, at the time,--I suspected
it--that she found me rather--shall I say?--overflowing, rather a
deluge.

Professor Simpson was a man whose presence I should ordinarily have
welcomed for the educational value of his company, but I didn’t welcome
him. He was small in person, dry of face, categorical in manner, testy
in temper, Presbyterian in religion, pedantic in language, undoubtedly
learned. But did he understand his function to be merely a breakwater to
me? He did not. Let that pass for the present. Mrs. Mink collected him
at San Juan, and we steamed away to Martinique. Here, one day, on or
about the tenth of December, we lay in the roadstead of St. Pierre.

We were intending to go on that day, but about two-thirds of the
_Violetta’s_ crew were in St. Pierre on shore leave. Captain Jansen
came aboard some time after noon, and finding the men had not returned,
became excited, took all the boats, and the remainder of the crew, even
down to the cook, to help him collect delinquent mariners the faster,
and went ashore again. We four were left on the _Violetta_: Mrs. Mink,
Norah, Professor Simpson, and I.

The weather was calm to the point of deadness. Mont Pelée, that
smouldering volcano, that suppressed Titan, was asleep. Not a cloud in
the sky, not a ripple in the bay. Jansen appeared to be having trouble,
for an hour passed, and the missing crew had not returned.

Between you and me, as man and man, the delinquent mariners were in the
lockup, but Mrs. Mink does not know that, as yet. You can’t rivet a nail
in a boiled potato, nor temperance in the tempestuous seaman, but Mrs.
Mink doesn’t know that, as yet.

We were just commenting upon a dark, small, condensed looking cloud
which had appeared above the shoulder of Mont Pelée, questioning whether
it was an exhalation of the volcano, Pelée in eruption. Was Mont Pelée
about to overwhelm St. Pierre, a Vesuvius to Pompeii? Was I, like
the elder Pliny, to perish, a suffocated naturalist, a philosopher in
cinder?

But it grew with enormous rapidity. It seemed to have an uncommon knack
of taking in nourishment, a terrifying appetite. I saw a house on the
mountain side rise up and vanish, swallowed at a gulp. Professor Simpson
got out his note-book and took notes. He described the cloud in his
notebook as “bulbous, or bulging in form, in colour a bluish black, and
unfolding centrifugally toward the edges.”

“In my opinion,” he said, “we are ourselves in some personal danger. I
believe this is what is commonly called a tornado. Do you differ from
me, Dr. Uls-water?”

I said: “Not there, professor, though it’s late in the year for
West-Indian hurricanes. The most pointed opinion I’ve got is that this
deck is going to be a wet place in a minute.”

We’d hardly got to the cabin before the roar was audible, and grew till
we could not hear ourselves. One minute more and the _Violetta_ gave
a jerk that threw us on the floor, Norah on Professor Simpson and Mrs.
Mink on Norah. Between them they obscured him, on the whole, very
well. I got up and looked through the port-hole, and saw only spray and
splashing water. The ship was engaged in a sort of circular high-kicking
dance, something between a waltz and a cancan. The professor remained
obscure. Neither Mrs. Mink nor Norah saw their way clearly to
getting off him, and for myself,--seeing that he kicked but vaguely,
harmlessly,--I thought Mrs. Mink and Norah might as well suit themselves
about it.

At the end of four minutes, perhaps five or ten, the tumult had subsided
to a strong wind and heavy sea. I went on deck, and discovered that
the _Violetta_ had been torn loose from her anchor, and was drifting
rapidly. The mist, however, was too thick to see far in any direction.
By the point from which the tornado had come, I judged that we had been
driven out of the roadstead and were moving perhaps west, or northwest,
on the open sea. A broken spar hung from the short rigging and beat
against the mast, and the deck was awash with water. I went back to the
cabin, and mentioned my inferences. Mrs. Mink jumped up and said:

“Nonsense! It’s impossible.”

“But, my dear Mrs. Mink,” said the professor, rising, “surely a
situation that is _in esse_, in actual existence, cannot be described as
‘impossible.’ It is, as you mean to imply, however, most distressing.”

“Fiddlesticks! What shall we do?”

The professor reflected. On reflection, he said he thought it needed
reflection. I thought we might as well remain where we were. He objected
that, being in motion with the ship, it was not in our power to remain
where we were, but, as regards our relations to the ship, I was perhaps
right.

What a man!

Mrs. Mink said we’d better have supper.

The mist was turning to rain, the violence of the waves gradually
subsiding, and the wind growing more moderate. Norah and I went to
the galley. She cooked and I carried. After supper it was dark. A
pitch-black and rainy night came down on the troubled sea. The professor
and I agreed to watch alternately. He went to bed and I lay down on the
cabin sofa. I listened to the creak and thump of the loose spar, the
murmur of the rain, the splash of waves against the _Violetta_‘s sides.
I reflected that our situation was perhaps more unusual than perilous;
that we were likely to be seen by somebody if the weather cleared; that
after all the sea is in reality a less eventful element than the
land; that a philosophic mind is better than a feather bed; that with
reasonable good luck and a philosophic mind I might have the credit of
a nightlong watch over Mrs. Mink’s slumbers, along with the benefit of a
night’s rest. So reflecting, I went to sleep.



CHAPTER VI--SECOND ADVENTURE


|WHEN I awoke the sun was shining in at the port-holes, and the ship
appeared to be quiet, but slanting. It was the slant that had rolled me
off the sofa and awakened me. Hence it must have just happened. I went
up the companionway, and saw--the boundless blue expanse of dimpled sea?
Not at all! Nothing of the kind! On the contrary, a towering green wall
of forest trees almost overhung the ship.

Talk not to me of the ruthless chain of causes whereby all things are
bound, of nature’s dismal obedience to law! As a scientist, I admit it
with reservation--as a man, with tears. But what I really like about
things is their fresh and genial inconsequence. Among all worlds,
give me one compact of improbability. Among all women, give me one of
invincible good sense.

The _Violetta_ lay something over fifty feet from a high wooded bank.
The tide was out, but the shelve of the bottom must be steep, for her
list to landward was not very great. We were on the eastern side of
a semicircular bay, which opened toward the south. It was still early
morning. No wind stirred, and the ripples flowed gently among the stones
beneath the high banks. Bright-coloured birds flitted between the tall
stems of the palm trees. A place so calm, so halcyon, so appropriate
to the purposes of my suit! In fact,--Bless my soul!--nothing could be
better.

Professor Simpson and Mrs. Mink appeared on deck.

“Oh!” she said; “Where’s this, doctor?”

She looked as if she thought I had omnipotently arranged the climax. I
passed the question on to the professor.

“Tentatively,” he said, “I should conjecture it was an outlying island
somewhat to the north or east of Martinique.”

“But does any one live on it?”

“That Dr. Ulswater and myself will take upon us to discover.”

“Well, I think it’s a nice island, anyway. But there aren’t any boats.
How are we going to get on it?”

“Precisely!” said the professor. “A problem! I would suggest, perhaps,
a bridge of--of palm trees, felled--” he kindled with light inflammable
ideas--“felled in such a manner as to fall forward upon the ship, thus,
being fastened, to form a secure connection with the shore.”

“I don’t see how you can chop them from here,” said Mrs. Mink.

“True. That is a difficulty.”

There was a pause. A green and scarlet parrot was swearing at us from
where he swung on a vine above the bank. I leaned on the rail and
listened to the parrot and considered his point of view.

“Professor,” I said at last; “this is a world of compensations. There’s
compensation in your not understanding the dialect of that parrot. His
clothes are handsome, but his language is bad. You are religious and
ascetic, and he’s a worldling. I’m a worldling, too, but I can swim, and
I see compensations.”

“Let’s have breakfast,” said Mrs. Mink.

After breakfast I swam ashore with an axe, climbed the bank, selected
four tall slender palms that leaned in the direction of the _Violetta_‘s
after-deck, and hacked them down. Two of them fell on the _Violetta_
and damaged her rail, but stuck where they fell. The professor roped the
ends to a capstan, and crossed that sagging bridge, respectably calm,
dragging after him the long end of the rope, which we fastened to a
tree. The _Violetta_ was moored.

Mrs. Mink came, too, nervous but firm.

What a woman! Practical, foreseeing, sagacious, she will walk the
tight-rope of any catastrophe. In fact, she brought a hammock and a
cushion with her. Norah’s method of crossing somewhat resembled shinning
a pole. ON recollection, I should say that she yelled.

When Professor Simpson and I set out to explore the island, Norah was
throwing stones at the green and red parrot, and Mrs. Mink lay in
the hammock, not understanding that parrot’s dialect, which I didn’t
understand altogether myself, but it appeared to me he was blistering
the foliage with it.

The island was some three to five miles around by the coast, and
no other land was in sight from it, barring a slight bump on the
southeastern horizon which might be another small island, or might
be Mont Pelée. It appeared we had been blown some distance during the
night. There were no inhabitants at the time, or we found none, though
there were two groups of sorry huts not far from the beach, and frequent
paths through the woods, showing occasional occupancy.

We came back by the northern shore of the bay, and saw that the
_Violetta_ was safe. We stood some moments in silence. The wind had
risen again and now blew hard from the west, so that the _Violetta_
was protected on a lee shore, though where we stood the waves rolled in
tumultuously. Professor Simpson broke the silence. He suddenly planted
himself before me, his hands on his hips, and frowned.

Now, a frown that is directed upward has the law of gravitation against
it. Professor Simpson’s shortness incommoded him in that respect.

“It is not my habit, Dr. Ulswater,” he began, “to brook impertinent
opposition or light-minded interference. In, therefore, announcing my
intention to invite Mrs. Mink to the alliance of marriage, I consider
that no more need be said. I wish to be relieved of this undignified
rivalry, and to avail myself of this situation to fulfil my purpose in
peace. I demand that your too noticeable attentions shall cease. Your
attitude toward Mrs. Mink is offensive to me. I repeat, sir, they must
cease.”

Extraordinary professor! Never was another like him. He was a species.

“But,” I said, feebly; “look here. I’ve already been at Mrs. Mink on
that subject myself. I was thinking it was a good time to work up to it
again.”

“I object to your giving Mrs. Mink that annoyance. Her preference for me
is perfectly plain. You are without personal attractions.”

“What!”

“You are too fat.”

“But, professor! On the other hand, ought not the fact of your being a
contemptible little dried-up molecule, with the temper of a mosquito and
the humour of a codfish ball, oughtn’t that--now really, oughtn’t
that fact to be given some weight in the discussion? I appeal to you,
professor?”

“Sir!”

He clenched his fists. It was a critical and perilous moment. Did he or
did he not intend an attack on my diaphragm? Should I or should I not be
presently seated on top of him like a bolster on a crab?

There is a Haitian proverb which says, “It’s when the wind blows that
you see the skin of a hen.”

Professor Simpson drew a long breath, and suddenly laid himself flat on
the ground, extended his arms and legs and closed his eyes.

“I was somewhat heated,” he murmured. “To allay any mental strain, such
as vexation or anger, extend the body, relax the muscles, and endeavour
to abstract the mind from surroundings. The effect is invariable. Let
me recommend it to you. There!” he said, after a moment, getting to his
feet. “I am quite calm. And now, clearly, Dr. Ulswater, clearly, we
must submit it to Mrs. Mink. I suggest, then, that we ask her for
a half-hour’s interview each. Subsequently, she will announce her
decision, and thus we will conclude our dispute.”

I agreed. We went amicably along the shore of the bay toward the
_Violetta_.

Norah was in the hammock, but Mrs. Mink had gone aboard again, and stood
by the rail looking toward us. The yacht lay on a lee shore, and there
the water was fairly calm; but the force of the wind, in spite of the
protection of the trees, was such now as to put some strain on the rope
which stretched taut to the bank.

“In half an hour, then,” said Professor Simpson, “you will be at liberty
to interrupt me.”

He was over the bridge while I was figuring on the discrepancy,--the
something not quite predestined,--in his having the first shot,--that is
to say, the first opportunity,--of presenting his case to Mrs. Mink. I
was going to propose we should flip a coin for it. He was a wonder, a
wonder! I called out to Mrs. Mink, asking for an interview in half an
hour. She looked surprised. I went back among the trees, and wished
I were a Presbyterian, and watched, during that long half-hour, the
minutes slowly passing on the cold unfeeling face of my watch. I allowed
the full time and went back.

Professor Simpson was still arguing. I concluded, comfortably, that his
argument had not, as yet, convinced Mrs. Mink. They stood by the rail,
near the straining rope that fastened the yacht to the bank.

“Professor,” I called, “your time’s up. I’m coming aboard.”

He raised his hands. He was excited. He cried:

“I have not concluded! Mrs. Mink! A few moments more! No, no! I refuse
to be interrupted.”

Mrs. Mink said nothing. Her expression of face was the expression of
an interested spectator. It seemed to say: “Which of you is going to do
something?” I went toward the bridge. He wrung his hands. His excitement
became intense.

“It is critical, sir, critical! Your conduct is inconsiderate,
offensive! I insist!”

Suddenly he disappeared below the rail.

He rose again. An axe was aloft in both his hands. He rushed at the
rope. He struck! The miserable little pirate! He chopped the rope, the
infinitesimal assassin!

The yacht keeled over, under pressure of the gale, and Mrs. Mink and
Professor Simpson disappeared. Probably they slid to the other side.
The bridge was dragged after the yacht. I was nearly on it, and all but
pitched from the bank into the water. Norah sat up and yelled. The green
parrot climbed down and swore. The _Violetta_ regained her level and
drifted rapidly away.

I picked up the axe that had been used to fell the palm trees, and ran
along the shore. It was an action not suited to my physique. I had to
stop and take breath.

“However,” I reflected, “he’s done for himself. Mrs. Mink won’t stand
for it. Or--or, will she?”

At the same time I did not like a rival so fertile in expedients, nor
the fact that he and Mrs. Mink were both Presbyterians.

The yacht was not driving in the direction of the open sea, but across
the bay, nearly toward the spot where Professor Simpson and I had had
our first altercation.



CHAPTER VII--THIRD ADVENTURE


|WHEN I reached the place, the prow of the _Violetta_ had already run
aground, and the stern had swung about, dragging the attached tree
trunks after it, so that the yacht lay in something like its former
position, parallel to the shore, but further off, the shelve being here
more gradual. Moreover, she was now on a windward shore, the waves of
considerable height and force, and, being balanced, so to speak, on her
keel, she oscillated, descending now on this side toward the shore, now
on that side away from me, through an arc of some forty degrees. The
situation I beheld with mingled emotions, both soothed and lacerated,
soothed on account of Professor Simpson’s condign punishment, lacerated
on account of Mrs. Mink. Their cries were heard above the tumult. They
clung to the landward rail, which went up and down like a teeter, or a
ducking stool, regular as a pendulum, terrific, but distressing.

“For goodness’ sake, doctor, do something!” cried Mrs. Mink; and
Professor Simpson shrieked: “Can you not assist? I entreat! I adjure! Do
not----”

He was interrupted.

Something had to be done.

The two tree trunks attached to the stern had been driven about, so that
the butts rested on the bottom, in the midst of the surf. Being dragged
back and forth by the motion of the yacht, and at the same time tossed
by the surf, the result was a somewhat complicated motion. To get
through the surf was no great difficulty, for two hundred and odd pounds
of determination. But to draw the butts together, to climb them beyond
reach of the surf, to maintain the uneasy position so gained, astride
those two insane, rotatory, and indecorous poles,--wabbled, danced,
dandled, jerked about in the air by that eccentric and
careening-viaduct, whose leaps, halts, and rebounds resembled the
kicking of a restive mule or a series of railroad collisions--this was
achievement, this was a goal and effort worthy of a man!

I succeeded. Clinging to the logs with hands and knees, I looked up.
Mrs. Mink and the professor hung over the shattered rail above me. I
shouted:

“Come on! I’ll meet you.”

“But I can’t walk _that!_” she called back. “It doesn’t keep still.”

“Walk it! No!” I roared. “Creep it, madam! Shin it! Roll it! Come
anyway, and don’t fall off.”

She laughed.

Admirable woman! For self-possession, spirit, and sense, where is her
equal? She mounted, clung, approached. I clasped her, slid back to the
edge of the surf, lifted her, rushed, waded, forced my way to land.
She was wet. I was winded. I admit both. Stretched on the ground I felt
particularly indifferent to any accident, to anything whatever, that
might happen to Professor Simpson. Suddenly I was aware of him. Cast up
by an ebullient wave, he sprawled on the shore and sprang to his feet,
crying,

“A miraculous escape! I would not have believed myself so agile.”

Mrs. Mink looked from one to the other of us, and began to laugh.

“I am delighted,” he said, shaking himself, “my dear Rebecca, to see you
in such composure.”

I got up. I spoke with dignity.

“Do I understand, sir, that you’ve profited by your treachery?”

He looked disturbed.

“Mrs. Mink has--nevertheless I am not without----”

I interrupted and turned to Mrs. Mink.

“You approved of this gentleman’s behaviour?”

“What behaviour? Well! It was bright of him, anyway.”

“You knew of the agreement between us?”

“Of course, you were going to propose to me next. Fiddlesticks! You’ve
done that before? What made you let him come first? You shouldn’t let
people run over you.”

“You were to reserve your decision, madam.”

“Humph! I didn’t agree to that. Perhaps he’s willing to begin over
again.”

Professor Simpson started.

“Mrs. Mink speaks in jest. It would be unprecedented, impossible.” We
paused.

“Well?” said Mrs. Mink.

“Well, madam?”

“What are you going to do?”

“I see you like men of strenuous action, Mrs. Mink,” I said. “Would it,
do you think? would it insinuate me somewhat into your favour if I were
to take this axe and strenuously chop Professor Simpson’s head in two
symmetrical but characteristic parts?”

Professor Simpson looked aghast.

“Fiddlesticks!” said Mrs. Mink.

“Not feasible, you think? Perhaps not. Suppose, then, I were to cut a
switch and apply it to Professor Simpson’s attenuated legs. Could you
candidily recommend that, Mrs. Mink?”

“I will not submit, sir!” he cried. “I will not submit!”

Mrs. Mink turned and walked rapidly away.

“Professor,” I said, taking out my waterproof match-safe and extracting
several matches, “you will take these matches and see that Mrs. Mink is
comfortable. Our rescuers will find us in time, no doubt. Until then you
will respect my privacy. I seek no revenge and offer no congratulations.
I don’t inquire into your standards of integrity. I don’t see, unless
your system of ethics is fundamentally unsound, how you can reconcile
to morality this reward of victorious evil. But I leave it to your
casuistry.”

It seemed to me this was a poisoned arrow well planted. I had set him
a problem likely to irritate his exact mind. I picked up the axe and
walked up the shore in the opposite direction.

The afternoon was growing late. I kindled a fire to dry my clothes,
felled a banana tree, and ate bananas. Across the bay I could make out
the smoke of the other camp fire. The _Violetta_ still swayed back and
forth, but not so violently, on her keel. The wind still blew, but the
air was warm. I sat by the fire and took inventory of things in general.



CHAPTER VIII--PROFESSOR SIMPSON AGAIN


|AEQUAM memento,” I reflected, “rebus in arduis.”

After all, marriage would disturb my pursuits. A man with a liquid and
non-resistant name like “Ulswater,” with a fleshy and floating physique,
with a mind as full of refuse as a sargasso sea, and whiskers resembling
sargasso,--when he proposes to ally himself in marriage to a woman
like Mrs. Mink, whose rational instincts--as a capable and neat
housekeeper--would be to trim his whiskers and rearrange his nature,
to tidy up his mind and sweep it, hang antimacassars over its chairs,
polish its andirons, fling the cuspidor out of the window, and can the
tropical fruitage of his character into jellies and jams in glass jars
with screw tops and rubber bands,--when such a man has in mind such an
alliance, if fate prevents, if an agile Presbyterian professor is one
too many for him, what should he do but remark, “_Aequam memento rebus
in arduis servare mentem_,” that is, “In trouble take it easy,” and then
immediately proceed to swear himself black in the face, and wish for a
green and red parrot to take up the job after him?

Precisely. Also I dried my clothes and whistled. Time passed on, and
it was perhaps six o’clock. Suddenly, as I looked up, Professor Simpson
stood before me, alone.

“Professor,” I said, “you intrude.”

He seated himself on the fallen trunk of the banana tree.

“I am compelled to do so,” he said. “Mrs. Mink objects to the present
arrangement; whether on the score of propriety, or because she regards
my protection as inadequate, I cannot say, I refuse to discuss. It is a
matter, in either case, humiliating to myself. She demands the return of
Dr. Uls-water.”

“I am sorry for Mrs. Mink’s feelings,” I said, “but I seem to see a lack
of consideration for mine.”

“I have stated Mrs. Mink’s attitude without commenting upon it,” he went
on. “As regards my own, there is much more to be said. I cannot conceal
from myself that the terms you have applied to my late ill-regulated
conduct would, if properly qualified and defined, in the main be just.
I am, further, upon Mrs. Mink’s own declaration, forced to believe that
her consent not for the present to decline my suit, but to consider
it, perhaps favourably, was entirely due to that very action which
my conscience compels me to deplore. She was attracted by that very
deviation from rectitude into which I was tempted and fell. She states
that she was about to decline my proposal absolutely, finally, when my
action revealed to her my character, as she says, in a new light. Not
to my position in the scientific world, my well-earned repute, not to
my worthier qualities of mind and heart, not to her conviction of these
claims, can her capitulation--if such it was--be attributed. You will
understand my distress at this admission made by Mrs. Mink. I fear
to infer, and yet I must infer, a want of seriousness, of strict
conscience, on the part of Mrs. Mink. I showed her my distress, I
intimated my fear, I begged her to allay it, to consider, to recollect
the facts more carefully. She became angry and asked if I repented
cutting the rope. I defined my position. She interrupted, refused to
listen, and said that my proposal was now declined. I endeavoured
to reason, to supplement argument by argument. She prevented me; she
commanded me to go and insist on Dr. Ulswater’s return. Such has been my
recent painful conversation with Mrs. Mink, concluding with the command
which has caused this intrusion upon you.”

“Don’t apologise,” I said, gaily, getting up. “You repent and withdraw,
I forgive and forget.”

“I have admitted repentance but not withdrawal,” he said, angrily, “and
I refuse your impertinent forgiveness.”

“Come along, professor,” I said. “Refuse and admit what you like till
the crack of doom. I’ve got business on hand.”

He followed after dejectedly.

As we drew near, we saw Mrs. Mink, with Norah, standing on the high
bank and looking seaward. She saw us, cried out, pointed, and waved her
handkerchief. A small steam vessel was entering the bay. It was Captain
Jansen and the crew looking for us and for the vagrant _Violetta_.



CHAPTER IX--CONCLUSION OF DR. ULSWATER’S FIRST MANUSCRIPT


|THE _Violetta_ was towed out into deep water. Captain Jansen used some
badly broken English on the condition of his starboard rail. Not but
that he had expected more damage than he found, but damaging a ship
by chopping a tree down upon her, hurt him in a sensitive point of
seamanship.

There seemed to be no leakage, for all that war-dance with the elements,
and mad teetering on a windward shore. Still he preferred to pass the
night in the bay--the weather being uncertain--and tow the _Violetta_ on
the morrow to St. Pierre for repairs.

It was evening, and I stood watching the moon rise peacefully and look
down on the gleaming but troubled waters of the little bay. Placid and
poetic she went up among her attendant stars. The wooded shore lay about
us dark and mysterious.

“Let me,” I said to myself, “recapitulate. Presbyterianism is
insufficient. Scientific celebrity is insufficient. The precise
conscience and balance of rectitude are to the lover as a wire twitchup
to the hungry rabbit. Action, sharp decision, the habit, so to speak, of
getting there, these are what appeal to Mrs. Mink.”

Now, along those lines Professor Simpson was no slouch of a rival. In
point of character he was hard as nails; in decision and action he was
energetic and exact. Yet he had failed. He had speared himself, as it
were, on the angle of an impractical conscience. But where did I
come in? I, who in point of character was a semiliquid jelly fish, an
invertebrate protozoan, whose nature was to float on the heaving and
uncertain sea of humour, bathed in the moonlight of poetry, devouring
the chance drift of knowledge, sucking philosophy out of rock;
whose centre of personality was loose; whose mind was as untidy as a
cuttlefish; how could I appeal to Mrs. Mink? On the evidence so far, I
had but one strong point, namely a practical conscience, a conscience
which, having always treated me with a great deal of--shall I say, with
a great deal of tact?--was a conscience that----

At this point in my reflection Mrs. Mink came on deck.

When doubtful in whist, play trumps. When doubtful in any other
situation, ask Mrs. Mink. Her counsel is always trumps.

“Mrs. Mink,” I said, as she came and stood beside me at the rail, “I am
in doubt.”

“What about?”

“The question is this: If a disorderly cuttlefish has proposed marriage
to one of those small neat birds who yet have the knack of making
themselves at home in a wilderness of waves, and by sailors are called
‘Mother Carey’s chickens’; if so far as the cuttlefish can see he has
only succeeded in producing in Mother Carey’s chicken a state of
unconvinced reflection; if he knows his structure to be floppy and his
nature sloppy, what, in fact, do you think he should do?”

“I don’t think you’re a cuttlefish.”

“Ha! I don’t insist on the figure.”

“You’re dreadfully untidy.”

“I am.”

Mrs. Mink was silent.

“Should I imitate Professor Simpson to the summit of Presbyterianism, or
a green parrot to the bottom of reprobation? Should I----”

“I don’t like Professor Simpson, or the green parrot either.”

“Well, then, what do you think we had better do next?”

Mrs. Mink was long silent. At last she said, thoughtfully:

“I think we’d better go to Trinidad.”

“What for?”

“Why, they’re English in Trinidad, aren’t they?”

“Good God, madam! what if they are?”

“You mustn’t talk that way!” she said, sharply. “Of course Catholics may
be good men, but, still, I shouldn’t like it in French.”

“Like what?”

“We’d better be married in Trinidad.”

There you are, satisfactory, inclusive, concise! I ask: “How shall I
attain my soul’s desire?” She answers: “Be married in Trinidad.”

We left Professor Simpson at St. Pierre. He was intending to climb Mont
Pelée and extract knowledge from its oracular mouth. If that solemn,
grim, stony, and sometimes irascible sphinx of a volcano started in
to talk to him, it’s possible that the volcano had the last of the
argument. Perhaps not. I haven’t heard. He was a very persistent
logician. Maybe he meant to cast himself forlornly into the crater.
The idea is luminous, romantic. But I think, on the whole, that he did
nothing of the kind.

