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Title: Working my Way Around the World
Author: Franck, Harry Alverson, Franck, Lena M.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                             WORKING MY WAY
                            AROUND THE WORLD

[Illustration: HARRY A. FRANCK]


                              REWRITTEN BY
                             LENA M. FRANCK



                                NEW YORK
                            THE CENTURY CO.

                          Copyright, 1918, by
                            THE CENTURY CO.

                      _Published, September, 1918_

                              DEDICATED TO
                      ALL YOUNG FIRESIDE TRAVELERS

                      Still, as my Horizon grew,
                      Larger grew my riches, too.



           CHAPTER                                      PAGE

                 I “CROSSIN’ THE POND WI’ THE BULLOCKS”    3

                II “ON THE ROAD” IN THE BRITISH ISLES      7

               III IN CLEAN HOLLAND                       12

                IV NOT WELCOME IN THE FATHERLAND          17

                 V TRAMPING THROUGH FRANCE                24

                VI CLIMBING OVER THE ALPS                 29

               VII IN SUNNY ITALY                         32

              VIII AMONG THE ARABS                        56

                IX A LONELY JOURNEY                       75

                 X CITIES OF OLD                          82

                XI THE WILDS OF PALESTINE                106

               XII CAIRO AND THE PYRAMIDS                129

              XIII A TRIP UP THE NILE                    146

               XIV STEALING A MARCH ON THE FAR EAST      164


               XVI THE MERRY CIRCUS DAYS                 194

              XVII THREE WANDERERS IN INDIA              204

             XVIII THE WAYS OF THE HINDU                 216

               XIX IN THE HEART OF INDIA                 224

                XX BEYOND THE GANGES                     242

               XXI TRAMPING THROUGH BURMA                250

              XXII IN THE JUNGLES OF BURMA               265

             XXIII IN SIAM                               276

              XXIV HUNGRY DAYS                           287


              XXVI ON THE WAY TO HONG-KONG               316

             XXVII WANDERING IN JAPAN                    322

            XXVIII HOMEWARD BOUND                        332

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

 Harry A. Franck                                          _Frontispiece_


 A baker’s cart of Holland on the morning round                       14

 Boundary line between France and Germany                             21

 My entrance into Paris                                               22

 The Bridge of Sighs                                                  39

 My gondolier on the Grand Canal                                      41

 Country family returning from market                                 49

 Italian peasants returning from the vineyards to the
   village                                                            53

 The lonely, Bedouin-infected road over the Lebanon                   76

 On the road between Haifa and Nazareth I met a road
   repair gang                                                        98

 The shopkeeper and traveling salesman with whom I spent
      two nights and a day on the lonely road to
   Jerusalem                                                         117

 The Palestine beast of burden                                       119

 A woman of Alexandria, Egypt, carrying two bushels of
    oranges                                                          130

 An abandoned mosque outside the walls of Cairo                      132

 An Arab café in Old Cairo                                           134

 Sais or carriage runners of Cairo, clearing the streets
   for     their master                                              138

 An Arab gardener                                                    140

 Egypt—A young Arab climbing down the pyramid                        142

 On the top of the largest pyramid                                   143

 A trip to the pyramids                                              144

 “Along the way shadoofs were ceaselessly dipping up the
      water”                                                         147

 The Egyptian fellah dwells in a hut of reeds and mud                156

 Soudan steamer on the Nile                                          160

 Arab passengers on the Nile steamer                                 162

 A Singhalese woman stops often to give her children a
    bath                                                             182

 The yogi who ate twenty-eight of the bananas at a
   sitting                                                           187

 The thatch roof at the roadside                                     190

 I take a last ’rickshaw ride before taking the steamer
   for     India                                                     205

 “Haywood” snaps me as I am getting a shave in
   Trichinopoly                                                      209

 The Hindu street-sprinkler does not lay much dust                   228

 I do a bit of laundry work                                          235

 A lady of Delhi out for a drive in a bullock cart                   240

 The chief of a jungle village agrees to guide us for one
       day’s journey                                                 267

 A freight carrier crossing the stream that separates
   Burma     from Siam                                               277

 My companion, Gerald James of Perth, Australia, crossing
       the boundary line between Burma and Siam                      279

 The sort of jungle through which we cut our way for
   three     weeks                                                   292

 Myself after four days in the jungle, and the Siamese
   soldiers     who invited us to eat a frog and lizard
   supper                                                            297

 An elephant, with a Mahout dozing on his head, was
   advancing     toward us                                           307

 Bangkok is a city of many canals                                    317

 My ’rickshaw man                                                    322

 Numadzu                                                             323

 Some street urchins near Tokio                                      325

 Osaka                                                               326

 Horses are rare in Japan                                            328

 Japanese children playing in the streets of Kioto                   329

 Women do most of the work in the rice-fields of Japan               330

 Yokohama decorated in honor of Secretary Taft’s party               334

 A Yokohama street decorated for the Taft party                      338


                               CHAPTER I
                  “CROSSIN’ THE POND WI’ THE BULLOCKS”

After spending some sixteen years in schools and colleges, I decided,
one spring, to take a year off and make a trip around the world. I had
no money for such a journey; but that didn’t matter for I meant to “work
my way” from place to place. I spoke French and German, and had some
knowledge of Spanish and Italian. I believed that if I had to work among
the people of foreign countries I would learn more of them and of their
languages than in any other way. So I was not sorry that I had to start
my journey with only my camera and one hundred and four dollars for

As a beginning I had arranged to cross the Atlantic on a cattle-boat in
the employ of a company in Walkerville, Canada. This company ships
thousands of cattle to the markets of England every year. When I asked
for a job as cattleman, they employed me at once. So it happened that on
the eighteenth of June, 1904, I crossed the Detroit River to Canada, and
walked two miles to the Walkerville cattle-barns. From the long rows of
low brick buildings sounded now and then a deep bellow, or the song or
whistle of a stock feeder at his labor. I left my bag at the office and
joined the crew in the yard.

The cattlemen had already begun driving the cattle from the stables. It
was no easy task. As soon as they were free, the sleek animals began to
prance, to race, and to bellow, leading the stockmen a merry chase all
around the yard. Little by little, however, the men managed to urge them
slowly up the chute into the waiting cars. The setting sun had reddened
the western sky, and darkness had fallen in the alleyways between the
endless stables, before the last bull was tied and the last car door
locked. The engine gave a warning whistle. We who were to care for the
stock on the way raced to the office for our bundles, tossed them on top
of the freight-cars, and climbed aboard after them.

The train began to move. The stockmen left behind called out farewells
to their friends who were “crossin’ the pond wi’ the bullocks”: “So
long, Jim.” “Don’t fergit that smokin’ tobacco for me, Bob.” And we were

After a short run we came to the main line of the Canadian Pacific. Here
our cars were joined to a long train that was being made up. We were to
travel in the caboose. As we came into the glare of the tail lights,
carrying our bundles and long poles, the trainmen saw us, and began
growling: “Huh! more cow-punchers!”

We rode for thirty-six hours. When we reached Montreal at last, we left
the stock to the care of the feeders at the railroad pens, and went at
once to the “Stockyards Hotel”—a building filled from bar-room to garret
with the odor of cattle.

Where were we going, and when? Up to this time I had not even learned on
what ship we were to sail. Then I heard some one say “Glasgow,” and soon
the news leaked out that we were to sail on the _Sardinian_ two days

On the second evening I went on board the _Sardinian_ with the rest of
our crew, and wandered around among the empty cattle-pens built on the
four decks. Toward midnight loads of baled straw were brought on board,
and we began to “bed down” the pens. When this was finished, we threw
ourselves down in the empty stalls and fell asleep.

We were awakened before daylight by a rush of excited cattle and the
cries of their drivers. The hubbub lasted for three hours. By that time
the animals were securely tied in their stalls, the winch had yanked up
on deck three bulls that, having been killed in the rush, were to be
dumped in the outer bay, and we were off down the St. Lawrence. The crew
fell to coiling up the shore lines and joined the cattlemen in a glad

           “We’re homeward bound, boys, for Glasgow town;
           Good-by, fare thee well; good-by, fare thee well!”

The passage across was like other cattle-boat trips. There were a few
quarrels, a free-for-all fight now and then, among the cattlemen: the
work was hard, the food poor, and the sailors’ quarters in the
forecastle unfit to live in. But the voyage was no worse than I had

On the tenth day out, we came on deck to see, a few miles off, the
sloping coast of Ireland. Patches of growing and ripening grain made the
island look like a huge tilted checkerboard. Before night fell we had
left Ireland behind, and it was near the mouth of the Clyde River that
we fed the cattle for the last time.

A mighty uproar awakened us at dawn. Glasgow longshoremen, shouting at
the top of their voices, were driving the cattle, slipping and sliding,
down the gangway. We had reached Europe at last! An hour later the
cattlemen were scattering along the silent streets of Sunday morning

                               CHAPTER II
                   “ON THE ROAD” IN THE BRITISH ISLES

At noon the next day I received my wages and a printed certificate
stating that I had been a sailor on the cattle-boat. I kept it, for the
police would surely demand to know my trade while I was tramping through
the countries of Europe.

Tucking my camera into an inside pocket, I struck out along the Clyde
River toward the Highlands of Scotland. I passed through Dumbarton, a
town of factories, and at evening reached Alexandria. A band was
playing. I joined the crowd on the village green, and watched the young
Scots romping and joking, while their elders stood apart in gloomy
silence. A church clock struck nine. The concert ended. The sun was
still well above the horizon. I went on down the highway until, not far
beyond the town, the hills disappeared, and I saw the glassy surface of
a lake, its western end aglow in the light of the drowning sun. It was
Loch Lomond.

By and by the moon rose, casting a pale white shimmer over the Loch and
its little wooded islands. On the next hillside stood a field of
wheat-stacks. I turned into it, keeping well away from the owner’s
house. The straw was fresh and clean, and made a soft bed. But the
bundles of wheat did not protect me from the winds of the Scottish
Highlands. With a feeling that I had not slept soundly, I rose at
daybreak and pushed on.

Two hours of tramping brought me to Luss, a pretty little village on the
edge of Loch Lomond. I hastened to the principal street in search of a
restaurant; but the village was everywhere silent and asleep. Down on
the beach of the Loch a lone fisherman was preparing his tackle. He was
displeased when I said his fellow townsmen were late risers.

“Why, mon, ’tis no late!” he protested; “’tis no more nor five—and a
bonny morning it is, too. But there’s a mist in it,” he complained as he
looked at the sky.

I glanced at the bright morning sun and the unclouded sky. I could see
no mist, nor any sign of rain. Trying to forget my hunger, I stretched
out on the sands to wait for the morning steamer. Ben Lomond, a mountain
I had read of in Scott’s “Lady of the Lake,” stood just across the Loch,
and I had made up my mind to climb it.

About six, a heavy-eyed shopkeeper sold me a roll of bologna and a loaf
of bread. The steamer whistle sounded before I got back to the beach. I
bought a ticket at the wooden wharf, and hurried out to board the

A big Scot stepped in front of me and demanded “tup’nce.”

“But I’ve paid my fare,” I said, holding up the ticket.

“Aye, mon, ye hov,” rumbled the native, straddling his legs and
thrusting out his elbows. “Ye hov, mon. But ye hovna paid fer walkin’
oot t’ yon boat on our wharf.”

Ten minutes later I paid again, this time for being allowed to walk off
the boat at Renwardenen.

Plodding through a half mile of heath and marsh, I struck into the
narrow white path that zigzagged up the face of the mountain. The mist
that the fisherman had seen began to settle down, and soon turned to a
drenching rain. For five hours I scrambled upward, slipping and falling
on wet stones and into deep bogs, and coming at last to a broad, flat
rock where the path disappeared. It was the top of old Ben Lomond, a
tiny island surrounded by whirling gray mist. The wind blew so hard that
it almost bowled me off my feet into the sea of fog.

I set off down the opposite slope. In the first stumble down the
mountain I lost my way, and came out upon a boggy meadow, where I
wandered for hours over low hills and through swift streams. Now and
then I scared up a flock of shaggy highland sheep that raced away down
wild looking valleys. There was neither road nor foot-path. For seven
miles I dragged myself, hand over hand, through a thick growth of shrubs
and bushes; and once I fell head first into an icy mountain river before
I reached the highway.

At the foot a new disappointment awaited me. There was a hotel, but it
was of the millionaire-club kind. I turned toward a group of board
shanties at the roadside.

“Can you sell me something to eat?” I inquired of the sour-faced
mountaineer who opened the first door.

“I can no!” he snapped. “Go to the hotel!”

There were freshly baked loaves plainly in sight in the next hovel where
I stopped.

“Have you nothing to eat in the house?” I demanded.

“No, mon; I’m no runnin’ a shop.”

“But you can sell me a loaf of that bread?”

“No!” bellowed the Scot. “We hovna got any. Go to the hotel. Yon’s the
place for tooreests.”

I tried at the other huts; but nobody would sell me any bread. So,
though I had already tramped and climbed twenty-five miles, I struck off
through the sea of mud that passed for a road, toward Aberfoyle, fifteen
miles distant. The rain continued. There was another lake, and then the
road stretched away across a dreary field. I became so weary that I
forgot I was hungry—then so drowsy that I could hardly force my legs to
carry me on. Dusk fell, then darkness. It was past eleven when I
splashed into Aberfoyle, too late to find an open shop. I hunted until I
found an inn, rang the bell until I awoke a servant, and went supperless
to bed.

Late the next morning I hobbled out into the streets of Aberfoyle to the
station, and took the train for Sterling. Two days later, in the early
afternoon, I reached Edinburgh. Following the signs that pointed the way
to the poor man’s section, I brought up in Haymarket Square, a place
well known in history. Many places in Europe that were once the palaces
of kings and queens are the slums of to-day. A crowd of careless-looking
men, in groups and in pairs, sauntered back and forth at the foot of a
statue in the center of the square. One of them, as ragged and uncombed
as his hearers, was making a speech. Another, in his shirt sleeves,
wandered from group to group, trying to sell his coat for the price of a
night’s lodging.

A sorry-looking building in front of me bore the sign: “Edinburgh Castle
Inn. Clean, capacious beds, 6 shillings.”

I went inside, and found the place so dirty that I was glad to escape
again into the street. A big policeman marched up and down with an air
of importance.

“Where shall I find a fairly cheap lodging-house?” I asked him.

“Try the Cawstle Inn h’over there,” replied “Bobby,” grandly waving his
Sunday gloves toward the place I had just left.

“But that place is not clean,” I objected.

