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Title: In Red and Gold
Author: Merwin, Samuel
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 "In Red and Gold" ***

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By Samuel Merwin

Frontispiece by Cyrus Leroy Baldridge

A. L. Burt Company Publishers, New York






|ON a night in October, 1911, the river steamer _Yen Hsin_ lay alongside
the godown, or warehouse, of the Chinese Navigation Company at Shanghai.
Her black hull bulked large in the darkness that was spotted with
inadequate electric lights. Her white cabins, above, lighted here and
there, loomed high and ghostly, extending as far as the eye could easily
see from the narrow wharf beneath. Swarming continuously across the
gangplanks, chanting rhythmically to keep the quick shuffling step,
crews of coolies carried heavy boxes and bales swung from bamboo poles.

During the evening the white passengers were coming aboard by ones
and twos and finding their cabins, all of which were forward on the
promenade deck, grouped about the enclosed area that was to be at
once their dining-room and “social hall.” Here, within a narrow space,
bounded by strips of outer deck and a partition wall, these few
casual passengers were to be caught, willy-nilly, in a sort of passing
comradeship. For the greater part of this deck, amidships and aft, was
screened off for the use of traveling Chinese officials, and the two
lower decks would be crowded with lower class natives and freight. And,
not unnaturally, in the minds of nearly all the white folk, as they
settled for the night, arose questions as to the others aboard. For
strange beings of many nations dig a footing of sorts on the China
Coast, and odd contrasts occur when any few are thrown together by a
careless fate.... And so, thinking variously in their separate cabins
of the meeting to come, at breakfast about the single long table, and of
the days of voyaging into the heart of oldest China, these passengers,
one by one, fell asleep; while through open shutters floated quaint
odors and sounds from the tangle of sampans and slipper-boats that
always line the curving bund and occasional shouts and songs from late
revelers passing along the boulevard beyond the rows of trees.

It was well after midnight when the _Yen Hsin_ drew in her lines and
swung off into the narrow channel of the Whangpoo. Drifting sampans,
without lights, scurried out of her path. With an American captain on
the strip of promenade deck, forward, that served for a bridge, a yellow
pilot, and Scotch engineers below decks, she slipped down with the tide,
past the roofed-over opium hulks that were anchored out there, past the
dimly outlined stone buildings of the British and American quarter, on
into the broader Wusung. Here a great German mail liner lay at anchor,
lighted from stem to stem. Farther down lay three American cruisers;
and below these a junk, drifting dimly by with ribbed sails flapping and
without the sign of a light, built high astern, like the ghost of a
medieval trader.

“There’s his lights now!” Thus the captain to a huge figure of a man who
stood, stooping a little, beside him, peering out at the river. And
the captain, a stocky little man with hands in the pockets of a heavy
jacket, added--“The dirty devil!”

Indeed, a small green light showed now on the junk’s quarter; and then
she was gone astern.

After a silence, the captain said: “You may as well turn in.”

“Perhaps I will,” replied the other. “Though I get a good deal more
sleep than I need on the river. And very little exercise.”

“That’s the devil of this life, of course. Look a’ me--I’m fat!” The
captain spoke in a rough, faintly blustering tone, perhaps in a nervous
response to the well-modulated voice of his mate, “Must make even more
difference to you--the way you’ve lived. And at that, after all, you
ain’t a slave to the river.”

“No.... in a sense, I’m not.” The mate fell silent.

There were, of course, vast differences in the degrees of misfortune
among the flotsam and jetsam of the coast. Captain Benjamin, now, had a
native wife and five or six half-caste children tucked away somewhere in
the Chinese city of Shanghai.

“We’ve gut quite a bunch aboard this trip,” offered the captain.


“One or two well-known people. There’s our American millionaire, Dawley
Kane. Took four outside cabins. His son’s with him, and a secretary,
and a Japanese that’s been up with him before. Wonder if it’s a pleasure
trip--or if it means that the Kane interests are getting hold up the
river. It might, at that. They bought the Cantey line, you know, in
nineteen eight. Then there’s Tex Connor, and his old sidekick the Manila
Kid, and a couple of women schoolteachers from home, and six or eight
others--customs men and casuals. And Dixie Carmichael--she’s aboard.
Quite a bunch! And His Nibs gets on tomorrow at Nanking.”

“Kang, you mean?”

“The same. There’s a story that he’s ordered up to Peking. They were
talking about it yesterday at the office.”

“Do you think he’s in trouble?”

“Can’t say. But if you ask me, it don’t look like such a good time to be
easy on these agitators, now does it? And they tell me he’s been letting
‘em off, right and left.”

The mate stood musing, holding to the rail. “It’s a problem,” he
replied, after a little, rather absently.

“The funny thing is--he ain’t going on through. Not this trip, anyhow.
We’re ordered to put him off at his old place, this side of Huang Chau.
Have to use the boats. You might give them a look-see.”

“They’ve gossiped about Kang before this at Shanghai.”

“Shanghai,” cried the captain, with nervous irrelevancy, “is full of
information about China--and it’s all wrong!” He added then, “Seen young
Black lately?”

The mate moved his head in the negative.

“Consul-general sent him down from Hankow, after old Chang stopped that
native paper of his. I ran into him yesterday, over to the bank. He says
the revolution’s going to break before summer.”

The mate made no reply to this. Every trip the captain talked in this
manner. His one deep fear was that the outbreak might take place while
he was far up the river.

It had been supposed by all experienced observers of the Chinese scene,
that the Manchu Dynasty would not long survive the famous old empress
dowager, the vigorous and imperious little woman who was known
throughout a rational and tolerant empire, not without a degree of
affection, as “the Old Buddha.” She had at the time of the present
narrative been dead two years and more; the daily life of the infant
emperor was in the control of a new empress dowager, that Lung Yu who
was notoriously overriding the regent and dictating such policies of
government as she chose in the intervals between protracted periods of
palace revelry.

The one really powerful personage in Peking that year was the chief
eunuch, Chang Yuan-fu, a former actor, notoriously the empress’s
personal favorite, who catered to her pleasures, robbed the imperial
treasury of vast sums, wreaked ugly vengeance on critical censors, and
publicly insulted dukes of the royal house.

All this was familiar. The Manchu strain had dwindled out; and while an
empress pleased her jaded appetites by having an actor cut with the lash
in her presence for an indifferent performance, all South China, from
Canton to the Yangtze, seethed with the steadily increasing ferment
of revolution. Conspirators ranged the river and the coast. At secret
meetings in Singapore, Tokio, San Francisco and New York, new and bloody
history was planned. The oldest and hugest of empires was like a vast
crater that steamed and bubbled faintly here and there as hot vital
forces accumulated beneath.

The mate, pondering the incalculable problem, finally spoke: “I suppose,
if this revolt should bring serious trouble to Kang, it might affect you
and me as well.”

The captain flared up, the blustering note rising higher in his voice.
“But somebody’ll have to run the boats, won’t they?”

“If they run at all.”

His impersonal tone seemed to irritate further the captain’s troubled
spirit. “If they run at all, eh? It’s all right for you--you can go it
alone--you haven’t got children on your mind, young ones!”

The big man was silent again. A great hand gripped a stanchion tightly
as he gazed out at the dark expanse of water. The captain, glancing
around at him, looking a second time at that hand, turned away, with a
little sound.

“I will say good night,” remarked the mate abruptly, and left his chief
to his uncertain thoughts.

The steamer moved deliberately out into the wide estuary of the Yangtze,
which is at this point like a sea. Squatting at the edge of the
deck, outside the rail, the pilot spoke musically to the Chinese
quartermaster. Slowly, a little at a time, as she plowed the ruffling
water, the steamer swung off to the northwest to begin her long journey
up the mighty river to Hankow where the passengers would change for
the smaller Ichang steamer, or for the express to Peking over the still
novel trunk railway. And if, as happened not infrequently, the _Yen
Hsin_ should break down or stick in the mud, the Peking passengers would
wait a week about the round stove in the old Astor House at Hankow for
the next express.

A mighty river indeed, is the Yangtze. During half the year battle-ships
of reasonably deep draught may reach Hankow. In the heyday of the sailing
trade clippers out of New York and blunt lime-juicers out of Liverpool
were any day sights from the bund there. Through a busy and not seldom
bloody century the merchants of a clamorous outside world have roved the
great river (where yellow merchants of the Middle Kingdom, in sampan,
barge and junk, roved fifty centuries before them) with rich cargoes
of tea (in leaden chests that bore historic ideographs on the enclosing
matting)--with hides and horns and coal from Hupeh and furs and musk
from far-away Szechuen, with soya beans and rice and bristles and
nutgalls and spices and sesamum, with varnish and tung oil and vegetable
tallow, with cotton, ramie, rape and hemp, with copper, quicksilver,
slate, lead and antimony, with porcelains and silk. Along this river
that to-day divides an empire into two vast and populous domains a
thousand thousand fortunes have been gained and lost, rebellions and
wars have raged, famines have blighted whole peoples. Forts, pagodas and
palaces have lined its banks. The gilded barges of emperors have drifted
idly on its broad bosom. Exquisite painted beauties have found mirrors
in its neighboring canals. Its waters drain to-day the dusty red plain
where Lady Ch’en, the Helen, of China, rocked a throne and died.

The morning sun rode high. Soft-footed cabin stewards in blue robes
removed the long red tablecloth and laid a white. By ones and twos the
passengers appeared from their cabins or from the breezy deck and took
their seats, eying one another with guarded curiosity as they bowed a
morning greeting.

Miss Andrews, of Indianapolis, stepped out from her cabin through a
narrow corridor, and then, at sight of the table, stopped short, while
her color rose slightly. Miss Andrews was slender, a year or so under
thirty, and, in a colorless way, pretty. Shy and sensitive, the scene
before her was one her mind’s eye had failed to picture; the seats about
the long table were half filled, and entirely with men. She saw, in
that one quick look, the face of a young German between those of two
Englishmen. A remarkably thin man in a check suit looked up and for an
instant fixed furtive eyes on hers. Just beyond him sat a big man, with
a round wooden face and one glass eye; he turned his head with his eyes
to look at her. A quiet man of fifty-odd, with gray hair, a nearly
white mustache that was cropped close, and the expression of quiet
satisfaction that only wealth and settled authority can give, was
putting a spoonful of condensed milk into his coffee. Next to him sat
a young man--very young, certainly not much more than twenty or
twenty-one--perhaps his son (the aquiline nose and slightly receding but
wide and full forehead were the same)--rubbing out a cigarette on his
butter plate. He had been smoking before breakfast. She remembered these
two now; they had been at the Astor House in Shanghai; they were
the Kanes, of New York, the famous Kanes. They called the son,
“Rocky”--Rocky Kane.

Unable to take in more, Miss Andrews stepped back a little way into the
corridor, deciding to wait for her traveling companion, Miss Means, of
South Bend. She could hardly go out there alone and sit down with all
those men.

But just then a door opened and closed; and across the way, coming
directly, easily, out into the diningroom, Miss Andrews beheld the
surprising figure of a slim girl--or a girl she appeared at first
glance--of nineteen or twenty, wearing a blue, middy blouse and short
blue shirt. Her black hair was drawn loosely together at the neck and
tied with a bow of black ribbon. Her somewhat pale face, with its thin
line of a mouth, straight nose, curving black eyebrows and oddly pale
eyes, was in some measure attractive. She took her seat at the table
without hesitation, acknowledging the reserved greetings of various of
the men with a slight inclination of the head.

It seemed to Miss Andrews that she might now go on in there. But the
thought that some of these men had surely noticed her confusion was
disconcerting; and so it was a relief to hear Miss Means pattering
on behind her. For that firmly thin little woman had fought life to a
standstill and now, except in the moments of prim severity that came
unaccountably into possession of her thoughts, found it dryly amusing.
They took their seats, these two little ladies, Miss Means laying her
copy of _Things Chinese_ beside her coffee cup; and Miss Andrews tried
to bow her casual good mornings as the curious girl in the middy blouse
had done. The girl, by the way, seemed a very little older at close

Miss Andrews stole glimpses, too, at young Mr. Rocky Kane. He was a
handsome boy, with thick chestnut hair from which he had not wholly
succeeded in brushing the curl, but she was not sure that she liked
the flush on his cheeks, or the nervous brightness of the eyes, or the
expression about the mouth. There had been stories floating about the
hotel in Shanghai. He plainly lacked discipline. But she saw that he
might easily fascinate a certain sort of woman.

A door opened, and in from the deck came an extraordinarily tall man,
stooping as he entered. On his cap, in gilt, was lettered, “1st Mate.”
 He took the seat opposite Mr. Kane, senior, next to the head of the
table. It seemed to Miss Andrews that she had never seen so tall a man;
he must have stood six feet five or six inches. He was solid, broad of
shoulder, a magnificent specimen of manhood. And though the hair was
thin on top of his head, and his grave quiet face exhibited the deep
lines of middle age, he moved with almost the springy-step of a boy. If
others at the table were difficult to place on the scale of life, this
mate was the most difficult of all. With that strong reflective face,
and the bearing of one who knows only good manners (though he said
nothing at all after his first courteously spoken, “Good morning!”) he
could not have been other than a gentleman--Miss Andrews felt that--an
American gentleman! Yet his position.... mate of a river steamer in

The atmosphere about the table was constrained throughout the meal. The
Chinese stewards padded softly about. The one-eyed man stared around the
table without the slightest expression on his impassive face. The girl
in the middy blouse kept her head over her plate. Miss Andrews once
caught Rocky Kane glancing at her with an expression nearly as furtive
as that of the thin man in the check suit. It was after this small
incident that young Kane began helping her to this and that; and, when
they rose, followed her out to her deck chair and insisted on tucking
her up in her robe.

“These fall breezes are pretty sharp on the river,” he said. “But say,
maybe it isn’t hot in summer.”

“I suppose it is,” murmured Miss Andrews.

“I’ve been out here a couple of times with the pater. You’ll find the
river interesting. Oh, not down here”--he indicated the wide expanse of
muddy water and the low-lying, distant shore--“but beyond Chinkiang
and Nanking, where it’s narrower. Lots of quaint sights. The ports are
really fascinating. We stop a lot, you know. At Wuhu the water beggars
come out in tubs.”

“In tubs!” breathed Miss Andrews.

Miss Means joined them then, book under arm; and met his offer to tuck
her up with a crisply pointed, “No, thank you!”

He soon drifted away.

Said Miss Andrews: “Weren’t you a little hard on him, Gerty?”

“My dear,” replied Miss Means severely--her Puritan vein strongly
uppermost--“that young man won’t do. Not at all. I saw him myself, one
night at the Astor House, going into one of those private
dining-rooms with a woman who--well, her character, or lack of it, was
unmistakable!... Right there in the hotel.... under his father’s eyes.
That’s what too much money will do to a young man, if you ask; me!”

“Oh....!” breathed Miss Andrews, looking out with startled eyes at the

It was mid-afternoon when Captain Benjamin remarked to his first mate:
“Tex Connor’s got down to work, Mr. Duane. Better try to stop it, if you
don’t mind. They’re in young Kane’s cabin--sixteen.”

Number sixteen was the last cabin aft in the port side, next the canvas
screen that separated upper class white from upper class yellow. The
wooden shutters had been drawn over the windows and the light turned on
within. Cigarette smoke drifted thickly out.

They were slow to open. Doane heard the not unfamiliar voice of the
Manila Kid advising against it. He had to knock repeatedly. They were
crowded together in the narrow space between berth and couch, a board
across their knees--Connor twisting his head to fix his one eye on the
intruder, the Kid, in his check suit, a German of the customs and
Rocky Kane. There were cards, chips and a heap of money in American and
English notes and gold.

“What is it?” cried Kane. “What do you want?”

“You’d better stop this,” said the mate quietly.

“Oh, come, we’re just having a friendly game! What right have you to
break into a private room, anyway?”

The mate, stooping within the doorway, took the boy in with thoughtful
eyes, but did not reply directly.

Connor, with another look upward, picked up the cards, and with the
uncanny mental quickness of a practised _croupier_ redistributed the
heap of money to its original owners, and squeezed out without a word,
the mate moving aside for him. The German left sulkily. The Kid snapped
his fingers in disgust, and followed.

Doane was moving away when the Kid caught his elbow. He asked: “Did
Benjamin send you around?”

Doane inclined his head.

“Running things with a pretty high hand, you and him!”

“Keep away from that boy,” was the quiet reply.

The thin man looked up at the grave strong face above the massive
shoulders; hesitated; walked away. The mate was again about to leave
when young Kane spoke. He was in the doorway now, leaning there, hands
in pockets, his eyes blazing with indignation and injured pride.

“Those men were my guests!” he cried.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Kane, to disturb your private affairs, but--”

“Why did you do it, then?”

“The captain will not allow Tex Connor to play cards on this boat. At
least, not without a fair warning.”

The boy’s face pictured the confusion in his mind, as he wavered from
anger through surprise into youthful curiosity.

“Oh....” he murmured. “Oh.... so that’s Tex Connor.”

“Yes. And Jim Watson with him. He was cashiered from the army in the
Philippines. He is generally known now, along the coast, as the Manila

“So that’s Tex Connor!.... He managed the North End Sporting in London,
three years ago.”

“Very likely. I believe he is known in London and Paris.”

“He’s a professional gambler, then?”

“I am not undertaking to characterize him. But if you would accept a
word of advice--”

“I haven’t asked for it, that I’m aware of.” An instant after he had
said this, the boy’s face changed. He looked up at the immense frame of
the man before him, and into the grave face. The warm color came into
his own. “Oh, I’m sorry!” he cried. “I needn’t have said that.” But
confusion still lay behind that immature face. The very presence of this
big man affected him to a degree wholly out of keeping with the fellow’s
station in life, as he saw it. But he needn’t have been rude. “Look
here, are you going to say anything to my father?”

“Certainly not.”

“Will the captain?”

“You will have to ask him yourself. Though you could hardly expect to
keep it from him long, at this rate.”

“Well--he’s so busy! He shuts himself up all day with Braker, his
secretary. The chap with the big spectacles. You see”--Kane laughed
self-consciously; a naively boyish quality in him, kept him talking more
eagerly than he knew--“the pater’s reached the stage when he feels he
ought to put himself right before the world. I guess he’s been a great
old pirate, the pater--you know, wrecking railroads and grabbing banks
and going into combinations. Though it’s just what all the others
have done. From what I’ve heard about some of them--friends of ours,
too!--you have to, nowadays, in business. No place for little men or
soft men. It’s a two-fisted game. This fellow spent a couple of years
writing the pater’s autobiography:--seems funny, doesn’t it!--and
they’re going over it together on this trip. That’s why Braker came
along; there’s no time at home. The original plan was to have Braker
tutor me. That was when I broke out of college. But, lord!....”

“You’ll excuse me now,” said the mate.

Meantime the Manila Kid had sidled up to the captain.

“Say, Cap,” he observed cautiously, “wha’d you come down on Tex like
that for?”

“Oh, come,” replied the captain testily, not turning, “don’t bother me!”

“But what you expect us to do all this time on the river--play

“I don’t care what you do! Some trips they get up deck games.”

“Deck games!” The Kid sniffed.

“You’ll find plenty to read in the library”


“Then I guess you’ll just have to stand it.”

For some time they stood side by side without speaking; the captain
eying the river, the Kid moodily observing water buffalo bathing near
the bank.

“Tex has got that Chinese heavyweight of his aboard--down below.”

“Oh--that Tom Sung?”

“Yep. Knocked out Bull Kennedy in three rounds at the Shanghai Sporting.
Got some matches for him up at Peking and Tientsin. Taking him over to
Japan after that. There’s an American marine that’s cleaned up three
ships’.” He was silent for a space; then added: “I suppose, now, if we
was to arrange a little boxing entertainment, you wouldn’t stand for
that either, eh?”

“Oh, that’s all right. Take the social hall if the ladies don’t object.
But who would you put up against him?”

“Well--if we could find a young fellow on board, Tex could tell Tom to
go light.”

“You might ask Mr. Doane. He complains he ain’t getting exercise

“He’s pretty old--still, I’d hate to go up against him myself.... Say,
you ask him, Cap!”

“I’ll think it over. He’s a little.... I’ll tell you now he wouldn’t
stand for your making a show of it. If he did it, it ‘ud just be for

“Oh, that’s all right!”

Miss Means awoke with a start. It was the second morning out, at
sunrise. The engines were still, but from without an extraordinary
hubbub rent the air. Drums were beating, reed instruments wailing in
weird dissonance, and innumerable voices chattering and shouting. A
sudden crackling suggested fire-crackers in quantity. Miss means raised
herself on one elbow, and saw her roommate peeping out over the blind.

“What is it?” she asked.

“It looks very much like the real China we’ve read about,” replied Miss
Andrews, raising her voice above the din. “It’s certainly very different
from Shanghai.”

The steamer lay alongside a landing hulk at the foot of broad steps.
Warehouses crowded the bank and the bund above, some of Western
construction; but the crowded scene on hulk and steps and bund, and
among the matting-roofed sampans, hundreds of which were crowded against
the bank, was wholly Oriental. From every convenient mast and pole
pennants and banners spread their dragons on the fresh early breeze. A
temporary _pen-low_, or archway, at the top of the steps was gay with
fresh paint and streamers. In the air above were scores of kites,
designed and painted to represent dragons and birds of prey, which the
owners were maneuvering in mimic aerial warfare; swooping and darting
and diving. As Miss Means looked, one huge painted bird fell in shreds
to a neighboring roof, and the swarming assemblage cheered ecstatically.

Soldiers were marching in good-humored disorder down the bund, in the
inevitable faded blue with blue turbans wound about their heads. It
appeared as if not another person could force his way down on the hulk
without crowding at least one of its occupants into the water, yet on
they came; and so far as our two little ladies could see none fell.
Fully two hundred of the soldiers there were, with short rifles and
bayonets. Amid great confusion they formed a lane down the steps and
across to the gangway.

Next came a large, bright-colored sedan chair slung on cross-poles, with
eight bearers and with groups of silk-clad mandarins walking before and
behind. Farther back, swaying along, were eight or ten more chairs, each
with but four bearers and each tightly closed, waiting in line as the
chair of the great one was set carefully down on the hulk and opened by
the attending officials.

Deliberately, smilingly, the great one stepped out. He was a man of
seventy or older, with a drooping gray mustache and narrow chin beard of
gray that contrasted oddly with the black queue. His robe was black with
a square bit of embroidery in rich color on the breast. Above his hat
of office a huge round ruby stood high on a gold mount, and a peacock
feather slanted down behind it.

Bowing to right and left, he ascended the gangplank, the mandarins
following. There were fifteen of these, each with a round button on his
plumed hat--those in the van of red coral, the others of sapphire and
lapis lazuli, rock crystal, white stone and gold.

One by one the lesser chairs were brought out on the hulk and opened.
From the first stepped a stout woman of mature years, richly clad in
heavily embroidered silks, with loops of pearls about her neck and
shoulders, and with painted face under the elaborately built-up
head-dress. Other women of various’ ages followed, less conspicuously
clad. From the last chair appeared a young woman, slim and graceful even
in enveloping silks, her face, like the others, a mask of white paint
and rouge, with lips carmined into a perfect cupid’s bow. And with
her, clutching her hand, was a little girl of six or seven, who laughed
merrily upward at the great steamer as she trotted along.

Blue-clad servants followed, a hundred or more, and swarming
cackling women with unpainted faces and flapping black trousers, and
porters--long lines of porters--with boxes and bales and bundles swung
from the inevitable bamboo poles.

At last they were all aboard, and the steamer moved out.

“Who were all those women, in the chairs, do you suppose?” asked Miss

“His wives, probably.”


“Or concubines.”

Miss Andrews was silent. She could still see the waving crowd on the
wharf, and the banners and kites.

“He must be at least a prince, with all that retinue.”

Miss Andrews, thinking rapidly of Aladdin and Marco Polo, of wives
and concubines and strange barbarous ways, brought herself to say in a
nearly matter-of-fact voice: “But those women all had natural feet. I
don’t understand.”

Miss Means reached for her _Things Chinese_; looked up “Feet,”


“Dress,” and other headings; finally found an answer, through a happy
inspiration, under “Manchus.”

“That’s it!” she explained; and read: “‘The Manchus do not bind the feet
of their women.’”

“Well!” Thus Miss Andrews, after a long moment with more than a hint
of emotional stir in her usually quiet voice: “We certainly have a
remarkable assortment of fellow passengers. That curious silent girl in
the middy blouse.... traveling alone...”

“Remarkable, and not altogether edifying,” observed the practical Miss


|TOWARD noon Miss Means and Miss Andrews were in their chairs on deck,
when a gay little outburst of laughter caught their attention, and
around the canvas screen came running the child they had seen on the
wharf at Nanking. A sober Chinese servant (Miss Means and Miss Andrews
were not to know that he was a eunuch) followed at a more dignified

The child was dressed in a quilted robe of bright flowered silk, the
skirt flaring like a bed about the ankles, the sleeves extending down
over the hands. Her shoes were high, of black cloth with paper soles.
Over the robe she wore a golden yellow vest, shortsleeved, trimmed with
ribbon and fastened with gilt buttons. Over her head and shoulders was
a hood of fox skin worn with the fur inside, tied with ribbons under
the chin, and decorated, on the top of the head, with the eyes, nose and
ears of a fox. As she scampered along the deck she lowered her head and
charged at the big first mate. He smiled, caught her shoulders, spun her
about, and set her free again; then, nodding pleasantly to the eunuch,
he passed on.

Before the two ladies he paused to say: “We are coming into T’aiping,
the city that gave a name to China’s most terrible rebellion. If you
care to step around to the other side, you’ll see something of the
quaint life along the river.”

“He seems very nice--the mate,” remarked Miss Andrews. “I find myself
wondering who he may have been. He is certainly a gentleman.”

“I understand,” replied Miss Means coolly, “that one doesn’t ask that
question on the China Coast.” They found the old river port drab and
dilapidated, yet rich in the color of teeming human life. The river,
as usual, was crowded with small craft. Nearly a score of these were
awaiting the steamer, each evidently housing an entire family under its
little arch of matting, and each extending bamboo poles with baskets
at the ends. As the steamer came to a stop, a long row of these baskets
appeared at the rail, while cries and songs arose from the water.

The little Manchu girl had found a friend in Mr. Rocky Kane. He was
holding her on the rail and supplying her with brass cash which she
dropped gaily into the baskets. The eunuch stood smiling by. After
tiffin the child appeared again and sought her new friend. She would sit
on his knee and pry open his mouth to see where the strange sounds came
from. And his cigarettes delighted her.

It was the Manila Kid himself who asked Miss Means and Miss Andrews
if they would mind a bit of a boxing: match in the social hall. They
promptly withdrew to their cabin, after Miss Means had uttered a
bewildered but dignified: “Not in the least! Don’t think of us!”

Shortly after dinner the cabin stewards stretched a rope around four
pillars, just forward of the dining table. The men lighted cigarettes
and cigars, and moved up with quickening interest. Tex Connor, who had
disappeared directly after the coffee, brought in his budding champion,
a large grinning yellow man in a bathrobe. The second mate, and two of
the engineers found seats about the improvised rings. Then an outer door
opened, and the great mandarin appeared, bowing and smiling courteously
with hands clasped before his breast. The fifteen lesser mandarins
followed, all rich color and rustling silk.

The young officers sprang to their feel and arranged chairs for
the party. The great man seated himself, and his attendants grouped
themselves behind him.

Into this expectant atmosphere came the mate, in knickerbockers and a
sweater, stooping under the lintel of the door, then straightening
up and stopping short. His eyes quickly took in the crowded little
picture--the gray-bearded mandarin in the ringside chair, backed with
a mass of Oriental color; that other personage, Dawley Kane, directly
opposite, with the aquiline nose, the guardedly keen eyes and the quite
humorless face, as truly a mandarin among the whites as was calm old
Kang among the yellows; the flushed eager face of Rocky Kane; the other
whites, all smoking, all watching him sharply, all impatient for the
show. He frowned; then, as the mandarin smiled, came gravely forward,
bent under the rope and addressed him briefly in Chinese.

The mandarin, frankly pleased at hearing his own tongue, rose to reply.
Each clasped his own hands and bowed low, with the observance of a
long-hardened etiquette so dear to the Oriental heart.

“How about a little bet?” whispered Rocky Kane to Tex Connor. “I
wouldn’t mind taking the big fellow.”

“What odds’ll you give?” replied the impassive one.

“Odds nothing! Your man’s a trained fighter, and he must be twenty years

“But this man Doane’s an old athlete. He’s boxed, off and on, all his
life. And he’s kept in condition. Look at his weight, and his reach.”

“What’s the distance?”

“Oh--six two-minute rounds.”

“Who’ll referee?”

“Well--one of the Englishmen.”

But the Englishmen were not at hand. A friendly bout between yellow and
white overstepped their code. One of the customs men, an Australian,
accepted the responsibility, however.

“I’ll lay you a thousand, even,” said Rocky Kane.

“Make it two thousand.”

“I’ll give you two thousand, even,” said Dawley Kane quietly.

“Taken! Three thousand, altogether--gold.”

The mate, turning away from the mandarin, caught this; stood motionless
looking at them, his brows drawing together.

“Gentlemen,” he finally remarked, “I came here with the understanding
that it was to be only a little private exercise. I had no objection, of
course, to your looking on, some of you, but this....”

“Oh, come!” said Connor. “It’s just for points. Tom’s not going to
fight you.”

Young Kane, gripping the rope nervously with both hands, cried: “You
wouldn’t quit!”

The mate looked down at these men. “No,” he replied, in the same gravely
quiet manner, “I shall go on with it. I do this”--he made the point
firmly, with a dignity that in some degree, for the moment, overawed the
younger men--“I do it because his excellency has paid us the honor
of coming here in this democratic way. He tells me that he is fond of
boxing. I shall try to entertain him.” And he drew the sweater over his
head, and caught the gloves that the Kid tossed him.

The elder Kane shrewdly took him in. The authority of the man was not to
be questioned. Without so much as raising his voice he had dominated
the strange little gathering. Physically he was a delight to the eye;
anywhere In the forties, his hair thin to the verge of baldness, his
strong sober face deeply lined, yet with shoulders, arms and chest that
spoke of great muscular power and a waist without a trace of the added
girth that middle age usually brings; of sound English stock, doubtless;
the sort that in the older land would ride to hounds at eighty.

Dawley Kane looked, then, at the Chinese heavyweight. This man, though
not quite a match in size for the giant before him, appeared every
inch the athlete. Kane understood the East too well to find him at all
surprising; he had seen the strapping northern men of Yuan Shi K’ai’s
new army; he knew that the trained runners of the Imperial Government
were expected, on occasion, to cover their hundred miles in a day; in
a word, that the curious common American notion of the Chinese physique
was based on an occasional glimpse of a tropical laundryman. And he
settled back in his comfortable chair confident of a run for his money.
The occasion promised, indeed, excellent entertainment.

The mate, still with that slight frown, glanced about. Not one of the
crowded eager faces about the ropes exhibited the slightest interest in
himself as a human being. He was but the mate of a river steamer; a man
who had not kept up with his generation (the reason didn’t matter)--an
individual of no standing.... He put up his hands.

Tom Sung fell into a crouch. With his left shoulder advanced, his chin
tucked away behind it, he moved in dose and darted quick but hard blows
to the stomach and heart. Duane stepped backward, and edged around him,
feeling him out, studying his hands and arms, his balance, his footwork.
It early became clear that he was a thoroughgoing professional, who
meant to go in and make a fight of it.... Doane, sparring lightly,
considered this. Conner, of course, had no sportsmanship.

Tom’s left hand shot up through Doane’s guard, landing clean on h.-S
face with a sharp thud; followed up with a remarkably quick right
swing that the mate, by sidestepping, succeeded only in turning into a
glancing blow. And then, as Doane ducked a left thrust, he uppercut with
all his strength. The blow landed on Doane’s forearms with a force that
shook him from head to foot.

A sound of breath sharply indrawn came from the spectators, to most of
whom it must have appeared that the blow had gone home. Doane, slipping
away and mopping the sweat from eyes and forehead, heard the sound;
and for an instant saw them, all leaning forward, tense, eager for a
knockout, the one possible final thrill.

The yellow man was at him again, landing left, right and left on his
stomach, and butting a shaven head with real force against his chin. For
an instant stars danced about his eyes. Elbows had followed the head,
roughing at his face. Doane, quickly recovering, leaped back and dropped
his hands.

“What is this?” he called sharply to Connor, whose round expressionless
face with its one cool light eye and thin little mouth looked at him
without response. “Head? Elbows? Is your man going to box, or not?”

The eyes that turned in surprise about the ringside were not friendly.
These men cared nothing for his little difficulties; their blood was
up. They wanted what the Americans among them would term “action” and

Tom was tearing at him again. So it was, after all, to be a fight. No
preliminary understandings mattered. He felt a profound disgust, as by
main strength he stopped rush after rush, making full use of his greater
reach to pin Tom’s arms and hurl him back; a disgust however, that was
changing gradually to anger. He had known, all his life, the peculiar
joy that comes to a man of great strength and activity in any thorough
test of his power.

The customs man called time.

Rocky Kane--flushed, excited, looking like a boy--felt in his pockets
for cigarettes; found none; and slipped hurriedly out to the deck.

There a silken rustle stopped him short.

A slim figure, enveloped in an embroidered gown, was moving back from a
cabin window. The light from within fell--during a brief second--full
on an oval face that was brightly painted, red and white, beneath glossy
black hair. The nose was straight, and not wide. The eyes, slanted only
a little, looked brightly out from under penciled brows. She was moving
swiftly toward the canvas screen; but he, more swiftly, leaped before
her, stared at her; laughed softly in sheer delighted surprise. Then,
with a quick glance about the deck, breathing out he knew not what terms
of crude compliment he reached for her; pursued her to the rail; caught

“You little beauty!” he was whispering now. “You wonder! You darling!
You’re just too good to be true!” Beside himself, laughing again, he
bent over to kiss her. But she wrenched an arm free, fought him off, and
leaned, breathless, against the rail.

“Little yellow tiger, eh?” he cried softly. “Well, I’m a big white

She said in English: “This is amazing!”

He stood frozen until she had disappeared behind the canvas screen. Then
he staggered back; stumbled against a deck chair; turning, found the
strange thin girl of the middy blouse stretched out there comfortably in
her rug.

She said, with a cool ease: “It’s so pleasant out here this evening, I
really haven’t felt like going in.”

With a muttered something--he knew not what--he rushed off to his cabin;
then rushed back into the social hall.

The customs man called time for the second round.

As Doane advanced to the center of the ring, Tom rushed, as before, head
down. Doane uppercut him; then threw him back, forestalling a clinch.
The next two or three rushes he met in the same determined but negative
way; hitting a few blows but for the most part pushing him off. The
sweat kept running into his eyes as he exerted nearly his full strength.
And Tom Sung’s shoulders and arms glistened a bright yellow under the
electric lights.

Rocky Kane, lighting a cigarette and tossing the blazing match away,
called loudly: “Oh, hit him! For God’s sake, do something! Don’t be
afraid of a Chink!”

Doane glanced over at him. Tom rushed. Doane felt again the crash of
solid body blows delivered with all the force of more than two
hundred pounds of well-trained muscle behind them. Again he winced and
retreated. He knew well that he could endure only a certain amount of
this punishment.... Suddenly Tom struck with the sharpest impact yet.
Again that hard head butted his chin; an elbow and the heel of a glove
roughed his face.... Doane summoned all his strength to push him off.
Then he stepped deliberately forward.

At last the primitive vigor in this giant was aroused. His eyes blazed.
There was no manner of pleasure in hurting a fellow man of any color;
but since the particular man was asking for it, insisting on it, there
was no longer a choice. The fellow had clearly been trained to this foul
sort of work. That would be Connor’s way, to take every advantage, place
a large side bet and then make certain of winning. There was, of course,
no more control of boxing out here on the coast than of gambling or
other vice.

When Tom next came forward, Doane, paying not the slightest heed to his
own defense, exchanged blows with him; planted a right swing that raised
a welt on the yellow cheek. A moment later he landed another on the same

At the sound of these blows the men about the ringside straightened up
with electric excitement. Then again the long muscular right arm swung,
and the tightly gloved fist crashed through Tom’s guard with a force
that knocked him nearly off his balance. Doane promptly brought him back
with a left hook that sounded to the now nearly frantic spectators as if
it must have broken the cheek-bone.

Tom crouched, covered and backed away.

“Have you had enough?” Doane asked. As there was no reply, he repeated
the question in Chinese.

Tom, instead of answering, tried another rush, floundering wildly,
swinging his arms.

Doane stepped firmly forward, swinging up a terrific body blow that
caught the big Chinaman at the pit of the stomach, lifted his feet clear
of the floor and dropped him heavily in a sitting position, from which
he rolled slowly over on his side.

“What are you trying to do?” cried the Manila Kid, above the babel of
excited voices, as he rushed in there and revived his fellow champion.
“What are you trying to do--kill ‘im?”

The mate stripped off his wet gloves and tossed them to the floor.
“Teach your man to box fairly,” he replied, “or some one else will.”
 With which he stepped out of the ring, drew on his sweater and, with a
courteous bow to the mandarin, went out on deck. There, after depositing
with the purser the winnings paid over by a surly Connor, Dawley Kane
found him.

“Well!” cried the hitherto calm financier, “you put up a remarkable

Doane looked down at him, unable to reply. He was still breathing hard;
his thoughts were traveling strange paths. He heard the man saying other
things; asking, at length, about the mandarin.

“He is Kang Yu,” Doane replied now, civilly enough, “Viceroy of

“No! Really? Why, he was in America!”

“He toured the world. He has been minister at Paris, Berlin, London, I
believe. He is a great statesman--certainly the greatest out here since
Li Hung Chang.”

“No--how extremely interesting!”

“He is ruler of fifty million souls, or more.” The mate had found his
voice. He was speaking a thought quickly, with a very little heat, as if
eager to convince the great man of America of the standing and worth
of this great man of China. “He has his own army and his own mint.
He controls railroads, arsenals, mills and mines. Incidentally, he is
president of this line.”

“The Chinese Navigation Company? Really! You are acquainted with him

“No. But he is a commanding figure hereabouts. And of course, I--at
present I’m an employee of the Merchants’ Line.”

“Oh, yes! Yes, of course! You seem to speak Chinese.”

“Yes”--the mate’s voice was dry now--“I speak Chinese.”

A shuffling sound reached their ears. Both turned. The viceroy had come
out of the cabin and was advancing toward them, followed by all his
mandarins. Before them he paused, and again exchanged with the mate the
charming Eastern greeting. In Chinese he said--and the language that
needs only a resonant, cultured voire to exhibit its really great
dignity and beauty, rolled like music from his tongue: “It will give me
great pleasure, sir, if you will be my guest to-morrow at twelve.”

The mate replied, with a grave smile and a bow: “It is a privilege. I am
your servant.”

They bowed again, with hands to breast. And all the mandarins bowed.
Then they moved away in stately silence to their quarters aft.

Kane spoke now: “How very curious! Very curious!”

Doane said nothing to this.

“They really appear to have charm, these upper class people. It’s a pity
they are so poorly adapted to the modern struggle.”

Doane looked down at him, then away. As a man acquainted with the East
he knew the futility of discussing it with a Western mind; above all
with the mind of a successful business man, to whom activity, drive,
energy, were very religion.

His own thoughts were ranging swiftly back over two thousand years, to
the strong civilization of the Han Dynasty, when disciplined Chinese
armies kept open the overland route to Bactria and Parthia, that the
silks and porcelains and pearls might travel safely to waiting Roman
hands; to the later, richer, riper centuries of Tang and Sung, after
Rome fell, when Chinese civilization stood alone, a majestic fabric
in an otherwise crumbled and chaotic world--when certain of the noblest
landscapes and portraits ever painted were finding expression, when
philosophers held high dreams of building conflicting dogma into a
single structure of comprehensive and serene faith. The Chinese alone,
down the uncounted centuries, had held their racial integrity, their
very language. Surely, at some mystical but seismic turning of the
racial tide, they would rise again among the nations.

This giant, standing there in sweater and knickerbockers, bareheaded,
gazing out at the dark river, was not sentimentalizing. He knew well
enough the present problems. But he saw them with half-Eastern eyes; he
saw America too, with half-Eastern eyes--and so he could not talk at
all to the very able man beside him who saw the West and the world with
wholly Western eyes. No, it was futile. Even when the great New
Yorker, who had just won two thousand dollars, gold, spoke with
wholly unexpected kindness, the gulf between their two minds remained

“I want you to forgive me, sir--I do not even know your name, you
see--but, frankly, you interest me. You are altogether too much of a man
for the work you are doing here. That is clear. I would be glad to have
you tell me what the trouble is. Perhaps I could help you.”

This from the man who held General Railways in the hollow of his hand,
and Universal Hydro-Electric, and Consolidated Shipping, and the Kane,
Wilmarth and Cantey banks, a chain that reached literally from sea to
sea across the great young country that worshiped the shell of political
freedom as insistently as the Chinese worshiped their ancestors,
yet gave over the newly vital governing power of finance into wholly
irresponsible private hands.

The situation, grotesque in its beginning, seemed now incredible to
Doane. He drew a hand across his brow; then spoke, with compelling
courtesy but with also a dismissive power that the other felt: “You are
very kind, Mr. Kane. At some other time I shall be glad to talk with
you. But my hours are rather exacting, and I am tired.”

“Naturally. You have given a wonderful exhibition of what a man of
character can do with his body. I wish I had you for a physical
trainer. And I wish the example might start my boy to thinking more
wholesomely... Good night!” And he extended a friendly hand.

Mr. Kane’s boy presented himself on the following morning as an acute
problem. He was about the deck, shortly after breakfast, playing with
the Manchu child. Then, after eleven, Captain Benjamin handed his mate
a note that had been scribbled in pencil on a leaf torn from a pocket
note-book and folded over. It was addressed:

“To the Chinese Lady who spoke English last night.” And the content was
as follows: “I shouldn’t have been rude, but I must see you again. Can’t
you slip around the canvas this evening, late? I’ll be watching for
you.” There was no signature.

“Make it out?” asked the captain. “Old Kang sent it up to me--asks us to
speak to the young man. But how’m I to know which young man it is?”

“Do you know how it was sent?”

“Yes. The little princess took it back.”’

“It won’t be hard to find the man.”

“You know?”

“I think so.”

“Well, just put him wise, will you?”

“I’ll speak to him.”

“Wait a minute! You thinking of young Kane?”

The mate inclined his head.

“Well--you know who he is, don’t you? Who they are?”

Doane bowed again.

“Better use a little tact.”

Doane walked back along the deck to cabin sixteen. A fresh breeze blew
sharply here; the chairs had all been moved across to the other side
where the sunlight lay warm on the planking. Within the social hall the
second engineer--a wistful, shy young Scot--had brought his battered
talking machine to the dining table and was grinding out a comic song.
Two or three of the men were in there, listening, smoking, and sipping
highballs; Doane saw them as he passed the door. Through the open
but shuttered window of cabin number twelve came the clicking of a
typewriter and men’s voices, that would be Mr. Kane, discussing his
“autobiography” with its author.

Before number sixteen, Doane paused; sniffed the air. A curious odor was
floating out through these shutters, an odor that he knew. He sniffed
again; then abruptly knocked at the door.

A drowsy voice answered! “What is it? What do you want?”

“I must see you at once,” said Doane.

There was a silence; then odd sounds--a faint rattling of glass, a
scraping, cupboard doors opening and closing. Finally the door opened
a few inches. There was Rocky Kane, hair tousled, coat, collar and tie
removed, and shirt open at the neck. Doane looked sharply at his eyes;
the pupils were abnormally small. And the odor was stronger now and of a
slightly choking tendency.

“What are you looking at me like that for?” cried young Kane, shrinking
back a little way.

“I think,” said Doane, “you had better let me come in and talk with

“What right have you got saying things like that? What do you mean?”

“I have really said nothing as yet.”

Kane, seeming bewildered, allowed the door to swing inward and himself
stepped back. The big mate came stooping within.

“Your note has been returned,” he said shortly; and gave him the paper.

Kane accepted it, stared down at it, then sank back on the couch.

“What’s this to you!” he managed to cry. “What right.... what do you
mean, saying I wrote this?”

“Because you did. You sent it back by the little girl.”

“Well, what if I did! What right--”

“I am here at the request of his excellency, the viceroy of Nanking. You
have been annoying his daughter. The fact that she chooses, while in her
father’s household, to wear the Manchu dress, does not justify you in
treating her otherwise than as a lady. Perhaps I can’t expect you to
understand that his exellency is one of the greatest statesmen alive
to-day. Nor that this young lady was educated in America, knows the
capitals of Europe better, doubtless, than yourself, and is a princess
by birth. She went to school in England and to college in Massachusetts.
Take my advice, and try no more of this sort of thing.”

The boy was staring at him now, wholly bewildered. “Well,” he began
stumblingly, “perhaps I have been a little on the loose. But what of it!
A fellow has to have some fun, doesn’t he?”

The mate’s eyes were taking in keenly the crowded little room.

“Well,” cried Kane petulantly, “that’s all, isn’t it? I understand! I’ll
let her alone!”

“You don’t feel that an apology might be due?”

“Apologize? To that girl?”

“To her father.”

“Apologize--to a Chink?”

The word grated strangely on Doane’s nerves. Suddenly the boy cried
out: “Well--that’s all? There’s nothing more you want to say? What are
you--what are you looking like that for?”

The sober deep-set eyes of the mate were resting on the high dresser at
the head of the berths. There, tucked away behind the water caraffe, was
a small lamp with a base of cloisonné work in blue and gold and a small,
half globular chimney of soot-blackened glass.

“What are you looking at? What do you mean?”

The boy writhed under the steady gaze of this huge man, who rested a big
hand on the upper berth and gazed gravely down at him; writhed, tossed
out a protesting arm, got to his feet and stood with a weak effort at

“Now I suppose you’ll go to my father!” he cried. “Well, go ahead! Do
it! I don’t care. I’m of age--my money’s my own. He can’t hurt me. And
he knows I’m on to him. Don’t think I don’t know some of the things
he’s done--he and his crowd. Ah, we’re not saints, we Kanes! We’re good
fellows--we’ve got pep, we succeed--but we’re not saints.”

“How long have you been smoking opium?” asked the mate.

“I don’t smoke it! I mean I never did. Not until Shanghai. And you
needn’t think the pater hasn’t hit the pipe a bit himself. I never saw
a lamp until he took me to the big Hong dinner at Shanghai last month.
They had ‘em there. And it wasn’t all they had, either--”

“If you are telling me the truth,” said the mate.

--“I am. I tell you I am.”

“--Then you should have no difficulty in stopping. It would take a few
weeks to form the habit. You can’t smoke another pipe on this boat.”

“But what right--good lord, if the pater would drag me out here, away
from all my friends.... you think I’m a rotter, don’t you!”

“My opinion is not in question. I must ask you to give me, now, whatever
opium you have.”

Slowly, moodily, evidently dwelling in a confusion of sulky resentful
thoughts, the boy knelt at the cupboard and got out a small card-board

The mate opened it, and found several shells of opium within. He
promptly pitched it out over the rail.

“This is all?” he asked.

“Well--look in there yourself!”

But the mate was looking at the suit-case, and at the trunk beneath the
lower berth.

“You give me your word that you have no more?”

“That’s--all,” said the boy.

The mate considered this answer; decided to accept it; turned to go. But
the boy caught at his sleeve.

“You do think I’m a rotter!” he cried. “Well, maybe I am. Maybe I’m
spoiled. But what’s a fellow to do? My father’s a machine--that’s what
he is--a ruthless machine. My mother divorced him ten years ago. She
married that English captain--got the money out of father for them to
live on, and now she’s divorced him. Where do I get off? I know I’m
overstrung, nervous. I’ve always had everything I want. Do you wonder
that I’ve begun to look for something new? Perhaps I’m going to hell. I
know you think so. I can see it in your eyes. But who cares!”

Doane stood a long time at the rail, thinking. The ship’s clock in the
social hall struck eight bells. Faintly his outer ear caught it. It was
time to join his excellency.


|THE luncheon table of his excellency was simply set, with two chairs of
carven blackwood, behind a high painted screen of six panels. It was at
this screen that the first mate (left by a smiling attendant) gazed with
a frown of incredulity. Cap in hand, he stepped back and studied the
painting, a landscape representing a range of mountains rising above
mist in great rock-masses, chasms where tortured trees clung, towering,
lagged peaks, all partly obscured by the softly luminous vapor--a scene
of power and beauty. Much of the brighter color had faded into the
prevailing tones of old ivory yellow shading into some thing near
Rembrandt brown; though the original, reds and blues still held vividly
in the lower right foreground, where were pictured very small, exquisite
in detail yet of as trifling importance in the majestic scheme of the
painting as are man and his works in all sober Chinese thought when
considered in relation to the grim majesty of nature, a little friendly
cluster of houses, men at work, children at play, domestic animals, a
stream with a water buffalo, a bridge, a wayfarer riding a donkey,
and cultivated fields. The ideographic signature was in rich old gold,
inscribed with unerring decorative instinct on a flat rock surface.

The mate bent low and looked closely at the brush-work; then stepped
around an end panel and examined the texture of the silk.

“Ah!”--it was a musical deep voice, speaking in the mandarin
tongue--“you admire my screen, Griggsby Doane.” The name was pronounced
in English.

His excellency wore a short jacket of pale yellow over a skirt of blue,
both embroidered in large circles of lotus flowers around centers of
conventional good-fortune designs, in which the swastika was a leading
motive. His bared head was shaved only at the sides, as the top had long
been bald. He looked gentle and kind as he stood leaning on his cane
and extending a wrinkled hand; smiling in the fashion of forthright
friendship. The thin little gray beard, the unobtrusively courteous
eyes, the calm manner, all gave him an appearance of simplicity that
made it momentarily difficult to think of him as the great negotiator
of the tangled problems of statesmanship involved in the expansion of
Japan, the man who very nearly convinced Europe of American good faith
during the agitated discussion and correspondence that arose out of the
“Open Door” proposals of John Hay, a man known among the observant and
informed in London, Paris and Washington as a great statesman and a
greater gentleman.