Mrs. Mink says she would never have accepted him, and was merely vexed
to see him outwit me, which it must be admitted he did. But my feelings
are like those of a man who has succeeded by a narrow margin.

We lie now in harbour at Trinidad, whose green hills rise sumptuously
out of the blue of the Caribbean. The future promises all happiness and
varied interests; among which interests, I suspect, will be the coming
Mrs. Ulswater’s masterly reorganisation of me. Do I flatter myself,
or does she, as it almost seems, look forward to that task with real
enthusiasm? Wonderful woman!

Adieu--Ulswater.

P. S. The argument from analogy was the sound one--the tropics, the
temperate zone, and the intentions of Providence. Convince her of your
imperative need of her, and you have made the imperative appeal. So far
I see.



CHAPTER X--SECOND DOCUMENT. DR. ULSWATER’S NARRATIVE CONTINUES: SUSANNAH


Malay Peninsula, _June._

|FOREVER shall my voice bear testimony to Mrs. Ulswater. She has
gathered the races about her knee. The races didn’t all stay there, but
it’s just as well they didn’t. She has faced the hoary wisdom of the
East, and subdued it. At the present writing Wisdom still acts as if he
felt subdued.

Mrs. Ulswater was impatient to reach the far eastern mission field. She
wished to see in action the process by which people, whose souls were
naturally darkened by the opaqueness of their skins, become enlightened.
This opinion as to the origin of idolatry I drew from Mrs. Ulswater with
some difficulty. She held the theory, indeed, dimly, subconsciously. It
was new to me. It is a theory worth examining for its latent mysticism.
To what does it logically lead? If intelligence tends to increase with
the transparency of the fleshly integument, wouldn’t I be cleverer
if not so fat? _C’est un grand peut-être_. But I’m getting thinner.
Bismillah!

I have in my life pursued many ideals. I have hitched my wagon to
certain stars. Some of the blanked things were comets, and some of them
went out as unregretted as a bad cigar. Now I cling henceforward to this
domestic light and floating fireside of the _Violetta_. No man has so
entire a footing in the universe as he whose stockings are darned by a
woman with a logical mind. I am not myself a vertebrate. Mrs. Ulswater
is my complement. I am complete. I am satisfied. I am at rest.

My family has increased. It now consists of Mrs. Ulswater, an orphan
girl, and an orphan pundit. But I go too fast.

On the 13th of last April, we put in at the island of Clementina, which
lies to the north of Mozambique Channel.

“Now,” said I to Mrs. Ulswater, “I am complete. I am satisfied. I am at
rest. But why Clementina?”

I was presented with and referred to a pamphlet or periodical, in fact,
a quarterly. It appeared to be devoted to the reports of missionary
labours. It is a branch of literature never by me thoroughly
investigated. Mrs. Ulswater has a remarkable series of these pamphlets,
covering more than ten years. A veritable find!

Now, in this number of the periodical in question, about two years old,
was an illustrated article by one Mr. Tupper, a missionary, describing
an orphan-asylum in the island of Clementina, and ah! so feelingly, with
such pleasant details of the names and prospects of individual orphans,
that I quickly shared the interest of Mrs. Ulswater. We wished to make
the acquaintance of the following orphans, to wit, the orphan named
“Susannah,” the orphan named “Thaddeus,” and the orphan named “James,”
 and the orphans “Caleb,” “Zillah,” “Stephen,” and “Naomi,” these
apparently being the seven beneficiaries of the establishment.

“Susannah,” wrote Mr. Tupper, “is characterised by great vigour of mind,
and by astuteness, if not perhaps by invariable serenity. She is
the daughter of the late Rev. Mr. Romney of Georgia, U. S. A., my
predecessor at this mission, who with his devoted wife died of an
epidemic fever some eight years ago. Upon my arrival I found the orphans
in a state most distressingly uncivilised. There are perils in this
remote corner of the world, but hunger and cold are not among them.
Little shelter is necessary, and food is to be had for the taking.
Physically, a child can grow up and thrive almost unregarded.”

And so on, most interesting remarks by Mr. Tupper.

Clementina looked like a comfortable island. We recognised the port, and
the high green hill, which the illustrations pictured as the site of the
mission.

The _Violetta_ was anchored not far from the shore. Mrs. Ulswater and I
were landed on the white beach under the hill. We climbed the hill.
“On the very crest,” in the words of Mr. Tupper’s description, stood “a
cluster of bamboo cottages hidden in foliage.” The Asylum!

_Horribile dicta!_

“Well,” said Mrs. Ulswater, “I never!”

The cottages were empty! Nay, ruined, decadent, most of the roofs
fallen! Eight decrepit bamboo structures in a row! The traces of a lawn,
now faded into wilderness! Oh, neglect and desolation! What had we here?
An orphaned orphanage! Most ridiculous of asylums!

A hen fled yelling across the open. In the wake of, in pursuit of, this
hen, there rapidly wriggled out of the thicket seven scratched, and
scarcely to be called clothed, individuals. My impression was immediate.

I said, “They are the orphans!”

They were. They sprang up in line. They bowed. They shouted with
remarkable unison:

“Good morning, sir! Good morning, ma’am!”

We gasped. We were astounded. “Well,” said Mrs. Ulswater, “I never!”

They began to sing. They sang, in point of fact, as follows:

                   “ Pull for the shore, sailor!

                   Pull for the shore! ”

all except for one orphan, from whose rounded mouth detonated the
statement, “I’m a pilgrim, I’m a stranger,” whose globular face was
slapped with incredible rapidity by the girl who stood next him, at the
head of the line, and who sang on imperiously, though the rest of the
chorus broke down:

                   “ Heed not the rolling waves,

                   But bend to the oar.”

She had lank limbs, and the unmistakable features of an Aryan. I should
have described her offhand as a “personage.”

“Susannah!” cried Mrs. Ulswater. “Don’t tell me you’re not!”

“Present!” said Susannah.

“Thaddeus?”

“Present!” from the globular pilgrim and stranger.

“James?”

“Present!”

James stood at the other end of the line. He was the smallest, Susannah
the tallest, and Thaddeus the fattest of the orphans. “Caleb?”

“Present!”

“Naomi?”

“Present!”

“Zillah?”

“Present!”

“Stephen?”

“Present!”

Very good. There they were.

But alas! it was a run-down, abandoned asylum. Mr. Tupper, that talented
descriptive author, had died some six months before, of the fever that
seemed to be resident, or sporadic, in the island.

I discovered, at Port Clementina, a sort of governor or prefect, who
seemed to be officially resident, and by nature sporadic, incidental.
He was the calmest official in the Indian Ocean. There were vast vacant
spaces in his mind. He did not know there were any orphans now at the
asylum. He had understood there wasn’t any asylum left. In any case, why
not? In every conceivable case, why not? He had supposed they had all
grown up, or disappeared, or fallen off something, or died of the fever,
or snakes, or been adopted by natives, or something. Why not? In point
of fact, now he came to think of it, he had not supposed anything about
it whatever. Were they indeed still running around up there? Name of
God! How amusing!

Mrs. Ulswater was indignant.

The population of Clementina is of extremely mixed blood. That Susannah
was of Caucasian extraction--age fifteen or so; that Thaddeus also was
of some northern ancestry, by his light hair, high cheek-bones,
and slightly piggy eyes; that James was a diminutive Malayan--as I
judged--age perhaps eight; and the rest miscellaneous African, Arab,
French, and what not--all this argues a curious history for the
island; which history I had no time to investigate, on account of Mrs.
Ulswater’s indignation.

Under the force of this indignation the orphans were swept swiftly
aboard the _Violetta_. The hen, above mentioned, also came along with
the current. The name of the hen is “Georgiana Tupper.” Mrs. Ulswater
accomplished it in this way. She made an alliance with Susannah. The
orphans were promptly aboard, Again, good! There they were.

The following morning they weren’t. We found only Susannah still with
us and Georgiana Tupper. The rest were gone, vanished forever. Captain
Jansen approached us, and touched his cap.

“Yes’m. They yump; I hear ‘em go yump, one, two, dree, four, six, un
I get out dey boat, un dose gone swim ashore, un her don’ yump. I don’
know.”

Mrs. Ulswater turned on Susannah. “What made them jump?”

Said Susannah: “They ain’t any good, those niggers. They’re ‘fraid.”

“Afraid of what?”

“Oh, they’re just ‘fraid to go. Their insides are all mush and dassent.”

“You’re not afraid, Susannah?”

“Me!”

Singular, scornful maid!

We were unable to find the miscellaneous again. Apparently they hid,
preferring the incidental or sporadic life of Clementina. With this
diminished orphanage, we set over the Indian Ocean, seeking another
asylum for Susannah.

I found at Clementina a curious variety of the Asteroidea or star fish.

You never saw the beat of Susannah.



CHAPTER XI--RAM NAD


|IT was at Colombo in Ceylon that we met with Ram Nad. I asked for him
in the market place, and found him. He was sitting on a cobblestone, and
leaning over his basket, asleep.

My acquaintance with Ram Nad began many years ago. Somewhere in my
indefinite and unmapped past, I once lived on the island of Ceylon, and
knew Ram Nad. He was by faith a Buddhist, by nature a painstaking liar,
by profession a medical practitioner, or quasi-physician,--not of the
allopathic school, nor of the homeopathic, but of the heteropathic
and absurd. But he practised sleight-of-hand tricks and mesmerism in a
manner that roused my profound respect. We exchanged informations, and I
had a great affection for him in those days.

Even then he looked like a mixture of Abraham and an early Christian
martyr, with some resemblance to a sheep.

I took him aboard the _Violetta_ in order to get his advice respecting
the orphan-asylums of his native land.

Ram Nad already knew himself to be more vertebrate and sagacious than I,
but he did not know Mrs. Ulswater.

The harbour at Colombo is no harbour, but an open roadstead, though
quiet at that time.

               “ The spicy breezes blow soft o’er Ceylon’s isle,

               And every prospect pleases, and only man is vile.’

The hymnal says so, but I don’t agree with it. Three-quarters of Ceylon
is an abomination of swamp, sand, and jungle, with a most pestilential
and vile climate; whereas the normal Cingalese person is the mildest,
most peaceful and pious agriculturist that’s to be found.

Ram Nad wore a blue head cloth. The rest of his clothes were meant to
be white, like his beard. He squatted behind his basket. Mrs. Ulswater
rocked in her rocking-chair, knitting, looking at Ram Nad as if she did
not make out how to begin benefiting him. She examined Ram Nad, who
in turn examined Susannah, who in turn was, at that moment, playing
jackstraws.

Ram Nad said there were no orphan-asylums in Ceylon that he could truly
recommend, which sounded conscientious.

He continued: But for himself, he said, he was a lonely man; desolate
and empty was his house of the beautiful gardens; he was desirous
of children in his old age. The excellent Mrs. Ulswater--might her
benevolence be rewarded! the learned Dr. Ulswater--might his folly
and ignorance have been by time corrected!--he hoped these all would
understand his immaculate motives. For what said the Great Teacher?
“Let parents train their children, and their memories be honoured by
the same: let the husband give his wife kindness, together with suitable
ornaments and clothes, and let her be a thrifty housekeeper; finally,
let the pupils give attention, and the teacher instruct them in
knowledge.” The girl, he said, pleased him; therefore it was possible
that he might in righteous charity adopt her, instruct her. By a
singular accident he had but yesterday taken a solemn vow to adopt a
child to his old age; many had been witness to this vow.

Mrs. Ulswater looked thoughtful. She rather wanted Susannah brought up
Presbyterian. “He quotes Scripture very well,” she whispered to me. “It
sounds queer, but maybe it’s his clothes.” But she seemed disturbed, and
looked away at Susannah, who played jackstraws.

I reflected vaguely about Ram Nad, on the different kinds of guile he
was equal to, and how if he went off with Susannah, the Indian Ocean
would seem less entertaining. Mrs. Ulswater appeared worried.

Ram Nad waived the point, or appeared to. He said he would, if we liked,
display some marvels for our instruction, while further considering.
Then he opened a few common tricks.

He took Mrs. Ulswater’s sewing, threw it over the rail into the sea,
picked it out of the inner folds of his turban, and returned it. Then he
thrust Mrs. Ulswater’s knitting needles down my throat and drew them one
by one from the pit of my diaphragm. It seemed so, sufficiently so. In
fact, it made me feel unwell. He induced Susannah to enter his enormous
conical basket, covered her and stirred inside with his hand, with a
violent circular motion, as one beats eggs with a spoon--took off the
cover, disclosed the interior, and shook it bottom up. No Susannah
there!

He covered it, stirred again--eggs and spoons--turned it over, lifted it
again. There sat Susannah on the deck, safe but indignant.

“You punched me!” she cried, and then turned distracted to clutch at the
small of her back. Mrs. Ulswater came to her help, and unbuttoning her
frock took out the jackstraws. They seemed to have been dropped down her
neck. Susannah was furious.

Ram Nad next seated himself opposite her, and fell to crooning and
spooning with both hands--two spoons, infinite eggs.

Mrs. Ulswater said, “Well, I never!” Even I may possibly have
ejaculated, “Ha!”

The eyes of Susannah became fixed, her form rigid. Ram Nad stroked his
beard, Susannah the front of her frock. He sighed, she sighed. “Roll!”
 She rolled; she kept on rolling; she rolled across the deck and brought
up in the scuppers, where she struggled to continue rolling. “Roll
back!” She rolled back. “Sit up!” She sat up. He fell to crooning and
waving--reversed spoons and a reaching after dispersed eggs. Susannah
blinked, relapsed, awoke.

Remarkable maid, Susannah, strenuous, decided. She dashed at Ram Nad.
She snatched off his head cloth. She flung it in his face. She fled to
Mrs. Ulswater and wept loudly in her arms.

Ram Nad looked surprised and partly martyred.

“Nevertheless, I am not displeased,” he said, picking up his head cloth.
“I will take her to my house of beautiful gardens.”

“Indeed you won’t!” cried Mrs. Ulswater. “You ought to be ashamed of
yourself.”

Ram Nad bowed his head, pulled his beard, and covered himself with
meekness. I suggested to Mrs. Ulswater that there was a Cingalese point
of view.

“Surely,” Ram Nad, ineffably mild. “We say no more, excellent
Mrs. Ulswater. Other orphans are elsewhere to be found and the vow
accomplished. But now, if permitted, I go, and return soon with gifts
of fruit plucked in the gardens of my house, that our happiness may be
complete as the meeting of long-parted friends, pleasant as to the bee
is the honey of the flower.”

It was all gammon about his house. He had no property except his trick
outfit in a basket, his moderate but amusing clothes, and a lien on a
cobblestone in the market. Mrs. Ulswater observed him quietly. I didn’t
make out what she thought of his handsome remarks.

He was rowed ashore in the gig, and came back later in a misshaped
Cingalese canoe, kilted fore and aft, with two coolies for rowers, who
promptly departed. He fished pomegranates and pineapples out of his
basket, and was very pleasant. He begged to be allowed to sleep on a
deck rug beneath our palatial awning. He said it was the custom of the
country. So it was, granted a rug and awning were handy. He talked a
number of kinds of gammon, and he knew I knew it was gammon. But, then,
I allowed that a Cingalese of his age and acquirements had a right to be
mythological in his statements.

Oh, Ram Nad, friend of my earlier days! I’m free to admit your standards
of virtuous conduct were ever in some respects obscure, not to say too
much for me.



CHAPTER XII--RAM NAD CONTINUED


|MY family at midnight lay asleep in their staterooms. The Indian moon
shone on the _Violetta_, which lay lifting slowly with the swell. The
watchman sat forward. Ram Nad, with his chief garment wrapped about
his head, was stretched on a rug on the lee side and just above the
portholes of the stateroom occupied by Susannah.

I was awakened by Mrs. Ulswater’s suddenly pulling my arm. It was near
three o’clock in the morning.

“Listen!” she whispered. “Now, wait!” To my bewildered sense became now
audible the sound of soft, regular steps in the outer cabin and on the
cabin stairs leading to the deck. I arose softly.

I saw Susannah in her long night garment, of Mrs. Ulswater’s making,
stiffly mounting the stairs with a military step! and beyond her, on
the moonlit deck, whom but Ram Nad, white-bearded, blue-turbaned,
white-garmented, beckoning, retreating! I was about to advance, when
at that moment Mrs. Ulswater shrieked loudly in my ear, and Ram Nad,
running forward, sharply shut and bolted the cabin door. An instant’s
silence followed, then shouts and swift feet running aft. I rushed
to the port-hole. Past it and past my face went a swiftly falling and
fluttering body, which splashed in the sea. Was it Ram Nad? Was it
Susannah? Mrs. Ulswater was beating the door with her hands and crying:
“Catch that man, Captain Jansen! Catch that man!” Distressing moment!
Norah came from her room and mingled her voice in the tumult. But there
we were, locked in.

The cabin door was opened. Captain Jansen’s comfortable bearded face
appeared, “Yes, ‘m. But he yump for das boat. He gone ofer.”

“Then catch the boat. Quick!”

“Yes’m. But I got das boat mit un grapple.”

We all emerged on the warm night, on the moonlit deck. The women had
donned their shawls. This was the situation.

Ram Nad’s misshaped and kilted canoe was held fast, and one end lifted
from the water by a grappling-iron, at which a sailor was tugging with
a rope over the rail. The two black heads of his rowers were just
above the water at some distance, moving hastily shoreward, their wakes
shining in the moonlight. Ram Nad was nowhere in sight. Susannah stood
on deck, the watchman forward sat stiff and motionless--both of them
rigid, frozen, mesmerised, wrapped up in his or her inner consciousness
like a ball of yarn.

“There!” said Mrs. Ulswater. “He didn’t get Susannah. Doctor, we must go
away from this place. I don’t like it.”

“We can weigh anchor,” I said, “surely, now as well as any time. But, my
dear, as to these ossified unfortunates, I don’t quite see. I’m no Ph.
D. Mahatma, nor yet a brindle cat, hell-broth witch. It’s mortifying,
but that’s my limit. I’m not on to Ram Nad’s spoon motion, nor yet his
lullaby. Hadn’t we better wait and find another magician that knows how
to untwist the charm? Because Ram Nad appears to be drowned, and these
two, according to my notion, are, as you might say, tied up particularly
tight.”

Mrs. Ulswater tried to wake Susannah, but could not. She was indignant.
She thought that I treated the subject too lightly, in language I ought
to be ashamed of, that there was nothing funny about it. Maybe not. I
gave it up. I thought the situation was not without a certain sepulchral
but natural gayety.

“Ashamed” I take to be a vertebrate condition. I never could fetch it.
It’s left out of me. I’ve got no centre of personality, no angles to my
circumference on which to hitch a conviction of sin, never could seem
to get hold of that kind of embarrassment. Calling myself a series of
conventionally derogatory and ineffective names is the nearest I can
come to remorse. But speaking impersonally, no doubt Mrs. Ulswater was
right.

At this point Captain Jansen called: “He’s yump in! Yes, ‘m. He’s yump!”

We ran to the rail. There Ram Nad sat in his kilted canoe, wringing the
water from his garments.

Mrs. Ulswater said, “You come up here right away!”

He seemed unwilling, but Captain Jansen dropped a rope ladder, and
the sailor jerked on the grapnel, rendering his position untenable. He
yielded and came, wearing an expression of injured meekness. He yielded
to Mrs. Ulswater’s command. He spooned and crooned Susannah and the
watchman into normal condition, and retired hastily to some distance,
holding on to his head cloth, avoiding Susannah.

Mrs. Ulswater now reduced matters to order. The indignant Susannah was
persuaded to bed. Ram Nad was put under guard. Mrs. Ulswater and Norah
retired.

The anchor was raised. The _Violetta_ got under steam. We glided away
into the Indian Ocean. I remained on deck reflecting, inhaling the
soft breath of the dawn, gazing at the fair palace of the
night,--how marvellously roofed and lit, how floored with sparkling
mosaic,--considering two things which equally excited my admiration,
namely, the constitution of this world and Mrs. Ulswater.

I conversed with Ram Nad.

As far as I could gather from Ram Nad, he had first gotten into
conversation with the watch, and mesmerised that: Norwegian, after which
he had hung himself down from the rail and mesmerised Susannah through
the port-hole. A subtle performance! He did not dare enter the cabin,
having a nervous fear of Mrs. Ulswater. Mrs. Ulswater’s emphatic cry had
roused the crew. He had plunged over, and, rising, clutched the edge of
the boat; which being grappled and the coolies fled, he had submitted,
first to concealment, then to capture. Now,--he continued,--were his
excellent intentions frustrated, his purposes to instruct the damsel,
who had intelligence and temperament suitable,--excepting that she was a
female of a tiger and not respectful of elderly men,--to instruct her
in wisdom, according to the Precept, to the end that people might behold
him performing wonders, and his riches increase. But how then? The
righteous man endeavours. But if frustrated, let him be content. Yet
he could but wonder for what reason he was now being carried away,
recklessly, from his native land.

I didn’t see, either, why we were carrying off Ram Nad, but it seemed
to have points of interest. I didn’t see any real objection to it. I
suggested:

“You don’t think that you ought to be skinned or drowned? Why not? It
depends on Mrs. Ulswater’s opinion. But see here, Ram Nad, if you ever
try to mesmerise Susannah again, or anybody aboard, I’ll see to the
skinning privately. I’ll insert Mrs. Ulswater’s knitting needles into
your digestion, Susannah shall stuff your mouth full of jackstraws and
head cloth, and Mrs. Uls-water shall make a Presbyterian of your mangled
remains. You hear me!”

Ram Nad took oath he would not.



CHAPTER XIII--CONCLUSION OF DR. ULSWATER’S SECOND MANUSCRIPT


|PEACEFULLY we journey then over this balmy sea. My enlarged family is
at peace, excepting Susannah. The meekness, the surprised interest of
Ram Nad in us, in our purposes and his own situation, are irresistible,
except to Susannah. Mrs. Ulswater seems to regard him as a sort of
second orphan. Susannah resents this idea.

We approach the Malay Peninsula. Ram Nad sits cross-legged on a rug,
teaching Susannah the Pali alphabet. I read the English poets to Mrs.
Ulswater, who sews garments for Susannah. So does Susannah, sometimes,
with vicious jabs.

Mrs. Ulswater does not attend to the reading. She has something on her
mind.

“Dr. Ulswater,” she says at last, “is Ram Nad a well-educated man?”

“My dear, he knows everything that I don’t. Therefore he knows
infinitely more than I do.”

“Why shouldn’t we bring up Susannah among us, instead of looking for an
orphanage any more?”

“Perfectly possible.”

“Why shouldn’t we have a mission of our own on the _Violetta_, instead
of hunting for other people’s missions?”

“An idea!”

“Well, then, we will.”

“A sort of floating mission,” I continue. “Fascinating, unique
conception! That is, if pursued moderately. The orphans are a success,
so far, including--with some reservations--Ram Nad. But I wouldn’t
invest too heavily, too rapidly, in orphans. I would take, in fact, some
pains to get hold of preferred stock.”

She agrees thoughtfully: “Of course, the _Violetta_ won’t hold a great
many. I should want nice ones. That’s what you mean.”

“Precisely. For instance, Ram Nad is more interesting, perhaps, than
those whom Susannah so forcibly described as inwardly composed of ‘mush
and dassent.’”

“Then that’s what we’ll do.”

I think, then, with all deference to destiny, that we will.

“I have sometimes wondered,” I remark to Mrs. Ulswater, “just what our
idea was in kidnapping Ram Nad--if it was quite accidental, or if we
were not, on that occasion--shall we say?--in collusion with accident.”

“Why”--Mrs. Ulswater returns to her sewing--“of course! I thought he
wanted to steal Susannah. He wasn’t a bit good at pretending. Goodness,
no! But I didn’t know how he was going to do it, so I asked Captain
Jansen to stay awake below. But it would have been dreadful if Ram Nad
had drowned. I just let him try, because, of course, I thought, after
behaving so, he couldn’t say much if we carried him off.”

“But why, at that time, did we want to carry him off?”

“It was the pictures in the big Bible,” Mrs. Ulswater replies. “All the
old men there look like him. I thought it would be nice to have him.”

Such is our situation. Here I float on Elysian seas. (My next article,
on the Scaphopodae, will astonish the scientific world. My collection of
Cephalopterae is now unique. I have proved three mistakes in Schmidt’s
classification of the Coelenterates.)

Ulswater.

P. S.--Ram Nad begs to remain with us. He is inwardly composed of guile
and gammon. Still, like Susannah, he is in a way a personage.

But suppose Mrs. Ulswater learns Oriental mesmerism of Ram Nad, and
supplements--quite unnecessarily--by this means, her government of me.
I should protest: “No, Mrs. Ulswater! Not while I know myself master of
this household!”

P. P. S.--Suppose she insists!



CHAPTER XIV--DR. ULSWATER’S NARRATIVE CONTINUES: THE ISLAND OF LUA


South Pacific, _January._

|MRS. ULSWATER has collected more orphans.

There are, without doubt, many methods of selecting the beneficiaries
of a mission, asylum, home for curables or incurables, or similar
foundation. Mrs. Ulswater’s favourite method seems to be what one of the
new orphans calls “a coopdeetat,” but she denies any such preference.
She says “It happens so.” That may be, and yet I have a feeling--a
marital weakness perhaps--that she has a sort of pull, a secret
understanding, so to speak, with circumstances. With the bait foresight,
and the rod discretion, she catches the trout accident.

Mrs. Ulswater, who first established over me a kind of Monroe Doctrine,
forbidding to other powers the annexation of any territorial portion
of me, followed it up by a species of suzerainty controlling foreign
relations; which having developed into something resembling the German
Empire,--that is, nominally an alliance, practically a solid entity of
control,--therein I rest, on the whole, patriotic and pleased.

A month ago my family consisted of Mrs. Ulswater, Norah the maid,
Susannah the orphan, Georgiana the hen,--both from the island of
Clementina,--and Ram Nad, a Cingalese pundit and fakeer, whom Mrs.
Ulswater had collected cavalierly--I admit, cavalierly,--who, after
the learning of his race, practised medicine, hypnotism, and sleight of
hand; whose medical ideas were ridiculous, his magic good, his status as
an orphan an acceptable probability; whose chief property was his wicker
basket, shaped like a truncated cone, with a flat cover on top, his
vade-mecum, his universal container.

All things he put into it, and there they disappeared. Many things he
took out of it. He was a bully magician, and looked something like a
prophet and something like a lamb.