“Not clean! Certainly it is clean! There’s a bloomin’ law makes ’em keep
’em clean,” shouted Bobby, glaring at me.

I entered another inn facing the square, but was thankful to escape from
it to the one I had first visited. Here I paid for my lodging, and
passed into the main room. It was furnished with benches, tables, and
several cook-stoves.

Men were crowded around these stoves, getting their own supper. Water,
fuel, and dishes were furnished free to all who had paid their lodging.
On the stoves were sputtering or boiling many kinds of cheap food,
tended by tattered men who handled frying-pans with their coat-tails as
holders, and cut up cabbages or peeled potatoes with knives that had
half-inch layers of tobacco on their blades. Each ate his mixture with
the greatest enjoyment, as soon as it showed the least sign of being
cooked, often without giving it time to cool, as I could tell by the
expression on the faces about me.

                              CHAPTER III
                            IN CLEAN HOLLAND

Three days later I took passage to London, and that same afternoon
sailed for Rotterdam. At sunrise the next morning I climbed on deck, and
found the ship steaming slowly through a peaceful canal. On all sides
were flat plains, stretching as far as the eye could see. Far below us
were clusters of squat cottages with the white smoke of kindling fires
curling slowly upward from their chimneys. Here and there a peasant,
looking very tiny from our high deck, crawled along over the flat
meadows. In the distance clumsy windmills were turning slowly in the
morning breeze.

Our canal opened out into the busy harbor of Rotterdam. A customs
officer asked me where I was going, slapped me on the back in a fatherly
fashion, and warned me in German to look out for the “bad people” who
lay in wait for seamen ashore.

I quickly tired of the city, and turned out along the broad, flat
highway to Delft. The road ran along at the side of a great canal, and
at times crossed branch waterways half hidden by boats, filled with
cargo, toiling slowly by on their way to market and by empty boats
gliding easily homeward. On board, stout men bowed double over the poles
they use to push their craft along. On the bank, along the gravel path,
women strained like oxen at the tow-ropes around their shoulders.

In the early afternoon I passed through Delft, and pushed on toward The
Hague. Beyond Delft I turned into a narrow cobblestone roadway running
between two canals. It was a quiet route. I went on my lonely way,
thinking of many things and gazing off across the flat green country.

Suddenly a galloping “rat-a-tat” sounded close behind me. A runaway
horse! To pause and glance behind might cost me my life; for the crazed
brute was almost upon me. With a swiftness born of fear, I began to run!
Luckily, ahead of me I spied a foot-bridge over one of the canals. I
made one flying leap toward it, and reached it in safety just as there
dashed by me at full speed—a Hollander of some six summers, bound to
market with a basket on his arm!

After spending only a few hours in the interesting city of The Hague, I
looked for the highway to Leiden. I was not very successful in my search
for it, for the mixed language of German, English, and deaf-and-dumb
show with which I tried to make myself understood did not get me clear
directions. A road to Leiden was finally pointed out to me right enough,
but it was not a public highway. By some mistake, I set out along the
Queen’s private driveway, which led to the boyhood home of Rembrandt,
the great Dutch artist.

It was a pleasure to travel by the Queen’s own highway, of course,
especially as it led through a fragrant forest park. But, unfortunately,
there was no chance of finding an inn when hunger and darkness came on
me. There was not even a cross-road to lead me back to the public
highway, where I could find a place to eat and sleep. So I plodded on
deep into the lonely forest until night overtook me. Just what hour it
was when I reached Leiden, I could not tell. But it was certainly late;
for, except a few drowsy policemen, the good people, and even the bad,
were sound asleep. With a painful number of miles in my legs, I went to
bed on a pile of lumber.

[Illustration: A baker’s cart of Holland on the morning round.]

The warm sun awoke me early—before the first shopkeeper was astir. It
was Sunday, so I was not able to buy any food. Still hungry, I set off
toward Haarlem. On those flat lowlands it was disagreeably hot. Yet the
peasants, in their uncomfortable Sunday clothes, plodded for miles along
the dusty highway to the village church.

The men marched along sadly, as if they were going to prison. The women,
stout, and painfully awkward in their stiffly starched skirts, tramped
perspiringly behind the men. Even the children, the frolicking, romping
youngsters of the day before, were imprisoned in home-made
strait-jackets, and suffered discomfort in uncomplaining silence. Yet
one and all spoke a pleasant word to me as they passed.

Ever since leaving Rotterdam, I had noticed that there were no wells in
country places. I had so far been able to quench my thirst only in the
villages. But toward noon on this hot Sunday I became so thirsty that I
finally turned in at the only place in sight, a farm cottage. Beside the
road ran the ever-present canal. A narrow foot-bridge crossed it to the
gateway leading to the cottage. Around the house ran a branch of the
main waterway, giving the farmer a place to moor his canal-boat. I could
not open the gate, and I had to shout again and again before any one in
the house heard me. At last, from around the corner of the building a
very heavy woman came into view, bearing down upon me like an ocean
liner sailing into a calm harbor. I could not speak Dutch, but I did the
best I could. Perhaps the lady spoke some German, so I said: “Ein Glass
Wasser, bitte.”


It could do no harm to give my mother tongue a trial:

“A glass of water.”


I tried a mixture of the two languages:

“Ein glass of vater.”

This time she understood.

“Vater?” shrieked the lady, with such force that the rooster in the back
yard leaped sidewise a distance of six feet. “Vater!”

“Ja, Vater, bitte.”

A deep silence followed—a silence so intense that one could have heard a
fly pass by a hundred feet above. Slowly the lady placed a heavy hand on
the gate between us. Perhaps she was wondering if it were strong enough
to keep out the madman on the other side. Then, with a snort, she
wheeled about and waddled toward the house. Close under the eaves of the
cottage hung a tin basin. Snatching it down, she sailed for the canal
behind the house, stooped, dipped up a basinful of that very same
weed-clogged water that flowed by at my feet, and moved back across the
yard to offer it to me with a patient sigh. After that, whenever I
became thirsty, I got my drink from roadside canals after the manner of
beasts of the field—and Hollanders.

Long before I reached Haarlem, I came upon the great flower farms. I saw
more and more of these as I neared the town. I passed through the city
of tulips and out onto the broad, straight highway that leads to
Amsterdam. It ran as straight as a bee line to where it disappeared in a
fog of rising heat-waves. Throughout its length it was crowded with
vehicles, horseback riders, and, above all, with wheelmen who would not
turn aside an inch for me, but drove me again and again into the wayside

I reached Amsterdam late in the afternoon; and, after much wandering in
and out among the canals, I found a room in a garret overhanging the
sluggish waterway. The place was clean, as we have heard all places are
in Holland, and there was a coffee-house close at hand, where eggs,
milk, cheeses, and dairy products of all kinds were served at small cost
and in cleanly surroundings.

I visited parks, museums, and the laborers’ quarters in Amsterdam, and
every evening spent a long time searching for my canal-side garret,
because it looked so much like other canal-side garrets.

                               CHAPTER IV
                     NOT WELCOME IN THE FATHERLAND

One afternoon, while in my favorite coffee-house, I heard some one say
that a cargo-boat was to leave for a town in Germany on the Rhine, and
that passengers could go along for a song. It was to leave at four. I
thrust a lunch into a pocket, and hurried down to the boat. She was a
big canal-boat, as black as a coal-barge, but not so clean. Her
uncovered deck was piled high with boxes, barrels, and crates, holding
everything from beer mugs to noisy chickens. I scrambled over the cargo,
and found a seat on a barrel of oil.

I left the cargo-boat at the German town of Arnheim, and walked along
the Rhine, stopping at the towns along the way. Partly on foot and
partly by steamer, I made my way to the city of Mainz. From there I
turned eastward and tramped along the highway to Frankfurt.

It was late at night when I reached Frankfurt. The highway ended among
the great buildings of the business blocks. After hunting for some time
I found, on a dingy side street, a building on which there was a sign
offering lodging at one mark. Truly it was a high price to pay for a
bed; but the hour was late, the night stormy, and I was tired. I entered
the drinking-room. The bartender was busy quieting the shouts of “Glas
Bier” that rose above the rest of the noise. As soon as I could get his
attention, I told him that I wanted lodging.

“Beds?” cried the _Kellner_, too busy with his glasses to look up at me.
“To be sure—we have always plenty of beds. One mark.”

But mein Herr, the proprietor, was staring at me from the back of the
hall. Slowly he shuffled forward, cocked his head on one side, and
studied me closely from out his bleary eyes.

“What does he want?” he demanded, turning to the bartender.

I told him that I wanted a night’s lodging.

“Where do you come from?”

Knowing that he would ask other questions, I explained fully why I was
there, and told him that I was an American sailor on a sight-seeing trip
in the Fatherland. The drinkers clustered about us and listened. I could
see that they did not believe me. While I was talking, they began
exchanging glances and nudging one another with looks of disbelief on
their faces. Perhaps they distrusted me because I talked like a
foreigner and wore the dress of a wanderer.

The proprietor blinked his pudgy eyes, glanced once more into the faces
of those about him to see what they thought about it. It may be that he
wanted to let me stay; but what would the police inspector say in the
morning when he saw the name of a foreigner on the register? He
scratched his grizzly head as if to bring out an idea with his stubby
fingers. Then he glanced once more at the tipplers, and said, with a

“It gives me pain, young man—I am sorry, but we have not a bed left in
the house.”

I wandered out into the night, and told my story to five other
inn-keepers. None of them would take me in. One proprietor told me the
best way for me to preserve my good health was to make a quick escape
into the street. As he was a creature of immense size, I lost no time in
following his advice. It was midnight when I finally induced a policeman
to tell me where to stay. He pointed out an inn where wanderers were not
so much of a curiosity, and I was soon asleep.

The next morning I set out to find the birthplace of the German poet
Goethe. When I reached a part of the city where I thought he had lived,
I asked a policeman to show me the house.

“Goethe?” he said. Why, yes, he believed he had heard that name
somewhere. He was not sure, but he fancied the fellow lived in the
eastern part of the city, and he told me how to get there. The route led
through narrow, winding streets. Now and then I lost my way, and was set
right by other keepers of the law. At last, after tramping most of the
morning and wearing out considerable shoe-leather, I found the place
directly across the street from the inn at which I had slept.

The next morning I made up my mind to go by rail to Weimar. The train
was to start at nine o’clock. I reached the station at eight-forty,
bought a fourth-class ticket, and stepped out upon the platform just in
time to hear a guard bellow the German words for “All aboard!” The
Weimar train stood close at hand. As I stepped toward it, four
policemen, strutting about the platform, whooped and sprang after me.

“Where are you going?” shrieked the first to reach me.

“I go to Weimar.”

“But the train to Weimar is gone!” shouted the second officer.

As I had a hand on the car door, I became so bold as to contradict him.

“But yes, it has gone!” gasped a third sergeant, who stood behind the
others. “It is gone! The guard has already said ‘All aboard.’”

The train stood at the edge of the platform long enough to have emptied
and filled again; but, as it was gone ten minutes before it started, I
was obliged to wait for the next one at ten-thirty.

I managed to board the next one. It was a box car with wooden benches
around the sides and a door at each end. Almost before we were well
started, the most uncombed couple aboard stood up and began to yell. I
was alarmed at first, for I did not know what was the matter with them.
But after a time I realized that they thought they were singing. Many of
the passengers seemed to think so too, for before the pair left at the
first station they had gathered a handful of pennies from the listeners.

We stopped at a station at least every four miles during that day’s
journey. At the first village beyond Frankfurt the car filled with
peasants and laborers in heavy boots and rough smocks, who carried farm
tools of all kinds, from pitchforks to young plows. Sunburned women, on
whose backs were strapped huge baskets stuffed with every product of the
country-side, from cabbages to babies, packed into the center of the
car, turned their backs on those of us who sat on the benches and
peacefully leaned themselves and their loads against us. The car filled
until there was not room for one more.

A guard outside closed the heavy door with a bang, then gave a mighty
shout of “Vorsicht!” (“Look out.”) The station-master on the platform
raised a hunting-horn to his lips, and blew such a blast as echoed
through the ravines of all the country round. The head guard drew his
whistle and shrilly repeated the signal. The engineer whistled back. The
guard whistled again; the driver gave forth another wild shriek to show
that he was ready to start; the man on the platform whistled once more
to cheer him on; a heroic squeal came from the cab in answer; and, with
a jerk that sent peasants, baskets, farm tools, lime-pails, and cabbages
all in a struggling heap at the back of the car, we were off. To
celebrate the start the engineer shrieked again and gave a second yank,
lest some sure-footed person among us had by any chance kept his

[Illustration: Boundary line between France and Germany. It runs through
wheat fields on either side. The nearest sign post bears the German
eagles and the further one reads “Frontière.”]

There were times during the journey when the villages seemed to be too
far apart to suit the engineer. For, having given all the toots, he
would bring the car to a sudden stop in the open country. But, as German
railway laws forbid passengers to step out, crawl out, or peep out of
the car at such times, there was no way of learning whether the engineer
had lost his courage or had merely caught sight of a wild flower that
took his fancy.

I arrived at Weimar late at night. Next day I set out on foot toward
Paris, on the old national road. It wound its way over rolling hills and
among the ravines and valleys where was fought a great battle between
Germany and France in the Franco-Prussian War. For miles along the way,
dotting the hillsides, standing alone or in clusters along lazy brooks
or half hidden among the green of summer, were countless simple white
crosses marking the graves of fallen soldiers and bearing only the
simple inscription, “Here rests Krieger——1870.” At one place I came upon
a gigantic statue of a soldier pointing away across a deep wooded glen
to the vast graveyard of his fallen comrades.

[Illustration: Plodding early and late, I reached Paris a few days after
crossing the boundary.]

A mile farther on, in the open country, two iron posts marked the
boundary between the two countries. A farmer, with his mattock, stood in
Germany, grubbing at a weed that grew in France.

I expected to be stopped when I tried to pass into France, for I knew
that the two countries were not on the most friendly terms. The customs
house was a mere cottage, the first building of a straggling village
some miles beyond the boundary. When I came within sight of it, a
friendly-looking Frenchman, in a uniform worn shiny across the shoulders
and the seat of the trousers, wandered out into the highway to meet me.
Behind him strolled a second officer. But they did not try to delay me.
They cried out in surprise when I told them I was an American walking to
Paris. They merely glanced into my bundle, and as I went on they called
out after me, “Bon voyage!”