“I thought at first”--thus the mate, touched by the fine honor done
him (an honor that would, he quickly felt, demand tact on the
bridge)--“that it was a genuine Kuo Hsi.”

“No. A copy.”

“So I see. A Ming copy--at least the silk appears to be Ming--the heavy
single strand, closely woven. And the seals date very closely. If it
were woven of double strands, even in the warp alone, I should not
hesitate to call it a genuine Northern Sung.”

“You observe closely, Griggsby Doane. It is supposed that Ch’uan Shih
made this copy.” His smile was now less one of kindness and courtesy
than, of genuine pleasure. “You shall see the original.”

“You have that also, Your Excellency?”

“In my home at Huang Chau.”

“I have never seen a genuine panting of Kuo Hsi. It would be a great
privilege. I have read some of the sayings attributed to him, as taken
down by his son. One I recall--‘If the artist, without realizing his
ideal, paints landscapes with a careless heart, it is like throwing
earth upon a deity, or casting impurities into the clean wind.’”

“Yes,” added his excellency, almost eagerly, “and this--‘To have in
landscape the opportunity of seeing water and peaks, of hearing the
cry of monkeys and the song of birds, without going from the room.’”
 Servants appeared bearing covered dishes. His excellency placed the mate
in the seat commanding the wider view of the river. A clear broth was
served, followed by stewed shell fish with cassia mushrooms, steamed
sharks’ fins set red with crabmeat and ham, roast duck stuffed with
young pine needles, and preserved pomegranates, carambolas and plums,
followed by small cups of rice wine.

The conversation lingered with the great Sung painters, passing
naturally then to the conflict during the eleventh and twelfth centuries
between the free vitality of Buddhist thought and the deadening
formalism of the Confucian tradition.

And Doane’s thoughts, as he listened or quietly spoke, dwelt on the
attainments and character of this great man who was so simple and so
friendly. His excellency had spoken his own full name, Griggsby Doane,
which would mean that the wide-reaching, instantly responsive facilities
for gathering information that may be set at work by the glance of a
viceroy’s eye or a movement of his jeweled finger had been brought into
play within the twenty-four hours.

“My heart is there in the Sung Dynasty,” his excellency said. “I never
look upon the old canals of Hang Chow or the ruins of stone-walled lotus
gardens by the Si-hu without sadness. And Kai-feng-fu to-day wrings my

“Truly,” mused Doane, “it was in the days of Tang and Sung that the soul
of China so nearly found its freedom.”

“You indeed understand, Griggsby Doane!” The two English words stood out
with odd emphasis in the musical flow of cultured Chinese speech. “Had
that spirit endured, China would to-day, I like to think, have Korea
and Manchuria and Mongolia and Sin Kiang. China would not to-day wear
a piteous smile on the lips, turning the head to hide tears of shame,
while the Russians absorb our northern frontiers and the French draw
tribute from Annam and Yunnan, while the English control this great
valley of the Yangtze, while the Germans drive their mailed fist into
Shantung, and the Japanese send their spies throughout all our land and
stand insolently at the very gate of the Forbidden City. I could not,
perhaps, speak my heart freely to one of my own countrymen, but to you I
can say, Confucian scholar though they may term me, that since what you
call the thirteenth century there has been a gradual paralysis of the
will in China, a softening of the political brain.... You will permit an
old man this latitude? I have served China without thought of self
during nearly fifty years. To the Old Buddha I was ever a loyal servant.
If toward the new emperor and the empress dowager I find it impossible
to feel so deeply, my heart is yet devoted to the throne and to my
people. If while sent abroad in service of my country it has been given
me to see much of merit in Western ways, it is not that I have become a
revolutionist, a traitor to the government of my ancestors.”

There was a light in the kindly eyes; a strong ring in the deep voice.
He went on:

“No, I am not a traitor. It is not that. It is that my country has
suffered, is now prostrate, with a long sickness. She must be helped;
but she must as well help herself. She is like one who has lain too long
abed. She must think, arise, act. With my poor eyes I can see no other
hope for her. Even though I myself may suffer, I can not, in truth to
my own faith, punish those who, loving China as deeply as I myself love
her, yet feel that they must goad her until she awakens from her pitiful
sleep of more than six centuries.... Nor am I a republican. China is not
like your country. In an imperial throne I must believe. Yet, she must
listen to all, study all, draw from all. Freedom of thought there must
be. We must not longer worship books and the dead. We must learn to look
about us and on before.”

Their chairs were drawn about to the window’s. Slowly the wide river
slipped off astern.

“But you, Griggsby Doane, why are you here? This is not the life for
which you so laboriously and so worthily prepared yourself. I knew of
you over in T’ainan-fu. You were a true servant of your faith. After the
dreadful year of the Boxers you returned to your task. And during the
trouble in nineteen hundred and seven, the fighting with the Great Eye
Society in Hansi, you conducted yourself with bravery. I was at Sian-fu
that year, and was well informed. Yet you gave up the church mission.”

The mate’s eyes were fixed gloomily on the long vista of the river. For
a moment it seemed as if he would speak; and the viceroy, seeing his
lips part, leaned a little way forward; but then the lips were closed
tightly and the great head bent deliberately forward.

“I knew,” continued his excellency, “when the Asiatic Company of New
York was negotiating with me the contract for rebuilding the banks of
the Grand Canal in Kiang-su that you had gone from T’ainan, and that you
had, as well, left the church. You had even gone from China.”

“That was in nineteen nine,” said Doane, in the somber voice of one who
thinks moodily aloud. “I was in America then.”

“Yes, it was in your year nineteen nine. For a time those negotiations
hung, I recall, on the question of the means to be employed in dealing
with local resentments. The trouble over the Ho Shan Company in Hansi,
of which you knew so much and which you met with such noble courage, had
taught us all to move with caution.”

“My position in that Hansi trouble has not been clearly understood, Your
Excellency. I was there only, a short time, and was ill at that.”

The viceroy smiled, kindly, wisely. “You went alone and on foot from
T’ainan-fu to So T’ung in the face of a Looker attack, and yourself
settled that tragic business. You then walked, without even a night’s
rest, the fifty-five _li_ from T’ainan to Hung Chan. There, at the city
gate, you were attacked and severely wounded, and crawled to the house
of a Christian native. But while still weak and in a fever you walked
the three hundred _li_ to Ping Yang and made your way through the Looker
army into Monsieur Pourmont’s compound....”

He pronounced the two words “Monsieur Pour-mont” in French. What a
remarkable old man he was--mentally all alive, sensitive as a youth to
the quick currents of life! The accuracy of his information, like his
memory, was surprising. Though to the Westerner, every normal Chinese
memory is that. Merely learning the language needs or builds a

Most surprising was that so deep attention had been given to Doane’s own
small case. The fact bewildered; was slow in coming home. For Kang was a
great man; his proper preoccupations were many; that he was a poet, and
had early aspired to the laureateship, was commonly known--indeed, Doane
had somewhere his own translation of Kang’s _Ode to the Rich Earth_,
from the scroll in the author’s calligraphy owned by Pao Ting Chuan at
T’ainan-fu. As an amateur in the art of his own land of fine taste and
sound historical background he was known everywhere; his collection of
early paintings, porcelains, jades and jewels being admittedly one
of the most valuable remaining in China. And he was reputed to be the
richest individual not of the royal blood (excepting perhaps Yuan Shi

A contrast, not untinged with a passing bitterness, arose in Doane’s
mind. Here before him quietly sat this so-called yellow man who was more
competent than perhaps any other to select his own art treasures and
write his own poems and state papers; whose journals, known to exist,
must inevitably, if not lost in a war-torn land, take their place as a
part of China’s history; a man who was at once manufacturer, financier,
and statesman, on whom for a decade a weakening throne had leaned. While
in the cabin forward was a great white man as truly representative
of the new civilization as was Kang of the old; yet who hired men of
special knowledge to select the art treasures that would be left, one
day, in his name and as a monument to his culture, who even employed a
trained writer to pen the work that he proposed unblushingly to call his
“autobiography.” For such a man as Dawley Kane, whatever his manners,
Doane felt now, knew only the power of money. Through that alone his
genius functioned; the rest was a lie. On the one hand was culture, on
the other--something else. The thought bit into his brain.

But his excellency had not finished:

“And there, my dear Griggsby Doane, while still suffering from your
wound, you learned that those in Monsieur Pourmont’s compound were
cut off from communication with their nationals at Peking. You at once
volunteered to go again, alone, through the Looker lines to the railhead
with messages, and successfully did so.... Do you wonder, my dear young
friend, that knowing this, and more, of your honesty and personal force
from my one-time assistant, Pao Ting Chuan, of T’ainan-fu, I pressed
strongly on the gentlemen from New York who represented the Asiatic
Company my desire that they secure you to act as their resident
director? And do you wonder that I regretted your refusal so to act?”

This statement came to Doane as a surprise.

“They offered me a position, yes,” he said, pondering on the
inexplicable ways in which the currents of life meet and cross. “But
they told me nothing of your interest.”

His excellency smiled. “It might have raised your price. They would
think of that. The sharpest trading, Griggsby Doane, is not done in the
Orient. That I have learned from a long lifetime of struggling against
the aggressions of white nations. During the discussion of the concerted
loan to China--you recall it?--they talked of lending us a hundred
million dollars, gold. To read your New York papers was to think that we
were almost to be given the money. It seemed really a philanthropy. But
do you know what their left hands were doing while their right hands
waved in a fine gesture of aid to the struggling China? These were the
terms. First they subtracted a large commission--that for the bankers
themselves; then, what with stipulations of various sorts as to the uses
to which the money--or the credit--was to be put, mostly in purchases of
railway and war material from their own hongs at further huge profits to
themselves, they whittled it down until the actual money to be expended
under our own direction, amounted to about fifteen millions. And
with that went immense new concessions--really the signing away of an
empire--and new foreign supervision of our internal affairs. For all
these privileges we were to pay an annual interest and later repay the
full amount, one hundred millions. It was quite unbearable.” He sighed.
“But what is poor old China to do?”

Doane nodded gravely. “I felt all that--the sort of thing--when I talked
with representatives of the Asiatic Company. Not that I blamed them, of
course. It is a point of view much larger than any of them; they are but
part of a great tendency. I couldn’t go into it.”

“Why not?” The viceroy’s keen eyes dropped to the slightly faded blue
uniform, then rested again on the strong face.

“The past few years--I will pass over the details--have been--well, not
altogether happy for me. I have been puzzled. All the rich years of my
younger manhood were given to the mission work. But I had to leave the
church. At first I felt a joy in simple hard work--I am very strong--but
hard work alone could not satisfy my thoughts.”

“No.... No.”

“For a time I believed that the solution of my personal problem lay in
taking the plunge into commercial life. I had come to feel, out there,
that business was, after all, the natural expression of man’s active
nature in our time.”

“Yes. Doubtless it is.”

“It was in that state of mind that I returned home--to the States. But
it proved impossible. I am not a trader. It was too late. My character,
such as it was and is, had been formed and hardened in another mold. I
talked with old friends, but only to discover that we had between us no
common tongue of the spirit. Perhaps if I had entered business early,
as they did, I, too, would have found my early ideals being warped
gradually around to the prevailing point of view.”

“The point stands out, though,” said the viceroy, “that you did not
enter business. You chose a more difficult course, and one which
leaves you, in ripe middle age, without the means to direct your life
effectively and in comfort.”

“Yes,” mused Doane, though without bitterness. “I feel that, of course.
And it is hard, very hard, to lose one’s country. Yet....”

His voice dropped. He sat, elbow on crossed knees, staring at the
ever-changing river. When he spoke again, the bitter undertone was no
longer in his voice. He was gentler, but puzzled; a man who has suffered
a loss that he can not understand.

“All my traditions,” he said, “my memories of America, were of simple
friendly communities, a land of earnest religion, of political
freedom. In my thoughts as a younger man certain great figures stood
out--Washington, Lincoln, Charles Sumner, Wendell Philips, Philips
Brooks and--yes, Henry Ward Beecher. I had deeply felt Emerson,
Longfellow, Lowell and Whittier. The Declaration of Independence could
still fire my blood. And it was such a land of simple faith that I tried
for so many years, however ineffectually, to represent here in China.
To be sure, disquieting thoughts came--church disunity, the spectacle
of unbridled license among so many of my fellow countrymen in the coast
ports, the methods of certain of our great corporations in pushing their
wares in among your people. But even when I found it necessary to leave
the church, I still believed deeply in my country.”

He paused to control a slight unsteadiness of voice; then went on:

“May I ask if you, Your Excellency, after your long visits in Europe,
have not come home to meet with something the same difficulty, to
find yourself looking at your own people with the eyes of a stranger,
receiving such an impression as only a stranger can receive?”

“Indeed, yes!” cried the viceroy softly, with deep feeling. “It is the
most difficult moment, I have sometimes felt, in a man’s life. It is
the summit of loneliness, for there is no man among his friends who
can share his view, and there is none who would not misunderstand and
censure him. And yet, a country, a people, like a city, does present
to the alien eye, a complete impression, it exhibits clearly outlined
characteristics that can be observed in no other way. Even the alien
lose? that clear, true impression on very short acquaintance. He then
becomes, like all the others, a part of the picture he has once seen.”

“It is so, Your Excellency. My country, in that first, startled, clear
glance, affected me--I may as well use the word--unpleasantly. It was
utterly different from anything I had known, a trader’s paradise, a
place of unbelievable confusion, of an activity that bewildered, rushing
to what end I could not understand.”

He was speaking now not only in the Chinese language but in the idiom as
well, generalizing rhetorically as the Chinese do. It was almost as if
the words came from a Chinese mind.

They were silent for a time Then the viceroy asked, in his gently abrupt
way: “Why did you leave the church?”

“Because I sinned.”

“Against the church?”

“That, and my own faith.”

“Were you asked to leave?”


“They knew of your sin?”

“I told them.”

“Yet they would have kept you?”

“Yes. My own feeling was that my superior temporized.”

“He knew your value.”

“I can not say as to that. But he wished me to marry again. I couldn’t
do that--not in the spirit intended. Not as I felt.”

“We are different, Griggsby Doane, you and I. I am a Manchu, you an
American. The customs of our two lands are very different. What
would seem a sin to you, might not seem so to me. Yet I, too, have a
conscience to which I must answer. I believe I understand you. It is, I
see, because of your conscience that you sit before me now, on this
boat and in this uniform, a man, as your great Edward Everett Hale has
phrased it, without a country.”

He paused, and filled again the little pipe-bowl, studied it absently as
his wrinkled fingers worked the tobacco. His nails were trimmed short,
like those of a white man. Doane thought, swiftly, of the man’s dramatic
past, sent out as he had been to become a citizen of the world by a
nation that would in very necessity fail to understand the resulting
changes in his outlook. There was his daughter; she would be almost an
American, after four years of college life. And she, now, would be a
problem indeed! What could he hope to make of her life in this Asia
where woman, like labor in his own country, was a commodity. It would
be absorbingly interesting, were it possible, to peep into that
smooth-running old brain and glimpse the problems there. They were
gossiping about him. His stately figure was to-day the center about
which coiled the life and death intrigue of Chinese officialdom and over
which hung suspended the silken power of an Oriental throne.... Doane’s
personal problem shrank into nothing--a flitting memory of a little
outbreak of egotism--as he studied the old face on which the revealing
hand of Age had inscribed wisdom, kindliness and shrewdness.

Soft footfalls sounded; then, after a moment, a sharper sound that Doane
assumed, with a slight quickening of the imagination, to be the high
wooden clogs of a Manchu lady, until he realized that no clogs could
move so lightly; no, these were little Western shoes.

A young woman appeared, slender and comely, dressed in a tailored
suit that could have come only front New York, and smiling with shy
eagerness. She was of good height (like the Manchus of the old stock),
the face nearly oval, quite unpainted and softly pretty, with a broad
forehead that curved prettily back under the parted hair, arched
eyebrows, eyes more nearly straight than slanting (that opened a thought
less widely than those of Western people), and with a quaint, wholly
charming friendliness in her smile.

He felt her sense of freedom; and knew as she tried to take his huge
hand in her own small one that she carried her Western ways, as her own
people would phrase it, with a proud heart. She was of those aliens who
would be happily American, eager to show her kinship with the great land
of fine free traditions.

And holding the small hand, looking down at her, Doane found his perhaps
overstrained nerves responding warmly to her fine youth and health. He
reflected, in that swift way of his wide-ranging mind, on the amazing
change in Chinese official life that made it even remotely possible for
the viceroy to present his daughter with a heart as proud as hers.
The change had come about during the term of Doane’s own residence....
America, then, was not alone in changing. It was a shaking, puzzled and
puzzling world.

“This,” his excellency was saying, “is my daughter, Hui Fei.”

“I am very pleas’ to meet you,” said Hui Fei.

They sat then. The girl became at once, as in America, the center of
the talk. Though of the heedlessness not uncommonly found among American
girls she had none. She was prettily, sensitively, deferential to her
father. Somewhere back of the bright surface brain from which came the
quick eager talk and the friendly smile, deep in her nature, lay the
sense of reverence for those riper in years and in authority that was
the deepest strain in her race. She dwelt on things almost utterly
American: the brightness of New York--she said she liked it best in
October, when the shops were gay; the approaching Yale-Harvard football
game, a motoring tour through the White Mountains, happy summers at the

Doane watched her, speaking only at intervals, wondering if there might
not be, behind her gentle enthusiasm, some deeper understanding of her
present situation. He could not surely make out. She had humor, and when
he asked if it did not seem strange to step abruptly back into the old
life, she spoke laughingly of her many little mistakes in etiquette.
Her English he found charming. She was continually slipping back into
it from the Mandarin tongue she tried to use, and as continually, with
great gaiety, reaching back into Chinese for the equivalent phrase. She
had so nearly conquered the usual difficulty with the l’s and r’s as
to confuse them only when she spoke hurriedly. At these times, too, she
would leave off final consonants. The long _e_ became then, a short
_i_. Doane even smiled, with an inner sense of pleasure, at her pretty
emphasis when she once converted _people_ into _pipple_. She was,
unmistakably, a young woman of charm and personality. Despite the
quaintness of her speech, she was accustomed to thinking in the new
tongue. Her command of it was excellent; better than would commonly be
found in America. All of which, of course, intensified the problem.

His excellency sat back, smoked comfortably, and looked on her with
frankly indulgent pride.

A servant came with a message; bowing low. The viceroy excused himself,
leaving his daughter and Doane together. Doane asked himself, during the
pause that followed his departure, what the observant attendants beyond
the screen would be thinking. The situation, from any familiar Chinese
point of view, was unthinkable. Yet here he sat; and there, her brows
drawn together (he saw now) in sober thought, sat delightful Miss Hui

She said, in a low voice, while looking out at the river: “Mr. Doane, no
matter what you may think--I mus’ see you. This evening. You mus’ tell
me where. It mus’ not be known to any one. There are spies here.”

Doane glanced up; then, too, looked away. There could be no question now
of the girl’s deeper feeling. She was determined. Her tune was honest
and forthright, with the unthinking courage of youth. It would be her
father, of course...

But his mind had gone blank. He knew not what to think or say.

“Please!” she murmured. “There is no one else You mus’ help us. Tell
me--father will be coming back.”

And then Griggsby Doane heard his own voice saying quietly: “The boat
deck is the only place. You will find a sort of ladder near the stern.
If you can--”

“I will go up there.”

“It will be only just after midnight that I could arrange to be there.”

His excellency returned then. And Doane took his leave. He had been but
a few moments in his own cabin when two actors of his excellency’s suite
appeared, each with a lacquered tray, on one of which was a small chest
of tea, wrapped in red paper lettered in gold and bearing the seal stamp
of the private estate of Kang Yu, on the other an object of more than a
foot in height carefully wound about with cotton cloth.

Doane dismissed the lictors with a Mexican dollar each and unwrapped
the larger object, which the servant had placed with great care on his
berth. It proved to be a _pi_, a disk of carven jade, in color a perfect
specimen of the pure greenish-white tint that is so highly prized by
Chinese collectors. The diameter was hardly less than ten inches, and
the actual width of the stone from the circular inner opening to the
outer rim about four inches. It stood on edge set in a pedestal of
blackwood, the carving of which was of unusual delicacy. The pedestal
was, naturally, modern, but Doane, with a mounting pulse, studied the
designs cut into the stone itself. That cutting had been done not later
than the Han Dynasty, certainly within two hundred years of the birth of


|THE _Yen Hsin_ would arrive at Kiu Kiang by mid-afternoon.

Half an hour earlier. Doane, on the lower deck, came upon a group of
his excellency’s soldiers--brown deep-chested men, picturesque in their
loose blue trousers bound in above the ankles and their blue turbans and
gray cartridge belts--conversing excitedly in whispers behind the stack
of coffins near the stern. At sight of him they broke up and slipped

A moment later, passing forward along the corridor beside the engine
room, he heard his name: “Mr. Doane! If you please!” This in English.

He turned. Just within the doorway of one of the low-priced cabins stood
a pedler he had observed about the lower decks; a thin Chinese with an
overbred head that was shaped, beneath the cap, like a skull without
flesh upon it; the eyes concealed behind smoked glasses.

“May I have a word with you, Mr. Doane?”

The mate considered; then, stooping, entered the tiny cabin. The pedler
closed the door; quietly shot the bolt; then removed his cap and the
queue with it, exposing a full head of stubbly black hair, trimmed, as
is said, pompadour. The glasses came off next; discovering wide alert
eyes. And now, without the cap, the head, despite the hair and the
seriously intellectual face, looked, balanced on its thin neck, more
than ever like a skull.

“You will not know of me, Mr. Doane. I am Sun Shi-pi of Shanghai. I
was attached, as interpreter, to the yamen of the tao-tai. I left his
service some months ago to join the republican revolutionary party. I
was arrested shortly after that at Nanking and condemned to death, but
his excellency, the viceroy--”


“Yes. He is on this boat. He released me on condition that I go to
Japan. I kept my word--to that extent; I went to Japan--but I could
not keep my word in spirit. My life is consecrated to the cause of the
Chinese Republic. Nothing else matters. I returned to Shanghai, and was
made commander there of the ‘Dare-to-dies.’ You did not know of such
an organization? You will, then, before the winter is gone. We shall be
heard from. There are other such companies--at Canton, at Wuchang--at
Nanking--at every center.”

Doane seated himself on the narrow couch and studied the quietly eager
young man.

“You speak English with remarkable ease,” he said.

“Oh, yes. I studied at Chicago University. And at Tokio University I
took post-graduate work.”

“And you are frank.”

“I can trust you. You are known to us, Mr. Doane. Wu Ting Fang trusts
you--and Sun Yat Sen, our leader, he knows and trusts you.”

“I did know Sun Yat Sen, when he was a medical student.”

“He knows you well. He has mentioned your name to us. That is why I am
speaking to you. America is with us. We can trust Americans.”

Doane’s mind was ranging swiftly about the situation. “You are running a
risk,” he said.

Sun Shi-pi shrugged his shoulders. “I shall hardly survive the
revolution. That is not expected among the ‘Dare-to-dies.’”

“If his excellency’s soldiers find you here they will kill you now.”

“The officers would, of course. Many of the soldiers are with us.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter.”

“What is your errand?”

“I will tell you. The revolution, as you doubtless know, is fully

“I’ve assumed so. There has been so much talk. And then, of course, the
outbreak in Szechuen.”

“That was premature. It was the plan to strike in the spring. This
fighting in Szechuen has caused much confusion. Sun Yat Sen is in
America. He is going to England, and can hardly reach China within
two months. He will bring money enough for all our needs. He is the
organizer, the directing genius of the new republic. But the Szechuen
outbreak has set all the young hotheads afire.”

“I am told that the throne has sent Tuan Fang out there to put down the
disturbance. But we have had no news lately.”

“That is because the wires are cut. Tuan Fang will never come back. We
will pay five thousand taels, cash, to the bearer of his head, and ask
no questions. We must exterminate the Manchus. It has finally come down
to that. It is the only way out. But we must pull together. Did you know
that the Wu Chang republicans plan to strike at once?”


“I have been sent there to tell them to wait. That is our gravest danger
now. If we pull together we shall win. If our emotions run away with our

“The throne will defeat your forces piecemeal and destroy your morale.”

“Exactly. My one fear is that I may not reach Wu Chang in time.
But”--with a careless gesture--“that is as it may be. I will tell you
now why I spoke to you. We need you. Our organization is incomplete as
yet, naturally. One matter of the greatest importance is that our spirit
be understood from the first by foreign countries. There is an enormous
task--diplomatic publicity, you might call it--which you, Mr. Doane, are
peculiarly fitted to undertake You know both China and the West. You
are a philosopher of mature judgment. You would work in association with
Doctor Wu Ting Fang at our Shanghai offices. There will be money. Will
you consider this?”

“It is a wholly new thought,” Doane replied slowly. “I should have to
give it very serious consideration.”

“But you are in sympathy with our aims?”

“In a general way, certainly. Even though I may not share your

“On your return to Shanghai would you be willing to call at once on
Doctor Wu and discuss the matter?”

“Yes.... Yes, I will do that. I must leave you now. We are nearly at Kiu

Sun, glancing out the window, raised his hand. Doane looked; two small
German cruisers, the kaiser’s flag at the taff, were steaming up-stream.

“They know,” murmured Sun, with meaning. “I wish to God I could find
their means of information. They _all_ know. From the Japanese in
particular nothing seems to be hidden. Two or three of your American
war-ships are already up there. And the English, naturally, in force.”

“They must be on hand to protect the foreign colony at Hankow. The
Szechuen trouble would justify such a move.”

But Sun shook his head. “They _know_,” he repeated. Then he clasped
Doane’s hand. “However.... that is a detail. It is now war. You will find
events marching fast--faster, I fear, than we republicans wish. Good-by
now. You will call on Doctor Wu.”

The steamer moved slowly in toward the landing hulk. Doane, from the
boat deck, by the after bell pull, gazed across at the park-like
foreign bund, with its embankment of masonry and its trees. Behind
lay, compactly, the walled city. Everything looked as it had always
looked--the curious crowd along the railing, the water carriers passing
down and up the steps, the eager shouting swarm of water beggars. Below,
the coolies swung out from the hulk, ready to make their usual breakneck
leap over green water to the approaching steamer. Now--they were
jumping. The passengers were leaning out from the promenade deck to
watch and applaud.... Doane’s thoughts, as he went mechanically through
his familiar duties, wandered off inland, past the battlements and
towers of the ancient city to the thousands of other ancient cities
and villages and farmsteads beyond; and he wondered if the scores of
millions of lethargic minds in all those centers of population could
really be awakened from their sleep of six hundred years and stirred
into action.

Could a republic, he asked himself, possibly mean anything real to
those minds? The habit of mere endurance, of bare existence, was so
deep-seated, the struggle to live so intense, the opportunity so slight.
Sun Shi-pi and his kind were a semi-Western product. They were, when all
was said and done, an exotic breed. They were the ardent, adventurous
young; and they were the few. There had always been a throne in
China, always extortionate mandarins, always a popular acceptance of

The lines were out now. And suddenly a blue-clad soldier climbed over
the rail, below, balanced along the stern hawser, leaped to the hulk,
and was about to disappear among the coolies there when a rifle-shot
cracked and he fell. He seemed to fall, if anything, slightly before the
shot. Another soldier, following close, was caught by a second shot as
he was balancing on the hawser, and spun headlong into the water where
the propeller still churned.

A few moments later, when Doane moved among the passengers, it became
clear that they knew nothing of the casual tragedy astern. They were all
pressing ashore for a walk in the native city, eager to buy the worked
silver that is traditionally sold there. The slim girl in the middy
blouse had apparently captured young Rocky Kane; they strolled off
across the bund together. But Dawley Kane remained aboard, stretched
out comfortably in a deck chair, listening thoughtfully to the stocky
little Japanese, one Kato, who was by now generally known to be his
_alter ego_ in the matter of buying objects of Oriental art.

None of these folk knew or cared about China. Excepting this Kato. Him
Doane was continually encountering below decks, chatting smilingly
in Chinese with the good-natured soldiers. His work along the river,
doubtless, ranged over a wider field than his present employer would
ever learn. It would be interesting, now, to know what he was saying,
talking so rapidly and always, of course, smiling.... The rest of this
upper-deck white man’s existence Doane dismissed from his mind as he
went about his work. It was all too familiar. Though later he thought of
Rocky Kane. The boy, wild though he might be, had attractive qualities.
It was not pleasant to see that girl get her hands on him. Just one more
evil influence.

He thought, at this juncture, of the--the word came--appalling change
in himself. That he, once a fervid missionary, could stand back like
a sophisticated European, and let the wandering and vicious and broken
human creatures about him go their various ways, as might be, was
disturbing, was even saddening. Something apparently had died in him.
Sun had called him a philosopher. The Oriental, of course, even the
blazing revolutionist, admired this passive quality, this fatalistic
acceptance of the fact. He sighed. To be a philosopher was, then, to
be emotionally dead. The church had been taken out of his life,
leaving--nothing. A mate on a river steamer, in China. Life had gone
quite topsy-turvey. Even the amazing courtesy of his excellency--it
was that, when you considered--and this profound compliment from the
revolutionary junta seemed but incidents. Too many promises had smiled
at Doane, these years of his spiritual Odyssey--smiled and faded to
nothing--to permit an easy hope of anything new and beautiful. He was
beginning to believe that a man can not build and live two lives. And he
had built and lived one.

Captain Benjamin found him; a dogged little captain with dull fright
in his eyes. “It’s happened,” he said, trying desperately to attain an
offhand manner. “Company wire. They’re fighting at Wu Chang. What do you
know about that!”

Doane was silent. It was extraordinarily difficult, here by this calm
old city, on a sunny afternoon, to believe that it was, as Sun had put
it, war.

“We’re to tie up,” the captain went on, “until further orders. The
foreign concessions at Hankow were safe enough this noon, but with an
artillery battle just across the river, and an imperial army moving down
from the north over the railway, they stand a lot of show, they do.”

“I wonder if they’ll send us on.”

“What difference will it make?” The captain’s voice was rising. “You
know as well as I do that they’ll be fighting at Nanking before we
could get back there. Here, too, for that matter. I tell you the whole
river’ll be ablaze by to-morrow. This bloody old river! And us on a
Manchu-owned boat! A lot o’ chance we stand.”

The sight-seers strolled across the shady bund, passed a stone residence
or two and a warehouse, and made their way through the tunneled gateway
in the massive city wall. Little Miss Andrews was escorted by young
Mr. Braker. Miss Means walked with one of the customs men. Two or three
others of the men wandered on ahead. Rocky Kane and the thin girl in the
middy blouse brought up the rear.

As they entered the crowded city within the wall a babel of sound
assailed their ears--the beating of drums and gongs, clanging cymbals,
a musket shot or two, fire-crackers; and underlying these, rising even
above them, never slackening, a continuous roar of voices. The teachers
paused in alarm, but the customs man smilingly assured them that in a
busy Chinese city the noise was to be taken for granted.

Nearly every shop along the way was open to the street, and at each
opening men swarmed--bargaining, chaffering, quarreling. The only women
to be seen were those in black trousers on a wheelbarrow that pushed
briskly through the crowds, the barrow man shouting musically as he
shuffled along. Beggars wailed from the niches between the buildings.
Dogs snarled and barked--hundreds of dogs, fighting over scraps of offal
among the hundreds of nearly naked children.

A mandarin came through in a chair of green lacquer and rich gold
ornament, supercilious, fat, carried by four bearers and followed by
imposing officials who wore robes of black and red and hats with red
plumes. As the street was a scant ten feet in width and the crowds must
flatten against the walls to make way the roar grew louder and higher in

There were shops with nothing but oils in huge jars of earthenware or
in wicker baskets lined with stout paper. There were tea shops with high
pyramids of the familiar red-and-gold parcels, and other pyramids of the
brick tea that is carried on camel back to Russia. There were the shops
of the idol makers, and others where were displayed the carven animals
and the houses and carts and implements that are burned in ancestor
worship, and the tinsel shoes. There were shops where remarkably large
coffins were piled in square heaps, some of glistening lacquer with
the ideograph characters carven or embossed in new gold. There were
varnishers, lacquerers, tobacconists; open eating houses in which could
be seen rows of pans set into brickwork. There were displays of bean
cakes, melon seeds and curious drugs.

Two Manchu soldiers sauntered by, in uniforms of red and faded blue;
fans stuck in their belts and painted paper umbrellas folded in their
hands. One bore a hooded falcon on his wrist.

Miss Andrews sniffed the penetrating odor of all China, that was spiced
just here with smells of garlic cooking and frying fish and pork and
strong oil? and--like the perfume of a dainty lady amid the complex
odors of a French theater--an unexpected whiff of burning incense. She
looked up between the high walls, on which hung, close together, the
long elaborate signs of the tradesmen, black and green and red with
gold, always the gold. Across the narrow opening from roof to roof,
extended a bamboo framework over which was drawn coarse yellow matting
or blue cotton cloths; and through these the sunbeams, diffused, glowed
in a warm twilight, with here and there a chance ray slanting down with
dazzling brightness on a golden sign character.

“It’s all rather terrifying,” murmured Miss Andrews, at Braker’s ear,
“but it’s beautiful--wonderful! I never dreamed of China being so human
and real.”

“And to think,” said he eagerly, “that it has always been like this, and
always will be. It was just so in the days of Abraham and Isaac. The
one people in the world that doesn’t change. It’s their whole
philosophy--passive non-resistance, peace. And-do you know, I’m
beginning to wonder if they aren’t right about it. For here they are,
you know. Greece is dead. Rome’s dead. And Assyria, and Egypt. But here
they are. It’s their philosophy that’s done it, I suppose. Almost be
worth while to come out here and live a while, when our part of the
world gets too upset. Just for a sense of stability--somewhere.”

These two young persons, dreaming of stability while the earth prepared
to rock beneath their feet!

Rocky Kane and the slim girl had dropped out of sight, lingering at this
shop and that. The party later found them at a silversmith’s counter.
They had bought a heap of the silver dragon-boxes and cigarette cases;
and then devised a fresh little idea in gambling, weighing ten Chinese
dollars against other ten in the balanced scales, the heavier lot

Young Kane had got through his clothing, somehow, there in the street,
to his money belt, for he held it now carelessly rolled in one hand. He
was flushed, laughing softly. He and the thin girl were getting on.

“Come along, you two,” remarked the customs man. “We stop only two hours

The young couple, gathering up their purchases and the heaps of silver
dollars, slowly followed.

“That was great!” exclaimed Rocky Kane. The thin girl, he had decided,
was a good fellow. She was always quiet, discreet, attractive. In her
curiously unobtrusive way she seemed to know everything. The face was
cold in appearance. Yet she was distinctly friendly. Made you feel that
nothing you might say could disturb or shock her. He wondered what could
be going on behind those pale quiet eyes, behind the thin lips. The
men had remarked on the fact that she was traveling alone. She was
a provocative person--the curiously youthful costume; the black hair
gathered at the neck and tied, girlishly, with a bow--really an exciting
person. The way she had taken that little scene out on deck with the
gorgeous Chinese girl--Rocky knew nothing of the distinctions between
the Asiatic peoples--who spoke English; quite as a matter of course.
Though she took everything that way. This little gambling, for instance.
She loved it--was quick at it.

“I’m wondering about you,” he said, as they wandered along.
“Wondering--you know--why you’re traveling this way. Have you got folks
up the river?”

“Oh, no,” she replied--never in his life had he known such self-control;
there wasn’t even color in her voice, just that easy quiet way, that
sense of giving out no vitality whatever. “Oh, no. I have some business
at Hankow and Peking.”

That was all she said. The subject was closed. And yet, she hadn’t
minded his asking. She was still friendly; he felt that. His feelings
rose. He giggled softly.

“Lord!” he said, “if only the pater wasn’t along!”

“Does he hold you down?”

“Does he? Brought me out here to discipline me. Trying to make me go
back to college--make a grind of me.... I was just thinking--here’s a
nice girl to play with, and plenty of fun around, and not a thing to
drink. He gave me fits at Shanghai because I took a few drinks.”

“You have the other stuff,” said she. He turned nervously; stared at
her. But she remained as calmly unresponsive as ever. Merely explained:
“I smelt it, outside your cabin. You ought to be careful--shut your
window tight when you smoke it.”

He held his breath a moment; then realized, with an uprush of feeling
warmer than any he had felt before, that he had her sympathy. She would
never tell, never in the world. That big mate might, but she wouldn’t.

She added this: “I can give you a drink. Wait until things settle down
on the boat and come to my cabin--number four. Just be sure there’s no
one in the corridor. And don’t knock. The door will be ajar. Step right
in. Do you like saké?”

“Do I--say, you’re great! You’re wonderful. I never knew a girl like

She took this little outbreak, as she had taken all his others, without
even a smile. It was, he felt, as if they had always known each other.
They understood--perfectly.

If he had been told, then, that this girl had been during two or three
vivid years one of the most conspicuous underworld characters along the
coast--that coast where the underworld was still, at the time of our
narrative, openly part of what small white world there was out here--a
gambler and blackmailer of what would very nearly have to be called
attainment--he would have found belief impossible, would have defended
her with the blind impulsiveness of youth.

It was said that the steamer would not proceed at the scheduled hour,
might be delayed until night. Disgruntled white passengers settled down,
in berth and deck chair, to make the best of it. There was, it came
vaguely to light, a little trouble up the river, an outbreak of some

Rocky Kane, a flush below his temples, slipped stealthily along the
corridor. At number four he paused; glanced nervously about; then,
grinning, pushed open the door and softly closed it behind him.

The strange thin Miss Carmichael was combing out her black hair. With a
confused little laugh he extended his arms. But she shook her head.

“Sit down and be sensible,” she said. “Here’s the saké.”

She produced a bottle and poured a small drink into a large glass. He
gulped it down.

“Aren’t you drinking with me?” he asked.

“I never take anything.”

“You’re a funny girl. How’d you come to have this?”

“It was given to me. You’d better slip along. I can’t ask you to stay.”

“But when am I going to see you, for a good visit?”

“Oh, there’ll be chances enough. Here we are.”

“That’s so. Looks as if we’d stay here a while, too. There’s a battle
on, you know, up at Wu Chang and Hankow. Big row. We get all the
news from Kato. He’s that Japanese that father has with him. The
revolutionists have captured Wu Chang, and are getting ready to cross
over. The imperial army’s being rushed down to defend Hankow. Regular
doings. Shells were falling in the foreign concessions this morning.
Kato’s got all the news there is. It’s a question whether we’ll go on
at all. You see the Manchus own this boat, and the republicans would
certainly get after us. There are enough foreign warships up there to
protect us, of course.... How about another drink?”

“Better not. Your father will notice it.”

“He won’t know where I got it.” Rocky chuckled. He felt himself an
adventurous and quite manly old devil--here in the mysterious girl’s
cabin, watching her as she smoothed and tied her flowing hair, and
sipping the potent liquor from Japan. “It’s funny nothing seems to
surprise you. Did you know they were fighting up there?”


“Wouldn’t you be a little frightened if we were to steam right into a

“I shouldn’t enjoy it particularly.”

“Aren’t you even interested? Is there anything you’re interested in?”

“Certainly--I have my interests. You must go--really.... No, be quiet!
Some one will hear! We can visit to-night--out on deck.”

“But you’re--I don’t understand! Here we are--like this--and you shoo me
out. I don’t even know your first name.”

“My name is Dixie--but I don’t want you to call me that.”

“Why not? We’re friends, aren’t we--”

“Of course, but they’d hear you.”


“Wait--I’ll look before you go.... It’s all clear now.”

They visited long after dinner. He was brimming with later advices from
the center of trouble up the river. Mostly she listened, studying him
with a mind that was keener and quicker and shrewder in its sordid
wisdom than he would perhaps ever understand.

Everything that Kato had told his father and himself he passed eagerly
on to her. He was a man indeed now; making an enormous impression;
possessor of inside information of a vital sort--the viceroy’s priceless
collection of jewels, jades, porcelains and historic paintings, which
Kato was advising his father to pick up for a song while red revolution
raged about the old Manchu, the dramatic plans of the republicans, their
emblems and a pass-word (Kato knew everything)--“Shui-li”--“union is
strength”; the small meeting below decks ending in the death of two
soldiers. He dramatized this last as he related it.

The girl, lying still in her chair, listened as if but casually
interested, while her mind gathered and related to one another the
probable facts beneath his words. She was considering his dominant
quality of ungoverned hot-blooded youth. Of discretion he clearly enough
had none; which fact, viewed from her standpoint, was both important and
dangerous. For the information he so volubly conveyed she had immediate
use. That was settled, however cloudy the details. But this further
question as to the advisability of holding the boy personally to herself
she was still weighing. Two courses of action lay before her, each
leading to a possible rich prize. If the two could be combined, well and
good; she would pursue both. But it was not easy to sense out a possible
combination. The obvious first thought was to go whole-heartedly after
the larger of the prizes and as whole-heartedly forget the other. As
usual in all such choices, however, the lesser prize was the easier to
secure. Perhaps, even, by working--the word “working” was her own--with
great rapidity she might make--again her word--a killing with this wild
youth in time to discard him and pursue the still richer prize.

Because he was, at least, the bird in hand, she submitted passively when
his fingers found hers under the steamer rug. Twilight was thickening
into night now on the river. And they were in a dim corner. He was, she
saw, at the point of almost utter disorganization. He was sensitive,
emotional, quite spoiled. It was almost too easy to do what she might
choose with him. It would be amusing to tantalize him, if there
were time; watch him struggle in the net of his own nervously unripe
emotions, perhaps shake him down (we are yet again dropping into her
phraseology) without the surrender of a _quid pro quo_. That would
please her sense of cool sharp power. But he might in that event, like
the young naval officer down at Hong Kong, shoot himself; which wouldn’t
do. No, nothing in that!

This other larger matter, now, was a problem indeed; really, as yet,
only a haze in her sensitive, strangely gifted mind. It put to the test
at once her imagination, her instinct for dangerous enterprise,
her skill at organizing the sluggish minds of others. It would mean
dangerous and intense activity.

She asked, in a careless manner, where the viceroy kept his treasures;
and fixed in her mind the place he named--Huang Chau.

The fool was squeezing her fingers now; unquestionably building in his
ungoverned brain an extravagant image of herself; an image wrapped
in veils of somewhat tarnished but certainly boyish innocence,
sentimentalized, curiously less interesting than the complicated
wickedness and intrigue of actual human life as it presented itself to

When he tried to kiss her she left him. But lingered to listen to
his proposal that she should follow him to his own cabin; smiled
enigmatically in the dusk beneath the deck light; humming lightly,
pleasingly, she moved away; turned to watch him bolting for his room.

She strolled around the deck then. Apparently none other was sitting
out. The teachers and the young men were spending the evening, she knew,
with Dawley Kane at the consulate. Rocky had got out of that. Tex Connor
was in his cabin; reading, doubtless, with his one good eye. For rough
as he might be, this gambler and promoter of boxing and wrestling
reveled secretly in love stories. He read them by the hundred, the
old-fashioned paper-covered romances and tales of adventure. A pretty
able man. Tex; useful in certain sorts of undertakings; certainly useful
now; but with that curious romantic strain--a weakness, she felt. And
a difficult man, strong, arrogant, leaning on crude power and threats
where she leaned on delicately adjusted intrigue. Had Tex known better
how to cover his various trails he would be in New York or London now,
not out here on the coast picking up small change. Approaching him would
be a bit of a problem; for a year or so their ways, hers and his, had
lain far apart. It was not known, here on the boat, that they were so
much as casually acquainted. They bowed at the dining table; nothing

The Manila Kid was in the social hall, rummaging through the shelf
of battered and scratched records above the taking machine. A quaint
spirit, the Kid; weak, oddly useless, gloomily devoted to music of a
simple sort, quite without enterprise. But.... by this time the delicate
steel machinery of her mind was functioning clearly.... he would
serve now, if only as a means of solving that first little problem of
interesting Tex.

She paused in the doorway; caught his furtive eye, and with a slight
beckoning movement of her head, moved back into the comparative
darkness. Slowly--thick-headedly of course--he came out.

“Jim,” she said, “I’m wondering if you and Tex wouldn’t like to pick up
a little money.”

“What do you think we are?” he replied in a guarded sulky voice. “Tex
dropped three thousand at that fight. There’s no talking to him. He’s
rough--that’s what he is.”

“Jim--” she considered the man before her deliberately; his lank
spineless figure, his characterless, hatchet face: “Jim, send Tex to

“Why should I, Dix? Answer me that.”

“Don’t act up, Jim. I’ve never handed you anything that wasn’t more
than coming to you. I know all about you, Jim. Everything! I’m not
talking--but I know. This is a big proposition I’ve got in mind, and
you’ll get your share, if you come in and stick with me? How about half
a million in jewels?”

“I don’t know’s Tex would care to go in for anything like that. If it’s
a yegg job--”

“I’m not a yegg,” she replied crisply. “Ask Tex to slip around here. I
don’t want to talk on that side of the deck.”

“I suppose you wouldn’t like young Kane to know what you are--er?”

“That sort of talk won’t get you anywhere, Jim.”

“Well--I’ve got eyes, you know.”

“Better learn how to use them. You hurry around to Tex’s cabin. We may
have to move quickly.” Sulkily the Kid went; and shortly returned.

“Well”--this after a silence--“what did he say? Is he coming?”

“He wants you to go around there--to his stateroom.”

“I won’t do that. He’s got to come here.”

This decision lightened somewhat the gloom on the Kid’s saturnine
countenance. He went again, more briskly.

The girl slipped into her own cabin and consulted a folding map of China
she had there. Huang Chau--she measured roughly from the scale with her
thumb--would be seventy or eighty miles up-stream from Kiu Kiang here,
perhaps thirty-five down-stream from Hankow.

Tex was chewing a cigar by the rail At her step his round impassive face
turned toward her.

She said, “Hello, Tex!”

He replied, his one eye fixed on her: “Well, what is this job?”

“Listen, Tex--are you game for a big one?”

“What is it?”

“The revolution’s broken out at Hankow--or across at Wu Chang--”

“Yes, I know!”

“There’s going to be another big battle near Hankow. The republicans are
moving over. Sure to be a mix-up.”

“Oh. yes!”

“There’ll be loot--”

“Oh, that!”

“Wait! I know where there’s a collection of jewels--diamonds, pearls,
rubies, emeralds--all kinds.”

“Do you know how to get it?”

“Yes. It’s a big thing. We’d be selling stones for years in America and
Europe, Will you go in with me, fifty-fifty?”

“What’s the risk?”

“Not much--with things so confused. Looks to me like one of those
chances that just happens once in a hundred years. Take some imagination
and nerve.”

“Where is this stuff?”

“I’ll tell you when we get there. You’ll have to trust me about that.
I’ve never lied to you, and you have lied to me.”


“Listen! Here’s the idea. There’s a lot of nervous soldiers on this boat
that wouldn’t mind a little loot on their own. Here’s your boxer--what’s
his name?”

“Tom Sung.” Connor’s eye never left her face; and she, on her part,
never flinched.

“To those soldiers he’s the biggest man on earth. _He_ wouldn’t mind a
little clean-up either. Oh, there’s enough, Tex--plenty! You see what
I’m getting at. With your Tom for a leader you can pick up a few of
those soldiers, enough to get away clean--”

“But they’re shooting ‘em!”

“They shot two. They’d have trouble shooting forty. Make Tom do the
work--right now, to-night, while we’re lying up here. They’ll follow
him; and you won’t have to stand back of him if he’s caught. He’ll just
be one of the rebels then. Get this right, Tex! It’s a real chance.
You’ll never get another like it. With the soldiers we can get a
launch--hire it, even, if you want to play safe--and go right up there
and get the stuff. Nobody’ll ever know it wasn’t just a case of soldiers
on the loose.”

“How’re you going to get away? They’d know we weren’t here, wouldn’t

“Don’t try to tell me we couldn’t slip out of China, if we had to. This
isn’t England or America. I don’t believe we’d even have to. Just a case
of playing it right--using your head.”

“Where is this place?”

“It’s there, and I’ll take you to it.”

“You’ll have to tell me.”

Quietly she moved her head in the negative. He would hardly know that
the viceroy was not going on through to Hankow and Peking; she had the
information herself only from Rocky Kane. Nor would he know, by any
chance, the situation of his excellency’s ancestral home. For Tex was
not what they termed a “sinologue”; he knew white men and women and
yellow servants, the steamers and railways, the gambling clubs and race
tracks; little else. There was then, little reason why he should think
of the viceroy at all.

“It’s anything from a million or two up, Tex,” she said coolly. “And
my information comes straight. I’ll prove it by taking the chance with

He shook his head; half turned. “Where is it?” She smiled.

He left her abruptly then. And coolly she watched him go. It would take
a little time for Tex’s imagination to rise to it; and until the last
moment he would try to bluff her down. It was just poker; they had
played that game before, she and Tex. Once he had robbed her. But not
this time--not, as she phrased it, if she saw him first.

The Kid came edging out of the social hall. “Will he do it?” he
whispered hoarsely.

“He says he won’t,” replied Dixie.

“Say--that’s tough! I didn’t think Tex would overlook a thing like that.
What’s the matter?” Dixie now considered this curiously useless man. Or
useless he had always seemed to her. Now she was not so sure. “He makes
it a condition that I tell him where the stuff is.”

“Well--Dix, you’d tell him that, wouldn’t you?” The Kid was whining. “If
you really knew yourself.”

“Of course I won’t tell him, Jim. Not yet.”

His eyes sank before hers. He fumbled in a pocket; produced a tiny wrist
watch of platinum. “Look here. Dix,” he remarked clumsily, “things ain’t
always been’s pleasant as they might be between you and I, but I was
wondering if you wouldn’t put this on, for old times’ sake, like.”

She took the gift, weighed in in her hand. “Thank you, Jim,” she
replied. “That’s awfully nice of you. Though perhaps I’d better not wear
it here on the boat.”

“I suppose young Kane might ask questions, eh?”

“Nothing like that. I’ll wear it. Here--you snap the catch, Jim.”