Mrs. Ulswater was originally interested in foreign missions. Out of this
interest she developed a mission of her own. Her purpose was to
employ the _Violetta_ as a migratory orphan asylum, or mobile base of
operations, from which to scatter regenerative ideas; to sail about
picking up casual orphans perhaps, introducing neatness, good habits,
and practical housekeeping to the Pacific Ocean, rearranging haply
its populations and politics; a sort of slumming on the high seas, an
oceanic College Settlement. A stupendous idea! The Pacific Ocean was
much in need of Mrs. Ulswater. It is a loose, untidy ocean, a “Bohemian”
 ocean with its far scattered islands, lunging seas, and idle solitudes.

“Brooms,” Mrs. Ulswater said, speaking of the islanders, “brooms, soap,
and taking pains, are what they need.”

An ominous phrase, “taking pains”! Is it a fact that not enough pains
are thrust upon us in the normal course of events, that we must acquire
“pains”?

I stumped Mrs. Ulswater with that question. Hadn’t mankind enough pains
without taking pains? She said:

“The Kanakas haven’t,” and then reflected. “People,” she said, “never
got civilised by having a good time.”

I fear that proposition is sound.



CHAPTER XV--SADLER


|The festival of Christmas was approaching. Susannah was greatly
excited over the preparations. Mrs. Ulswater was making mince pies.
Ram Nad--whose opinion of himself is that he is an astral and unworldly
soul, while Mrs. Ulswater’s is that he differs from all heathen
described in the missionary quarterlies, and my own is that he is as
full of gammon as an eggshell is full of egg--Ram Nad was taking no
interest in mince pies. For myself, in the tropics, I would as soon
have eaten a pound of bent whalebone, or a swarm of congealed bees, as a
mince pie, whose inward action upon me would, I was sure, be similar to
that of resilient whalebone or thawed-out bees; and therefore,
although interested in mince pies, I yet regarded the subject with a
certain,--shall I say?--anxiety. It was under these circumstances that
we sighted, approached, and at length took anchorage at the island of
Lua.

It was not an unknown Pacific Island, nor yet well-known. The date of
its discovery, its size, inhabitants and products will not be found
stated in a school geography, but a good chart will show its location.
Whether or not there were any white men there I did not know, but
thought it likely. There is a considerable and curious drifting white
population in the South Pacific. The Caucasian is ubiquitous. There is
a restless germ in his blood, unknown to the Oriental and mysterious to
himself.

A numerous village of wattled huts stretched along the white beach of
the bay where we came to anchor. I have been not a little here and there
in the South Pacific in my time, but never before on the island of Lua.
Its blue and lilac mountains in panorama,--white threads of falling
water on their steeps,--its nearer hills, palmy and green and like moss
in the softening distance, the smooth lacquered water in the bay, the
beach, the little brown huts with domed roofs of leafy thatch, truly all
seemed at peace. A few people came down to the beach to observe us, and
presently a boat put out,--not one of the native outriggers, but a
dumpy little ship’s dinghy. With the aid of a glass I made out that the
occupants were two white men.

Of the two men, who now came aboard the _Violetta_, the foremost was
a tall, bony, swing-shouldered powerful man, with a melancholy
countenance, dangling gray moustache, whitish hair, lean throat,
remarkably large hands, and a husky voice, who carried a banjo swung
by a cord around his neck; the other was plainly a Hibernian,
stoop-shouldered, his hair and whiskers forming a circular, complete,
and resplendent aureole around his face, at the centre of which aurora a
short black tobacco pipe was firmly inserted.

“How do?” said the bony stranger, mournfully, and then casting his eyes
down on the _Violetta_‘s deck, he stopped and gazed.

On the flowered carpet under the neat awning sat Mrs. Ulswater as usual
with her workbasket beside her, her knitting in her hand; there were
the rocking chairs with their doilies, some geranium pots along the
scuppers, and some lashed to the awning supports; there sat that
venerable Cingalese, Ram Nad, with his magic-basket beside him; Susannah
held Georgians Tupper in her lap.

“I don’t seem to get my vest around your combination,” said the bony
one, observing this domestic scene. “Is it waxworks, or pirates?” He
looked worried about it. “My name’s Sadler,” he continued, “and this
yere conflagration behind me is named Irish or Jimmie Hagan, just as you
like. We’d be pleased to know you.”

This sounded ingratiating, though his countenance was melancholy.
Presently he sat in one of the doilied rocking chairs, with his feet
tucked away behind him, and he seemed easy-going in his talk, and candid
as to his history.

He had been a sailor once, as it seemed, on a smuggling or filibustering
ship along South American coasts, and after that had lived in the city
of Portate, South America, and from there he had gotten himself banished
on account of his interest in romantic politics, and gone to California,
and made money in some kind of Oriental trade; but lately he had been
in Burmah professionally, that is to say, his profession there had
been that of a sort of high priest, a species of abbot of a kind of
monastery; and after that in Sumatra. But a month or more since he had
dropped on Lua. The island had interested him by its romantic politics.
He had resolved to “take a hand in that seducing game, which it looked
real sporty,” he said, “and I judged the showdown was coming soon, but
it hasn’t yet, and it’s been rolling up the blankedest jackpot you ever
saw.”

“What!” said Mrs. Ulswater.

“Beg pardon, ma’am. I shouldn’t have swore, but them’s the facts.”

“What are the facts?”

Sadler looked worried.

“May I,” I said, “venture to suggest that your terms are perhaps a
trifle technical, or--shall I say?--a trifle remote. Let me explain to
Mrs. Ulswater that by a ‘showdown’ is intended merely the decision of
a given issue; that a ‘jackpot,’ as such, may be defined as an
accumulation of undecided issues.”

“Why,” said Sadler, “you see, doctor, it’s this way. Your ideas about
technical language and mine don’t jibe with each other, and I’ll bet
my last week’s shirt to yours of the week before, Mrs. Ulswater’s idea
ain’t agreeable with either of us on which point my own opinion was
similar to his, and I regretfully let pass that interesting wager.

“Well!” said Mrs. Ulswater again; “What are the facts?”

Sadler then described the politics of Lua, in a voice slow, husky, and
bereaved.

“Some years ago,” he said, “a friend of mine, who was a white man named
Craney, was king of Lua, for he bought out the different candidates,
or pooled the interests, or something, and mounted the throne himself.
Anyhow, he was killed in a ruction. It occurred to me to come around
this way, which happened about a month back, to ask Craney for the job
of Prime Minister, but I found he was dead, and the place seemed to me
then on the edge of another dynastic war. There was a young chap named
Kolosama, who was the son of the king who succeeded Craney, and there
was an old chap named Ogelomano, who claimed the throne by right of
superior wisdom, with some other complicated rights, and relations, by
which it appeared he ought to have been king before. Awful names, ain’t
they? Well, this yere royalty appeared to be partly hereditary, partly
elective, and mostly revolutionary, which is all very well, but hard
feeling inside of families is vicious. That’s my opinion. Kolo had the
largest backing, but Ogel had the superior wisdom, as appeared from
this: namely, he immejitly laid himself out to get the support of
the newly arrived combination of military genius, statecraft, and
diplomacy--that’s me. Arguing with a scrupulous conscience, then, I
comes to this conclusion; I says: ‘The first requirement for a happy
kingdom is a forehanded king; the next is a superior Prime Minister;
which it’s clear from the behaviour of this party that he knows what’s
what, and it’s clear from the behaviour of the other party that he ain’t
got no real penetration at all; nor he ain’t onto the points of royalty,
or he’d know that a kingdom without a Prime Minister is as unhappy as
a cat with no dog to chase her, which anybody but a fool knows; and
consequently this yere Kolosama is unfit to rule this balmy isle, and
this yere Ogel is a promising monarch. That’s my opinion.’ I stated that
argument to Ogel, and he agreed that was a tart argument all right, and
I was a Prime Minister sent by the gods. Then Ogel and Irish and I, we
went over till we come to the palace, which is built of bamboo and all
on the ground floor, but else-wise is a commojous mansion, and chuck
full of Craney’s furnishings; and we discharged artillery from the front
door, to let folks know we was on the throne. Then Kolosama collected
his party, and went off to the other side of the island, and declared
war. Then we called him, on the chance it was a bluff. So it was, and so
was ours. Neither of us showed down. That’s how it is. Me and Irish
with Ogel’s warriors, and Kolosama with his warriors, have been prancing
forth over these picturesque mountains like we intended to be real
vicious, and dodging back till the island’s near distracted. We’ve
got the wisdom and foresight, and we got all Craney’s firearms by
the coopdee-tat, but Kolo appears to have a majority of the foolish
population with him just now, and there you are. There’s your jackpot,
which me and Kolo are playing for. I haven’t got the hand to open it,
or to do anything but jockey for position, for Kolo’s got most of the
warriors. I don’t know what’s the matter with him, unless his warriors
don’t like gunpowder. Maybe his hand’s weaker than it looks, but I’d bet
something if I held it, this jackpot would be opened.”

“What sort of a man is Ogelomano?” I asked, when Sadler paused.

“Fat and sulky,” he said; “but I’ve seen worse. I’ve seen homelier
looking men too, somewhere, but I’ve forgotten where that was. Maybe it
was in a nightmare. For that matter Kolo’s all right enough too. I guess
the island would be happy with either, were t’other dear charmer away.”

Sadler stopped and rubbed his chin gloomily, and said: “Nice outfit of
yours. Waxwork pirates, maybe?”

I explained the purposes and mission of the _Violetta_.

“Floating orphan asylum,” said Sadler, “sort of perambulating
benevolence, and steam-propulsion mission house, to teach temperateness
to the tropics. Why, that’s all right. A chap that wants to pad his soul
with good deeds, and go to sleep on his benevolence like a downy bed,
why, he’s got a good proposition. I’ve done it myself, and it worked,
more or less. But I always got restless.”

He began thrumming distressful and complaining chords on his banjo,
looked off to sea with a dreamy expression, until presently he raised a
tune that never should have existed, and sang to it in a voice like that
of a walrus with a cold:

                   “ I want to be an orphan,

                   And with the orphans roam,

                   A millionaire my guardian,

                   A steam yacht for my home---

“Doctor,” he said, huskily; “it’s this way. You’ve come to the right
shop with those goods. Yere’s your chance for benevolence. If you’d
steam around to the other side of Lua, and find Kolo, which I could spot
his location for you pretty near; and if you’d ladle him out some of
that there benevolence, and tell him you were his long-lost aunt that
was thinking of giving him some toy firearms, maybe he’d come aboard. I
shouldn’t wonder. But if he brought any warriors with him, you’d better
make him send them ashore to wash their faces, which they’ll need it all
right. Then if you happened to get up steam and sail away with him, and
took him to the States, and give him a college education, and sent
me the bill, why, I’d send a draft on San Francisco for any amount
in reason. Why, see yere, doctor, that scheme is neat surely, and
benevolent to hatch eggs, ain’t it? Yere you leave the island of Lua
with its politics smooth as milk, and a forehanded king whose policy
is guided by an unequalled Prime Minister, in the direction of single
matrimony and a vegetarian diet. Consider that strategy! Regard it! Look
at it all around! Remark the moral purpose! Catch onto its simplicity
of design! Why, it’s a wonder!” I looked at Mrs. Ulswater, who had said
nothing during the above, but sat there sewing, and sometimes glancing
up at Sadler. Now she laid down her sewing and said: “Are you sure the
island would be better off if one of the kings were taken away?”

“Sure, ma’am! Why, look at it! You can see for yourself.”

“Of course it would look so. But then, is Kolosama a nice person? We
don’t like to take orphans without knowing about them.”

“I’ll tell you on the square, ma’am,” said Sadler, “Kolo ain’t bright,
or he’d have called me before now. He’s slow. He’s plodding. Moreover
he’s self-willed and opinionated. He don’t take to prime ministers, or
official advice. He needs discipline, and he needs encouragement. And
yet I’d call him a promising kid, and a hopeful orphan. He’d be a credit
to you. Yes’m. No doubt of it.”

Mrs. Ulswater took up her knitting and said, “I should like to see the
older king first.”

“If you’ll come up to the palace to-morrow,” said Sadler, “the old man’d
be pleased to see you. You’ve no notion how he’d like Kolo to have a
foreign education.”

He gathered up his large frame, murmured, “Piratical waxworks!” and
departed, together with Irish, who silently smoked his short black pipe.



CHAPTER XVI--AT THE PALACE


|IT seemed to me that a Prime Minister who composed poetry impromptu and
played the banjo, was a species never yet examined and classified by me.
But as to Kolosama’s entry into my family circle, it seemed to me the
selection of orphans should be made only on strong recommendations.

The next morning Mrs. Ulswater, Susannah, and I started. A well-trodden
path led through the forest, and at the end of a few miles came out into
a pleasant valley, where lay a scattered village of huts for the most
part small, fragile, and consisting generally of a woven roof, posts to
support it, and an occasional mat between posts. The palace was easily
distinguished, standing in a grove on a hill, a long one-storied bamboo
house, surrounded by piazzas. Evidently it had been built by a white
man. In some odd way it suggested the States.

Sadler met us in the village, and brought us to his own dwelling, which
stood at the foot of the palace hill. I judged it had been furnished
from the palace with properties of King Craney. It included five bamboo
huts adjoining each other.

A Kanaka servant, who stood by the door of one of them, shrieked
and vanished. That hut seemed to be the kitchen. A cat of faded and
depressed appearance replaced the Kanaka in the doorway.

“Oh, please!” cried Susannah, “May I have that cat?”

“Dolores is her name,” said Sadler, looking dreamily at the cat,
“which she likes to sleep on pies. She’s got a heart sorrow, sort
of indigestion of the spirit, same as me. Some of it comes from
dissipation, some of it on account of sleeping in the oven on pies,
which has varieties of climate pretty stiff, so she’s got a seared
and wasted look, as you might say. Besides,” he added after a moment’s
thought, “she ain’t got no dog to chase her.”

“Goodness!” said Mrs. Ulswater, looking into the kitchen. “Isn’t it
awful!”

She was down on Sadler’s housekeeping to an extent you’d hardly believe.
Still, it must be admitted that the weeds growing over the floor made
his kitchen look like a pasture lot, and that the kitchen windows were
somewhat untidy on account of the Kanaka cook throwing slops at them
from a distance. There was coffee in a china vase, and tobacco in the
teapot. There was a hen laying an egg in the soup tureen, which fitted
her very neatly and snugly.

“Please!” cried Susannah again, “May I have this cat?”

“Sure!” said Sadler. “It ain’t good for her here. She gets bad habits
living along of me. Any cat would that lived along of me.”

We went up to the palace. It was furnished profusely with the kind of
things that seem stuffy in the tropics, for the lamented royalty called
Craney seemed to have had a taste for plush-covered chairs, red-flowered
carpets, portières with fringes and tassels, glass-bangled lamps, and
gilded clocks. For the clocks King Ogel seemed to share King Craney’s
weakness. I counted fourteen clocks in the audience room, all going but
three. The king sat on a plush sofa among his clocks, fanning himself.
The largest and gildedest clock stood on the floor in front of him.

He was an elderly man, stout and unwieldy, of morose expression, his
complexion inferior, and his grizzled hair stuck full of chicken bones.
He wore a pink shirt without a collar, a shell necklace, and a kind of
skirt that seemed to have been formerly a lace window curtain. Sadler
introduced us. The king grunted, “How do,” and we sat down on the plush
chairs and discussed Sadler’s scheme. Sadler expatiated on the highly
moral qualities in it, the peace that would fall on the distracted
island, when Kolo was thus removed strategically and for his own best
welfare. The king looked pleased. His pleasure seemed to arouse his
hospitality, and his hospitality was startling. He rose, shouted, and
stamped. From far piazzas came scuttling, came running, brown men and
women bearing baskets and platters; in the baskets was fruit, in
the platters fish cooked most messily, and other articles of diet
indescribable, which I had no curiosity to taste. But I thought Mrs.
Ulswater seemed favourably impressed with the king.

Now fell the hour of ten, and the clocks broke out striking noisily.

Over the king’s face passed an expression of unutterable delight. His
heavy cheeks wrinkled into smiles. He thumped his chest and chuckled. He
turned from clock to clock, keeping his eye in particular on the great
gilt clock at his feet, from whose ornate front no sound as yet was
come.

The clocks all ceased. But the great gilt clock had not struck.

Suddenly as a crash of thunder the king passed from chuckling happiness
to anger, violent and uncontrolled. He clambered to his feet. He
stamped. He swore in the language of beach combers and decayed mariners,
inexcusable, abominable. He shook his fists at Sadler.

“My clock don’ go!” he shrieked. “Arrr! She don’ go!” and snatching up
a fruit basket, he fell, in utter and abandoned rage, beating,
kicking, yelling, swearing, scattering fruit, upon the frightened and
frizzle-haired henchmen and henchwomen, who fled with tumult and wailing,
from room to room, from piazza to far piazza, and beyond into the
forest, where the noise of pursuit died distantly away.

I was amazed. Mrs. Ulswater sprang up.

“Is _that_ a king!” she said indignantly, and started for the piazza
followed by myself, by Susannah with the cat, and by Sadler in
deprecation. “He ought to be spanked! That’s what he ought,” said Mrs.
Ulswater.

“You’re right, ma’am,” said Sadler. “Ain’t a doubt it would be a good
thing, and I was thinking, when you spoke, as how, when Kolo was gone
and things was settled, I’d just get that introduced quiet like into the
regular court ceremonial, putting it under the heading of ‘Official Care
of the King’s Person,’ which I was thinking, ma’am, as how it was my
recollection a strap got there better’n a shingle. Yes’m.”

Mrs. Ulswater stopped on the edge of the porch, mollified.

“Would you really do that?”

“Yes’m.”

“Well,” she said, “if you’ll catch that king and bring him down to tea
this evening, we’ll think it over by that time. Goodness! How do you
know Kolo is any better?” And we returned to the _Violetta_.



CHAPTER XVII--MRS. ULSWATER TAKES ACTION


|SADLER came down late in the afternoon, and with him little Irish
and King Ogel. If Mrs. Ulswater was expecting a contrite king, she was
disappointed. He strutted across the deck in front of a bodyguard of
three huge warriors, whose garb and outfit were more ferocious than
ornamental, more ornamental than decorous, and more ornamental in
intention than in result. He was unashamed. His misbehaviour had left
no traces on his complacence. He was impertinently vain of that terrific
bodyguard. I noticed Mrs. Ulswater’s expression become suddenly set and
determined. I knew the king’s complacence irritated her, his unrepented
misbehaviour roused her instinct for discipline. Something was going
to happen. I looked at the warriors. I wished it might not be something
that would cause the introduction into my anxious digestive organism
of those shovel-headed spears, unpleasant objects, nay, surely
indigestible. I hoped for the best. I was calm but expectant.

“Doctor,” said Mrs. Ulswater, “when kings are invited to tea, don’t
people have entertainments for them?”

“Invariably! Music and dancing!” I exclaimed, delighted, relieved at
the turn Mrs. Ulswater’s intentions seemed to be taking. “Daughters of
Herodias--hem--I mean to say you are quite right. No barbaric potentate
can swallow his victuals without some agreeable distraction.”

“Of course we haven’t any of those things,” she said, and looked
thoughtfully at Ram Nad, who was squatted near on the flowered carpet,
“but if Ram Nad should hypnotise the king’s men, don’t you think it
would amuse him?”

She pointed to the bodyguards. I thought it would. Ram Nad consented.

Venerable and unappalled, he drew near, sat down in front of the guards,
and began his monotonous chant and circuitous gesturing before their
stolid faces, whose stationary expressions and complexions variegated
with tattoo were unmoved by Ram Nad’s odd behaviour. Slowly those
copper-skinned and impassive spearmen in ornamental outfit keeled over
and lay stretched and rigid, mute symbols of barbarism, promiscuously
prostrate, frozen ferocities, motionless images of war. A whirl of Ram
Nad’s hand, and they rolled, tumbled, turning promiscuity into chaos,
across the deck, and brought up in the scuppers among the geranium
pots. There lay shields and spears, sprawling legs and tattooed faces,
grotesque and horrific, among the brown earthenware pots, the round
velvety leaves and small red petals of that plant so familiar in the
cleanly windows of our native land.

The king was delighted. He thumped his chest, and laughed.

Jimmie Hagan took his pipe out of his mouth, profoundly astonished.

Sadler murmured “Waxworks!”

“More!” the king commanded, doubled over with laughter. “More!”

He wanted the bodyguard tumbled down the companionway, but Mrs. Ulswater
wouldn’t allow it. The king turned sulky. Language rumbled in his throat
preparing to be shrieked.

“Fiddlesticks!” said Mrs. Ulswater; “As if I’d let those things into my
parlour! Have them tumbled down the gangway if you want to.”

The king brightened up. Infatuated man, he did not see--he had no
inkling of--the danger that lurked in Mrs. Ulswater’s set mouth and
determined expression. I could have warned him, but refrained. Clearly
she was right about the incongruity of fully armed and half-naked
warriors precipitated down stairs into parlours. One feels the
impropriety of it.

While Ram Nad, at the king’s boisterous order, was extricating the
warriors from the geranium pots, and while Mrs. Ulswater went forward
and was talking with Captain Jansen, I was thinking it impossible
that she meant to allow the bodyguard to be sent helplessly overboard,
inhumanely, to the great peril of drowning. I was about to intervene,
when I saw Mrs. Ulswater return, followed, to my surprise, by Captain
Jansen and the crew.

“There!” she said, pointing; “Be quick!”

Judge of my astonishment, when Captain Jansen and our muscular crew fell
upon Sadler, Hagan, and King Ogel, and jerking each backward, proceeded
to tie them hands and feet.

“Murther!” said Hagan. “Murther,” he repeated more mildly, and then,
“Hand up that poipe.”

Susannah cried, “Goody!” and rushed about. She was distracted by all
that wealth of curious phenomena, and the scattered arrangement of
objects of interest.

“Pirates!” shouted Sadler. After one huge lunge he subsided, and
laughed. He thundered with husky merriment and unseasonable mirth.

The humiliated and outraged monarch began eloquently, but Captain Jansen
clapped his hand over and corked up the royal anathema. They carried
King Ogel forward. My impression is that Captain Jansen used a strap,
varied, perhaps, at intervals, by a board, to impress upon him Mrs.
Ulswater’s opinion. We heard of him, for the time being, no more.

“Tie up those Kanakas!” said Mrs. Ulswater. “Now, Ram Nad, wake them up.
Now, they must be taken ashore. Captain Jansen, you must get up steam.
Untie Mr. Sadler and Mr. Hagan. There!”

She sat down, rocked nervously, and took up her knitting again. Sadler’s
laughter had ceased. We both looked at her. We wondered and waited.

“Well!” she said at last defiantly,--as the sound of oarlocks told
of the boats drawing away shoreward, loaded with disentranced but
well-roped, disarmed, bewildered warriors,--“I don’t know what you
think, but I think Ogel would have been a dreadful king, and from what
Mr. Sadler said, I think Kolo will do better. Besides, it’s easier to
carry off the one that’s handy, instead of running after the other,
isn’t it? Of course it is.” She added a moment later, “Of course, Mr.
Sadler, you needn’t come away unless you like, but you said you didn’t
get on with the other king, and I thought it would please Dr. Ulswater.
I know he enjoys your company.”

Sadler wiped his eyes and sighed.

“I ain’t been dished up so green and tasty, like a salad,” he said,
“since me and Moses and Pharaoh used to play draw poker, and Moses kept
special providences up his sleeve, nor I ain’t had such a good time
since the last time I was licked for stealing horehound candy; which my
recollection, ma’am, is in favour of straps rather’n shingles. It’s all
right. Lua’s too small for me. You can’t stretch nights without kicking
other families out of bed, which makes reverberating scandals. If you
sit down, you squash the judiciary; if you get up, you shake the throne.
This civil war’s no good. Why,

               What’s a war without no slaughter?

                        I’d rather be at

                        A Coopdetat

                   By Mrs. James Ulswater.”

Mrs. Ulswater went below. Her nerves were perhaps a trifle upset. Not
so Susannah. But Susannah was young. She sniffed the battle of life. She
thrilled to the keynote of action. She fell upon Jimmie Hagan with
eager inquiry as to his precise feelings throughout the late excitement.
Sadler and myself stood watching the landing of the spearmen.

“You don’t mind going with us?” I asked him.

“Me? No! I’ll have to get even with you sometime or be restless. I
ain’t up to abducting Mrs. Ulswater nor Susannah, but I’ll lay for you,
doctor. You’d better put Jimmie on the crew. He’s a good seaman. I’ll
be a guest, or a passenger, or an orphan, anything you like. Why, look
yere, doctor. Mrs. Ulswater’s been and took me out of temptation to
stamp on my fellowman, and I’m grateful. She’s given me a chance at
innocence. Why, my fellowman’s always lying around in my way, and I keep
stepping on him, and kicking holes in his garments when he has any, and
bumps on him where he hasn’t, and then I goes off to eat sackcloth and
ashes, and wear bread and water. That’s mostly the monotonous way of
it. But the point that gets me is this: I recommend an orphan, and
she thinks that’ll do for a king; I recommend a king, and she has him
spanked for an orphan. Now, if a candidate for a throne ought to qualify
that way, maybe he ought; but I never heard of it before, which is why
you see me dished for a salad.”

So departed the _Violetta_ from the island of Lua. May its politics have
peace!

The knock-out drops which Ram Nad kept in the ends of his fingers, on
the whole, had worked better than mine, and Mrs. Uls-water’s logic had
been, as ever, penetrative, precise, practical.

The preparations for celebrating Christmas were resumed. My anxieties
returned. I confided them to Sadler. I said:

“It is my fixed opinion, that for revelry and sorrow, for a taste of
Eden’s rapturous but snaky joys, a mince pie in the tropics lays over
most things.”

“Why, look yere, doctor,” he said. “That there king’s got a tempestuous
liver that can’t be downed, and he likes pies. The king ‘ll eat it,
sure, he’ll eat it.”



CHAPTER XVIII--CONCLUSION OF DR. ULSWATER’S THIRD MANUSCIPT


|A LYRICAL poem composed by Sadler, and by him sung inharmoniously to a
banjo:--

               “I’m, so to speak, shanghaied to sea;

               And who you think my shipmates be?