I had to wait for some time whenever I came to a railway crossing. Ten
minutes before a train was due, the gate-woman would close both gates
and return to the shades of her cottage close by. If the train happened
to be an hour late, that made no difference. That was the time that
Madame was hired to lock the gates, and locked they must remain until
the train had passed. It was useless to try to climb over them, for
Madame’s tongue was sharp and the long arm of the law was on her side.

Plodding early and late, I reached Paris a few days after crossing the

A month of tramping had made me an awful sight. Moreover, it was August,
and my woolen garments had been purchased with the winds of the Scottish
Highlands in mind. For fifteen francs I bought an outfit more suited to
the climate. Then I rented a garret, and roamed through the city for
three weeks.

                               CHAPTER V
                        TRAMPING THROUGH FRANCE

The month of August was drawing to a close when I started southward. At
first I had to pass through noisy, dirty villages filled with crying
children and many curs. Beyond, travel was more pleasant, for the
national highways are excellently built. The heaviest rain raises hardly
a layer of mud. But these roads wind and ramble like mountain streams.
They zigzag from village to village even in a level country, and where
hills abound there are villages ten miles apart with twenty miles of
tramping between them.

I passed on into a pleasant rolling country. Beyond Nemours, where I
spent the second night, I came upon two tramps. They were sitting in the
shade of a giant oak, enjoying a breakfast of hard bread which they
dipped, now and then, into a brook at their feet. They invited me to
share their feast, but I explained that I had just had breakfast. After
finishing they went on with me. They were miners on their way to the
great coal-fields of St. Etienne. We were well acquainted in a very
short time. They called me “mon vieux,” which means something like “old
man” in our language, and greeted every foot-traveler they met by the
same title.

There are stern laws in France against wandering from place to place. I
knew that the three of us, traveling together, would be asked to explain
our business. We were still some distance off from the first village
when I saw an officer step from the door of a small building and walk
out into the middle of the road to wait for us.

“Where are you going?” he demanded sternly.

“To St. Etienne.”

“And your papers?”

“Here!” cried the miners, each snatching a worn-looking book from a
pocket under his coat.

The gendarme stuffed one of the books under an arm, and began to look
through the other. Between its greasy covers was a complete history of
its owner. It told when he was born and where; where he was baptized;
when he had been a soldier, and how he had behaved during his three
years in the army; and so on, page after page. Then came pages that told
where he had worked, what his employer thought of him, with wages,
dates, and reasons why he had stopped working at that particular place.
It took the gendarme a long time to look through it.

He finished examining both books at last, and handed them back with a
gruff “Well!”

“Next yours,” he growled.

“Here it is,” I answered, and pulled from my pocket a letter of
introduction written to American consuls and signed by our Secretary of

With a puzzled look, the gendarme unfolded the letter. When he saw the
strange-looking English words he gasped with astonishment.

“What!” he exclaimed. “What is this you have here?”

“My passport,” I answered. “I am an American.”

“Ha! American! Zounds! And that is really a passport? Never before have
I seen one.”

It was not really a passport, although it was as good as one; but as the
gendarme could not read it, he was in no position to dispute my word.

“Very good,” he went on; “but you must have another paper to prove that
you have worked.”

Here was a difficulty. If I told him that I was a traveler and no
workman, he would probably put me in jail. For a moment I did not know
what to do. Then I snatched from my bundle the paper showing that I had
worked on a cattle-boat.

“Bah!” grumbled the officer. “More foreign gibberish. What is this
villain language that the evil one himself could not read?”


“_Tiens_, but that is a queer thing!” he said thoughtfully, holding the
paper out at arm’s length, and scratching his head. However, with some
help he finally made out one date on the paper, and, handing it back
with a sigh, allowed us to pass on.

“Wait!” he cried before we had taken three steps. “What country did you
say you came from?”

“America,” I answered.

“L’Amérique! And, being in America, you come to France? Oh, my soul,
what idiocy!” And, waving his arms above his head, he fled to the shade
of his office.

We journeyed along as before, showing our papers at each village, and
once being stopped in the open country by a gendarme on horseback. By
the time we reached Briare in the early afternoon, the miners looked so
lean with hunger that I offered to pay for a meal for three. They needed
no second invitation, and led the way at once to a place that looked to
me like nothing but an empty warehouse. The miners pushed open a door,
and we entered a low room, gloomy and unswept. Around the table to which
we made our way, through a forest of huge wine barrels, were gathered a
dozen or more peasants.

The keeper of the place set out before us a loaf of coarse bread and a
bottle of wine, and then went back to his seat on a barrel. His shop was
really the wine cellar of a restaurant that faced the main street. The
fare would have cost us twice as much there. One of the miners asked me
if he might order two _sous’_ worth of raw salt pork. Having obtained my
consent, he did so, and he and his companion ate it with great relish.

I left my companions behind soon after, for they could not walk the
thirty miles a day that I had planned for myself, and passed on into the
vineyard and forest country. In the fields left bare by the harvesters,
peasant women were gathering with the greatest care every overlooked
straw they could find, and, their aprons full, plodded homeward.

The inhabitants were already lighting their lamps when I entered the
village of La Charité. The bells of a gray church began to ring out the
evening angelus. Squat housewives gossiped at the doors of the stone
cottages that lined the road. From the neighboring fields heavy
ox-carts, the yokes fastened across the horns of the animals, lumbered
homeward. In the dwindling light a blacksmith before his open shop was
fitting with flat iron shoes a spotted ox tied up on its back in a

I inquired for an inn, and was directed to a ramshackle stone building,
one end of which was a stable. Inside, under a sputtering lamp, huddled
two men, a woman, and a girl, around a table that looked as if it had
held too much wine in its day and was for that reason unsteady on its
legs. The four were so busy eating bread and soup that they did not see
me come in.

Walking forward to attract attention in the dim light, I stepped on the
end of a loose board that supported two legs of the tipsy table, causing
the bowl of soup to slide into the woman’s arms and a loaf to roll to
the earthen floor. That was unlucky but it made them notice me. One of
the men was the proprietor, the other a tramp who spoke very queer
French. All the evening, waving his arms above his head, he talked
excitedly of the misfortunes he had lived through.

At last the girl agreed to show me to a room. She led the way out of
doors, up an outside stairway, to a hole about four feet high over the
stable. Here I spent the night, and at daybreak I resumed my journey.

At that season half the highways of France were lined with hedges heavy
with blackberries. At first I was not sure they were blackberries, and I
was afraid to eat them; for I had noticed that the thrifty French
peasant never touched them, letting them go to waste. But, coming one
morning upon a hedge fairly loaded with large, juicy fruit, I tasted
one, discovered that it was a real blackberry, and fell to picking a
capful. A band of peasants, on their way to the fields, stopped to gaze
at me in astonishment, and burst into loud laughter.

“But, _mon vieux_,” cried a plowman, “what in the world will you do with
those berries there?”

“Eat them, of course,” I answered.

“Eat them!” roared the countrymen. “But those things are not good to
eat.” And they went on, laughing louder than before.

                               CHAPTER VI
                         CLIMBING OVER THE ALPS

I tramped through several villages, and came to the bank of the Upper
Loire River. A short distance beyond, the road began winding up the
first foot-hills of the Alps. Along the way every rocky hillside was cut
into steps to its very top, and every step was thickly set with

As I continued climbing upward I left the patches of grape-vines below
me, and came to waving forests where sounded the twitter of birds and
now and then the cheery song of a woodsman or shepherd boy.

At sunset I reached the top. The road led downward, the forests fell
away, the tiny fields appeared once more, and the song of the
mountaineer was silent. Lower still, I spent the night at a barracks
half filled with soldiers.

The next day was Sunday. As I tramped down the mountains I met groups of
people from Lyon, chattering gaily as, dressed in their Sunday clothes,
they climbed to the freer air of the hills. I continued my downward
journey, stopping now and then to look about me. The grape-vines
disappeared, to give place to mulberry trees. From my height I could see
the city of Lyon at the meeting-place of the rivers Soane and Rhône.
Even on this day of merrymaking the whir of silk-looms sounded from the
wayside cottages, well into the suburbs of the city.

From Lyon I turned northeastward toward the Alps. A route winding like a
snake climbed upward. Often I tramped for hours around the edge of a
yawning pit, having always in view a rugged village and its vineyards
far below, only to find myself at the end of that time within a stone’s
throw of a sign-post that I had passed before. But I kept on, passed
through Geneva, and in a few days’ time came to the town of Brig, at the
foot of the Simplon Pass which crosses the Alps.

The highway over the Simplon Pass was built by Napoleon in 1805. It is
still, in spite of the railways built since, a well traveled route,
though not by foot travelers. The good people of Brig cried out against
it when I told them I was going to cross on foot.

With a lunch in my knapsack, I left Brig at dawn. Before the sun rose
the morning stage-coach rattled by, and the jeering of its drivers
cheered me on. With every turn of the route up the mountain the picture
below me grew. Three hours up, Brig still peeped out through the slender
pine trees far below, yet almost directly beneath. Across the pit sturdy
mountain boys scrambled from rock to boulder with their sheep and goats.
Far above the last shrub, ragged peaks of stone stood against the blue
sky like figures of curious shapes, peaks aglow with nature’s richest
coloring, here one deep purple in the morning shade, there another of
ruddy pink, changing like watered silk in the sunshine that gilded its
top. Beyond the spot where Brig was lost to view began the roadside
cottages in which the traveler, tired out or overcome by the raging
storms of winter, may seek shelter. In this summer season, however, they
had been changed into wine-shops, where children and stray goats
wandered among the tables.

Higher up I found scant footing on the narrow ledges. In several places
the road burrowed its way through tunnels. High above one of these, a
glacier sent down a roaring torrent right over the tunnel. Through an
opening in the outer wall I could reach out and touch the foaming stream
as it plunged into the abyss below.

Light clouds, that had hidden the peaks during the last hours of the
climb, almost caused me to pass by without seeing the hospice of St.
Bernard that marks the summit. It is here that those wonderful St.
Bernard dogs are trained to hunt for and give aid to travelers lost in
the snow. I stepped inside to write a postal card to the world below,
and turned out again into a drizzling rain that soon became a steady
downpour. But the miles that had seemed so long in the morning fairly
raced by on the downward trip, and a few hours later I reached the
boundary line between France and Italy.

                              CHAPTER VII
                             IN SUNNY ITALY

The next morning I continued my tramp into sunny Italy. The highway was
covered with deep mud, and my garments were still wet when I drew them
on. But the day was bright with sunshine. The vine-covered hillside and
rolling plains below, the lizards basking on every shelf of rock,
peasant women plodding barefoot along the route, made it hard to realize
that the weather of the day before had been dismal and chilling.

As I walked on I met countless poor people. Ragged children quarreled
for the possession of an apple-core thrown by the wayside; the rolling
fields were alive with barefooted women toiling like slaves. A sparrow
could not have found a living behind them. In wayside orchards men armed
with grain-sacks stripped even the trees of their leaves—for what
purpose I did not know until the bed I was assigned to in the village
below offered a possible explanation. All along the highway were what
looked from a distance like walking hay-stacks. But when I came nearer I
saw beneath them the tired faces of women or half grown girls.

Nightfall found me looking for lodging in a lake-side village half way
between Como and Lecco. I found an inn after a long and careful search;
but, as it had no door opening on to the street, I was puzzled as to
where to enter it. There was a dark passageway and a darker stairway
before me, leading downward into a pit. I plunged down the passage with
my hands out in front of me—which was fortunate, for I brought up
against a stone wall. Then I stealthily approached the stairway,
stumbled up the stone steps over a stray cat and a tin pan, and into the
common room of the village inn—common because it served as kitchen,
dining-room, parlor, and office.

I asked for supper and lodging. The proprietor half rose to his feet,
sat down again, and motioned me to a seat. I took a place opposite him
on one of the two benches near the fireplace, partly because it had been
raining outside, but chiefly because there were no chairs. A long
silence followed. The keeper sat on his bench, staring long and hard at
me without saying a word. His wife wandered in and placed several pots
and kettles around the fire that toasted our heels.

“Not nice weather,” grinned the landlord at last, and after that we were
soon engaged in lively conversation. Too lively, in fact, for my host at
one time became so earnest about something he was telling that he kicked
over a kettle of macaroni, and was banished from the chimney-corner by
his angry wife. Not being in the habit of making gestures with my feet,
I kept my place and tried to answer the questions that the exile fired
at me from across the room.

When drowsiness fell upon me, the hostess led the way to a large, airy
room. The coarse sheets on the bed were remarkably white, although the
Italian housewife does her washing in the village brook, and never uses
hot water. Such labor is cheap in Italy, and for all of this I paid less
than ten cents.

Early next day I pushed on toward Lecco. A light frost had fallen in the
night, and the peasants, alarmed by the first breath of winter, sent
into the vineyards every man, woman, and child able to work. The pickers
labored feverishly. All day women plodded from the fields to the
roadside with great buckets of grapes to be dumped into barrels on
waiting ox-carts. Men wearing heavy wooden shoes jumped now and then
into the barrels and stamped the grapes down. When full, the barrels
were covered with strips of dirty canvas, the farmer climbed into his
cart, turned his oxen into the highway, and promptly fell asleep. When
he reached the village, he drew up before the chute of the village
wine-press, and shoveled his grapes into a slowly revolving hopper. Here
they were crushed to an oozy pulp, and then run into huge tanks and left
to settle.

After stopping for a morning lunch I tramped through and beyond Bergamo,
where a level highway led across a vast plain covered with grape-vines
and watered by a network of canals. Behind me only a ghostlike range of
the Alps wavered in the haze of the distant sky-line.

About the time I arrived in northern Italy the butchers had gone on a
strike. That did not trouble me much, for I had eaten nothing but bread
for weeks. The bread was made into loaves of the size, shape, and
toughness of baseballs. Still, hard loaves soaked in wine, or crushed
between two wayside rocks, could be eaten, in a way; and as long as they
were plentiful I could not suffer from lack of food.

A few miles farther on, however, at each of the bakeries of a village I
was turned away with the cry of:

“There is no bread! The strike! The bakers have joined the strike and no
more bread is made.”