“I--I might wish it on, Dix, like the kids do.”

“All right. Have you wished?”

“Sure, Say, Dix, you won’t mind the little place where the initials got
scratched off inside the back cover. Nobody’ll see that.”

“Surely not,” said Dixie.

At a little after midnight Griggsby Doane mounted to the boat deck and
walked quietly aft past the funnels and the engine room ventilators. A
half moon threw shadows along the bund and among the landing hulks and
the moored silent sampans, lorchas, junks. The mile-wide river shimmered
in a million ripples.

A slight figure rose from a skylight.

Hui Fei wore the black jacket and trousers of the lower class Chinese
women below decks. Her head was uncovered, and her hair waved prettily
down across the wide forehead. She should have oiled it flat, of course,
to complete her disguise; this careless arrangement was charming in the
moonlight but was neither Manchu nor Chinese.

Doane found himself holding her small hand and looking gravely down at
her. He even slowly shook his head. “You must tell me quickly what you
have to say, Miss Hui. As soon as possible you must go back. This is
very unsafe.”

“Oh, yes,” she said. “It will not be long. It is ver’ har’ to say. But I
am so alone. There is no one to tell me what I mus’ do.”

She plunged bravely into her story. Her information had come from one or
another of her maids. And she had overheard gossip among the mandarins.
The throne had sent her father the silken cord. She could not discover
why. To be sure they called him a secondary devil, meaning one who
sympathised with the foreigners. The reactionary Manchus at Peking,
reveling and plotting within the sacred walls of the Forbidden City,
remembered nothing, it appeared, of the recent past. The eunuchs, always
the stormy petrels of China’s darkest days, were again in power at
the palace; the great empress dowager, she whom all China termed,
half-affectionately, “the Old Buddha,” had given them their head, and
now this new young empress with all the arrogance of the Old Buddha and
none of her genius for power or her profound experience, was running
wild. And as a consequence, Kang Yu, the statesman who more than any
other was equipped to counsel her wisely during this stormy time, was
returning to the home of his ancestors to die by his own hand. It
would be said at the Forbidden City that a gracious empress dowager had
“permitted” him to go.... Doane’s disturbed thoughts darted back over the
bloodstained recent history of Manchu officialdom. The Old Buddha had
“permitted” Ch’i Ying, late Manchu Viceroy of Canton, to slay himself;
and had graciously extended the same privilege to others after the Boxer
trouble of the year 1900, among them an acquaintance of Doane’s, Chao
Shu-ch’iao. Others she had decapitated--Yuan Ch’ang, Li Shan, Controller
of the Household, and Hsu Ching, President of the Board of War. She
killed, too, Hsu Ching-Ch’eng, who, like Kang, had held the post of
minister in more than one of the capitals of Europe. The only known
charge against this Hsu was that he had come to admire foreign customs.

In her narrative the girl spoke only English. Her voice was deep
in quality, without heaviness; musical, like most voices among the
better-to-do in the Middle Kingdom, Chinese and Manchu alike. And,
colored now with deep emotion, it had an appealing quality to which
Doane found a response--difficult, at the moment, to repress--among his
own emotions. He sensed, too, with a pleasure that was, in his lonely
life, stirring, the naiveté of her Western feeling. Standing here in
simple native costume, in the heart of old China, gazing wistfully out
over the tangled hundreds of sleeping junks and sampans, this girl,
freshly out of a Massachusetts college, was pleading against hope that
her father might be spared the final jealous vengeance of the mightiest
remaining Oriental throne.

The China that Doane had so long known, that had, indeed, for better
or worse, been woven into the fiber of his being, was turning suddenly
incredible. He stared, more intently than he knew, straight down at
the slim little figure--for beside his own huge frame this tall girl
appeared as hardly more than a child--at the unadorned face that was
softly girlish, at the Mack hair waving down over the pale forehead,
glistening in the moonlight.

“They mean to confisca’”--she left off, in her eagerness to explain,
the final _te_--“all his property. Tell me, Mister Duane, can they do
that--all his property?”

He reflected. There would be vast areas of tea-lands and rice lands,
almost innumerable shares in these new corporations, the famous
collections of jades, paintings, carvings and jewels. Finally he
inclined his head.

“I’m afraid they could. It would be an outrageous act, but the
government now, I’m sorry to say, is in outrageous hands. If the empress
is determined, as apparently she is, there are ways enough of getting
at all his possessions. Even through the banks.” His heart was full, his
voice tender; but he could not deceive her. He added a question: “Does
his excellency, your father, know all this?”

She nodded. “I have tol’ him. But I can no’ make him see it like me. Oh,
we are so differen’. I am, you see, an American girl. I am free here,”
 she laid a pretty hand on her breast. “When I try to think of all these
dreadful things--of these wicked eunuchs an’ the empress who is like
thousan’ of years ago--blin’, childish!--an’ the people who can no’ yet
see it differen’--I get bewilder’. You un’erstan’. You are an American,
too. I can speak with you. That is well, because there isn’ anybody else
I can speak with. An’ my father admires you. If you will only speak with
him--if you will only help me make him think differen’!”

Doane wondered what he could do, what she imagined he could do, without
influence or money. He quite forgot, in this matter of influence alone,
the significance of the viceroy’s courtesy, as of Sun Shi-pi’s appeal
to him. For a little too long he had been a beaten man. It was becoming
dangerously near a habit so to consider himself. And now, to make active
dear thinking impossible, emotion flooded his brain. Gently he asked her
what she would have him do.

“My father will no’ listen when I speak, He is ver’ kind, ver’ generous.
He has made me an American girl. That is one of the things they say is
wrong. Even for tha’ they attack his good name. But when I ask Him no’
to do this, no’ to die so wrongly, he speaks to me like an ol’ Manchu of
long ago.”

“He is between the worlds,” mused Doane, aloud.

“Yes, it is that. An’ I, perhaps, am between the worl’s.”

“And I.”

“But he mus’ no’ do it! It is so simple! The throne will no’ live. Not
one year more. I know that. They are fighting now at Wu Chang.”

Doane inclined his head. “I know that, Miss Hui, but the revolution has
not yet gone so far that success is sure.”

“But it is sure. The people will everywhere rise. I know it--here!”

“That is my hope, too. But to stir this great land means so much in
effort and education. You have changed, yes. Your father has changed.
Sun Yat Sen was educated in a medical school and has lived in America
and England; he has changed. But all China--I do not want to dash your
hopes, dear Miss Hui, but I fear China is not nearly so far along as you
and I would wish.”

“Then--even so--mus’ my father die because a wicked empress has no
brains? It is no’ right. Listen, please! If you, Mis’er Doane, would
jus’ try to persua’ my father! He will listen to you. Oh, if you woul’
stay with us, an’ help us. We coul’ take some money, some jewels, an’
escape down the river--to Shanghai--to Japan, or even America. My father
mus’ no’ die like this. There will be a few servan’s we can trus’. You
speak to my father, sir, an’ he will listen. I know that. He says you
have the mind of the ol’ philosopher--of Lao-tze himself. He said that.
An’ you have the Western strength that he admires. An’ he says you
un’erstan’ China. Oh, will you speak to him?”

Doane stared out into the luminous night. This response in his breast
to her eager youth frightened him now. He had felt of late that life
mattered little; certainly not his own. But youth, and hope, and
faith--they mattered.

He took her small hand in his own. His heart was beating high. It was
going to be hard now, to control his voice. He was, then, after all the
years, the struggles, the beatings, incurably romantic....

Stirred yet by the vibrant pulse of youth that in some men and women
never dies. He himself had thought this negative spirit of the past few
years a philosophy, but apparently, it was nothing of the sort. Or where
was it now? Tor he was suddenly all nervously alive, a man of vigor and
pride, a man of urgent emotional need....

“I will try,” he said.

She clung to his hand. “I have your promise?”

He bowed. “I must think. I should not like to fail. There will be time.
He will”--it was hard to phrase this--“he will wait, surely, until he is
at home. But you must not stay longer here. And we must not meet again
like this. I will try my best to help you.”

It seemed a pitifully inadequate speech. But the wild impulse was upon
him to clasp her lovely person in his arms--claim her, fight for her,
live again a man’s life through and for her. It was, he deliberately
thought, almost insane in him. A man with nothing to offer, not even the
great hope of youth, struggling against an emotion, a hunger, that it
was grotesque to indulge. He compressed his lips tightly.

She seemed breathless. For a moment she pressed her hands to her cheeks
and eyes; then waved to him and went lightly down the ladder.


|THE upper-deck passengers awoke in the morning to find the engines
still at rest, and the now familiar View of Kiu Kiang still to be seen
from port-side windows; the _Yen Hsin_ had merely been moved a hundred
yards or so below the landing hulk and anchored. There was grumbling
about the breakfast table. The captain did not appear. The huge mate was
preoccupied; explaining with grave courtesy that he had no further news.
He assumed that orders to proceed to Hankow would be forthcoming
during the day. It was understood now that the republican troops
were everywhere protecting white folk, and, in any event, the foreign
concessions up the river were well guarded by the war-ships.

The outstanding fact was that they were to spend at least another night
on the river. The sensible thing to do, or so decided the younger men,
was to have a dance. Accordingly, before tiffin, committees were hard
at work planning decorations for the social hall. Miss Means proved a
fertile source of entertaining ideas. And it was agreed, during the day,
that Miss Andrews had a pretty taste at hanging flags.

The Chinese day begins with the light. And little Mr. Kato, sitting
smilingly through breakfast, had already passed hours among his
below-decks acquaintance. After breakfast he sat outside with the Kanes,
senior and junior, talking rapidly. There Miss Carmichael observed them;
later, when Rocky stood by the rail throwing brass cash down into
the crowding, nosing sampans of the water beggars, she strolled his
way--looking incredibly young--carrying a book from the boat’s library,
a thin finger between the pages as a mark. She smiled at the quarreling
beggars below. But he, at sight of her, grew sulky.

“You didn’t come last night,” he said, very low, his voice thick with
suddenly rising feeling.

“No, I couldn’t. You can’t always plan things.”

“Well, you said--”

“Rocky, please! You mustn’t talk like that. We can be seen.”

“Well--” he closed his lips. It was the first time she had called him
by his name. That seemed something. And she was right; they must keep up
appearances. He felt that she was extremely clever; living her own life
as a business woman, away out here, doing as she chose, like a man,
never losing her head for a moment. Well, he would show her that he
could be a sport.

“Kato picked up some queer news this morning, prowling around. There’s a
mutiny brewing below decks. He hasn’t got all the facts, yet. He’s down
there now. It’s the viceroy’s soldiers. First! thing we know they’ll be
blowing up the boat.” He was gloomy about it; boyishly tun ing his heavy
burden of self-pity and reproach into the new channel.

“Well,” said she, “we’ll all have to take our chances, I suppose,” and
moved away a step, pausing and balancing gracefully on the balls of her
feet and smiling at him.

“Wait,” he muttered--“don’t go!”

“It’s better. No good in our being seen too much together--”

“Too much?”

“I’ll save you some dances to-night.”

“A lot! All of them!”

She smiled again at this outburst; said, “We can visit afterward,
anyhow,” and moved away.

On the other side of the deck she found the Manila Kid leaning in a
doorway, moodily chewing a match. His listless eyes at once sought her

“You’re not wearing it,” he muttered.

“You know why, Jim.”

“Sure! Young Kane.”

“Oh, Jim, where are your brains? Don’t try to tell me that Tex hasn’t
seen that watch.... Well, do you want him to know there’s something
between us--just now--”

“I don’t know’s I--”

Her pale cool eyes swept the deck. Then she leaned beside him; opened
her book, then looked out over it at the shipping and the dimpling river
beyond; smiled in her easy way. “Jim, why didn’t you tell me that Tex
has started this thing without me?”

“I’ve been watching for a chance to.”

She considered this. He went on:

“Look here, Dixie, this is big stuff!”

“Of course.”

“I’ve been trying to figure out how we stand. I didn’t quite get you
last night. Tex and his boy Tom have got a bunch of the soldiers now.
But they’re moving careful because there’s another show been started.
One of the regular revolutionary crowd is below there stirring ‘em up.
Some of ‘em are full of this republic idea, want to die for it and all
that stuff, and Tex has to move cautious to buy ‘em off. Say, what does
he want so many for?”

“The more the better.”

“But how’re you going to pay ‘em?”

“Let them loot.”

“But Tex--and Tom--are promising them part of the real stuff, jewels.”

“Oh, you’d probably have to promise. But when they get into it, with
plenty of loot and liquor and women, it’ll be easy enough to get away
from them.”

“But how’re you going to keep ‘em in hand before that? Do you know what
some of ‘em are whispering around now? They want to carve up the boat.
Come right up here and go through the viceroy’s outfit.”

“But he hasn’t much stuff here, Jim. We’ve got bigger game than that.”

“I know--and anyway it’d bring a gunboat down on us. That’s what Tex is
trying to make Tom see. Tom’s in Tex’s room now. But my God, Dixie, when
I think of what you’ve started in that offhand way o’ yours....”

“Tex’ll hold them down, Jim. That’s one good thing about him, he’s not
weak. You’re nervous. Better go in and help the teachers hang flags.
That’ll soothe you. You and I mustn’t talk any more either. If there’s
any news for me, better send me a chit by a boy.”

The Kid looked mournfully at her. He was a grotesque, this Jim Watson,
tall, angular, thin bony face under the tipped-back cap, bald salients
running up into his hair on either side the plastered-down front locks.
And as he gazed on this wisp of a girl who had slipped mysteriously
in among the adroit swindlers and adventuresses of the coast but a few
brief years back and had from the very beginning cleverly made her way,
his disorganized spirit yearned toward her. She had brains, and used
them. She knew how to be nice to a fellow, and the Kid hungered for
sympathy. And she was piquantly desirable: in part because men sought
her without success. Except perhaps that young naval officer at Hong
Kong, the name of no man had been seriously linked with hers; and
the fact that he was an eldest son of one of the richest and greatest
families in England in a measure removed the incident beyond the
confines of normal human experience. No, the Kid could hardly feel that
he ought to resent that. He knew, as he so moodily surveyed her, that
her sympathy--the word was his own--could be bought only at a high
price. The price, indeed, frightened him. He couldn’t think along with
Dixie and Tex. Nor could he easily conceive of opposing Tex, for the man
was strong and merciless. Still....

“See here, Dixie, if I wasn’t so fool crazy over you, do you think for
a minute I’d let you drag me into this kind of a mix-up? Why, my
God!--when I got to thinking about it last night--the risks you’re

“It’s big stakes, Jim. You can’t expect a million to fall into your lap.
Got to play for it. Tell me--does this Tom Sung understand English?”

“Of course! He was a farm laborer in California, and a cook in the
United States Navy. Why?”

“I may have to talk to him myself before we get through with it.”

“Of course you know Tex means to rob you?”

“Of course,” said she, smiling a little for the benefit of a customs man
who appeared up forward. “You run along now, Jim. This is no game for
weak nerves. Remember, I need you.”

“Well--just this--”


“--You listen, now! You won’t find me getting-cold feet--”

“I’m sure of that.”

“And I ain’t afraid o’ Tex Connor, either! If you mean that I’ve got
to go up against him--Well, say, look here! If I go through--if I do
everything you say--how’re we going to stand, you and me?”

“I let you give me the watch, didn’t I?”

“Well--that’s all right--but I asked you once to go to the Islands with
me, and you wouldn’t.”

“Not over there. I know too many people.”

“Well, somewhere else, then! Tell me straight, now! If we pull this
off--shake down a real pile--will you go with me?”

She looked thoughtfully at him for a brief moment; then turned again to
the river. “You know I’m fond of you, Jim.”

“It’s a trade, Dixie? If I stick to you, you’ll stick to me?”

She considered this; finally, very quietly, barely parting her lips,
replied, simply: “Yes.”

He drew in his breath with a whistling sound.

She added, then: “Careful, Jim! I know how you feel, but don’t let
yourself talk.”

“I know, Dix, but my God! When I think of how you’ve kept me dancing
this year--and now--”

“I’ll say this, Jim. Just this. If you knew everything about Tex

“You mean, he’s tried to--”

“I mean certain things he’s said to me. If you’re as fond of me as that
you’d understand why I’ve felt, once or twice, like killing him. That
man is a devil, Jim.”

Then she slipped away.

Miss Carmichael sat deliberately through tiffin; discreetly quiet, as
always; apparently without nerves. The Kid ate rapidly, speaking not a
word, seldom looking up from his plate. Tex Connor was calmly wooden, as
always, though at intervals Miss Carmichael felt his eye on her as she
daintily nibbled her curry.

After tiffin she was stretched comfortably in her deck chair, reading,
or seeming to, when Connor appeared, strolling along the deck, hands
deep in pockets, chewing the inevitable Manila cigar. He wore a neat
cap, and his large person was clothed in an outing suit of gray flannel.
On his feet were shoes of whitened leather with rubber soles. To any but
a shrewd student of physiognomy he might have passed for a prosperous
American business man or politician, of the bluff western sort.

He paused at her careless nod; bent his face around and stared coldly
at her. Nothing of the real man showed; even his rough vulgarity was
concealed behind the mask and the manner. He ought to have a woman
to tell him, she thought, that he was altogether too stout to wear a
Norfolk jacket.

“Sit down?” she asked.

He dropped into the chair beside her.

“Looks as if we’d be hung up here till night anyhow,” he said gruffly.
“All foolishness, too. It’s safe enough between here and Hankow.
The Jardine boat came down this morning. And we land at the
concessions--don’t have to go clear up to the city.” He drummed on the
chair; shifted his cigar. “I can’t hang around here. Got to get up to
Peking before they close off the railroad.”

She listened quietly to this little tirade; then remarked: “Thought over
my proposition, Tex?”

“What proposition?.... Oh, that scheme? Sure, I’ve thought it over.
Nothing in it, Dix.”

“Why not?”

“Too complicated. Did you ever see a lot of soldiers on the loose--their
killing blood up? You could never handle ‘em in the world.”

“Oh, of course,” said she, “if you tried any coarse work. But I wouldn’t
pin that on you, Tex.”

“It’s easy to talk.” Connor’s voice rose slightly; he noted the fact
himself; paused and spoke with greater deliberation. “But I wouldn’t
tackle a gamelike that. It ain’t practical. Anyhow, Dix, I wouldn’t go
it blind. I’d have to know where I was going every minute. If you wanted
to talk real business, it might be different. I might see a way to start
something. But even at that”--he got heavily to his feet.... “No, thing
for me’s to stick to my own line.”

He was moving slowly away when her slow light voice brought him up
short. “Tex,” she said, “I see you’re just a cheap liar, after all.”

Then she watched the color sweep over his face. It was something to stir
that wooden countenance with genuine emotion. She even found a perverse
thrill in the experience.

He stood motionless for a long moment. Finally he said, none too
steadily: “You know what would happen to a man that said that to me.”

“What would you do? Shoot?.... Where would that get you? No, Tex,
listen! Sit down here.”

But he stood over her.

“I know everything you’re doing.”

“Oh--you do?”

“You’re crossing me. But you can’t get away with it. You know where you
are--in China! And you’re tampering with the troops of the viceroy of
Nanking. My God, Tex, haven’t you _any_ brains? Did you really think I’d
show my hand?”

He chewed the cigar in silence, staring down.

“I’ll give you your choice,” she went on. “You can work with me.
fifty-fifty, or I’ll have Tom Sung beheaded. And then you’ll be out a
meal ticket. And all your expenses with Tom up to now. And the three
thousand you lost to the Kanes.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about! I haven’t even seen Tom Sung
in twenty-four hours.”

“That’s another lie. He was in your room this morning.”

“How do you know that? Say, if Jim Watson’s been talking....”

“He hasn’t, Tex. I’ve got my information--and there’s a lot of if--from
Kato the Japanese. Go and talk to him, if you like. Or to your friends
the Kanes.”

Connor, the color gone from his face now, looked steadily down at her.
Slowly he drew from an inner pocket a gold-mounted case of alligator
skin and selected a fresh cigar, lighting it on the stump of the old
one. Finally he said:

“Dix, I’m taking some rough talk from you. But never mind--now. You say
you know where the stuff is, but you won’t tell me.”

“Not now. I’ll keep that information to trade with, Tex.”

“Well and good. I’ll tell you that you can’t get it without a little
help from me. And you’re not going to get it. Tell me where it is, and
I’ll put it through and split with you. It’ll have to be pretty quick,
too. If you won’t, you don’t get your loot. And you give up my boy

“What’ll you do, Tex?” She was faintly smiling.

“Oh, I won’t shoot you. I’ll protect myself better’n that. But I’ll run
you off the coast. You’ll have turned your last card out here.”

To this she said simply nothing. For a moment her two eyes met his one
full. Then he strolled away. And the day passed.

Doane stood by the rail in the dusk of early evening looking in through
the open doorway. The social hall was gay with flags, the dragon of
China hung flat over the talking machine with the American and British
colors draped on either hand. The little teachers had on their brightest
and best. Miss Andrews in particular, wore a pink party gown that might
have been made by a village dressmaker--or, more likely, by herself--and
flushed prettily as she chatted with young Braker. The men were all in
their dinner coats.

Dixie Carmichael, in the inevitable blue middy blouse, sat quietly
reading in a corner. A strange creature, always imperturbably girlish.
Duane had observed her casually on the boat and about the Astor House
at Shanghai, and despite the curious tales that drifted along the
coast--already the girl had acquired an almost legendary fame--he had
never seen her other than discreetly quiet. Men who had observed her on
the steamer from Hong Kong after the outraged British wives as good as
drummed her out of town asserted that she exhibited not so much as a
ruffle of the nerves. A girl without emotion, apparently; certainly
without a moral sense.

She had for a time managed a gambling house on Bubbling Well Road,
Shanghai, but this year seemed to be more active up Peking way. At least
she had made several trips to the north. There were moments when her
thin, nearly expressionless face bore a look of infinite age; yet she
was young. It would be interesting, he reflected, to know of her home
and her youth, of the remarkable deficiency (or the equally remarkable
gift) that had sent her out alone, with her hair down her back, to pit
her uncanny quickness of thought and her sordid purpose against the
desperately clever rascals of the coast.

When again he passed the doorway they were dancing--a waltz. Dixie and
young Kane were together. Miss Means, primmer than ever, moved about
with a tall Australian. Braker was with little Miss Andrews. The others
of the younger men danced humorously with one another. The Manila Kid
stood lankily, gloomily, by the talking machine, sorting records.

There was a bustling outside the farther door; musical voices; the
shimmering of satin in the light; and the viceroy came in, escorting his
daughter and attended by all his suite. At the sight of Miss Hui Fei
as she appeared in the doorway and stepped lightly over the sill Doane
caught his breath. She wore an American costume, a gown of soft material
in rose color trimmed with silver, the stockings and little slippers in
silver as well. A girl at any college or suburban dance back home might
have dressed like that. Her richly black hair was parted on the side;
masses of it waved carelessly down over her temples and part of the
broad forehead. Her color was high, her eyes were bright. The eagerly
Western quality he had sensed in her was dominant now, triumphant as
youth can be triumphant.

Doane, for a moment, pressed a hand to his eyes. He could not relate
this radiantly Western girl with the quaintly Oriental figure he had
last seen by moonlight on the boat deck. It was difficult, too, to
understand her bright happiness. Had her insistently modern spirit
prevailed over her father’s resolve to die? Or was she, after all,
carried away by girlishly high spirits at the thought of a party? On the
latter possibility Doane set his teeth; it raided thoughts of Oriental
fatalism and surface adaptability that he could not face. Surely the
girl who had talked so earnestly, who had so clearly exhibited a Western
view of her father’s predicament, was more than Oriental at heart.

The most deeply sobering thought, of course, was that he should so
poignantly care. The mere sight of her thrilled him, shook him. All
night and during this day he had been fighting the new shining sense of
her in his heart; it was clear now that the battle was a losing one.
It was true, then; the last broken shards of his elaborately built up,
wholly mental philosophy of life had crashed hopelessly about his ears.

The pity of it seemed to him, even then, to be that he was possessed of
such abounding vitality of body and mind. He felt a young man. He was
never ill, never even tired. Only accident, he felt, could shorten his
life. Certainly he wouldn’t take it himself; he had gone all through
that. He would have to go dully on and on; he was like an engine that is
using but a fraction of its proper power. He had not known that his need
was a woman until he met this woman. To no other, he felt, could he give
the rich upwellings of emotion in his heart; and vital emotion, he
had tragically learned three years earlier, can not be repressed
indefinitely. There was a breaking point... He was, even now, bringing
up favorable arguments. This young woman, as she had admitted, like
himself, stood between the worlds. She could never be happy in China;
hardly out of it. If.... If.... Thoughts came, bitter thoughts, of his
years, of his poverty. The thing had the grip of a demoniac possession.
He had seen other men mad over the one woman, and had pitied them; but
now he.... He called himself savagely, in his heart, a fool. Yet the
wild hopes mounted.

The waltz was over. The Kid changed the records and ground the machine.
An interpreter left the group of mandarins and spoke with one of the
Australians; led the man back to his excellency. A moment later the
music sounded again, and the Australian danced lightly away with Miss
Hui Fei in what Doane had no means of knowing was the very new
one-step. He had never danced; plainly she loved it. She moved like a
fairy--light, utterly graceful, her oval face, when she turned, flushed
a little and soberly radiant.

Hating the man who held her so close, he turned away. He did not know
that his excellency, glimpsing him outside there in the shadows, leaned
forward and bowed; he did not observe (or care) that Dixie Carmichael
was dancing with the German customs man, while Rocky Kane, suddenly
white, lighting one cigarette on another, stood in a corner devouring
with his eyes Miss Hui Fei. A little later, when the young man spoke,
there at his side, he started; for he had heard no one approach. Rocky
was hatless; hair rumpled as if he had been running nervous fingers
through it, cheeks deeply flushed, eyes staring rather wildly. He threw
his cigarette overboard and squarely faced the huge man in blue.

“I don’t know what you’ll think of me--” he began, in a breathless,
unsteady voice; then his eyes wavered.

Doane turned with him, Dixie Carmichael stood in the doorway, watching
them. Rocky, with a nervous gesture, as if he would brush her away,
looked up again into the stern older face. He was plainly lost in
himself, burning with the confused fires of youth.

“I don’t know what you’ll think of me--” he came again to a stop.
Apparently the words, “Mr. Doane,” would have completed the sentence,
but failed for some reason to find voice. Perhaps it was the habit of
his wealthy environment that restrained him even now from speaking with
more than casual respect to a uniformed employee of a river line; yet,
contradictorily, here he was, all boyish humility!.... “I’m a damn fool,
of course, I know that. But--you’ve seen her.”

Doane glanced again toward the door. Dixie Carmichael had disappeared.

“No--not that one!” cried the boy hotly; then dropped his voice. “The
girl in there! The--princess, isn’t she?”

Doane inclined his head.

“Then she’d be the one I--well, you remember.”

“She’s the same. The Princess Hui Fei--”

“Hughie Fay? Like that?”


“What a lovely name!.... You--I know you won’t understand! It’s so hard
to--I _am_ young, of course. I’ve been sort of in wrong. I guess
you think I’m a pretty wild lot. I seem to have been trying about
everything. But until to-night--oh, there’s no use pretending I’m not
hit all of a heap. I am. I never saw anything like her--never in my
life. I don’t know what the pater would say--me falling for a Manchu
girl--you think I’m crazy, don’t you?”


“Perhaps I am. My head’s racing. Just watching her in there makes my
pulse jump. I get bewildered. Tell me--she was all Chinese the--the
other time--all painted up. Big head-dress with flowers on it. Why did
she do that?”

“Out of respect to her father. The rouge and the head-dress were
according to Oriental custom.” He looked directly down at the boy,
and added, deliberately, “Veneration of parents is the finest thing in
Chinese life. I sometimes think we have nothing so fine in America.”

The boy’s eyes fell. He mumbled. “Ouch! You landed there, I guess.” Then
he raised his eyes. “I can’t help myself--whatever I am--but I can start
fresh, can’t I? That’s what I’m going to do, anyhow--start fresh.” He
squared himself. His lip quivered.

“Will you take me in there to the viceroy, and translate my apology?”

Doane stood a moment in silence. Then he replied, quietly, “Yes.” And
led the way into the social hall. He found himself watching, like a
spectator, the little scene.... the viceroy rising, with a quiet smile,
a gentle old man, awaiting with perfect courtesy of bearing whatever
might be forthcoming; Rocky Kane, seeming younger than before, with, in
fact, the appearance of an excited boy, the wild look still in his eyes
but the face set with supreme determination. Doane observed now that
he had a good forehead, wide and not too high. The nose was slightly
aquiline, like his father’s. The eyes, so dark now, were normally blue;
the mouth sensitive; the skin fine in texture.

“Tell him”--thus the boy--“tell him I acted like a dirty cad, that I
know better, and--and ask his pardon.”

Doane translated discreetly. A dance was just ending, and curious eyes
were bent on the group. The mandarins stood behind the viceroy, all
gracefully at ease in their rich rubes.

His excellency, without relaxing that smile, replied in musical

“What is it?” asked Rocky Kane, under his breath, all quivering
excitement; “what does he say?”

“That he accepts your apology, with appreciation of your manliness.”

Young Kane’s nervous frown relaxed at this. He was pleased.

“Will you,” he was saying now, “will you ask if I may dance with the

Doane complied. He felt now a strain of fineness in this ungoverned boy
that was oddly moving to his own emotion-clouded brain.... Hoi Fei was
approaching, the Australian at her side.

“He suggests”--Doane found himself translating--“that you ask her. He
does not know what engagements she may have made.”

The boy bit his lip. And then the princess was greeting the mate. “It’s
nice to see you, Mr. Doane,” she was saying. “I wondered if you weren’t
coming to the party.”

It seemed to Doane that he could feel young Kane’s devouring eyes
fastened on her. The moment had come in which he must act. The
Australian, sensing a situation, thanked the princess and slipped away.
Quietly, Doane said: “Miss Hui Fei, this is Mr. Kane, who has asked
permission to meet you.”

She drew back a very little; Doane caught that; yet the courtesy of her
race did not fail her. She inclined her pretty head; even smiled.

“Should I speak English?” asked the boy, out of sheer confusion; then:
“Miss Hui Fei”--he was white; the words came slowly, almost coldly,
between set teeth--“I am sorry for my rotten behavior the other night.”

That was all. He waited. Miss Hui’s smile faded.

No Oriental could have come out so bluntly with it. She seemed to be
considering him. Gradually the smile returned, and with it an air of
courteous dismissal.

“I have forgotten it.”

Kane gathered his courage.

“May I have a dance with you?”

For a moment the silence was marked. Perhaps Miss Hui was gathering
herself as well. But it was only a moment; she spoke, smiling as if she
were happy, her manner gracious, even kind: “I am sorry. I have promise’
every dance. The ladies are so few to-nigh’.”

That was all. The boy seemed somewhat slow in comprehending it. He stood
motionless; then the color returned slowly to his face, flooding it. He
bowed to her stiffly, then to her father, and rushed out on deck.

Miss Hui smiled up at the mate. “I have save’ the dance you ask’,” she
said pleasantly. “It is this nex’ one, if you don’ mind.”

The Manila Kid adjusted the needle and released the catch.

“I’m sorry,” said Doane, as they moved away, “I don’t dance.”

The commonplace remark fell strangely on his own ears. It could hardly
be himself speaking. He was all glowingly warm with impulse, his logic

“We’ll sit it out,” said Miss Hui pleasantly.

And during the brief walk across the room, beside this buoyantly
graceful girl, even while aware of the eyes upon him, he felt the magic
wine of youth thrilling through his arteries. What a fairy she was!
Snatches of poetry came; one--

                   “Were it ever so airy a tread....”

--and lingered fragrantly after they were seated and he found himself
looking down at her, listening with something of the gravity and
kindliness of long habit when she so quickly spoke.


|A BEWILDERED, crushed Rocky Kane stood tightly holding the rail;
staring down at the softly black water that ran so smoothly along the
hull beneath; muttering in whispers that at intervals broke out into
heated speech. This strange princess had humiliated him perfectly,
completely; there had been nothing he could say, nothing to do but go;
and she had let him go without a look or a further thought. He told
himself it was unfair. He had swallowed his pride and apologized. Could
a man do more?

But pressing upward through this chaotic mental surface of hurt pride
and insistent self-justification came an equally insistent memory of
his outrageous conduct toward her. As the moments passed, the memory
intensified into a painfully vivid picture. His native intelligence,
together with the undeveloped decency that was somewhere within him,
kept at him with dart-like, stinging thoughts. He had insulted not only
herself but her race as well, in assuming a ruthless right to make free
with her.

Then self-justification again; how could he know that she spoke English
and dressed like the girls back home? Was it fair of her to masquerade
like that?

He was miserably wrong, of course. And his nerves were terribly
upset. That was at least part of the trouble, his nerves; he lighted
a cigarette to steady them. The match shook in his hand. This nervous
trembling had been increasing lately; he found it an alarming symptom.
Perhaps the trouble was inherent weakness. Ability like his father’s
often skipped a generation; and character. Yes, he was weak, he had
failed at everything. His college career was a wreck; a monstrous wreck,
he believed, echoes from which would follow him through life. To his
incoherent mind it seemed that he had about all the vices--drinking,
gambling, pursuing helpless girls, even smoking opium. His one faith had
been money; but now he suddenly, wretchedly, knew that even the money
might fail him. It was as easy to toss away a million as a hundred on
the red or the black. And then young men who wasted themselves acquired
diseases from the terrors of which no fortune could promise release; a
thought that had long dwelt uncomfortably in a sensitive, deep-shadowed
corner of his brain.... a brain that was racing now, beyond control.

Her unfairness lay in so publicly snubbing him. Her father knew the
facts, as did Miss Carmichael, and the big mate, that old preacher with
a mysterious past. Who was he, anyhow--setting up to regulate other
people’s lives?

Then rose among these turbulent thoughts a picture of the princess as
she was now, there in the social hall. Tears welled into his eyes; he
brushed them away, lighted a fresh cigarette and deeply inhaled the
smoke. He had rushed out; suddenly, wildly, he desired to rush back.
She was beautiful. She had quaintly moving charm. A rare little lady! It
seemed almost that he might compel her to listen while he explained.
But what was it that he was to explain? That he was some other than the
dirty sort they all knew him to be, that he had proved himself to be?

The wild thoughts were like a beating in his brain. It was his father’s
fault, this crazy nervousness, and his mother’s.... He hated that big
mate. Self-pity rose like a tidal wave, and engulfed him. He stared and
stared at the softly dark water. Beginning with about his sixteenth year
he had wrestled often with the thought of suicide, as so many sensitive
young men do. Now the water fascinated him; it was so still, it moved
so resistlessly on to the sea. “A pretty easy way to slip out. Just a
little splash---I could climb down. Nobody’d know. Nobody’d care much
of a damn. Oh, the old man would think he cared, but he wouldn’t. He’ll
never make a bank president out of me. And that’s all he wants.”

A voice, guardedly friendly, said, “Better not let yourself talk that

He turned with a start. Miss Carmichael was standing there by the rail.
So he had talked aloud--another unpleasant symptom.

“You--you saw what--”

She inclined her head. “What’s the good of letting it upset you? Lie
down for a while. A pipe or two wouldn’t hurt you. You’re nervous as a
witch. It would soothe you.” He stared at her.

“Better lie down anyway,” she said, taking his arm and moving him toward
his cabin. “You don’t want them to see you like this.”

He yielded. His will was powerless. He dropped on the seat, while
she lingered, almost sympathetically, in the doorway, an unbelievably
girlish figure in the half light. Something of the influence she had
been exerting on him--which had seemed to die when Miss Hui Fei entered
the social hall--fluttered to life now. He found relief, abruptly, in

“Come on in,” he said huskily. “Have a pipe with me!”

Quietly, wholly matter-of-fact, she closed and locked the door. “We’ll
shut the window, too, this time,” she said.

“You needn’t turn on the light.” He was reaching for his trunk. “Excuse
me--a minute! I can see all right. I know just where everything is.”

“Leave the trunk out,” said she. “And lay your suit-case on it. Then we
can put the lamp on that.”

Miss Hui Fei led Doane to a seat under the curving front windows.

“We mus’ talk as if ever’thing were ver’ pleasan’.” The question rose
again, but without bitterness now, how she could smile so brightly. “I
have learn’ some more. It is ver’ difficul’ to tell you, but.... it is
difficul’ to think, even.... so strange that at firs’ I laugh’.”....
Yes, there were tears in her eyes. But how bravely she fought them back
and smiled again. He felt his own eyes filling, and turned quickly
to the window; but not so quickly that she failed to see. She was
sensitively observant, despite her own trouble. For a moment, then,
they were silent, lost in a deep common sympathy that was bread to his
starving heart.

It was in that moment that their little conspiracy nearly broke down.
Had any of the others in the big room looked just then, gossip would
have spread swiftly; certainly sharp-eyed mandarins would have found
matter for consideration; for Hui Fei impulsively found his hand as it
rested between them on the seat, and was met with a quick warm pressure.

And then, in another moment, she was speaking, quite herself. “My maid
has foun’ out tha’ they are sending the head eunuch from the Forbidden
C’ty to our home. An’ that is agains’ the law.”

“Of course,” said he. “Even the Old Buddha never tried but once to send
out a eunuch on government business. That was the notorious An Te-hai.
And he never returned; he was caught in Shantung--in a barge of state
on the Grand Canal--and beheaded. Even the Old Buddha couldn’t do that.
This woman is amazing. But of course there is really no government at
Peking now--only this strange anachronism.”

“He has orders to seize all father’s beautifu’ things the paintings an’
stones an’ carvings.”

“The rebels may catch him. They’d make short work of him.”

“I ask’ about that The rebels have cross’ the river from Wu Chang to Han
Yang, but they have not yet reach’ the railway. That comes into Hankow
from this side.”

“Even so,” he mused, “the train service from Peking must have broken
down. Though they’re running troop trains south, of course.”

“I haven’t tol’ you all of it.” Her voice was low and unsteady. “This
eunuch, Chang Yuan-fu, is ordered, by the empress, to take me to Peking
too. They are all whispering about it. The empress is angry at my
foreign ways, and will marry me to a Manchu duke. She di’n’ like it when
my father tol’ her I mus’ marry no man I di’n’ choose myself.... I think
you ough’ to smile.”

Mechanically he obeyed.

“It seems almos’ funny.” murmured Miss Hui. “Sometimes I can no’ believe
tha’ such a thing could happen. When I think of America an’ England and
all the worl’ we know to-day, I can no’ believe that such wicked things
can happen.”

It was anything but unreal to Doane. He knew too well that America
and England, even all the white peoples, make up but a fraction of
the inhabitants of this strange earth. His eyes filled again as he
considered the possible--yes, the probable fate of the lovely girl at
his side. In such a time of disorganization the reckless Manchu woman at
Peking could do much. Chang might lose his head at the sound of gunfire
in Han Yang and fly back to the capital, or he might not. A capable and
corrupt eunuch would run heavy risks to gain such a prize. For a huge
prize the viceroy’s collection would indeed be; many of the priceless
stones and paintings would never reach the throne.

The thought came of trying to persuade her to save herself; a thought
that was as promptly discarded. She would not leave her father while he
lived. He, of course, would not take his own life elsewhere than in
his ancestral home. And to that home, with his inevitable escort of
underlings and soldiers, was hurrying--if not already there--this Chang
Yuan-fu, one of those powerfully venomous creatures that have figured
darkly at intervals in the history of China.

Doane spoke low and quickly: “Can you find out when Chang’s train left
Peking, Miss Hui?”

“No, I have try ver’ har’ to learn. I think they don’ know that. It is
so importan’ to know that, too, because my father”--Her voice faltered.
Doane once again, with a swift glance to left and right, took her hand
and, for a brief moment, gripped it firmly. “You haven’ yet spoken to my

“Not yet, dear Miss Hui.... you must smile!.... I have found it very
difficult to think out a way of approaching him. Your father is a great
viceroy. He might take it ill that I should venture to interfere in what
he would feel to be the supreme sacred act of his life. He might”--Doane
hesitated--“even for you he might feel that he couldn’t turn back.”

“I know,” she said, very low. “I have thought of tha’, too. But they
shall never take me to Peking.”

He understood. The suicide of girls as a protest against unwelcome
marriage was a commonplace in China. It was, indeed, for thousands the
only way out. She knew that, of course. And she spoke there out of her

“I will speak to-morrow,” he murmured. “Before we reach Huang Chau. We
have nothing to lose. He can only rebuff me.”

He felt now that in this tragic drama was bound up all that might be
left to him of happiness. The guiding motive of his life was--there was
a divine recklessness in the thought--to save Hui Fei, to make her smile
again, with a happy heart. She whispered now:

“Thank you.”

He asked her, abruptly changing his manner, almost distantly courteous,
about her life in an American college. Little by little, as she made
the effort to follow him into this impersonal atmosphere, her brightness

The record was scraping its last. Applause came from the dancers,
in which she joined. The Manila Kid wound the machine again, and the
dancers swung again into motion.

“I am asking too much of you,” she murmured. “But I have been frighten’.
I coul’n’ think wha’ to do.”

He had to set his teeth on the burning phrases that rushed from his long
unpractised heart, eager for utterance. “I will take you back to your
father,” he said.

In his mind it was settled. Whatever strange events might lie before
them, they should not take her to Peking. His own life, as well as hers,
stood in the way. It had come to that with him.

It was near to midnight when the _Yen Hsin_, on advices from Hankow,
headed again upstream. At the first throb of the engine the white
passengers stopped dancing and came out on deck. There was gaiety, even
a little cheering.

It was perhaps two hours later when Doane, asleep in his cabin, heard
the shots, confused with the incidents of a dream. But at the first
screams of the women below decks he sprang from his berth. Some one
was banging on his door; he opened; the second engineer stood there,
coatless and hatless, a revolver in his hand, and a little blood on his

“All hell’s broken loose below,” said the young Scotchman. “Chief’s
down there. I tried to get to him, but--God, they’re all over the
place--fighting one another.”

“Who are, MacKail?” Doane hurriedly drew on trousers and coat, and
thrust his feet into his slippers.

“The viceroy’s soldiers. Revolutionary stuff.”

Doane got his automatic pistol from a drawer in the desk; quickly filled
an extra clip with cartridges; went forward. The Scotchman had already
gone aft.

The engine was still running, the steamer moving steadily up the moonlit
river. The uproar below decks sounded muffled, far-away. It might have
been nothing more than a little night excitement in a village along the
shore. The shooting continued. Men were shouting. There were more shrill
screams; and then splashes overside. As he hurried forward, staring over
the rail, Doane caught a passing glimpse of a face down there in the
foam and a white arm. The white men were stumbling drowsily out of their
cabins; he saw one of the customs men, in pajamas, and Tex Connor. They
hurled questions at him but he brushed them aside.

Captain Benjamin stood over the cringing pilot with a revolver.

“Engine room don’t answer!” he shouted coolly enough. “And we can’t get
to it. Take MacKail and try to get through. I’ll make this rat keep her
in the channel.”

Doane ran back. More of the men were out, talking excitedly together. He
paused to say: “Get any weapons you have, every man of you, and see that
none but women get up to this deck! Keep the men down!”

MacKail stood at the head of the port after stairway, outside the rear
cabins, a big Australian beside him.

“They’re just naturally carving one another up,” observed the

“Come,” said Doane, and went down the steps.

The noise and confusion were great down here. Women were crowding out of
the lower cabins, sobbing hysterically, tearing their hair and beating
their breasts, crowding forward and aft along the deckway or climbing
awkwardly over the rail and slipping off into the river.

Doane shouted a reassuring word in their own tongue; pointed to the
steps; finally drew one girl forcibly back from the rail and started her
up. Others followed, screaming all the way. Still others clung to the
white men.

Doane broke away and plunged into the dim interior of the boat. Most
of the lights were out. Dark figures were wrestling. There were grunts,
groans, savage cries of rage and triumph. A huge pole-knife caught
the light as it swung. Doane was aware of men breathing hard as they

He stumbled over an inert body; would have fallen had not the Australian
caught him. A tall soldier who lunged toward them with a dripping
bayonet was shot by MacKail.... There were no means here of
distinguishing the parties to this savage struggle, but in the inner
corridor it was lighter. Near at hand two of the republicans--queues cut
off, dressed in an indistinguishable but odd-appearing uniform of some
light gray stuff with a white cloth tied about the left arm, had heaped
bodies across the corridor and were shooting over them at a darker mass
just forward of the engine room.

Doane shouted at the republicans, ordering them to withdraw. They shook
their heads angrily. One, even as he tried to reply, sank into a limp
heap with a dark stream trickling from a hole in his forehead. His
comrade bent low to reload his rifle. With the shouting of many hoarse
voices the dark mass up forward came charging down the corridor. Doane
was firing into them when MacKail and the Australian caught his arm
and drew him back through the doorway. From that position, however,
all three could shoot the blue-clad attackers as they plunged by the
opening. Then, however, they had to defend themselves. The soldiers came
on by dozens. Doane had his second clip of cartridges in his pistol.

“Get back!” he shouted to the others. “Guard the steps--they’ll be
coming up for loot!”

They retreated. Two bodies lay huddled on the steps they had left but
a few moments earlier. A few dead women were on the deck and one or two

Even as they stepped over the bodies and mounted to the deck above, all
three men, their faculties sharpened to a supernatural degree by
the ugly thrill of combat, took in the details of what was evidently
accepted among these republican rebels as their uniform--a suit of
unmistakably American woolen underwear, the drawers supported by
bright-colored American suspenders; socks worn outside (like the
suspenders) with garters that bore the trademark name of an American
city, and finally, American shoes. So the enthusiasm of these young
revolutionists for the greatest of republics found expression! And
across the breast of each, lettered on a strip of white cloth, was the
inscription that Sun Shi-pi had so glibly translated as “Dare to Die.”
 Sun must have brought along these supposedly Western uniforms in his
pedler’s trunks.

It was never to be known what surprising incidents had preceded this
sudden slaughter. The chief engineer might have told, but his mutilated
body Doane found, on his second attempt to get through, lying just
across the sill of the engine room, as if he had been stepping out to
reason with them.

The entire battle lasted barely half an hour. It was, for the white
folk, a period of confusion and terror. Toward the end, the blue men,
utter outlaws now, made rush after rush up the various stairways and
ladders, only to be fought back at every point by the white men and the
few surviving officers of his excellency’s force. They were like the
most primitive savages, knowing neither fear nor reason. The blood-lust
that at times captures the spirit of this normally phlegmatic and
reasonable people drove them for the time to the point of madness.

At last, however, they drew off below. Two of the boats were within
their reach. These they lowered, and despite the speed of steamer and
current, though not without evident loss of life, they got them over,
tumbled into them, and fell away into the night astern. Then for the
first and last time this night Doane saw the redoubtable Tom Sung.
He stood in the nearer boat, brandishing a rifle and screeching wild
phrases in Chinese.

MacKail took the engine room. Captain Benjamin, still, grimly, pistol
in hand, held the pilot to his task. There was no crew to clean the
shambles below decks, yet with the few loyal soldiers who had managed
to hide away now at the furnaces, the steamer wound her way steadily

Doane found what had once been the earnest Sun Shi-pi in the starboard
corridor, below. On his body were the uniform, white brassard and motto
of the “Dare to Dies.” They had beheaded him.

The passengers, clad and half clad, nervous, talkative, hung about the
decks. The two teachers, curiously self-possessed, sat side by side at
the dining table. From the quarters of his excellency, aft, came the
continuous sound of women moaning and wailing.... It was, to the eye, but
a river steamer plowing up-stream in the moonlight. But to the senses of
those aboard the situation was a nightmare, already an incredible memory
while sleep-drugged eyes were slowly opening.... To the mighty river
it was but one more incident in the vivid, often bloody drama of a
long-suffering, endlessly struggling people....

In his spacious cabin, his eyes shaded from the electric light by a
screen of jade set in tulip wood, dressed in his robes of ceremony,
wearing the ruby-crowned hat of state with the down-slanting peacock
feather, his excellency sat quietly reading the precepts of Chuang Tzü.

“Hui Tzü asked,” (he read) ‘Are there, then, men who have no passions?
If he be a man, how can he be without passions?’

“‘By a man without passions,’ replied Chuang Tzü, I mean one who permits
neither evil nor good to disturb his inner life, but accepts whatever
comes.... The pure men of old neither loved life nor hated death.
Cheerfully they played their parts, patiently awaited the end. This is
what is called not to lead the heart away from Tao.... The true sage
ignores God; he ignores man; he ignores a beginning; he ignores matter;
he accepts life as it may be and is not overwhelmed. If he fail, what
matters it? If he succeed, is it not that he was provided through no
effort of his own with the energy necessary to success.... The life of
man passes like a galloping horse, changing at every turn. What should
he do; what should he not do? It passes as a sunbeam passes a small
opening in a wall--here for a moment, then gone.... let knowledge stop
at the unknowable. That is perfection.’”

It is to be doubted if even Doane gave regard at the moment to the
possible origin of the fire. It had spread through two or three of
the upper cabins by way of the ventilating grills and was roaring out
through a doorway by the time he heard the new outcry and ran to
the spot. The white men were rushing about. Rocky Kane, collarless,
disheveled, was fumbling ineffectually at the emergency fire hose; him
Doane pushed aside. But the flames spread amazingly; worked through
the grill-work from cabin to cabin; soon were licking at the walls and
furniture of the social hall.

Doane left Dawley Kane and Tex Conner--an oddly matched couple--manning
the hose, others at work with the chemical extinguishers, while he went
forward through the thickening smoke to the bridge.

Captain Benjamin said, huskily, almost apologetically--his eyes red and
staring, his face haggard: “I’m beaching her.”

And in another moment she struck, where the channel ran close under an

Lowering the boats without a crew proved difficult. Already the fire had
reached those forward. Doane, the other mate and MacKail did what
they could. The Chinese women crowded hither and thither, screaming,
rendering order impossible. In the confusion one boat drifted off with
only Connor, the Manila Kid, and Miss Carmichael.