               One family of millionaires,

               Rambling the deep in search of heirs;

               One hypnotiser Oriental;

               One orphan maiden ornamental;

               One widowed cat; one spinster hen;

               A crew of blue-eyed Swedish men;

               One head of hair too hot for wearing;

               One captive monarch spanked for swearing--

is not what you would call amethystine or ethereal; but poetry, of a
kind, we have come to expect of him. But when Susannah brought me a
ballad, composed by herself, on the foregoing events, it produced in my
mind--and I speak moderately--a state of exhausting confusion. I copy
this ballad. It is entitled “The Kings of Lua.”

                   ‘There were two kings in Lua,

                   Which only could use one.

                   Now Sadler came from Sumatra

                   And needed some more fun.


                   “He was a white man, although

                   He was not exactly white,

                   But tanned and played on the banjo.

                   Which angels would delight.


               “He said, ‘Prime Ministers are good things,

               And I’m one of those things, Hooroar!

               I’ll bet my last week s shirt, O Kings:

               To yours of the week before.’


               “The old King wore a pink one neat,

               But not much else did wear.

               His face looked something like mince meat.

               Some bones were in his hair.


               “Another man was Irish,

               And I will make a joke,

               His hair it was so fierish,

               That always he did smoke.


                   “The other King we never saw;

                   He didn’t come to tea.

                   Oh, wretched island of Lua

                   I weep and wail for thee.


                   “ So then they had a war,

                   Although they never fought.

                   ‘There’s something ails this civil war,’

                   Said Sadler, ‘I wonder what.’


                   “Ha! Ha! The _Violetta_

                   Came sailing in one day.

                   Ogel and Sadler and Irish

                   We yanked and took away.


                   “About Lua now it is now known,

                   I’ll tell you what I think.

                   I think Kolo ran up the throne

                   As quick as he could wink.”


                        Yours--ULSWATER.



CHAPTER XIX--DR. ULSWATER’S NARRATIVE CONTINUES: THE MYSTERY OF
GEORGIANA AND DELORES


Samoa. _March_.

|IN respect to incisive logic, decision, and force, I have sometimes
thought that Susannah resembles Mrs. Ulswater. The characters of
both, in contact with my temperament, produce a harmony, thrilling but
agreeable. But then my temperament is a kettle drum. I have sometimes
thought that on a temperament more lute-like, the impact of Susannah
might produce--shall I say?--surprise. On the temperament of
Sadler,--melancholy and yet buoyant, intricate and yet simple,--the
impact of Susannah seems to produce sometimes extraordinary jubilation,
sometimes a condition quite the reverse. He calls her “a melojous
circus,” a phrase implying jubilation.

He is a man of moods, a contrast to the consistent placidity of Ram Nad,
the Occident to the Orient. Are they then supersignificant types of that
new world and that old? One of them turns to life’s mystery a bold but
troubled face, and covers with a jocular and careless manner a soul
unreconciled. The toil and restless wandering of individuals, the
surging migration of races, the incessant change called progress,
are all but the symptoms of his feverish discomfort, his cosmic ill
adjustment? And the other, the Ram Nads, the old-world type, meek,
timid, tricky, placid, has it found at least, out of its age-long
thoughts, how to make its truckling peace with the mystery? C’est un
grand peut-être. Meanwhile the education of Susannah is the principal
enterprise of Mrs. Ulswater, Sadler, and me, to say nothing of Ram Nad.

It was my habit to read aloud from the poets, the divine Shelley, the
noble Tennyson, the golden Keats. Susannah’s opinion of these poets was,
on the whole, scornful.

They appeared to her tortuous and deceitful. Their language was, she
thought, “mussy.” She did not believe they stated the facts.

Hence, if any one had asked me sometime ago whether I thought it
possible or likely that Susannah would bud, bloom, burst loose and
explode into song, I should have said: “No! Impossible! Susannah has all
the materials of strident criticism, but none of poesy.”

Nevertheless here lies her “Ballad of the Kings of Lua.” Here lies
moreover her tragic and profound “Ballad of Georgiana and Dolores.” What
can be said of them? First, this; that I take the immediate cause of
Susannah’s explosion to have been Sadler. He has the lyric habit. He
composes as a rooster crows, whenever it occurs to him. He is apt to
state his mind in that form. The lyric habit is infectious; youth is
imitative; hence arise schools of poetry; hence Susannah’s explosion.
But Susannah’s gift is for the narrative, the reflective. She has not
the lyric cry. Hers rather are the forceful expression and the just
remark.

We left King Ogel at Sydney. He was pensioned by Sadler. He will
probably pass his remaining years in intemperate leisure. Mrs. Ulswater
did not think there was any prospect of working his reformation. He
was not a desirable orphan. My opinion was that Susannah was occupation
enough for an orphanage.

Of Georgiana Tupper, that reserved, that exclusive hen from the island
of Clementina, and of Dolores, that stricken cat from Lua, I am about to
speak.

It was the 13th of February. We were steaming eastward somewhat to the
south of the Loyalty Islands. The weather had been oppressive, the night
turned threatening, and by morning it was blowing a gale. I went on deck
to watch the watery phenomena. The sea was tumultuous and black,
the clouds overhead hung low and rainy, and the intense wind trailed
streamers of cloud across the sea.

Suddenly, as I stood there, a tall black column of water rose directly
ahead of the _Violetta_.

She swerved aside in answer to her helm, narrowly escaped disaster;
and that contorted and insurgent object, that careening maelstrom, and
insensate Charybdis, that water spout, went whirling by on the port
side.

But now, behold! the sea all about was columned with water spouts,
mushroom-shaped, their summits lost in eddying gloom--infuriate
smoke-stacks, roaring volcanoes waltzing on end--perpendicular
and intoxicated whales, bowelless of compassion, active and
voracious--gyrating black funnels of wind and water, full of exuberant
malice, full of demons of the nethermost deep striving to climb the
pendant and embattled heavens. Between the shattered sea and low
curtaining clouds, rumbled about us that tremendous warfare. Now and
again a spout would fall, broken like a pipe stem near its base, and
another heave up, grip the vapourish canopy above it, and come racing
over that chaotic ocean; through the midst of which forest of fluid
insanity and monstrous fungi of the sea--even as through some vast
cavern columned with maniac stalagmites and abandoned pillars of wet
combustion--we fled.

How long this condition of affairs lasted, I could not say. How we
escaped, Heaven and Captain Jansen may know. The seas now and again
swept the deck.

When we found ourselves at last with no water spouts anywhere near, and
the upper and lower world reasonably disconnected, Sadler and I went
below, where we found Mrs. Ulswater nervous, Susannah excited, Ram
Nad calm as a browsing cow. We discussed the experience. By night the
weather was fairly calm. Not till then did we find that Dolores and
Georgiana Tupper were missing.

In the forecastle, it had been supposed that they were aft; in the
cabin, that they were forward. They were nowhere. The minutest search
was in vain. From one end of the yacht to the other we went--from deck
to keel. None could remember having noticed them, except Ram Nad, who
stated that he had seen them on deck before the tumult arose. No doubt
remained then. They were gone. What could be said? What interpretation
could be put upon it? What other than this? that in endeavouring to
pass, during the storm, from the forecastle to the cabin, or vice versa,
they had been blown or swept overboard.

But why both? How, in particular, Dolores? Georgiana was but a hen; a
hen can be swept or blown; her anchorage is weak, her sail area apt to
enlarge with the wind; whereas Dolores was a cat, carrying four to five
anchors to each foot, and a sail area small under all circumstances.
What force then could have torn loose her desperate grapple? unless it
were--a pathetic possibility here--that, seeing Georgiana, the companion
and support of her bereaved existence, thus blown away, she had rushed
devotedly to her rescue; or--a still more affecting thought--that,
simply resolved not to outlive Georgiana but to perish with her, she had
cast herself after Georgiana upon the weltering deep.

When this last idea occurred to me, I sought Susannah and turned it
over to her. The first effect was unfortunate. Tearful, at the time,
she burst out weeping. Mrs. Ulswater said I ought to be ashamed. Sadler,
with mournful sarcasm, did not see why a man, because he was full of
ideas, had to slop over like a tub of soapsuds--surely a mixed metaphor,
a confused figure of speech.

Another idea occurred to me. It was that Susannah had the entire
sympathies of the _Violetta_ in tow.



CHAPTER XX--THE BALLAD OF GEORGIANA AND DELORES


THE BALLAD



                   THERE was a cat and named Dolores,

                   And she had many worries.

                   They made her ill. They made her thin.

                   Her stomach was all tumbled in.


                   “Oh, grief! Oh, dear’ Who does not wail!

                   Dolores had a beautiful tail

                   It was black and partly yellow.

                   She was so fair and good a fellow.


                   “ I don’t mean she was ever fat,

                   I mean she was a woman cat

                   Now, there was a hen too. Oh Shame!

                   Now Georgiana was her name


                   “ Now, to be proud she had a right.

                   Her eyes they were very bright,

                   And all her toes she had but one,

                   Although some of her tail feathers were gone.


                   “Hark! The sea is full of awful posts

                   Which make a person think of ghosts.

                   Hark! The hurricane so fierce does blow.

                   She is gone off the ship Woe!


                   “ Dolores did not wait to purr.

                   ‘Farewell,’ she cried. ‘I go to her.’

                   The foam it slithered through her claws,

                   She was drowned in Friendship’s Cause.


                   “ My precious darling! Oh, my pet!

                   You both so hated to get wet.

                   Now you’re as wet inside as a water pail,

                   It makes me sick I die, I faint, I fail.


                   Now, sharks and whales, you are so big,

                   If you should eat them, you’re a pig,

                   Now, little fish, make friends with them please,

                   With Georgiana and Dolores.”



FOOTNOTES BY JAMES ULSWATER.

First Stanza: As the Ancient Mariner began his marvellous tale, “There
was a ship,” so Susannah begins, “There was a cat”--boldly, ruggedly, a
leap _in médias res_. The first stanza is a condensed and yet accurate
analysis of Dolores, ending with a striking bit of realism.

Second Stanza: A wild burst of grief subsiding sadly into tender
reminiscence. Note how the proportions of black and yellow on the tail
of Dolores are delicately discriminated, the “black” being, in point of
fact, predominant.

Third Stanza: We are introduced to Georgiana. Here arises a difficulty.
What was there in the condition of being “a hen” to warrant the
exclamation, “Oh, Shame!” Surely none! I interpret the passage thus:
the exclamation “Oh, Shame!” is simply the poetess’ passion bursting
through, as it were, the reserve of the narrative, and in this way
it prophetically forecasts the fatal issue. It is not, I think, a
reflection or invective against hens, as such.

Fourth Stanza: Observe how just and truthful are the details, how
Georgiana’s right to a certain pride of manner, which indeed was
hers, is critically based upon the brightness of her eyes, upon the
approximate completeness of her toes. And yet it is honourably admitted
that there was a deficiency of tail feathers.

Fifth Stanza: As the ballads of folklore are ever distinguished by a
certain abruptness of climax, so here Susannah. Note the present tense,
used only in this stanza. In the last line, how remarkable in effect
is the passionate interjection which follows the simple statement of
Georgiana’s catastrophe!

Sixth Stanza: Last line, “slithered”--a difficult word, and yet
effective! The whole line is masterly.

Seventh Stanza: The last line is clearly a Shelleyan reminiscence,
a trace of my readings aloud of that poet. And yet, if Susannah had
plagiarised, it was at least, boldly, frankly.

Eighth and Last Stanza: Note the contrast between the defiant and
denunciatory address to the “whales and sharks,” and the pleading
gentleness of that petition to the “little fish,” that they receive
with comfort and affection those sad and houseless visitants, who had
perished not ignobly, not unworthily.

A poem composed by Sadler on the foregoing events:

               “The climates got out on a spree,

                   A heaven-and-hell carouse,

               And Satan built along the sea

                   The pillars of his house;

               And ‘mong them all they drowned one hen,

                   One played-out, seedy cat,

               And then slid off to sea again,

                   And let it go at that,

               Leaving some waves to sob and worry,

                   Leaving Susannah crying.--

               Oh, Lord, this world is sound and fury,

                   And nothing signifying.

               But come a time when heaven and hell

                   Has settled their arrears,--

               ‘Bout twilight of the judgment day,

                   When all the books are put away,

               And all the little souls gone home

                   Each to its place in kingdom come--

               The Lord and me, we’ll set and--well,

                   We’ll set around and talk a spell

               About some woman’s tears.”



CHAPTER XXI--SUSANNAH AND RAM NAD


|THE deck of the _Violetta_ had resumed its ordinary domestic look.
True, no Dolores lay on the carpet, no Georgiana pecked and scratched in
the scuppers. At some distance apart on his rug, his basket behind him,
in deep abstraction, sat Ram Nad.

Ram Nad had absent-mindedness down to a science. He could roll up his
eyeballs and go off like a bullet. When not abstracted he usually
played jackstraws. What recondite connection there was between him and
jackstraws I never made out, but I suspected it was the delicate sleight
of hand required, and the practice it gave him, which fastened him to
that Occidental game. Certainly I would back him against any jackstraw
player--But there never was such a jackstraw player before. The laws of
physics were nothing to him. Gravitation in jackstraws he ignored.

Sadler, Susannah, and I were in conversation under the awning, but Mrs.
Ulswater sat a long time silent.

“Doctor,” she said at last, “do you think Ram Nad could have Georgiana
and Dolores in his basket?”

Susannah started. On me too the idea had a certain volcanic effect.

“Why suppose so?” I said. “Is there evidence? Have you a subtle
instinct? Does he look a shade more virtuous than usual? If he does, it
would go to prove he has been accumulating sin. But does he? He looks
to be precisely as usual. Why suppose they didn’t go overboard? Why not
adopt my theory and Susannah’s of Dolores’ pathetic departure?”

“I suppose they did.”

Mrs. Ulswater sighed, and was silent for some moments before she went
on:

“But if Ram Nad churned them into his basket the way he does with
things, after what I’ve told him, it’s flat disobedience, and I won’t
stand it from a heathen. Georgiana never would go on deck when the wind
blew, and they were both in the cabin the night before the water spouts.
Of course if I accused him of it, and it wasn’t so, he’d be perfectly
crushing. He’d be crushing if it _was_ true, for that matter. But
somehow I don’t see how it could have happened, and I won’t have Ram Nad
getting the best of me. I wish you’d see if you can find out.”

Now if anything suits my temperament and talent, it is wily diplomacy,
and the worming out of another man by devious ways the carefully guarded
secret of his soul. I took a camp stool and sat down before Ram Nad.
He was abstracted behind the whites of his rolled-up eyes. I said with
subtle suavity:

“Wake up, you old Cingalese snake of a juggler!”

Ram Nad came out of infinity, and answered with welcoming gesture:
“Imbecile, why do you trouble me?”

“Where,” I said, “are Georgiana and Dolores, you depraved and disgusting
pundit?”

“How do I know, pig?”

But this limpid flow of pure reason was not, it seemed to me, really
headed for Ram Nad’s soul secret. I skilfully shifted the attack.

“Why, in this way you might have an idea, illustrious. As I understand
your theory of everything, it’s this: The entire universe, you say, is
only a general idea which has the misfortune to be particularised in
spots. Normally, it’s just an abstract conception, but parts of the
conception have somehow blundered into a curious condition called
concreteness. A very distressing condition, very. Bless my soul!
Concreteness is an awful catastrophe.”

“As you state it so, it may be so stated,” said Ram Nad.

“Now then, if any person then, such as Georgiana or Dolores, either
tragically, or peacefully, or in any manner whatever, becomes dead, you
say of them, simply: They have returned to generality; they are no more
separately existent; they are rid of the burden of identity; they have,
so to speak, disappeared in that airy original mixture again. Such would
be your description of the case.”

“You possess some misunderstood fragments of truth, O brother,” said Ram
Nad.

“Very good. But see here! When you churn things in that remarkable
basket of yours, and they are gone, and I ask: ‘Where are they?’ you
invariably say: ‘They have become general ideas.’ When I ask why I
can’t see or touch them, you answer, ‘General ideas are not visible or
tangible, but are of the mind purely.’ Sometimes, at this point, I have
perhaps ejaculated, ‘Gammon!’ I apologise. Sometimes, on the other hand,
you have exclaimed, ‘Imbecile!’ I forgive. The question is this:
What’s the difference between being generalised in a basket, and being
generalised by drowning? Are they not the same? Or do you follow my
argument, illustrious?”

Ram Nad considered.

“This is a worthy inquiry, O brother. It may be your mind is at
last becoming capable of thought? But how shall I answer. Is there a
difference? Should I not answer that there is none?”

“There can’t be, Ram Nad, there can’t be!” I exclaimed. “Reason proves
it. Then, see here! Why can’t you, then, restore Georgiana and Dolores?
It’s all the same, for reason proves it.”

If there did, as I fancied, for an instant pass over Ram Nad’s
patriarchal face, into his meditative eyes, an expression, if not of
cunning, at least of a certain pleasant humanity, it vanished quickly.

“You have yourself answered,” he said.

“The difference is this: if the cat and hen of inquiry had been
generalised here by me, I could so restore them; but because they are
drowned, I am not able. Therefore the question is answered.”

“I see. That was the point. I thought maybe you could--a pardonable
mistake--your talents are so extraordinary. I thought you might be a
resurrectionist on the side. You’ll excuse me, I’m sure.”

Ram Nad withdrew again behind the whites of his eyes, and I returned to
the awning, reflecting. Ram Nad had lacked hypnotic subjects since Mrs.
Ulswater put her foot down on his fixing any human inhabitant of the
_Violetta_ that way.

But it struck me I’d never known a man with so fine an outfit for
casuistry as Ram Nad, such a liquid and euphuistic term for slaughter
and theft, such philosophic refinement in the practical process. Thus:
you generalise your neighbour’s watch. It becomes an abstract idea, and
belongs to the original nebulous unity of pure conception. You go around
the corner and concentrate your mind on the idea till it’s particular
again. You get about the same watch. Maybe not. Pretty similar. It
seemed so to me.

“I pass,” I said to Mrs. Ulswater. “Who plays next? Ram Nad’s got ‘em,
that’s my penetrative opinion; but he can bluff like a fire engine.”

“I’m going to give him a piece of my mind,” said Mrs. Ulswater,
indignantly.

“Why, my dear,” I said, “I don’t believe it would fetch them. I believe
Ram Nad could put even a piece of your mind into his basket, and churn
it to a harmless generality. I do indeed. Your play, Sadler.”

“Spank him,” murmured Sadler, sleepily.

“Ha! King Ogel! Hum! Why didn’t we induce Ram Nad to generalise that
king? Mightn’t it have had a sort of--shall I say?--a refining effect,
a deodourising effect? Well, maybe not. Spanking was, in his case,
I should say, bracing, suggestive; as applied to a king, I admit its
point. But, now, as applied to a patriarch, I should draw the line, I
really should. Your turn, Susannah.”

Susannah sprang up and started across the deck toward Ram Nad. We
watched her in silence, in expectation. She stood before him a moment
conversing, then dragged the conical basket around in front of him, and
of her own accord climbed into it. This was interesting. We all three
arose and drew near them, while Ram Nad covered the opening with a
corner of his loose garments, and fell to that familiar procedure
resembling the motion by which, with fork or spoon, the energetic
housewife blends and fuses the delicately organised egg into a yellow
somewhat, an inorganic mess.

Wherein Ram Nad’s skill or secret consisted, its scientific theory,
I did not--I do not now--profess or expect to know. I call him an A1
magician, and pass the deal. Did it consist in hypnotic deception of the
observer? I incline to that idea, on account of the element of gammon
therein. Was it some unusual sleight of hand? Was it a knowledge and
control of some occult but natural law? I have at times leaned to that
hypothesis, only to return again either to gammon or the pleasant repose
of a gaseous doubt. He appeared to be able on request, with any object
not too large to go into his absorbent basket, there to dissolve the
said object into nothing. You could look into the basket. You could feel
with the hand. You could search Ram Nad’s clothes, or comb his beard.
You would come to the end of ultimate wisdom, and conclude to pass the
deal. Then, on request, he would reproduce the object.

Susannah is not a large object; she is about the size of Mrs. Ulswater.

“You’re sure she isn’t taking any harm?” said Mrs. Ulswater, peering
into the mysteriously empty basket. “What on earth did you do with her?
Well, she’s not there. Fetch her out.”

Ram Nad covered the opening, churned a bit, and then rolled up the
whites of his eyes and concentrated his mind.

“Stuff!” said Mrs. Ulswater, “You’re pretending.”

“Show not knowledge to a woman,” said Ram Nad, politely, “but
indulgence.”

“Fiddlesticks!”

He turned the basket upside down. Mrs. Ulswater tipped it over.

By the sacred Bo Tree, by the antiseptic waters of Benares, what is the
wisdom of the East against the logic of Susannah?

“Susannah!” I cried. Sadler and I clasped hands and danced, glorious and
flamboyant, in the circular manner of a “ring-round-rosy.”

“Susannah, hosannah!” I cried, and Sadler chaunted:

               “Ram Nad, you’re a son of a gun, tralala,

               Ram Nad, if that isn’t one, tralala,

               On you I don’t happen to know,”

and continued, chaunting:

               “You’d better quit sinning of sins, tralala,

               Or you’ll maybe be breaking your shins, tralala,

               On things you don’t happen to know.”

For there on the deck, smiling quaintly, sat Susannah! There, clasped,
one in each of her arms, were Georgiana and Dolores!

Ram Nad rose silently. Martyred meekness was the foundation of his
facial expression. Dignity and charity were its fringes and decorations.
He went forward among the sailors.

Calm was restored. Susannah explained. She had thought that, if Ram Nad
had put Georgiana and Dolores in some sort of place, and if he did
the same thing to her, perhaps she would be in the same place, and
why shouldn’t she find them? Such was Susannah’s logic, simple, yet
transcendental. Questioned on the matter of being churned, she said that
she began to feel very comfortable and soft, and then something like
custard, and then like custard that was all around everywhere; that is,
she was both custard herself and contained in custard; and so, reaching
out in the custard of which she consisted, she caught hold of Georgiana
and Dolores. So far Susannah. Such is all the evidence bearing on this
singular event.

“Susannah,” I said, “I like your analysis. Do you happen to feel
anything in the nature of a ballad beginning to--to root around inside
you? Because--here is the point. This ballad, as it stands, of Georgiana
and Dolores, you see----”

“That!” said Susannah, scornfully, “that’s no good now. It isn’t so.”



CHAPTER XXII--CONCLUSION OF DR. ULSWATER’S LAST MANUSCIPT


|FOR four reasons we purpose now to move, by summery stages and many an
ocean isle, to Portate, whither these, my written words, will perhaps
not long precede us.

The four reasons: First; the poet Sadler claims to have been once
banished by executive edict from the city of Portate, and has a notion
he would like to examine his condition of exile, so to speak, at close
range; to poke once more a certain irascible Jefe Municipal, or Mayor,
doubtless of your acquaintance, in the midriff of his temper. Second;
Mrs. Ulswater seems to have a singular hankering affection for one
who, she says, “was the nicest boy there is,”--a distinct opinion in a
confusion of tenses.

Third; the poet Susannah. Now what the bearing may be, in Mrs.
Ulswater’s mind, of Portate on Susannah, is not so clear to me. But to
me this is clear, that Susannah is in a way outgrowing the capacity of
islands. She is in need, I admit, of a continental connection. Fourth; I
have some researches to make in South-American archaeology.

Ah, Susannah! What is there about this frank maidenhood that a mist
sometimes gathers in Mrs. Ulswater’s lucid eyes in looking at her.
Susannah’s nature is not, as yet, I should say, compact of softest
sentiment. Passionate in affection, sudden in resolve, terrific in
action, given to valour and wrath, why about her should the emotions of
this vessel all dance in a species of harmonious jig? Why should this
concussive and rebounding person rouse in my own glutinous nature a
phosphorescent glow, as of a jelly fish, and cause my languid tentacles
of emotion to flutter about like a flag in the wind? Why lies the
melancholy Sadler tonight on the small of his back in a deck chair, his
knees hooked over the rail, his feet pendant above the sea, and, in a
foggy voice, to an abominable tune and the twankle of an exasperating
banjo, sing:

                   “Good night, my Starlight,

                   Queen of my heart.

                   You are my star bright,

                   We are apart.

                   Me where the high seas

                   Thunder and smite,

                   You in your sky dreams,

                   Good night, Starlight.”

I do not, indeed, apprehend Sadler to be directly addressing Susannah,
as such, in these terms and with that inharmonious vocalisation; but I
apprehend the impact of Susannah upon Sadler to arouse in him something
other than jubilation, something within the sunless caverns of his
memory, certain uneasy glimmerings of an old romance. And I ask, why?
To the eye of pure reason, Susannah contains as much of the vapour of
moonlit sentiment as a coal scuttle. The eye of pure reason, after any
continuous examination of Susannah, feels as if it had been in a prize
fight, and emerged therefrom a blackened optic and out of business for
the time. And yet there arises--hark! again, above the low breath of the
sea wind, rises that melancholy song:

                   “ Good night, my Starlight,

                   Trembling to tears,

                   White is my hair, white

                   In the wake of the years.

                   Over the lee wave

                   You shine on my night,

                   Me, the old sea waif,

                   Good night, Starlight?”


                        Yours--Ulswater.

(End of Dr. Ulswater’s Fourth and Last Manuscript. )



CHAPTER XXIII--I RESUME THE NARRATIVE. THE PORTATE ULTIMATUM


|THE city of Portate, on the west coast of South America, when I knew
it, had already a distinct flavour of enterprise. Two Northern companies
had much to do with its affairs. One of them, The Union Electric, had
the trolleys and the street lighting; the other had been longer on the
ground, was called The Transport Company, and owned the inland railroad
and the principal line of steamers in the harbour. I had charge of The
Union Electric plant. Both were large companies operating in numerous
South-American cities.

There is a river called the Jiron, which runs down from the mountains,
and makes a green strip through a desert land, and so on through Portate
to the sea. Even from the sea you can make out the white caps of the
Andes; but in the heats of Portate, you decline to believe that the
white is snow.

Portate is the seaport of the country. There is a telegraph line running
inland to the capital. The monkeys do gymnastics on the wires, and the
natives steal sections of it to tie their roofs on with, on the theory
that the thing is plain foolishness, and the enterprise of fools is the
profit of the wise. Then you go around and lam the native and take the
wire, but he stays by his own opinion, and the Government wants to know
what you mean by allowing official messages to be interrupted; for, they
say, monkeys and roofs are not in the contract, and call it improper
frivolity to mention them: “Why tie on roofs with official messages?
Why improperly submit important business to the gymnastics of creatures
without intelligence?”--till you come out of it by swearing yourself
blood relation to all the monkeys on the Jiron, which seems as
satisfactory as anything, being put down to the inherited madness of the
Northerner. There are several varieties of monkeys on the Jiron.