To satisfy that day’s appetite I had to eat “paste,” a mushy mess of

I was returning next morning from an early view of the picturesque
bridges and the ancient buildings of Verona, when I came upon a howling
mob, quarreling, pushing, and scratching in a struggle to reach the
gateway leading to the city hall. Behind this gate above the sea of
heads I could just see the top of some heavy instrument, and the caps of
a squad of policemen. I asked an excited neighbor the cause of the
squabble. He glared at me and howled something in reply. The only word I
understood was _pane_ (bread). I turned to a man behind me. Before I
could speak to him, he shoved me aside and crowded into my place, at the
same time shouting, “Pane!” I tried to crowd past him. He jabbed me
twice in the ribs with his elbows, and again roared, “Pane!” In fact,
everywhere above the howl and noise of the multitude one word rang out,
clear and sharp—“Pane! pane! pane!” My hunger of the day before, and the
thought of the long miles before me, aroused my interest in that
product. I dived into the human whirlpool and battled my way toward the

Reaching the front rank, I paused to look about me. Behind the iron
gate, a dozen perspiring policemen were guarding several huge baskets of
those baseball loaves. Beyond them stood the instrument that had
attracted my attention. It was a pair of wooden scales that looked big
enough to give the weight of an ox. Still farther on, an officer, who
seemed to feel the importance of his position, sat over a huge book, a
pen the size of a dagger behind each ear, and one resembling a young
bayonet in his hand.

One by one, the citizens of Verona were pushed through the gate into the
space where the policemen guarded the bread, to be halted suddenly with
the shouted question, “Pound or two pounds?” Once weighed out, his
loaves were passed rapidly from one to another of the officials, so
rapidly that the citizen had to run to keep up with them. When he
reached the officer sitting before the big book, he had to pause while
the latter asked him questions and wrote down the answers. Then he ran
on until he reached the receiving table of another official, where he
caught his flying loaves and made his escape.

Almost before I had time to see how it was done, the pushing crowd sent
me spinning through the gate. “Two pounds!” I shouted as I rushed on in
my journey toward the book. In a very short time I had reached the last
official, dropped ten _soldi_, gathered up my bread, and left by a gate
that opened into an alley.

Perhaps you think it was easy to carry two armfuls of baseball loaves.
Take my word for it that it was no simple task. A loaf rolled into the
gutter before I had taken a dozen steps. The others tried to squirm out
of my grasp. With both hands full, I had to disgrace myself by squatting
on the pavement to fill my pockets; and even then I had a hard time
keeping them from jumping away from me. People must have taken me for a
traveling juggler. I made up my mind that I must either give or throw
some of those loaves away.

He who longs to give alms in Italy has not far to look for some one
willing to benefit by his kindness. I glanced down the alley, and my
eyes fell on a mournful-looking beggar crouched in a gloomy doorway.
With a kind-hearted smile, I bestowed upon him enough of my load to
enable him to play the American national game until the season closed.
The outcast wore a sign marked, “Deaf and dumb.” Either he had picked up
the wrong card in hurrying forth to business that morning, or my
generous gift surprised him out of his misfortune; for as long as a
screeching voice could reach me I was flooded with more blessings than I
could possibly have found use for.

I plodded on toward Vincenza. All that day, while I sat in village inns,
groups of discouraged-looking men sat scolding against the bakers, and
watching me enviously as I soaked my hard-earned loaves in a glass of

When morning broke again, I decided to test the third-class cars of
Italy to see if they were more comfortable than walking; so I took the
train from Vincenza to Padua. At least, the ticket I purchased bore the
name Padua, though the company hardly lived up to the printed agreement
thereon. At the end of several hours of slow jolting and bumping, we
were set down in the center of a wheat-field. The guard shouted,
“Padua!” It seemed to me I had heard somewhere that Padua boasted
buildings and streets, like other cities. It was possible that I had not
been informed correctly. But I could not rid myself of the idea, and I
wandered out through the lonely station to ask the first passer-by how
to get to Padua.

“Padova!” he snorted. “Certainly this is Padova! Follow this road for a
mile. Just before you come in sight of a white-washed pig-sty, turn to
the left, walk straight ahead, and the city cannot escape you.”

I followed his directions, and in due time came to the city gate.

I never saw such a sleepy town. The sun is certainly hot in Italy in the
summer months, but I had not expected to find a place where the people
slept all the time. The city seemed lost in slumber. The few horses
dragged their vehicles after them at a snail’s pace, the drivers nodding
on their seats. Many of the shop-keepers had put up their shutters and
gone home to rest. Those who had not could with difficulty be aroused
from their midday naps to attend to the wants of yawning customers. The
very dogs slept in the gutters or under the chairs of their drowsy
masters. Even many of the buildings were crumbling away and seemed to be
falling asleep like the inhabitants.

However, I had a chance to look at the famous statues and architecture
in peace, and, leaving the sleepy city to slumber on, I set off at
noonday toward Venice. Away to the eastward stretched land as flat and
unbroken as the sea. Walking was not so easy, however, as it had been
among the mountains behind, for a powerful wind from the Adriatic Sea
pressed me back like an unseen hand at my breast. Although I had been
certain that I would reach the coast town, Fusiano, before evening,
twilight found me still plodding across barren lowlands. With the first
twinkling star a faint glow of light appeared afar off to the left.
Steadily it grew until it lighted up a distant corner of the sky, while
the wind howled stronger and louder across the unpeopled waste.

Night had long since settled down when the lapping of waves told me that
I had reached the coast-line. A few rickety huts rose up out of the
darkness; but still far out over the sea hovered that glow in the sky—no
distant fire, as I had supposed, but the reflected lights of the island
city, Venice. I had long been thinking of the cheering meal and the soft
couch that I would have before boarding the steamer that would take me
to the city of the sea; but I had to do without them. For there was no
inn among the hovels of Fusiano. I took shelter in a shanty down on the
beach, and waited patiently for the ten o’clock boat.

By ten o’clock there had gathered on the crazy wharf enough dark-faced
people to fill the steamer. On the open sea the wind was wild. Now and
then a wave spat in the faces of the passengers huddled together on the
deck. A ship’s officer jammed his way among us to collect the six-cent

[Illustration: The Bridge of Sighs, so-called because it leads from the
Justice Court in the Palace of the Doges on the left to the prison on
the right. It crosses the Grand Canal of Venice.]

By and by the steamer stopped tossing about and began to glide smoothly.
I pushed to the rail to peer out into the night. Before me I saw a
stretch of smooth water in which twinkled the reflection of thousands of
lights of smaller boats, and the illuminated windows of a block of
houses rising sheer out of the sea. We glided into port. A gondola
lighted up by torches at both ends glided across our path. A wide canal
opened on our left, and wound in and out among great buildings faintly
lighted up by lamps and lanterns on the mooring-posts. It was the Grand
Canal of Venice. The steamer nosed its way through a fleet of gondolas
and tied up at a landing before a marble column.

I went ashore and looked about me. There were no streets, and the hotels
that faced the canals were all too expensive for me. I did not know
where to look for the poor man’s section of the city. For two full hours
I tramped through squares and dark, narrow alleys, only to turn up at
last within a stone’s throw of my landing-place. I finally spent the
night outdoors, sitting on the edge of the canal.

After spending a few days in Venice, I walked down to the Grand Canal
one morning, with my mind made up to ride in a gondola. I had difficulty
in attracting the attention of the water cabman. They are not in the
habit of asking men wearing corduroys and flannel shirts to be their
passengers. A score of them had just recovered from a rush made on a
tow-head wearing the regular tourist clothes. They did not seem to see
me. When I boldly called out to them, they crowded around me to jeer and
laugh at the laborer trying to play the lord. For some time they thought
I was joking. I had to show them my purse with money in it before one of
them offered to take me aboard.

Along the Grand Canal passing gondoliers, without passengers to keep
them in proper conduct, flung cutting taunts at my boatman.

“Eh, Amico!” they called out, “what’s that you’ve got?”

[Illustration: My gondolier on the Grand Canal.]

“Ch’è un rico colui quà, eh?” (“Pretty rich wine that, eh?”)

“Sanque della Vergine, caro mio, dove hai accozzato quello?” (“But, my
dear fellow, where did you pick that one up?”)

But my guide finally lost his grin and became respectful, pointing out
objects of interest with a face as solemn as an owl, and shaking his
head sternly at his fellow boatmen when they began to joke.

Fear drove me away from Venice before I had rested the miles from Paris
out of my legs—fear that in a few days more the mosquitoes would finish
their wicked work and devour me entirely. On a Sunday evening I made my
way to the station and bought a third-class ticket to Bologna.

Under a lowering sun our train crawled slowly into Bologna—so slowly
that I was glad to get off and walk. I struck off along the ancient
highway to Florence. The country was mountainous, so that when I was not
climbing up I was climbing down. The people in this section were very
poor, earning their living by tending cattle or by making wine. A few
miles from the town the highway began to wind up among lonely mountains.
Here and there a vineyard clung to a wrinkled hillside. At such spots
tall cone-shaped buckets holding about two bushels each stood by the
roadside, some filled with grapes, others with the floating pulp left by
the crushers.

What kind of crusher was used I did not learn until nearly nightfall.
Then, suddenly coming round a huge boulder, I stepped into a group of
bare-legged women who were slowly treading up and down in as many
buckets of grapes.

Darkness overtook me when I was high among the lonely mountains, far
from any hut or village. A half hour later a mountain storm burst upon

For what seemed an endless length of time I plunged on. Then before me I
noticed a faint gleam of light flickering through the downpour. I
splashed forward, and banged on a door beside a window through which the
light shone. The door was quickly opened, and I fell into a tiny
wine-shop. Three drinkers sat in the room. They stared stupidly for some
time while the water ran away from me in little rivers along the floor.
Then the landlord remarked, with a silly grin:

“You are all wet.”

“Also hungry,” I answered. “What’s to eat?”

“Da mangiare! Ma! Not a thing in the house.”

“The nearest inn?”

“Six miles on.”

“I suppose I must go to bed supperless, then,” I sighed, drawing my
water-soaked bundle from beneath my coat.

“Bed!” cried the landlord. “You cannot sleep here. I keep no

“What!” I exclaimed. “Do you think I am going on in this flood?”

“I keep no lodging-house,” repeated the host stubbornly.

I sat down on a bench, determined that no three Italians should throw me
out without a struggle. One by one, they came forward to try coaxing,
growling, and shouting at me, shaking their fists in my face. I stuck
stubbornly in my place. The landlord was ready to weep, when one of his
countrymen drew me to the window and offered to let me stay in his barn
across the way. I made out through the storm the dim outline of a
building, and, catching up my bundle, dashed with the native across the
road and into a stone hovel. I could feel under my feet that the floor
was nothing but the bare ground. An American cow would balk at the door
of the house of a mountain peasant of Italy; she would have fled
bellowing if she had seen the inside of the barn that came to view when
my companion lighted a lantern. He pointed to a heap of corn husks in a
corner behind the oxen and donkeys. Then, fearful of losing a moment
over the wine with his fellows, he gave the lantern a shake that put out
the light, and, leaving me in utter darkness, hurried away.

I felt my way toward the husks, narrowly missed knocking down the last
donkey in the row, and was about to throw myself down on the heap, when
a man’s voice at my feet shouted a word that I did not catch. Being in
Italy, I answered in Italian:

“Che avete? Voglio dormire qui.”

“Ach!” groaned the voice in German. “Only an accursed Italian.”

“Here, friend,” I shouted in German, poking the form with my foot. “Whom
are you calling accursed?”

The man in the husks sprang to his feet with a wild shout.

“Lieber Gott!” he shrieked, clutching at my coat and dancing around me.
“Lieber Gott! You understand German. You are no cursed Italian. God be
thanked. In three weeks have I heard no German.”

Even the asses were complaining by the time he had finished shouting and
settled down to tell his troubles. He was only another German on his
_Wanderjahr_ (year of wandering), who had strayed far south in the
peninsula, and, after losing his last copper, was struggling northward
again as rapidly as he could on strength gained from a crust of bread or
a few wayside berries each day. One needed only to touch him to know
that he was as thin as a side-show skeleton. I offered him half of a
cheese I carried in a pocket, and he snatched it with the hungry cry of
a wolf, and devoured it as we burrowed deep into the husks.

All night long the water dripped from my elbows and oozed out of my
shoes, and a bitter mountain wind swept through the cracks of the
building. I had just begun to sleep when morning broke. I rose with
joints so stiff that I could hardly move. I pounded and rubbed them for
a half hour before they were in working order. Outside a cold drizzle
was falling; but, bidding farewell to my companion of the night, I set
out along the mountain highway.

Two hours beyond the barn, I came upon a miserable group of huts crowded
together on the top of a hill. Among them was an even more miserable
inn, where I stopped for a bowl of thin soup in which had been drowned a
lump of black bread. Then still hungry, I plodded on in the drizzle.

A night of corn-husks had made me look more like a beggar than I knew.
Two miles beyond the village, I passed a ragged road-repairer and a boy
who were breaking stone at the wayside. Near by was a hedge weighted
down with blackberries, to which I hastened and fell to picking my late
dinner. The workman stared a moment, open-mouthed, laid aside his
sledge, and mumbled something to the boy. The boy left his place,
wandered down the road a short distance beyond me, and idled about as if
waiting for someone. With a half filled cap, I set off again. The boy
edged nearer to me as I approached, and, brushing against me, thrust
something under my arm and ran back to the stone-pile. In my
astonishment I dropped the gift on the highway. It was a quarter loaf of
black bread left over from the ragged workman’s dinner.

The next afternoon found me looking down upon the city of Florence, in a
vast valley where the winding Arno was bluish silver under the setting
sun. By evening I was housed in the city of the poet Dante and the
artist Michelangelo.

During my four days in Florence I lived with the poorest working class,
but spent hours each day in cathedral and galleries. Beggars were
everywhere. I paid half a franc a day for a good sized room, and bought
my food of a traveling restaurant. At night there appeared at street
corners in the unwashed section of the city men with pushcarts laden
with boiled tripe. Around them gathered jostling crowds, who continued
pushing until the last morsel had been sold. Each customer seemed to
possess but a single cent which he had carefully guarded through the
day, waiting for the coming of the tripe man. Never did the peddler make
a sale without a quarrel arising over the size of the morsel; and never
did the buyer leave until a second strip about the size of a match had
been added to his share to make up what he claimed to be the fair

I spent most of my fourth day in Florence looking at her works of art.
Late that afternoon I decided not to return to my lodging, and wandered
off along the highway to Rome. The country was still mountainous, but
the ranges were not so steep and there were more huts than to the north.
When night settled down, I could see before me a country inn on a

I wandered on, reached the inn, went inside, and sat down. At first the
groups of men seated before the fireplace and around the table scarcely
looked my way. When I began to speak, however, they turned to stare, and
began nodding and glancing at one another as if they said:

“Now where do you suppose he comes from?”

I did not offer to tell them, though they squirmed with curiosity.
Finally one of them, clearing his throat, hinted timidly:

“Hem, ah—you are a German, perhaps?”