Captain Benjamin was cut off by the quick progress of the flames. The
whole forward end of the cabin structure was now a roaring furnace,
fortunately working forward on the down-stream breeze rather than aft.
The flames blazed from moment to moment higher; sparks danced higher
yet; the heat was intense. Doane sent the viceroy and his suite below,
aft, where the deck was still strewn with bodies and slippery with
blood. With three available boats, fighting back the crowding women and
the more excitable among his excellency’s secretaries, he sent ashore,
first the women, then his excellency and the men. Hui Fei--she had
slipped hastily into the little Chinese costume she wore at their
midnight talk, and had thrown about it an opera cloak from New
York--went in one of the first boats; Doane himself handed her in. The
two teachers, pale, very composed, followed. At the oars were two of the
customs men, faces streaked with grime and sweat.

To his excellency, as the last boats got away, Doane said: “I will
follow you soon. I must look once more for the captain.”

“I will send back a boat,” said the viceroy.

Doane ran up to the upper and promenade decks. There was no sound save
the roaring and crackling of the fire. There seemed no chance of getting
forward. In the large after cabin stood the six-fold Ming screen.
Quickly he folded it; there seemed a chance of getting it ashore. He
thought, with a passing regret, of the _pi_ of jade; but there was no
reaching his own cabin now. He stepped out on deck. There, clear aft,
leaning against the cabin wall, stood Rocky Kane, like a man half
asleep, rubbing his eyes; and crouching against his knee, clinging to
his hand, was the little princess in her gay golden yellow vest over the
flowered skirt and her quaint hood of fox skin.

Doane caught the young man’s shoulder; swung him about; looked closely
into the dull eyes with the tiny pupils.

“So!” he cried, “that again, eh!”

“I can’t understand”--thus Rocky--“I don’t see how it could have
happened. It couldn’t have been my fault.”

Doane saw now that his head had been burned above one ear; and the hand
that pressed his face was blistered white.

“It _wasn’t_ my fault! I found myself out on deck. I tried to get the

“Yes, I saw you. Quick--get below.”

Doane tenderly lifted the little princess.

Rocky was still incoherently talking; promising reform; blaming himself
in the next breath after hotly defending himself. His voice was somewhat
thick. He was drowsy--swayed and stumbled as he moved toward the stairs.

Doane, speaking gently in Chinese to the child, stood a moment
considering. The heat was becoming intolerable. It wouldn’t do to keep
the little one here. He carried her down the stairs.

Below, the boy faced him. “I’m no good,” he whimpered. “I can’t wake up.
Hit me--do something--I won’t be like this.”

Doane considered him during a brief instant. They were standing under
a light, their feet slipping on the deck, bodies lying about. With the
flat of his hand, then, Duane struck the side of the boy’s head that
was not burned; struck harder than he meant, for the boy went down, and
then, after sprawling about, got muttering to his feet.

“It’s all right!” he cried unsteadily. “I asked you to do it. I’m going
to get hold of myself. I’ve been no good--rotten. I’ve touched bottom.
But I’m going to fight it out--get somewhere.” His egotism, even now
amazingly held him. Even as he spoke he was dramatizing himself. But his
pupils were widening a little; he was in earnest, crying bitterly out
of a drugged mind and conscience. And Doane, looking down at him, felt
stirring in his heart, though curiously mixed with a twinge of jealousy
for his youth and the hopes before him, something of the sympathy his
long deep experience had instilled there toward blindly struggling young
folk. Boys, after all, were normally egotists. And Heaven knew this boy
had so far been given no sort of chance!

Doane led the way clear aft. The heat was terrific. From a row of fire
buckets he sprinkled the little princess; bathed her temples. The water
was warm, but it helped.

Young Kane, with a nervous movement, suddenly picked up one, then
another, of the buckets and dashed them over himself. Distinctly he was
coming to life. “We may never come out of this, Mr. Doane,” he said.
“It’s a terrible fix.” More and more, as he came slowly awake, he was
dramatizing the situation and himself. “But I want to say this. I’ve
never known a man like you. You’re fine--you’re big--you’ve helped me
as no one else has. I’ll never be like you--it isn’t in me. I’ve already
gone as close to hell as a man can go and perhaps still save himself--”

“Can you swim?” asked Doane shortly.

“I--why, yes, a little. I’m not what you’d call a strong swimmer.”

Doane was wetting the princess’s face and his own. There would be
little time left. There was smoke now. He found a slight difficulty in
breathing; evidently the fire had eaten through, forward, to the lower

“They won’t be able to get a boat back here,” he said, and quietly
pointed out the still blazing pieces of board that, after whirling into
the air, were drifting by. A terrific blast of heat swept about them,
indicating a change of wind.

“Wait here a moment for me,” he added. “I must make one more effort to
find Captain Benjamin. If that fails, we can swim ashore.”

He tried working his way forward when the heat proved too great in the
corridor, climbing out on the windward side of the hull. But the flames
were eating steadily aft; he could not get far. Beaten back, he returned
to the stem to discover that the child and Rocky Kane were gone. After
a moment he saw them in the water, a few rods away, first a gleam of
yellow that would be the jacket of the little princess, then their two
heads close together.

He lowered himself down a boat-line and swam after them. In the water
this giant was as easily at home as in any form of exercise on land.
Within the year he had swum at night, alone, for the sheer vital
pleasure the use of his strength brought him, the nine miles from Wusung
to Shanghai--slipping between junks and steamers, past the anchored
war-ships and a great P. & O. liner from Bombay. The water was cool,
refreshing. He stretched his full length in it, rolling his face under
as one arm and then the other reached out in slow powerful strokes.

Young Kane was having no easy time of it. He was clearly out of wind.
And the child whimpered as she clung tightly about his neck.

“I gave you up,” he sputtered weakly. Then added, with an evidence of
spirit that Doane found not displeasing: “No, don’t take her, please!
Just steady me a little.” He was struggling in short strokes, splashing
a good deal. “We ought to touch bottom now pretty quick.”

Sampans and the boats of the cormorant fishers were edging into the
wide circle of light about the steamer. Along the shore of the island
clustered the groups of mandarins, their silk and satin robes forming a
bright spot in the vivid picture.

Doane found the sand then; walked a little way and helped the nearly
exhausted boy to his feet.

“They’re coming down the shore,” said Rocky, trying, without great
success, to speak casually.

Doane looked up and saw them running--white men, Chinese servants,
mandarins holding up their robes, women, and last, walking rapidly, his

It was Hui Fei, throwing off her cloak and running lightly ahead,
who took the frightened child from young Kane’s arms and carried her
tenderly up the bank. There as the attendants gathered anxiously about
them, she tossed the child high, petted her, kissed her, until the tears
gave place to laughter. The tall eunuch wrapped the little princess then
in his own coat; and Hui Fei accepted the opera cloak that transformed
her again in an instant from a slimly quaint Manchu girl to a young
woman of New York.

Doane stood by. Toward him she did not look. But to Rocky Kane, who
lay on the bank, she turned with bright eagerness. He got, not without
effort, to his feet.

Smiling--happily, it seemed to the bewildered, brooding Doane--she gave
him her hand; led him to meet her father.

“You have met Mr. Kane,” she said. “It was he who save’ little sister.
He risk’ his life to bring her here, father.”

Rocky, throwing back his hair and brushing the water from his eyes,
stood, his sensitive face working nervously, very straight, very
respectful, and took the hand of the viceroy.

There was, then, manhood in him. The viceroy recognized the fact in his
friendly smile. Hui Fei plainly recognized it as she walked, chatting
brightly, at his side, while he bent on her a gaze of boyish adoration.

As for Doane, he moved away unobserved; dropped at length on a knoll,
rested his great head on his hands, and gazed out at the blazing
steamer. She would soon be quite gone. Poor Benjamin was gone already;
a strange little man, one of the many that drift through life without
a sense of direction, always bewildered about it, always hoping vaguely
for some better lot. It had been a tragic night; and yet all this horror
would soon seem but an incident in the spreading revolution. It had
always been so in China. In each rebellion, as in the mighty conquests
of the Mongols and the Manchus, death had stalked everywhere with a
casual terribleness. Life meant, at best, so little. Genghis Khan’s
men had boasted of slaying twenty millions in the northwestern provinces
alone within the span of a single decade. The new trouble must
inevitably run its course; and what a course it might prove to be!
From the mere effort to face this immediate future Doane found his mind
recoiling; much as strong minds were to recoil, only three years later,
when the German army should march through Belgium.

He gave up that problem, came down to the particular thought of this
swiftly growing new love that had stolen into his heart. The hope of
personal happiness had passed now. Self seemed, like the life to which
it so eagerly dung, not to matter. Instead that hope was growing into
a profound tenderness toward the girl. She was, after all--the thought
came startlingly--about the age of his own daughter, Betty, whom he
had not seen during these three strange years. Betty and her journalist
husband would be somewhere in Turkestan now; he was studying central
Asia for a book, she sketching the native types. For a long time no
letter had come.... It was a fine experience, this unbidden stir of the
emotions, this thrill. There was mystery in it, and wonder. Merely to
have that almost youthful responsiveness still at call within his breast
was an indication that life might yet hold, even for him, the derelict,
rich promise. And it was a reminder, now, to his clearing brain that his
life must be service. He must find terms on which to offer himself, his
gifts. His spirit had been molded, after all, to no lesser end.

The viceroy drew away then from the group about the child; came
deliberately along the bank. The increasing tenderness Doane felt
toward Hui Fei reached also to her father, who was facing with such fine
dignity the grim ending of a richly useful life. Now, perhaps, he could
plead with him for the daughter’s sake. Somehow, certainly, happiness
must be found for her. In pleading he would be serving her.

His brain was swinging into something near balance; it was, after all, a
good brain, trained to function clearly, mellowed through patient years
of unhappiness. It would help him now to fight for the girl, to save
her, if he might, from the dark ways of the Forbidden City. She called
herself so naively an “American.” The West had thrilled her. She must
not be given over to the eunuch, Chang.

So, even as he contrived a sort of self-control, even as he determined
to forget his own little moment of romantic hopefulness, the lover
within him stood triumphant over all his other selves.


|DOANE knew nothing of the dignified figure he presented as he took
the viceroy’s hand, a profoundly sobered giant, his huge frame outlined
beneath his wet garments like a Greek statue of an athlete.

“You have helped to save the life of my child, Griggsby Doane”--thus his
excellency, in what proved to be a little set speech--“and with all my
heart I thank you. I am old. Little time is left to me. But life follows
upon death. Death is the beginning of life. It has been said by Chuang
Tzü that the personal existence of man results from convergence of the
vital fluid, and with its dispersion comes what we term death. Therefore
all things are one. All vitality exists in continuing life. And I, when
what I have thought of as my self arrives at dispersion, shall live on
in my children. My words are inadequate. My debt to you is beyond my
power to repay. Command me. I am your servant.”

Doane bowed, hearing the words, catching something of the warm gratitude
in the heart of the old man, yet at the same moment flogged on to action
by the sense of passing time and present opportunity. It was no simple
matter, it seemed, to approach this seasoned, calmly determined mind
regarding the final personal matter of life and death. But he plunged
at it; stating simply that he had heard the gossip of the impending
tragedy, and that in conversing with the lovely Hui Fei, who was in
obvious difficulty in existing between the two greatest civilizations
without a solid footing in either, he could not bear to think of her
possible fate.

Rang Yu listened attentively.

“Your Excellency,” Doane pressed on, “it is not right that you should
listen to the command of a decadent throne. Forgive my frankness, my
presumption, but I must say this! True, you are a Manchu. While this
revolution continues it will be difficult for you. But before
another year shall have gone by there will be a new China. The bitter
animosities of to-day will pass. Though a Manchu, your wise counsel
will be needed. Your knowledge of the Western World will temper the
over-emphatic policies of the young hot-heads from the universities of

The viceroy considered this appeal during a long moment; then, soberly,
he looked up into the massive, strongly lined face of the white man and
asked, simply: “But what would you have me do, Griggsby Doane?”

“Your Excellency knows of the plan to seize your property?”

Kang inclined his head.

“If you go on to your home, it may be that everything will be taken,
even the money on your person.”

Kang bowed again.

“Then, Your Excellency, why not now--while you yet have the means to
do so--escape down the river with your daughter and myself? Can you
not trust yourself and her in my hands? I will find means to convey you
safely to Shanghai--perhaps to Japan or Hong Kong--where you will be
secure until further plans may be laid.”

“Griggsby Doane,” replied the viceroy with simple candor, “you speak
indeed as a friend. And I would be false to the blood that flows in my
veins did I not prize the friendship of man for man, second only to
the love of a son for a parent, above every other quality in life.
Friendship is most properly the theme of many of the noblest poems in
our language. It is to us more than your people, who place so strong
an emphasis on love between the sexes, can perhaps bring themselves to
understand. And therefore, Griggsby Doane. your feeling toward myself
and my daughter moves my heart more deeply than I can express to you.

“It is not surprising that news of my sorrow--of this sad ending that
is set upon my long life--should have reached you. But since you know so
much, I will tell you, as friend to friend, more. Do you know why this
sentence has been passed upon me? It is because I could not bring myself
to obey the order of the throne that the republican agitator, Sun
Shi-pi who had sought sanctuary at my yamen in Nanking should be at once
beheaded. Instead I sent for Sun Shi-pi to counsel him. I permitted him
to go to Japan on condition that he engage in no conspiracies and that
he remain away. Instead of complying with my condition he hastened to
organize revolutionary propaganda. He returned to China, appeared in
disguise on the steamer that is burning out yonder, and is now dead,
there, in his republican uniform.”

So his information was complete! A picture rose in Doane’s mind of the
headless trunk of Sun Shi-pi amid the horrors of the lower deck.

His excellency continued: “I was denounced at the Forbidden City as a
traitor. The sentence of death followed, in the form of an edict from
the empress dowager in the name of the young emperor. Were I now to
follow Sun Shi-pi into exile in a foreign land I would mark myself for
all time as a traitor indeed; as one who, while sharing as an honored
viceroy the prosperity and dignity of the reigning dynasty, conspired
toward its downfall.”

“But, Your Excellency, the empress dowager and the young emperor no
longer speak with the voice of the Chinese people.”

“That could make no difference, Griggsby Doane. By edict of the Yellow
Dragon Throne of Imperial China I have been instructed to go to my
ancestors. My allegiance is only to that throne. I will obey....
Already, Griggsby Doane, you have done for me more than one can ever
demand of a friend. And yet one more demand I must make upon you. There
is no other to whom I can turn. I have no other friend to-night. Within
a short time my secretaries will secure a launch or a junk to convey us
to my home near Huang Chau. Will you come with us there?”

Doane, surprised, bowed in assent.

“Thank you. The gratitude of myself and all my family and friends will
remain with you. You are a princely man.... Until later, then, good
night, Griggsby Doane.”

He was gone.

Doane walked farther along the bank; stood for a time absorbed in
thought that led, at length, to what seemed a new ray of light in the
darkness that was his mind. And he strode back, hunting in this group
and that for Dawley Kane. That man had offered help. Now he could give

Dawley Kane, fully dressed, unruffled, quietly smoking a cigar and
looking through a pocket notebook by the light from the river, seemed
a note of sanity in an unbelievably confused world. To him, apparently,
the nightmare of fighting and slaughter on the steamer, like the fire,
were but incidents. The only evidence the man gave out of quickened
nerves was that he talked a little more freely than usual. To Doane he
presented a surface as clear and hard as polished crystal, impenetrable,
in a sense repelling, yet, as we say, a gentleman.

They even chatted casually, as men will, standing there looking out at
the fire (which now had reached the stem and eaten down to the lower
decks, incinerating alike the bodies of men who had died for faith and
for lust) and at the wide circle of light on the rim of which floated
the vulture-the boats of the rivermen. Doane forced himself into the
vein of the man’s interest; riding roughshod over a desperate sense
of unreality. For he knew that the great masters of capital were often
proud and even finicky men who must be approached with skill. They were
kings; must be dealt with as kings.

Kane was interested to learn what relation the fight below decks might
have to the rebellion up the river. That, clearly, was characteristic
of the man--the impersonal gathering in and relating of observable data.
His interest was deeper in the agriculture and commerce of the immense
Yangtze basin, to which subject he easily passed. His questions came
out of a present fund of knowledge--questions as to the speed,
cargo-capacity and operation-cost of the large junks that plied the
river by thousands, as to the cost of employing Chinese labor and the
average capacity of the coolie. He knew all about the slowly developing
railroads of North and Central China; commented in passing on the
surprising profits of the young Hankow-Peking line.... He seemed to
Doane to have in his mind a map or diagram of a huge, profitmaking
industrial world, to which he added such bits of line or color
as occurred in the answers to his questions. But he gave out no
conclusions, only questions. Famines, other wide-spread suffering so
tragically common in the Orient, interested him only as an impairment of
trade and industrial man power. The opium habit he viewed as an economic

Doane, settling doggedly to his purpose, found himself analyzing the
power of this quiet man. It lay of course, in the control of money. And
money would be only a token of human energy. The religion of his own
ardent years had taken no account of earthly energy or its tokens; it
had directed the eyes of the bewildered seeker toward a mystical other
world. Yet human life, in the terms of this earth, must go on. To this
point he always came around, of late years, in his thinking, just as
the church had always come around to it. Money was vital. The church was
endlessly begging for it; in no other way could it survive to continue
turning away the puzzled eyes of the seekers.

And the immense energy created in the human struggle to live and prosper
must continually be gathering up, here and there, into visible power
that shrewd human hands would surely seize. He felt this now as a law.
Religion had not left him. He felt more strongly than ever before that
this miraculously continuing energy implied a sublime orderly force that
transcended the outermost bounds of human intelligence. Religion was
surely there: it only wanted discovering. It had, as surely, to do with
primitive energy, with the heat of the sun and the disciplined rush of
the planets, with the tragic struggle of human business, with work and
war and sex and money.... And then he indulged in a half-smile. For this
primitive undying energy could be no other than the Tao of Lao-tzu and
Chuang Tzü. And so, after all these groping years of his errant faith,
he had fetched up, simply in Taoism.

But that law seemed to stand. The human struggle created power that
tended to gather at convenient centers. And here beside him, smoking a
cigar, stood a man whose uncommon genius fitted him to seize that power
as it gathered and administer it; a man to whom money came--the very
winds of chance heaped it about him. And to Doane, just now, money--even
in quantity that would be to Kane hardly the income of a day or
so--meant so much that the grotesque want of it (the word “grotesque”
 came) stopped his brain.

For it was coming clear to him how completely the throne could at will,
obliterate the worldly establishment of Kang Yu. That throne, however
politically weak, yet held the savage instruments of despotic power.
Kang’s sad end would come within the twenty-four hours, perhaps;
certainly he would wait only to prepare himself and to write his final
papers. The eunuch’s men would be everywhere about the household;
nothing could be hidden from them, or from the spies among the
servants.... With money--a little money--Hui Fei might be saved from an
end as tragic as her father’s.... The thing, surely, could be managed.
For the moment it seemed almost simple. She could he spirted away.
There might he missionaries to escort her down the river on one of the

It was then, while Doane’s thoughts still raced hither and thither, that
Kane himself broached the vital topic.

“This viceroy”--thus Kane--“seems to be quite a personage. He’s been a
diplomat, I believe. And Kato tells me has an excellent collection of

Doane felt himself turning into a trader. “You are interested in Chinese
paintings, are you not, Mr. Kane?” he asked guardedly.

“Oh, yes. I have something of a collection. And now and then Kato picks
up something for me.”

“I don’t know, of course, how far you would care to go with it Mr.
Kane”--Doane was measuring every word as it passed his lips--“but there
is a possibility that a bargain could be struck with his excellency at
this time.”


“It would be advisable to act pretty quickly, I should say.”

“Well! This is interesting. You are informed about his collection?”

“In a general way. It is very well known out here. His collection of
landscapes of the Tang and Sung periods is supposed to be the most
complete in existence, with fine works of Ching Hao, Kuan Tung, Tung
Yuan and Chu-jan. The best known paintings of Li Chang are his. He
has several by Kao Ke-ming, and, I know, an original sixfold landscape
screen by Kuo Hsi. Then there are works of the four masters of southern
Sung--Li Tang, Lui Sungnian, Ma Yuen and Hsia Kuai. You would find
nearly all the great men of the Academy represented.”

Doane stopped; waited to see if this list of names impressed the great
American. If he knew, in his own person, anything whatever about Chinese
painting he must exhibit at least a little feeling. But Dawley Kane said
nothing; merely lighted, with provoking deliberation, a fresh cigar.

“It is commonly understood, too”--Doane could not resist pressing him a
little further--“that he has authentic paintings by Wu Tao-tzu, and Li
Lung-mien.” Surely these two names would stir this man who seemed at
moments no more than a calculating machine with manners. But Kane smoked
on.... “And I understand that he has a fairly complete collection of
portraits by the men of the Brush-strokes-reducing Method.”

He finished rather lamely; fell silent, and looked out over the still
brilliantly lighted river; the river of a hundred thousand dramatic
scenes--battles and romances and struggles for trade--the great river
with its endless memories of gold and bloodshed--the river that for a
brief day was running red again. The fire out there, though red flame
and rolling smoke and whirling sparks still roared upward, was consuming
now the lower deck and the hull. Within the hour the _Yen Hsin_ would be
no more than a curving double row of charred ribs; one more casual
memory of the river.

Still Dawley Kane smoked on. He clearly knew no enthusiasm. He was an
analyst, an appraiser, a trader to the core. He felt no discomfort, even
in friendly talk, in letting the other man wait. But Doane would say
no more. And finally, knocking the Ash off his cigar with a reflective
finger, Kane remarked; “You really think that this collection would be a
good buy?”


“Have you any idea what he would ask?”

“I don’t even know that he would consider selling it.”

“But if he were properly approached.... there are reasons____”

“You know of his predicament?”

“I gather that there is a predicament.”

“Oh.... well, yes, there is. But I don’t know how even to guess at the
value. Many of the paintings are priceless. In New York, at collector’s
prices, and without hurrying the sale....”

“A hundred thousand dollars?”

“Many times more.”

“But if he is anxious to sell--must sell”

“There is that, of course.”

“A hundred thousand is a good deal of money. If I were to place that
sum to his credit to-morrow, for instance, by wire, at a Shanghai hank,
don’t you suppose it would tempt him?”

“It might. Though Kang knows the value of every piece.” Doane was
finding difficulty in keeping pace with the situation. Kane would shave
every penny, as a matter of principle. That, of course, explained him;
was the secret of his wealth and power. Paintings, after all, mattered
to him only in a remote sense; you could always buy them if you chose,
if people would, as apparently they did, think better of you for buying
them. It came down to the desirability of building up and solidifying
one’s name, of what Doane had heard spoken of everywhere in America
during his last visit as “publicity.” The word irritated him.
It suggested that other word, also heard everywhere in America,
“salesmanship.” These words, to the sensitively observant Doane, had
connoted an unpleasant blend of aggressive enterprise with an equally
aggressive plausibility.

But his wits were sharpening fast. If this man was a buyer, he would be
a seller.

“His excellency has another collection that might or might not interest
you--the value of it would be only slightly artistic--his precious
stones.” Doane threw this cut carelessly. “There is no estimating the
value of those. It might run into the millions....” He saw Kane’s eyes
come to a sudden hard focus behind the veil of smoke. He was really
interested at last. And Doane, with mounting pulse, quietly added,
“He has historical jewels from many parts of Asia--head ornaments,
bracelets, ropes of matched pearls from Ceylon, old careen jade from
Khotan, quantities of the jewelry taken from Khorassan and Persia by
Genghis Khan and his sons, including a number of famous royal pieces,
and some of the jeweled ornaments brought from the temples of India by
Kublai Khan.”

This, Doane knew, was enough. He waited, now, himself. Waited and

“Mr. Doane”--Kane, at last, was speaking--“I would be glad to have you
approach the viceroy for me. To-night, if you think best. I will be
glad, of course, to pay you a commission.”

“Shall I make a definite offer--for the paintings and the jewels?”

“No.” Kane considered. “Let him set a price. Then we will make our

“It is safe to say, Mr. Kane”--Doane was remembering experiences of
men in church and educational work who had had to approach the great
capitalists for gifts of money--“that you could sell half the paintings
for what you might pay for the two collections at this time. That would
enable you to give the other half, as a collection bearing your own
name, to one of the art museums at home, at no cost to yourself.”

Kane smoked thoughtfully. “I presume, Mr. Doane,” he said, “that the
predicament you spoke of can not interfere in any way with the safe
delivery of the collections.”

Doane considered. How much did this man know? That Japanese, behind his
mask of a smile, would be deep, of course. With a sudden sinking of the
heart, Doane perceived that Kane might easily know the whole story. But
even if he did he would admit nothing. He trusted no one; that was his
calm cynical strength. He would trade to the last.... Another swift, if
random, perception of this tense moment was that much of the common talk
regarding the “inscrutable” East was utter nonsense. Read in the
light of history and habit the Oriental mind was anything but deeply
mysterious; it was, indeed, very nearly an open book. Whereas the
Western mind, with its miraculous religion, its sentimentality and
materialism and (at the same time) its cynically unscrupulous financial
power, could be baffling indeed.

Desperate now, seeing no other way through, Doane spoke out from his
tortured heart. “Mr. Kane, the simple fact is that his excellency has
been condemned to death, and his daughter to a fate that will
almost certainly end in death for her as well. They are seizing his

“Who are they?”

“The Imperial Government--the empress dowager and her crew. They are
sending the chief eunuch, Chang Yuan-fu, to take his paintings and
jewels, and his daughter, to Peking. Frankly, it may be necessary to
hurry matters--smuggle the things out. But the fan paintings can be
packed in parcels, the scrolls rolled small on their ivory sticks, the
jewels gathered in a few boxes. Once in white hands they would be safe.
I think. I believe I can arrange it. The porcelains and carvings you
would probably have to leave behind.”

His voice died out. Dawley Kane was coolly appraising him. Their minds
were not meeting.

“As you are stating it now, it is a different situation altogether,”
 said Kane, the ring of tempered metal in his voice. “Obviously the man
to deal with is the eunuch, What’s-his-name.”


“He would have the collections complete including the porcelains and the
carvings. I should want them all. He would be ignorant and corrupt, of
course; we could buy him for a song. And there would be no risk. Yes,
let him get possession. Then if you would like to approach him for me I
will be glad to see that you make something for yourself.”

Doane drew in his breath. Slowly he said: “But that, Mr. Kane, seems a
good deal like taking a profit out of the viceroy’s misfortune.”

But he caught himself. To Kane, who had made enormous profits out of
wrecked railways, who had cornered stocks and produce and mercilessly
squeezed the short sellers, this would be sentimentality.

Doane heard himself saying: “I’m sorry. I could hardly undertake it, Mr.
Kane.” And walked away. His failure was complete. Worse, if there had
been any gaps in the information supplied by the ubiquitous little
Kato, they were filled now. The finely balanced machine that served so
smoothly as a brain in the head of the great American, would be working
on and on. Through the Japanese he could easily enough reach Chang
Yuan-fu from Hankow after the tragedy that now hovered so close over the
old viceroy and all that was his. He could make what he and his suave
kind would doubtless regard--the slang word came grimly--as a killing.

The white men had made a small fire of dry rushes and thwarts from the
boats. There sat Hui Fei, the sleeping little princess in her arms; and,
beside her, Rocky Kane. Near by, where the men had spread coats on the
ground, Miss Means and Miss Andrews slept side by side.

Doane walking toward the group--stopping, moving away only to turn
irresolutely back--saw young Kane reach over and take the child into his
own arms, and saw Hui Fei smile at him. He strode away then, struggling
to believe that she could do that. But she had.... After all, she knew
only that he had acted outrageously toward her, had then apologized
publicly, boyishly, and now had brought her little sister ashore,
himself falling exhausted on the bank. With those few facts, out of her
impulsively young judgment she could strike a balance in his favor. Even
at his worst he had bluntly admired her; for that she might, in the end,
forgive him. And his youth would call to her.

Deane, indeed, forced himself to consider the boy dispassionately. The
wild oats of any spoiled youth with too much money at his disposal,
if brought together, and closely scrutinized, would make an appalling
showing. Wild young men did, of course, recover. There was in this boy a
note of intensity--passionate, eager--that was by no means all egotism.
And there was in the father a hard sort of character that had proved
itself indomitable, and that must be taken into account. Yes, it was a
simple fact, that many a young fellow had gone farther wrong than had
Rocky Kane without wrecking his adult life. You couldn’t tell. And
there they were, the eager moody boy and the lovely girl, who was oddly,
quaintly conspicuous in her opera wrap, sitting very close, talking
in low tones while he walked alone. It was torture.... yet it wras an
awakening. He told himself that it was better so... Pacing back and
forth, dwelling on the quick changeableness of youth, its ardor and
sensitive hopefulness, he thought--reaching out for fellowship as
will always the hurt soul--of other lonely lives, of Abelard and Jean
Valjean, of St. Francis, even of Christ. It was odd--from his present
philosophical position of something near Taoism he felt the legendary
Christ as a profoundly human and friendly spirit, immeasurably more
tender, finer, gentler than the theological structure of thought and
conduct that had been erected in His name. He had thought himself very
nearly around the circle, back to essential good.... This process could
bring only humility. Life began to matter less. Love was a tormenting
problem of self; the mature soul must in some measure attain
selflessness if it were not to go down in the trampled dust of life.
Worldly success was an accident. It was hardly desirable; hardly
mattered. That he had within the hour pinned his hope to money, fairly
fought for it, began to seem incredible.

The viceroy found hint standing quietly by the river, turning from the
slowly dying fire out there to the slowly spreading glow in the eastern

“I like to think,” remarked his excellency, smiling in friendly fashion,
“that when the first Buddhist patriarch, Bodhidharma, miraculously
crossed the river on a reed plucked from the southern bank, it was not
far from here, near my home.”

“Was not your city of Huang Chau the home of Li To?” asked Doane.

“Indeed, yes!” cried his excellency. “In some of his excursions on the
river he undoubtedly passed the site of my home.”

Doane quoted from that most famous of rhapsodists in musical Chinese:
“‘One who has hearkened to the waters roaring down from the heights of
Lung, and faint voices from the land of Ch’in; one who has listened to
the cries of monkeys on the shores of the Yangtze Kiang and the songs
of the land of Pa’.... That”--he was musing aloud, reflectively as the
Chinese do--“was written three full centuries before William of Normandy
first set foot on British soil.... Li Po so described himself.”

They talked on, of life and philosophy, in, language interwoven with
classical allusions. Friendship, the finest relationship in Chinese
civilization, as it stood, had come to them.... It brought a kind of
peace. Doane failed to recognize this sensation as in some degree but
a phase of his painful exaltation. It seemed to him then that his
struggle, no matter what atonement might lie before, was over. He forgot
again the Western vigor that was, and to the last would be, driving his

Meanwhile the swiftly growing acquaintanceship of Huj Fei and Rocky Kane
was weaving its bright-tinted weft in and out through the dark warp of
Rocky’s ill-spent youth. His eyes followed the slightest movement of her
slim hands and rested dog-like on her finely modeled head about which
the shining wet black hair lay close. To his quick youth she was an
exquisite fairy. He felt her as perfume in the air he breathed. Her
voice, when she drowsily, prettily spoke, fell on his ear like music
in an enchanted land. He could say little; he had never before so lost

She tried daintily to conceal a yawn. And he, clasping the child in both
arms, turned away to hide its brother. Then, very softly, she laughed
and he laughed.

“You must try to sleep,” he said gently.

“I can no’ let you keep my sister. You, too, are ver’ tire’.”

“It’s nothing. I love to hold her. Really! You see, my life hasn’t been
this way. Maybe, if I’d had a sister...” He stopped; suddenly, vividly
sensing what he had been; a hot flush flooded his sensitive face. He
could only add then: “I want you to sleep. It may be hours before
the boat comes for you. It’s been such a horrible night--such a

“But you mus’ res’, too. One of the servan’s will take my sister.”

“No!” he cried, low, fiercely, “I won’t let any one else have her!”
 Sensing crudely that the child was a chord between them, he tightened
his hold. The little head rolled back on his arm; he bent over, tenderly
kissed the soft cheek, then looked over it at Hui Fei, staring. During
one brief moment their eyes met full in the flickering yellow light.

She turned away; in lieu of speech looked about for a spot to lay her

“Here!” He laid the child on the ground; and, surprised to find himself
collarless and coatless, took off his waistcoat, rolled it up and placed
it for a pillow. “It’s really pretty well dried out,” he added, with an
embarrassed little laugh.... Then, as she still said nothing, went
on, “Do just lie down there. I’ll keep awake. We can’t count on the
servants; they’re all scared to death.”

Still she hesitated. “I’m afraid I am ver’ tire’,” she finally remarked
unsteadily. “I can’t think ver’ clearly.”

“Listen!” said he, hardly hearing. “I’ve got to tell you something. I’m
not good enough so much as to speak to you.”

“Please!” she murmured. “I don’ wan’ you to talk abou’--”

“I don’t mean that. It’s other things too.” His voice broke, but after a
moment he pressed on, a determined look on his curiously youthful face.
“I’ve done every rotten thing I could think of. I’m--well, I guess I’m
just a criminal. No, listen--please! It’s true. I’m to blame for this
awful fire--smoking opium in my cabin. It was my lamp--it must have
been. I fell asleep. But I knew better, of course.... Oh, God, it’s
terrible! All those lives, all this suffering! And you--I’ve nearly
killed you--when it was you....” Here, creditably, he caught himself.
“Don’t think I’m talking wildly. I’m getting at something. Seeing you,
meeting you--and now, this--well, I’ve never seen anybody like you. It’s
bowled me off my feet. I know what love is, now--Oh, please! I’ve got
to get this out. I love you. I’m crazy about you. I can say that because
pretty soon that boat’ll come and you’ll go and I’ll never see you
again. It’s right, too! I’ve got to start again--alone and prove that
there’s good stuff in me somewhere...”

“I’m ver’ tire’,” she murmured wistfully; and resting her head on the
rolled-up waistcoat she lay still.

If she had only let him finish! There had been something--some point--he
was getting at. He hadn’t meant to tire her or hurt her.... When the tall
eunuch came for the little princess he angrily drove the fellow away.
For Hui Fei was sleeping now, peacefully, like the warm little child in
his arms.

An English gunboat was the first relief craft to arrive; in the cool
dawn; a tiny craft, built for the river, with a white freeboard low as
a monitor’s and bridge structure forward of the thin high funnel. The
small boat that came ashore made a number of trips, taking off the
passengers and the surviving white officers of the _Yen Hsin_.

His excellency refused, with calm courtesy, to set foot on the English
gunboat that was built for the river; he would wait for the junk that
had been sent for.

Dawley Kane found his son, nodding, with the picturesquely-clad child
in his arms. The boy, glancing at the sleeping Hui Fei whose head
rested comfortably on the rolled-up waistcoat, gave the child now to the
patiently waiting eunuch, then fairly dragged his father to the boat.
With the Japanese, Kato, and oddly distant to the big mate and the
suddenly exotic-appearing viceroy in his richly embroidered satins who
had been after all only casually, for a few days, in their lives, they

They had nearly reached the gunboat when those on the bank heard young
Kane’s voice raised in hot protest. There was a moment of argument; then
a splash. The boy could be seen then swimming back to shore. And Dawley
Kane, turning his back, went on to the gunboat, stepped aboard, and
disappeared. Rocky clambered, dripping, up the bank; came straight to
Duane, a staring, exhausted youth, very white.

“I can’t do it.” he panted. “They’re just told me--Kato and the
pater--about this terrible trouble of the viceroy’s and--and Miss
Hui Fei’s.... The pater said it was time I--got clear of any new
entanglement. I quit him. Oh, I suppose you’ll think me a--damn fool,
but”--at this point he nearly broke into tears--“but I love that
girl, Mr. Doane! If I can’t be of some use to her--now, in this awful
trouble--I don’t want to live. Will you--help me? And let me help?”....
And, all blind confidence, he offered his hand to the big mate; who took

The gunboat hoisted anchor and swung about, heading down-stream. Passing
her, upward bound, came a large junk, with the rig of a trader from
Szechuen, her single huge rectangular sail, brown-umber ‘n tint and
closely ribbed with battens of bamboo, flat against the one mast that
towered clumsily amidships. The eight long sweeps, in the low waist and
forward, moved rhythmically in time with the syncopated, wailing chant
of nearly a hundred oarsmen. The _tai-kung_ crouched, bamboo pole in
hand, just within the prow.

The hull was of cypress, stained from stem to stern with yellow orpiment
and rubbed to a polish with oil. The high after-deck structure, all of
fifty feet in length, terminating in a projecting gallery-twenty feet or
higher above the water, was carved everywhere in intricately decorative
designs; as were, also, the roof over the tillerman’s stand on the
deck house and the gallery railing (just within which stood a row of
flowering plants in yellow and green pots). The many small windows along
the sides were glazed with opalescent squares of ground oyster shells
and glue; those across the stern (under the gallery) with stained glass.

To no one aboard the gunboat or among the still waiting groups on the
bank did the thought occur that this craft might be engaged in other
than peaceable business. Her like were not an uncommon sight along the
always crowded river. The passing attention she drew was merely that
aroused by a richly decorative object moving beautifully (with a
remarkably detailed reflection) through the flat water, that itself
glowed under the red and gold of the early morning sky like a great
sheet of burnished old copper. It was not observed that three white
faces peered warily out of the shadow, behind as many opened windows;
nor could it easily be seen that the figure in blue, sitting, knees
drawn up, on the deck house just behind the _laopan_ who mercilessly
urged on the sweat-shining oarsmen, was none other than the redoubtable
Tom Sung.


|IN making their escape from the steamer, Tex Connor and the Manila
Kid seized one of the small boats, manning, one at either end, the
tackle-falls. Connor was quick, rough, profane. The Kid, breathless with
excitement, hesitant, glancing back over the rail for a thinly girlish
face that did not, then, appear, worked with ten thumbs at the ropes.
Connor’s end, the boat, fell first, a short way, nearly pitching him
out. He cursed this futile man, his jackal, roundly; then clung to the
tackle as the stern fell.... The Kid moaned with pain as the slipping
hemp burned the skin off his fingers, but held it just short of

Hot red flames licked out overhead as the boat jerkily dropped. The
women were screaming up there. A white man, the second mate, leaned
over, swearing vigorously at them. They passed an open freight gangway,
where bodies lay.

“Ready, now!” cried Connor. “Let go with me!”

“Wait a minute, can’t you?” whined the Kid. He was peering into the dark
interior of the steamer; grasping a moment more; wrapping a handkerchief
about his left hand. “My God! Can’t a fellow tie up his hand.”

A thin blue figure appeared, stepped lightly over into the boat and
dropped on a middle thwart.

“Dixie!” cried the Kid in falsetto.

She wore a cap, and carried an oddly lady-like shopping bag.

“Where’d you come from?” growled Connor.

“I saw you start,” said the girl casually. “Come on--let’s get away.”

Connor stared at her; then turned back to his work. The boat struck the
water and drifted rapidly away down-stream. Connor, roaring angrily at
the Kid, got out an oar.

“What are you doing?” asked Miss Carmichael very quietly.

“Going ashore?” said Connor.

“Oh, come, Tex!” said she. “Use your head.”

He looked sharply, inquiringly, doubtingly at her.

“You two better row straight down-stream as hard as you can,” she added.
“You can bet Tom Sung and that gang aren’t going to show themselves at
Kiu Kiang. They’ve stopped somewhere below here.”

The Kid, who was nursing his hand, looked up; wrinkled his low forehead
that was hatless, and then softly whistled. Connor made no remark, but
continued studying the girl with his one eye. Finally, with an effort at
reasserting his authority, he growled:

“Take an oar, Jim!”

“But my hands! My God, that rope took all the--”

“Do you expect me to do the rowing, Jim?” said Miss Carmichael.

The Kid yielded then. The girl settled herself comfortably in the stem,
looking back at the fire. Soon they were out of the circle of light.

Suddenly Connor drew in his oar; stowed it away.

“Dixie,” he remarked. “You’ve made up your mind to go through with this
business, eh?”

“Certainly,” she replied.

“You’ll have to come across if you want my help. I won’t go it blind.”

Miss Carmichael glanced back at the red glow in the sky, then out toward
the slightly paling East.

“I’ll tell you by sunrise,” she said. “The thing won’t keep much longer
than that, anyhow. It’ll have to be fairly quick work.”

“All right,” said Connor. “That’s an agreement. Now I’m going to take
a nap. This current’s taking us down fast enough. When you sight Tom’s
outfit, wake me up.” With which he curled up in the bow, and soon was

The Kid stowed his own oar, and crept to the girl’s side.

“Careful!” she whispered. “If he should wake up....” She extricated
herself from an encircling arm. “Jim--sit still now!--It’s time you and
I had an understanding. I need you, and I’m going to use you. I don’t
propose to have you all steamed up, either. You’ll need all the nerve
you’ve got. Perhaps more. I’m not at all sure that you’re big enough for
what you’ve got to do. That’s the difficulty.”

“You promised, Dixie.” He was still absurdly breathless. “You said it
was a trade--if I’d stick to you, you’d stick to me!”

“Certainly. But it’s during the next eight or ten hours that you’re
going to find out what sticking to me, means. You can have me, all
right, Jim, but you’ve got to earn me.”

“I guess I’ll earn you, all right.”

“I wonder if you have the courage.”

“By God, for you, Dixie--”

Her hand fell lightly on his; and her voice, very small and calm, broke
in with: “Supposing I told you to kill a man. Would you do it?”

She heard, felt, his breath stop. Then he whispered, with one swift
glance at the sleeping Connor: “If I say yes, Dixie, will you kiss me?
Right now?”

She pressed her lips slightly; then replied: “No. Not yet. And you
needn’t kill anybody until I tell you to.”

“Is it--is it”--his whisper was huskier--“is it--him, Dixie?” He was
staring with less certainty now, at Connor.

“No”--said she slowly--“nobody in particular. But anything may happen
to-night, Jim. And we can’t falter. Not now.”

She let him press her hand during a brief moment; then made him resume
his seat. And from behind lowered lids she watched him.

Once he came back, to ask hoarsely: “You said he was rough with you,
Dix. Did he--did you and he--my God, if I thought that Tex had--”

She caught his shoulder and placed a hand over his mouth: held him thus
while she said: “If he catches you back here, Jim, he’ll kill you. No
fear! Now you go back there and show me that you can play cards. You’re
sitting in the biggest game of your life. Jim Watson.”

He crept back; puzzled, something hurt. There was a sting in her voice.
Could it be that the girlish Dixie was as cold-blooded as that? Treating
him like a child! Hadn’t she any feelings? The question came around and
around in his muddy brain, confused with frantic uprushes of jealousy
against the big man who slept and snored in the bow.... hadn’t she any
feelings?.... She was excitingly desirable.

Just as a conquest, now; something to brag about.

It was Dixie who sighted the soldiers, sitting in heated argument on the
bank not a hundred yards below a big junk that lay moored to stakes in
an eddy. She called sharply to Connor; they pulled straight in beside
the other two boats.

Tom Sung came to the water’s edge, a rifle (with set bayonet) in his
hand. Connor stepped out, holding the boat. The Kid, with a furtive,
glance at the big yellow fighter, and the abruptly silent shadowy group
on the bank, cautiously got out an automatic pistol and held it beside
him on the thwart.

Dixie said sharply, for Connor’s ears: “Put up that gun, Jim!”

The Kid obeyed.

She spoke then to Connor direct.

“Tell your man we want that junk,” she said. “Get out these other boats
and take it, quick. Then we’ll start back up-stream.”

For a moment Connor was nonplussed. The girl’s assumption of authority
was complete. Even the slow-thinking Tom Sung felt her presence and
turned abruptly from himself toward her.

But, though angered, Connor controlled himself. She meant, after all,
business. Dixit wasn’t a girl to make careless mistakes. She knew, none
better, what any success, little or big, might be worth in risks run.
So, speaking sharply, he gave his orders to Tom.

Quietly the twenty or more outlaw soldiers came down to the boats and
pushed off. Rowing and paddling they crept up on the junk. A drowsy
watchman peeped over at the rail, forward.

Then they were alongside. Catching at the mooring poles, the soldiers
stepped out on the wide sponson that curved down, amidships, nearly to
the water-line. Quickly, rifles slung on backs but revolvers at their
girdles and knives in their teeth, they went up the ropes hand over
hand, their bare feet dinging monkeylike to the smooth side.

There were cries aboard now, and a confusion of running feet. The first
soldier to get a leg over the rail came tumbling back with a split
skull, bounding off the sponson into the water and sinking as he drifted

Connor and the Kid caught together at the sponson. Connor stepped
out; and calling on a belated soldier to give him a back, climbed
laboriously, puffing but determined, up over the rail, pausing at the
top only to call back for the Kid to follow.

But that worthy hesitated, crouching, clutching at the boat painter.
“I’ve got to hold the boat here!” he shouted back; but Connor had

There was much noise up there now--shouts, groans, appalling screeches,
shots, and that insistent pattering of feet.

Dixie, watching critically the crouching figure on the sponson--for
the Kid was shivering and making little sounds, obviously caught in the
acute physical distress into which extreme sudden fear will at times
plunge a man--called abruptly: “Jim--look up!”

A nearly naked Chinese was lowering himself in a deliberate gingerly
manner down a moving rope nearly overhead.

“Kill him, Jim!” Dixie added.

Singling out her clear voice from the tumult, the yellow man looked
fearfully down.

The Kid, at the same moment, looked up; then, fumbling in a curiously
absent way for his pistol, glanced back at Dixie.

“I’ll hold the boat,” said she. “Go on--kill him!” She sat quietly, one
thin arm reached out to the nearest mooring pole, looking steadily up.

The Kid, nerving himself, suddenly burst into a storm of wild oaths and
shot three times into the body above him. At the first shot the mar.
slipped down a little way.

“Push him away!” Dixie cried sharply. “I don’t want him falling into the

He was shooting again; and then with an effort diverted the falling

Dixie got up, and stood steadying herself in the gently rocking boat;
and the Kid--quit; out of breath now, and muttering, as he fondled the
hot pistol, “Well, I did it, didn’t I? I did what you said!”--found in
her eyes, shining through the dusk of early dawn, a bright white
light that was, to him, disconcerting and yet profoundly thrilling. He
shivered again as he felt the spell of her strange genius. What a woman,
he was thinking again, but wildly, madly, now, to conquer.

And she was saying, “I guess your nerve’s all right.”

Other shining yellow bodies were tumbling over the side and floating

“Help me up there, Jim!” she commanded. “Never mind tying the boat--let
it go! It’s only a giveaway. Quick--give me a hand!”

She was beside him on the sponson. He clasped her in his arms; but
before he could kiss her she slapped him sharply. “Keep your head!” she
commanded. “Put me up there!”

He lifted her high; until she could kneel, then stand, on his shoulder.
She went over the rail as lightly as a boy. She found the soldiers in
small groups cornering one or another of the crew, torturing and hacking
at them with bayonets and knives, and during a brief moment looked
on with a curious keen interest. The master, or _laopan_, crouched,
whimpering, on the poop.... She saw Connor standing by the mast, just
above the well, amidships and forward, where were huddled the survivors
among the crew (their number surprisingly large); Connor was panting,
revolver in hand, and scowling about him.

Dixie stepped to his side.

“You’ve got to save enough of this crew to work the boat up the river,
Tex,” she remarked.

“I’m saving enough of ‘em,” he replied gruffly. “We’ve only killed a
dozen or so. There was more’n a hundred.”

The heavily evil-looking Tom Sung reluctantly detached himself from one
of the groups and came over, wiping his bayonet casually on his sleeve.
Him Connor roughly ordered to gather his men together and make ready to
get under way. To the Kid, who came awkwardly over the rail just then,
Connor gave merely a glance. Then to Dixie, he said:

“Come up here!”

He led the way up the steps with the carven hand rail to the poop; gave
the _laopan_ a careless kick; stepped around the steersman’s covered pit
and out astern on the high projecting gallery.

“Now,” he said, fixing his one eye on Her, “where’s this place?”

She turned away to the pots of flowers that stood closely spaced just
within the elaborate woodwork of the railing. There were chrysanthemums,
white, yellow and deep Indian red; highly cultivated double dahlias;
red lotus blossoms; and tuberoses that filled the fresh morning air with
their heavy perfume. “Well?” Connor added explosively.

“I said I’d tell you by sunrise, Tex,” she said, coolly pleasant; and
hummed, very softly, a music-hall tune, bending over a spreading lotus
blossom with every appearance of ingenuous girlish interest. After a
moment, she went on, “The thing now is to get this junk up the river as
fast as it will go.”

“Where to?” He was controlling his voice, but his face, usually
expressionless, was brutally clouded.... “Push me just a little farther,
Dix, and you’ll go overboard. And there won’t be any flowers at the
funeral. By God, I’m not sure I wouldn’t enjoy it. You got me into this
business! Now if you--”

“Better control yourself, Tex,” said she; straightening up before
him. “I may have got you in, but it’s a real job now. You’ve got to go
through. And you’re going to need me. The place is a few miles this side
of a town called Huang Chau, on the north hank.”

“Beyond Hankow?”

“No, below. It’s only a matter of hours getting up there, if you’ll just
get this junk started.”

“How’ll we know it when we get there?”

“All we’ve got to do is ask a native, anywhere along the bank, where
Kang Yu lives--his old home.”

“Who’s he?”

“The viceroy of Nanking. Why don’t you use that eye of yours once in a
while, Tex--look around you a little?”

Slowly his mind, so quick at the vicious games of his own race, picked
up and related the facts. His face relaxed, as he thought, into the
familiar wooden expression.

“You’re sure the stones are there?” he asked, quietly now.

She nodded; hummed again; caressed the flowers.

“All right, Dix,” he said then, as he turned to go forward, “that sounds
square enough. I guess I can handle it all right. And I’ll see that you
get your share all hunky dory.”

“What are you figuring my share to be?” she asked, glancing casually up
from a lotus blossom.

“Oh,” he cried without hesitation, almost playfully, “you and I aren’t
going to have any trouble about that.”