In the city of Portate there are wharves, which float off to sea in
freshets, and have to be pursued and brought back in disgrace. The
trolley line goes from the wharves to the Plaza, and then visiting
about town. The telephones and electric lights are the pride of the
enlightened, but the unenlightened think they are run by connection with
that pit of the sinful about which Padre Rafael is an authority.

“For, observe! It is not as wood that it burns. _Madré de Dios_, no! It
is the wrath of the devil on the end of a stick.”

The Union Electric had the contract for the whole outfit of the lights
and trolleys, and sent me down to handle it. I had good nerve then. I
thought electricity was king, and that a man could do anything he set
out to do. He can, but my nerve is not so good now.

Now The Union Electric Company’s contract was to furnish the city of
Portate so many arc lights, at so much a month per light, with monthly
payments, but there was more politics in it than I was used to. It took
me some time to see that if the Mayor bought a set of gilt furniture
on the 28th, and the paymaster a span of horses on the 29th, it wasn’t
reasonable to bring them a city lighting bill on the 30th. But they
thought it unreasonable, and after awhile I came near thinking so too.
I had to get five signatures to each bill, and the signatures took turns
going off into the country between the 30th and the 15th. After that
they generally came with protests in parentheses, that arc No. 53 had
been observed by respected gentlemen to sputter improperly, and that
arc No. 5, on a certain night, had refused to burn, in contempt of
authority,--which was because a native had heaved a stone into it, out
of religious scruples. They were always in arrears.

They liked it that way. They said it was delay in tax-collecting. It was
very warm. Did the Senor suffer from the heat? Alas! the tax collector
was too fat. It had been represented to his Excellency that tax
collectors should be thinner. They were thirty thousand dollars behind.
It seemed to me that the city of Portate was too happy. It didn’t have
troubles enough.

I went to see the Mayor, what they call the “Jefe Municipal.”

He was a puffy old man, of about the fatness of the tax collector, but
smaller, and wore a white moustache and imperial in such a way that it
seemed to be his symbol of authority.

I said, “Mayor, the city owes me thirty thousand dollars.”

“Is it possible!” he cried, holding up his hands. “But we do pay you too
much. How does the city owe you so much if it is not too much?”

That was good tropical logic. Tropical logic always confused me.

“My friend,” he said, “is it not in your country also that the
corporation oppresses the people?”

“The Union Electric,” I said, “doesn’t do business for love of humanity,
and it didn’t send me down here for my health.”

“Alas! No?” sighed the Mayor, wiping his forehead. “The corporations
are without souls, pitiless. I read it in a newspaper, that also of
the United States. But if the Senor’s health is delicate, a trip to the
hills---”

“I give you till Wednesday night.”

He brightened up.

“It is a festival night. The municipal band will play in the Plaza. The
people will dance. Portate is a city of pleasure, a second Paris. And
you, Senor, will honour us, on the balcony of the magistrates.”

“Thirty thousand dollars by Wednesday night, or I shut off the lights.
With great regret, your Excellency----”

“Senor----”

“It’s an ultimatum. Allow me to express, nevertheless----”

The Mayor rose, smiling.

“Nevertheless, you will observe the festival. A delight, Senor, a
panorama!”

I went over and tried to impress the paymaster, but he wouldn’t be
impressed either. He said arc No. 38 was shining persistently into the
upper-story windows of the house of a municipal councillor, against his
honour and privacy. He said the son of the municipal councillor was
to marry his, the paymaster’s daughter, and The Union Electric Company
oughtn’t to disturb such alliances. I went down to the plant as fast
as possible, feeling in the mind to see people that were reasonable and
steady, like the six dynamos.

Chepa was my foreman’s name, and a good man he was--a half-breed of
fifty years perhaps, with gray hair about his ears. I told him I was
going to shut off the lights if they didn’t pay up, and Chepa’s hair
stood on end. He said I was a distinguished gentleman, and would be shot
for an anarchist together with himself.

“Mother of heaven! It will be a hot time. Behold me! I am game!”

I told him he wouldn’t need any more heroism than came natural. I only
wanted him to switch off, and throw the machines out of gear at nine
o’clock Wednesday night, and then disappear for a day or two.

“Don’t let them lay eyes on a hair of you.”

That was Saturday if my memory is right, the third of May. It came on
Wednesday without any more interviews. The day was hot, and I didn’t
see that the tax collector was getting thinner with extra labour of
collecting taxes. But the preparations for the festival were going
on, so innocent and peaceful it would break your heart to see, with
ridiculous strips of coloured cloth around the wax-palms on the Plaza;
for a wax-palm grows a hundred and fifty feet high, and looks like a
high-born lady; and red and white stripes around the foot of her, like
a barber’s pole, aren’t becoming. I sent up a man with the bill in
the afternoon, and he came back saying the Mayor was so busy with his
uniform that he wouldn’t look at him. I gave orders to shut off the
switch at nine o’clock. About eight in the evening I disguised myself
with a cloak and a villainous slouch hat, and left my house, which was a
mile out of the city, though handy to the plant. The cook had run off
to the Plaza, and I plugged up the telephone, so it was a house that
couldn’t be conversed with. Then I walked into town.

The Mayor’s uniform and several other uniforms were on the balcony
of magistrates, the Mayor making a speech to the effect that it was
a municipality without parallel, a second Paris, which civilisation
regarded universally, and exclaimed, “Behold Portate!” There was Padre
Rafael, standing directly under an electric light, and it was curious to
see him with that kind of saint’s glory around him, and smiling like a
plaster cast of Benevolence. Whoop-bang! went the brass band, with the
bass drum miscellaneous, and the cornets audacious, and the trombones
independent, but aiming, you might say, at a similar tune. And all the
Plaza fell to dancing and conversing, with the fountain in the middle
sprinkling recklessly, and the wax-palms done up in red and white
bunting, and the electric light shining uncannily, with their bills
unpaid.

“Come up, Padre Rafael!” shouts the Mayor presently, catching sight
of his reverence, “to the balcony of the magistrates. It is a glorious
occasion.” He puffed out his chest so anybody could admire that liked.

And then the lights went out, and the band ended off with a grunt and a
squeal.

The Plaza was black as a hat, only for a few lights in the windows, and
quite silent for a moment. I lit out when the howls began. It seemed to
me they’d sound better from a distance. There were people running and
shouting along the pitch-black streets. But getting into the outskirts
of the city, I found there were a few stars shining, and came home
without trouble. I sat down on a bench in the garden and waited. It was
a hundred yards or more from the house. It was very peaceful, with all
manner of tropical scents floating around. Shutting down the lights of
Portate didn’t seem to bother the rest of South America.

By and by a carriage drove up, and there was a deal of banging at the
doors, and tramping around the house. I thought it was an under-official
that threw a rock through the window, not a real dignitary. Later there
was another carriage, more banging and tramping.

I went to bed after that. I don’t know how long they tried to telephone
from the City Hall--the telephone didn’t say.



CHAPTER XXIV--THE ARREST


|WHEN I awoke in the morning, the sunlight was shining brightly through
the shutters, and I lay awhile getting things straightened out in my
mind, wondering what the authorities would do next, and sorting my own
cards. Then I noticed a murmuring all about, not like a conversation of
a few people, but like the voices of a crowd at some distance. I took a
cautious peek. Oh, my native country! The yard was full of soldiers of
the City Guard in their pink uniforms, all squatting on the ground very
dejectedly.

“Hi!” I thought. “There’s no hurry about getting dressed. The cook must
have stayed shy, or they’d have got me.”

I never saw that cook again. I’ve heard that he came on the soldiers
about three o’clock in the morning, camping in the front yard. Their
orders were to stay there till I came home. The cook went off into the
country to avoid politics.

“Speaking of the cook now,” I said to myself, “they’ll arrest me without
breakfast. They’ll march me into town afoot, like a malefactor. It won’t
do for the dignity of The Union Electric.”

With that I wrapped myself and the telephone in double blankets, took
out the plug, and cautiously rang up a livery-stable.

“Carriage!” I said, “to Senor Kirby’s house, North Road, in an hour.”

Then I prospected in the kitchen on tiptoe, and collected a spirit-lamp
and such matters, got dressed, and breakfasted behind the shutters
with a calmness that was a bit artificial. The City Guard wasn’t
breakfasting. By the calamitous features of the elderly officer sitting
on my horse-block, they didn’t expect to. El Capitano Lugo was his name,
and a very friendly man, after breakfast.

I sat smoking behind the shutters, and waited for the carriage, which
came along leisurely about nine. The soldiery destroyed the picket-fence
getting into the road all together.

“What news?” said El Capitano Lugo.

The driver was a scared man.

“Eh!” he said. “But I know nothing, Senor Capitano, nothing! Carriage to
Senor Kirby, North Road. A telephone.”

“It is an empty house, idiot!”

With that they were all crowded close about the carriage, talking in low
tones, but excited. It was about ghosts, as the captain told me after,
and there ran a theory among them that I had been a spirit for the last
twelve hours, turning off lights and sending telephones to avenge the
atrocity of my murder.

But it got no farther than a theory, because of the opening of the door,
and me coming out on the porch in duck trousers, polka-dot tie, and a
calm that was artificial.

“Is that my carriage?” I asked.

“Ah!” shouted the captain, making for me, over the wrecks of the
picket-fence. I said:

“How d’ye do?”

“I arrest you!” said he.

“Of course you do. Get into the carriage.”

And off we went bowling toward the city, with the guard plodding far
behind in pink uniforms, and very dejected. Captain Lugo himself would
answer nothing when I tried to show him that pink uniforms were in bad
taste for a city guard.

But, oh, the extravagance of language at the City Hall, and the Mayor
with his beautiful temper in ruins!

“Intolerable! The contempt of dignity, the mockery of constituted power!
By whose orders were the lights turned off?”

“Mine, your Excellency, of course. Told you all about it last Saturday.”

“_Â la carcel!_” he shouted, with his official moustache standing up at
the ends. “He has despised the city. Take him to jail, hastily.”

“You’d better look out,” I said. “It’s an international complication.
The United States will be capturing Portate with an extension of the
Monroe Doctrine,” I said, fishing wildly for an argument.

“Insolent foreigner!” said he.

“May Portate be darkened forever!” said I.

“_A la cârcel!_” said he, and four pink uniforms hustled me and my duck
trousers out into the street and around the corner to the jail.

Now that was an unpleasing place to be in. I charged up fifty dollars
for the experience, to The Union Electric Company, who said it was a
good joke and paid it, eventually; but it wasn’t a joke.

The jail was an expanse of deal-wall on the street, except at one place
where there was an architectural doorway. And within there was a large
patio or courtyard, a low adobe building surrounding it, with rows
of open cells, and a sort of cemented veranda in front. That was the
Portate City Jail entire. There were guards at the door. They shoved you
in, and you did what you chose. There were groups of dirty peons lolling
about, others playing some game with pebbles and fragments of cement,
two women who had been officially interrupted while pounding each
other’s heads, a donkey, some cats, and a sad-eyed pig, all arrested for
vagrancy.

I sent a guard up to the hotel for a chair, and sat down haughtily in
the corner of the veranda behind the gateway and farthest from the sun.
The groups of peons gathered around me. Their manners were naturally
good, but they couldn’t avoid the romantic fascination of me. I sent
another guard with a telegram to the United States Minister and a
message for the resident Consul. I gave the guard a dollar to buy
tobacco and cigarette papers, and compromised with the friendly peons.
We agreed on a circle twenty feet away, which was near enough for
conversation, and far enough for a draught between. There was a wall of
them, all supplied with cigarettes, and me the centre of observation.
We discussed the government of Portate, and there was no one in the City
Jail but thought it needed reform.

By and by the Consul came, and he was so interested and pleased with the
situation that he wasn’t up to the duties of his office, as I told him.
He said the Mayor was in luck, on account of the extreme heat up-country
at the capital.

“My guess at the Mayor is: he’s figuring to keep you in jail over night
for the sake of his dignity, and cover you with documentary apologies in
the morning,” said the Consul. “And I’ve been telegraphing the Minister,
and can’t get him; for he’s gone hunting up the cool of the mountains
with the President of the Republic, the Minister of the Interior, and
some other official parties. I say, why did you pick out a festival and
presidential excursion day? You bold, bad man! said he, sticking his
hands in his pockets and laughing at me.

“Stay here all night!” I shouted.

“Can’t help it,” said the Consul, grinning. “I’ve done all I could.
He’ll get into trouble likely. What can I do, if he wants to run his
risk and stand by his luck?”

“I’ll denounce you at home for inefficiency.”

“Have a cot bed?”

“Get out!”

“Pleasant dreams!” he said. “It ‘ll be a hot night;” and with that he
went off grinning.

The afternoon wore away slowly. I began to think the Mayor might have
me down after all, and wondered if Chepa would run the plant that night
with a detachment of pink soldiery over him. I sent a guard after some
lunch. No one else came except my lawyer, who brought some newspapers,
and said the Mayor was blushing all over with happiness and conceit. He
said there were crowds in the Plaza, and sure enough you could hear the
mutter and shuffle of them, for the Plaza was but a few blocks away.
It seemed to me they were making more noise than before, and when the
lawyer was gone, and the afternoon was late, it seemed to have grown to
a kind of dull roaring, with shouts and howls intermixed. The peons in
the patio were stirring about, too, and jabbering. The dusk was coming
on faintly.



CHAPTER XXV--MRS. ULSWATER’S INSURRECTION


|THERE was a clatter and tramp of feet in the street outside. The door
of the patio flew open with a bang.

“Take your dirty hands off me!” Bang, went the door again, and there in
the patio stood a little squat Irishman with red hair and stubby black
clay pipe in his mouth.

“What’s the matter?” I called to him, for his hair was rumpled and
his coat torn, with rough handling. He ran to me, and the crowd, the
simple-hearted criminality of Portate, gathered around us.

“Hoosh!” he said. “It’s an insurrection, sor. I’m arristed for
distributin’ insidjus proclamations in backwoods Casthilian, an’ the
guards has taken me last copy, tellin’ how The Mayor has Tyrannously
Arristed the Electric Lights! Release Misther Kirby or Down wid the
Mayor! Shall Portate be Darkened? Citizens, Rise!’ Oh, hivens, me
entherprise and adventures!”

“Comb down your red hair,” I said, “and go on.”

“It’s auburrn, sor!”

“It’s fine shade of gold, you Hibernian Apollo! Who in time are you?”

“I come in yesterday evenin’ on the _Violetta_”

“What!”

“Yes, sor. Me name’s Hagan, but Sadler’s gone away from me, an’ I have
the trimbles in me bones.”

“Well, I’ll be shot! Are they all right?”

“Sure, they are.”

“Go ahead then.”

“Well, sor, me an’ Sadler an’ the docther, we got ashore as soon as we
could. ‘Twas in the early evenin’, an’ thim two went off somewhere
for somewhat; and me, I went down Bolivar Street to an old haunt of me
mimories, to see what was there. An’ who should come out of the caffy
but Chepa. Sure, he’s your foreman now, but onct he was me frind an’
dispised acquaintance in this city of sinfulness many a year ago. ‘Red
hair!’ says he wid a shriek. ‘Auburrn!’ says I, ‘ye grizzly Dago.’
An’ wid that we ombraced. ‘Och, Jimmie!’ he says, ‘you’re the man I’m
wantin’,’ he says. ‘Where’s Sadler?’ ‘I dunno,’ I says, ‘not just now.
He’s around the town.’ ‘Tis happy he’ll be then this night,’ he says,
‘for society an’ politics,’ he says, ‘an’ populations an’ powers ‘ll be
playin’ discordant chunes,’ he says. ‘Come on,’ he says, ‘an’ help me
ungear thim dynamos.’ Wid that we started for the plant, an’ me not
knowin’ at all the divilmint that was goin’, an’ we come to the plant,
and Chepa set the dynamos buzzin’ like bees, an’ thin sat down an’
explained his language wid information. ‘At nine o’clock,’ he says, ‘I
shut ‘em off and disables the machinery,’ an’ he did. Then we come back
through the town by the back streets. There was wicked rage in the heart
of Portate. She wint to bed in the dark, and had bad dreams. But we
come down to the docks an’ hired a boat out to the _Violetta_, and we
told the missus and the young la-ady about it. After awhile comes out
the boys in the gig wid a letther from the docther sayin’ him an’ Sadler
was gone up counthry on a night thrain in pursuit of South-American
archylogy. ‘Kit,’ says the missus, readin’ it out to the young la-ady,
‘Kit seems to have this city in a barrel, an’ he’s plugged the shpigot,
an’ where in the barrel he is I dunno,’ he says, ‘for we’ve been to the
electric plant and we’ve banged on the doorway of his house, an’ nothin’
happened, an’ Portate is tumultuous and dark. Wherefore,’ he says, ‘I
argue he ain’t expectin’ company to-night, an’ me an’ Sadler is goin’ up
counthry afther archylogy,’ he says, ‘to be back to-morry.’ ‘Goodness!’
says the missis, an’ she an’ the young la-ady went down for the night,
an’ me an’ Chepa passed it cool an’ balmy. This mornin’ the missis
sent us ashore for news. But oh, the sights of the ragin’ city! Oh, the
throuble an’ combustion of it! A crowd of men grabs us at the corner.
‘Gintlemen,’ says Chepa, ‘respected sehores, ‘tis the wickedness of the
Jefe,’ he says, ‘a-spindin’ on gilt furniture the hard-earned taxes of
the people, collected by the tax collector,’ he says, ‘wid the shweat of
his fatness. For Sehor Kirby,’ he says, ‘to the great sorrow of himself,
havin’ run out of electricity, is unable to buy more on account of the
avarice and theft of the beast of a thief of a Jefe,’ he says, and they
thought so too. By and by comes the news of yourself arristed and put in
jail. ‘Jimmie,’ says Chepa, ‘it will not do.’ I says ‘It will not.’ An’
we broke away an’ went back to the _Violetta_. An very interested they
were, sor, the missis an’ the young la-ady, askin’ questions, an’ then
a-studyin’ an’ a-lookin’ at ache other. ‘Well,’ says the missis, ‘I
wish Doctor Ulswater hadn’t gone, but it’s the Jefe’s fault an’ not Mr.
Kirby’s, an’ I think you were quite right, Mr. Chepa,’ she says, ‘to
tell the people so. But of coorse you could only tell a few,’ she says,
‘an’ I suppose most of thim think it’s Mr. Kirby’s to blame, an’ I think
we ought to stop that,’ she says, ‘so I think we’d bet-ther have a lot
of bills printed to explain.’--‘Hooroar!’ says the young la-ady, jumpin’
up and wavin’ herself in the atmosphere. ‘I’ll write it!’ An’ wid that
she grabs Chepa an’ plumps down wid him on the carpet, an’ what wid thim
two composin’ inflaminous proclamations, an’ me a shmokin’ me poipe wid
terror in me bosim an’ me face smeared over wid insidjous calm, an’
the missis a lookin’ off at Portate, wid her knittin’ in her hand and
statesmanship an’ revolution in her eye, ‘twas a ould-shtyle Fenian
meetin’, sor, an’ down wid the landlords! ‘It’s hot,’ says Chepa, manin’
the proclamation. ‘There’s no foreign governmint to rescue Chepa wid
diplomacy. They’ll hang me,’ he says, ‘an’ ‘tis no matther. Behold me,
senora! I am game.’ ‘You must stay here,’ says the missis. ‘Jimmie will
have the bills printed and posted.’ ‘Oh, senora!’ says Chepa, lookin’
hurt. ‘Of coorse you’re not afraid,’ she says--an’ I wished she knew
that I was--‘but it’d be bad for you to be arristed,’ she says, ‘an’
besides there’s another reason.’ It lies in the nature of things, sor,
to do what the missis says. There’s no help for it. I came into Portate
alone, wid myself, an’ gold in me trousers pocket which I changes to the
barbarious paper money of the counthry an’ scuttles off to a printer.
‘Set it up!’ I says, showin’ barbarious money. ‘Print it!’ An’ he did
so, wid the fear of consequences an’ the lust of avarice. But, sor,
ye should have seen the amazin’ innocence an’ wrath of the populace,
a-jumpin’ all over the Plaza, a-howlin’, a-wavin’ proclamations an’
blackguardin’ the Mayor for arristin’ the lights. Prisintly comes a line
of soldiers wrigglin’ through the crowd, an’ one of ‘em raps me over the
head with the butt of his gun, out of the mistherable shpite of him, an’
they takes me red-handed in the disthribution of proclamations, an’ up
we goes, up the steps of the City Hall, before the public was onto the
insult to its liberties. An’ oh, the terrible language of the Mayor,
a-kickin’ over chairs in the corridor! ‘To prisin,’ says he, tearin’
his hair tremendjous. ‘Ye’ll be shot in the mornin’,’ says he. Then they
took me out the back alley, an’ down here sudden, bein’ punched in the
back wid the butt ends of the rifles of a misfit soldiery, an’ thim’s
the facts.”



CHAPTER XXVI--THE TRUCE


|SO spoke Jimmie Hagan. We sat looking at each other, and smoking
silently for a moment. I got up and shooed the motley collection of
human things around us back to a pleasanter distance, and sat down again
to think. But still I didn’t see altogether what Mrs. Ulswater thought
she was going to do with her insurrection. It was a good idea of hers
to keep Chepa aboard the _Violetta_. But a mob is like dynamite, and a
person ought to have a considerable idea before he takes it on himself
to explode one. A Portate mob is a maniac that cuts throats in the name
of the saints, and forgets what started him, and he scatters destruction
in all directions. For a man said to be without sand, I thought Hagan
had done pretty well.

“Sor,” he said, “it’s this way. I knew the Mayor long ago, an’ Sadler
knew him well, an’ I know the Mayor’s the same man wid the tempestchus
bowels of him, for he’s a nice man when he’s cheerful, but he’s not a
wise man when there’s trouble comin’. Well, sor, Sadler nor the docther
ain’t here, an’ what one of them doesn’t know the other does. An’ some
men was born to order and others to take orders, an’ I dunno. But, if
the Kid was here things’d be doin’. Well, sor, the docther is filled
up wid handy knowledge more’n a bushel of pertaties wid perta-ties,
but when it comes to makin’ up his mind, it’s the missis does it.
The _Violetta_ carries more contagious brains than’s native in South
America, an’ you’re askin’ what the missis had in mind, an’ I dunno.
But Chepa says there’s only two men in Por-tate can start them disabled
machines for to-night’s lightin’, to say nothin’ there’s not a trolley
runnin’ in the city this day. An’ where’s those two men? One of ‘em’s
here. The other’s on the _Violetta_, but the Mayor don’t know where he
is. Well, sor, what can he do? It’s not for me to say, but there’s
the populace shlingin’ stones at the City Hall this blissid minute
in persuasion of the Mayor’s wickedness. An’ who persuaded ‘em of the
Mayor’s wickedness? Trolleys they don’t so much care for, but there’ll
be lights or shootin’, an’ the Mayor’d needn’t be foolish, an if ye ask
me, I’ll say it’s the missis has got the soople intilligence, an’ no
throuble at all. Hark to ‘em now!”

The roar of the crowd had grown to be tremendous, and they were probably
throwing stones. What, indeed, could the Mayor do? The peons about
us were chattering in excited groups, and the guards at the gate were
distinctly uneasy. If the mob came there, I could make a fair guess what
the guards would do.

There was a sudden clatter in the streets, of hoofs and wheels on bad
pavement. Again the great wooden door flew open with a bang. Entered the
paymaster, another agitated official, and an officer in pink and white,
who bowed and smiled at me affectionately.

“You are released, senor,” said the officer.

“Oh, I am! And this gentleman too?”

“Impossible, senor. His Excellency is determined. With you, senor, he
requests a friendly interview.”

“He won’t get it.”

“His Excellency is in a carriage at the door.”

It was not fifty feet to the open door. His Excellency seemed to have
lost flesh with the excitement and anguish of his mind.

“Oo-aa!” came over from the Plaza, that indescribable roar.

“Oh, senor!” he cried with enthusiasm. “It is the will of the people
that we be reconciled. Enough. We are reconciled.”

“Not yet, Mayor. My red-haired friend here----”

“Impossible!”

“Not a light, then. Bury it all, Mayor. The wisest plan.”

“But the proclamations! Abominable, public, infamous!”

“Oh, quite wrong, of course.”

“You admit it!”

“He must be pardoned.”

“To-morrow.”

“Now!”

“Oo-aa!” from the Plaza, that hair-raising yell.

The Mayor shivered. Then he gathered up his dignity with the
gracefulness of a lady picking up her skirts, and finished the game like
a fallen but romantic potentate. “Enough,” he said. “I yield.”

We drove to the Plaza, Jimmie Hagan on the carriage-springs behind, the
Mayor and I standing on the seat and holding hands for the public to see
the unlimited affection we had; the paymaster and the officer in pink
and white on the seat facing, waving their hats with unnatural joy, and
the other official on the seat with the driver.

But what a sight was the Plaza! What a howling mass of faces, open
mouths, hands gesticulating, all fading and dimly seen at a few hundred
feet from the carriage, for the night was falling fast.

“Excellency,” I said, “you owe me thirty thousand dollars. We’ll stop at
the bank.”

“Just at present, senor, the public’s balance is low, but----”

“On the contrary--or rather, we’ll step in and see.”

“To-morrow, senor----”

“Excellency,” I said, “I don’t care one little bit at all whether it’s
out of the city’s deposit, or your private account, or whether there’s
any difference between them. But there won’t be a light till every
dollar is paid. Moreover, this mob is nervous. Moreover, here’s the
bank.”

We got down, and left the pink and white officer in the carriage with
the two other officials. The Mayor stalked grimly ahead of me into the
bank, and the thirty thousand was paid.

I made the plant in a carriage in ten minutes. Three scared furnace
tenders were there, in charge of a company of pink soldiers. Among them
they had two dynamos more or less mutilated trying to switch them
on with a pick-axe. At last I got things running, turned on the main
switch, and saw the nearby streets leap into brightness.

When Hagan and I came back through the town about eight o’clock, the
band was playing in the Plaza, the people rejoicing among the palm
trees, which were done up in bunting, and the Mayor was making a speech
from the balcony of magistrates to the effect that Portate was a centre
of civilisation, a second Paris.