The speaker rubbed his neck with a horny hand and turned awkwardly to
look at his fellows.

“Hah, you are an Austrian!” charged another, with a scowl.


“Swiss?” suggested a third.


They began to show greater interest. A traveler from any but these three
countries is something to attract unusual attention in the country inns
of Italy.

“Ah!” tried a fourth member of the group. “You are a Frenchman?”


The geographical knowledge of the party was used up. There followed a
long wrinkled-browed silence. The landlady wandered in with a pot,
looked me over out of a corner of her eye, and left slowly. The silence
grew intense. A native opened his mouth twice or thrice, swallowed his
breath with a gulp, and purred with a frightened air:

“Er, well—what country does the signore come from?”

“From America.”

A chorus of exclamations woke the cat dozing under the fireplace. The
hostess ran in, open-mouthed, from the back room. The landlord dropped
his pipe and exclaimed “Ma!” in astonishment. The slowest of the party
left their games and stories and crowded closely around me.

One man began telling what he knew of America. Among other things, he
said the railway trains of America run high up in the air above the
houses. When the others did not seem to believe it, he tried to prove it
by shouting at them. He said he had read about it in a newspaper. Then
he mentioned “Nuova York,” and asked me if it were not also true that
its buildings were higher than the steeple of the village church, and
whether the railroads were not built high to enable the people to get
into such high houses. He seemed to think that Americans never come down
to earth. When he gave me a chance to speak, I explained that what he
had read was about the New York Elevated and not about the railways of
the whole country.

Moreover, “Nuova York” meant America to the whole party. Not a man of
them knew that there were two Americas; not one had ever heard the term
“United States.” Many country people of Italy think of America as a land
somewhere far away,—how far or in what direction they have no
idea,—where wages are higher than in Italy. Countless times questions
like these were asked:

“Is America farther away than Switzerland?”

“Did you walk all the way from America?”

“Who is king of America?”

“Why! Are you a native American? I thought Americans were black!”

Finally a woman added insult to injury by asking:

“In America you worship the sun, _non e vero_?”

One evening, at a country inn, I remarked that the United States as a
whole is as large, if not larger, than Italy. My hearers were deafening
me with shouts of scorn and disbelief when a newcomer of the party came
to my assistance.

“Certainly that is right!” he cried. “It is larger. I have a brother in
Buenos Ayres, and I know. America, or the United States, as this signore
chooses to call it, has states just like Italy. The states are Brazil,
Uruguay, Republica Argentina, and Nuova York.”

The roadway between Florence and Siena winds through splendid scenery
and over mountains, from the top of which I had a complete view in every
direction of the surrounding hills and valleys. But I had little chance
to admire the scenery, for again and again I had to jump aside and vault
over roadside hedges before a team of oxen driven round a hill. These
oxen had horns that measured at least six and even seven feet from tip
to tip, so when I met two of them yoked together there wasn’t much room
left for me. Moreover, their drivers were frequently sound asleep, and
the animals wandered this way and that as they pleased all over the
highway, tossing their horns toward me. As I met them at almost every
quarter mile, I had to be watchful and quick.

I came upon Siena at last. Before me lay a broad, fertile valley with a
rocky hill rising from the center of it. The houses were scattered over
the hill, some of them on the very top, others clinging to the sides as
if fearful of falling to the bottom into the valley itself. It was
another of those up-and-down towns whose streets should be fitted with
ladders; where every householder is in danger, every time he steps out
of doors, of falling into the next block, should he by any chance lose
his hold on the front of his dwelling. I managed to climb into the city
without actually crawling on my hands and knees; but more than once I
kept my place only by clutching at the nearest building.

[Illustration: A country family returning from market. The grape casks
being empty the boys do not need to walk home.]

Two days after leaving Siena I was tramping along a highway that wound
over low mountains, between whispering forests, in utter loneliness.
Where the woods ended stretched many another weary mile, with never a
hut by the wayside. Now and then I came upon a shepherd clad in
sheepskins, sitting among his flocks on a hillside.

The sun sank while I was plodding through an endless marsh. All about me
were the whispering of great fields of reeds and grasses, and the dismal
croaking of countless frogs. Twilight faded to black night. Far away
before me the lights of Rome brightened the sky; yet hours of tramping
seemed to bring them not a yard nearer.

Forty-one miles had I covered, when three hovels rose up by the wayside.
One was a wine-shop. I went inside and found it filled with traveling
teamsters. One of them offered me a bed on his load of straw in the

He rose at daybreak and drove off, and at that early hour I started once
more on my way to Rome. The lonely road led across a windy marsh,
rounded a low hill, and brought me face to face with the ancient city
that was once the center of the civilized world.

To the right and left, on low hills, stood large buildings like those in
American cities. From these buildings a mass of houses sloped down the
hills and covered the broad valleys between them. The Tiber River wound
its way among the dull gray dwellings. Here and there a dome shone
brightly in the morning sunshine. But, towering high above all, dwarfing
everything else, stood the vast dome of St. Peter’s.

As I looked I thought of how, hundreds of years ago, people had caught
their first glimpse of Rome from this very hilltop. Before the days of
railroads, travelers had come by this same road, millions of them on
foot, and entered the city by this same massive western gateway. I
watched the steady stream of peasants, on wagons, carts, donkeys, and
afoot, pouring through this same entrance; while officers stood there,
running long slim swords through bales and baskets of farm produce.
Finally I joined the noisy, surging crowd, and was swept within the

I spent nearly a week wandering through St. Peter’s, the Vatican Art
galleries, and among the chapels, ruins, and ancient monuments of Rome.
Then I turned southward again on the road to Naples. For three days the
route led through a territory packed with ragged, half-starved people,
who toiled constantly from the first peep of the sun to the last waver
of twilight, and crawled away into some hole during the hours of
darkness. They were not much like the people of northern Italy.
Shopkeepers snarled at their customers, false coins of the smallest sort
made their appearance, and had I not looked so much like the natives
themselves I should certainly have won the attention of those who lived
by violence.

In this section the language changed rapidly. The tongue spoken in
Florence and Siena was almost foreign here. A word learned in one
village was not understood in another a half day distant. The villages
were perched at the summits of the steepest hills, up which each day’s
walk ended with a weary climb by steep paths of stones that rolled under
my feet.

For three nights after leaving Rome I had to sleep out of doors. On my
fourth day I found lodging at the wayside, in a building that was one
fourth inn and three fourths stable. The keeper, his wife, and their
many children all were barefooted. The father sat on a stool, bouncing
the baby up and down on his broad feet. Another child squatted on top of
the four-legged board that served as a table, and in a fit of
bashfulness thrust his fingers into his mouth.

“You have lodgings for travelers?” I inquired.

“Yes,” growled the owner.

“How much for bed?”

“Two cents.”

I demanded to see the lodging that could be had at such a price.

“Giovanni,” bawled the head of the house, “bring in the bed!”

A moth-eaten youth flung open the back door, and threw at my feet a
dirty grain-sack filled with crumpled straw that peeped out here and

After I had rested awhile, the father bawled once more to his son, and
motioned to me to take up my bed and walk. I followed the youth out to
the stable, picking my way by the light of the feeble torch he carried.
Giovanni waded inside, pointed out to me a long, narrow manger of slats,
and fled, leaving me alone with the problem of how to rest nearly six
feet of body on three feet of stuffed grain-sack. I tried every way I
could think of, but decided at last to sleep on the bare slats and use
the sack as a pillow.

I had just begun to doze, when an outer door opened and let in a great
draft of night air, closely followed by a flock of sheep that quickly
filled the stable to overflowing. Some of the animals tried to overflow
into the manger, sprang back when they found me in it, and made their
discovery known to their companions by several long “b-a-a-s.” The news
awakened a truly Italian curiosity. The sheep started a procession, and
the whole band filed by the manger, every animal poking its nose through
the slats for a sniff. This over, each of the flock expressed its
opinion of my presence in trembling, nerve-racking bleats. They kept
this up until the youth came to tell me that it was morning, and carried
off my bed, fearful, no doubt, that I would run off with that valuable
piece of property.

[Illustration: Italian peasants returning from the vineyards to the

In spite of bruises and aches, I plodded on at a good pace, hoping by
this early start to reach Naples before the day was done. But I was
still in the country when the gloom, settling down like a fog, drove
into the highway bands of weary people and four-footed beasts, toiling
homeward from their day’s work. The route led downward. The fields
between tumble-down villages grew shorter and shorter until they
disappeared entirely, and I found myself between an unbroken row of
stone houses. The bands of home-going peasants increased to a crowd,
through which I struggled to make my way.

It was impossible to stop long enough to look about me. I finally
cornered a workman and asked how to get to Naples.

“Napoli! Ma! This is Napoli!” he bellowed, shoving me aside.

I plunged on, certain that the road must lead to the harbor and its
sailors’ lodgings. Ragged, cross-looking laborers swept against me.
Donkeys, with and without loads, brayed when their masters struck them.
Heavy ox-carts, massive wagons, here and there a horseman, fought their
way up the hill amid shrill shouts, roaring oaths, screaming yeehawing
of asses, the rumble of wheels on cobblestones, the snap of whips, the
whack of heavy sticks. I moved along with the bawling multitude before
and behind me, and a long time afterward reached level streets, and was
dragged into a miserable lodging-house by a boarding-house runner.

In Naples the business people do not wait for you to come into the shop
to ask for what you want. They come out to the street after you, or send
their runners out to invite you in. The barber walks up and down the
street, watching for men who need a shave; the merchant stands before
his door and shouts and beckons to the passing crowd to come in and see
his goods; the ticket agent tramps up and down the wharves, trying to
sell a ticket to everyone who passes; and the boarding-house runners are
everywhere, looking for the stranger within the city who has not yet
found a lodging-place.

I spent a few days in Naples, then went to Marseilles, where I lived a
month, tramping sorrowfully up and down the break-water waiting for a
chance to get work on some ship eastward bound. On the last day of
November my luck changed. The _Warwickshire_, an English steamer sailing
to Burma, put in at Marseilles and sent out a call for a sailor. I was
the first man on board, showed them my discharge from the cattle-boat,
and was “signed on” at once.

The next day I watched the familiar harbor of Marseilles grow smaller
and smaller until it faded away on the distant sky-line.

                              CHAPTER VIII
                            AMONG THE ARABS

On a peaceful sea the _Warwickshire_ sped eastward. My work was
“polishin’ ’er brasses,” and I can say without boasting that the ship
was brighter because I was there.

On the morning of the fifth day out, I was ordered into the hold to send
up the trunks of Egyptian travelers. When I climbed on deck after the
last chest, the deep blue of the sea had turned to a shabby brown, but
there was no land in sight. Suddenly there rose from the sea a
flat-topped building, then another and another, until a whole village
lay spread out on the water before us. The houses appeared to sit like
gulls on the ruddy sea. It was Port Said. Beyond the town we could see a
stretch of reddish desert sand. Slowly the _Warwickshire_ nosed her way
into the canal, the anchor ran out with a rattle and roar, and there
swarmed upon our decks a multitude of strange-looking people who seemed
to belong to another world.

Darkness soon fell. I had signed on the _Warwickshire_ under a promise
that I might leave her at Port Said. Through all the voyage, however, my
shipmates had spent the hours of the dog-watch telling me tales of the
horrors that had befallen white men who became penniless among the
Arabs. Perhaps my shipmates spoke truly. It seemed as if they might have
done so as I sat gazing off into the blackest of nights, listening to
the shrieks that rose from the maze of buildings ashore, and the
snarling, scowling mobs that raced about our decks. Perhaps I should be
murdered if I ventured ashore among these black tribes. Or, if I escaped
murder, I might be left to die of starvation on this neck of sand.

The captain had given me leave to go on to Rangoon. An Englishman, who
was returning to the Burmese district he governed, had promised me a
position with good pay. It seemed foolhardy to halt in this land of
rascals, when in a few days I might complete half my journey around the
globe and find ready employment.

For an hour I sat staring into the black night, trying to decide whether
to risk going ashore or to go on with the ship. I finally decided that I
must see Palestine and Egypt, countries I had read much of in the Bible.
They were lands too famous to be lightly passed by. I bade farewell to
my astonished shipmates, collected my few days’ wages, and, with about
nine dollars in my pocket, dropped into a boat and was rowed ashore.

At the landing I paid the dusky boatman the regular fare—the amount was
posted in plain sight on the wharf. But he was not satisfied. For an
hour he dogged my footsteps, howling threats or whining in a
high-pitched voice, now in his native Arabic, now in such English as he
could put together. But I shook him off at last, and set out to find a

It was not an easy thing to do. To be sure, I passed several hotels
before which well dressed men lounged at little tables, and barefooted
black waiters flitted back and forth carrying cool drinks. But to stop
at such a hotel would take more money than I had had for some time.
There must have been dozens of native inns among the maze of hovels into
which I plunged at the first step off the avenue. But how could I tell
where they were, when the only signs I could see were as meaningless to
me as so many spatters of ink? Even in Holland I had been able to guess
at shop names. But Arabic! I had not the least idea whether the signs I
saw announced a lodging-house or the quarters of an undertaker! A long
evening I pattered in and out of crooked byways, bumping now and then
into a dark Arab who snarled at me and made off, and bringing up here
and there in some dismal blind alley. Fearful of wandering too far from
the lighted square, I turned back toward the harbor. Suddenly I caught
sight of a sign in English: “Catholic Sailors’ Home.” I dashed joyfully
toward it.

The Home was little more than a small reading-room. Half hidden behind
the stacks of ragged magazines, sat the “manager,” a Maltese boy,
huddled over paper and pencil and staring in a discouraged manner at an
Italian-English grammar. I stepped forward and offered to help him, and
together we waded through a very long lesson. Before we had ended, six
tattered white men wandered in and carefully chose books over which to
fall asleep.

“You must know,” said the young manager, as he closed the grammar, “that
there am no sleepings here. And we closes at eleven. But I am fix you
oop. I am shelter all these seamens, while I lose my place when the
Catholic society found it out.”

He peered out into the night and locked the doors. Then he blew out the
lights and awoke the sleepers. We groped our way through a long
stone-paved passageway to the back of the building.

“You are getting in here,” said the Maltese, pulling open what appeared
to be a heavy pair of shutters; “but be quietness.”

I climbed through after the others. A companion struck a match that
lighted up a stone room, once the kitchen of the Home. Closely packed
though we were, it soon grew icy cold on the stone floor. Two of the
ragged men rose with cries of disgust, and crawled out through the
window to tramp up and down the hall. I felt my way to a coffin-shaped
cupboard in one corner, laid it lengthwise on the floor, pulled out the
shelves, and, crawling inside, closed the doors above me. My sleep was
unbroken until morning.