He went then; and she lingered among the flowers.

From beyond the long deck house came shouts and wailing. The great
sweeps were got overside. The mooring poles were hoisted out and lashed
along the sponsons. The clumsy craft swung out into the river and moved
slowly forward.

At the sound of a hasty light step Dixie looked up into the haggard gray
face of the Kid.

“What was it?” he whispered, glancing fearfully behind him. “Wha’d he
say to you?”

She dropped her eyes; turned away.

“Quick! Tell me, or by God, I’ll--”

She threw up a frail white hand.

“Not now, Jim!”


“He’ll have to sleep. There’s work ahead.”

“If you think _I_ can sleep--”

“I can’t either, Jim. It’s dreadful. But I’m going to tell you
everything. You have a right to know. Wait till we’re past the steamer.
We’d better get below now anyhow. We mustn’t be seen. If we aren’t,
they’ll never suspect this junk. Then make sure he’s asleep and come up
here. I’ll be waiting.”

The Kid brought Dixie’s breakfast of rice and eggs and tea to the

“The cook was only wounded a little,” he explained. “Tom’s got him
working now.”

Dixie was reclining on a Canton chair of green rushes over a bamboo
frame, her head resting languidly near the tuberoses. Now and again she
drew in deeply the rich odor. And beyond the fringe of flowers and the
carven railing she could see the river. Junks moved slowly by, sliding
down with the current--somber seagoing craft out of Tientsin and Cheefoo
and Swatow and even Canton. By a village were clustered open sampans,
and slipper-boats with their coverings of arched matting. The small
craft of the fishermen with suspended nets or with roosting, crowding
cormorants clustered here and there along the channel-way. Everywhere
farmers and their coolies were at work in the fields. A family--father,
mother, boys and girls--worked tirelessly with their feet a large
irrigating wheel at the water’s edge.

The Kid seated himself on the deck and mournfully looked on while she
ate. Perversely she delayed her narrative, playing with time and life.
In her oblique way she was happy, exercising her gift for gambling on a
scale new in her experience. Indeed, for the thrill she now experienced,
Dixie Carmichael would have paid almost any price. Life itself--the mere
existing---she held almost as cheaply as the Chinese. Deliberately, with
nerves steady as steel instruments, she finished her simple breakfast
and then put the bowls aside on the deck.

Lying back, averting her face, gazing off down the river, she began
the narrative that she had framed within the hour. Her manner, calm at
first, soon offered evidences of deeply suppressed emotion. Her voice
exhibited the first unsteadiness the Kid had ever heard in it. She
drew out an embroidered handkerchief from the pocket of her blouse
and pressed it once or twice to her eyes, as, with an air of dogged
determination, she talked on.

The narrative itself dealt with her girlhood near San Francisco, her
chance meeting with Tex Connor, then a well-known character on the
western coast of America, her girlish infatuation with him, and an
elopement that she had supposed would end in marriage. Instead she found
her life ruined. Connor had beaten her, degraded her, driven her into
vice. She ran away from him; reached the China Coast; settled down
with every intent to become what she termed, in his and her language, a
square gambler.

“When I took up with you a little last year, Jim, it seemed to me that
at last I’d found a man I could tie to. You never knew my real feelings.
I’m not the kind that tells much or shows much. I guess perhaps my
life’s been too hard. But--oh, Jim!--well, you’re, seeing the real girl
now. I’m pretty well beaten down, Jim.... You’re getting the truth from
me at last. I’ve got to tell it--all of it--for your own sake. You’re
in worse trouble than you know, right now. The cards are stacked
against you, Jim. Your life even”--her voice broke; but she got it under
control--“I’m going to save you if I can.”

Moodily he watched her.

“If it was anybody but Tex! He’s merciless. He’s strong. He never
forgets.... Listen, Jim! Tex came clear from London to find me. And
he found out about--us--you and me. That I was growing fond of you. He
never forgets and he never forgives. Oh. Jim, can’t you see it! Can’t
you see that that’s why he took you on--so he could watch you, keep you
away from me? Can’t you see what a game I’ve had to play? God, if you’d
heard what he said to me back here this very morning--Oh, it’s too
awful! I can’t tell you! He’s so determined! He gets his way, Jim--Tex
gets his way!.... Oh, what can I do!”

“No, wait--I’ve got to tell you the whole thing. You said he was
planning to cross me. He’ll do that, of course. I don’t think I care
much about that. But you, Jim--oh, you poor innocent boy! If you could
only see! You’ll never get your hands on one of the viceroy’s jewels.”

She turned her face toward him. Her eyes now were swollen and wet with

Jim, gray of face, held in his two hands a Chinese knife, balancing
it. There were stains on the blade. He must have picked it up, she
reflected, here on the junk. For it wouldn’t be like him to carry such
a weapon. It seemed to her then that he was holding his breath. She saw
him moisten his blue lips with the tip of an ashen tongue. He was trying
to speak. At least his lips parted again. She waited. When the voice did
finally come, it was so hoarse that he had evident difficulty in making
it intelligible.

“Tex may be strong--but if you think I’m afraid--”

“Oh, Jim.... no, I don’t mean that! Not that! Oh, I don’t know what I’m
saying-! It’s only when I think how happy you and I might be--think of
it! really rich! able to go and live decently somewhere, like regular

Silently, with surprising stealthy swiftness, he got to his feet. His
right hand, with the knife, busied itself in a side pocket of his coat.

“Say the word, Dixie”--his face was contorted with the muscular effort
necessary to produce this small sound--“say the word, and I’ll kill

“Oh, no, Jim!” she covered her face with her thin hands, and sobbed,
very low. “Oh God, what can we do? Isn’t there some other way?”

“Say the word,” he whispered.

“Would it be”--she broke down again--“would it be--where a man’s a
devil, where he’s threatened--wouldn’t it be like defending ourselves?”

“Say the word!”

“Oh, Jim---God forgive me!.... Yes!”

Her lips barely framed the word. But he read it. She watched him as
he stepped around the huge coils of tracking rope on the roof of the
steersman’s pit; watched until he dropped softly down and disappeared.

Then, lying back, very still, she listened. But the oarsmen were
chanting up forward, the _laopan_ shouting; nearer, the steersman was
singing an apparently endless falsetto narrative (as if there had
never been bloodshed). The minutes slowly passed. She drew in the sweet
exhalation of the tuberoses.... still no unusual sound. She herself
exhibited no sign of excitement beyond the hint of a cryptic smile and
the white light in her eyes.... Her shopping bag lay on her lap. Opening
it, she looked at the bracelet watch, that nestled close to a small
triangular bottle of green corrosive sublimate tablets.... The gentle
wash of the current against the hull gave out a soothing sound. The
slowly rising sun beat warmly down, and the polished deck radiated the
heat. A sensation of drowsiness was stealing over her. For a short while
she fought it off; but then, deciding that no anxiety on her part could
be of value, she yielded, closed the bag on her lap, and drifted into

It was pleasantly warmer still. She felt her eyes about to
open--slowly--on a presence. This languor was delicious. As an almost
ascetic epicure in sensations she rested a moment longer in it, thinking
dreamily of priceless gems heaped in her hollowed hands; of luxurious
idleness in some exotic port--Singapore, or Penang (she had loved the
tropical splendor of Penang), or in Burmah or India--Rangoon say, or
even Lucknow, Lahore and Simla. They would know less about her there.
And with the means to operate on a larger scale she should be able to
add enormously to her wealth. She decided to dress and act differently;
make a radical change in her methods.

Her lips parted. The presence before her--coatless, little cap pushed
back off the low forehead--was Connor. He had pushed aside a flower pot
to make a seat on the rail.

She closed her eyes again. He still wore the gray flannels and the white
shoes with the rubber soles-It would be the shoes that had enabled him
to approach without awakening her. He was smoking a cigar And the face
was wooden again--save for his eye--He at stared oddly at her. And she
thought his breathing somewhat short, just at first.

She opened her eyes again.

“I’ve had a good nap,” she said.

He smoked, and stared.

“Where’s Jim?” she asked then; quite casually: raising herself on an

He made no reply; smoked on, still a thought breathless, fixing her with
his eyes.

“He brought me some breakfast, just before I fell asleep.... What time
is it?”

For what seemed a long space he did not even answer this; merely smoked
and stared. She had never, sensitively keen as were her perceptions,
felt so curious a hostility in Connor. She had hitherto supposed that
she understood him, short as had been their actual acquaintance---her
narrative of a past with him in America, as related to Jim, was
false--but the man before her now, sitting all but motionless on the
railing, smoking with an odd rapid intensity, holding that cold eye on
her, was wholly alien.

Finally he replied: “It’s afternoon.”

“No!” She sat up. “Have we been going right along?”

“Right along.”

She stood erect; covered a yawn; then with her thin hands smoothed down
the wrinkled blue skirt about her hips.

“I look like the devil,” she remarked. The thin hands went to her hair.
“You haven’t noticed any sort of a mirror in the cabin, have you, Tex?”

He did not reply.

Faintly through the still air came a faint sound--a boom--boom-bom.

“What’s that?” she asked sharply.

“Fighting around Hankow.”

“We’re not way up there?” She stepped to the side and looked out ahead.
“There’s a city!”

“Tom says it’s Huang Chau.”

“Hello! We’re there!”

He inclined his head.

“What are you going to do?”

“Tie up here.”

She heard now other and more confused sounds. The junk was slowing down;
working in toward the yellow shallows.

“Now listen!” said he. She glanced at him, then away, apparently
considering the quiet landscape; alien he was indeed, and hostile, his
manner that of an inarticulate man struggling with a set speech....
“Listen! You’re smart enough. But I want you to understand I don’t trust

“Don’t you, Tex?”

“When I go ashore, you’re to stay here--right here on this deck--where
you are now.”

“What’s the big idea, Tex?”

“There’ll be men to see that you do stay here. I want you to get this

“Of course,” said she musingly, “you won’t be able to rob me outright.
You’ll have to give me enough of a share to keep me quiet afterward.”

He said nothing.

“But what’s to prevent the crew from getting away with the junk. I’m not
very keen about being carried off that way.”

“You needn’t worry. I’m taking the master along with me.”

He stood then; looked meaningly at her; then went forward. She noted
that his two hip pockets bulged.

Slowly the long narrow craft was worked in toward the land. Trackers
sculled ashore in sampans and made the great hawsers fast to stakes.
Then the crew, with a deal of shouting and many casual blows, were
assembled in the long well forward of the mast, where they huddled

Keeping around the steersman’s house, Dixie contrived to take in much
of the scene. There was quarreling among the soldiers. Tom Sung towered
over them, shouting rough orders. The two men that were told off (she
judged to guard her and the junk) appeared to be objecting to their part
in the affair. Obviously there would be small loot here.

Connor came back over the deck house; stood angrily over her. She sensed
the mounting brutality in him. For that matter, his sort and their ways
with women were familiar enough to her. She had learned to take brutal
men for granted. But it had not occurred to her that Connor would strike
her. However, he did. Knocked her to her knees; then to her face; even
kicked her as she lay on the deck. He was suddenly loud, wild.

“None o’ this peeking around!” he cried. “Keep your eyes where they
belong!” And left her there.

After a little she was able to creep to the rail and peer out through
the flowers. Frightened members of the crew were sculling the sampans
back and forth, until at length the whole party, every man except the
_laopan_ armed, fully assembled, set off inland.

Beyond an unpleasant headache she felt no injury. She sat for a little
while; then again looked forward. The two guards were on the deck house,
talking excitedly together. While she watched they climbed down, shouted
at the huddled crew, fired a careless shot or two into the mass of them
that brought down at least one. At length two of the crew went over
the side, followed by the soldiers. A moment later the sampan appeared
moving toward the shore, the two soldiers loudly urging on the oarsmen.

Dixie, swiftly then, rearranging her disordered hair as she walked, went
down into the cabin.

A corridor extended along one side from the _laopans_ quarters under the
steersman’s house--sounds of stifled weeping came from there, apparently
a woman or a girl--forward to the open space amidships. The rooms all
gave on this corridor, the doorways hung with curtains of blue cotton
cloth. Into one and another of these rooms she looked There was bentwood
furniture and bedding in each---the latter tossed about. On the walls
hung neat ideographic mottoes. The grillwork about the windows and over
the doors was of a uniform and quaint design.

Connor had taken for himself the rear room There she found, beneath the
window a heap of matting and bedding. Thoughtfully, deliberately, she
lifted it off, piece by piece, exposing first a foot and leg, then a
bony hand, finally the entire figure of what had been Jim Watson, known,
of recent years, along Soochow Road and Bubbling Well Road as the Manila
Kid. His clothing was slashed and torn in many places. About his middle,
and about his head, were wide pools of blood that during a number of
hours, evidently, had been drying into the boards of the deck. The neck,
she observed, on closer examination, had been cut through nearly to the

During a swift moment she considered the grew-some problem; then
carefully replaced the matting and bedding.

She went forward then to the end of the corridor; paused to look in her
shopping bag, open the triangular bottle and drop a few of the green
pills into the pocket of her middy blouse, under her handkerchief;
closed the bag and stepped out on the low midships deck.

The sampan had just returned to the junk. The two soldiers were walking;
rapidly inland after Connor’s party. She let herself quickly over the
side; stepped into the sampan; waved toward the shore. Meekly the cowed
oarsmen obeyed the pantomime order.

She stepped out on the bank, very slim, almost pretty; tossed a Chinese
Mexican dollar into the boat, watched, with a faint, reflective smile,
the two primitive creatures as they fought over it; then walked briskly,
not without a trace of native elegance in her carriage, after the
soldiers, lightly swinging her shopping bag.


|THE road--narrow, worn to a deep-rutted little canyon--circled a brown
hill, rose into a mud-gray village, where a few listless children played
among the dogs, and a few apathetic beggars, and vendors of cakes,
and wrinkled old women stared at the thin white girl who walked rapidly
and alone; wound on below the surface of the cultivated fields; came,
at length, to a wall of gray-brick crowned with tiles of bright yellow
glaze and a ridge-piece of green, and at last to a gate house with a
heavily ornamented roof of timbers and tiles. Other roofs appeared just
beyond, and interlacing foliage that was tinged, here and there, with
the red and yellow and bronze of autumn.

The great gates, of heavy plank studded with iron spikes, stood open,
apparently unattended. Dixie Carmichael paused; pursed her lips. Her
coolly searching eyes noted an incandescent light bulb set in the
massive lintel. This, perhaps, would be the place. Almost absently,
peering through into tiled courtyards, she took two of the green tablets
from her pocket; then, holding them in her hand, stepped within, and
stood listening. The rustling of the leaves, she heard, as they swayed
in a pleasant breeze, and a softly musical tinkling sound; then a murmur
that might be voices at a distance and in some confusion; and then,
sharply, with an unearthly thrill, the silver scream of a girl.... Yes,
this would be the place.

The buildings on either hand were silent. Doors stood open. Paper
windows were tom here and there, and the woodwork broken in. But the
flowers and the dwarf trees from Japan that stood in jars of Ming
pottery were undisturbed.

She passed through an inner gate and around a screen of brick and found
herself in a park. There was a waterfall in a rockery, and a stream,
and a tiny lake. A path led over a series of little arching bridges of
marble into the grove beyond; and through the trees there she
caught glimpses of elaborate yellow roofs. On either hand stood
_pai-lows_--decorative arches in the pretentious Chinese manner--and
beyond each a roofed pavilion built over a bridge.... She considered
these; after a moment sauntered under the _pai-low_ at her right,
mounted the steps and dropped on the ornamented seat behind a leafy
vine. Here she was sheltered from view, yet her eyes commanded both the
main gate and the way over the marble bridges to the buildings in the

She looked about with a sense of quiet pleasure at the gilded fretwork
beneath the curving eaves of the pavilion, the painted scrolls above
them, and the smooth found columns of aged nanmu wood that was in
color like dead oak leaves and that still exhaled a vague perfume. The
tinkling sound set up again as another breeze wandered by; and looking
up she saw four small bells of bronze suspended from the eaves.... She
sat very still, listening, looking, thinking, drawing in with a deep
inhalation the exquisite fragrance of the nanmu wood. It might be
pleasant, one day, to lease or even buy a home like this. So ran her
alert thoughts.

The murmuring from the buildings in the grove continued, now swelling a
little, now subsiding. It was not, of itself, an alarming sound, except
for an occasional muffled shot. Her quick imagination, however, pictured
the scene--they would be running about, calling to one another, beating
in doors, rummaging everywhere. The drunkenness would doubtless be
already under way. There would be much casual but ingenious cruelty,
an orgiastic indulgence in every uttermost thrill of sense. It would be
interesting to see; she even considered, her nerves tightening slightly
at the thought, strolling back there over the bridges; but held finally
to her first impulse and continued waiting here.

A considerable time passed; half an hour or more. Then she glimpsed
figures approaching slowly through the grove. They emerged on the
farthest of the little marble bridges. One was Tex Connor; the second
perhaps--certainly--Tom Sung. They carried armfuls of small boxes, at
the sight of which Dixie’s pulse again quickened slightly; for these
would be the jewels. Tom appeared to be talking freely; as they crossed
the middle bridge he broke into song; and he reeled jovially.... Connor
walked firmly on ahead.

They stopped by the gate screen. Connor glanced cautiously about; then
moved aside into a tiled area that was hidden from the gate and the path
by quince bushes. He called to Tom who followed.

Miss Carmichael could look almost directly down at them through the
leaves. She watched closely as they hurriedly opened the boxes and
filled their pockets with the gems. Tom used a stone to break the golden
settings of the larger diamonds, pearls and rubies.

A low-voiced argument followed. She heard Tom say, “I come back, all
light. But I got have a girl!” And he lurched away.

Connor, looking angrily after him, reached back to his hip pocket; but
reconsidered. He needed Tom, if only as interpreter; and Tom, singing
unmusically as he reeled away over the marble bridges, knew it.

Connor waited, standing irresolute, listening, turning his eye toward
the gate, then toward the trees behind him. The girl in the pavilion
considered him. She had not before observed evidence of fear in the man.
But then she had never before seen him in a situation that tested his
brain and nerve as well as his animal courage. He was at heart a bully,
of course: and she knew that bullies were cowards.... What small respect
she had at moments felt for Tex left her now. She came down to despising
him, as she despised nearly all other men of her acquaintance. Still
peering through the leaves, she saw him move a little way toward the
gate, then glance, with a start, toward the marble bridges, finally
turning back to the remaining boxes.

He opened one of these--it was of yellow lacquer richly ornamented--and
drew out what appeared to be a tangle of strings of pearls. He turned it
over in his hands; spread it out; felt his pockets; finally unbuttoned
his shirt and thrust it in there.

It was at this point that Dixie arose, replaced the green tablets in her
pocket, smoothed her skirt, and went lightly down the steps. He did not
hear her until she spoke.

“Do you think Tom’ll come back, Tex?”

He whirled so clumsily that he nearly fell among the boxes and the
broken and trampled bits of gold and silver; fixed his good eye on her,
while the other, of glass, gazed vacantly over her shoulder.

She coolly studied him--the flushed face, bulging pockets, protruding
shirt where he had stuffed in those astonishing ropes of pearls.

He said then, vaguely: “What are you doing here?”

“Thought I’d come along. Suppose he stays back there--drinks some more.
You’d be sort of up against it, wouldn’t you?”

“I’d be no worse off than you.” He was evasive, and more than a little
sullen. She saw that he was foolishly trying to keep his broad person
between her and the boxes.

“You couldn’t handle the junk without Tom. Not very well.... Look here,
Tex, it can’t be very far to the concessions at Hankow. We could pick up
a cart, or even walk it.”

“What good would that do?”

“There’ll be steamers down to Shanghai.”

“And there’ll be police to drag us off.”

“How can they? What can they pin on you?” Connor’s eye wavered back
toward the grove and the buildings. He was again breathing hard. “After
all this..” he muttered. “That old viceroy’ll be up here, you know.
With his mob, too. And there’s plenty of people here to tell....” He
was trying now to hold an arm across his middle in a position that would
conceal the treasure there.

Her glance followed the motion, and for a moment a faintly mocking smile
hovered about her thin mouth. She said: “Saving those pearls for me,

He stared at her, fixed her with that one small eye, but offered not a
word. A moment later, however, nervously signaling her to be still he
brushed by and peeped out around the quinces.

“What is it?” she asked quickly; then moved to his side.

Immediately beyond the farthest of the marble bridges stood a group of
ten or twelve soldiers in drunkenly earnest argument. Above them towered
the powerful shoulders and small round head of Tom Sung. In the one
quick glance she caught an impression of rifles slung across sturdy
backs, of bayonets that seemed, at that distance, oddly dark in color;
an impression, too, of confused minds and a growing primitive instinct
for violence. Tom and another swayed toward the bridge; others drew them
back and pointed toward the buildings they had left. The argument waxed.
Voices were shrilly emphatic.

“Looks bad,” said the girl at Connor’s shoulder. “You’ve let ‘em get out
of hand, Tex.” Then, as she saw him nervously measuring with his eye
the width of the open space between the quinces and the gate screen, she
added, “Thinking of making a run for it, Tex?”

He slowly swung that eye on her now; and for no reason pushed her
roughly away. “It’s none of your business what I’m going to do,” he
replied roughly.

But the voice was husky, and curiously light in quality. And the eye
wavered away from her intent look. This creature fell far short of the
Tex Connor of old. She spoke sharply.

“Come up into this summer-house, Tex!” she indicated it with an upward
jerk of her head. “They won’t see us there, at first. You didn’t see
me. You’ve got your pistols. You can give me one. We ought to be able to
stand off a few Chinese drunks.”

She could see that he was fumbling about for courage, for a plan, in a
mind that had broken down utterly. His growl of--“I’m not giving you any
pistol!”--was the flimsiest of cover. And so she left him, choosing a
moment when that loud argument beyond the bridges was at its height to
run lightly up the steps and into the pavilion.

From this point she looked down on the thick-minded Connor as he
struggled between cupidity, fear and the bluffing pride that was so
deep a strain in the man. The one certain fact was that he couldn’t
purposelessly wait there, with Tom Sung leading these outlawed soldiers
to a deed he feared to undertake alone.... They were coming over
the bridges now, Tom in the lead, lurching along and brandishing his
revolver, the others unslinging their rifles. The argument had ceased;
they were ominously quiet.

Dixie got her tablets out again; then sat waiting, that faint mocking
smile again touching the corners of her mouth. But the smile now meant
an excitement bordering on the thrill she had lately envied the savage
folk in the grove. Such a thrill had moved those coldeyed women who sat
above the combat of gladiators in the Colosseum and with thumbs down
awaited the death agony of a fallen warrior. It had been respectable
then; now it was the perverse pleasure of a solitary social outcast.
But to this girl who could be moved by no simple pleasure it came as a
gratifying substitute for happiness. Her own danger but added a sharp
edge to the exquisite sensation. It was the ultimate gamble, in a life
in which only gambling mattered.

Connor was fumbling first at a hip pocket where a pistol bulged, then at
a side pocket that bulged with precious stones. His eye darted this
way and that his cheeks had changed in color to a pasty gray. The girl
thought for a moment that he had actually gone out of his head.

His action, when it finally came, was grotesquely romantic. She thought,
in a flash, of the adventure novels she had so often seen him reading.
It was to her absurd; even madly comic. For with those bulging pockets
and that gray face, a criminal run to earth by his cruder confederates,
he fell back on dignity. He strode directly out into the path, with a
sort of mock firmness, and, like a policeman on a busy corner, raised
his hand.

Even at that he might have impressed the soldiers; for he was white,
and had been their vital and vigorous leader, and they were yellow and
low-bred and drunk. As it was, they actually stopped, just over the
nearest bridge; gave the odd appearance of huddling uncertainly there.
But Connor could not hold the pose. He broke; looked wildly about;
started, puffing like a spent runner, up the steps of the pavilion
where the girl, leaning slightly forward, drawing in her breath sharply
through parted lips, looked through the leaves.

Several of the rifles cracked then; she heard bullets sing by. And
Connor fell forward on the steps, clawed at them for a moment, and lay
still in a slowly widening pool of thick blood. He had not so much as
drawn a weapon. Tex Connor was gone.

They came on, laughing, with a good deal of rough banter, and gathered
up the jewels. Tom and another mounted the steps to the body and went
through the pockets of his trousers for the jewels that were there and
the pistols. As there was no coat they did not look further. And then,
merrily, they went back over the marble bridges to the buildings in the
grove where were still, perhaps, liquor and women.

When the last of their shouts had died out, when laying her head against
the fragrant wood she could hear again the musical tinkling of the
bronze bells and the pleasant murmuring of the tiny waterfall and the
sighing of the leaves, Dixie slipped down to the body, fastidiously
avoiding the blood. It was heavy; she exerted all her wiry strength in
rolling it partly over. Then, drawing out the curious net of pearls she
let the body roll back.

Returning to her sheltered seat she spread on her lap the amazing
garment; for a garment of some sort it appeared to be. There was even a
row of golden clasps set with very large diamonds. At a rough estimate
she decided that there were all of three thousand to four thousand
perfect pearls in the numerous strings. Turning and twisting it about,
she hit on the notion of drawing it about her shoulders and found that
it settled there like a cape. It was, indeed, just that--a cape of
pearls. She did not know that it was the only garment of its precise
sort in the world, that it had passed from one royal person to another
until, after the death of the Old Buddha in 1908 it fell into the hands
of his excellency, Kang Yu.

She took it off; stood erect; pulled out her loosely hanging middy
blouse; and twisting the strings into a rope fastened it about her
waist, rearranging the blouse over it. The concealment was perfect.

She sat again, then, to think out the next step Returning to the junk
was cut of the question. It would be better to get somehow up to the
concessions and trust to her wits to explain her presence there For Tex
had been shrewd enough about that. The concessions were a small bit of
earth with but one or two possible hotels, full of white folk and fuller
of gossip. She had had her little difficulties with the consuls as with
the rough-riding American judge who took his itinerant court from port
to port announcing firmly that he purposed ridding the East of such
“American girls” as she. Dawley Kane would surely be there, and other
survivors of the fire.... It all meant picking up a passage down the
river at the earliest possible moment; and running grave chances at
that But her great strength lay in her impregnable self-confidence. She
feared herself least of all.

Another problem was the getting to the concessions. It was not the best
of times for a girl to walk the highway alone. To be sure, she had come
safely through from the junk; but it had not been far, and she hadn’t
had to approach a native army. She decided to wait an hour or so, until
the plunderers there in the grove should be fully drunk; then, if at the
moment it seemed the thing, to slip out and make a try for it.

And then, a little later, evidently from the road outside the wall, came
a new sort of confused sounds; music, of flageolets and strings, and
falsetto voices, and with it a low-pitched babel of many tongues.
Whoever these new folk might be, they appeared to be turning in at the
open gate. The music stopped abruptly, in a low whine of discord, and
the talk rose in pitch. Over the brick screen appeared banners moving
jerkily about, dipping and rising, as if in the hands of agitated
persons below; a black banner, bearing in its center the triple imperial
emblems of the Sun, the other two yellow, one blazoning the familiar
dragon, the other a phoenix.

A few banner men appeared peeping cautiously about the screen; Manchu
soldiers of the old effete army, bearing short rifles. They came on,
cautiously into the park, joined in a moment by others. An officer with
a queue and an old-fashioned sword and a military cap in place of a
turban followed and, forming them into a ragged column of fours, marched
them over the marble bridges and into the grove, where they disappeared
from view.

Then a gorgeously colored sedan chair came swaying in, carried by many
bearers walking under stout bamboo cross-poles. Others, in the more
elaborate dress of officials, walked beside and behind it. Then came
more soldiers, who straggled informally about, some even dropping on the
gravel to rest their evidently weary bodies.

The chair was opened in front and a tall fat man stepped rather
pompously out, wearing a robe of rose and blue and the brightly
embroidered insignia and can button of a mandarin of the fourth rank. At
once a servant stepped forward with a huge umbrella which he opened and
held over the fat man. And then they waited, all of them, standing or
lying about and talking in excited groups. Several of the officials
hurried back around the screen as if to examine the deserted apartments
just within the gate, and shortly returned with much to say in their
musical singsong.... An officer espied the body of Connor lying on the
steps of the pavilion, and came with others, excitedly, to the foot
of the steps. The key of the confused talk rose at once. There was
an excited conference of many ranks about the tall fat man under the

Then came, from the grove, that same sound of muffled shots, followed by
a breathless pause. More shots then, and increasing excitement here
by the screen. A number of the soldiers who had crossed the bridges
appeared, running. The man in the lead had lost turban and rifle; as
he drew near blood could be seen on his face. And now, abruptly, the
officials and the ragtag and bobtail by the screen--pole-bearers,
lictors, runners, soldiers--lost their heads. Some ran this way
and that, even into the bushes, only to reappear and follow their
clearer-headed brethren out to the gate. The umbrella-bearer dropped
his burden and vanished. The fugitives from the grove were among the
panic-stricken group now, racing with them for the gate and the highway
without; scurrying around the end of the screen like frightened rabbits;
and in pursuit, cheering and yelling, came many of the soldiers from the

They caught the tall fat mandarin, as he was waddling around the screen,
wounded by a chance shot; leaped upon him, bringing him down screaming
with fear; beat and kicked him; with their knives and bayonets
performing subtle acts of torture which gave them evident pleasure and
of which the coldly observant Dixie Carmichael lost no detail. When the
fat body lay inert, not before, they took the sword of a fallen officer
and cut off the head, hacking clumsily. The head they placed on a pole,
marching noisily about with it; finally setting the pole upright beside
the first of the little marble bridges. Then, at last, they wandered
back into the grove and left the grisly object on the pole to dominate
obscenely the garden they had profaned.

Dixie leaned against the smooth sweet surface of the nanmu wood and
listened, again, to the pleasantly soft sounds of waterfall and moving
leaves and little bronze bells. Her face was chalk white; her thin hands
lay limp in her lap; she knew, with an abrupt sensation of sinking, that
she was profoundly tired. But in her brain burned still a cold white
flame of excitement. Life, her instinct as the veriest child had
informed her, was anything, everything, but the simple copybook pattern
expounded by the naive folk of America and England. Life, as she
critically saw it, was a complex of primitive impulses tempered by
greeds, dreams and amazing subtleties. It was blindly possessive,
carelessly repellent, creative and destructive in a breath, at once warm
and cold, kindly and savage, impersonally heedless of the helpless
human creatures that drifted hither and yon before the winds of chance.
Cunning, in the world she saw about her, won always further than virtue,
and often further than force.

She could not take her eyes, during a long period, from the hideous
object on the pole. Her over-stimulated thoughts were reaching quickly,
sharply, far in every direction. The feeling came, grew into belief,
that she was, mysteriously, out of her danger. She felt the ropes of
pearls under her blouse with an ecstatic little catch of the breath; and
(finally) letting her eyes drop to that other ugly object on the steps
beneath her, slowly opened her bag, drew out the bracelet watch (that
the Manila Kid had given her out of an absurd hope) and fastened it
about her wrist. And her eyes were bright with triumph.


|THERE came for his excellency, as the sun mounted the sky, a large
junk of his own river fleet--great brown sails flapping against the five
masts of all heights that pointed up at crazily various angles, pennons
flying at each masthead, hull weathered darkly, mats and fenders of
woven hemp hung over the poop-rail, and a swarming pigtailed crew at the
sweeps and overside on the spunson and hard at the tracking ropes as
the _tai-kung_ screamed from the bow and the _laopan_ shouted from the

They were ferried aboard in the small boat, Kang with his daughters and
his suite and servants, a handful of pitifully wailing women, young Kane
and Griggsby Doane. Then the trackers cast off from the shore and
the mooring poles, the sweeps moved, and with the _lao pan_ musically
calling the stroke the junk moved laboriously up-stream toward the home
of his excellency’s ancestors.

Crowded into the uninviting cabins the weary travelers sought a few
hours of rest Even the servants and the mourning women, under the
mattings forward, fell swiftly asleep. Only Rocky Kane, his eyes staring
widely out of a sensitively white face, walked the deck; until
the thought--a new sort of thought in the life of this headstrong
youth--that he would be disturbing those below drove him aft, out beyond
the steersman to the over-hanging gallery. Here he sat on the bamboo
rail and gazed moodily down at the tireless, mighty river flowing off

The good in the boy--made up of the intelligence, the deep-smoldering
conscience, the fineness that were woven out of his confused heritage
into his fiber--was rising now like a tide in his spirit; and the
experience was intensely painful. It seemed to his undisciplined mind
that he was, in certain of his aspects, an incredible monster. There had
been wild acts back home, a crazy instinct for excess that now took on
distinctness of outline; moments of careless evil in Japan and Shanghai;
the continuous subtle conflict with his father in which any evasion had
seemed fair; but above all these vivid memory-scenes that raced like an
uncontrollably swift panorama through his over-alert brain stood out his
vicious conduct on the ship. It was impossible at this moment to realize
mentally that the Princess Hui Fei was now his friend; he could see her
only in the bright Manchu costume as she had appeared when he first so
uncouthly spoke to her. And there were, too, the ugly moments with
the strange girl known as Dixie Carmichael. That part of it was only a
nightmare now.... The racing in his brain frightened him. He stared at
the dimpling yellow river, at a fishing boat, and finally lifted his
hurt eyes to the bright sky.... He had been going straight to hell, he
told himself, mumbling the words softly aloud. And then this lovely girl
had brought him into confusion and humility. Suddenly he had broken with
his father; that, in itself, seemed curiously unaccountable, yet there
the fact stood.... Life--eager, crowding--had rushed him off his feet.
He felt wildly adrift, carried on currents that he could not stem....
He was, indeed, passing through one of life’s deepest experiences, one
known to the somewhat unimaginative and intolerant people whose blood
ran in his veins as conviction of sin. His own careless life had
overtaken and confronted him. It had to be a bitter moment. There was
terror in it. And there was no escaping; it had to be lived through.

A merry voice called; there was the patter of soft-clad feet, and in a
moment the little princess in her yellow hood with the fox head on
the crown was climbing into his lap. Eagerly, tenderly, he lifted her;
cuddled her close and kissed her soft cheek. Tears were frankly in his
eyes now.

He laughed with her, nervously at first, then, in the quick
responsiveness of youth, with good humor. She came to him as health.
Together they watched the diving cormorants and the wading buffalo.
Then he hunted about until he found a bit of board and a ball of twine;
whittled the board into a flat boat, stuck a little mast in it with
a white sail made from a letter from his pocket, and towed it astern.
Together they hung on the rail, watching the craft as it bobbed over the
little waves and laughing when it capsized and lost its sail.

She climbed into his lap again after that, and scolded him for making
the unintelligible English sounds, and made signs for him to smoke; and
he showed her his water-soaked cigarettes.

At a low-pitched exclamation he turned with a nervous start. The tall
eunuch stood on the cabin roof; came quickly forward for the child. And
beside him was Miss Hu: Fei, still of course wearing the Chinese coat
and trousers in which she had escaped from the steamer. She had, under
the warm sun, thrown aside the curiously modern opera wrap. She was
slim, young, delicately feminine. The boy gazed at her reverently. She
seemed to him a fairy, an unearthly creature, worlds beyond his reach.
In his excitement, but a few hours back--in what he had supposed to be
their last moment together, in what, indeed, had seemed the end of the
world--he had declared his love for her. That had been an uprush of pure
emotion.... He recalled it now, yet found it difficult to accept as an
occurrence. The actual world had turned unreal to him, as it does to the
sensitively young that suffer poignantly.

To this grave young woman, oddly his shipmate, he could hardly, he felt
now, have spoken a personal word. Their acquaintance had begun at a high
emotional pitch; now it must begin again, normally. So it seemed to him.

“We were looking for my li’l sister,” she explained, and half turned.
The eunuch had already disappeared with the child.

“Won’t you sit out here--with me?” He spoke hesitantly. “That is, unless
you are too tired to visit.”

“I coul’n’ sleep,” said she.

Slowly she came out on the gallery.

“There aren’t any chairs,” said he. “Perhaps I could find--”

“I don’ mind.” She sank to the floor; leaned wearily against the rail.
He settled himself in a corner.

“I couldn’t sleep either. You see--Miss Hui--Miss Fei”--he broke into a
chuckle of embarrassment--“honest I don’t know what to call you.”

The unexpected touch of boyish good humor moved her nearly to a smile.
Boyish he was, sitting with his feet curled up, stabbing at the deck
with his jackknife, coatless, collarless, his thick hair tousled,
blushing pleasantly.

“My frien’s call me Hui,” she replied simply.

“Oh--really! May I--If you would--of course I know that--but my friends
call me Rocky. The whole thing is Rockingham Bruce Kane. But....”

“I’ll call you Misser Kane,” said she.

His face fell a very little; but quickly he recovered himself.

“You must have wondered--I suppose it seems as if I’ve done a rather
crazy thing--it _must_ seem so...” She murmured, “Oh, no!”

“Attaching myself to your party this way---at such a difficult time. I
know it was a pretty impulsive thing to do, but....”

His voice trailed into silence. For a brief moment this wild act seemed,
however different in its significance to himself, of a piece with his
other wild acts. It was, perhaps, like all those, merely ungoverned
egotism. Her voice broke sweetly in on this moment of gloomy reverie.

“We know tha’ you woul’ help us if you coul’. An’ you were so

“If I only could help! You see when I spoke that way to you--I mean
telling you I loved you--”

“Please! We won’ talk abou’ tha’.”

“No. We won’t. Except just this. I was beside myself. But even then, or
pretty soon afterward, I knew it was just plain selfishness.”

“You mus’n’ say that, either. Please!”

“No--just this! Of course you don’t know me. What you do know is all
against me--”

“I have forgotten--”

“You will never forget. But even if you were some day to like me more
than you could now, I know it would take a long time. I’ve got to earn
the right to be really your friend first. I’m going to try to do
that. I’ve started all over--to-day---my life, I mean. I’m just simply
beginning again. There’s a good long scrap ahead of me. That’s all about
that! But please believe that I’ve got a little sanity in me.”

“Oh, I’m sure--”

“I have. Jumping overboard like that, and swimming back to you--it
wasn’t just crazy impulse, like so many of the things I’ve done. You
see, my father knows you and your father--yes, I mean the terrible
trouble you’re in. Oh, everything comes to him, sooner or later. All the
facts. You have to figure on that, with the pater. He--well, he wanted
me to stop thinking about you. He was afraid I’d be writing to you, or
something. You see, he’d watched us talking there by the fire. And he
told me about this--this dreadful thing. And then I had to come back.
Don’t you see? I couldn’t go on, leaving you like this. Of course,
it’s likely enough I’m just in the way here--” She was smiling wearily,
pathetically, now.

“Oh, no--” she began.

“It’s this way,” he swept impetuously on. “Maybe I _can_ help. Anyway,
I’ve got to try. If your father--really--” He saw the slight shudder
that passed through her slender body, and abruptly checked the rapid
flow of words. “We’ve got to take care of you,” he said, with surprising
gravity and kindness. “You’ll have to get back with the white people.
You mustn’t be left with the yellow.”

“I know,” said she, the strength nearly gone from her voice. “It always
seems to me that I’m an American. Though sometimes I ge’ confuse’. It
isn’ easy to think.”

“I’m simply wearing you out I mustn’t. But just this--remember that I
know all about it. I’ve broken with my father, for the present, and I’m
happy about that. I have got some money of my own--quite a little. I’ve
even got a wet letter of credit in my pocket. I had just sense enough
last night to get it out of my coat. It’s no good, of course, outside
of the treaty ports, but it’s there. I’m here to help. And I do want to
feel that you’ll call on me--for anything--and as for the rest of it--”

He had thought himself unusually clear and cool, but at this point his
voice clouded and broke He glanced timidly at her, and saw that her
eyes were full of tears. He had to look away then. And during a long few
moments they sat without a word.

Then the thought came, “I’m here to help!” It was a stirring thought. He
had never helped, never in his life that he could remember. And yet the
Kanes did things; they were strong men.

He was moodily skipping his knife over his hand, trying to catch the
point in the soft wood. Abruptly, with a surprising smile, he looked up
and asked: “Ever play mumbletepeg?”

Her troubled eyes for an instant met his. He chuckled again in that
boyish way. And she, nervously, chuckled too. That seemed good.

“It’s sort of hard to make the blade stick in this wood,” he said
eagerly. “But we can do some of the things.”

Griggsbv Doane, too, was far from sleep. For that matter, he was of
the strong mature sort that needs little, that can work long hours and
endure severe strain without weakening. Moving aft over the poop he saw
them, playing like two children, and stepped quietly behind the slanting
short mast that overhung the steersman.

They made a charming picture, laughing softly as they tossed the knife.
It hadn’t before occurred to him that young Kane had charm. Plainly,
now, he had. And it was good for Hui Fei, in this hour of tragic
suspense. Youth, of course, would call unto youth. That was the natural
thing. He tried to force himself to see it in that light but he moved
forward with a heavy heart.

The junk plowed deliberately against the current. The monotonous voice
of the chanting _lao pan_, the rhythmical splash and creak of the
sweeps, the syncopated continuous song of the crowded oarsman, an
occasional warning cry from the tai-kung--these were the only sounds.
Elsewhere, lying in groups about the deck, the castaways slumbered.

But Doane knew that his excellency was awake, shut away in the
_laopan’s_ cabin, for repeatedly he had heard him moving about. Once,
through a thin partition, had come the sound of a chair scraping. It
would mean that Kang was preparing his final papers. These would be
painstakingly done. There would be memorials to the throne and to
his children and friends, couched in the language of a master of the
classics, rich in the literary allusions dear to the heart of the
scholar, Manchu and Chinese alike.

Doane found a seat on a coil of the heavy tracking rope. His own part in
the drama through which they were all so strangely living could be
only passive. He would serve as he might. His little dream of personal
happiness, with a woman to love and new strong work to be somehow begun,
was wholly gone.

Slowly, foot by foot, the clumsy craft crept up the river. And strangely
the scene held its peaceful, intensely busy character. Everywhere, as if
there were no revolution, as if the old river had never known wreckage
and bloodshed, the country folk toiled in the fields. Junks passed.
Irrigating wheels turned endlessly. Fishermen sat patiently watching
their cormorants or lowering and lifting their nets. A big English
steamer came booming down, with white passengers out of bloody Hankow
(the looting and burning of the native city must have been going on just
then, before the reinforced imperial troops drove the republicans back
across the river). They layabout in deck chairs, these white passengers;
or, doubtless, played bridge in the smoking-room. And Doane, as so
often during his long life, felt his thoughts turning from these idle,
self-important whites, back to the oldest of living peoples; and he
dwelt on their incalculable energy, their incredible numbers, their
ceaseless individual struggle with the land and water that kept them, at
best, barely above the line of mere sustenance.

It was difficult, pondering all this, to believe that any revolution
could deeply stir this vast preoccupied people, submerged as they
appeared to be in ancient habit. The revolution could succeed only if
the Manchu government was ready to fall apart from the weakness of sheer
decadence. It was nothing, this revolution, but the desperate work of
agitators who had glimpsed the wealth and the individualistic tendencies
of the West. And the hot-blooded Cantonese, of course. Most of the
Chinese in America were Cantonese. The revolution was, then, a Southern
matter; it was these tropical men that had come to know America. That
was about its only strength. The great mass of yellow folk here in the
Yangtze Valley, and through the coast provinces, and all over the great
central plain and the North and Northwest were peaceable at heart; only
those Southerners were truculent, they and the scattered handfuls of

And yet, China, in the hopeful hearts of those who knew and loved the
old traditions, must somehow be modernized. Sooner or later the Manchus
would fall. The vast patient multitude must then either learn to think
for themselves in terms of modern, large-scale organization or fall into
deeper degradation. The European trading nations would strike deep and
hard in a sordid struggle for the remaining native wealth. The Japanese,
with iron policy and intriguing hand would destroy their institutions
and bring them into a pitiful slavery, economic and military.

His own life, Doane reflected, must be spent in some way to help this
great people. The individual, confronted by so vast a problem, seemed
nothing. But the effort had to be made. Since he was not a trader, since
he could not hope now to find himself in step with the white generation
that had passed him by, all that was left was to pitch in out here. The
call of the martyred Sun Shi-pi pointed a way.

The personal difficulty only remained. The man who loses step with
his own people and his own time must submit to being rolled under and
trampled on. There is no other form of loneliness so deep or so bitter.
And seeing nothing above and about him but the hard under side of this
hard white civilization, the unfortunate one can not hope to retain in
full vigor the incentive to effort that is the magic of the creative
white race. Every circumstance now seemed combined to hold him down and
under. The philosophy of the East with which his spirit was saturated
argued for contemplation, submission, negation (as did, for that
matter, the gospel of that Jesus to whose life the peoples that called
themselves Christian, in their every activity, every day, gave the lie).
His only driving power, then, must come out of the white spark that was,
after all, in his blood. It was only as a discordantly active white
that he could help the yellow men he loved.... And the one great
incentive--love, companionship, for which his strong heart hungered--had
flickered before him only to die out. He must somehow, at that,
prove worthy. It was to be just one more great effort in a life of
prodigiously wasted effort.... He thought, as he had thought before, in
bitter hours, of Gethsemane. But he knew, now, that he purposed going
on. Once again he was to dedicate his vigor to a cause; but this time
without the hope of youth and without love walking at his side.

And then, quaintly, alluringly, the picture of Hui Fei took form before
his mind’s eye, as if to mock his laborious philosophy, charm it away.
Like that of a boy his quick imagination wove about her bright youth,
her piquant new-old worldliness, shining veils of illusion. It was,
then, to be so. He was to live on, sadly, with a dream that would not
die.... He bowed his head.

Their play brought relief to the overwrought nerves of the two young
people. After a time they settled comfortably against the rail.

“You lost all your things on the steamer?” said he. “Ever’thing.”

“So did I.” He smiled ruefully. “Even part of my clothes. But it doesn’t

“I di’n’ like to lose all my pretty things.” said she. “But they’re gone
now. All excep’ my opera cloak. An’ I’m jus’ a Manchu girl again. It’s
so strange--only yes’erday it seem’ to me I was a real American. I los’
my books, too--all my books.”

He glanced up quickly. “You’re fond of reading?”

“Oh, yes. Aren’ you?”

“Why--no, I haven’t been. The fellows and girls I’ve known didn’t read

“Tha’ seems funny. When you have so much. And it’s so easy to read
English. Chinese is ver’ hard.”

“What books have you read mostly?”

She smiled. “Oh, I coul’n’ say. So many! I’ve read the classics, of
course--Shakespeare an’ Milton and Chaucer. Chaucer is so modern--don’
you think? I mean the way he makes pictures with words.”

“What would you think,” said he, “if I confessed that I cut all those
old fellows at school and college?”

“I’ve thought often,” said she gravely, “tha’ you Americans are spoil’
because you have so much. So much of everything.”

“Perhaps. I don’t know. The fellows feel that those things don’t help
much in later life.”

“Oh, bu’ they _do!_ You mus’ have a knowledge of literature an’
philosophy. Wha’ do they go to college for?”

“Well--” Inwardly, he winced. He felt himself, without resentment,
without the faintest desire to defend the life he had known, at a
disadvantage. “To tell the truth, I suppose we go partly for a good
time. It puts off going into business four years, you know, and once
you start in business you’ve got to get down to it. Then there’s all
the athletics, and the friends you make. Of course, most of the fellows
realize that if they make the right kind of friendships it’ll help,
later, in the big game.”

“You mean with the sons of other rich men?” she asked.

“Why, no, not--yes, come to think of it, I suppose that’s just what I
do mean. Do you know here with you, it doesn’t look like much of a
picture--does it?” Thoughtfully she moved her head in the negative. “I
know a goo’ deal about it,” said she. “I’ve watch’ the college men in
America. Some of them, I think, are pretty foolish.”

“I suppose we are,” said he glumly. “But would you have a fellow just go
in for digging?”

She inclined her head. “I woul’. It is a grea’ privilege to have years
for study.”

He was flushing. “But you’re not a dig! You--you dance, you know about
things, you can wear clothes....”

“I don’ think study is like work to me. I love it. An’ I love
people--every kin’, scholars, working people--you know, every kin’.”

His moody eyes took in her eagerly mobile face; then dropped, and he
stabbed his knife at the deck.

“Of course, we know that all is no’ right ‘n America. The men of money
have too much power. The govemmen’ is confuse’, sometimes very weak and
foolish. The newspapers don’ tell all the things they shoul’. But it
is so healthy, jus’ the same! There is so much chance for ever’ kin’ of
idea to be hear’! An’ so many won’erful books! Often I think you real
Americans don’ know how’ won’erful it is. You get excite’ abou’ little
things. I love America. The women are free there. There is more hope
there than anywhere else in the worl’. An’ I wish China coul’ be like

“I quit college,” said he. “You see, I’ve never locked at things as you

“Bu’ you have such a won’erful chance!”

“I know. And I’ve wasted it. But I’m changing. I--it wouldn’t be fair of
course to talk about--about what I was talking about--not now--but I
am seeing things--everything--through new eyes. They’re your eyes. I’m
going at the thing differently. You see, the Kanes, when you get right
down to it, don’t think about anything but money.”

“I like to think about beauty,” said she.

“I wonder if I could do that.”

“Why no’?”

“Well--it’s kind of a new idea.”

“Listen!” she reached out, plainly without a personal thought, and took
his hand. “I’m going to reci’ some poetry that I love.”

Thrilled by the clasp of her hand, his mind eager wax to the impress of
her stronger mind, his gaze clinging to her pretty mouth, he listened
while she repeated the little poem of W. B. Yeats beginning:

               “All the words that I utter,

                   And all the words that I write...”

At first he stirred restlessly; then watching, doglike, fell to
listening. The disconcerting thing was that it could mean so much to
her. For it did--her dark eyes were bright, and her chin was uplifted.
Her quaint accent and her soft, sweet voice touched his spirit with an
exquisite vague pain.

“It is music,” said she.

“I don’t see how you remember it all,” said he listlessly.

“Jus’ the soun’s. Oh, it woul’ be won’erful to make words do that. So
often I wish I ha’ been bom American, so it woul’ be my language too.”