It occurred to me that I was carrying thirty thousand dollars in my
pocket, and wasn’t a steel vault. The lights were going anyway for
to-night, and maybe some public functionary’s private bandit might be
looking for me. I ought to have deposited before going to the plant, or
perhaps--but there was the _Violetta_, which would be safer still.

We dodged the Plaza, and went down to the docks. Not a boatman
was about. I untied a row boat, and we rowed out, looking for the
_Violetta_. It was easy to distinguish her, clean and white, glimmering
with bright port-holes. As we drew near we could see the polished
brasses shining under the stars. The cool sea wind on the bay and the
soft lapping of waves against the boat were pleasant to feel and hear,
after the heat and noise of Portate. The sight of the _Violetta_, neat
and compact, made me homesick for the temperate zone and my own people
of the North, gray-eyed level-headed people, steady and reasonable. I
felt like a carrier pigeon come home.

“_Violetta_, ahoy!”



CHAPTER XXVII--ON BOARD THE VIOLETTA


|CAPTAIN JANSEN met us at the gangway. There were some changes in the
look of the _Violetta_‘s deck since last I had seen it, a year and a
half before, in the West Indies. The awning was new. Those geranium pots
were gone, which used to stand along the scuppers, and be carried down
every night and whenever the weather threatened. The world had been too
much for them. The same doilies were on the same rocking chairs. There
was the brown mahogany parlour table. But among objects that recalled
home conventions, something that breathed eastward, a tropic touch here
and there, had been admitted. A huge Burmese tapestry swung from one
side of the awning, and the breeze bayed it in, its green embroidered
serpents writhing lazily above an honest but uninspiring sofa from Grand
Rapids. Yellow Chinese mats from Singapore were on the deck in place of
the former flowered carpet.

Mrs. Ulswater sat in her familiar rocking chair, small, thin, quiet,
and slightly precise; and on one of the mats, with her back against Mrs.
Ulswater’s chair, sat a girl in a white dress, with dark hair, with very
definite eyebrows and a tilted, provocative nose. In front of her, on
another mat, sat Chepa smoking a cigarette. At some distance off, a
motionless figure in dingy white crouched in the shadow of the cabin,
whom I took to be Ram Nad engaged in abstraction. These were the
occupants of the after-deck.

“Kit!” cried Mrs. Ulswater, dropping her knitting. Susannah sprang up
and cried: “Did we beat the Mayor?”

I told them about the insurrection, Jimmie Hagan’s arrest, and the
Mayor’s surrender, and how I wanted Dr. Ulswater to take charge of The
Union Electric’s cash.

“I’m ever so much obliged for your insurrection, Mrs. Ulswater. As to
the Mayor--well, you’ve been around the world yourself since I saw you,
and got acquainted with the Gentile. What do you think of him?”

“Whom do you mean by the Gentile?”

“The alien, the uncanny human who isn’t like us. His ‘best is like his
worst,’ isn’t it? in our eyes, because both his best and his worst are
different from ours.”

“I like him better than I expected to,” she answered.

“Are you going to keep on rearranging him?”

“I’m not so sure as I was what his arrangement is.”

“But the cruise of the _Violetta_ has been a success, hasn’t it?”

After a moment’s thought she said:

“When it began, I didn’t know what I wanted, but I thought I should know
it when I saw it. And that was the way it turned out. I found out what
it was, when I found it. The doctor and Susannah are most of it.”

“It wasn’t the missions, then?”

“Not exactly. It’s partly finding things to do, and doing them as they
come along.” After a pause she said, as if changing the subject:

“Do you think you can get on with the Mayor here, after all this?”

“Why, that’s the question. The Mayor has his virtues, but he doesn’t
like insurrections or paying bills. If Providence didn’t afflict him
with one or the other of those now and then, he might be a philosopher;
but now you speak of it, I shouldn’t say he was a good loser. It’s one
of the characteristics of the tropics, to carry grudges long and far.”

Susannah was looking at me gravely.

“Do you make poetry?” she asked.

“Not in the way of business,” I said, still thinking of my troubles.
“It’s Portate that introduces poetry into business. If I propose to the
Mayor to put in five hundred new lights, he proposes a procession. If I
tell him I’m going to repaint some of the trolley cars, he announces
it that night to the populace from the balcony of magistrates, and the
populace comes and asks me for a free ride, and The Union Electric’s
employés claim it’s a holiday. You see, Miss Romney----”

“Why, I’m Susannah?”

“Oh! Well, Susannah--You see, Susannah, Portate furnishes all the poetry
The Union Electric Company will stand. They can’t afford to let me
decorate the situation too. That’s why I have some doubts about the
ultimatum and the insurrection. They were rather decorative, weren’t
they?”

“I’m going to make poetry about you,” said Susannah.

She got up and walked away across the deck, in the manner of one
conducting powerful operations with the muses. She came to where the
dingy heap of eastern wisdom sat against the cabin wall.

“Ram Nad!” we heard her say, with a stamp of the foot, “you go this
minute and get your shawl!”

He rose silently, pale and venerable, and went down the companionway.

“He catches cold easily,” Mrs. Ulswater explained. “I told him not to
sit out evenings without his shawl.”

Chepa and Hagan had gone forward sometime before. Susannah paced the
deck apart with folded arms, making poetry about me. Mrs. Ulswater sat
in her rocking chair, knitting, listening, talking.

I was thinking that she would have been a dangerous woman, with all that
will and reserve, if she had not happened to be honest and kind. She
could not help but foresee and devise. I wondered if she were plotting
and planning at the moment, and for whose benefit. Likely it was for
mine. I wondered if the Mayor were plotting and planning for my distress
or destruction at the same moment. Likely he was. I didn’t much care.
Mrs. Ulswater had rearranged the tropics here and there, but they
had not rearranged her. It was about eleven o’clock. Susannah was
extraordinarily pretty. As the subject of a ballad by Susannah, of a
plot by Mrs. Ulswater, and another plot by the Mayor, supposing all
these things were going on, I seemed to be in the centre of things.

At that moment the sound of oarlocks startled us. We rose and went to
the rail. A boat drew near on the dark water. On the surface of the
water the lights of the distant city made long broken reflections.
The boat drew up at the foot of the gangway, and Dr. Ulswater mounted,
followed by a large powerful man, gray-haired, with a long dangling
moustache and lean throat, carrying on his broad shoulders a large
oblong box. Behind them came up one of the boatman, carrying a trunk.
Susannah cried:

“What’s in the box?”

And I said, catching sight of my initials, “Where’d you get my trunk?”

“Jansen,” said Dr. Ulswater, “get up steam. We leave as soon as you’re
ready.” A moment later we were seated under the awning; Mrs. Ulswater
in her rocking chair knitting and nowise excited; Susannah, her hands
clasped about her knees, back against the rocker, eagerly absorbing all
things; the doctor, the grizzled Sadler and I, each negotiating one
of the doctor’s cigars. Chepa, with his cigarette, and Hagan, with his
black clay pipe and extravagant hair, squatted together on the deck.



CHAPTER XXVIII--HANNAH ATKINS


|WE sought you at your house, Kit,” said Dr. Ulswater; “we sought you
also at the establishment where you generate that mystical fluid which
now travels meekly, invisibly, its slender wires, and now spits like a
red-hot cat. You electrical engineers have your fingers on the pulse of
the universe. I admire in you the representatives of the age.

“The condition of affairs in Portate was most mixed and unclassified.
No light anywhere, except here and there a smoky lantern, and such
sulphurous beams as the eye of imagination might detect, or conceive,
gleaming from the bosoms of some thousands of furious citizens. We
reached the railway station with the feeling of having been miraculously
rescued. The town, however, was quieting down. Most of the citizens
had gone home to plot your assassination. Your ultimatum seemed to be
everywhere known. Evidently you were not meaning to be found that
night by friend or foe, and therefore Sadler and I went our way in the
interests of archæology.

“There is a national museum at the capital of this country, which
contains an extraordinary collection of Inca relics, but is as
disorderly as Portate emotions. Thither we went by the slowest train the
ingenuity of man ever invented, getting what sleep we could, through the
night, upon car seats of mistaken construction, each one of which was a
populous commonwealth of bugs.

“Arrived at our destination in the morning, I found my way to the
Museum, and presently was buried from the world, lost to the present.
It must have been near noon when Sadler came and found me surrounded by
pottery, weapons, tools, and the swathed bundles of the mummied dead.

“‘Doctor,’ he said; ‘when’s your birthday?’

“I reflected.

“‘Bless my soul, it’s to-morrow! This thing’s got to stop! I’ll be older
than an Inca!’

“‘You’re a swaddled infant,’ he said. I thought Mrs. Ulswater said it
was to-morrow. I’ve got a present for you.’

“Birthdays, indeed! What had I to do with birthdays, who was reborn into
eternity on the day I married Mrs. Ulswater! I had no use for them.
I wished some one would make me a present of the treasures of that
mixed-up and ruinous museum, and rescue them for archaeology. Carvings!
Do you happen to know that the Inca signs of the Zodiac are practically
identical with the Egyptian, that, moreover, they probably antedate
them, that----”

“No, we don’t,” interrupted Sadler. “It ain’t so.”

“I can prove it to any man with eyes,” shouted Dr. Ulswater, thumping
his knee.

“Which I holds myself,” said Sadler, gloomily, “that any man, with eyes,
can see as them signs of the Zodiac all comes from the jim-jams, and the
first man that made ‘em was the first man that had drunk not wisely but
too often.”

“Ha!” said Dr. Ulswater. “Why! Now, that’s an idea! It really is!”

“Fiddlesticks!” said Mrs. Ulswater. “What was the present, and what
about it?”

Susannah said, “What’s in the box?” and I,

“What are you doing with my trunk?”

Dr. Ulswater wanted to stop there and discuss the origins of the
signs of the Zodiac, and the orderly narrative was getting into a bad
condition, but Sadler took it up.

“Well, it was this way, ma’am,” he said. “I left the doctor at the
Museum. Them mummies didn’t look to me respectable, but maybe they are,
only as you told me to look after the doctor, I didn’t know as I’d ought
to leave him in that there dissipated society. But I went off down the
street, and by and by I see a man I knew, named Sanchez Beteta. He used
to be a graceless young one, son of a poverty-stricken caballero who
lived on Valencia Street in Portate. Beteta was walking stately and
soft, and he had on patent-leather shoes that was pointed like pins,
and he had a cane that was an airy vision, and a buttonhole bouquet, and
fixings, and side whiskers, and clothes that was beautiful to make a bad
egg remember its young dreams, and he come along like his garments was
angels’ wings. I says to myself: ‘I want to be like that’; and I pokes
him in the chest sudden and solid, and I says, sort of ingratiating:

“‘Where’d you steal them clothes?’ I says in West Coast Spanish. He
looked me over with a haughty eye. Then he says:

“‘If you’re a ghost,’ he says, ‘I wished you’d fade away. How and why do
you exist, aged one?’ and I says:

“‘Get me a bouquet and a cane. I want some vanity.’

“Then we went and got them vanities, and paraded in glory on the
fashionable highway that’s called ‘The Paseo,’ and he told me the origin
of his clothes. They came from his being in the Government, a sort
of Subcommissioner of National Monuments and Memorials, and from that
position’s having some pickings of drumsticks while his superiors was
busy with other parts of the chicken. I told him how I’d come there, and
how electricity had played it dark on Portate, and how Dr. Ulswater was
at the Museum sorting out knowledge and wishing he had an Inca mummy for
home consumption. Beteta knew about Portate. It was in the morning paper
that’s called ‘El Patria.’ Then he took to thinking.

“‘Would the learned senor,’ he says, ‘pay a price for a royal mummy? He
is, you say, of great wealth.’

“I says: ‘Why?’

“‘Because,’ he says, ‘I may have such an article to dispose of.’

“‘Which,’ I says, ‘is a fraud. It’s made of mashed paper and it ain’t
got no pedigree.’

“‘Not at all,’ he says, ‘not at all! I scorn you. Could I, who am but an
amateur, deceive one learned as your friend? It was in this way, simply.
Some years ago an ancient tomb was opened and found to contain mummies
of the family of the Inca, Huayna Capac. Of him you know nothing at
all, but your friend does, and without doubt he knows that most of that
family died during, or after, the Conquest. Without doubt he knows
of the tomb I speak of and its discovery. It was described in the
publications of science. Now the Museum is in my Department of Monuments
and Memorials, and somewhat under my charge, because of my great
interest in my country’s antiquities. Also because of this interest I
was allowed to acquire one of these relics for my private collection.
But alas! I am unfortunate! Integrity and poverty go together. It rends
my heart. I fear I had better dispose of my treasure. You will ask,
“Why not to the Museum?” Again, alas! Evil tongues would whisper. I, an
official of the Department, sell to the Department! My own conscience,
too delicate, would shrink. But you are hardened, of an evil mind, a
cynic. You don’t understand the scruples.’

“‘Sure,’ I says, ‘I do. Remorse and me are bosom friends. Come see the
doctor.’

“‘At present,’ he says, ‘I have an important engagement. Bring him to my
house at three this afternoon. Number 20, Street of the Museum.’

“I went after the doctor then, and asked him would he have a birthday
present, and what was the market price of royal mummies of the family
of Hannah Atkins. ‘Who?’ says he, and I tried it again. ‘Oh!’ he says,
‘Huayna Capac!’

“‘The same,’ I says. He stated a likely price, which stumped me some,
for Beteta had only asked about a third of that for his mummy, and I
didn’t see Beteta’s game. I judged he must be an ignorant amateur on
mummies.

“We went to lunch, and about three o’clock we come round to Beteta’s
house. It stood side up to the side of the Museum, with a little paved
court, or patio, between. You had to go into the patio to get into
Beteta’s house, and there was a small door in the Museum that opened
on the patio too. Beteta let us in and showed his mummy in a box on a
table, and it was that roped and done up in coloured cloth you could
tell it from any sort of bundle, only there was a copper placard on it,
which appeared to be antique.

“‘It has been in the Museum for some days past,’ says Beteta, ‘because
of comparisons I desired to make with the other plates.’

“‘Ah!’ says the doctor.

“‘I regret that an important engagement now hurries me,’ says Beteta.
‘My house is yours, but if you go back to Portate to-day, the train
leaves in two hours.’

“‘Oh!’ says the doctor. ‘To be sure, we must go back.’

“‘So regrettable! But, without doubt,’ says Beteta, ‘you will return.
My house is yours. For me, but an amateur, to make acquaintance of
a learned archaeologist, how grateful! You find here materials for
packing. My house is yours. Adios, senores. The public servant is not
master of his time. Adios, senores. My house is yours.’

“Then he took his cash and left us, we feeling sort of surprised.

“‘What’s your expert opinion?’ says I.

“‘Why,’ says the doctor, putting on his glasses again and looking wise,
I think you and your intimate friend belong to the genus gammon, species
humbug; but his mummy is all right.’

“‘If it’s a sure Hannah Atkins, that’s what I’m asking,’ I says. ‘I
guess Beteta ain’t even an amateur on mummies, and he’s skeered of
conversation with you. I guess you’re right there.’

“We packed Hannah Atkins, and toward five o’clock I shouldered the box.
Some populace saw us come from the patio and followed us to the station,
wondering what a caballero, with a cane and a buttonhole bouquet, and a
box four foot long on his shoulder, and a amiable large party in a white
vest behind him, was doing with that there combination of circumstances.
So we caught the train and started for Portate. There was another man I
used to know on the train. He was a Scotch engineer in the employ of The
Transport Company and named Jamison.”



CHAPTER XXIX--MR. JAMISON


|SADLER paused. I knew Jamison too.

“What was Jamison coming to Por-tate for?” I asked. “Did he say?”

“He did,” said Sadler. “His conversation was meaty. I’m makin’ a
dramatic pause.”

Then he paused some more.

“I don’t think much of that birthday present!” said Susannah,
scornfully.

“Then I’ll expand your imagination, Susannah,” said Dr. Ulswater.
“Huayna Capac was the great Inca who died in 1527, the year Pizarro
landed. Three of his sons contended for the throne, Huascar, Atahualpa
and Manco, but how many other children he left is nowhere stated, to my
knowledge. The marital system of the royal house, however, being such as
it was, it is probable they were numerous. The mummies discovered some
four years ago were five in number, each with a copper plate sewn to the
cerements, and inscribed, ostensibly by one Padre Geronimo Valdez. Each
of the inscriptions states that the enclosed person was a daughter
of Huayna Capac, who had been baptised and buried by himself, Padre
Geronimo. The date given on this plate is 1543. We have yonder then, in
all probability, all that remains of a daughter of the Incas.”

“It isn’t expanded at all,” said Susannah, meaning her imagination.

“What was her name?” asked Mrs. Ulswater.

“Curiously,” said Dr. Ulswater, “the inscription doesn’t state.”

“Her name’s Hannah Atkins,” said Sadler.

“Fiddlesticks!” said Mrs. Ulswater. “What happened next?”

Dr. Ulswater continued the narrative. “Mr. Jamison was a Scotch person,
with dusty eyebrows and considerate eyes, his speech compact of caution
and a burr. Sadler told him of our acquisition and inquired about the
man Beteta.

“‘Because,’ I added, ‘if the gentleman is no amateur of mummies, why
should he have a mummy in his possession? And if he hadn’t any,--if, in
fact, he stole it from the Museum,--why should he risk so much for the
no great sum the mummy is worth, in fact, for the yet smaller sum which
he received? It seems more probable that in some way it must have been
his.’

“‘I hae doots of it,’ said Jamison, drily.

“‘Does he know anything of archaeology?’

“‘I hae doots of it.’

“‘Did he steal it, then?’

“‘I hae doots it was something resembling that, though maybe no
precisely.’

“‘For that absurdly small compensation?’ “‘I hae doots about the size of
it.’

“‘What for, then?’

“‘I hae doots ye’ll find some pink military at Portate that’ll maybe
explain.’

“Sadler here burst into spacious laughter.

“‘We’re speeding to our doom, doctor,’ he said. ‘Ho, ho!’

“‘I hae doots, said Jamison, ‘he may have it,’ said Jamison.

“‘But,’ I said, ‘that doesn’t explain Beteta.’

“‘I hae doots,’ said Jamison, ‘he may have an understanding with his
Department.’

“‘Why,’ I said, ‘you grow in mystery, Mr. Jamison. You cover the land
with darkness. If the sum he received was too small to explain him by
himself, it is surely too small to explain an arrangement implying a
distribution. Ha!’ I exclaimed. Let me consider.’

“‘Right you are, doctor,’ said Sadler. ‘You have the idea now. He wan’t
anywhere round when we left.’

“Certainly, on consideration it seemed to me, that if we were accused
of ourselves extracting her whom Sadler insists on calling Hannah
Atkins--feloniously from the Museum, we would have some difficulty in
proving the culprit to have been Beteta.

“‘Beteta,’ said Jamison, slowly, after a pause, ‘has some sma’
penetration. Without knowing much about archaeology, he might consider
that a gentleman with a steam yacht is maybe a man of some substance,
that might pay a bit more for immunity than for a mummy. For the
interests of the Museum, he might consider it proper to attract a
strategic contribution from a foreigner. I hae doots the appropriations
for the Department of Public Monuments and Memorials don’t support its
offeecials to their satisfaction. He might arrange the circumstances
so that the circumstances would be suffeecient. He might so put it
to persons who might be suffeeciently authoritative to make it
suffeeciently safe. They might send an authoritative despatch to the
Mayor of Portate. I have a bit of information the facts are no so far
from that supposition. No that I’d care to be an authority for the
statement.’

“‘He’s an infernal scoundrel!’ I exclaimed.

“‘It may be so,’ said Jamison, ‘but he has some sma’ penetration. It’s
my recollection too that our friend Sadler was in no verra good odour
with the authorities when he left some years ago. Folk said he ran away
a wee bit surrepteetiously, or maybe he’d deny that.’

“Sadler again roared with laughter.

“‘I hae doots Beteta has the penetration to remember that too,’ said
Jamison.

“‘However,’ I said. ‘Kirby will see us through.

“‘Aye! Kirby? Is he a friend of yours?’

“I told him of my old friendship with Kit.

“‘Oo! Is it so? But I hae doots Kirby has troubles of his own. I hae
doots it would be better to keep the two troubles apart.’

“Here Sadler got up suddenly from his seat, asking of Jamison:

“‘Say, does Steve Dorcas live where he used to?’

“‘Aye,’ said Jamison. ‘He does.’

“‘Well,’ said Sadler, ‘it’s this way, doctor. Seeing I got you into it,
I guess it’s mine to get you out,’ and he left the car. I asked who was
Dorcas.

“‘Oo--he’s superintendent of The Transport Company,’ said Jamison,
‘but I doot if Sadler will be able to find him the night. His house is
outside of Portate a bit. We pass it on the railroad.’

“He paused and looked thoughtfully through the window. The night was
falling. A desolate country indeed, a sandy and rocky desert, is this
coastland, for the most part. I was reflecting that, if Sadler had a
plan, I might as well take what comfort was passing, whatever meat of
conversation on several subjects this shrewd Scotchman might afford. I
started on the subject of South-American archaeology, but Jamison did
not respond. His mind seemed to be elsewhere. At last he said:

“‘Ye’ll maybe make a reasonable compromise, if Dorcas is with you, and I
hae no great doots but he will be, for he was friendly with Sadler once.
And leaving that, I’ll no deny I’m going down to Portate myself on a
soommons from Dorcas, but it’s no aboot you and your mummy. It’s to take
charge of The Union Electric’s plant. Whereby, as you’re a man, I see,
of no sma’ penetration yourself, doctor, ye’ll be seeing it’s likely
Kirby’s no expected to be in a poseetion to run the plant to-morrow
night.’ “‘It seems to follow, Mr. Jamison,’ I said, ‘that the Mayor
means to arrest him tomorrow.’

“He nodded.

“I hae some information he did so this morning, but I opine the Mayor
will be letting him out this night to run the plant, or Portate will be
dark again.’

“‘On account,’ I questioned, ‘of there being no train that would get you
to Por-tate before ten?’

“‘Your penetration is no sma’ matter, doctor,’ he said. ‘It’s working
well.’

“‘It’s a wild thing, Mr. Jamison,’ I continued, after some thought, ‘a
frivolous intelligence, a restless and turbulent member. Its mad quest
after information is always making me trouble. It wants to know now
how you and the Superintendent of The Transport Company happen to be so
willing, not to say eager, to get into collusion with these corrupt and
debt-dodging municipal thieves in Portate, and thereby to spoil Kirby’s
most enlivening and pleasant stratagem for collecting a just debt.
It wants to know whether Kirby’s being in jail is any personal
gratification to either of you gentlemen.’

“He broke into a dry but not unkindly laugh.

“‘No personal, doctor. Kirby is a good man. Oo--a wee bit hasty and
cocksure, but he’s only a lad. But your penetration is doing well. I’m
thinking it might better go on.’

“‘On your suggestion, it will,’ I assented. ‘The Transport Company and
The Union Electric are rivals presumably. Presumably, then, the former
has no objection to winning favour with the authorities at the expense
of the latter. Waiving the question of fairness or morality----’

“‘Aye, better waive ‘em,’ said Jamison, drily.

“‘Waiving them entirely,’ I said, ‘The Transport Company seems to be in
line with prosperity at the present moment.’

“Here Sadler came back in the car.

“‘Engineers and conductors are easy on this road,’ he said. ‘One dollar
apiece. We’ll pull up where the road crosses to Dorcas’ place, and
disappoint that there pink military.’

“‘Verra good,’ said Jamison, nodding kindly. ‘I’ll go with ye, and I’m
thinking we’ll be there in a few moments now.’ Presently the train
slowed down and stopped. Sadler shouldered Hannah Atkins, and we got
out. The train went on its way. The glimmer of the not distant city
showed that the electric plant was working. To the left some distance
stood a large house among trees, and to it a road ran from the railway
crossing. It stood near the bank of the river, a yellow, stuccoed house
with a patio. A man who met us at the door exclaimed:

“‘What, Jamison! What, what! Why, why! Sadler! Come in, come in. What’s
that box? How d’ye do? Have a cigar! Have a drink. Good Lord!’

“He was introduced to me as ‘Steve Dorcas.’”



CHAPTER XXX--MR. DORCAS


|HE was short, thickset man with a stubby chin whisker, an incessant
energy, and an amazingly choppy manner of speech.

“‘Just so; just so,’ he said when he had heard our circumstances and
needs. ‘Drive you around myself. Do it myself.’

“Shortly thereafter he was driving us with two small ferocious horses
through the starlit night, over tumultuous roads, circling the city, in
order that--without passing through it, or meeting its expectant pink
militia or gend’armerie--we might get to some point on the bay where a
boat could be obtained to the _Violetta_.

“‘I see, I see,’ he said. ‘You’ll have to get away. Get away. Before
daybreak. Beteta. Know him well. Damn rascal. Right, Jamison! Right.
Clever old boy, Jamison. Old boy. I was up City Hall. City Hall. Five
o’clock. Saw Mayor. Saw despatch. No names though. Said Museum was
robbed. Description. No names. How should I know? Too early, though.
Beteta ought to have waited. Seven o’clock. Time enough. Damn fool. Make
no great difference. Maybe not. Humph! Good enough case. Got you short.
Eh? Few thousands. Blackmail. Wouldn’t do. Eh? Keep the mummy? Lord,
yes. Your game. Whoa! Here’s Kirby’s house. See if he’s here.’

“Singular conversationalist, Mr. Dorcas. His discourse resembled the
precipitous flow and fall of successive bricks. He pulled up before
that house of the picket fence, visited by Sadler and myself the night
before. But all was dark, not a window lit, no one within.

“We could see, however, the low buildings, tall stacks, and shining
windows of the electric plant some distance away. Jamison departed for
the plant, saying he would tell Kirby we were there, if Kirby were at
the plant. Dorcas fastened his horses to the picket fence. We sat on the
edge of the porch and held council.

“‘Kirby in bad hole,’ said Dorcas. ‘Mayor crazy. No lights. Snuffed out
the city. Cool, but risky. These boys, Lord! What nerve they have! Don’
know. Might have worked, maybe. But that riot. Bad. Irish. Jimmie
Hagan. Red hair. Proclamations. Hot. Printed too. Hagan had ‘em.
Mayor’s tenderest corns stepped on. Insurrection. Sedition. Mob. File
of soldiers. Dead wall. Bang! Dead Irish. Next, Kirby took the riot.
Clubbed the Mayor with it. What! Collusion with rebellion. Humph! Got
his bill. Yes. But the Mayor’s got him. Never forgive. Never!’