On my second afternoon in Port Said, one of my room-mates at the Home—an
Austrian—wandered with me out to the break-water. We lay stretched out,
watching the coming and going of the pilot-boats and the sparkle of the
canal, that narrowed to a thread far away on the yellow desert.

A portly Greek approached, and asked in Italian if we wanted work. We
did, of course. We followed him back to land and along the beach until
we came to a hut in the native part of the city. On the earth floor sat
two widemouthed stone vessels. The Greek motioned to us to seat
ourselves before them, poured into them some kind of small nut, and
handed each of us a stone pestle. When we had fallen to work pounding
the nuts, he sat down on a stool, prepared his water-bottle pipe, and,
except for a wave of the hand now and then as a signal to us to empty
the vessels of the beaten mass and refill them, remained utterly
motionless for the rest of the day.

Like machines we pounded hour after hour. The pestles were heavy when we
began; before the day was over mine weighed at least a ton. What we were
beating up, and what we were beating it up for, I do not know to this
day. The Austrian said that he knew the use of the product, but fell
strangely silent when I asked him to explain. Night sounds were drifting
in through the door of the hut when the Greek signed to us to stop. Then
he handed each of us five small piasters (12½ cents). We hurried away
across the beach to a native shop where mutton sold cheaply.

Two days later I took a “deck-passage” for Beirut, and boarded an old
ship flying the English flag. A crowd of Arabs, Turks, and Syrians,
Christians and Mohammedans, men and women, squatted on the half-covered
deck. In one place were piled a half hundred wooden gratings. What these
were for was a mystery to me until my fellow passengers fell to pulling
them down, one by one, and spreading their bed-clothes on them! I was
the only one of all the multitude without bedding; even the lean, gaunt
Bedouins, dressed in tattered filth, had each a roll of ragged blankets
in which, after saying their evening prayers with many bowings toward
the city of Mecca, they rolled themselves and lay down together. When I
stretched out on a bare grating, the entire throng was lying huddled in
a dozen separate groups.

Morning broke bright and clear. Far off to the right rose the
snow-capped range of the Lebanon Mountains. I strolled anxiously about
the deck. In a group of Turks I came upon two who spoke French. I began
to talk with them, chiefly because I wanted to ask them questions. I
told them a few of my experiences on the highways of Europe. These
stories amused them greatly. Then I spoke of my intention of walking to
Damascus. They shouted with astonishment. It was plain that some of them
did not believe me.

“What!” cried one of the French-speaking Turks, waving a flabby hand
toward the snow-banks that covered the wall-like range of mountains. “Go
to Damascus on foot! Impossible! You would be buried in the snow. This
country is not like Europe! There are thousands of murderous Bedouins
between here and Damascus who would glory in cutting the throat of a dog
of an unbeliever! Why? I have lived years in Beirut, and no man of my
acquaintance, native or Frank [European], would ever undertake such a
journey on foot.”

“And you would lose your way and die in the snow,” put in the other.

Throughout the morning the pair were kept busy translating for me what
the others of the group said about the absolute foolishness of such an
undertaking. It was a story I heard again and again while traveling in
the Far East; but it was new to me then, and as I ran my eye along the
snow-hooded wall that faded into hazy distance to the north and south, I
half believed it.

The coast-line drew nearer. On the plain at the foot of the mountains I
could see here and there well cultivated patches between dreary
stretches of blood-red sand. A few minutes later we dropped anchor well
out in the harbor of Beirut. Down the gangway tumbled a mighty landslide
of Asiatics, men and women, large and small, dirty and half dirty,
pushing, kicking, scratching and biting one another, hopelessly
entangled with bundles of every thinkable shape. Shouting boatmen rowed
us ashore. As we swung in against the rock, I caught a proud-looking
Bedouin trying to separate me from my knapsack. A well directed push
landed him in the laps of several heavily veiled women, and I sprang up
a stairway cut in the face of the rock.

The city itself was miles away from the landing-place. One of the
officials called an evil-looking native, clothed in a single garment
that reached to his knees, and ordered him to guide me to the town. We
set off through the night, heavy with the smell of oranges, along a
narrow road six inches deep in the softest mud. On the outskirts of the
city the native halted and began talking to me in Arabic. I shook my
head. He seemed to think that I was unable to understand him because of
some fault in my hearing. So he asked the question again and again,
louder and more rapidly each time he repeated it. I let him shout until
breath failed him and he gave up and splashed on. He halted once more,
in a square reeking with mud in the center of the city, and burst forth
excitedly in a jumble of words more difficult to understand than before.

“Ingleesee?” he shrieked, with his last gasp.

“No,” I answered, understanding this one word; “Americano.”

“Ha!” shouted the Arab. “Americano?” And once more he began his
shouting. He seemed to be trying to explain something about my fellow
countrymen, for he repeated the word “Americano” again and again. Once
more he gave up trying to make me understand and struck off to the
southward. I shouted “hotel” and “inn” in every language I could call to
mind; but, after a few mumbles, he fell silent, and only the splash of
our feet in the muddy roadway could be heard.

We left the city behind, but still the Arab plodded steadily and
silently southward. Many a story of white men led into Arabic traps
passed through my mind. Far out among the orange groves beyond the city,
he turned into a small garden, and pointed to a lighted sign above the
door of a building among the trees. It was the home of the American
consul. Not knowing what else to do with a Frank who did not understand
the loudest Arabic, the native had led me to the only man in Beirut whom
he had heard called “Americano.”

When I had paid my bill next morning at the French inn to which I had
been sent, I stepped into the office of that great tourist agency, Cook
& Son, and exchanged a sovereign for so many iron and tin coins that I
could hardly carry them. Then I ate a native breakfast, and, strolling
down to the harbor, sat on a pier.

For a time the uproar made by shrieking Arabs, braying camels, and the
rattle of ships discharging their freight, drowned all other sounds.
Then suddenly I caught faintly a shout in English behind me, and turned
around. A lean native in European dress and fez cap was beckoning to me
from the opening of one of the narrow streets. I dropped from the pier
and turned shoreward. The native ran toward me. “You speak Eengleesh?”
he cried. “Yes? No? What countryman you?”


“No? Not American?” shrieked the native, dancing up and down. “You not
American? Ha! ha! ver’ fine. I American one time, too. I be one time
sailor on American warsheep _Brooklyn_. You write Engleesh too? No? Yes?
Ver’ fine! You like job? I got letters write in Engleesh! Come, you!”

He led the way through the swarming streets, shouting answers to the
questions I asked him. He said his name was Abdul Razac Bundak and his
business that of “bumboat man.” That is to say, he sold supplies to
ships, acted as guide for officers ashore, led tourists on sight-seeing
trips, and in the busy season ran a sailors’ boarding-house.

Some distance back from the harbor, in a shoe-shop kept by his uncle, I
sat down to write three letters for him. By the time these were finished
he had discovered that I knew other languages, and I wrote three more,
two in French and one in Spanish. They were business letters to ship
captains who often put in at Beirut. The bumboat man paid me two unknown
coins and invited me to dinner in a neighboring shop.

In the days that followed, our “company,” as Abdul called it, was the
busiest in Beirut. I wrote many letters for him and for other Arabs in
the city who had heard of me. Had those men been less indolent they
might have doubled their business. But they did not like to hurry. Again
and again, while telling me what to write, they would drift away into
the land of dreams with a sentence left half finished on their lips. The
palm of the left hand was the writing-desk, and it was always with
difficulty that I stirred them up to clear a space on their littered
stands. I did not get much pay for this work; but I added something each
day to the scrap iron in my pocket.

When business was slow, Abdul could think of nothing better to do than
to eat and drink. Let his cigarette burn out, and he rose with a yawn,
and we rambled away through the windings of the bazaars to some tiny
tavern. The keepers were always delighted to be awakened from their
dreams by our “company.” While we sat on a log or an upturned basket and
sipped a glass of some native drink, Abdul spun long tales of the
_faranchee_ world. Some of these stories could not have been true; but,
with a live _faranchee_ to serve as illustration, the shop-keepers were
satisfied and listened open-mouthed.

With every drink the keeper served a half dozen tiny dishes of
hazelnuts, radishes, peas in the pod, cold squares of boiled potatoes,
berries, and vegetables known only in Arabia. But Abdul was gifted with
an unfailing appetite, and at least once after every business deal he
led the way to one of the many eating-shops facing the busiest streets
and squares. In a gloomy, cave-like shop, the front of which was all
door, stood two long, rough tables, with long, rough benches beside
them. The proprietor sat near the entrance behind a great block of brick
and mortar over which simmered a score of black kettles. I read the bill
of fare by raising the cover of each kettle in turn, chose a dish that
seemed less mysterious than the rest, picked up a large ring-shaped loaf
and a bottle of water from a bench, and withdrew to the back of the
shop. Whatever I chose, it was almost certain to contain mutton. The
Arabian cook, however, sets nothing over the fire until he has cut it
into small pieces. Each dinner was a stew of some kind, of differing
tastes and colors.

Abdul did not often concern himself with the contents of the kettles,
for his prime favorite was a dish prepared by running a row of tiny
cubes of liver and kidneys on an iron bar, and turning them over and
over above glowing coals. I too should have ordered this delicacy more
often, had not Abdul, with his incurable “Eengleesh,” persisted in
calling it “kittens.”

With all its mud and careless disorder, there was something very
pleasing about this corner of the Arab world: the lazy droning of its
shop-keepers, the roll of the incoming sea, the twitter of birds that
spoke of summer and seemed to contradict the calendar—above all, the
picturesque orange trees bending under the ripening fruit that perfumed
the soft air, with the snow-drifts almost within stone’s throw on the
peaks above.

For all that, I should not have remained so long in Beirut by choice,
for the road was long before me, and I had planned to cover a certain
part of it each day. But my friends in the East could not understand why
I was anxious to go at once. “To-morrow is as good as to-day; wait until
to-morrow,” they would say, when some small matter had kept me from
starting on the day I had planned. But when to-morrow came, they
repeated the same words. They could not understand my hurry.

There was no one in Beirut who could tell me which road led to Damascus.
Abdul threw up his hands in horror when I spoke to him of my intended
journey. “Impossible!” he shrieked. “There is not road. You be froze in
the snow before the Bedouins cut your liver. You no can go. Business
good. Damascus no good. Ver’ col’ in Damascus now.”

One afternoon, however, while in unusually good spirits, he admitted
that there was a road leading to Damascus, and that caravans had been
known to pass over it. But even then he insisted that the journey could
not be made on foot.

The bumboat man left me next morning just outside the city, and a bend
in the road soon hid him from view. For an hour the highway was
perfectly level. On each side were rich gardens and orange groves,
thronged with dusky men and women clad in flowing sheets. Soon all this
changed. The road wound upward, the delicate orange tree gave place to
the sturdy olive, instead of fertile gardens there were now rocky
hillsides all about, and the only persons to be seen were now and then
an Arab, grim and scowling, leading or riding a swaying camel.

The way was lonely and silent. A rising wind sighed mournfully through
the gullies and trees. The summer breeze of the sea-level turned chilly.
I hunted until I found the sunny side of a large rock before attempting
to eat the lunch in my knapsack. Farther up the cedar forests began.
Here and there groups of peasants were digging on the wayside slopes. To
the north and south I could see flat-roofed villages clinging to

How strange and foreign seemed everything about me! The dress and tools
of the peasants, the food in my knapsack, everything was so different
from the world I had lived in. If I spoke to those I met, they answered
back in a strange jumble of words, wound the folds of their queer
garments about them, and hurried on. If I caught sight of a village
clock, its hands pointed to six when the hour was noon. Even the
familiar name of the famous city to which I was bound was meaningless to
the natives, for they called it “Shaam.”

My pronunciation of the word must have been at fault; for, though I
stood long at a fork in the road in the early forenoon, shouting “Shaam”
at each passer-by, I took the wrong branch at last. I tramped for some
hours along a rapidly disappearing highway before I suspected my
mistake. Even then I kept on, for I was not certain that I was going in
the wrong direction. At last the route led forth from a cutting in the
hills, and the shimmering sea almost at my feet showed me that I was
marching due southward.

Two peasants appeared above a rise of ground beyond. As they drew near I
pointed off down the road and shouted, “Shaam?” The pair halted
wonderingly in the center of the highway some distance from me. “Shaam!
Shaam! Shaam!” I repeated, striving to give the word a pronunciation
that they could understand. The peasants stared open-mouthed, drew back
several paces, and peered down the road and back at me a dozen times, as
if they were not sure whether I was calling their attention to some
wonder of nature, or trying to get them to turn around long enough to
pick their pockets. Then a slow, half-hearted smile broke out on the
features of the quicker-witted. He stood first on one leg, then on the
other, squinted along the highway once more, and began to repeat after
me: “Shaam! Shaam! Shaam!”

“Aywa, Shaam!” I cried.

He turned to his companion. They talked together so long that I thought
they had forgotten me. Then both began to shake their heads so forcibly
that the muscles of their necks stood out like steel cords. Two broad
grins wrinkled their leathery faces. They stretched out their arms to
the southward and burst forth in unmusical duet: “La! la! la! la! la!
Shaam! La! la! la! la! la!” The Arab says “la” when he means “no.” I
turned around and hurried back the way I had come.

Dusk was falling when I came a second time to a two-row village facing
the highway. As I expected, there was not an inn, or anything like one,
in the place. I had seen enough of the Arabian, however, to know that he
has his share of curiosity. So I sat down on a large rock at the end of
the village.

In three minutes a small crowd had collected. In ten, half the
population was swarming around me and roaring at my useless effort to
make myself understood. They stood about me, grinning and chattering,
for a good half hour before one of the band motioned to me to follow
him, and turned back into the village. The crowd followed me, closely
examining every part of my clothing, grinning, smirking, running from
one side to the other, lest they lose some point in the make-up of so
strange a creature, and babbling the while like an army of apes.

The leader turned off the highway toward the largest building in the
village. Ten yards from the door, he halted. The crowd formed a half
circle, leaving me in the center, and then one and all began to shout
something at the top of their lungs.

A girl of some sixteen years appeared at the door. “Taala hena!” (“Come
here!”) roared the chorus. The girl ran down the steps. A roar as of an
angry sea burst forth, as every member of the company stretched out an
arm toward me. Plainly each was determined that he, and not his
neighbor, should be the one to introduce this strange being.

“Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” (“Do you speak German?”) shrieked the girl in my

“Ja wohl.” (“Yes, indeed”), I answered.