She went on, breathlessly, with Yeats’s--

               “When you are old and gray and full of sleep...”

And then, still in pensive vein, she took up Kipling’s _L’Envoi_--the
one beginning--“There’s a whisper down the field.” Clearly she felt the
sea, too; and the yearning of those wandering souls to whom life is
a wistful adventure, and the world an inviting labyrinth of beautiful
hours. She seemed to know the _Child’s Garden of Verses_ from cover to
cover, and other verse of Stevenson’s. It was all strange to him, except
“In winter I get up at night.” He knew that as a song.

And so it came about that on a dingy Yangtze junk, at the feet of a
Manchu girl from America, Rocky Kane felt for the first time the glow
and thrill of finely rhythmical English.

She went on, almost as if she had forgotten him. William Watson’s
_April, April_ she loved, she said, and read it with a quick feeling for
the capricious blend of smiles and tears. It dawned on him that she
was a born actress. He did not know, of course, that the theatrical
tradition lies deeper in Manchu and Chinese culture than in that of any
Western people.

She recited the beautiful _Song_ of Richard Le Galliene, beginning:

               “She’s somewhere in the sunlight strong....”

And followed this with bits from Bliss Carman, and other bits from
Henley’s _London Nocturnes_, and from Wilfred Blunt and Swinburne and
Mrs. Browning. She had a curiously strong feeling for the color of
Medieval Italy. She spoke reverently of Dante. Villon she knew, too,
and Racine and the French classicists. She even murmured tenderly de
Musset’s _J’ai dis à mon coeur_, in French of which he caught not a word
and was ashamed. For he had cut French, too.

And then, as the sun mounted higher and the gentle rush of the river
along the hull and the continuous chantey of the oarsmen floated, more
and more soothingly to their ears, they fell quiet, her hand still
pleasantly in his. Together they hummed certain of the current popular
songs, he thinking them good, she smiling not unhappily as her voice
blended prettily with his. And Griggsby Doane heard them.

At last she murmured: “I think I coul’ rest now.”

“I’m glad,” said he, and drew down a coil of rope for a pillow, and left
her sleeping there.

Doane heard his step, but for a moment could not lift his head. Finally
the boy, standing respectfully, spoke his name: “Mr. Doane!”


“May I sit here with you?”

“Of course. Do.”

“I’ve got to talk to somebody. It’s so strange. You see, she and I--Miss
Hui Fei--it’s all been such a whirl I couldn’t think, but....”

That sentence never got finished. The boy dropped down on the deck and
clasped his knees. Doane, very gravely, considered him. He was young,
fresh, slim. He had changed, definitely; a degree of quiet had come to
him. And there could be no mistaking the unearthly light in his eyes.
The love that is color and sunshine and exquisite song had touched and
transformed him.

Doane could not speak. He waited. Young Kane finally brought himself
with obvious, earnest effort in a sense to earth. But his voice was
unsteady in a boyish way.

“Mr. Doane,” he asked, “do you believe in miracles?”

Thoughtfully, deliberately, Doane bowed his great head. “I am forced
to,” he replied.

“You’ve seen men change--from dirty, selfish brutes, I mean, to
something decent, worth while?”

“Many times.”

“Really?.... But does it have to be religion?1’

“I don’t knew.”

“Can it be love? The influence of a woman, I mean--a girl?”

“Might that not be more or less the same thing?”

“Do you really think that?”

Again the great head bowed. And there was a long silence. Rocky broke it

“I wish you would tell me exactly how you feel about marriage between
the races.”


“You must have observed a lot, all these years out here. And the pater
tells me that you’re an able man, except that you’ve sort of lost your
perspective. He did tell me that he’d like to have you with him, if you
could only bring yourself around to our ways.” Rocky, even now, could
see this only as a profound compliment. He rushed on: “Oh, don’t
misunderstand me! She doesn’t love me yet. How could she? I’ve got
to earn the right even to speak of it again. But if I should earn the
right--in time--tell me, could an American make her happy?”

“I’m afraid I can’t answer that general question.” But Rocky felt that
he was kind. “The pater says I’d be wrecking my life. He says she’d
always be pulled two ways--you know! God! He seemed to think I had only
to ask her, and she’d come. He doesn’t understand.”

“No,” said Doane--“I’m afraid he couldn’t understand.”

“You feel that too? It’s very perplexing. I know I’ve spoken carelessly
about the Chinese and Manchus. I looked down on them. I did! But oh,
if I could only make it clear to you how I feel now! If I could only
express it! We’ve been talking a long time, she and I. I don’t mind
telling you I’m taking a pretty bitter lesson, right now. She knows so
much. She has such fine--well, ideals--”


“Oh, you’ve noticed that!.... Well, I feel crude beside her. Of course, I

“Yes--you are. Even more so than you can hope to perceive now.”

The youth winced; but took it. “Well, suppose--just suppose that I
might, one of these days, prove that I’m decent enough to ask her to be
my wife.... Oh, don’t think for a minute that I don’t understand all it
means. I do. I tell you I’m starting again. I’m going to fight it out.”

“That is fine,” said Griggsby Doane, and looked squarely, gravely,
at the very young face. It was a white face, but good in outline; the
forehead, particularly, was good. And the blue eyes now met his. “I
believe you will fight it out. And I believe you have it in you to win.”

“I’m going to try, Mr. Doane. But just suppose I do win. And suppose I
win her. It’s when I think of that, that I.... I’ll put it this way--to
my friends, to everybody in New York, she’d be an oddity. A novelty,
not much more. You know what most of them would think, in their hearts.
Either they’d make an exception in her case--partly on my account,
at that--or else they’d look down on her. You know how they are about
people that aren’t--well, the same color that we are. Probably I
couldn’t live out here. The business is mainly in New York, of course.
And she’s such an enthusiastic American herself--she’d want to be there.
Some, anyway. And she’s got to be happy. She’s like a flower to me, now;
like an orchid. Oh, a thousand times more, but.... What could I do? How
could I plan? Oh, I’d fight for her quick enough. But you know our cold
rich Americans. They wouldn’t let me fight. They’d just....”

“My boy,” said Doane. quietly but with an authority that Rocky felt,
“you can’t plan that. You can do only one thing.”

“What thing?”

“Stay here in China a year before you offer yourself to that lovely
girl. Study the Chinese--their language, their philosophy, their art. A
year will not advance you far, but it should be enough to show you where
you yourself stand.”

“A year....!”

“Listen to what I am going to try to tell you. Listen as thoughtfully
as you can. First I must tell you this--the Chinese civilization has
been--in certain aspects still remains--the finest the world has known.
With one exception, doubtless.”

“What exception?”

“The Grecian. You see, I have startled you.”

“Well, I’m still sort of bewildered.”

“Naturally. But try to think with me. The Chinese worked out their
social philosophy long ago. They have lived through a great deal that we
have only begun, from tribal struggles through conquest and imperialism
and civil war to a sort of republicanism and a fine feeling for peace
and justice. And then, when they had given up primitive desire for
fighting they were conquered by more primitive Northern tribes--first
the Mongols, and later the Manchus. The Manchus have been absorbed, have
become more or less Chinese.

“And now a few more blunt facts that will further startle you. The
Chinese are the most democratic people in the world. No ruler can
long resist the quiet force of the scores of thousands of villages and
neighborhoods of the empire.

“They are the most reasonable people in the world. You can no more judge
them from the so-called Tongs in New York and San Francisco, made up of
a few Cantonese expatriates, than you can judge the culture of England
by the beachcombers of the South Seas.

“They developed, centuries before Europe, one of the finest schools of
painting the world has so far known. There is no school of reflective,
philosophical poetry so ripe and so fine as the Chinese. They have had
fifty Wordsworths, if no Shakespeare.

“You will find Americans confusing them with the Japanese, whom
they resemble only remotely. All that is finest in Japan--in art and
literature--came originally from China.”

“You take my breath away,” said Rocky slowly. But he was humble about
it; and that was good.

“But listen, please. What I am trying to make clear to you is that in
old Central China--in Hang Chow, and along this fertile Yangtze Valley,
and northwest through the Great Plain to Kai Feng-fu and Sian-fu in
Shensi--where the older people flourished--germinated the thought and
the art, the humanity and the faith, that have been a source of culture
to half the world during thousands of years.

“But you can not hope to understand this culture through Western eyes.
For you will be looking out of a Western background. You must actually
surrender your background. It is no good looking at a Chinese landscape
or a portrait with eyes that have known only European painting. Can you
see why? Because all through European painting runs the idea of copying
nature--somehow, however subtly, however influenced by the nuances
of color and light, copying. But the Chinese master never copied a
landscape He studied it, felt it, surrendered his soul to it, and then
painted the fine emotion that resulted. And, remember this, he painted
with a conscious technical skill as fine as that of Velasquez or
Whistler or Monet.”

The youth whistled softly. “Wait, Mr. Doane, please.... the fact is,
you’re clean over my head. I--I don’t know a thing about our painting,
let alone theirs. You see I haven’t put in much time at--” He stopped.
His smooth young brows were knit in the effort to think along new,
puzzling channels. “But she would understand,” he added, honestly,

“Exactly! She would understand. That is what I am trying to make clear
to you.”

“But you’re sort of--well, overwhelming me.”

“My boy.” said Doane very kindly, “you could go back home, enter
business, marry some attractive girl of your own blood who thinks no
more deeply than yourself, whose culture is as thinly veneered as your
own--forgive me. I am speaking blunt facts.”

“Go on. I’m trying to understand.”

“--And find happiness, in the sense that we so carelessly use the word.
But here you are, in China, proposing to offer your life to a Manchu
princess. You do seem to see clearly that there, would be difficulties.
It is true that our people crudely feel themselves superior to this fine
old race. As a matter of fact, one of the worthiest tasks left in
the world is to explain East to West--draw some part of this rich old
culture in with our own more limited background. But as it stands now,
the current will be against you. So I say this--study China. Open your
mind and heart to the beauty that is here for the taking. Try to look
through the decadent surface of this tired old race and see the genius
that still slumbers within. If, then, you find yourself in the new
belief that their culture is in certain respects finer than ours--as
I myself have been forced to believe--if you can go to Hui Fei
humbly--then ask her to be your wife. For then there will be a chance
that you can make her happy. Not otherwise.”

Doane stopped abruptly. His deep voice was rich with emotion. The
boy was stirred; and a moment later, when he felt a huge hand on his
shoulder he found it necessary to fight back the tears. The man seemed
like a father; the sort of father he had never known.

“Don’t ask her so long as a question remains in your mind. Defiance
won’t do--it must be faith, and knowledge. I can’t let you take the life
of that girl into your keeping on any other terms.”

The odd emphasis of this speech passed quite by the deeply preoccupied
young mind.

“You’re right,” he replied brokenly. “I’ve got to wait. Everything that
you say is true--I really haven’t a thing in the world to offer. I’m an
ignorant barbarian beside her.”

“You have the great gift of youth,” said Doane gently.

But a moment later Rocky broke out with: “But, Mr. Doane--how can I
wait? She--after her father--they’re going to take her away--make her
marry somebody at Peking--somebody she doesn’t even know--”

“I don’t think they will succeed in that plan,” said Doane very soberly.

“But why not? What can she do? A girl--alone--”

“There are tens of thousands of girls in China that have solved that

“But I don’t see--”

“You must still try to keep your mind open. You are treading on ground
unknown to our race.” A breathless quality crept into Doane’s voice; his
eyes were fixed on the distant river bank. “I wonder if I can help you
to understand. Death--the thought of death--is to them a very different

“Oh!” It was more a sharp indrawing of breath than an exclamation. “You
don’t mean that she would do that?”

Doane bowed his head.

“But she couldn’t do a cowardly thing.”

Doane brought himself, with difficulty, to utter the blunt word.
“Suicide, in China, is not always cowardice. Often it is the finest
heroism--the holding to a fine standard.”

“Oh, no! It wouldn’t ever--”

“Please! You are a Westerner. Your feelings are those of the
younger--yes, the cruder half of the world. I must still ask you to try
to believe that there can be other sorts of feelings.” Again the great
hand rested solidly on the young shoulder; and now, at last, the boy
became slightly aware of the suffering in the heart of this older man.
Though even now he could not grasp every implication. That human love
might be a cause he did not perceive. But he sensed, warmly, the ripe
experience and the compassionate spirit of the man.

“You have stepped impulsively into an Old-World drama,” Doane went
quietly on--“into a tragedy, indeed. No one can say what the next
developments will be. You can win, if at all, only by becoming yourself,
a fatalist; You must move with events. Certainly you can not force

“But I can take her away,” cried the boy hotly; finishing, lamely, with

“Against her will?”


“She will not leave her father.”

“But--oh, Mr. Doane....”

He fell silent. For a long time they sat without a word, side by side.
Here and there about the junk sleepers awoke and moved about. A few of
the women, forward, set up their wailing but more quietly now. The craft
headed in gradually toward the right bank, passing a yellow junk that
was moored inshore and moving on some distance up-stream. At a short
distance inland a brown-gray village nestled under a hillside.

“That junk passed us before we left the island,” Rocky observed,
gloomily making talk.

Doane’s gaze followed his down-stream; then at a sound like distant
thunder, he turned and listened. “What’s that?” asked the boy.

Doane looked up into the cloudless, blazing sky. “That would be the guns
at Hankow,” he replied.

The lictors were landed first to seek carts in the village. Then all
were taken ashore in the small boat. His excellency smilingly, with
unfailing poise, talked with Doane of the beauties of the river; even
quoted his favorite Li Po, as his quiet eyes surveyed the hills that
bordered the broad river:

               “‘The birds have all flown to their trees,

                   The last, last lovely cloud has drifted off,

               But we never tire in our companionship--

                   The mountains and I,’”

The line of unpainted, springless carts, roofed with arched matting,
yellow with the fine dust of the highway, moved, squeaking, off among
the hills. Following close went the women and the servants. The junk
swung deliberately out and off down the river.

Doane, declining a cart, walked beside that of his excellency; Rocky
Kane, deadly pale, his mouth set firmly, beside Miss Hui Fei. And so,
through the peaceful country-side they came to the long brick wall and
the heavily timbered gate house by the road, and, pausing there, heard
very faintly the soft tinkling of the little bronze bells within. It
was late afternoon. The shadows were long; and the evening birds were
twittering among the leafy branches just within the wall.


|ROCKY KANE, the few hours that followed were to exist in memory as a
confused sequence of swift-pressing scenes, all highly colored, vivid;
certain of them touched with horror, others passing in a flash of exotic
beauty; while the fire of hot, unreasoning young love burned all but
unbearably within his breast.

He would remember the crowded line of carts in the sunken narrow road,
the unruly mules that plunged and entangled their harness; the huddled
women; the yellow dust that clung thickly to the bright silks of the
mandarins; the confusion about the gate, and the handful of soldiers
that came hurrying forward to help in a strange business up there; the
trains of other carts that struggled to pass in the narrow way, while
tattered muleteers shouted a babel of invective.

He would remember the sad face of Miss Hui Fei-drawn back within the
shadow of the cart and the faint smiles that came and so quickly went;
and the efforts he made, at first, to cheer her with boyishly bright
talk of this and that.

He would remember how he made his way forward through the press, without
recalling what had just been said, or what, precisely, could have been
the impulse driving him on; past his excellency--sitting yet in his
cart, calmly waiting, while the drabbled man darins stood respectfully
by; and how he found the soldiers carrying oddly limp Bodies into one of
the gate houses, hiding them there.

He would remember the picture on which he stumbled as he rounded
the inner screen of brick; Mr. Doane and an officer and two or three
soldiers standing thoughtfully about a fat body in spattered silks that
was hideously without a head; standing there in the half dusk--for the
shadows were lengthening softly into evening here under the trees--Mr.
Doane then bending over, the officer kneeling, to examine the embroidery
on the breast; and then two soldiers bringing up a pole on the end
of which grinned the missing head; and then the sound of his own
voice--curiously breathless and without body, asking, “What is it, Mr.
Doane? What terrible thing has happened?” And then, even while he was
speaking, four soldiers carrying another body by, this of a stout man in
shirt and flannel trousers, that he felt he had seen somewhere before.

He would remember--when they had carried out the last awful reminder of
the bloodshed that had been, and while Mr. Doane pressed a hand to his
eyes as if in prayer--how he stood silent there on the gravel area,
looking up into the trees and about at the dim quaint _pai-lows_ on
either hand and at the pavilions behind them, each on its arch of
stone over placid dark water; and how the lightly moving air of evening
whispered through the trees, stirring, with the foliage, faintly musical
little bells; and how, into this moment of calm, appeared, light of
step, swinging her shopping bag as she descended the marble steps of the
pavilion at the right and came forward under the _pai-lows_, the pale
girl, Dixie Carmichael, who glanced respectfully toward Mr. Doane, and
at Rocky himself raised her black eyebrows while her thin lips softly
framed the one word, “You?” And then, after a few words--the girl said
that Tex Connor and the Manila Kid made her come; it had been a terrible
business; she thought both must have been, killed; she had contrived
to hide--how Mr. Doane asked him to take her back to the women; and
how they went, he and she, his heart beating hotly, out through the
darkening gate where paper lanterns now moved about. He felt that
for the first sharp blow at his new life. There would be other blows;
doubtless through this girl; for the old life would not give him up
without a fight.

He was to forget what they said, he and this unaccountable, cool girl,
as he left her out there and hurried back; but would remember the
picture he found on his return--Mr. Doane striding off deliberately into
the darkness beyond the little white bridges, while the officer followed
with a lantern, and the few soldiers, also with lanterns, straggled
after. He would remember crowding himself past all of them, snatching
one of the lanterns as he ran, and falling into step at the side of the
huge determined man.

There were broad courtyards, then, and buildings with heavily curving
roofs and columns richly colored and carved, with dim lights behind
windows of paper squares. There were drunken soldiers, who ran away, and
screaming women, and other women who would never scream or smile again.
There was litter and splintered furniture and a broken-in door here and
there. There was a familiar big soldier who plunged at Mr. Doane with a
glinting blade in his hand; and then a sharp struggle that was to last,
in retrospect, but an instant of time, for the clearer memory was of
himself binding with his handkerchief a small cut in Mr. Doane’s forearm
while the soldiers carried out a wounded struggling giant, and then
shouts and shots from the courtyard when the giant escaped. And he would
remember picking up an unset ruby from the tiling and handing it to Mr.
Doane. There was the picture, then, of a melancholy procession winding
slowly through the grove with bobbing gay lanterns.

And finally, to the boy incredibly, the place came into a degree of
order and calm. Women and men disappeared into this building and that.
Rocky sat alone on the steps of a structure that might have been a
temple, hands supporting his throbbing head. The moonlight streamed down
into the courtyard; he could see the grotesque ornaments on the eaves
of the buildings, and the large blue-and-white bowls and vases in which
grew flowering plants and dwarfed trees from Japan, and, in the farther
gate, a sentry lounging. Now and again faint sounds came from within the
largest of the buildings, voices and footsteps; and he could see lights
again dimly through the paper. He wondered what they might be doing....
His thoughts were a fever. The spirit of Hui Fei hovered like an
exquisite dream there, but crowding in with malignant persistence came,
kept coming, pictures of Dixie Carmichael. He wondered where they had
put her. Perhaps she was already asleep. It would be like her to sleep.
She was so cold, so oddly unhealthy. Doubtless, surely, he would have to
speak with her.

He must have dozed. Soldiers were dragging themselves sleepily about the
courtyard, rifles in hand. Two officers and a mandarin in a gown were
examining a paper by the light of a lantern. Then Mr. Doane came out and
read the paper. They talked in Chinese, Mr. Deane’s as fluent as theirs.
Rocky thought drowsily about this; considered vaguely the years of study
and experience that must lie back of that fluency.

Mr. Doane, indeed, seemed to be assuming a sort of command. With great
courtesy, but with impressive finality, he appeared to be outlining a
course to which the mandarin assented. The officers bowed and went
out through the gate. And when the mandarin and Doane then turned and
entered the largest building it was the white man who held the paper in
his hand.

Rocky fell again into a doze; slept until he found Mr. Doane shaking

“Come with me now. You can help.” Thus the huge grave man with the deep
shadows in his face.

And Rocky went with him, guided by a servant with a lantern, through
corridors and courtyards, glimpsing dimly massive pillars and panels
in black wood and softly red silk and railings of marble carved into
exquisite tracery.

With the paper that the boy had drowsily observed Doane sought his
excellency. Dominated by the white man the attendant mandarin tapped at
an inner door, then hesitatingly opened; and Doane alone stepped within.

The room was long, plain, obscurely seen by the light of a single
incandescent lamp over the formal _kang_ or platform across the farther
end. Doane had not thought of electric light in here and found it
momentarily surprising. The walls were paneled in silk; the ceiling
was heavy with beams. Against either side wall, mathematically at the
center, stood a square small table and a square stool, heavily carved.
Seated on the _kang_, with papers spread about and brushes and ink pot
directly under the light, in short quilted coat and simple black cap,
was Kang; a serenely patient figure, quietly working. He had merely
looked up; a frail old man, quite beyond the reach of annoyance, whose
eyes gazed unafraid over the rim of mere personal life into the eternal,
tireless energy that would so soon absorb all that was himself. Then,
recognizing the stalwart figure that moved forward into the light, he
rose and clasped his hands and smiled.

“Only an unexpected crisis would lead me to intrude thus,” began Doane
in Chinese, bowing in courtly fashion and clasping his own hands before
his breast.

“No visit from Griggsby Doane could be regarded as an intrusion in my
home,” replied his excellency.

“I will speak quickly, in the Western fashion,” Doane went on. “His
Excellency, the General Duke Ma Ch’un, commanding before Hankow, writes
that he regrets deeply the violent death of the eunuch, Chang Yuan-fu
on your excellency’s premises while dutifully engaged on the business of
her imperial majesty, and cordially requests that your excellency come
at once to headquarters as his personal guest to assist him in making an
inquiry into the tragedy. He supplements this invitation with a copy of
a telegram from His Excellency, Yuan Shih-k’ai, commanding him to guard
at once your person and property.”

The simple elderly man, who had been a minister, a grand councilor and
a viceroy, seemed to recoil slightly as his eyes drooped to the papers
about him; then he reached, with a withered hand that trembled, for this
new paper and very slowly read it through.

“His Excellency, Duke Ma Ch’un.” Doane added gently, “has sent a company
of soldiers to escort you fittingly to his headquarters. They are
waiting now at the outermost gate. I took it upon myself in this hour
of sorrow and confusion to advise them, through the mouths of your loyal
officers, that your excellency is not to be disturbed before dawn.”

Slowly, with an expressionless face, the viceroy folded the paper and
laid it on the _kang_. He sank, then, beside it; with visible
effort indicating that his visitor sit as well. But Doane remained
standing--enormously tall, broad, strong; a man to command without
question of rank or authority; a man, it appeared, hardly conscious of
the calm power of personality that was so plainly his.

“Your Excellency is aware”--thus Doane said--“that to admit the
authority of Duke Ma Ch’un at this sorrowful time is to submit both
yourself and your lovely daughter to a fate that is wholly undeserved,
one that I--if I may term myself the friend of both--can not bring
myself to consider without indulging the wish to offer strong
resistance. It has been said, ‘The truly great man will always frame his
actions with careful regard to the exigencies of the moment and trim
his sail to the favoring breeze.’ Your Excellency must forgive me if I
suggest that, whatever value you may place upon your own life, we can
not thus abandon your daughter, Hui Fei.”

The viceroy’s voice, when he spoke, had lost much of its timbre. It was,
indeed, the voice of a weary old man. Yet the words came forth with the
old kindly dignity.

“I asked you, Griggsby Doane, to make with me this painful journey to my
home. We did not know then that we were moving from one scene of tragedy
to another more terrible. But motive must not wait on circumstance.
It need not be a hardship for my other children to live on in Asia as
Asiatics. As such they were born. They know no other life. They will
experience as much happiness as most. But with Hui Fei it is different.
She must not be held away from contact with the white civilization. I
did not give her this modern education for such an end as that. Hui Fei
is an experiment that is not yet completed. She must have her chance.
That is why I brought you here, Griggsbv Doane. My daughter must be got
to Shanghai. There she has friends. I have ventured to count on your
experience and good will to convey her safely there. Will you take
her--now? To-night? I had meant to send with her the jewels and the
paintings of Ming, Sung and Tang. Both collections are priceless. But
the gems are gone--to-night. The paintings, however, remain. Will you
take those and my daughter, and two servants--there are hardly more that
I can trust--and slip out by the upper gate, and in some way escort her
safely to Shanghai?”

“She would not go,” said Doane. “Not while you, Your Excellency, live,
or while your body lies above ground.”

The viceroy, hesitating, glanced up at the vigorous man who spoke so
firmly, then down at the scattered papers on the _kang_. In the very
calm of that shadowed face he felt the bewildering strength of the white
race; and he knew in his heart that the man was not to be gainsaid. His
mind wavered. For perhaps the first time in his shrewd, patiently subtle
life, he felt the heavy burden of his years.

“I will send for her,” he said now, slowly. “I will give her into your
keeping. At my command she will _go_.”

“No, Your Excellency, I have already sent word to her to prepare herself
for the journey. Again you must forgive me. Time presses. It remains
only to collect the paintings. You must have those, at the least We
start now in a very few moments. I have found here, a prisoner in your
palace, the master of a junk that lies at the river bank, and have taken
it upon myself to detain him further. He will convey us to Shanghai. It
is now but a few hours before dawn. Hostile soldiers stand impatient at
the outermost gate, eager to heap shame upon you and all that is yours.
You must change your clothing--the dress of a servant would be best.”

He waited, standing very still.

“You will forgive indecision in a man of my years,” began the viceroy.
After a moment he began again: “The world has turned upside down,
Griggsby Doane.”

“You will come?”

The viceroy sighed. Trembling fingers reached out to gather the papers.

“I will come.” he said.

Adrift in unreality, fighting off from moment to moment the drowsy sense
that these strange events were but a blur of dreams in which nothing
could be true, nothing could matter, Rocky found himself at work in a
dim room, taking down in great handfuls from shelves scrolls of silk
wound on rods of ivory and putting them in lacquered boxes. Mr. Doane
was there, and the servant, and a second servant of lower class, in
ragged trousers and with his queue tied about his head. Still another
Chinese appeared, shortly, in blue gown and sleeveless short jacket;
an older man who looked, in the flickering faint light of the single
lantern, curiously like the viceroy himself. The first servant
disappeared and returned with the short poles of bamboo used everywhere
in China in carrying burdens over the shoulder, and with cords and
squares of heavy cotton cloth.

Every bit of woodwork that his hands touched in moving about, Rocky
found to be intricately carved and gilded and inlaid with smooth
lacquer. And dimly, crowded about the walls, he half saw, half
sensed, innumerable vases, small and large, with rounding surfaces of
cream-colored crackle and blood-red and blue-and-white and green which
threw back the moving light like a softly changing kaleidoscope. And
there were screens that gave out, from their profound shadows, the glint
of gold.

They packed the boxes together, wrapped the large and heavy cubes in the
squares of cloth and lashed them to hang from the bamboo poles. Four of
them, then, Mr. Doane, Rocky himself and the servants, each balanced
a pole over his shoulders and lifted the bulky cubes. The old man, who
surely, now, was the viceroy, carried a European hand-bag. There were
other parcels.... They made their way along a nearly dark corridor
and out into the moonlight. Here, in a porch, stood four silent
figures--Dixie Carmichael he distinguished first; then Hui Fei, wearing
a short coat and women’s trousers and a loose cloak. Her hair was parted
and lay smoothly on her pretty bead, glistening in the moonlight.... And
the little princess was there, clinging to the hand of her sister and
rubbing her eyes. They moved silently on, all together, following a path
that wound among shrubbery, over an arching bridge to a gate.

Rocky could dimly see the timbers studded with spikes and the long
hinges of bronze. The servant, with a great key, unlocked the gate,
which closed softly behind them.

The pole weighed heavily on Rocky’s unaccustomed shoulder. There was a
trick of timing the step to the swing of the bales, that, stumbling a
little, he caught. He was to remember this--the little file of men and
women gathered from the two ends of the earth and walking without
a spoken sound down through a twisting, sunken Chinese road to the
Yangtze. And sensing the gathering drama of his own life, brooding over
it with slowly increasing nervous intensity, he found himself coming
awake. If this kept on he would soon be excitedly beyond sleep. But it
didn’t matter. They were saving Hui Fei. Not a word of explanation had
been offered; but it was coming clear. As for the rest of it, he
asked himself how it could matter. The presence of Miss Carmichael, a
dangerous girl, an adventuress--he was thinking quite youthfully about
her--who might easily be capable of anything, who could in a moment
destroy the hope that was the only foundation, thus far, of his new
life, and perhaps would choose to destroy it--even this, he tried to
tell himself, couldn’t possibly matter. Over and over, stumbling and
shuffling along, he told himself that; almost convinced himself that he
believed it.

He was to remember most vividly of all the first glimpse, through a
notch in the hills, of the river. The viceroy paused at that point, and
turning back from the shining picture before him, where the moonlight
silvered the unruffled surface of the water, toward the home of his
ancestors over the hill, spoke in a low but again musical voice a few
lines in which even the American youth could detect the elusive vowel
rhymes of a Chinese poem. And he saw that Mr. Doane stood by with the
slightly bowed head of one who attends a religious ceremony. It was a
moving scene. But could he have understood the words the boy would have
been puzzled. For the poem--the _Surrendering_ of Po Chu-I. breathed
resignation, humility, the negative philosophy so dear to Chinese
tradition, but nothing of religion in the sense that he a Westerner,
understood the word, nothing of mysticism or romantic illusion or
childlike faith; rather a gentle recognition of the fact that life must
go as it had come, unexplained, without tangible evidence of a personal
hereafter; that, too, the individual is as nothing in the vast scheme of

They were ferried out, shortly after this, to the great junk they had
twice seen within the twenty-four hours, her smooth sides curving yellow
in the moonlight, her decks now scraped and scrubbed clean, flowers
blooming in porcelain pots about a charming gallery that extended high
over the river astern. The crew, roused from slumber, came swarming out
from under the low-spread mattings. The _laopan_ stepped nimbly to his
post amidships on the poop. The heavy tracking ropes were hauled aboard,
and the craft swung slowly off down the current.

Doane, with a lantern, escorted his excellency and Hui Fei, and the
whimpering little princess, to the rooms below; then returned and with
the same impersonal courtesy conducted Miss Carmichael down the steps.
But at the door he indicated she stopped short; wavered a moment,
lightly, on the balls of her feet. Then she accepted the lantern from
him, bit her lip, and let fall the curtain without replying to his
suggestion that she had better sleep if she could.

Alone there, she held up the lantern. The floor had been lately
scrubbed; but, even so, she made out a faint broad stain in the wood.
And a bed of clean matting was spread where she had left a grisly heap.

For a time Dixie stood by the square small window, looking out over the
shining river toward the dim northern bank with its hills that seemed
to drift at a snail’s pace off astern. Her quick mind had never been
farther from sleep. Her thin hands felt through her blouse the twisted
ropes of pearls that were wound about her waist. Her lips were pressed
tightly together. These pearls represented a fortune beyond even Dixie’s
calculating dreams. To keep them successfully hidden during the days,
perhaps weeks to come of floating down the river in close companionship
with these two strong observant men, and a half crazy American boy, and
clever Oriental women, would test her resourcefulness and her nerve.
Though she felt, ever, now, no doubt of the latter....

The thing was tremendous. Now that the confusion of the day and night
were over with, she found a thrill in considering the problem, while
her sensitive fingers pressed and pressed again the hard little globes.
There were so many of them; such beauties, she knew, in form and size
and color.... Never again would such an opportunity come to her. It was,
precisely, if on the grandest scale imaginable, her sort of achievement.
Tex was gone. The Kid was gone. No one could claim a share or a voice:
it was all hers--wealth, power, even, perhaps, at the last, something
near respectability. For money, enough of it, she knew, will accomplish
even that. While on the other, hand, to fail now, might, would, spell a
life of drab adventure along the coast, without even a goal, without a
decent hope; with, always, the pitiless years gaining on her.

She searched, tiptoeing, about the room, lantern in hand, for a place
to hide her treasure; then reconsidered. In some way she must keep the
pearls about her person; though not, as now, looped around her waist. An
accidental touch there might start the fateful questioning.

She put down the lantern; stood for a long time by the curtained door,
listening. From up and down the passage came only the heavy breathing of
exhausted folk. She slipped out cautiously; made her way to the sloping
deck above--how vividly familiar it was!--tiptoed lightly aft, past
the uncurious helmsman, around the huge coils of rope and the piled-up
fenders of interwoven matting, out to the pleasant gallery where the
flowers were.

And then, as she stepped down and paused to breathe slowly, deeply,
again the heavy-sweet perfume of the tuberoses, a boyish figure sprang
up, with a nervous little gasp of surprise, from the steamer chair of
Hong Kong grass.

She said, in her quiet way, “Oh, hello!” And then, with a quick sidelong
glance at him, accepted the chair he offered. He seemed uncertain as to
whether he would go or stay. Lowering her lids, she studied him. He was
standing the excitement well, even improving. His carriage was better;
he stood up well on his strong young legs. And he was quieter, better in
hand, though of course the never-governed, long overstimulated emotions
would not be lying very deep beneath this new, more manly surface. He
was very good-looking, really a typical American boy.

He stood now, fingering the petals of a dahlia and gazing out astern
into the luminous night. She pondered the question of exerting herself
again to win him. The money was there, plenty of it. He would be as
helpless as ever in her experienced hands. And the mere use of her skill
in trapping and stripping him would be enjoyable.... He was lingering.

She decided in the negative. He would surely become tempestuous. And as
surely, if she permitted that, he would discover the pearls. And--again
the thrill of mastery swept through her finely strung nerves--she had
those. They were enough. But they must be better hidden. There was her
problem still, a problem that aught at any instant become delicately
acute. She considered it, lying comfortably back in the chair,
luxuriating in the richly blended scent of the crowded blossoms, while
her nearly closed eyes studied the restless boy.

Abruptly he turned. What now? Was he about to become tempestuous all on
his own? It would be anything but out of character. Her slight muscles
tightened, but her face betrayed no emotion, would have betrayed none
in a more searching light than this soft flood from the moon. He was
sentimental over the Manchu princess, now, of course. She hadn’t missed
that. But in the case of an ungoverned boy, she well knew, the emotion
itself could he vastly more important than its immediate object But now
she was to meet with a small surprise.

“Look here!” he began, crude, naive, as always, “there’s
something--perhaps--I ought to tell you. I tried to carry on with you.
You’ve got a right to think anything about me--”

At least he was keeping his voice down. She lay still; let him talk.

“--But I’ve changed. Smile at that, if you want to!”

She did smile faintly, but only at his clear, clean ignorance of the
insult that underlay his words.

“--I _was_ on the loose. It’s different now. I’m going to try to do
something with my life. Whatever happens--I mean however my luck may
seem to turn--”

He could hardly go on with this. The next few words were swallowed down.
It was plain enough that he couldn’t think clearly. And he couldn’t
possibly know that he was giving her an opening through which, within
a very few moments, she was to see the outline of the policy she must
pursue during these difficult days to come on the junk.

She lifted her head; leaned on an elbow. “Do you know,” she said, in a
voice that seemed, now, to have a note of friendliness, “I’m sorry for

“Sorry for me!”

“Don’t think I can’t see how it is. And you mustn’t misunderstand me.
I’m older than you. I’m pretty experienced. My life has been hard. There
couldn’t be anything serious between you and me. You’ve wakened up to

The new note in her voice puzzled him, but caught his interest. He stood
looking straight down at her.

“I know you’re in love,” she went on.


“Don’t be silly. It’s plain enough. She’s very attractive. Nobody could
blame you.”

“She’s wonderful!”

“It’s nice to see you feeling that way. It--it’s no good our talking
about it, you and me. All I’ve got to say is--please don’t think I’d
bother you. I may have led a rough life at times--a girl alone, who has
to live by her wits--but--oh, well, never mind that! Every man has
had his foolish moments. I understand you better than you will ever
know--and--well, here’s good luck!” And she offered her hand.

He took it, breathless, eager. He seemed, then, on the point of pouring
out his story to this new surprising friend. But a slight sound caught
his attention. He looked up, and slowly let fall the hand that
was gripped in his; for at the break of the deck, just above them,
hesitating, very slim and wan, stood Miss Hui Fei.

The situation was, of course, in no way so dramatic as it seemed to the
boy. He, indeed, drew back, overcome; the habit of guilty thought was
not to be thrown off in a moment. Miss Carmichael, sensing that he
would begin erecting the incident into a situation the moment he could
clumsily speak, took the matter in hand; rising, and quietly addressing
herself to the Manchu girl. Breeding, of course, was not hers, could not
be; but her calm manner and her instinct for reticence could seem, as
now, not unlike the finer quality.

“Do have this chair,” she said. “I was going down.”

Miss Hui Fei smiled faintly. “I coul’n’ sleep,” she murmured.

“There’s one little article I suppose none of us thought to bring--”
 thus Miss Carmichael, balancing in her light way on the balls of her
feet--“needle and thread.” She even indulged in a little passing laugh.
“I think my maid--” began Miss Hui Fei.

“Oh, no! I wouldn’t bother you!”

“Yes! Please--I don’ min’.”

She turned; and the boy started impulsively toward her. Miss Carmichael
moved away, over the deck, but heard him saying, in a broken voice:

“You’ll come back? I’ve got to tell you something!”

To which Miss Hui Fei replied, in a voice that was meant to be at once
pleasant and impersonal: “Why--yes. I think I’ll come back. It’s
so close down there.” The two young women went below. Quietly Miss
Carmichael waited in the passage.

The needle and thread were shortly forthcoming. The white girl smiled;
seeming really friendly there in the dim ray of light that slanted in
through a window.

“It’s good of you,” she said.

“Oh, no--it’s nothing.”

“We’re in for a rather uncomfortable trip of it. I hope you’ll let me do
anything I can to help you. I’m more used to knocking about, of course.”

“We’ll all make the best of it,” said the Manchu girl, and turned, with
an effort at a smile, toward the stairs.

Miss Carmichael entered her own room. The lantern still burned, but the
candle-end was low. She saw now an iron lamp, an open dish full of oil
with a floating wick. This she lighted with the candle. Next, moving
about almost without a sound, she fastened the swaying door-curtain with
pins. Then she slipped out of her blouse and skirt; untied the pearl
cape; and seated on the bed of matting, with her back to the door, began
patiently sewing the pearls into her undergarments. It was to be a
long task. Before dawn the lamp burned out, and fearful of being caught
asleep with the amazing treasure about her she stood at the window and
let the wind blow into her face until the faintly spreading light of
dawn made the work again possible. The drowsiness that nearly overcame
her now she fought off with an iron will. Nothing mattered--nothing but
success. Her thin deft fingers worked in a tireless rhythm. Only once,
very briefly, did she yield to the impulse to weigh the exquisite
lustrous globes in her hands; to hold them close to the light. Her
tireless reason told her that this wouldn’t do. It brought an excited
throbbing to her weary head.... She settled again to her task; time
enough to gloat later. By way of a healthy mental occupation she
counted the pearls as she threaded them--up to a thousand--on up to two
thousand--then (the sun was redly up now; and folk were stirring about
the deck) three thousand. In all, a few more than thirty-seven hundred
pearls she threaded about her person; and then slipped back into
blouse and skirt before permitting herself a few hours of sleep. The
diamond-studded clasps she wrapped in a bit of cloth and stuffed into
her hand-bag.

The Chinese maid woke her then, bringing food that had been cooked, she
knew, in the brick stove up forward, where the crew slept. She could
bring herself to eat but a few mouthfuls.... This didn’t matter, either.
No hardship was of consequence in such a battle as hers; she would have
submitted coolly to torture rather than surrender her prize. But it
suggested fresh tactics. She had a knack at cooking. Quietly, later
in the day--she knew better than to try effusive friendliness; to play
herself to the last would be best--she spoke to Mr. Doane of that small
gift. A kitchen was improvised in the _laopan’s_ cramped quarters, aft;
and Miss Carmichael, quite intent about her business, coolly cheerful
about it, indeed, began to prove her capacity. And she knew, then, that
she was winning. They would soon be respecting her, even liking her.

Even so she would keep her distance; then they would have to keep
theirs. That was all she needed.

To Rocky, the most elusive memory of all this eventful night was the
conversation with Miss Hui Fei. For she returned in a moment--so he
remembered it--and sank wearily into the steamer chair. The picture of
that scene was to vary bafflingly in his mind. At times he saw himself,
torn with an emotion now so great that it seemed the end of life,
standing over her, saying, passionately:

“I know how it looked--you’re finding us here like that! And you’d have
reason. I did flirt with her. I’m ashamed now. I hadn’t seen you--felt
you--like this. But that’s all over. I was telling her--Please! You’ve
got to know!--that I love you. Or telling her enough. She understood.
And she was awfully decent. She took my hand, wished me luck.”

There must have been a brief time then when the poor girl was
endeavoring pleasantly to turn aside this torrent of heavily freighted
words. Certainly he was talking feverishly on. He could remember pulling
down a coil of rope from the steersman’s deck and sitting moodily beside
her; and there was a sensation in their minds, his and hers, of being
at cross-purposes. There was something about her, back of the weary
smile--a smile that was long to haunt him, dim in the moonlight,
exquisite in its sensitive beauty--that eluded his pressing desire until
it seemed near to driving him mad. Kipling’s _East is East, and West is
West_, slipped in among his thoughts; kept coming and coming until it
became a nerve-wracking singsong in his brain.

There was one period, fortunately very short, when he seemed to be
almost forcing a quarrel. Why, he couldn’t afterward imagine. That
part of it was dreadful in the retrospect. He had reached the point,
apparently, when he couldn’t longer endure the failure to reach her.
There was simply no response. It was almost as if he were frightening
her away. Perhaps it was just that.

But the most vivid memory was of the unaccountable force that suddenly
rose in him, seizing on his tongue, his brain, his very nerves. The
power of the Kanes was abruptly his, and it brought its own skill with
it. It was, distinctly, a possession. It simply came, at this very top
of his emotional pitch. There must have been preliminaries. He must
have said things that she must have answered. But these lesser moments
dropped out. Even a day later, he could see, could almost feel, himself
on one knee beside the steamer chair, saying those amazing things,
without a shred of memory as to how he got there. Never had he so
spoken, to girl or woman; for in the escapades of the younger Rocky
there had always been a reticence if seldom a restraint. It was
precocity; the blood that was in him.

“You beautiful, wonderful girl!” he was breathing, close to her ear.
(He was never to forget this.) “How can you hide your feelings from me?
Can’t you see it’s just driving me mad?.... You’re adorable!
You’re exquisite! You thrill me so--just your voice; the way you
walk--your hands--your hair!.... Can’t you understand, dear, it isn’t
what they call ‘love.’” (This with a divine contempt.) “It’s the cry
of my whole being. I want to give you my life. I want to know _your_
life--study it--come to understand the wonderful people that has made
you possible! I’m going to study it--history, art, everything!....
I worship you! I dream so of you--all the time--daytimes! I just
half-close my eyes and then, right away, I can see you, walking. And I
see you as you were at the dance on the boat.” He choked a little; then
rushed on. “And in those dreams I always take you in my arms--No, let me
say it! The angels are singing it, the wonderful truth!--I take you
in my arms and kiss your hair and your eyes. You always close your
eyes--oh, so slowly--and I press my lips on the lids. And your arms are
around my neck. I can feel your hands. But I never kiss your lips--not
in those dreams. Because that will mean that you have given me your
soul, and I always know I must wait for that....

“Please! You must listen! Can’t you see I’m just tearing my heart out
and putting it in your hands--under your feet? There isn’t any other
life for me. I can’t live without you. I could give up my friends, my
home, my country, and be happy just serving you.”

He had captured her hand; had it tight in his two hands and was kissing
it tenderly. The thrill was unbelievable now. It was ecstasy. He
could hear himself murmuring over and over, “You’re so exquisite! So
thrilling! I love the way your hair lies over your forehead. I love your
eyes, especially when you smile”.... On and on.

The tired sad girl in the steamer chair could not fail to respond in
some measure, in every sensitive nerve, to so ardent a wooing. Even when
she rose, and struggled a little to withdraw her hand, she couldn’t be
angry. He was surprising; in his very boyishness, compelling.

Then, a little later, he was sitting moodily on the extension front of
the chair, face in hands, plunged into a wordless abyss; she sat on the
edge of the steersman’s deck, leaning against the rail, her face close
to a lotus plant, with one flower that looked a ghostly blue in the
fading moonlight, and just later, shaded through pink to deep red with
the first quick-spreading color of the dawn. His emotional outburst had
passed, for the moment, like a gust. He seemed to himself, already,
to have failed. His thoughts were turned, behind the gray half-covered
face, on death. For so swung the pendulum. He couldn’t, in these depths,
draw significance from the remarkable fact that she had risen only to
drop down again and carry forward the talk that he let fall, and that he
had, for the time at least, swept away those mental obstacles. Certainly
Miss Hui Fei was not elusive now.

The things she was saying, in a deliberate, matter-of-fact way,
bewildered him.

“I don’ want you to make love to me like tha’.”

“But how can I help it? You’re so wonderful. You thrill me so. I tell
you it’s my whole life. I can never live on without you--not any more.
It’s got to be with you, or--or nothing.”

It was strange. This impulsive affection had grown very, very rapidly
within him; yet, even a day earlier he couldn’t have pictured this
scene. Not a phrase of these burning sentences he was so fervently
uttering had been consciously framed in his mind. A part of the thrill
of the situation lay in the very fact that he was so wildly committing
himself. Now that it was being said, he felt no desire to take a word
back. He meant it all; and more--more.

But she--still, even in the telltale morning light, quaint, charming,
adorable--was growing so practical about it.

“You’re a ver’ romantic boy.”

“I’m not! This is real! Can’t you understand that it’s love--forever?”

“Please!.... I don’ want you to think I don’ un’erstan’. It’s ver’ sweet
an’ generous of you--”

“I’m not generous! I want you!”

“I do apprecia’ all it woul’ mean. You offer me so much--”

“You dear girl, I offer you everything--everything I have or am! I don’t
want to live at all unless it’s with you always at my side.”

“But I don’t think--Please! I woui’n’ hurt you for anything. You’ve
helped so--helped saving my father’s life an’ mine. It’s won’erful--but
I don’ think life is like that. People mus’ have so much in common to
marry in the Western way. They mus’ love each other, yes. But in their
min’s an’ feelings they mus’ share so much--their backgroun’s....”

He was out of the chair now; was beside her on the deck.

“Listen!” he was huskily saying. “Well get married right away in
Shanghai. We’ve got to! I won’t let you say no! And then we won’t go
back. Well stay out here. There’ll be money enough, in spite of the
pater. We’ll study this East together. I’m going to devote all the rest
of my life to it. Well build our common interest. I shall never want
anything else!”

“How do you knew that?”

“Can you doubt me?” He had both her hands now. He seemed so young, so
eager. He would fight for what he greatly desired, as his father had
fought before him. However crudely, boyishly, he would fight.

“No”--her own voice was, surprisingly, a little unsteady--“of course I
don’ doubt you. But how can you know what you’re going to wan’--years
from now. I don’ un’erstan’ that. It does seem pretty romantic to me. I
don’t know for myself. I coul’n’ tell.”

This, or perhaps it was her failure to rise to his ecstasy, plunged him
again into the depths.

“It’s you or nothing now,” he repeated. “You or nothing.”

“Wha’ do you mean by that?”

“I’ve got to have you. If I can’t, I’ll--oh, I guess I’ll just drop
quietly overboard. What’s the use?”

“Do you think it’s fair to talk li’ that?”

“Perhaps not, but--I guess I’m beside myself.”

“Listen!” said she now: with a friendly, even sympathetic pressure of
his trembling hands, “I’ll tell you what I think. I think the thing for
you to do is to go back to college.”

This stung him. “How can you talk like that,” he cried, “when--”

“I don’ wan’ to hurt you. But please try to think this as I wan’ you

“Haven’t you _any_ feeling for me?”

“Of course, an’ I’m ver’ grateful.”

“For God’s sake, don’t talk like that.”

There was a pause. He withdrew his hands; plunged his feverish face into

She rose, wearily. Said: “I’m going to try to sleep.”

“And you could go? Leaving it like this?”

“Please! I can’t help--”

“Oh, I understand--” he was on his feet before her; caught her arms in
his hands that now were firm and young--“I haven’t moved you yet, that’s
all. But I will. We Kanes aren’t quitters. We don’t give up. And I’m not
going to give you up. I’m going to win you. Can’t you see that I’ve got
to? That I can’t live.... Listen! You’re the loveliest, daintiest little
girl in the world. You’re exquisite. Your voice is music to me. I’ve got
to live my life to that music. It’ll be beautiful! Can’t you see that? I
don’t care how much time it takes. I’ll settle down to it. But I’ll win
you. And we’ll be married at Shanghai?”

He was very nearly irresistible now. The power in him was real. She
broke away; then, a surprise to herself, lingered. Strangely to her,
this ardent, still somewhat impossible boy, with his vital, Western
force, had actually created an atmosphere of romance in which she was,
for the moment, and in a degree, enveloped. She knew, clearly enough,
that she must exert herself to escape from it: but lingered.

He caught her hands again; covered them with kisses; held them firmly
while his eyes, suddenly radiant, sought hers and, during a moving
instant, held them. She went below then. And Rocky dropped into the
steamer chair and smiled exultantly as he drifted into slumber.

When they met again, away from the others, after an excellent luncheon
of fowl and vegetables prepared by the surprising Miss Carmichael, his
mood was wholly changed. He had charm; consciously or unconsciously, he
made it felt.

“I wasn’t fair to you,” he began.

“If you don’ min’,” said she, “we jus’ won’ talk abou’ that.”

“Can’t help it.” He smiled a little. “There’s no use pretending I can
think about another thing. I’m madly in love with you--hopelessly gone.
It’ll probably simplify things if you’ll just accept that as a fact.
But last night--this morning--whenever it was!--after all we’d been
through--you know, it wasn’t so unnatural that I got all fired up that

As this half-smiling, half-serious youth was plainly going to be even
more difficult to manage than the ardent boy of the glowing dawn, she
was silent.