“‘Irish!’ said Sadler. ‘Proclamations nothing! Irish never got up an
insurrection.’

“‘Did too,’ said Dorcas, diving into his coat. ‘Here. Got a copy. See
here!’

“‘He must have run into Chepa,’ said Sadler. ‘Chepa used to have sand,
and he’s Kirby’s foreman, now, ain’t he? We heard so. Him and Irish
used to be with each other like a man and his pug dog, and each of
‘em thought the other was the pug dog. That’s a proper international
relation, ain’t it? Wrath of God!’ says Sadler. ‘Look here! Chepa never
did this by his lonesome.’

“He read aloud the proclamation:

“‘Citizens, rise! The Mayor tyrant has arrested the electric lights!
The Mayor, betrayer of the people, has put in jail Kirby, friend of
the people! The Mayor thief has stolen the people’s taxes to buy gilt
furniture! The Mayor pig eats the people’s taxes! Therefore is he fat
and shaped like an egg which within is bad. Kirby, friend of the people,
is desolate because he cannot buy more electricity, because the Mayor
sneak will give him no money which the people gave him! Release Kirby
or Down with the Mayor! Shall Portate be darkened forever? Citizens, are
you slaves? Citizens, be not deceived! Citizens, rise!’

“‘Chepa nor Irish didn’t do that!’ said Sadler.

“‘Peppery, ain’t it!’ said Dorcas. ‘Red hot. Who did it! Don’ know.
Kirby, maybe. Don’ know! Done for himself now. Sure.’

“‘Mr. Dorcas,’ I said, ‘why shouldn’t Kirby sail with us to-night?’

“‘Maybe he won’t. Likely not. Here’s Jamison.’

“Jamison came up deliberately. He said there were some men tending the
furnaces and dynamos who thought either Kirby or Chepa would be back
before midnight. Senor Kirby had said he was going to visit a foreign
vessel in the harbour. They knew no more.

“Jamison thought he would go back to the plant, and so said farewell.

“‘Why, there!’ I said; ‘He’s on the _Violetta_ already. But undoubtedly
there will arise a point of duty, of responsibility. But you are a
responsible man, Mr. Dorcas. You may be playing a game of your own, but
my impression is it will be, on the whole, a decent game. I’m willing to
be convinced it is, however it may look not over friendly. At any rate,
Kirby knows you, if I do not.’

“‘Knows me!’ Dorcas said. ‘Knows me! You’re right. Point’s this: He’s
done for himself. _Persona non grata_. Poison to the Mayor. Spoiled the
Mayor’s face. I’ll see to property. Cable Union Electric. Send another
man. Tell ‘em he did well. All considered. Overdid it some, maybe. Bad
hole. No good here now. Cats and dogs. Fines. Thirty thousand up the
spout again. Damages. Anything. Queer country. Got to play it, you know.
Same as a trout. Better clear out.’

“I said, ‘But in that case what are we doing here? He’ll want to come
here to pack up, and as we leave before daybreak, he’ll have no time to
spare.’

“Dorcas shook his head.

“‘Better not. Things happening now. City Hall. Pretty likely. Military
here most any time. Despatches to Beteta. Despatches from Beteta.
Gunboat after your boat. Don’t know. Point’s this: Whose a burglar? I
am. Pack up for him. Why not?’

“Sadler said, i don’t know Kirby, but I’ll take the liberty of busting
his window, if that’s all. Looks to me as if one had been busted here
already.’

“He put his hand through the broken window pane and unfastened the
window, and we entered, leaving Dorcas with his horses.

“Our selections from your apparel and other properties, Kit, I trust
you’ll find to have been judicious.

“Dorcas drove us to the north side of the bay and routed out the men who
rowed us here. They are, I believe, employés of The Transport Company.
Dorcas refused to come with us.

“‘Better not,’ he said. ‘Point’s this: tell the Mayor I haven’t seen
him. No collusion. Mayor’s friend. You tell Kirby. Write me letter. I’ll
wait here. Send it back. Power of attorney. Take charge. Responsible. I
say so. Tell him. Goodbye, gentlemen. Glad to’ve known you. Good-bye.’

“Having arrived then,” concluded Dr. Ulswater, “it remains to inquire
if we’ve done well. If not, the boatmen are waiting, but if we have----”
 Here Dr. Ulswater leaned forward, and put his hand on my knee.

“My dear boy, I believe I speak for Mrs. Ulswater too. We’ve been the
round of the world, missing you.”

As I thought it over, it seemed to me plain that Dorcas was right.
He and Jamison were very decent sort of men. If Dorcas took the
responsibility, the property would be safer with him than with me,
supposing I was in jail. Could I serve The Union Electric better,
under the circumstances, than by running away, as a sort of scapegoat,
carrying off The Union Electric’s ill-odour with the Mayor, along with
the thirty thousand? The Company ought to be satisfied. I didn’t like
running away. I longed for another crack at the Mayor. I looked at Mrs.
Ulswater, at the doctor, at Susannah.

I supposed Dorcas was right about the ultimatum too, if the doctor had
reported his jerky hints correctly. He had lived in the country almost
as long as I was old, and was clever and wise. I had felt proud of that
ultimatum. It was new and bold and spectacular. But Dorcas had put his
finger on the flaw in it, the injury to the Mayor’s prestige, by which
nothing was gained and much was lost. He might have pardoned being held
up, if it could have been done behind the door, though I didn’t see how
it could have been done. He might even have pardoned the ultimatum,
but there were Chepa’s proclamation, whose blasting rhetoric was
Susannah’s--Susannah’s genius and Chepa’s idiom--and Mrs. Ulswater’s
insurrection in general, and my taking advantage of it--why, Dorcas was
right there, at least. The Mayor had a whip-hand now, for the Government
would back him up now with a case for international argument. The riot
was bad business. It looked as if Mrs. Ulswater were not so infallible
as the doctor thought. I wasn’t altogether a success either. The Union
Electric might or might not think me all right, but Dorcas was right,
and The Transport Company had won a point over us by having elderly
wisdom to manage its affairs in Portate, instead of a young one whose
nerve was longer than his head. Anyhow, the milk was spilt.

“I’ll write to Dorcas,” I said, getting up. “I seem to have run through
my usefulness.” While I was writing in the cabin I could hear the chain
and wheel where the crew was hauling in anchor. The hands of the cabin
clock pointed to one o’clock.

Had Mrs. Ulswater contracted a habit of _coups-d’état?_ Certainly her
riot didn’t look like workings of infallible good sense.



CHAPTER XXXI--SUSANNAH--END OF THE VOYAGE OF THE VIOLETA


|IF Mrs. Ulswater, then, had planned her riot in order to make my
position in Portate untenable--as a sort of explosion of blasting powder
to loosen me from South America, it seemed reckless. It was not like her
to make a mess of a man’s business in order to please only a notion of
hers to have him in her floating asylum. She had had, as I remembered
her, a curious awe of business. It was implanted in her, I supposed, by
Mr. Mink of Ohio. One would say offhand, of course, that she had meant,
by these incendiary proclamations, merely to frighten the Mayor into
releasing me, and had not seen beyond that. Of course, that might be the
case.

But when I asked her just what was the extent of her plan, she seemed
reserved, and wanted to talk of settling somewhere in the States again.
She thought Portate a past issue. She wouldn’t say whether or not her
conscience was clear about the riot, but she didn’t seem to be troubled.
She was figuring about what kind of place would interest Dr. Ulswater to
live in.

We were to go first to San Francisco, where the doctor meant to ship
Hannah Atkins to the Eastern museum for which he collected. She asked my
advice about a place to settle in. Doctor Ulswater was fond of unsettled
travelling and might be hard to satisfy. She didn’t find my advice
of much use. I judge there were too many rolling waves of moonlit
imagination in it. Something seemed to be lacking, but she wouldn’t say
what the flaw was. I suspected she wasn’t precisely stating the nature
of her aim and purpose. She began to consult Sadler instead of me, and I
took to running down Hannah Atkins to Dr. Ulswater, so as to induce his
eloquence, calling her obsolete and stolid, or criticising the way she’d
been laid out rather hunched up; and he would pour out South-American
archaeology till everybody took a new interest in life. All you had to
do to start him, like a spring flood in a thirsty land, was to begin
something like this:

“Of course,” you’d say, “I’m not real well acquainted with mummies, and
I’ll take your word Hannah’s a good specimen of her kind, only I’d call
her laying out pretty economic and bunchy; and of course she’s not in
it with an Egyptian mummy for a minute, but we won’t quarrel about that,
though on the outside she’s pretty much like a bag of meal, and when
opened up, the difference is all in favour of the bag of meal; but
that isn’t the point---” and so on. Give him an opening, and he’d shed
knowledge like rain off a roof, till you felt glad to be alive.

Or else I would go off with Susannah and help her write her poem on me.
That poetry was so candid that it got away from me. It soared off on the
wings of truth, and dealt too much with pure facts. My nose not being
straight, it stated the fact, not brutally, but simply. Any weakness I
had, and there was a rhyme for it, down it went, and if there wasn’t a
rhyme, she just planted it in the beginning of the line instead of at
the end. Technical difficulties never balked her of that. There were one
thousand, two hundred and fourteen lines before we got to California. I
wouldn’t take a fortune for that poem. It was more than a photograph. It
fitted me like the skin of a snake. But that’s not its main value.

                   “Kit Kirby was an engineer,”

it began.

                   “ So handsome and so debonair.”

“Handsome!” I said, feeling interested. Susannah took an observation.

“Some.”

“Then you oughtn’t to say ‘so’ when you mean ‘some.’”

She scratched out and wrote:

                   “Some handsome in respect to him.”

But I was new at literary criticism or I wouldn’t have made that
mistake. It went on:

                   “But very crooked in his nose,

                   And very vain about his clothes!”

I objected:

“Not at all, Susannah! Neat and cleanly!”

She corrected:

                   “And neat and cleanly in his clothes,”

which shows the value of literary criticism.

Then the poem went through with the circumstances of the Portate
Ultimatum, the Hannah Atkins plot, and the sequel of those
complications.

                   “And everything was in a muss,

                   And so he ran away with us.”

Now, from that point on, it went along something like a diary. It
recorded daily incidents, reflections, comments, the shades and
modifications of Susannah’s opinion of me. It was minute, microscopic,
and detailed. It went into unsuspected corners, and hauled things out,
and delivered judgments on them. If the book of the Recording Angel is
put together on that model, it’s surely a good model. Perhaps the first
sight of the record and analysis will make a man squirm. But I wouldn’t
ask for a better Recording Angel than Susannah, or a judge on the whole
more just. But that is not the main value of the poem to me. It began to
strike me in a new light when I discovered that Susannah had my sins on
her conscience.

There were entries like these:

                        “June fifth.

                   “The night is dark as it can be,

                   The rain is falling on the sea,

                   And every one of us is gay.

                   Kit was very good all day.


                        “ June tenth.

                   “ Georgiana Tupper died,

                   I cried a lot, and then I cried

                   Because Kit did not care a fly,

                   But said he did, and told a lie,”

This was a kind of light to stand in, not only searching, but one that
manufactures repentance faster than a man can dispose of the goods.

Two things began to dawn on me: first, that, although, as the subject
of Susannah’s poem it was natural I should be all around in it, on the
other hand, looking at the poem as a diary, I was more ubiquitous than
seemed reasonable: second, that the diary was getting on my nerves.
In fact, passing time was becoming a sort of running commentary on
Susannah. It dawned upon me that Susannah and I had fallen into the
habit of occupying each other’s horizons. Then said to myself, “I’m
in for it. It’s the way the world is made.” This was toward the end of
June. The _Violetta_ was in sight of the California coast, and the blue
mountains of the Coast Range were a fringe along the eastern skyline by
day.

One night I sat with Sadler, looking across the water toward where
our native land lay in the darkness, he twankling on his banjo and I
thinking of the condition of being a running commentary with an occupied
horizon. By and by he began to mutter and grumble into a sort of tune
whose joints didn’t fit. On the whole, as a tune, it was an offence to
music, and didn’t agree with my idea of what is morally right. But it
surely suited him. He began to sing to it, and the words didn’t suit me
either.

                   “When first I kissed Susannah--

                   The facts I state precise--

                   The forty million little stars

                   They winked their little eyes,

                   They seemed to say, ‘You dassn’t’--

                   I guessed the same was true,--

                   They seemed to say, ‘I reckon things

                   Will happen if you do’;

                   When first I kissed Susannah.


                   “When first I kissed Susannah,

                   I wondered if I dared;

                   I see some little stars go out,

                   Implying they was scared;

                   I see a porpoise lift his head

                   And pop his eyes and drool;

                   And all the sea lay flat and prayed,

                   ‘Lord help this poor damn fool!’

                   When first I kissed Susannah.


                   “When first I kissed Susannah--

                   The facts I state ‘em free--

                   She never done a single thing

                   To knock the head off me.

                   She melted like a snowflake,

                   That’s crystal, keen and white,

                   That turns a drop of water,

                   That glimmers in the night,

                   When first I kissed Susannah.”

There was a long silence.

“Of course,” I said at last, “I might be mistaken, for though you’re
some stiff maybe with ancientness, still you’ve got weight and
experience, and accident and foreordination ought to be allowed for.”

“Sure they ought. You’re right, sonny. That there’s a good balance of
facts.”

“Allowing for all that then, still I’d like to remark that if you kiss
Susannah again, I’ll knock the head off you myself.”

Sadler twankled on peacefully.

“Is them sentiments genuine?” he asked, “Which I wish to inquire if
they’re the offspring of wrath.”

“They are!”

“Well,” he said, “it’s this way. Scrapping is roses and raptures to
me, but the facts don’t allow it. The facts of that poem ain’t in my
experience but yours, which is why I’m weeping to the moon.”

“They’re not in mine either.”

“They _ain’t!_ Well, why ain’t they?” Then he swore in a slow, plaintive
manner.

“They ain’t! Well, why ain’t they? That’s what I want to know.”

He went off leaving me reflecting about all the things a man misses.
Then I thought about the way things are linked together, one thing
happening because of another.

For if the King of Lua hadn’t roused Mrs. Ulswater’s wrath so that she
had to carry him off, she wouldn’t have carried off Sadler too; and if
Sadler hadn’t been a poet, probably Susannah wouldn’t have been either;
and if Susannah hadn’t begun a poem on me, it wouldn’t have turned into
a semipublic diary; and if I hadn’t seen her diary, and seen it grow
from day to day, I wouldn’t have got into that tumultuous condition.
Susannah saw through me, as if I were a window pane, but the window,
through which I saw into Susannah’s secrecy, was her diary.

At last I got up and went down into the cabin. Susannah was not there,
but the doctor was reading to Mrs. Ulswater.

“Mrs. Ulswater,” I said, “is Susannah too young to be kissed; that is,
by me?”

“Don’t you mean too old?” she asked quietly, without looking up.

“No, I mean too young.”

Mrs. Ulswater was silent a moment.

“I suppose she is. But not too young for us to make plans.”

“Did you have a plan, Mrs. Ulswater?” I asked after a while.

“You needn’t pretend you didn’t know what it was.”

“I suspected it when it began to succeed.”

Dr. Ulswater took off his glasses and pointed them vaguely at me.

“As to the date of your suspicions,” he said, “you are an authority, but
as to the date of the success of Mrs. Ulswater’s plan, you are in error,
in error. Mrs. Ulswater’s plans begin to succeed when she begins to make
them. The beginning of the end is coincident with the beginning of the
beginning. She has an arrangement with destiny. She i----”

“Stuff!” said Mrs. Ulswater.

“Not at all! Not at all!” he cried. “I’ll bet Hannah Atkins to a fresh
infant that Mrs. Ulswater laid the lines of your future a year and
a half ago, and started for a predestined Island of Clementina,
and collected a foreordinate orphan whom she had spotted from the
description of the late Mr. Tupper. ‘Susannah,’ she said to herself,
‘will do for Kit. We’ll go to Clementina.’ Pundits, prime ministers, and
reigning monarchs she picked up by way--populations rioted as she found
convenient--mere incidental details to a further end. Through helplessly
remonstrant oceans, through a universe undisciplined and disorderly, she
pursued the judicious tenor of her way. Here and there she altered the
trend of history. It was nothing. Missions! Not at all. Her purpose was
to make a match. The feminine mind----”

“Fiddlesticks!” said Mrs. Ulswater.



CHAPTER XXXII--ZIONVILLE


|IN San Francisco Dr. Ulswater set about despatching Hannah Atkins
eastward, and I got into communication with The Union Electric Company.
Sadler disappeared. He went with Dr. Ulswater to see Hannah Atkins
despatched, and then disappeared on business of his own.

Dr. Ulswater wired east: “Goods shipped by S. P. as per letter to
follow.” Two days later he received a telegram from the East: “What’s
the trouble with your shipment?” He wired back: “Don’t know of any
trouble,” and received this mystic and portentous reply: “Held up at
Zionville.”

Zionville! Where and what was Zionville? Dr. Ulswater and I were to
find out. How shall one answer the question: “What is Zionville?” We may
begin in this way:

A stranger visiting Zionville to-day, if he is one with eyes to see
understanding, will notice that the distinction of the place, in some
singular and subtle way, seems to come together and concentrate on its
cemetery, a noble enclosure with an imposing arched gateway. He will
wonder how and why.

If he takes my advice, he will inquire first for Babbitt’s Hotel. He
will find there a long veranda with thin green pillars, many cane-backed
chairs, and many occupants of the chairs. Of these occupants let him
inquire for William C. Jones. It may well be that one of the occupants
will be William C. Jones. Let him fall into casual conversation with
William C. Jones. He will find him full of local patriotism, elderly,
cross-eyed, a lawyer by profession, a man of harsh voice, and manner of
speech as indirect as his left eye; of a bleak and barren face, heavy,
morose, shaped like a Bartlett pear, with light eyelashes and no
eyebrows; a man of statesmanlike carriage, with care up on his forehead.
Let the stranger, pointing to the cemetery’s tallest monument, at last
inquire:

“What’s that monument for?” Maybe, if he should speak of it as “that
pillar of distress,” or some such equivocal term as might suggest a
doubt whether he liked its architecture, it might be a good plan. Then
William C. Jones will fasten on either side of his questioner a glassy
diagonal stare, and speak something to this general effect, inquiring:

--Whether you are a sarcastic and facetious party, or one that has
misspent his youth and means to die sudden and ignorant; and if so,
whether you are inclined to ribaldry, and don’t know a real serious
subject from a can of spoiled beans; or are merely a sort of Hottentot
party, disguised in a different and on the whole inferior kind of
homeliness, with features not well assorted, morals depraved, and
intellect omitted; and if so, whether on that account you ought to be
excused for illiteracy respecting that world-renowned monument, or were
not well brought up, and possibly intend better than you talk.----

In that way the subject will be fairly opened.

Under the guidance of William C. Jones let the stranger go about,
listen, and observe. He will hear that originally Zionville was the
offspring of a gold mine. He will see that at present she lies in the
midst of orchards and vineyards. Superficially, she is a small and
happy city lying between the flat plain of the Sacramento and the lower
foothills of the Sierras. In reality she is a personage. No origins
account for Zionville, and no appearances define her.

Dr. Ulswater is fond of drawing fine distinctions between what he calls
“the phenomenal and noumenal Zionville,” between “the objective and the
subjective Zionville,” between Zionville as she appears to the senses
and “Zionville as such.” This is all more or less beyond me, but I’d
go so far as to admit that “Zionville as such” is a personage without
parallel in the solar system, without example in the Milky Way. How
shall I describe her? She is romantic, and incurably young. She
is nonchalant, and yet interested. She is open, unashamed, and yet
impenetrable.

When Dr. Ulswater and I first saw her, she appeared to consist of some
hundreds of ramshackle houses thrown down anywhere, a few handsome
residences on the hillsides, a couple of brick blocks, a high school, a
jail, three churches, Babbitt s Hotel, and an outlying Chinatown. There
were no sidewalks then to speak of, except on Main Street. There were
some gas lamps, but nothing electric, and nothing that looked like a
cemetery. Westward lay the plain, eastward the wooded hills and lonely
canyons. Nothing spoke outwardly of Zionville s aspirations, her hopes
and dreams. And yet she stood there in a crisis of her history.

It is well established now that there are three great dates in Zionville
history, of which the first marks the discovery of the Eureka Gold
Mine, and the second the Reformation. Opinion agrees that before the
Reformation she was already a personage, but admits that her morals
were seedy; that morals was not a subject to which she gave any great
attention.

The history of the reform movement is a volume by itself. The subject
of morals once called to her attention, she went at it with her
characteristic ardour and efficiency. Anything labelled “Morality”
 she was ready to try. She set her mind on higher things. She became
conscious of her destiny. A new era dawned. She discarded her old name.
The name “Zionville” dates only from the Reformation. Her former name is
expunged from her records. No public-spirited citizen ever mentions it
now.

Dr. Ulswater and I stepped, then, from the train, and looked about us,
and saw a drowsy, shiftless looking town, loafing, sprawling at the feet
of the hills. We cared nothing for Zionville. We were looking for Hannah
Atkins. We wanted to know what brigand of the Sierras was low-down
enough to hold up a lady of her age, discretion, decent poverty, and
illustrious descent. We asked the station master if he had any news
about him concerning such and such goods, so and so labelled.

He was a small man with pale eyes. No sooner had Dr. Ulswater spoken
than his pale eyes glowed with purpose. There was a sudden and
mysterious light in them. It was the reflection of the torch of
Zionville. It was our first glimpse of Zionville’s pure flame.

He sprang up. He ran past us without speaking, out through the open
door, and sped up the dusty street. We stood alone in the silent, empty
station. The doctor walked to the door, adjusted his glasses, and gazed
after. I followed.

“Doctor,” I said, “Hannah’s got into trouble. Maybe she stopped off for
breakfast and didn’t pay her bills.”

He was beyond the reach of jibes, listening, gazing at the phenomena
before him. We both looked. We saw Zionville waking up, shaking her
mane, pealing her eagle eye, girding her loins and unlimbering herself.
First one figure, then another appeared in the hot sunny street; then
groups, throngs, gathered and martialled. The dust rose so thickly as
to hide them, but the distant murmur grew, and now we heard the thump of
drums, the clash of cymbals, the piping of fifes. The brown dust cloud
came rolling down the street toward the station; through it we soon
discerned the approaching procession, men and women and a fringe of
clamouring children.

“Mad!” said Dr. Ulswater. “Why, it’s a palpably insane community! What
do you conjecture they’re after?” I said:

“Maybe it’s Hannah’s pedigree. Maybe it’s us.”

The dusty procession was upon us. We were seized and thrust into the
middle of it. The tumult, the shouting, and the noise of semi-musical
instruments was so great that if anybody attempted to explain or answer
questions, I didn’t make it out. I noticed that the confusion was really
superficial. Nobody seemed to be in command, every one seemed to have a
hand in what was going on--whatever it was--and some common understood
purpose seemed to guide it all. It was an organised miscellany. Up the
the street we went through the dust, drums, cymbals, fifes, and flags
before and after. We turned at last, crowding up the alley where a large
hall used to stand behind Gregson’s grocery. Whoever in Zionville was
not in that hall was looking in through the windows.



CHAPTER XXXIII--WILLIAM C. JONES AND LOUISA


|AT the upper end of the hall was a low platform, on the left side of
which sat twelve men on benches. At the right end of the platform stood
that familiar oblong box that contained the last tabernacle of Hannah
Atkins. The covers were off. There were signs about her of considerable
investigation. A table stood in the centre of the platform and behind
it sat a very small man, with a long silky black beard and very delicate
features.

Gentlest and suavest of men! He was called “Louisa,” this magistrate.
For if he had, hanging disconsolately in the rear of his history, the
family name of “Bumper,” it was nothing to the point. The sure taste and
discretion of Zionville always refused it.

At that time he was Justice of the Peace, and Coroner, and some other
things, and in after days Mayor of Zionville. His voice was sweet,
tender, soothing, a sort of a tenor warble; his manners were beautiful,
and language flowed from him like molasses from a spigot.

In front of the platform stood a man of features reminding one of the
Sahara Desert. This was William C. Jones, the Public Prosecutor.

Dr. Ulswater was in a condition of wrath. With him a condition of wrath
implied a condition of eloquence. We being hauled up before that soft
and subtle child, Louisa, with Louisa, W. C. Jones, and all Zionville
wanting to know all about Hannah Atkins all at once,--being, in
fact, for the first time face to face with Zionville, that unique
phenomenon,--any kind of behaviour on our part would be likely enough;
but on account of haste, and on account of some punches in the back due
to the ardour of the occasion, Dr. Ulswater had emotions in his head
that kept discharging his hand upwards from his head in a series of
explosions, and he started in to give his opinion of Zionville, and let
off opinions in volleys and artillery playing wonderful. But Louisa
flowed over him like molasses over a hot griddle cake:

“Later, sir, later, we shall be happy to discuss with you the foibles
of our society, but what we are interested in now is how this party, in
this here truncated coffin, came to be travelling through Zionville
in this here noncommittal manner; also, as to what may be the names,
titles, pretensions, antecedents, residences, of yourself and friend;
also of the noncommittal party aforesaid; also what may be your
connection with that party. These, sir, are the points on which
Zionville desires to be informed. But perhaps this other gentleman can
give us some succinct statement, some short cut to the information this
community is after.”

I gave Louisa our names, and told him the party he referred to was a
foreign lady that went by the name of “Hannah Atkins,” at least lately
she been so called though I had reason to believe it was an alias, or a
corruption of her title and pretension.

“I thank you, sir,” said Louisa, sweetly. “We progress, and your
statements reasonably agree with the information we already have. And
now possibly Dr. Ulswater will entertain us with some still eloquent
but more pertinent remarks, some exhilarating but not too gruesome
anecdotes, illustrating the immediate causes of this lady’s decease.”