The rabble fell utterly silent at the first word, and I asked to be
directed to an inn.

“There is no hotel in our city of Bhamdoon,” replied the girl, with
flashing eyes. “We should be insulted. In this house with my family
lives a German missionary lady. You must stop here.”

She led the way to the door. The missionary met me on the steps with a
cry of delight. She explained that she had not seen a European in many

“What would supper and lodging cost me here?” Luckily, the German lady
was hard of hearing. The girl gave me a quick glance, half scornful,
half astonished, which reminded me that such a question is an insult in
the land of Arabs.

“The lady is busy now,” said the girl. “Come and visit my family.” She
led the way along a hall and threw open a door. I pulled off my cap.

“Keep it on,” said my guide, “and leave your shoes there.”

She stepped out of her own loose slippers and into the room. It was
square and low. The stone floor was half covered with mats and cushions.
In the center glowed a small sheet-iron stove; and around three of the
walls ran a long cushioned seat. Two men, two women, and several
children were seated in a half circle on the floor, their legs folded
under them. They rose without a word as I entered. The girl placed a
cushion for me on the floor. The family sat down again and carefully and
slowly folded their legs as before. Then, after they were firmly seated,
one and all in turn, according to age, cried “Lailtak saeedee” (Good

In the center of the group were three large bowls, one of lentils and
another of chopped-up potatoes in oil. A third contained a delicacy made
of sour milk, half soup and half pudding, that is a great favorite among
the Arabs. On the floor, beside each member of the family, lay several
sheets of bread, half a yard wide and as thin as cardboard. The head of
the house pushed the bowls toward me, ordered a stack of bread to be
placed beside my cushion, and motioned me to eat. I stared helplessly at
the bowls, for there was neither knife, fork, nor spoon in sight. The
girl, however, knowing the ways of _faranchees_ from years in a mission
school in Beirut, explained my difficulty to her father. He cast a
scornful look at me, begged my pardon, through his daughter, for being
so impolite as to eat a morsel before his guest had begun, tore a few
inches from a bread-sheet, and, folding it between his fingers, picked
up a pinch of lentils and ate. I lost no time in following his example.

A wonderful invention is this Arab bread. If one buys food in a native
bazaar, it is wrapped in a bread-sheet, and a very good wrapper it is,
for it requires a good grip and a fair pair of muscles to tear it. A
bread-sheet takes the place of many dishes. It makes a splendid cover
for pots and pans; it does well as a waiter’s tray. Never have I seen it
used to cover roofs, nor as shaving paper; but, then, the Arab is slow
and he may not have thought of making use of it in those ways yet. As an
article of food, however, this bread is not an entire success. The taste
is not unpleasant, but ten minutes’ chewing makes far less impression on
it than on a rubber mat. The bread I ate that night must have been very
old, for it would fall into pieces when I used it as a spoon. My host
picked up one of my sheets, held it against the glowing stove with the
flat of his hand, and returned it. It bent as easily as cloth and was
much more agreeable to the taste than before.

The younger man rolled cigarettes for himself and his father. They asked
me questions, which the girl repeated to me in German. She was about to
tell them my answers, when there came a tap at the door and a few words
in Arabic that caused the family to jump hurriedly to their feet.
“Sheik! sheik!” they whispered excitedly. The children were whisked into
one corner.

The door was flung open, and there entered the room an under-sized man
of about sixty. Long, flowing robes enveloped his form, a turban-wound
fez perched almost merrily on his head, and his feet were bare, for he
had dropped his slippers at the door. His face, deeply wrinkled, with a
long scar across one cheek, was browned and weather-beaten by the wild
storms that sometimes rage over the Lebanon.

The sheik greeted the head of the family, took a seat near me on the
divan, bowed low to each person present, bowed again when they each
returned his greeting, and then with a wave of his hand invited them to
be seated. The newcomer had quite plainly been attracted to the house
because he had heard that a _faranchee_ was visiting the family. He was
asking questions about me, as I could tell by his gestures and the few
words I understood. The family began eagerly explaining and telling him
how they supposed I happened to be in that part of the world. For a time
the sheik listened without showing the least surprise. He sat there
puffing at a cigarette as quietly as if it were nothing new to have
_faranchees_ wander into his town on foot at night.

At the end of his story, however, the head of the house remarked that I
was on my way to “Shaam” on foot. This news was as astonishing as he
could have wished. The sheik fairly bounded into the air, threw his
cigarette at the open stove, and burst forth excitedly. The girl
explained his words. He said it was “impossible,” it “couldn’t be done”;
and at the close of his speech he declared that, as village mayor or
sheik, he would not permit me to continue on such a foolhardy
undertaking. How many weapons did I carry? None? What—no weapon? Travel
to far-off Damascus without being armed? Why, his own villagers never
ventured along the highway to the nearest towns without their guns! he
would not hear of it! And he was still talking excitedly when the
missionary came to invite me to a second supper.

I bade farewell to the family early next morning, swung my knapsack over
my shoulder and limped down to the road. But Bhamdoon was not yet done
with me. In the center of the highway, in front of the little shop that
he kept, stood the sheik and several of his townsmen. With great
politeness he invited me to step inside. My feet were still swollen and
blistered from the long tramp of the day before, for the cloth slippers
of Port Said offered no more protection from the sharp stones of the
highway than a sheet of paper; so I accepted the invitation. The village
head placed a stool for me in front of the shop, where everybody walking
up or down the road could see me.

It soon began to look as if I were on exhibition as some strange animal
that had been discovered, for the sheik pointed me out with delight to
every passer-by. It was plain, too, that he was making use of the moment
to collect some village tax. For on the floor beside me stood an
earthenware pot, and as soon as the visitors had looked me over from all
sides, the sheik invited them to drop into it a _bishleek_ (ten cents).
Not a man passed without giving something; for the command of a sheik of
a Syrian village is a law to all its people.

After I had sat there for some time, a villager I had not yet seen
appeared and began talking to me in English. I learned that he had once
lived in Maine, where he had earned money enough to live in ease in his
native country, to which he had returned years before. He insisted that
I visit his house near by. While I was there he fell to tucking
bread-sheets, black olives, raisins, and pieces of sugar-cane into my
knapsack, shouting all the while of his undying love for America and
things American. Out of mere pride for his dreary country, he took care,
on his way back to the shop, to point out a narrow path that wound up
the steep slope of the neighboring range of mountains.

“That,” he said, “leads to the Damascus road; but no man can journey to
Damascus on foot.”

The earthenware pot was almost full when I took my seat again on the
stool. I turned to my new acquaintance.

“What special taxes is the sheik gathering this morning?” I demanded.

“Eh! What?” cried the former New Englander, following the direction of
my finger. “The pot? Why, don’t you know what that’s for?”

“No,” I answered.

“Why, that is a collection the sheik is taking up to buy you a ticket to
Damascus on the railroad.”

I picked up my knapsack from the floor, and stepped into the highway.
The sheik and several bystanders threw themselves upon me to hold me
back. It was no use trying to escape from a dozen horny hands. I
permitted myself to be led back to the stool, and sat down with the
knapsack across my knees. The sheik addressed me in soothing tones, as
if he were trying to coax me to wait, pointing to the pot with every
third word. The others went back to their seats on the floor, rolled new
cigarettes, and became quiet once more. With one leap I sprang from the
stool into the street, and set off at top speed down the highway, a
screaming, howling, ever-increasing, but ever more distant crowd at my

Half an hour later I reached the top of a neighboring range of
mountains, and slid down the opposite slope on to the highway to

                               CHAPTER IX
                            A LONELY JOURNEY

For miles the road climbed sharply upward, or crawled along the face of
a mountain at the edge of a yawning pit. The villages were far apart,
and as they were low and flat, and built of the same rock as the
mountains, I did not notice them until I was almost upon them. In every
such place one or more of the householders marched back and forth on the
top of his dwelling, dragging after him a great stone roller and
chanting a mournful tune that seemed to cheer him on in his labor.

At first sight these flat roofs seemed to be of heavy blocks of stone.
But they were really made of branches and bushes, plastered over with
mud. If the rolling had been neglected for a fortnight in this rainy
season, the roofs would soon have sagged and fallen in of their own

Most of the way was lonely. At one time I met a line of proud and
scornful-looking camels plodding westward. Some time later a company of
villagers on horseback appeared, and a long moment afterward I came upon
a straggling band of evil-eyed Bedouins astride lean asses. Never a
human being alone, never a man on foot, and never a traveler without a
long gun slung across his shoulders. The villagers stared at me
open-mouthed; the camel-drivers leered wickedly; and the scowling
Bedouins halted to watch me, as I went on, as if they were trying to
decide whether I was worth the robbing.

The highway wound upward through a narrow rocky passage between tall
hills. As I went on I noticed how lonely the pass was. I began to think
that wandering Bedouins could not choose a better spot in which to lie
in wait for the victims they meant to rob. Suddenly a shot rang out at
the top of the pass. I started in alarm.

[Illustration: Beyond the pass stretched mile after mile of rocky
country, the loneliest I had ever seen.]

The command came from no highwayman, however. Before a ruined hut on the
hill above stood a man in khaki uniform, the reins of a saddled horse
that grazed at his feet over one arm. “Teskereh!” he bawled.

I climbed the hillside, and handed over my Turkish passport. The officer
grew friendly at once, and invited me into his hut. Its only furnishings
were a mat-covered bench that served as a bed, and a pan of coals. I
drew out a few coins and ate an imaginary breakfast. The officer could
not or would not understand my acting. He motioned me to a seat, offered
a cigarette, and poured out a cup of muddy coffee from a pot over the
coals; but food he would not bring forth.

After we had sat grinning speechlessly at each other for a while, I drew
him out of the hut, and, once in the sunshine, opened my camera. He gave
one wild shriek, and stumbled over himself in his haste to get back into
the hovel. Nor could any amount of coaxing lead him to come out again
until I had closed the camera.

Beyond the pass stretched mile after mile of rocky country, the
loneliest that I had ever seen. Hills upon hills sank down behind each
other, rocky and drear. Here and there a single olive tree added to the
loneliness of the surroundings. It was truly a “waste place of the

All through the day I tramped on, with never a sight or sound of any
living thing. Darkness fell over the same bare and rocky wilderness. The
wind howled across the lonely waste. On this blackest of nights I could
not have made out a ghost a yard away, and the unknown highway led me
into many a pitfall. Long hours after sunset I was plodding blindly on,
my cloth slippers making not a sound, when I ran squarely into the arms
of some kind of person whose native footwear had made his approach as
noiseless as my own. Three startled male voices rang out in hoarse
shrieks of “Allah!” as the trio sprang back in terror.

Before I could pass on, one of them struck a match. The howling wind
blew it out instantly, but in that brief flicker I caught sight of three
ugly faces under the headdress that belongs to the roving Bedouin.
“Faranchee!” they screamed, and flung themselves upon the particular
corner of the darkness where the match had shown me standing.

In the excitement of the moment I jumped aside so hastily that I fell
off the highway. The rattling of stones under my feet told them my
whereabouts, and they charged upon me again. A dozen times, in the game
of hide-and-seek that followed, I felt the breath of one of the
flea-bitten rascals in my face.

The Arabic rules of the game, fortunately, made the players keep up a
continual howling, while I moved silently, after the fashion of the
West. Helped in this unfair way, I managed to escape them until they
stopped to whisper together. Then, creeping noiselessly on hands and
knees, I lay hold on the highway and sped silently away, by no means
certain whether I was headed toward Damascus or the coast.

An hour later the howling of dogs told me that I was near a village.
Once I halted to listen for sounds of human voices. Everybody, it
seemed, was asleep, for what Syrian could be awake and silent? The
lights that shone from every hovel proved nothing, for Arabs are afraid
of the evil spirits that lurk in the darkness and leave their lamps
burning all night. I beat off the snapping curs and started on again.

Suddenly sounds of laughter and excited voices sounded from a building
before me. I hurried toward it and knocked loudly on the door. The
merriment ceased. For several moments there was not a sound. Then there
came the slapping of slippered feet along the passageway inside, and a
woman’s voice called out to me. I called back in the few Arabic words I
knew: “M’abarafshee arabee! Faranchee! Fee wahed locanda? Bnam!” (“I
don’t speak Arabic! Foreigner! Is there an inn? Sleep!”)

Without a word, the unknown lady slapped back along the hall. A good
five minutes passed. I knocked once more, and again there came the
patter of feet. This time a man’s gruff voice greeted me. I repeated
what I had said before. Then I heard the sliding of many bolts and bars,
the heavy door opened ever so slightly, and the muzzle of a gun was
thrust out into my face. The eyes above the musket peered cautiously out
into the darkness.

A moment later the door was flung wide open, and a very giant of a
native, with a mustache that would have made the Kaiser jealous, stepped
out, holding his clumsy gun ready for instant use. I had to laugh at his
frightened look. He smiled shamefacedly, and, going back into the house,
returned in a moment without his gun, and carrying a lamp and a rush
mat. At one end of the building he pushed open a door that hung by one
hinge, and lighted me into a room with earth floor and one window from
which five of the six panes were missing. A heap of dried branches at
one end showed it to be a wood-shed.

A starved-looking cur wandered in at our heels. The native drove him
off, spread the mat on the ground, and brought from the house a pan of
live coals. I called for food. When he returned with several
bread-sheets, I drew out my handkerchief containing the coins, and began
to untie it. My host shook his head fiercely and pointed several times
at the ceiling to show that the missionaries had made a Christian of him
and that he would not accept pay.

Barely had the native disappeared when the dog poked his ugly head
through the half-open door and snarled viciously at me. He was a wolfish
animal, the yellow cur so common in Syria, and in his eye gleamed a
wickedness that gave him a startling likeness to the thieving nomads
that rove over that drear land. I drove him off and made the door fast,
built a roaring fire of twigs, and rolling up in the mat, lay down
beside the blaze.

I woke from a doze to find that cur sniffing at me and showing his ugly
fangs within six inches of my face. A dozen times I fastened the door
against him—in vain. Had he merely bayed the moon all night it would
have mattered little, for with a fire to tend I had small chance to
sleep, but his silent skulking and his muffled snarls kept me wide-eyed
with uneasiness until the gray of dawn peeped in at the ragged window.

The village was named Hemeh. I left it and continued my journey. The
dreary hills of the day before fell quickly away. The highway sloped
down a narrow, fertile valley in close company with a small river. On
the banks of the river grew willows and poplars in great masses.