“Here’s the thing,” he went on. “I was too worn out myself to be
considerate of you. I meant every word, of course. You’ll never know how
wonderful you seem to me.” This rather wistfully. They were leaning on
the rail, gazing at the rocky hills along the southern bank. “It’s all
wrong for me to be so impatient. I know I’ve got to make good. I’ve got
to earn you. That won’t come all at once. But I am going to try not to
get stirred up like that again. God knows you’ve got enough to bother

“I’m ver’ uncertain abou’ my father,” said she. “How do you mean?”

“Oh--he stays in his room. He doesn’ come out with us. An’ he’s always

“Well--does that mean anything? Wouldn’t he naturally be busy?”

“I don’ think so. No, like this.”

“But I don’t understand what--”

“It isn’ easy to say. When a man like father--what you call a
mandarin--feels that he mus’”--her voice wavered--“that he mus’ go,
there is a grea’ deal that he must wri’ to his frien’s an’ to the
governmen’. He doesn’ wan’ to be disturb’. I can’ tell wha’ he’s doing.
It worries me.”

Doane, during the sunny dreamy afternoon, heard them, now and again.
They were quite monopolizing the pleasant after gallery. And they were
drifting on into their love story. He could not restrain himself from
watching and listening. Despite the fact that his own dream was
over, Doane felt about it, in his heart, like a boy. The sight of
her quickened his pulse. Thoughts of her--mental pictures--came
irresistibly. And these, at times, puzzled his heart if never his
reason; the moment on the top deck of the steamer, when she climbed the
after ladder and first confided her tragic difficulty; the dance she
“sat out” with him.

.... He called himself, often enough, a fool. But his spirit refused
to accept the words that formed in his mind. He was simply at war with
himself.... The sort of thing happened often enough in life, of
course. Every man lived through such periods. Men of middle age in
particular.... Thus he fell back, over and again, on reason. It was all
he could do. Plainly the experience would take a lot of living through.

To hope that her quick youth could altogether resist Rocky’s ardent
youth was asking too much, of course. The young people were almost
certain to find themselves helpless--their emotions stirred by what
they had been living through; thrown together here, romantically, on the
junk. Whatever small difficulties they might encounter in exploring each
other’s nascent feelings would be softened by the very air they were
breathing. The young are often, usually, helpless when nature so works
upon them.... But Doane wasn’t bitter. At times he nearly convinced
himself that he felt only concern lest they rush along too fast;
surrender their hearts, only to find too late that the necessary
affinity was not growing into flower. The boy must have some proving, of
course. That lovely girl mustn’t be sacrificed.

Late in the afternoon they were singing, softly, even humorously. Doane
caught snatches of _Mandalay_, and the college songs. That would seem
to them a fine bond, of course--the mere casual fact that both knew the
songs. For youth is quite as simple as that.... So they were rushing on
with it, while an older man pondered. Rocky hung unashamed on her every
word, every movement; waited forlornly about whenever she went below;
starting at sounds, sinking into moods, and shining with radiance
when she reappeared. He even had gentle moments.... What girl could be
insensible to all that? He himself was avoiding them, of course. There
was no helping that; certainly in this stage of the romance.

His excellency appeared on deck during the second afternoon; greeted
Doane in friendly fashion--looking oddly simple in his servant costume;
blue gown, plain cloth slippers, skull-cap with a knot of vermilion
silk. They walked the deck together; later, they sat on a coil of rope.
In manner he was very nearly his old self; smiling a thought less,
perhaps, but as humanly direct in his talk as a Chinese.

“We shall soon be parting, Grigsby Doane,” he remarked, “and I shall
think much of you. Do you know yet where you shall go and what you shall

“No,” Doane replied. “All I can do now is the next thing, whatever that
may prove to be.”

“You will help China?”

“I shall hope for an opportunity.”

“You are, first and last, a Westerner.”

“I suppose that is true.”

“I did think you a philosopher, Griggsby Doane. So you seemed to me.
Like our humble great, almost like Chuang Tzü himself. But in the moment
of crisis your nature found expression wholly in action. At such times
we of the East are likely to be negative. We are a static people. But
you, like your own, are dynamic.”

This shrewd bit of observation struck Doane sharply. Come to think, it
was true.

“At the critical moment you wasted not one thought in reflection. You
weighed none of the difficulties; you ignored consequences. You took
command. You acted. As a result--here we are.... I suppose you were
right. At any rate, I yielded to your active judgment. It has saved my

“And you, as well, Your Excellency, if I may say so.”

“Very well--myself too.... I shall always think of you now as I have
twice seen you--once in that curious boxing match on the steamer; and
again as you took command of me and my own house. I regret that in
my position as a Manchu, however progressive, I can not be of any
considerable service to you with the republicans. It is in their camp
that your advice will help. Only there. Shall you go to them?”

Doane found it impossible to mention the invitation of Sun-Shi-pi. That
would be a sacred confidence. So he replied in merely general terms:

“I should like to sit in their councils. They seem to represent, at this
time, China’s only material hope. Though I am not strongly an optimist
regarding the revolution. China is so vast, so sunken in tradition,
that the real revolution must be distressingly slow. Still, I have some
familiarity with the constitutional history of my own country, and, I
think, some acquaintance with yours. And I love China. Yes, I should
like to help.”

“You are a great man, Griggsby Doane. You have known sorrow and poverty.
To the merely successful American I do not look for much real guidance.
But China needs you. I hope she will find you out in time.”

They talked on, of many things. His excellency was gently, at times even
whimsically, reflective. At length he touched, lightly at first, on the
subject of Rocky Kane. A little later, more openly, he asked what the
boy’s standing would be in New York.

Doane thought this over very carefully. It was curious how that
confusing element of mere feeling reappeared promptly in his mind.
But he explained, finally, that while the boy was young, and had been
passing through a phase of rather adventurous wildness, still his father
was a man of enormous prestige in society as in the financial world. The
boy had nice qualities. Given the right influences he might, with the
wealth that would one day be his, become like his father, a powerful
factor in American life.

“I find myself somewhat puzzled,” remarked his excellency then. “He
seems devoted to my daughter. I can not easily read her mind. And I
would not attempt to direct her life as would be necessary had she been
merely a Manchu girl reared in a Manchu environment. Is she, do you
think, and as your people understand the term, in love with him? I find
their present relationship somewhat alarming.”

“It would be difficult to say, Your Excellency--” thus Doane, simply and
gravely. “The young man is, of course, in love with her.”

“Ah,” breathed his excellency. “You are sure of that?”

“Yes. She is undoubtedly accustomed to play about pleasantly with young
men as do the young women of America.” Sudden, poignant memories came
of his own lovely daughter, as she had been; and of the puzzling romance
that had seemed for a time to injure her young life--a romance in which
he, her father, had played a strange part. But that was, after all, but
an echo from another life; a closed book.

“Your daughter, I am sure,” Doane continued, “can be trusted to form her
own attachments. She is a noble as well as a beautiful girl.”

“Indeed--you find her so, Griggsby Doane? That is pleasant to my ears.
For into the directing of her life have gone my dreams of the new China
and the new world. I would not have her choose wrongly now. But I do not
understand her. It is difficult for me to talk freely with her.”

“I am sure,” said Doane slowly, “‘that if you could bring yourself to do
so”--as once or twice before, in moments of deep feeling, he forgot
to use the indirect Oriental form of address--“it would make her very

“You think that, Griggsby Doane?” His excellency considered this. Then
added: “I will make the effort.”

“If I may suggest--talk with her not as father with daughter, but on an
equality, as friend with friend.”

His excellency slowly rose; and Doane, also rising, felt for the first
time that the fine old statesman fully looked his age. He was, standing
there, smiling a thought wistfully, an old man, little short of a broken
man. And then his dry thin hand found Doane’s huge one and gripped it in
the Western manner. This was a surprise, evidently as moving to Kang as
to Doane himself; for they stood thus a moment in silence.

“My dearest hope, of late,” said the great Manchu--the smoothest of
etiquette giving way, for once, before the pressure of emotion--“has
been that my daughter’s heart might be entrusted to you, Griggsby

Again a silence. Then Doane:

“That was my hope, as well.”


“No. It is plainly impossible. All life is before her. The thought has
not come to her. It never will. I see now that she could not be happy
with me. And I think she ought to be happy. I must ask you not to speak
of this again. Let youth call unto youth. And let me be her friend.”

His excellency went below after this. Miss Hui Fei was also below,
sleeping. Rocky Kane had been playing with the little princess, out on
the gallery; but now, evidently watching his chance, he came forward to
the informal seat the mandarin had vacated.

It was to be difficult--always difficult. The boy, plainly, couldn’t
live through these tense days without a confidant. Doane steeled himself
to bear it, and to respond as a friend. There was no way out; would be
none short of Shanghai; just an exquisite torture. It was even to
grow, with each fresh contact, harder to bear. The boy was so curiously
unsophisticated, so earnest and honest an egotist.

“--I’ve asked her,” he said now.

Doane could only wait.

“She hasn’t said yes. That would be absurd, of course--so soon.” He was
so pitifully putting up a brave front. “But she does like me. And it’s
something that she hasn’t said no. Isn’t it something?”

That was hardly a question; it was nearer assertion--what he had to
think. Doane managed to incline his head.

“But never mind that. God knows why I should bother you with it. You’ve
been so kind--such a friend. We--are friends, aren’t we?”

Doane felt himself obliged to turn and meet his eyes. And such eyes!
Ablaze with nervous light. And then he had to grip another hand--this
one young, moist, strong. But he managed that, too.

“Listen! I do bother you awfully, but--I’ve been thinking--here we are,
you know. God knows when I’ll find a man who could help me as you can.
And we brought all those wonderful old paintings aboard here. I’ve been
thinking--well, since I’ve got so much to learn of Chinese culture,
why not begin? Couldn’t I--would they mind if I looked at some of
the pictures? And--if it isn’t asking too much--you could tell me why
they’re good. Just begin to give me something to go by. Isn’t it as good
a way to make the break as any?”

It was a most acceptable diversion. Doane, though several boxes of the
paintings were in his own rooms, sent a servant to ask a permission that
was cordially granted. And as there was a wind blowing, they went below,
and talked there in low voices in order not to disturb the sleeping
girl, while the elder man carefully opened a box and got out a number
of the long scrolls that were wound on rods of ivory, handling them with
reverent fingers.

He chose one from the brush of that Chao Meng-fu who flourished under
the earliest Mongol or Yuan rulers, a roll perhaps fourteen or fifteen
inches in width, and in length, judging from the thickness, as many
feet, tied around with silk cords and fastened with tags of carven jade.
The painting itself, naturally, was on silk, which in turn was pasted on
thick, dark-toned paper, made of bamboo pulp, with borders of brocade.
The projecting ends of the ivory rollers, like the tags, were carved.

At the edge of the scroll were, besides the seal signature of the
artist, and the date--in our chronology, A. D. 1308--many other
signatures in the conventional square seal characters of royal and
other collectors who had possessed the painting, with also, a few pithy,
appreciative epigrams from eminent critics of various periods. On that
one margin was stamped the authentic history of the particular bit of
silk, paper and pigment during its life of six full centuries; for no
hand could have forged those seals.

There was no likelihood that the boy--lacking, as he was, in cultural
background--would exhibit any sensitive responsiveness to the exquisite
brush-work of the fine old painter or to his consciously subjective
attitude toward his art. But there is a way in which the simple Western
mind that is not preoccupied with fixed concepts of art may be led into
enjoyment of such a landscape scroll; this is to exhibit it as do the
Chinese themselves, unrolling it, very slowly, a little at a time,
deliberately absorbing the detail and the finely suggested atmosphere,
until a sensation is experienced not unlike that of making a journey
through a strange and delightful country. Doane employed this method--it
was surely what that old painter intended--and led the boy slowly from a
pastoral home, so small beneath its towering overhanging mountain
crags, that lost themselves finally in soft cloud-masses, as to appear
insignificant, out along a river where lines of reeds swayed in the
winds and boats moved patiently, across a lake that was dotted with
pavilions and pleasure craft--on and on, through varied scenes that yet
were blended with amazing craftsmanship into a continuous, harmonious

The time crept by and by. When Doane finally explained the seal
characters at the end and retied the old silk cords with their hanging
rectangles of unclouded green jade, the sun was low over the western

Rocky’s face was flushed, his eyes nervously bright. “I don’t get it
all, of course,” he said; “but it makes you feel somehow as if you’d
been reading _The Pilgrim’s Progress!_”

Doane gravely nodded.

“Shall we look at another?” said Rocky.

“No. That is enough. The Chinese knew better than to crowd the mind with
confused impressions of many paintings. A good picture is an experience
to be lived through, not a trophy to be glanced at.”

“I wonder,” said the boy, “if that’s why I used to hate it so when my
tutor dragged me through the Metropolitan Museum?”


“And this picture has a great value, I suppose?”

“It is virtually priceless--in East as well as West,” replied Doane as
he replaced it among its fellows in the box.

Thus began, late but perhaps not too late, what may be regarded as the
education of young Rockingham Kane.


|THEY passed, that evening, the region of Peng-tze where Tao Yuan-ming,
after a scant three months as district magistrate, surrendered his
honors and retired to his humble farm near Kiu Kiang, there to write
in peace the verse and prose that have endured during sixteen crowded
centuries; and on, then, moving slowly through the precipitous Gateway
of Anking and, later, around the bend that bounds that city on the west,
south and east. Those on deck could see, indistinctly in the deepening
twilight, the vast area of houses and ruins--for Anking had not
yet recovered from the devastations of the T’ai-ping rebels in the
eighteen-sixties--where half a million yellow folk swarm like ants; and
very indistinctly indeed, farther to the north, they could see: the
blue mountains. Slowly, quietly, then, Anking, with its ruins and its
memories fell away astern.

Half an hour later the sweeps were lashed along the rail. The great dark
sails, with their scalloped edges between the battens of bamboo, seeming
more than ever, in the dusk, like the wings of an enormous bat, were
lowered; and with many shouts and rhythmic cries the tracking ropes were
run out to mooring poles on the bank. Forward the mattings were adjusted
for the night. The smells of tobacco and frying fish drifted aft. A
youth, sipping tea by the rail, put down his cup and sang softly
in falsetto a long narrative of friendship and the mighty river and
(incidentally) the love of a maiden who slipped away from her mother’s
side at night to meet a handsome student only to be slain, as was just,
by the hand of an elder brother.... From the cabin aft drifted a faint
odor of incense. A flageolet mingled its plaintive oboe-like note with
the song of the youth by the rail.... From a near-by village came soft
evening sounds, and the occasional barking of dogs, and the beat of a
watchman’s gong.... The greatest of rivers--greatest in traffic and in
rich memories of the endless human drama--was settling quietly for the

At the first rays of dawn the forward deck would be again astir. Sails
would be hoisted, ropes hauled aboard and coiled; and the shining yellow
craft would resume her journey down-stream, with carven and brightly
painted eyes peering fixedly out at the bow, with carefully tended
flowers perfuming the air about the after gallery, a thing of rich and
lovely color even on the rich and lovely river; slipping by busy ports,
each with its vast tangle of small shipping and its innumerable families
of beggars in slipper-boats or tubs awaiting miserably the steamers and
their strangely prodigal white passengers. T’ai-ping itself, of bloody
memory, lay still ahead; and farther yet Nanking the glorious, and
Chin-kiang, and the great estuary. Slowly the huge craft would drift
and sail and tie, moving patiently on toward the Shanghai of
the ever-prospering white merchants, the Shanghai that somewhat
vaingloriously had dubbed itself “the Paris of the East.” And no one of
the thousands, here and there, that idly watched the golden junk as it
moved, not without a degree of magnificence, down the tireless current,
was to know that a Manchu viceroy, a prince hunted to the death by his
own blood, a statesman known to the courts of great new lands, was in
hiding within those timbers of polished cypress. Nor would they know
that a princess, his daughter yet strangely of the new order, voyaged
with him clad in the simple costume of a young Chinese woman. Nor would
they dream of certain inexplicable whites. Nor would they have cared;
for the voyage of the yellow junk was but a tiny incident in the crowded
endless drama of the river; to the millions of struggling, breeding,
dying souls along the banks and on the water, merely living was and
would be burden enough. So China merely lives--dreaming a little but
hoping hardly at all--with every eye on the furrow or the till; lives,
and dies, and--lives again and on.

Late in the third afternoon, Rocky Kane, sitting, head forlornly in
hands, in his narrow room, heard a light step--heard it with every
sensitive nerve-tip--and, springing up, softly drew his curtain. But the
quick eagerness faded from his eyes; for it was Dixie Carmichael.

Her thin lips curved in the faintest of smiles as she moved along the
corridor toward her own curtained door. But then, as she passed and
glanced back, her skirt, in swinging about, caught on a nail; caught
firmly; and as she stooped to release it, a string of pearls swung down,
broke, and rolled, a score of little opalescent spheres, along the deck,
a few of them nearly to Rocky’s feet. He stooped--without a thought
at first--picked them up and turned them over in his fingers; then,
stepping forward to return them, observed with an odd thrill of somewhat
unpleasant excitement, that the girl had gone an ashen color and was
staring at him with something the look of a wild and hostile animal.
She turned then; glanced with furtive eyes up and down the corridor; and
swiftly gathering up the remaining pearls clutched them tightly in one
hand, extending the other and saying, in a quick half-whisper: “Give me

He hesitated, confused, unequal to the quick clear thinking he felt,
even then, was demanded of him.

“What are you doing with them?” he asked.

“Not so loud! Come here!” She was indicating her own doorway; even
drawing the curtain; while her head moved just perceptibly toward the
room immediately beyond her own where Miss Hui Fei, he knew, would be
resting at this time.

“Where did you get them?” he asked, huskily, doggedly.

There was a long pause. Again her subtle gaze swept the corridor. “You’d
better step in here,” said she, very quiet. “I’ve something to say to

Sensing, still confusedly, that he ought to see the thing through,
struggling to think, he yielded to her stronger will.

She followed him into the room and let the curtain fall. “Give me those
pearls,” she commanded again.

He shook his head.

During a tense moment she studied him. She moved over by the translucent
window of ground oyster shells, itself, in the mellow afternoon light,
as opalescent as the pearls in her hand and his. Her gaze, for an
instant, sought the wide stain on the floor where the Manila Kid had,
so recently, wretchedly died; and her instant imagination considered the
incomprehensible mental attitude of these quiet Chinese who had, without
a word, disposed of the body and painstakingly cleansed the spot. No
one, observing them day by day, now, as they calmly pursued their tasks,
could suspect that the slanting quiet eyes had so lately seen murder....
As for the youth before her she was, now that her moment of fright had
passed, supremely confident in her skill and mental strength. He was,
still, little more than an undeveloped boy. And his position, now that
he had set up his flag of reform, would be absurdly vulnerable.

“Once more”--her low voice was cool and soft as river ice--“give them to

He shook his head. “Tell me first where you got them.”

“If you’re determined to make a scene,” said she, “I advise you to be
quiet about it. You wouldn’t want--her--to know you’re in here.”

“I--I”--this was the merest boyishness--“I’ve told her about--well, that
I tried to make love to you. I’m not afraid of that.”

“Still--you wouldn’t want her to hear you now.” This was awkwardly true.
And his hesitation as he tried to consider it, to work out an attitude,
ran a second too long.

“The pearls are mine,” she pressed calmly on. “The best advice I can
give you is to return them and go.”


“Do you think I want the people aboard this junk--anybody--to know that
I have them?”

“I believe you stole them from the viceroy’s place.”

“That, of course--Well, never mind! What you may believe is nothing to

“Will you tell Mr. Doane about them?”

“Certainly not. And you won’t.”

“Why shouldn’t I?”

“It’s none of your business.”

“Perhaps it’s my duty.”

“Listen”--he felt himself wholly in the right, yet found difficulty in
meeting her cold pale eyes--“it’s my impression that I’ve been acting
rather decently toward you. Of course, I could have--”

“What could you have done?”

“For you own good, keep your voice down. I will tell you just this--you
were pretty wild in Shanghai for a week or two.”

“Well?” This was hurting him; but he met it. “And there’s no likelihood
that you’ve told her all of it. Were you such a fool as to think you
could keep it all secret? Out here on the coast--and from a woman with
as many underground connections as I have?”

“There’s nothing that!--”

“Listen! I’m not through with you. You’ve been a very, very rough
proposition. I know all about it. No--wait! There’s something else. I
knew all about you when you were making up to me on the steamer. I could
have trapped you then--tangled your life so with mine that you could
never have got away from me, never in the world. But I didn’t. I liked
you, and I didn’t want to hurt you--then.”

“You do want to hurt me now?”

“It may be necessary.”

“Since you’re taking this position”--he was finding difficulty in
making his voice heard; there seemed to be danger of explosive
sounds--“probably I’d better just go to Mr. Doane myself with these

“If you do that I’ll wreck your life.”

“You don’t mean that you’d--”

“You seem to be forgetting a good deal.”

“But you--”

“I will defend myself to the limit. I’ve really been easy with you. You
see, you don’t know anything about me. Least of all what harm I can do.
You’d be a child in my hands. Turn against me and I’ll get you if it
takes me ten years. You’ll never be safe from me. Never for a minute.”

He looked irresolutely down at the lustrous jewels in his hand.

“You had these sewed in your skirt. There must be more there.”

“Are you proposing to search me?”

“No--but”.... His black youth was stabbing now, viciously, at his
boyishly sensitive heart; but still, in a degree, he met it. “I’m going
to Mr. Doane. I don’t care what happens to me.”

He even moved a soft step toward the door; but paused, lingered,
watching her. For she was rummaging among the covers of her bed. He
caught a brief glimpse of a hand-bag that she meant him not to see. She
took from a bottle two green tablets. Then she faced him.

To the startled question of his eyes she replied: “They’re corrosive
sub mate. I shall take them now unless you--give me the pearls. If you
want to have my death on your hands, take them to Mr. Doane. But
it’s only fair to tell you that if you do it--if you mix in this
business--your own life won’t be worth a nickel. They’ll get you, and
they’ll get the pearls. You’re caught in a bigger game than you can

“Get out, while you can”--as the low swift words came she reached out and
took the pearls from his nerveless hand--“and I’ll protect you. You can
have your pretty Manchu girl. You can ride around in a rickshaw and
look at old temples and buy embroideries. Just don’t mix in affairs that
don’t concern you.”

“I”--he was pressing a hand to a white forehead--“I’ve got to think it

“Remember this, too”--she laid a hand on his arm--“you could never
fasten anything on me. The proof doesn’t exist. Nobody can identify
unmounted pearls As a matter of fact I got these”.... during a brief but
to her perverse imagination an intensely pleasing moment she closed
her eyes and lived again through that strange scene on the steps of the
pavilion; again in vivid fancy rolled over the inert body that had been
Tex Connor, took the amazing cape of pearls from his shirt and rolled
the body heavily back.... “I got these from a man I knew--an old friend.
Just mind your own business and no one will harm you. But remember,
you’re walking among dangers. Step carefully. Keep quiet. Better go

He found himself in the corridor; walked slowly, uncertainly, up to the
deck; sat by the rail and, head on hand, moodily watched the river and
the hills. He asked himself if he had, by his very silence, struck a
bargain with the girl; but could find no answer to the question, only
bewilderment. Could it be that she was only a daring thief? It could, of
course, but how to get at the truth? Abruptly, then his thoughts turned
inward. His wild days had seemed, since his change of heart, of the
remote past; but they were not, they had still been the stuff of his
life within about a week. It was unnerving. He thought, something
morbidly, as the sensitive young will, about habits.... The day had gone
awry, too, in the matter of his love. A reaction had set in. Hui Fei
was keeping much to herself. It had become difficult to talk with her
at all. And that had bewildered him.... He was all adrift, with neither
sound training nor a mature philosophy to steady him, life had turned
unreal on his hands; nothing was real--not Hui or her father, certainly
not himself, not even Mr. Doane. His background, even, was slipping
away, and with it his sense of the white race. This, it seemed, was a
yellow world--swarming, heedless, queerly tragic. His soul was adrift,
and nobody cared. Toward his father and mother he felt only bitterness.
There were, it appeared, no friends.

He thought, it seemed, confusedly, excitedly, of everything; of
everything except the important fact that he was very young.

Early on the following morning Doane found the little princess playing
about the deck, and with a smile seated himself beside her. She settled
at once on his knee, chattering brightly in the Mandarin tongue of her
play world.

He responded with a note of good-humored whimsy not out of key with her
alert clear imagination. It was pleasant to fall again into the little
intimacies of the language that had become, during these twenty years
and more, almost his own. He pointed out to her the trained cormorants
diving for fish, and the irrigating wheels along the banks; and then
told quaint stories--of the first water buffalo, and of the magic

Soon she, too, was telling stories--of the simpleton who bought herons
for ducks, of the toad in the lotus pool, of the child that was born in
a conch shell and finally crawled with it into the sea, of the youngest
daughter who to save the life of her father married a snake, of the
magic melon that grew full of gold and the other melon that contained
hungry beggars, of the two small boys and the moon cake, and of the
curious beginning of the ant species.

She scolded him for his failure, at the first, to laugh with her. Her
happy child quality stirred memories of old-time days in T’ainan-fu,
when his own daughter had been a child of six, playing happily about the
mission compound. They were poignant memories. His eyes were misty even
as he smiled over the bright merriment of this child, and in his heart
was a growing wistful tenderness. To be again a father would be a great
privilege. He was ripe for it now, tempered by poverty and sorrow, yet
strong, with a great emotional capacity on which the world about him
had, apparently, no claim to make. He was simply cast aside, left
carelessly in an eddy with the great stream of life flowing, bankful,
by. The experience was common enough, of course. In the great scheme
of life the fate of an individual here and there could hardly matter.
He could tell himself that, very simply, quite honestly; and yet the
strength within him would rise and rise again to assert the opposite.
The end, for himself, lay beyond the range of conscious thought; but
at least, he felt, it could not be bitterness. He seemed to have passed
that danger.... The little princess was soberly telling the old story of
the father-in-law, the father, and the crabs that were eaten by the
pig. At the conclusion she laughed merrily; and then Ending his response
somewhat unsatisfactory, scowled fiercely and with her plump fingers
bent up the comers of his mouth.

He laughed then; and rolled her up in his arms and tossed her high in
the air.

When Hui Fei came upon them they were gazing out over the rail. Mr.
Doane seemed to be telling a long story, to which the child listened
intently. She moved quietly near, smiling; and after listening for a few
moments seated herself on the deck behind them.

The story puzzled her. She leaned forward, a charming picture in her
simple costume, black hair parted smoothly, oval face untouched with
powder or paint. She smiled again, then, for his story was nothing other
than a free rendering into Chinese of Stevenson’s:

               “In Winter I get up at night

               And dress by yellow candle-light...”

He went on, when that was finished, with a version of:

                   “Dark brown is the river,

                   Golden is the sand....”

--and other poems from _The Child’s Garden of Verses._

Hui Fei’s eyes lighted, as she listened. Mr. Doane, it appeared, knew
nearly all of these exquisite verse-stories of happy childhood and
exhibited surprising skill in finding the Chinese equivalents for
certain elusive words. What a mind he had.... rich in reading as in
experience, ripe in wisdom, yet curiously fresh and elastic! It seemed
to her a young mind.

The little princess was especially pleased with _My Bed Is a Boat_, and
made him repeat it. At the conclusion she clapped her hands. And then
Hui Fei joined in the applause, and laughed softly when they turned in

“Won’t you do _The Land of Counterpane?_” she asked.

It was later, when the child had run off to play among the flowers, that
he and she fell to talking as they had not talked during these recent
crowded days. There were silences, at first. Despite his effort to seem
merely friendly and kind, he felt a restraint that had to be fought
through. In this time, so difficult for her at every point, he felt
deeply that he must not fail her. Her greatest need, surely, was for
friendship. The excited youth who dogged her steps and hung on her most
trivial glance could not offer that. And melancholy had touched her
bright spirit; he sensitively felt that when the little princess
ran away and her smile faded. Sorrow dwelt not far behind those dark
thoughtful eyes.

Early in the conversation she spoke of her father. Her thoughts,
clearly, were always with him.

“I wan’ to ask you,” said she simply and gravely, “if you know what he
is doing.”

Doane moved his head in the negative.

“He has been in his room for more than a day. When I go to his door
he is kin’ but he doesn’ ask me to come in. And he doesn’ tell me

“He is not confiding in me,” said Doane.

“I don’ like that, either, Mis’er Doane. For I know he thinks of you now
as his closes’ frien’. There is no other frien’ who knows what you know.
An’ you have save’ his life an’ mine. My father is not a man to fail in
frien’ship or in gratitu’.”

Doane’s eyes, despite his nearly successful inner struggles, grew misty
again. Impulsively he took her hand gently in his. At once, simply, her
slender fingers closed about his own. It seemed not unlike the trusting
affection of a child; he sensed this as a new pain. Yet there was strong
emotional quality in her; he felt it in her dark beauty, in the curve of
her cheek and the lustrous troubled splendor in her eyes, in the slender
curves of her strong young body. She was, after all, a woman grown;
aroused, doubtless, to the puzzling facts of life; a woman, with an
ardent lover close at hand, who was--this as his wholly adult mind now
saw her--already at her mating time. And feeling this he gripped her
hand more tightly than he knew. But even so, he was not unaware of his
own danger. It wouldn’t do; once to release his own tightly chained
emotions would be to render himself of no greater value to her in her
bewilderment than any merely pursuing male. He set his teeth on that
thought, and abruptly withdrew his hand.

She did not look up--her gaze was fixed on the surface of the river.
The only indication she gave that she was so much as aware of this odd
little act of his was that she started to speak, then paused for a brief
instant before going on.

“I ask--ask myself all the time if there is anything we coul’ be doing.”

Doane’s head moved again in the negative.

“If not even his gratitu’--”

“Gratitude,” said Doane gently, “becomes less than nothing when it is

“True, it can no’ be ask’, but it can be given.”

“Sometimes”--he was thinking aloud, dangerously--“I wonder if any
healthy human act is free from the motive of self-interest. Generosity
is so often self-indulgence. Self-sacrifice, even in cases where it may
be regarded as wholly sane, may be only a culmination or a confusion of
little understood desires.”

She looked up at this; considered it.

“Certainly,” he went on, “your father owes me nothing.”

Her hand moved a little way toward his, only to hesitate and draw
back. She looked away, saying in a clouded voice: “He--and I--owe you
everything.” It wouldn’t do. Doane waited a long moment, then spoke in
what seemed more nearly his own proper character--quietly, kindly, with
hardly an outward sign of the intensely personal feeling of which his
heart was so full.

“Your father has spoken to me of you as an experiment.”

“You mean my life--my education.”

“Yes. He feels, too, that the experiment has not yet been fully worked
out. I often think of that--your future. It is interesting, you know.
You have responded amazingly to the spirit of the West. And of course
you’ll have to do something about it.”

“Oh, yes,” said she, musing, “of course.”

“Whatever personal interests may for a time--or at times--absorb your
life”.... this was as close as he dared trust himself to the topic of
marriage__“I feel about you that your life will seek and find some
strong outward expression.”

“Yes--I have often fel’ that too. Of course, at college I like’ to
speak. I went in a good ‘eal for the debates, an’ for class politics.”

“You have an active mind. And you have a fine heritage. Knowing--even
feeling--both East and West as you do, your life is bound to find some
public outlet. Something.”

“I know.” She seemed moody now, in a gentle way. Her fingers picked at
a rope. “But I don’ know what. I don’ think I woul’ like teaching.
Writing, perhaps. Even speaking. That is so easy for me.”

“There is a service that you are peculiarly fitted to perform.” She
glanced up quickly, waited. “It is a thought that keeps coming to my
mind. Perhaps because it will probably become the final expression of my
own life. For my life is curiously like yours in one way. You remember,
that--that night when we first talked--on the steamer--”

“I climb’ the ladder,” she murmured, picking again at the rope.

“--And we agreed that we were both, you and I”--his voice grew
momentarily unsteady--“between the worlds.”

“Yes. I remember.” He could barely hear her, “It is true, of course.”

“It is true. And for myself, I feel more and more strongly every day
that I must pitch into the tremendous task of helping to make the East
known to the West.”

“Tha’ woul’ be won’erful!” she breathed.

“I have come to feel that it is the one great want in Western
civilization, that the philosophy, the art, the culture, indeed, of
China has never been woven into our heritage. It is strange, in a
way--we derived our religion from certain primitive tribes in Syria. But
they had little culture. The Christian religion teaches conduct but very
nearly ignores beauty. And then there is our insistent pushing forth
of the Individual. I have come to believe that our West will seem less
crass, less materialistic, when the individual is somewhat subdued.”
 He smiled. “We need patience--sheer quality of thought--the fine art
of reflection. We shall not find these qualities at them best, even in
Europe. They exist, in full flower, only in China. And America doesn’t
know that. Not now.”

A little later he said: “That work has been begun, of course, in a small
way. A slight sense of Chinese culture is creeping into our colleges,
here and there. Some of the poetry is bring translated. The art
museums are reaching out for the old paintings. The Freer collection
of paintings will some day be thrown open to the public. But traditions
grow very slowly. It will take a hundred years to make America aware
of China as it is now aware of Italy, Egypt, Greece, even old
Assyria.... and the thing must be freed from Japanese influence--we can’t
much longer afford to look at wonderful, rich old China through the
Japanese lens.”

“An’ you’re going to make tha’ your work,” observed Hui Fei.

“I must. I begin to feel that it is to be the only final explanation of
my life.”

There was a silence. Then, abruptly, in a tone he did not understand,
she asked: “Are you going to work for the Revolution?”

“That is the immediate thing--yes. I shall offer my services.”

“Coul’ I do anything, you think? At Shanghai, I mean? Of course, I’m a
Manchu girl, but I can no’ stand with the Manchu Gover’ment. I am not
even with my--my father there.”

“It is possible. I don’t know. We shall soon be there.”

“Will you tell me then--at Shanghai?”

He inclined his head. Suddenly he couldn’t speak. She was holding to
him, as if it were a matter of course; yet he dared not read into her
attitude a personal meaning of the only sort that could satisfy his
hungry heart. The difficulty lay in his active imagination. Like that of
an eager boy it kept racing ahead of any possible set of facts. All
he could do, of course, was to go on curbing it, from hour to hour.
It would be harder seeing her at Shanghai than running away, as he had
half-consciously been planning. But it was something that she clung to
him as a friend. He mustn’t, couldn’t, really, fail her there.

All of the last day they sailed the wide and steadily widening estuary.
The lead-colored water was roughened by the following wind that drove
the junk rapidly on toward her journey’s end. But toward sunset wind and
sea died down, and under sweeps, late in the evening-, the craft moved
into the Wusung River and moored for the night within sight of a line of

A feeling of companionship grew strongly among those fugitives, yellow
and white, as the evening advanced. They had passed together through
dangerous and dramatic scenes. Now that danger and drama were alike,
it seemed, over, with the peaceable shipping of all the world lying just
ahead up the narrow channel, with, in the morning to come, a fresh view
of the bund at Shanghai, where hotels, banks and European clubs elbowed
the great trading hongs, with motor-cars and Sikh police and the bright
flags of the home land so soon to be spread before their weary eyes,
they gathered on the after gallery to chat and watch the flashing signal
lights of the cruisers and the trains on the river bank, and dream each
his separate dream. Even Dixie Carmichael, though herself untouched by
sentiment, joined, for reasons of policy, the little party. Hui Fei
was there, between Doane and the moodily silent Rocky Kane. The Chinese
servants smilingly grouped themselves on the deck just above. And
finally--though it is custom among these Easterners to sleep during the
dark hours and rise with the morning light--his excellency appeared,
walking alone over the deck, smiling in the friendliest fashion and
greeting them with hands clasped before his breast.

Doane felt a little hand steal for a moment into his with a nervous
pressure. His own relief was great.

For this smiling gentleman could hardly be regarded as one about to die.
They placed him in the steamer chair of woven rushes from Canton. And
pleasantly, then, their last evening together passed in quiet talk.

His excellency was in reminiscent mood. He had been a young officer, it
transpired, in the T’aiping Rebellion, and had fought during the last
three years of that frightful thirteen-year struggle up and down the
great river, taking part in the final assault on Su-chau as a captain in
the “Ever Victorious” army of General Gordon. Regarding that brilliant
English officer he spoke freely; Doane translating a sentence, here and
there, for young Kane.

“Gordon never forgave Li Hung Chang,” he said, “for the murder of the
T’ai-ping Wangs, during the peace banquet. It was on Prince Li’s own
barge, in the canal by the Eastern Gate of the city. Gordon claimed
that Li procured the murder. He was a hot-blooded man, Gordon, often too
quick and rough in speech. Li told me, years later, that the attack
was directed as much against himself as against the Wangs, and regarded
himself as fortunate to escape. He never forgave Gordon for his
insulting speech. But Gordon was a vigorous brave man. It was a
privilege to observe him tirelessly at work, planning by night, fighting
by day--organizing, demanding money, money, money--with great energy
moving troops and supplies. He could not be beaten. He was indeed the
‘Ever Victorious.’”

It was, later, his excellency who asked Hui Fei and young Kane to sing
the American songs that had floated on one or two occasions through his
window below. They complied; and Dixie Carmichael, in an agreeable light
voice, joined in. At the last Duane was singing bass.

The party was breaking up--his excellency had already gone below--when
Rocky, moved to the point of exquisite pain, caught the hand of Hui Fei.

“Please!” he whispered. “Just a word!”

“Not now. I mus’ go.”

“But--it’s our last evening--I’ve tried to be patient--it’ll be all
different at Shanghai--I can’t let you.”

But she slipped away, leaving the youth whispering brokenly after
her. He leaned for a long time on the rail then, looking heavily at the
winking lights of the cruisers. It was a relief to see Mr. Doane coming
over the deck. Certainly he couldn’t sleep. Not now. His heart was full
to breaking.... The fighting impulse rose. During this past day or so he
had seemed to be losing ground in his struggle with self. The startling
incident in Miss Carmichael’s room had turned out, he felt, still
confusedly, as a defeat. It had left him unhappy. This night, out there
in the blossom-scented gallery, he had sensed the strange girl, close at
hand, cool as a child, singing the old college songs with apparent quiet
enjoyment, as an uncanny thing, a sinister force. Even when speaking to
Hui Fei, her influence had enveloped him.... This would be just one more
little battle. And it must be won.

Accordingly he told Mr. Doane the story. The older man considered it,
slowly nodding.

“It is probably the fact,” he said, at length, “that she stole the
pearls at Huang Chau. She was with Connor and Watson. But it is also
a fact that she might have pearls of her own. And in traveling alone
through a revolution it would be her right to conceal them as she chose.
It is true, too, that unset pearls couldn’t be identified easily, if
at all. And she is clever--she wouldn’t weaken under charges.... No, I
don’t see what we can do, beyond watching the thing closely. As for her
threats against you, they are partly rubbish.”

But Rocky cared little, now, what they might be. Once again he had
cleaned the black slate of his youth. His head was high again. He could
speak to Hui Fei convincingly in the morning.

His excellency, alone in his cabin, took from his hand-bag the book of
precepts of Chuang Tzü; and seated on his pallet, by the small table on
which burned a floating wick in its vessel of oil, read thoughtfully as

“Chuang Tzü one day saw an empty skull, bleached but intact, lying on
the ground. Striking it with his riding whip, he cried, ‘Wert thou once
some ambitious citizen whose inordinate yearnings brought him to this
pass?--some statesman who plunged his country into ruin and perished
in the fray?--some wretch who left behind him a legacy of shame?--some
beggar who died in the pangs of hunger and cold? Or didst thou reach
this state by the natural course of old age?’

“When he had finished speaking, he took the skull and, placing it under
his head as a pillow, went to sleep. In the night he dreamt that the
skull appeared to him and said: ‘You speak well, sir; but all you say
has reference to the life of mortals and to mortal troubles. In death
there are none of these.... In death there is no sovereign above, and
no subject below. The workings of the four seasons are unknown. Our
existences are bounded only by eternity. The happiness of a king among
men can not exceed that which we enjoy.’

“Chuang Tzü, however, was not convinced, and said: ‘Were I to prevail
upon God to allow your body to be bom again, and your bones and flesh to
be renewed, so that you could return to your parents, to your wife and
to the friends of your youth, would you be willing?’

“At this the skull opened its eyes wide and knitted its brows and said:
‘How should I cast aside happiness greater than that of a king, and
mingle once again in the toils and troubles of mortality?’”

He closed the book; laid on the table his European watch; and sat for
a long time in meditation. As the hands of the watch neared the hour of
three in the morning, he took from the bag a box of writing materials, a
small red book and a bottle of white pills.

The leaves of the book were the thinnest gold. On one of these
he inscribed, with delicate brush, the Chinese characters meaning
“Everlasting happiness.” Tearing out the leaf, then, he wrapped loosely
in it one of the pills--these were morphine, of the familiar sort
manufactured in Japan and sold extensively in China since the decline of
the opium traffic--and swallowed them together. He inscribed and took
another, and another, and another.

Gradually a sense of drowsy comfort, of utter physical well-being, came
over him. The pupils of his eyes shrunk down to the merest pin-points.
His head drooped forward. His frail old body fell on the bed and lay
peacefully there as his spirit sought its destiny in the unchanging,
everlasting Tao.


|IT was daybreak. Doane, standing in his cabin by the opened window,
looked out with melancholy in his deep-set eyes over the muddy low
reaches that border the Wusung. It was a familiar scene; indeed he knew
it better than any spot in his native land--the railroad along the
bank, the brick warehouses, the native village of Wusung, the inevitable
humble families in the fields gathering in the last crops of the season.

Overhead the _laopan_ was shouting, tackle creaked, the crew half sang,
half grunted their chanties. From the cruisers, one after another,
floating musically on the still air, came the call of bugles--the
_reveille_ of the American navy. So these were ships from home. The
stars and stripes would soon, at “colors,” be rippling from each gray
stem.... There was an ache in his heart.

Then other noises came--a little confusion of them, somewhere here on
the junk--excited whispers, a sound that might have been sobbing, and
then--yes!--the low wailing of women.

He turned; listened closely. Light feet came running along the corridor.
A familiar, lovely voice called his name, brokenly. Then Hui Fei drew
aside his curtain. Her cheeks were stained with tears.

Quickly, his arm about her shoulders as she swayed unsteadily, but
without a word, he walked beside her along the corridor to the cabin of
his excellency.... There were the few servants, kneeling by the
inert body and bowing their heads to the floor as they mourned. Doane
straightened the body and closed the eyes.... It was Hui Fei who found
the roll of documents on the table and placed them in Doane’s hands.
He saw then, through the mist that clouded his own eyes, that they were
addressed to himself: “To my dear friend, Griggsby Doane, I entrust
these my last papers.” The name alone was in English; written in a clear
hand, not unlike that of a painstaking schoolboy, each letter carefully
and roundly formed.

Hui Fei sent the servants to another cabin, but remained herself, seated
on the floor by the side of the huge strong man who was now without
question the head of the strangely assorted family. She was calmer.
Doane did not again hear her sob; he did not even see tears. During
that difficult moment when Rocky Kane appeared in the doorway and asked
huskily, sadly, if he could help, she even smiled, very faintly, very
gently, as she moved her head in the negative. And the youth, after a
hesitant moment, left them.

Doane spread out the documents on the floor. The first, addressed
directly to himself, he laid aside for the moment. To the second,
addressed to the throne--“by the hand of His Imperial Highness, Prince
Ch’un, Regent, as soon as it may be possible to convey to him in
this hour of China’s sorrow this inadequate expression of my last
thoughts”--was attached a paper requesting that “my closest friend,
Griggsby Doane” read it thoughtfully, “in order that he may understand
fully the circumstances in which I find myself at this the end of my
long life.

“I, your unworthy servant,”--it read--“have learned with sorrow and
tears of the decree permitting me to withdraw from this troubled life
in solitude and peace without the painful consequences of a death by
the headsman’s sword. And in bowing humbly to your will I, your unworthy
servant, recognize that my life lies wholly in your hands to be disposed
of as seems best to the imperial wisdom. But in thus proving my never
weakening loyalty to the imperial will I also must express the sober
thoughts of one who has pondered long over the evils that beset our land
and who has ventured at times, weakly, to hope that China might pay
heed to certain lessons of recent history and find a way to oppose
successfully the pressure of other powerful nations upon us. For it
has been my privilege, as a long-time servant of the throne, to observe
certain of these other nations at first hand and to learn a little of
their power, which is very great.

“On another occasion I, your unworthy servant, wittingly incurred danger
of death or imprisonment, because, in the eagerness of my convictions,
I dared to suggest certain reforms to the throne. There is a saying that
the tree which bends before the gale will never be broken off but will
grow to a ripe old age, and my hope has always been for a great and
growing China. At that time princes and ministers about the throne
asked permission to subject me to a criminal investigation, but his late
majesty was pleased to spare me. Therefore my last years have been a
boon at the hand of his late majesty.”

There followed a clear, dignified statement of the urgent need for vast
reforms. His excellency recalled in detail his long years of service and
his decorations and honors. Quietly he called attention to the fact that
all, or nearly all, China was in revolt, that the throne tottered, that
to permit the government longer to be dominated by corrupt eunuchs was
an affront to modern as to ancient thought and morality. It was clear
to himself, he stated, that without a skilfully organized system of
gradual, perhaps rapid, modernization, China would soon crumble to
pieces under the heel of the greedy foreigners. And there was profound
pathos in the passing remark that perhaps his suicide, far from home,
his vast estate seized by government agents or despoiled by robbers, his
person, alone, beyond the reach of harm--safe, in fact, with the hated
foreigners--might stand as a final proof of his loyalty to the throne in
serving which his long life had been spent.

“But at the moment of leaving this world I feel that my mind is not so
clear as I could wish. The text of this my memorial is ill-written and
lacking in clarity of thought. I am no such scholar as the men of olden
times; how, then, could I face the end with the calm which they showed?
But there is a saying, ‘The words of a dying man are good.’ Though I am
about to die, it is possible that my words are not good. I can only
hope that the empress and the emperor will pity my last sad utterance,
regarding it neither as wanton babbling nor the careless complaint of a
trifling mind. Thus shall I die without regret. I wish, indeed, that my
words may prove overwrought, in order that those who come after, perhaps
more happily, may laugh at my foolishness.

“I pray the empress and the emperor to remember the example of our great
rulers of the past in tempering peace with mercy; that they may choose
only the worthy for public service; that they may refrain from striving
for those things desired by the foreigners, which would only plunge China
into deeper woe, but that by a careful study of what is good in foreign
lands they may help China to hold up her head among the nations and
bring us finally to prosperity and happiness. This is my last prayer,
the end and crown of my life.”

The junk was moving up the river as Doane finished reading, passing one
of the war-ships. The bugles were blowing again. A beam of warm sunlight
slanted in through the window of stained glass and threw a kaleidoscope
of color on the wall.

Hui Fei sat motionless, her hands folded humbly in her lap, gazing at
the floor. Her face was expressionless. She seemed wholly Oriental.

With a sigh, Deane rolled the memorial and tied it with the ribbon. The
one beneath it, he saw now, was addressed to Hui Fei. Without a word he
handed it to her and then settled to read his own. Hers was the shorter.
When she had finished she lowered it to her lap and sat motionless, as

Doane now took up the paper addressed to himself and read as follows:

“My friend, Griggsby Doane, grieve not for me, and be sure that in the
manner of my end I have had no wish to bring evil upon you. It is in a
measure sad that this end should come upon a hired junk instead of on
a plot of hallowed ground, as I would have chosen. But there was no
choice. I have waited until assured of my daughter’s safety.

“Inform the magistrate at Shanghai of my death, and see that my Memorial
to the Throne is forwarded promptly. Give to my daughter Hui Fei the
letter addressed to her. It my wish that you also should read that
letter, and I have so instructed her. It is also my wish that she should
read this letter to you. Buy for me a cheap coffin, and have it painted
black inside. The poor clothes I wear must serve, but I wish that the
soiled soles of my shoes be cut off. Twenty or thirty taels will be
ample for the coffin.

“I do not believe it will be necessary for the magistrate to hold an
inquest. Please have a coating of lacquer put on the coffin, to fill up
any cracks, and have the cover nailed down pending the throne’s decision
as to my remains. Then buy a small plot of ground near the Taoist temple
outside of Shanghai and have me buried as soon as possible. There is no
need to consider waiting for an opportunity to bury me at my ancestral
home; any place is good enough for a loyal and honest man.

“You will find about a thousand taels in my bag, also the few jewels we
found at my home. Sell the jewels and keep for yourself the balance that
will remain after my burial expenses are paid. The _laopan_ of this junk
has his money. This he will deny, and will cry for more; but do not heed

“Remember there is nothing strange or abnormal in my passing; death has
become my duty. It may be true that the historic throne of the Manchus
is rocking, is falling, but despite the understanding that has been
given to me of what is good in Western civilization I have never swayed
in my heart from loyalty to that throne and steadfast devotion to its
best interests as I can see them, and I do no less than obey the mandate
of my empress and my emperor.

“Do not grieve unduly for me. It is my wish that all of you, my friends
and family, should live happily in the life that lies before you. To
you, Griggsby Doane, out of the gratitude and admiration of my proud
heart, I give and bequeath all the little that may be left of my worldly
goods, including the money, the pitiful handful of jewels, the historic
paintings and my daughter Hui Fei. It is my wish that you will marry
her at once, and that in your best judgment you sell any or all of the
paintings to provide what money you and she may need, and also that you
and she care lovingly for the younger child. It may be better to educate
her in the Western manner, but that will be as you may decide. In the
matter of this marriage with my daughter, Hui Fei, I have sought the
opinion of each of you regarding the other. I have your assurance that
it has been your own wish. And Hui Fei informs me that she respects and
admires no man more than yourself. You will see, therefore, that I have
approached this matter in the Western spirit, and as a result I see no
reason why the marriage should be delayed or that my beloved daughter
should be left alone at the mercy of an unscrupulous world. I have
informed her, also, of my decision. My gifts to you make a most
inadequate dowry, but they are all I have. I wish for you both great
happiness and many descendants.