The doctor took a new start. He made some flourishing archaeological
statements about the Incas and the antiseptic qualities of the Andean
climate, and then he sailed off on the high seas of South-American lore
and his own enthusiasm over Hannah Atkins. But he was still somewhat
flustered and confused. There was a growing tumult round about. I judged
Zionville didn’t follow him. Louisa said it wouldn’t do, and William C.
Jones rose up gloomy and bleak, and his forefinger started arguing up
and down like a walking beam. He wanted to know:

--Whether them hideous words, unaccounted for by any civilised alphabet,
was the names of Mrs. Atkins’ ancestors, or of the last heathen jurymen
that had tried him (Dr. Ulswater) for some previous harrowing crime;
and if so, whether remarks made in the Choctaw language on insurance
statistics, such as his (Dr. Ulswater’s) remarks appeared to him (the
speaker) to be, were not likely to impress an intelligent jury as
intended to mislead and deceive; and if so, whether he (Dr. Ulswater)
didn’t mean,--before justice was summarily executed upon him by the
aroused public spirit of Zionville,--to brush his hair and procure a
set of whiskers less weedy and revolting; and if so, whether he meant to
depose that this here deceased party came by her death naturally or not;
and if so, whether he hadn’t no better account to give of his possession
of the same than incoherent statements, which plainly was meant to evade
inquiry with irrelevant excursions into doubtful tradition----

“Doctor,” said Louisa, “I grieve to have misled you. I intended to make
plain the desire of the jury for information, not on the subject of this
lady’s remote ancestry, but as to how she came by her death, and why
she was travelling around, not as an authenticated corpse, but as
an inorganic freight, addressed to some more or less mythological
institution, some abstract idea on the other side of the continent. Do
I now make myself clear, sir? Do I understand you to depose her death to
have been violent or natural?”

“How the blazes should I know?” cried the doctor, exasperated.

“The defendant, gentlemen, deposes that he don’t know. The defendant, in
fact, declines to testify on the point.”

“She’s a mummy!” shouted the doctor. “A mummy! What’s the matter with
this maniac of a town? If you don’t know what a mummy is, I’m telling
you. I know all about her that anybody knows,” and he went on to tell
what he knew, but William C. Jones bore him down, inquiring with the
voice of calamity:

--Whether them figures he (Dr. Ulswater) was giving was the dimensions
of the city of Cuzco, or the age of Mrs. Atkins’ parents at the time of
her death, or the geography of the Andes, or the story of Mrs. Atkins’
young romance; and if so, whether he (Dr. Ulswater) was acquainted
with her in youth; and if so, whether she was as yellow at that time
or affected since by a fever of that colour; and if so, inasmuch as his
(Dr. Ulswater’s) statements seemed to imply that he was no relative but
only an admirer of Mrs. Atkins, whether his (Dr. Ulswater’s) manifestly
false and absurd statement that she was upwards of four hundred years
old and her complexion complicated with considerable paint, wasn’t an
unchivalrous statement, that throwed doubts on the genuineness of his
(Dr. Ulswater’s) boasted admiration; and if so, and there was any museum
in Connecticut unscrupulous enough for such barbarous inhumanity,
and Mrs. Atkins and Dr. Ulswater ever arrived there--in defeat of
justice--whether they was intended to be exhibited in the same show
case; and if so, whether the promiscuous and opprobrious language he
(Dr. Ulswater) was at present using was by him thought calculated to
benefit his case----

“Doctor,” said Louisa, “Zionville is pleased to know you. Under other
circumstances your evanescent humour would delight us beyond measure.
But it is the opinion of the Court you ought to be informed that this is
a moral town. Yes, sir. Not insanity but morality is what’s hit us. It’s
the moralest town this side the Divide. We’ve got that reputation with
the sweat of our virtues. There was a time when anybody found in
possession of a corpse might be asked what he was going to do with it,
or he might not, according to idle curiosity or intelligent interest.
But times are changed. We make a point now of asking where he got it;
which is, of course, a sacrifice of perfect courtesy to exacting morals.
We admit it. But, sir, you have projected this here casket loaded with
moral dynamite--if I may so state it--into this here moral community,
and yet you claim not to know ‘What the blazes’--if I quote correctly--
she died of. The Court deprecates this distrustful attitude. The Court
regards such reserve as suspicious, incriminating. In response to
pertinent and proper questions you indulge some humorous statements
regarding--if I caught the word--“mummies,” some jocular reference to
the venerable appearance of the deceased--as the Court supposes. The
Court has already inferred deceased was an Injun, and therefore don’t
care about the rest of her ancestry. You admit, sir, you know all about
her, that you are in complete possession of the facts so far as known to
any one. And yet, omitting the one pertinent fact, namely the cause and
circumstances of her death, you deliver an uncalled-for lecture on Injun
customs. The Court deprecates this learned frivolity. The Court
penetrates your foolish subterfuge. The Court proposes to inform you of
the evidence in its possession bearing on this case.”

Here Louisa took a document from his pocket.

“The following letter,” he said, “was received day before yesterday,
addressed ‘To The Magistrates of Zionville.’

“‘_Gentlemen_:---

“‘On the 14th, probably on the afternoon east-bound freight, there will
enter Zionville and endeavour to pass through a suspicious looking box
addressed to some institution in Connecticut that may or may not exist.
The undersigned is not informed. But the undersigned is well informed
that the consignor of said box passes under the name of James Ulswater.”
 Now, if on examination of that there box, the Magistrates of Zionville
is of the opinion that this yere “James Ulswater” is a party that
oughtn’t to be at large, the undersigned ain’t going to dispute that
opinion, undersigned being of the opinion the contents of said box is,
or was once, a respectable middle-aged woman, with some Injun blood in
her, and named Hannah Atkins, as to occasions of whose death it ain’t
for him to say. Only he don’t take no stock in “James Ulswater’s”
 remarks on the subject. They don’t inspire no respect in his bosom. As
to how “James Ulswater” came into possession of Mrs. Atkins’ remains,
the undersigned believes James Ulswater has something up his sleeve
that he dassent tell. To what end then is “James Ulswater” shipping Mrs.
Atkins, without sign of mourning or mortuary symbol, but with stealth,
concealment and disrespect, over the innocent track and guileless
freight agencies of the S. P. R. R.?

“‘Yours truly,

“‘A Former Citizen of Zionville who Believes in her Destiny and Honours
her Morals.’”

“Gentlemen,” said Louisa, “do the suspicions of our fellow citizen
appear to you justified?”

The jurymen nodded one after another, like a row of tenpins.

“Do the prisoner’s remarks inspire confidence in your bosoms?”

One after another the jurymen shook their heads.

“Then the Court directs the sheriff to remove the elderly party calling
himself ‘Ulswater,’ and his presumable accomplice, the younger party
with the particular necktie and advantageous trousers, calling himself
‘Kirby,’ and that the sheriff hold these parties for further action. The
Court is adjourned.”



CHAPTER XXXIV--AMBASSADORS FROM ZIONVILLE


|IT seemed to me I was getting into the habit of incarceration. I passed
from jail to jail. It was becoming monotonous.

But this was a creditable jail, built in the fervour of the Reformation,
with a considerable veranda in front facing on Main Street. In the
fervour of the Reformation it had been, as you might say, a centre of
interest in Zionville. So many citizens got enclosed there during that
period for one reason or another connected with their not understanding
the tendency of events, that this jail always had a peculiar social
standing. It was not like the jails of other communities. It bore no
necessary social stigma. If a citizen was deposited there, it made all
the difference, and depended on the amount of repentance his case was
supposed to call for, whether he was put in a front or a rear cell.
Because in a front-windowed cell he could see Main Street, and maybe
talk with friends in the street, or join in the conversation on the
veranda. In this way the Judge and the condemned of the preceding
afternoon might often be arguing in the evening through a barred window
about politics or religion. Hence it always made a man vexed and low in
mind to be put in a rear cell, where he couldn’t see Main Street.

Doctor Ulswater and I were put in a cell over the veranda, and through
the barred window we could see the length of Main Street, which ran from
the railway station, at one end of the town, to nothing in particular,
as yet, at the other end. Main Street now runs from the railway to the
cemetery, but at that time it ran off into generalities.

Main Street at that moment was full of a crowd which acted as if it all
belonged to one family. I could see Louisa standing on a dry-goods box
and talking confidentially to the family. There was a general session of
Zionville on Main Street. I judged we were the subject of conversation,
along with Hannah Atkins. William C. Jones and two other statesmen were
walking around arm in arm. The whole place was buzzing like a beehive.

Then I noticed that Dr. Ulswater was not saying anything. He was looking
over my shoulder through the bars silently, and all anger was gone from
his face.

“Kit,” he said, mildly, “this is a town of great interest to
archaeology.”

I thought it over, and said:

“Seems to me it’d be of more interest to Mrs. Ulswater’s orphan asylum.
It’s too fresh. It’s the most youthful-minded place I ever saw. I don’t
see any archaeology in it.”

“Precisely,” he said. “The youthfulness of Zionville struck me too, and
that not so much because of her crude appearance as because of her
buoyancy. I said to myself, ‘Clearly we are home again. This is no Latin
mob of Portate, no explosion of firecrackers, no furious inefficiency.
This is gunpowder in a gun. Here is the organising instinct, the jocular
humour, together with the deadly arrival. We are in the States.’ But yet
I was not satisfied with that, and those considerations are not what’s
hoisting me now. Cast your eyes back over the late events. Look from
this window on that people in their market place, their forum, their
agora. Recollect how Zionville got herself together. What unity? What
esprit de corps? You recognise it? Ha! No! It’s Greek, sir, Greek! It’s
the civic clan, the municipal State. So looked the Athenians, so they
acted in their market place. We have arrived not only in the States, but
in Zionville. Now, what is Zionville? A piece of antiquity! Archaeology
in flesh and blood! Pompeii be hanged. This is better than Pompeii. This
is a reversion, an atavism!”

I said: “You’d better not deal out suspicious sounding names like those
within hearing of Zionville. She’s high-bred and nervous. If you mean
she’s a town with a character, I agree. She has more character than a
bucking bronco.”

“Mysterious and extraordinary town,” he muttered. “Ha! You’re right.
‘Character’ is the word. Personality! Personality fascinates me. I
haven’t the article myself. I’m a nebulous gas. Hence I thirst for, I
cling to, personality. Most mysterious, most interesting town!”

“I don’t deny the interest, doctor,” I said, “but it seems to me it’s
sort of concentrated around the question whether or not that crowd is
going to take a notion to lynch us. It looks like a crowd that takes
notions. Would an Athenian populace be likely to act that way?”

“Precisely,” he cried with enthusiasm. “Look at Socrates!”

It seemed to me Zionville had some game going on, but I didn’t make out
what the game was. It seemed to me a lynching would be little short of
frivolous. But then the Athenians had acted frivolous about Socrates.
Zionville was surely an unexpected place. But the crowd in Main Street
didn’t act like an angry crowd. It acted interested.

At this moment the door of our cell opened and Louisa and William C.
Jones walked in. They sat down on a bench without speaking, and there
they sat and seemed to be embarrassed, and William C. Jones’ left eye
was searching sideways for the cosine of x, and he began to question:

--Whether coming in a spirit of conciliation or to speak last words of
warning or entreaty; and if so--

And there he stopped, as if he couldn’t quite get his gait.

“Maybe you’re ambassadors,” I said, “ambassadors from Zionville.”

“The very word, sir,” said Louisa, looking pleased. “Ambassadors from
Zionville.” And William C. Jones began again to indicate his doubts:

--Whether a certain document received by Magistrates was intended to
further public interests, or private ends, or mixed in motive; and if
so, whether Dr. Ulswater’s account of deceased party in question might
be accepted by Magistrates and apologies tendered, according to attitude
he (Dr. Uls-water) might hereafter assume; and if so, whether he
(Dr. Ulswater) would rather the deceased party in question should
be confiscated as incidental to judicial proceedings whose results,
although likely to be fatal to him (Dr. Ulswater) and his accomplice,
Zionville could no more than vainly regret, public interest being of
first importance; and if so, whether Dr. Ulswater would consent
to deliver over Mrs. Atkins peaceably, for a consideration, to the
necessities of Zionville, and thereby win an honourable place in her
(Zionville’s) history; and if so, whether he would state his mind on
that point without incommoding the subject with the conquest of Peru, or
the natural history of South America, and thereby would accommodate the
Magistrates; and if so, or whether it would be necessary to return to
the Court house in order to hasten proceedings to the end that he (Dr.
Ulswater) and his accomplice might be hung before the shades of evening
softly descended, in the interests of justice and the destinies of
Zionville; and if so, whether he would accept or decline the said
proposition,--

“Doctor,” said Louisa, sliding in like syrup. “Allow me to state briefly
a few pertinent facts. Zionville is a moral town. It’s the moralest town
you ever saw. But, sir, we see the necessity of getting this atmospheric
morality embodied in substantial institutions. We have already a high
school with an Eastern college graduate at the head. We have three
churches provided with clergymen, not one of whom dares show himself on
the street without a choke collar. And, sir, we have a cemetery; that
is, so far as a fence around it, and an excellent grave, well excavated,
goes toward providing such an institution; which, however, public
opinion is unanimous it don’t go far enough. For there was once a time
in Zionville when there’d have been no particular difficulty on this
point, but those days are passed. In those days, when anybody was
dead,--as might happen perhaps by perforation, and airiness in vital
parts,--and if he was worth while, we used to ship him to Sacramento to
get a ceremony ready made; and if he wasn’t worth while, we didn’t
take much notice where he was planted; and therefore there wasn’t any
cemetery that anybody could find if he wanted one. Such were our customs
and traditions in those days. But Zionville reformed. She took up with
sackcloth. She sat down to mourn, and she rose up reformed. ‘Morals,’
she says, ‘shall be my watchword. Morals,’ she says, ‘that’s me.’
Sir, since then there ain’t anybody died in Zionville whatsoever, none
whatever at all. But sometime ago there was a man named Jim Tweedy, who
got indented with a chimney falling on him, to that extent he looked
not only dead but disreputable, and you couldn’t have told him from any
other miscellaneous débris. And one of our esteemed citizens, named Pete
Chapel, he got officious and jubilant, and went off by himself, and
dug a sepulchre on some land that belonged to him out the end of Main
Street. But was Jim Tweedy dead? Doctor, he was not! But he played off
he was for forty-eight hours, and then he came to, and looks around the
corners of himself, and says, ‘Blamed if I ain’t all triangles!’ but he
wouldn’t have a thing to do with that location Pete Chapel had fixed
up for him particular. He rejected it with indignation. Indeed, he was
perhaps not justly to be blamed, though he’s never had the standing in
the community he had before, on account of our feeling he was a man
that couldn’t be relied on when public interest was concerned, besides
looking discreditable on account of indentations in his surface; nor it
couldn’t be denied that Pete Chapel’s position was uneasy too, seeing it
was allowed as up to him to provide something for the situation. So he
put up Tweedy’s grave for a raffle, and it fetched a good price, over
the value of the land about it, on account of public spirit in the
town. After that it changed hands considerable, the price fluctuating
according to rumours of indispositions, or strangers in town looking
warlike. It went up and down till it got to be a sort of thermometer of
Zionville’s condition of depression, or confidence in its destiny.
At last it fell into the hands of William C. Jones, here present, who
donated it to Zionville, and Zionville put a fence around the property
and denominated the same a Cemetery. Such and so far is the history of
this institution. But, sir, we feel that our Cemetery has not as yet
attained its proper standing in our community by formally entering upon
its career of public usefulness. Our morality forbids the thought of too
direct action to that end. It has been suggested that time would remedy
this want. True. But meanwhile Zionville sees its progress stayed,
its development halted. Now, sir, Zionville discerns in Mrs. Atkins
an extraordinary fitness for this purpose. William C. Jones and I
have consulted. We discern a rare opportunity, a crisis in Zionville’s
history. We have consulted with our fellow citizens, and they have
took to the idea like a nigger to a watermelon. Our determination is
inflexible. A monument has been ordered from Sacramento. The ceremonies
are arranged whereby to plant Mrs. Atkins, whereby to inaugurate our
Cemetery conformable to the spirit of our citizens. The San Francisco
press has been notified to send representatives. All is prepared. Name
your price, sir. It’s yours. Name your conditions. They’re granted. The
antecedents of Mrs. Atkins are the most essential elements in her
value, and we hope to see them, in your own eloquent language, indelibly
engraven on the monument.”

“Why, bless my soul!” said Dr. Ulswater. “What good would a Peruvian
mummy do you? Why don’t you bury a buffalo and call it a bishop? What’s
the idea?”

“Fame,” said Louisa.

“Fame? fame? But look here! Mummies belong in museums!”

“Very good,” said Louisa. “Ain’t a cemetery a museum? Alas, sir! a
collection of various mortality?”

“Dear, dear! You’ll be the death of me.”

“Whether it shall be possible,” began William C. Jones, “to avoid
compassing your decease through obstinacy and public interests, being
the object of this interview; and if so----”

“Your honour,” said Dr. Ulswater with a grand gesture. Nobody could
beat him for elegance when he was in trim--“Your honour,” he said,
interrupting W. C. and addressing Louisa, “I beg the privilege of
donating Hannah Atkins to Zionville, and to the service of her fame.
To the interests of archaeology Zionville is more than a legion of
mummies.”

Louisa ran to the window, thrust his hat through the bars and waved it,
and we heard Zionville break forth in one simultaneous pean.

But when Dr. Ulswater and I came out of the jail and joined the
rejoicing, when--as the subject and centre of rejoicing--we came down
opposite Babbitt’s Hotel, there we saw, on the veranda of it, Sadler
six feet two, and engaged in sinister meditation against a green pillar.
Then I knew he had written the Letter to the Magistrates.

He came down from the veranda to join the rejoicing, and when I claimed
to see into his insidious villainy, he looked depressed; but Dr.
Ulswater was surprised and delighted.

“By hookey!” he said,--For since his marriage to Mrs. Ulswater he had
come to swear always by innocuous things, and he was hard put to it
sometimes for satisfaction; hence sometimes his objurgations were
familiar, and sometimes recondite.--“By hookey!” he said, “Sadler, I
knew there was something Zionville reminded me of. It was you!”

“I belonged to her,” said Sadler, sadly, walking along with us--“before
she reformed. She wollered in her nakedness then, and we both found
out that sin was monotonous. Since then we’ve each took a shy at the
spiritual life and found it was sportier’n the other. But still I
don’t know if her Sunday School clothes will fit me. But, doctor,” he
concluded, “if it suits you and Mrs. Ulswater to sojourn and abide here,
I’ll try on them clothes.”



CHAPTER XXXV--THE END

|IN the history of Zionville the dates of the Discovery of the Eureka
Mine, of the Reformation, and of the Burial of Hannah Atkins, are like
1492 and 1776 in the history of this country. Whether those foreseeing
statesmen, William C. Jones and Louisa, had reasoned the whole thing out
or not, is now the question. For Sadler claimed that the statesmanship
was all his, and that Louisa and W. C. were trying to jump his claim. He
and Louisa and W. C. Jones used to sit on the veranda of Babbitt’s, and
argue which of them ought to be pensioned, and have a bronze statue, and
brass band to play for him at meals. Sadler’s argument was that he came
down on the heels of his Letter to the Magistrates, with the whole menu
cooked in his own mind. He saw to it himself that Hannah stopped over.
Louisa and W. C. Jones argued that the menu developed in the cooking,
that is, under discussion, to say nothing of the delicate handling which
lay to their credit. Moreover, they argued that Sadler had mostly
in mind the private need that lay in his nature to get even with the
Ulswaters for shanghaiing him off Lua. That was one of W. C. Jones’
strong arguments against him, whereby there fell a shadow of suspicion
on his (Sadler’s) purity of motive. He had wanted to draw Dr. Ulswater
to, and get him interested in Zionville, where he, Sadler, had lived
when he was younger, and before he went over to Asia, and got the gray
ashes of Asia on his head. He had a sentiment for Zionville, as have all
who breathe her air.

“I used to sit,” he said once, “in that there monastery in Rangoon, in
Burmah, with a yeller robe on, and I’d contemplate the same idea for
hours and days, same as Ram Nad is doing out there in the dust, which I
don’t see why Ram Nad can’t do his meditating somewhere else besides up
against that hitching post to employ one able-bodied man on detail to
see nobody’s horse don’t step on him--Here, Bobby Lee! You call your dog
off the prophet, or I’ll come around and spank the fattest side of your
trousers!--Well, by and by, what with turning that idea over and over,
it’d get smooth and round like a billiard ball, and by and by I’d get
into a condition where I’d begin to see things running round the ball,
like the colours on a soap bubble, and them visions got mixed up with
the daylight. But about once in three times when I’d got a vision pinned
down so I could make it give its name, it was nothing but Main Street
from the station to Babbitt’s Hotel. That was the peculiar thing in the
cultivation of my soul’s garden. I guess their wasn’t another garden
like it in Burmah. When I started after Nirvana, about once in three I
fetched up at Babbitt’s.”

“Which,” said W. C. Jones, “is a proper sentiment, but it don’t prove
you was onto Hannah.”

I don’t know either just why Ram Nad liked to meditate against the
hitching post in front of Babbitt’s. He got into the habit of it when
the Ulswaters, and all theirs, lived at Babbitt’s. It was before they
built the big stone house on the hill, from whose porch one could see
thirty miles to where the _Violetta_ lay at anchor in the river. Ram Nad
never got over the habit of the hitching post. He’d sit there placidly
in the dust, with somebody’s pony jingling a chain bit over his head,
and somebody’s dog investigating the conical basket, whose perils no dog
could ever understand. Zionville was more than used to Ram Nad. He
was one of the assets of the town. He could squat down where he liked,
provided it was conspicuous and handy for pointing out to tourists.
He was part of Zionville’s fame--he and his basket and his dingy long
beard, dingy cotton clothes, and brown bony ankles--a sort of public
institution. He ate and slept at Babbitt’s, or at the Ulswaters’, or
anywhere he chose. As I recollect, in his later years, he wore a Navajo
blanket that Sadler gave him, of a fiery red that burnt a hole in the
atmosphere. I recollect the Chinamen from Chinatown that used to drop
around and consult him at the hitching post, but what about I don’t
know. He appeared to be an institution with them too, a sort of high
priest or spiritual adviser.

So lived Ram Nad in Zionville. So he died in Zionville by a unanimous
agreement with himself. He left off breathing one afternoon, in the
sunlight, by his hitching post, calm and harmonious, in a Navajo
blanket.

But I was speaking of the burial of Hannah Atkins, and what person, in
truth, ought to have a bronze statue in front of the City Hall, with a
laurel wreath on his head, and one finger pointing toward Hannah’s
monument.

Of course, any man, of any likely town in the West, advertises his town.
It’s the subject of his daily conversation and his nightly dreams, for
it’s not merely a casual coincidence of people, but an enterprise that
every inhabitant has stock in. So far Zionville wasn’t peculiar. But
no other town would have grasped and gathered in the possibilities
of Hannah Atkins. The question is, Whose genius first foresaw those
possibilities?

It is some years past now. And yet a tourist on the Overland train now
and then still drops off and asks to see where Hannah Atkins was
buried. But Oh! that great day of the Burial! Reporters came up from
San Francisco to attend, and Dr. Ulswater’s oration was a monument
in itself. And Oh! the great days that followed! Zionville became
celebrated, suddenly and superbly, renowned. Fame jumped upon her.
It proclaimed her the healthiest town on earth, not to say the most
singular. There was a time--a short time, we admit--when nearly every
newspaper in the land had its item about Zionville. It was enough. Dr.
Uls-water, William C. Jones, Louisa, Sadler, Ram Nad, all, especially
Hannah Atkins, had a period of limelight fame. Europe and America spoke
of Zionville. The world stopped its business a moment and gave her a
cheer.

The thing was done. Zionville was as well known as Uneeda Biscuit, and
launched on her career of increase. Her boom was started.

As phrases from the Declaration of ‘76 have entered into the national
language, so phrases from Dr. Ulswater’s great speech are embedded in
Zionville usage. “Centripetal point of envious resort,” were words to
be remembered and repeated. “Here we lay,” said Dr. Ulswater, “the
cornerstone of our fame,” and Zionville roared simultaneously! “He means
Hannah!”

“Born in purple of an extinct American dynasty,” said Dr. Ulswater,
“she, whom we here deposit, is henceforth become the symbol around which
the affections of this democratic community are gathered, the cynosure
of our pride, the nucleus of our respectful regrets.”

The statesmen of Zionville, then, saw and grasped their
opportunity,--Zionville’s peculiar gifts, her imaginative reach and
supple unity of action being with them. They demonstrated this fact,
this principle, in the floating of a municipal enterprise, namely, the
automatic action of the newspaper paragraph.

Now, no one questions the talents, no one grudges the praise, of Sadler,
of William C. Jones, of Louisa. They foresaw an automatic paragraph
in Hannah Atkins. They developed and put that automatic paragraph in
action. But the question is: What seminal mind first bore this seed?
Where lay that creative spark of genius, of forecasting insight and
prophetic statemanship? Who first conceived the idea?

Susannah and I have long been married. We still occupy each other’s
horizon. In the same way Dr. Ulswater is apt to see Mrs. Ulswater on the
horizon. She is perhaps a superstition of his.

And yet, whenever I hear the Burial debated, and the idea of it traced
through William C. Jones, Louisa, and Sadler, I seem to see, talking
with Sadler in the evening on the deck of the _Violetta_, a small, thin,
quiet woman, knitting, sewing. Sadler himself does not remember what
she said. Probably her words were few. He remembers that it was there
certain things took shape in his mind. He remembers describing Zionville
to her, and how his sentiments got lively while he did so, and that Mrs.
Ulswater was interested, and little by little he saw it all, clear as a
map, before him. Was Mrs. Uls-water’s then the seminal mind? If you ask
her, she says “Fiddlesticks!” If you ask Dr. Ulswater, he says, “Not one
imaginable, remote doubt of it!”

I say nothing. Only I see Mrs. Ulswater on the deck of the _Violetta_,
knitting, sewing.

Even so she sits to-day, knitting, or sewing, on the porch of the stone
house on the hillside. Below lies the city of Zionville, busy, booming,
with its trolley line and electric lights, which I put in for The Union
Electric. On the further hillside stands the Sanatarium; built and
managed by the Uls-waters. Mrs. Ulswater sits in her rocking chair,
caring nothing for bronze statues, little known of newspaper paragraphs,
knitting the welfare of her fellow men, sewing, embroidering their
destinies, mending their misfortunes. Forward and back goes the restless
thrusting thimble; the fine needle glitters, is gone, and reappears.

So Athens lay below the Acropolis, where stood the bronze statue of
presiding Pallas, leaning on her spear. It was an idle weapon. The main
business of Pallas was to take in glory. Looked at in one way, it was
a foolish business. In Zionville Mrs. Uls-water turns all that over to
Hannah Atkins, to any one who can stand it. Mrs. Ulswater is a deity
from Ohio, and does not care for the parti-coloured bubble of glory.


THE END





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