“And now, Griggsby Doane, my dear friend, I take my leave of you. I, at
seventy-four years of age, can claim an unsullied record. My family tree
goes back more than seven hundred years; for three centuries there have
been members of my clan in the Imperial Household or in the Government
Bureaus, and for four hundred years we have devoted ourselves to
husbandry and scholarship. For twenty-four generations my family has
borne a good name. I die now in order that a lifetime of devotion to
duty and loyalty to the throne may be consummated.”

Slowly Doane lowered the document. He could not speak; he could hardly
think. There beside him, still motionless, sat the young woman who was
now, by all the traditions of her people, abruptly his.

Dutifully, observing that he had finished reading, she gave him her
own letter; and he, in exchange, handed her his. Thus they read on. And
then, again quietly exchanging the documents, they sat without a word by
the peaceful body.

Little by little Doane’s brain cleared. It was a time, he felt--_the_
time, indeed--when all his experience, all his character and skill, must
come into use. Now, it ever, he must be wise and steady and kind. Very
gently he took her hand; it lay softly in his; she did not lift her

“We will not think of this matter now,” he said. “Our only thought must
be to carry out his plans regarding the funeral. If it shouldn’t seem
best, later, to fulfill quite all his last wishes, perhaps he, from
the other side of the barrier, will understand what he couldn’t wholly
understand while on this earth. But this I must say now---whatever
direction your life may take, try to think of me as filling, the best I
can, your father’s place. I shall hope to be your dearest friend. Lean
on me. Use me. And be sure I will understand.”

Her slim fingers tightened once again about his.

“He was a won’erful father,” she began, and choked a little.

He left her there; sent in her maid to her; himself mounted to the deck.

The sun was well up. Other junks sailed up and down the tide. A
bluff-bowed freighter, flying the Dutch flag, lay at anchor near one
of the Chinese torpedo boats that had gone over to the chaotic new
republic. The American steamers were far astern, but a motor launch
flying an officer’s flag and with blue uniforms visible under the
awning, plowed by on her way up to the city. In the distance, up ahead,
beyond the crowding masts and funnels of the steamers that came from all
the world, could be seen the buildings and spires and the smoke-haze of
European Shanghai.... The bund there, within a few hours now, would
be crowded with pony-carriages and motor-cars and over-fed tourists
riding in rickshaws drawn by ragged coolies. The hotels would be
thronging with talkative young women and drink-flushed men, all eagerly
retailing confused and inaccurate news of “the revolution”; out at the
British country club on Bubbling Well Road blond men would be
playing tennis in flannels: and the gambling houses would be brightly
illuminated until late at night, and the Chinese shopkeepers in Nanking
Road would be selling their souvenir trinkets, their useless little
boxes of coinsilver and cloisonne and damascene work and their painted
snuff-bottles and green soapstone necklaces and blue-and-white pottery
quite as if no troubles could ever arise to disturb the destiny of

Doane sighed again. The last letter of his excellency was in his hand,
held tightly; though he was not at this time aware of it. He glanced
aft, and saw Rocky Kane standing on the gallery, among the flowers,
gazing not forward toward the jangling, money-seeking, pleasure-mad city
that is the principal point of contact between the culture of the West
and that of the East, but off astern, as if endeavoring to see again the
lost Yangtze Kiang of his glowing romance.

Doane went to him; aware, then, of the paper rolled so tightly in his
hand, said--a huge figure, towering over the boy, his face sad and more
than ever deeply lined, but with a grave kindliness about the eyes:

“My boy, it is important that you and I have a talk. Suppose we sit
down.” He indicated the steamer chair; but Rocky insisted that he take
it, himself dropping heavily down on the step of the deck.

“How--how is she standing it?” he asked, his troubled eyes searching
that strong face before him.

“As well as we could ask. It is bound to be very hard for
her--especially during these next few days. But she has courage. And
she knows he would wish her not to mourn.... A matter has come up that
concerns you, Rocky”--it was the first time he had used that familiar
name; the boy’s moody eyes brightened momentarily, and a touch of color
rose in his cheeks--“and I don’t feel I can delay telling you about it.
First, you had better let me read you this.”

He had not thought, before this moment, of the necessity that he himself
make the translation for the boy. It had to be difficult; he would have
given much if the thing could have been managed in some less directly
personal way; but for that matter, difficulties lay so thickly about
him now that there was no good in so much as giving them a thought. And
so--deliberately, with great care to find the nearly precise English
equivalent of every obscure phrase--he read the letter through.

He dared not look at the boy’s face, but could not but become aware of
the hands that twitched, clasping and unclasping, in his lap, and of the
feet that at times nervously tapped the deck. When the task was done he
quietly folded the paper and slipped it into a pocket.

The silence grew long and trying. Doane searched and searched his own
still confused mind for the right, the clear word; but could not, during
these earlier moments, find it. The boy, plainly, was crushed; but
behind the clouded eyes and the knit brows an emotional storm was
gathering. Doane felt that. It had to come, of course. And it would have
to be handled.

But the first words were almost calm.

“So that”--thus the brooding youth--“so that’s how it is!”

Doane waited. After a little the boy sprang up. “But in God’s name,
why didn’t you tell me!” he cried. “You’ve let me come and talk to you!
You--This isn’t fair! You’ve made a fool of me! You--” Doane rose too.
They stood side by side among the heavily scented blossoms. Doane felt
moved to put a kindly hand on the slender shoulder beside him; but a
following thought cautioned him that even a touch would be resented at
this moment.

“I didn’t tell you,” he said, “because until I read this paper I didn’t

“But you must have known! You told--him. Told him you loved her!
Probably you’ve been telling her, too--here under my eyes. Oh, God, what
a fool I’ve been.... If you’d only been square with me!”

“This is not fair,” said Doane, still very quiet. “We must talk this
out, but not now--not while you are angry.”

“Angry! What in heaven’s name is the sense of talking it out! It’s
settled, isn’t it?”

“I’m not sure.”

“That’s not so!” The boy seemed to be recovering somewhat now from the
first shock of unreason. He turned away to hide the tears in his eyes.
“You’ve admitted to her father, if not to her, that you love her....
Oh, why didn’t I see it! Why did I have to be such an awful fool!... She
knows it now. And you know as well as I what she’ll do. She’ll never go
against her father’s last wish--never. You know that!”

“I recognize that she must be seeing it in that light now, but--”

“Oh, what’s the use of talk. You _know!_ For God’s sake, let me alone,
can’t you!”

Doane’s brows drew slowly together; but this and a note of something
near command in his voice, were the only outward indications of the
storm within his breast.

“This is not a time for either you or me to be thinking of ourselves.
You may be sure that Hui Fei will not be thinking so. And it may help
you to realize that this situation is difficult for me, as it is for
you. It is true that Hui Fei’s only thought, now, under the stress of
this sorrow, will be to submit to her father’s every wish. But this
stress will pass. There is only one course to take--”


“Listen to me! And try to meet the thing like a man. We will wait until
this sad business is over. We will at least try to give up thinking
of ourselves. I will see that Hui Fei and her sister are cared for by

“But all the time you’ll be seeing her, and--”

“I must still ask you to listen and try to think clearly. As soon as
it seems wise I will lay the situation before Hui Fei. I will try to
persuade her that her own life is, in the last analysis, more important
than even her father’s dying wish. I believe that she--would--be happier
with a young man like yourself than with an--older man. It is possible
that she can be led to see that her own happiness must be a factor in
her choice. Have you the patience and the courage to wait for that?”

He extended his hand. The boy looked at it, then up at the stem, but
still kindly face; hesitated; then, with a quivering of the lip and an
explosive--“Oh God!”--rushed away; walked very fast, almost ran, the
length of the deck; made his way through the crowded waist and around
the cook’s well; and stood, his bare head thrown proudly back, in the
prow, beside the quietly wondering _tai-kung_, staring toward the long
curving sweep of the tree-shaded bund of Shanghai as it came gradually
into view around the bend just below the city.


|THE yellow junk was now abreast the landing hulks of the great
international shipping companies just below the city. Rocky left the
bow and made his way to the after cabins without once lifting his somber
gaze to the silent figures on the poop. Slowly--his eyes wild, his
thoughts beyond control, bitterness in his heart--he moved along the dim

A puff of wind found its way through an open window; a blue curtain
swung out, discovering, through a doorway, Miss Carmichael, seated in
a chair beneath the window. It was lighter in her cabin. She had laid
aside the familiar middy blouse and skirt, and appeared to be sewing
something on her petticoat. For an instant she looked up, her eyes
meeting those of the pale youth who stood motionless in the corridor.
The curtain swung back then; but as it swung the youth stepped through
the doorway and stood within the room.

“I don’t know that I asked you in,” said she coolly.

His eyes were intent on the amazing, glistening strings of pearls that
were looped everywhere about her clothing.

Through narrowed lids she watched him, sitting very still, needle poised
just as she had drawn it through. On his young face was an expression of
firm decision that she had not before seen there. He looked oddly, now,
like his father. There was, apparently, a trace of the Kane iron in him.
The situation was of wholly accidental origin; he couldn’t have planned
it; his first expression, out in the corridor, had been of startled
surprise; the decision to step within must have been instant; yet now,
suddenly, he meant business. She caught all that.... Here, after all,
was a young man who presented difficulties.

“Take off those pearls,” said he quietly.

“You are in my room,” said she as quietly.

“I shall take the pearls when I go.”

“You’ll have my life to answer for.”

“Your life is nothing to me.”

“Your own life is.”

“Never mind about that.”

“I’ve warned you fairly.”

“Stand up.”

“You propose to take them from me by force?”

“Yes. Unless you choose to give them to me.”

“And you expect me to trust you with them.”


There was a silence.

“Of course you are stronger than I,” she observed musingly.

He offered no reply to this.

Her thin mouth curved into the faint smile that was as cold as her
calculating brain. “So”--said she “we’re enemies, then?”

This evidently did not interest him.

“I think,” she went on, quietly desperate, “that I’ll try crying and
screaming. I’m something of an actress.”

“Scream your head off,” said he, the slang phrase sounding almost
courteous in this new quiet voice of his.

“There’s not a person--alive--that could prove these pearls aren’t my
own.” Her voice dwelt on that one telling word, “alive,” with an almost
caressing note of satisfaction.

He shook his head with a touch of impatience. And she was studying him,
her quick thoughts darting sharply about---darting in every conceivable
direction--for an avenue of escape. She knew, however, as the moments
passed and the pale youth stood his ground that there was only one. She
had supposed him weak. It hardly seemed that her judgment could have
gone so far wrong.

“You’re cruel to me,” she said softly.

“Stand up.”

Now she obeyed. He drew near.

“I didn’t think you’d turn out this sort, Rocky. You liked me at first.”
 She moved a hand, hesitatingly, within reach of his own. But he ignored
it. “Aren’t we going to see each other at Shanghai? Are you just going
to be brutal with me--like this?.... I’d like to see you.”

“Will you take them off,” said he, “or must I?”

She turned to him, with curiously mixed passions coming to life in her

“Oh, my God, Rocky!” she cried very low, “haven’t you any human
feelings? Can you just come in here--into my own room--and rob me,
without a decent word?.... Haven’t I played fair with you? Haven’t I kept
out of your way? Haven’t I?....” She moved close against him, slid her
sensitively thin hands over his shoulders; looked straight up into his
eyes, almost honestly. “Rocky, don’t tell me you’re this kind!”.... She
was clinging to him now.

He caught her hands, and, without roughness but with his young strength,
removed them. She let them fall at her side.

“I’m not going to wait much longer on you,” he said.

“You’re hard as nails, Rocky.” Her underlip was quivering; her pale eyes
were a little darker, and seemed full of feeling. She turned suddenly to
the rough bed, and reached under the cover for her shopping bag. Hiding
it from him with her body, she opened it and took out the triangular
bottle; then lingered an instant to look at the clasps of the pearl cape
that were set with large, perfectly cut diamonds. There were five of the
clasps, and perhaps fifty of the sparkling, glittering stones. In value
they would vary somewhat-: but in themselves, even without the pearls,
they represented a fortune. She quietly closed the bag and replaced it
under the covers.

With the rough-edged little bottle in her hand she faced him.

“I knew a girl,” she said, with a far-away look in her eyes, “who took
five of these tablets and then lived two days. She suffered terribly,

He caught the bottle from her hand and threw it against the wall, where
it broke. The green pills rolled about the floor.

“Oh, well,” she remarked--“I can take them after you’ve gone.”

“After I’ve gone you can do as you think best.”

“But something will have to be done about me. Rocky. You’ll have to get
me ashore. And see about burying me.... And you’ll have to explain me.”

This moved him not at all. Apparently he _was_ to be one of the
Kanes--strong, pitiless, destined for success and power. There would
be weak moments; but all that her uncannily shrewd eyes saw in him.
For that matter, Miss Carmichael had known many men of the sort that
in America are termed “big”--certain of them with an unpleasant secret
intimacy--and each had possessed and (at moments) been possessed by
strong passions. It had never been wholly a matter of what is called
brain; always there had been emotional force, with a dark side as well
as a bright.

Overhead the great clumsy sails creaked. Soft feet pattered about
the deck. The nasal voices of the crew broke into a chantey. A chain

“We must be there,” said she. “We’re anchoring, I think.” And she
glanced out the window at one of the roofed-over opium hulks that lay in
those days directly opposite the bund. Finally she looked again at him.

“Very well,” she said then; and raised her arms above her head. Swiftly,
at once, he began stripping off the festoons of pearls. The only other
thing said was her remark, in a casual tone: “It’s understood that
you’re using force. And you’ll hear from it, of course.”

As soon as he had gone she slipped into her blouse and skirt. Once again
she looked thoughtfully at the radiant gems that were left to her; then
went, coolly swinging the little bag, up on deck, where certain of the
crew were already drawing around to the ladder at the side the sampan
that had been towing astern.

Rocky had gone directly, on tiptoe, to Doane’s cabin. The huge sad-faced
man was there; quick, however, with a kindly smile.

Rocky said--“I beg your pardon, sir?”--stiffly, not unlike a proud young
Briton--and from a tied-up handkerchief and bulging pockets--even from
his shirt above his tightly drawn belt--produced enormous quantities of
perfectly matched large pearls; laid them on the bed in a heap; helped
Mr. Doane make a bundle of them in a square of blue cloth.

“They are yours, sir,” he explained.

He withdrew then, with a coldness of manner that to the older man was
moving; and went out on deck to await his turn in the sampan.

Doane found a temporary home for Hui Fei and her sister at the mission
compound of his friend, Doctor Henry Withery, in the Chinese city;
himself lodging with other friends. Rocky went to the Astor House,
across Soochow Creek, which was still, in 1911, a famous stopping place
for the tourists, diplomats, military and commercial men, and all the
other more prosperous among the white travelers that pour into
Shanghai from everywhere else in the world by the great ships that plow
unceasingly the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Yellow and China
Seas; to pour out again (in peaceful times) from Shanghai by rail and
by lesser craft of the river and the coast to Hong Kong and Manila
to Hankow, to Tientsin and Peking, to Nagasaki, Kobe, Yokohoma and
Tokio.... and Shanghai had never been so crowded as now, with its
thousands of travelers detained, awaiting news from this or that
revolutionary center; with the American Marines and the British
and German sailors; with Manchu refugees swarming into the foreign
settlements; with revolutionists, queueless, wearing unaccustomed
European dress, parading everywhere.

Doane found time to call at the hotel and leave word regarding the
burial of his excellency; but was not to know that Rocky, himself,
immured in his room, gave the word that he was out and there awaited the
friendly chit that Doane sent up by the blue-robed servant. Nor was he
to know that the boy dressed carefully for the ceremony, only to
find the ordeal too great for his overstrung emotions. It was as an
afterthought, a day or two later that Doane sent him Hui Fei’s address.

It was after this sad experience that Doane, in accordance with his
promise to the late Sun Shi-pi, called on Doctor Wu Ting Fang and
offered his services to the revolutionary party. Another day and he was
hard at work, bending his strong, finely trained and experienced mind
to the great task of presenting the dreams and the activities of Young
China fairly and sympathetically to the press and the governments of the
Western World.... And so Griggsbv Doane, concealing--at moments
almost from his own inner eye--the ache in his heart, the unutterable
loneliness of his solitary existence, found himself once more fitting
into the scheme of organized human life. A grave man, with sad eyes but
with a slow kindly smile, always courteously attentive to the person and
problem of the moment, thinking always clearly and objectively out of a
comprehensively tolerant background that seemed to include all nations
and all men; a gently tactful man; a tireless, powerful figure of a man,
who could work twenty hours on end without a trace of fatigue, going
through masses of minor detail without for a moment losing his broad
view of the major problems--such was the Griggsby Doane one saw at
revolutionary headquarters during that late autumn of 1911.... Life had
caught him up. Whatever his private sorrow, the world needed him now.
Rapidly, in all that confusion, he was formulating policies, helping
to direct the current of one stream of destiny. In past years Griggsby
Doane had been discussed and forgotten. He had even been laughed at as
an unfrocked missionary by ribald, dominant, not infrequently drunken
whites along the coast. It occurred to no one to laugh at him now.

These were the days when in half the provincial capitals of China the
Manchus that had ruled during nearly three centuries were hunted to
their death, men and women alike, like vermin. Bloody heads decorated
the lamp posts that had been erected in the Western fashion beside
freshly macadamized streets. Slaughter, as in other dramatic moments in
Oriental history, had become a pastime. Palaces and wealthy homes in a
hundred cities were looted and burned, and a vast new traffic started
up in the silks and paintings and pottery and objects of art suddenly
thrown into the market.... Hankow had been taken by the imperial troops,
but was to be recaptured as a charred, gutted ruin. General Li Yuan-hung
was now “president of the Republic of China,” up at Wu Chang, by right
of military organization and popular acclaim. Admiral Sah, of the
Imperial Navy, was about to witness the unanimous mutiny of his fleet.
The great Yuan Shi-K’ai, himself a Chinese born, was in command of the
imperial troops while negotiating on either hand with the frantic throne
and the upsurging revolutionists. At Peking heads were falling and
great princes were fleeing or hiding pitifully within the walls of the
legations.... Within a few weeks Sun Yat Sen was to leave London on
his long journey eastward by way of Suez and Singapore, but without the
enormous golden treasure so confidently expected by the revolutionists.
Before his arrival, even, he was to be elected president of the new
China, in the recently captured Nanking--where a National Assembly
in cropped heads and frock coats already would be grinding out fresh
tangles of legislation.... The event was outrunning the mental
capacity of man. What was now tragic confusion would grow through the
swift-following years into tragic chaos, as the most numerous and most
nearly inert of peoples struggled out of the sluggish habit of centuries
toward the dubious light of modernity.

But through the chaos Griggsby Doane was never for a moment to lose the
new vision that had finally cleared his long troubled mind. Behind the
crumbling of the empire, underlying the torn and bleeding surface of
Chinese life, lay a tradition finer, he was to believe until his
dying day, than any so far developed in the truculent West--a delicate
responsiveness to beauty in nature and art, a reflective quality, an
instinct for peace--it was all these at once, and more; a blend of art
in living and living in art; a finish that was exquisite in concept, a
sensitiveness that lifted the soul of man above the ugly fact. Even the
brittle perfection of Chinese etiquette--regulating every passing human
contact, clothing in silken manner the naked thought--was like a fine
lacquer over the knotted wood of life... America, he felt, with all its
earnestly insistent young virtues, worshiped the fact. To the Americans
must be preached the gospel of sensitive thought, of reflective
enjoyment of the beautiful. Those old master painters of Tang and Sung
breathed beauty; it was sweet air in their lungs; whereas in America
beauty was too often like a garment to be bought in a shop and worn for
show.... Yes, this revolutionary work was a gratifying opportunity for
service, of great momentary importance because the Chinese people must
be rescued from Manchu conquerors and their eunuchs, from disease and
famine, and from ignorance of the new world that had come amazingly,
brutally, into being while the old Middle Kingdom slumbered; but it was
not the main work. The aggressively greedy West, now, with its merchants
and war-ships and armies, was destroying the soul of China even while
teaching her a smattering of the materialistic new faith. There must be
a counter-influence; as the East now so strongly felt the West, so must
be the West made sensitively aware of the East. It was fair give and
take. It might yet help the world to find a stable balance.... This was
what the difficult life of Griggsby Doane was coming to mean. The East
had crept into his heart. So he must turn back to the West.

For three days Mr. Doane’s brief chit--with the address of Hui Fei in
the native city--burned in Rocky Kane’s pocket; then, early in the third
afternoon, he went down to the Japanese steamship offices (for the keen
little brown people had already captured the Pacific traffic from the
Americans) and bought the second officer’s room on a crowded liner
leaving at the end of the week for San Francisco.... On the fourth
afternoon he called a rickshaw and rode out beyond the American
post-office to the address the older man had given him.

But Mr. Doane, it appeared, was not in; already he was established at
Doctor Wu’s revolutionary headquarters. Rocky considered driving there;
even took the address and rode part of the way: but reconsidered,
returned to the hotel, and sent a messenger to Hui Fei with this chit:

“_I’m sailing Saturday. Do you feel that you could see me for a few

The reply, within the hour, bade him come. He found her in Western
dress---a tailored suit, very simple; her glistening black hair parted
smoothly--as he would always most vividly remember it--gently sad in
manner, yet able to smile. She would be like that, come to think of
it; not crushed by the tragedy, not sunken in the grief that, among
Westerners, is so often a sort of histrionic egotism.... They sat in a
tiled courtyard among dahlias. More than ever like a proud young Briton
was Rocky.

“It is good of you to see me.” Thus he began.... “I couldn’t go without
a word.”

She murmured then: “Of course not.”

“I want you to know, too, that I am coming to see”--he had to pause;
in this new phase of sober young manhood he had not yet achieved steady

She broke the silence with a question about the revolution. It is to
his credit that he talked, stumbling only at first, clearly. And as the
strain of the meeting gradually relaxed, he became aware of her sobered
but still intense absorption in the struggle; aware, too, increasingly,
of her strong gift of what is called personality. Her mind was quick,
bright, eager--better, it seemed (he had to fight bitterness here)
than his own. And she was impersonal to a degree that he couldn’t yet
attain--couldn’t, in fact, quite understand. He had to speak slowly and
carefully; feeling his way with a dogged determination among uprushing
emotions, moved as never before by the charm of appearance and
manner and speech of which she was so prettily unconscious.... He had
come--perhaps with more than a touch in him of (again) that Western
histrionism, the intense overstressing of the individual and his
feelings--as a man who was effacing himself that the woman he loved
might be happy with another man. Confused with this wholly unconscious
call upon the sympathies, undoubtedly, was an unphrased incredulity that
she--so strongly a person, fine and courageous and outstanding as he
knew her to be--could accept this being almost casually left as part
of a legacy to that other man. It was incredible. Unless she loved
the other man.... So he came around again to the personal; unaware, of
course, that he was feeling inevitably with his strongly individualistic
race. Even when she dwelt on race, a little later in their talk, he
found no light. He couldn’t have; for the American seldom can see what
lies outside himself.

“I don’ know yet what I can do,” she was saying, very honestly and
simply (they hadn’t yet mentioned Mr. Doane). “Of course I’m a Manchu,
after all. An’ blood does coun’. I feel that. A good many people to-day
talk differen’ly, I know. We saw a good ‘eal of Socialism at college.
The idealists to-day--the Jews an’ Russians an’ even some of our Chinese
students--the younger men--talk as if race doesn’ matter. But of course
it does. It will ta’ thousan’s of years, I suppose, to bring the races
together. An’ maybe it’s impossible. Maybe it can’ be done at all. I
think tha’s the tragedy of so much of this beautiful dreaming.... An’
here you see I’m a Manchu, an’ yet I wan’ the Manchus put out of China.
Because they won’ let China grow. An’ China mus’ grow, or die.”

He was moodily watching her; head bowed a little, gazing out under knit
brows. “Do you know,” he said, “it’s a queer thing to say, of course,
but sometimes you make me feel terribly young.”

She smiled faintly. “You are--rather young, Rocky.”

He closed his eyes and compressed his lips; his name, on her lips, was
dangerously thrilling music to him. After a moment he went doggedly on.

“The crowds I’ve gone with at home haven’t talked about these things.
They wouldn’t think it good form.”

“I know,” said she. “They woul’n’.”

“I’m beginning to wonder if we’re--well, intelligent, exactly. You
know--just motors and horses and girls and bridge and ‘killings’ in Wall

“Killings?” Her brows were lifted.

“Oh--picking up a lot of money, quick.”

“That,” she mused, “is what I sometimes worry about. You know, I love
America. I have foun’ happiness there. I love the books an’ the colleges
and the freedom an’ all the goo’ times. But it is true, I think--money
is God in America. Pipple don’ like to have you say it, of course. But
I’m afraid it is true. Ever’-thing has to come to money--the gover’men’,
the churches, ever’thing. I have seen that. That is the hard side of
America. I don’ like that so well.” Finally--coming down, helplessly,
on the personal, yet with a courageous light in Ins eyes--he said: “I
do want you to know this--Hui. You won’t mind my speaking of my love for

Her hand moved a very little way upward. “Please! I can’t help that.
It’s my life now. I’m full of you. And it has changed me. I’m--I’m
going back.... I’m going at things differently. I want you to know that.
Because if I hadn’t met you it couldn’t possibly have happened. And if I
hadn’t--well, learned what it means to love a wonderful girl like you. I
want you to know how big the change is that you’ve made.”

“Rocky,” she said gently--“will you do something for me?” He
waited.... “I wan’ you to go back to college.”

“I’ve already made up my mind to that,” he replied, more quietly. “It’s
the job for me now. It’s the next thing.”

“I’m glad,” said she. “An’ I’d love it if you’d write to me sometimes.”

He inclined his head.

Then, for a moment, his old turbulent inner self unexpectedly (even to
himself), lifted its head.

“I tried to see Mr. Doane--that is, I thought perhaps I ought to tell
him that I was coming out here.”

She seemed slightly puzzled at this. Her lips framed questioningly the
words: “Tell him?”

“I--I perhaps can’t say much--but I’m sure you and he will be happy.
I--oh, he’s a big man. He’s terribly busy now, of course--you know what
he’s doing--at Wu Ting Fang’s headquarters?”

She inclined her head rather wearily, saying: “He wrote me a ver’ kin
note--jus’ to say that he was busy.”

“They talk about him some at the hotel. All of a sudden he seems to be a
power here.”

She went without a further word into the house, returning with a slip
of paper. Into her manner had crept at the mention of Doane’s name,
a gentler, more wistful quality that she seemed not to think of
concealing; it was even a confiding quality, intimately friendly.

“I don’ quite un’erstand it,” she said. “A gen’leman called from the
Hong Kong Bank an’ lef’ this.”

Rocky read the paper; a receipt for a sealed parcel of pearls and for
other separate jewels and a sum of money.

“Oh--he put it all there in your name,” said he, while a sudden new hope
rose into his drying throat and throbbed in his temples.

“Yes. It puzzle’ me--a little.”

He turned the paper over and over in his fingers, once again struggling
to think.... She sat motionless, gazing at the dahlias.

Blindly then he groped for her hands, found them and impulsively gripped

“Hui”--he whispered huskily--“tell me--if it’s like this--if you--if
he.... All this time I’ve supposed you and he were.... I want you to come
with me to America. We both do love it there. I’ll give up my life to
making you happy. I’ll slave for you. I’ll make of my life what you say.
just let us try it together....”

She silently heard him out--through this and much more, leaving her
hands quietly in his. Finally then, when the emotional gust seemed in
some measure to have spent itself, she said, gently:

“Rocky, I wan’ you to listen to what I’m going to tell you. You said I
make you feel young. Well--can’ you see why? Can’ you see that I’m quite
an ol’ lady?”

“But that’s nonsense! You--” His eyes were feasting on her soft skin and
on the exquisite curve of her cheek.

“No--you mus’ listen! First tel me how old you are.”

Unexpectedly on the defensive, Rocky had to compose himself, arrange his
dignity, before he could reply. “I was twenty-one in the summer.”

“Ver’ good. An’ I was twenty-five in the spring.”


“Please! I don’ know what you coul’ have thought--how young you thought
I was when I wen’ to college. But tha’s the way it is. I’m an ol’ lady.
I have learn’ to like you ver’ much. I’m fond of you. I wan’ to feel
always tha’ we’re frien’s. But we coul’n’ be happy together. Our
interes’ aren’ the same--they coul’n’ be. Can’ you see, Rocky? If there
is something abou’ me tha’ stirs you--that is ver’ won’erful. But we
mus’n’ let it hurt you. An’ that isn’ the same as marriage. Marriage is
differen’--there mus’ be so much in common--if a man an’ woman are to
live together an’ work together, they mus’ think an’ hope an’....”

Her voice died out. She was gazing again, mournfully at the dahlias.
When he released her hands they lay limp in her lap.

With a great effort of will he wished her every happiness, promised to
write, and got himself away.

This was on Thursday. Rocky walked at a feverish pace from the native
city to the European settlement that was so quaintly not Chinese--more,
with its Western-style buildings that were decorated with ornamental
iron balconies and richly colored Chinese signs, like a “China-town” in
an American city--and wandered for a time along Nanking Road; then out
to Bubbling Well Road; away out, past the Country Club to the almost
absurdly suburban quarter with its comfortably British villas; seeing,
however, little of the busy life that moved about him, threading his
way over cross-streets without a conscious glance at the motorcars and
pony-drawn victorias (with turbanned mafoos cracking their whips) and
bicycles and the creaking passenger wheelbarrow’s on which fat native
women with tiny stumps of feet rode precariously. For those few hours
were to be recalled in later years as the quietly darkest in the young
man’s life. There was no question now of dissipation; he knew with the
decisiveness of the Kanes that he had turned definitely away from the
morbid oblivion of alcohol and opium, as from the unhealthy if exciting
diversion of loveless women. But the bitterness would not down all at
once. Indeed it was savagely powerful, still, to cloud his reason. The
only evidence of victory over self of which he was aware was the fact
that he could now look almost objectively at himself, and could fight.

He was back at the hotel between seven and eight, but couldn’t eat.
For an hour he walked his room, locked in. Then, in sheer loneliness, a
little afraid of himself, he went down to the spacious lounge and sat
in a corner, behind a palm, staring at a copy of the _China Press_ and
listening, all overstrung nerves, to the cackle and laughter of the
self-centered tourists and the curiously bold and loud commercial men
from across the Pacific. He heard this, in his younger way, as Doane
would have heard it, even as Hui; it was all heedless, light-brained;
careless.... Confused with the bitterness (in a bewildering degree) was a
sense of the finely reflective atmosphere that had lately enveloped him
and that he was not to lose easily. He felt--sitting, all nerves, in
this babel--the fine old Chinese gentleman who had gone serenely to the
death that was his destiny. He felt--constantly, intensely--the princess
who had brought to her American college an instinct for culture the like
of which neither he nor any of his friends at home had brought or found
there. And he felt Mr. Doane--felt a spaciousness of mind in the man, a
patience, a tolerance--felt him as a gentleman--felt him while still,
in his heart, he was bitterly fighting him.... The thing had closed over
his head--the sheer quality of these remarkable folk. He was simply out
of a cruder world. He hadn’t the right to stand with them--the simple
right of character and breeding. And no amount of determination, no
amount of storming at it could alter the fact. It would take years of
patient work. Ever, then he might miss it; for his environment soon
again would be that of the cackling tourists he now hated. Even at
college it would be all the dominant athletics, the parties and the
motors and girls and drinking, the association with those sons of
prosperous families who were all consciously cementing alliances
with the financial upper class that quietly ruled America while hired
politicians prated and performed without in the smallest measure
controlling or even altering the blatant facts.... He and his kind, at
college, despised the “grind.” And you had to be a grind if you weren’t
the other thing. Yet Hui Pei had managed it differently. She was neither
and both. It seemed to be a difference of mental texture....

A slim girl, richly dressed, with a sable wrap about her shoulders and
a pretty little hat, was threading her way among the crowding chairs and
tables and the talkative groups in the lounge. He glanced up: then looked
closely. It was Dixie Carmichael. She stood before him, wearing her icy,
faintly mocking smile. He rose.

“How are you?” said she.

He could only incline his head with a sort of courtesy, and contrive an
artificial smile. He seemed to have been dreaming, outrageously. Life
had begun now’.

“I’m running down to Singapore,” said she. “Friends there. And a

“Oh,” he murmured, “indeed.” She looked out-and-out rich; and she was
surprisingly pretty, without a sign that she had ever known danger or
even care.

“Staying here?” she asked.

“No. I start back home Saturday.”

“So?.... Well, that’ll be pleasant.” With a final glance of what seemed
almost like triumph she sailed away. And he knew that in taking the
pearls he had not taken all from her. Apparently, too, she meant him to
know it. That would be her moment of triumph. And that was all; not
a word was spoken regarding his violence or her threats.... He saw the
yellow porters carrying out her luggage of bright new leather.

He resumed his seat; twitched for a time with increasing nervousness;
got up and went aimlessly over to the desk; asked the Malay clerk for

A smiling little Japanese appeared, rather officious about a great lot
of bags and a trunk or two that were coming in. He had a familiar look;
even raised his hat and stepped forward with outstretched hand. It was
Kato.... And then Dawley Kane came in--tall, quiet, neatly dressed, his
nearly white mustache newly cropped.

To his pale son Dawley Kane said merely--“Well!”--as he took his hand;
and then was busy registering. That done, he asked: “Had dinner?” Rocky
shook his head. “I don’t care for any.” Daw ley Kane’s quietly keen eyes
surveyed his son. “What’s the matter? Not well.”

“I’m well enough.”

“Sit down with me, can’t you?” And turning to the attending Japanese he
said: “You’ll excuse me Kato. I’ll be dining with my son. And tell Mr.
Braker, please.... Just a minute. Rocky, till I wash my hands.”

They were shown to a table in the great diningroom, where the cackling
was louder than in the lounge (they dine late on the coast)--where
blue-gowned waiters moved softly about as if there had never been a
revolution and wine glasses glistened and prettily bared shoulders
gleamed roundly under the electric lights.

And Rocky, seated gloomily opposite this powerful quiet man--who took
him unerringly in of course; dishearteningly, Rocky felt--found himself
in a depression deeper than any he had known before. His father was so
strong and he brought back with him the enveloping atmosphere of the
mighty, splendidly successful white world in which they both belonged--a
world that crushed the heart out of weaker peoples while it blandly
talked the moralities. He felt it as a Juggernaut. It had the amazingly
successful racial blend of character and plausibility. That would be the
British quality; and, more roughly and confusedly, the American.

“Getting rather interesting up the river.” remarked Dawley Kane, over
his soup. “How’d you get down?”

“On a junk.”

“Any trouble?”


“Been here long?”

“Several days. I’m sailing Saturday.”

“Sailing?” Mr. Kane raised his eyebrows. “Where?”


“You decided not to consult me?”

“Oh.... Don’t ride me, father! It’s the next thing. I’m going back to

“Oh--I see.” Mr. Kane looked over the menu, ordered his roast, and
selected a red wine, cautioning the waiter to set it near the stove for
five minutes. “It’s wicked to heat Burgundy,” he said, when the waiter
had gone, “but it’s the only way you can get it served at the right
temperature. I discovered that when we were here before.... I gather, my
boy, that you’ve come to your senses in the matter of that little yellow

Rocky did not wince outwardly; he merely sat still. But his mind, at
last, was active. And he knew--saw it in a flash--that no explanation
he could possibly make, would be intelligible. You can not--yet--talk
across the gulf between the worlds. It was his first intelligent glimpse
of the tremendous fact that Doane had so long and so clearly felt
and seen. So he merely--at last, when his father looked closely at
him--inclined his head and said, huskily:

“I’m going to work out this college business’. That’s my job clear

This new attitude was to bring, later in the evening, confidences from
the father.

“It’s been an interesting journey for me, Rocky.” Thoughtfully Dawley
Kane smoked his Manila cigar.

“It’s enabled me to understand somewhat the delicate international
situation out here. I couldn’t see why our agents weren’t accomplishing
more. The trouble is, of course, that every square foot of China’s
staked out by the European nations. If you don’t believe that, just get
a concession from the Chinese Government--for a big job--water power
development, mining, railway building, or an industrial monopoly--that
part of it isn’t so hard--and then try to carry it through. You’d find
out fast enough who are the real owners of China. And those owners would
never let you start. Great Britain controls this great empire of the
Yangtze Valley as completely as she controls India. France owns the
south--Russia the northwest and the north--Japan, from Korea and
Lower Manchuria is penetrating the northwest, too; they’re bound, the
Japanese, to tip Russia out one of these days, and they’re very clever
and patient about slipping into the British regions. They’ve got
the Germans to contend with, too, in the Kiochow region. But
someday--either in the event of the final break-up of China or in the
event of the European nations coming to an out-and-out squabble (which
is almost a certainty, at that) Japan will be found to have pulled off
most of the big prizes for herself. We’ll have to fight Japan someday,
I suppose--over the control of the Pacific--but in the meantime, those
little people are the best bet. They know the East as the rest of us
don’t, they’re clever, and their diplomats aren’t hampered by the sort
of half-enlightened public opinion that’s always tripping us up in the
West--sentimental idealism, that sort of thing--and they control
their press infinitely better than we do. They’ve got everything,
the Japanese, except money. And we’ve got the money. It’ll be just a
question of security, that’s all; and watching them pretty closely. I’ve
made up my mind to play it that way.... A survey of the actual conditions
out here makes our American diplomacy look pretty naive. We talk
idealism--open door and all--while all the rest of them are moving in
and setting up shop and getting the money.”

Later, in Dawley Kane’s spacious suite overlooking the park-like street
where the colored lanterns of the rickshaws glowed pleasantly under
the trees, the father said, laying a hand affectionately on the boy’s

“I can’t tell you how happy you’ve made me, Rocky. It looks as if you’d
turned your corner. Just don’t go in for too much thinking about what
you’ve been through. There’s nothing in remorse. As a matter of fact,
a little rough experience is a good thing for a boy. After you get your
balance you’ll be all the closer to life for it.... Go ahead with your
college plans, get your degree, and then after a year or two in the New
York office I’ll bring you out here. We shall be playing for big stakes.
And we shall need good men.... That’s the whole problem, really--the
men. I had my eyes on this man Doane, but he turned out to be only a
sentimentalist after all.”

It was the hopelessness of it that drove Rocky out--after a respectful
good night--and over to the revolutionary headquarters. He knew that
Mr. Doane worked most of the night; and took what sleep he got on a cot


|HE sent in his name, and waited for an hour in an outer office. For
even at this late hour in the evening headquarters was a busy place.
Chinese gentlemen crowded in and out, dressed, to a man, in the frock
coats and the flapping black trousers they didn’t know how to wear. High
officers slipped quietly in and out--in khaki, with the white
brassard of the Revolution on their left arms; sometimes with merely
a handkerchief tied there Orderlies and messengers came and went. And
clerks of untiring patience sat at desks.

It was a difficult hour. Rocky had only his confused emotions to guide
him, and his hurt heart There were moments, even, when he didn’t know
why he had come. But he never thought of giving up. Whatever their
curious relations, he had to see Mr. Doane, who was now the only stable
figure in the rocking world about him. The man had been fine--square.
That he knew now. And his nervous young imagination was veering toward
hero-worship. He was utterly humble.

Naturally he was boyish about it, when they finally led him into that
inner office. He said, flushing a little:

“I know you’re busy, Mr. Doane--”

“Not too busy for you. I kept you waiting to clear up a lot of things.”
 The man’s great size and calmness of manner--the question rose; had he
ever in his life known weariness?--were comforting.

“I’m--sailing Saturday.”

This, for a brief moment, brought the kindly though strong and sober
face to immobility.

“You see, sir, I’ve come to feel that the best thing for me is to go
back and---start clean.”

A slight mist came over Doane’s eyes. What a struggle the boy had had
of it! And how splendidly he was working through!.... Thought came about
the children of the rich in America... the problem of it....

“I--couldn’t go without seeing you. You see, sir, it’s you, I guess,
that’ve put me on my feet. I sort of--well, I want you to know that
I _am_ on them. It’s been a strange experience, all round. A terrible
experience, of course. It shakes you....”

“It has shaken me, too,” Doane observed simply.

“I know. That is, I see all that more clearly now. I was going to speak
of it--it’s one of the things, but first.... Mr. Doane, will you write to
me? Once in a while? I mean, will you--could you find time to answer if
I write to you? You see, it isn’t going to be easy, over there. I’ve got
to go clean outside my own crowd. And outside my family. They won’t one
of them understand what I’m up to. Not one. And--when you come right
down to it, I suppose it’s a question whether the thing licks me or not.
But”--his shoulders squared; he looked directly into that kind, deeply
shadowed face--“I don’t believe it will lick me!”

“No,” said Doane, “it won’t lick you.”

“I shall never be able to shake China off now. It’s got me. And I don’t
know a thing about it yet Of course I shall be reading and studying it

“I’ll send you a book once in a while.”

“And I know I’m coming back out here someday. But it won’t be as my
father wants me to come. You see, I’ll have money.”

“A great responsibility, Rocky.”

“I know. I’m beginning to see that. But--I know all this must sound
pretty young to you!--but I’m afraid I shall be leaning on you

“Write to me at those times.”

“All right. I will.”

“There is an amazing health in the American people.”

“Yes--that’s so, of course.”

“It’s a curiously blundering people, of course. And there’s a hard,
really a Teutonic strain--that blend of practical hard-headedness, even
of cruelty, with sentimentality--”

Rocky’s brows came together. Mr. Doane and his father plainly didn’t use
that word “sentimental” in the same sense, “--it comes down to a strain
of--well, something between the old Anglo-Saxonism and the modern
Prussianism. It’s in us--in our driving business tactics, our narrow
moral intolerance, our insistence on standardizing vulgar ideas--forcing
every individual into a mold--in our extraordinary glorification of the
salesman. We seem to have a good deal both of the British complacency
and the rough aggressiveness of the German. But the health is
there--wonderfully. What America needs is beauty--not the self-conscious
swarming after it of earnest and misguided suburban ladies--but a quiet
sense of the thing itself. Beauty--and simplicity--and patience--and
tolerance--and faith. Prosperity has for the moment wrecked faith there.
Simply too much money. But you’ll find health growing up everywhere.
Just let yourself grow with it. You’ve been deeply impressed by China.
But if I were you, I’d let all that take care of itself. Never mind what
you may come to feel next year or ten years from now. It may be mainly
China or mainly America. Just work, and let yourself grow.”

At the door they clasped hands warmly. And then, finally, Rocky got to
the point:

“Mr. Doane--this is what I wanted to say--I saw Hui Fei this afternoon,

Doane was silent; but still gripped his hand, “--and we talked things
all out. She knows I’m--knows I’m going back. And--this is it.... You
don’t mind my.... I think you ought to find time to go over there and see
her. She seems puzzled about--I don’t know quite how to say all this.
You know how I’ve felt--feel.... Of course, the thing is to look the
facts in the face. I hope I’m man enough to do that.” His voice was
unsteady now. “I’m not the one. I never was. She was dear about it,
to-day, but... I think you ought to see her. Oh, I’m sure it isn’t just
her father’s will....”

Rocky found himself, without the slightest sense of ungentleness on the
part of Mr. Doane, through the door and confusedly saying his good-by
before the patient clerks and the waiting crowd in the anteroom. He
walked back to the hotel with a warm glow of admiration and friendship
in his heart. There would be--he knew, even then--sad hours, probably
bitter hours, in the long struggle to come. But this talk was going to

On Doane the boy’s announcement had an almost crushing effect. His
spirit was not adjusted to happiness. The terrific strain of the work
was a blessing. He framed, that night and during the following day,
innumerable little chits to Hui Fei--pretexts, all, for a visit that
needed no pretext. And the day passed. Self-consciousness was upon him;
and a constant mental difficulty in making the situation credible. And
there was the pressure of time; an awareness that to Hui Fei--perhaps
even to the Witherys--his silence would soon demand a stronger
explanation than the mere pressure of business. He had to keep reminding
himself that the girl was helpless, that he himself was the only
guardian whose authority she could recognize; his reason whispering from
moment to moment that she would not touch the money he had so promptly
put at her disposal. No, she would wait.

It was his old friend Henry Withery who brought him to it; appearing
late on the Saturday afternoon, determined to drag him off for
dinner.... Withery, looking every one of his forty-eight years, patient
resignation in the dusty blue eyes, and a fine net of wrinkles about
them. His slight limp was the only reminder of tortures inflicted by the
Boxers in 1900, out in Kansuh. He had taken over the T’ainan-fu mission
for a year after Doane left the church in 1907; and during two years now
had been here in Shanghai.

“There’s no good killing yourself here, Grig,” he said. “We’ve not had
ten minutes with you yet, remember. And we must talk over that girl’s
affairs. She’s very sweet about it, but it’s plain that she’s waiting on

His tone was genial; quite the tone of their earlier friendship, with
nothing left of the constraint that had come into their relationship
during Doane’s difficult years on the river--the years that couldn’t
be explained, even to old friends.... And Withery knew nothing of the
curious personal problem of his and Hui Fei’s lives. His manner made
that clear.... It remained to be seen whether Mrs. Withery knew.

.... Doane, it will be noted, was still struggling, as of settled habit,
with the thought of freeing the girl from the obligation laid upon her.

But Mrs. Withery didn’t know, didn’t dream. She was quite her
whole-souled self. He might have been Hui Fei’s father, from anything in
her manner. He felt a conspirator.

Her father’s tragic end accounted altogether for the girl’s silence. She
met him naturally, though, with a frank grip of the hand.

It was a pleasant enough family dinner. They talked the revolution,
of course. No one in Shanghai at the beginning of that November talked
anything else. Hui Fei quietly listened; her face very sober in repose.
She seemed--she had always seemed--more delicately feminine in Western
costume. She was more slender now; her face a perfect oval under
the smooth, deep-shadowed hair. Her dark eyes, deep with stoically
controlled feeling, rested on this or that speaker. Doane found them
once or twice resting thoughtfully on himself.

After dinner Mrs. Withery, with a glance at her husband, laid a
sympathetic hand on Hui’s shoulder.

“My dear,” she said, all friendly sympathy, “Mr. Doane’s time is
precious, these days and nights. I know that you should take this
opportunity to talk over your problems with him. I shall be bustling
about here--suppose you take him out into the courtyard.”

Without a word they walked out there; stood by a gnarled tree whose
twisted limbs extended over the low tiled roofs. There was a little
light from the windows. The long silence that followed was the most
difficult moment yet. Doane found himself breathing rather hard. In Hui
Fei he felt the calm Oriental patience that underlay all her Western
experiences. She simply waited for him to speak.

He looked down at her, quite holding his breath. She seemed almost frail
out here, in the half light. He was fighting, with all his strength and
experience, the warm sweet feelings that drugged his brain.

“My dear--” he began; then, when she looked frankly up at him,
hesitated. He hadn’t known he was going to begin with any such phrase as
that. He got on with it.... “I’m wondering how I can best help you. If I
were a younger man there would be no question as to what I would have to
say to you.” Utterly clumsy, of course; with little light ahead; just a
dogged determination to serve her without hurting her.

“I think a good ‘eal of wha’ they tell me you’re doing”--thus Hui Fei,
in a low but clear voice; not looking up now. “I’ve almos’ envied you.
Helping li’ that.”

“It must be hard for you--with all your mental interests--to sit quietly

“My min’ goes on, of course,” she said. “Yes, it isn’ ver’ easy.”

This was getting them nowhere. Doane, after a deep breath, took command
of the situation. Sooner or later he would have to do that.

“Hui, dear,” he said now--very quietly, but directly, “this is a
difficult situation for both of us. The only thing, of course, is to
meet it as frankly as we can. I learned to love your father--”

She glanced up at this; her eyes glistened as the light caught them.

“--but we can not blindly follow his wishes. He had seen and felt the
West, but he died a Manchu.”

Her soft lips framed the one word, “Yes.” The softness of her whole
face, indeed, was disconcerting; it was all sober emotion, that she
plainly didn’t think of trying to hide.

“And I’m sure you’ll understand me when I tell you that I can not accept
his legacy.”

She startled him now with the low but direct question: “Why not?”

“My dear....” He found difficulty in going on.

“I don’ know what I ought ‘o say.” He barely heard this; stopped a
little. “I don’ know wha’ to do.”

“Can’t you, dear--isn’t there some clear vision in your heart--don’t you
see your way ahead? Remember, you will always have me to help--if I can
help. It will mean everything to me to be your dearest friend.”

“I want ‘o work with you,” she murmured.

“I haven’t dared believe that possible,” he said thoughtfully.

“Do you wan’ me to?”

“Yes. But it has to be clearer than that.” He was stupid again; he
sensed it himself. “There is so much of life ahead of you. It’s got to
be clear that wherever your heart may lead you, child--that you shall
have my steady friendship. The rest of it can grow as it may.”

“I wan’....” He couldn’t make out the words; he bent down close to her
lovely face. “I want ‘o marry you.”

They both stood breathless then. Timidly her hand crept into his and
nestled there.

“Tha’s the trouble”--her voice was a very little stronger--“there isn’
anything else. It’s ever’thing you think an’ do--ever’thing you believe.
We’re both between the worl’s, so....”

The noise in his brain was like the pealing of cathedral bells at
Christmas time. Yet in this rush of ecstatic feeling he suddenly saw
clearly. The fabric of their companionship had hardly begun weaving.
All his experience, his delicacy, his fine human skill, must be employed
here. Ahead lay happiness! It was still nearly incredible.... And
there lay--extending before them in a long vista--their intense common
interest. The thing was to make a fine success of it. Build through the

And happiness was greatly important. He had so nearly missed it....
Looking up through the branches of the old tree, he smiled.

Then he led her into the house.

“Have you had your talk already?” asked Mrs. Withery pleasantly.

“We’ve settled everything,” said Doane. “We’re going to be married.”

“Very soon,” said Hui Fei.


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