A bright morning sun soon made the air agreeable, although the chill of
night and the mountains still hovered in the shadows. Travelers became
frequent. I met peasant families driving their asses homeward from the
morning market, bands of merchants on horseback, and well-to-do natives
in clothes that made me think of the unlucky coat of Joseph. Here passed
a camel caravan whose drivers would, perhaps, purchase just such a slave
of his brothers this very day. There squatted a band of Bedouins at
breakfast. Beyond rode a full-bearded sheik who reminded me of Abraham
of old.

The road continued downward. The passing crowd became almost a
procession. I swung, at last, round a group of hills that had hidden
from view an unequaled sight. Two miles away, across a vast level plain,
crossed by the sparkling river, and peopled by a battalion of soldiers
drilling in the sunlight, the white city of Damascus stood out against a
background of dull red hills, the morning sun gleaming on its graceful
domes and slender towers. I passed on with the crowd, and was soon
swallowed up in “the street called Straight”—which isn’t.

                               CHAPTER X
                             CITIES OF OLD

The whistle of the locomotive is now heard in the suburbs of Damascus;
for, besides the railway to the coast, a new line brings to the ancient
city the produce of the vast and fertile plain beyond Jordan. A few
single telegraph wires, too, connect “Shaam” with the outside world, and
the whir of the American sewing-machine is heard in her long,
tunnel-like streets. But these few modern improvements make the ancient
ways of the city seem stranger still.

Here is a man with a stone hammer, beating into shape a vessel of brass
on a flat rock. There a father and son are turning a log into wooden
shoes with a very old-fashioned buck-saw, the man standing on the log,
the boy kneeling on the ground beneath. Beyond them is a strange-looking
turning-lathe. The workman squats on the floor of his open shop, facing
the street; for no Damascan can carry on his business with his back
turned to the sights and sounds made by the passing crowd. With his
right hand he holds a sort of Indian bow which has its cord wound once
around the stick he is shaping. As he moves this bow back and forth, the
stick, whirling almost as rapidly as in a steam lathe, is whittled into
shape by a chisel which he holds with his left hand and his bare toes.

Mile after mile through the endless rows of bazaars, such old-fashioned
trades are carried on. Every foot of space on either side of the narrow
streets is in use. Wherever the overdressed owners of great heaps of
silks and rugs have left a pigeonhole between their shops, sits a ragged
peddler of sweetmeats and half-inch slices of cocoanut.

Stores selling the same kind of article are found together in one part
of the city, and nowhere else. In one section are crowded a hundred
manufacturers of the red fez cap of the Mohammedan. In another a colony
of brass-workers makes a deafening din. Beyond sounds the squeak of
hundreds of saws where huge logs are slowly turned into lumber by hand
power. The shopper who wants to buy a pair of slippers may wander from
daylight to dusk among shops overflowing with every other imaginable
ware, to come at last, when he is ready to give up, into a section where
slippers of every size, shape, and color are displayed on either side of
the street, as far as he can see.

To try to make headway against the pushing crowd is much like attempting
to swim up the gorge of Niagara. Long lines of camels splash through the
human stream, caring nothing for the small boys under their feet.
Donkeys all but hidden under great bundles of fagots that scrape the
building on either side, asses bestraddled by shouting boys who guide
the beasts by kicking them behind the ears and urge them on by a queer
trilling sound, dash out of darkened and unexpected side streets. Not an
inch do they turn aside, not once do they slacken their pace. The
_faranchee_ who expects them to do so is sure to receive many a jolt in
the ribs from the donkey, or from his load, and to be sent sprawling—if
there is room to sprawl—as the beast and his driver glance back at him
with a wicked gleam in their eyes.

Hairless, scabby curs, yellow or gray in color, prowl among the legs of
the throng, skulking through the byways, devouring the waste matter they
find, or lie undisturbed in the puddles that abound in every street. The
donkey may knock down a dozen foot travelers an hour; but he takes good
care to step over the dogs in his path. Often these beasts gather in
bands at busy corners, yelping and snarling, snapping their yellow
fangs, and raising a din that puts a stop to bargainings a hundred yards
away. If a by-stander wades among them with his stick and drives them
off, it is only to have them collect again five minutes after the last
yelp has been silenced.

A _metleek_ is only a cent. Yet, as you pass through the streets of
Damascus, the constant calling for it sounds like a multitude searching
the wilderness for a lost child. “Metleek!” cries the seller of flat
loaves, on the ground at your feet. “Metleek!” screams the wandering
bartender, jingling his brass disks. The word is shouted commandingly
from the peddler whose novelty has attracted a crowd, fiercely from the
angry-looking fellow whose stand has been deserted, pleadingly from the
crippled beggar, who threads his way with astonishing swiftness through
the human whirlpool. Unendingly the word echoes through the openings and
windings of the bazaars.

When night came on I was wandering dismally through the winding streets
where long lines of merchants were setting up the board shutters before
their shops. It mattered not in what European language I inquired for an
inn of those I met. Each one muttered, “M’abarafshee” (“I don’t
understand”), and hurried on.

I sat down before a lighted tobacco booth and pretended I was asleep.
The proprietor came out to drive off the curs sniffing at my feet, and
led the way to a neighboring caravan inn, where the keeper spread me a
bed of blankets on the cobblestone floor.

The next day I discovered the Hotel Stamboul, facing the stable that
serves Damascus as post-office. I went in with little hope either of
making my wants known or of finding the price within my means. The
proprietor, strange to say, spoke a little French, and, stranger still,
assigned me to a room at eight cents a day.

I spent four days in Damascus before I began to make plans for getting
out of it. I had intended to strike southwestward through the country to
Nazareth. On the map the trip seemed easy. But I had found, on my
journey from the coast, that maps do not show the distance to be covered
in this little-known country. It was late in December, and the rainy
season was at hand. Several violent downpours that made me think of the
flood described in the Bible had already burst over Damascus. These
storms were sure to have made Palestine a muddy marsh, and to have
turned its summer brooks into roaring torrents.

The trip, however, could not have been more difficult than it was to
find out about it. The people in the cities of Asia Minor are the most
incurable stay-at-homes on the globe. They know no more of the country a
few miles outside their walls than they do of the other side of the

I spent a day inquiring about it, and learned nothing. Toward evening I
came across a French-speaking tailor who claimed to have made the first
few miles of the journey. Gleefully I jotted down his directions in my
note-book. An hour’s walk next morning brought me out on a wind-swept
stretch of grayish sand beyond the city. For some miles a faint path led
across the dreary waste. Wild dogs growled and snarled over the dead
bodies of horses and sheep that lined the way. The wind whirled on high
tiny particles of sand that bit my cheeks and filled my eyes. A chilling
rain began to fall, sinking quickly into the desert. The storm was
becoming violent, when the path ceased at the brink of a muddy torrent
that it would have been madness to try to cross.

A lone shepherd was plodding along the bank of the stream. I pointed
across it and shouted, “Nazra?” The Arab stared at me a moment, tossed
his arms above his head, crying to Allah to note the madness of a roving
_faranchee_, and sped away across the desert.

I plodded back to the city. In the iron-workers’ bazaar a sword-maker
called out to me in German, and I halted to ask him about the road to
Nazareth. The workman paused in his task of pounding a queer-looking
sword, to tell me that the tailor was a fool and that the road to
Nazareth left the city in exactly the opposite direction. “’Tis a broad
caravan trail,” he went on, “opening out beyond the shoemakers’ bazaar.”

The next morning I struck out in the direction the sword-maker had
pointed out to me. The morning was cloudy and the air biting. Before I
had passed the last shoemaker’s shop a cold drizzle set in. On the
desert it turned to a wet snow that clung to bushes and rocks like
shreds of white clothing. The sword-maker certainly had played a joke on
me. A caravan track there was beyond the last wretched hovel—a track
that showed for miles across the bleak country. But, though it might
have taken me to Bagdad or to the steppes of Siberia, it certainly did
not lead to the land of the chosen people.

I turned and trotted back to the city, cheered by the hope of sitting
before such a fire as roars up the chimneys of American homes on the
well remembered days of the first snow. The hope showed how little I
knew of Damascan customs. The hotel proprietor and his guests were
shivering over a pan of coals that could not have heated a doll’s house.

I fought my way into the huddled group, and warmed first a finger and
then a toe. But the chill of the desert would not leave me. A servant
called the landlord to another part of the building. He picked up the
“stove” and marched away with it, and I left my shivering fellow guests
and went to bed, as the only possible place where I could get the chill
out of my bones.

The next day I spent Christmas in a stuffy car on the cogwheel railway
over the Lebanon hills, and stepped out at Beirut shortly after dark, to
run directly into the arms of Abdul Razac Bundak.

On the afternoon of December twenty-seventh I set out on foot for Sidon.
Here, at least, I could not lose my way, for I had but to follow the
coast. Even Abdul, however, did not know whether the ancient city was
one or ten days distant. A highway through an olive grove soon broke up
into several narrow paths. The one I chose led over low hills of sand,
where the misfit shoes that I had picked up in a pawn-shop of Beirut
soon filled to overflowing. I swung them over a shoulder and plodded on
barefoot. A roaring brook blocked the way. I crossed it by climbing a
willow on one bank and swinging into the branches of another opposite,
and plunged into another wilderness of sand.

Toward dusk I came upon a peasant’s cottage on a tiny plain, and halted
for water. A youth in the much patched uniform of the Turkish soldier,
sitting on the well-curb, brought me a basinful. I had started on again,
when a voice rang out behind me: “Hé! D’ou est-ce que vous venez? Ou
est-ce que vous allez?” In the doorway of the hovel stood a slatternly
woman of some fifty years of age. I told her my nationality.

“American?” she cried, this time in English, as she rushed out upon me.
“Oh, my! You American? Me American, too! Oh, my!”

I could hardly believe her, for she looked decidedly like a Syrian, both
in dress and features.

“Yes,” she went on. “I live six years in America, me! I go back to
America next month. I not see America for one year. Come in house!”

I followed her into the cottage. It was the usual dwelling of the
peasant class—dirt floor, a kettle hanging over an open fire in one
corner, a few ears of corn and bunches of dried grapes suspended from
the ceiling. On one of the rough stone walls was pinned a newspaper
portrait of McKinley.

“Oh, my!” cried the woman, as I glanced toward the portrait. “Me
Republican, me. One time I see McKinley when I peddle by Cleveland,
Ohio. You know Cleveland? My man over there”—she pointed away to the
fertile slopes of the Lebanon hills—“my man go back with me next month,
vote one more time for Roosevelt.”

The patch-work youth poked his head in at the door.

“Taala hena [Come here], Maghmood,” bawled the noisy Republican. “This
American man! He no have to go for soldier, fight long time for greasy
old Sultan. Not work all day to get bishleek, him! Get ten, fifteen,
twenty bishleek day! Bah! You no good, you! Why for you not run away to

The woman kept a sort of lodging-house in a near-by stone hut, and
insisted that I spend the night there. Chattering about one thing and
another she prepared a supper of lentils, bread-sheets, olives, and
crushed sugar-cane, and set out a bottle of _beet_ (native wine). The
meal over, she lighted a cigarette, leaned back in a home-made chair,
and blew smoke at the ceiling with a far-away look in her eyes.

“Oh, my!” she cried suddenly. “You sing American song! I like this
no-good soldier hear good song. Then he sing Arab song for you.”

I undertook to play the wandering minstrel with uncertainty. At the
first lines of “The Swanee River” the soldier burst forth in a roar of
laughter that doubled him up as if he were having a fit.

“You great fool, you,” shouted the woman, shaking her fist at the
property of the Sultan, who was lying at full length on the floor. “You
no know what song is! Shut up! I split your head!”

This gentle hint made the youth sit up and listen most attentively, with
set teeth, until the concert of the Western world was ended.

When his turn came, he struck up a mournful chant that sounded like the
wailing of a lost soul, and sang for nearly an hour on about three
notes, shaking his head from side to side and rocking his body back and
forth as his voice rose to an ear-splitting yell.

The mournful tune was interrupted by a shout from the darkness outside.
The woman called back in answer, and two ragged, bespattered Bedouins
pushed into the hut. The howling and shouting that followed made me
wonder whether murder or merely highway robbery had been committed. The
men shook their fists, and the woman almost cried. The quarrel lasted
for a full half hour, and then there was quiet again. The woman took
from the wall a huge key, and stepped out, followed by the Bedouins.

“You know for what we fight?” she demanded, when she returned. “They
Arabs. Want to sleep in my hotel. They want to pay only four coppers. I
say must pay five coppers—one _metleek_. Bah! This country no good.”

Four fifths of a cent was perhaps as great a price as she should have
asked from any lodger in the “hotel” to which she led me a half hour

All next day I followed the faintly marked path that clung closely to
the coast. Here and there a care-worn peasant toiled behind the wooden
plow that the tiny oxen dragged back and forth across the fields. At
times, when the peasant turned to look at me, his plow struck a root or
a rock, and he was obliged to pick himself up out of the mire. Nineteen
showers flung their waters upon me during that day. Sometimes these
showers were separated from each other by periods of the brightest

Late in the afternoon the sun was smiling bravely, when the path turned
into a well kept road winding through a forest of orange trees, where
countless natives were stripping the overloaded branches of their fruit.
I had reached the ancient town of Sidon. From the first shop in the
outskirts of the place, the bazaar was one long orange-colored streak.

I spent the night at a caravan inn. The next day I went on southward,
guided by the booming of the Mediterranean. Mile after mile the way led
over slippery ridges of the mountain chain, through streams and across
marshes in which I sank half way to my knees.

The gloomy day was drawing to a close when I began to look for shelter.
But I found none, and a gnawing hunger made me hurry on. I was crossing
a crumbling stone bridge that humped its back across a wandering stream
when an unhoped-for sight caught my eye. Miles away, at the end of a low
cape, rose the slender tower of a Mohammedan church, surrounded by a
jumble of flat buildings. I hurried toward it.

Dusk turned to utter darkness. Far ahead twinkled a few lights, that
seemed to move on before me as fast as I tried to draw near them. The
flat sand gave way to rocks and boulders against which I barked my shins

I had almost given up trying to reach the village that night, when the
baying of dogs fell on my ear.

In the dim moonlight I noticed a faintly marked path up the sloping
beach. I followed it across sand-hills, and came up against a fort-like
building, pierced in the center by a gateway. Two flickering lights
under the archway cast wavering shadows over a group of Arabs huddled in
their blankets near the gate. When I stepped before them out of the
blackness of the night, they sprang to their feet with excited cries.

I pushed through the group, and plunged into crooked alleyways filled
with wretched hovels. All was silent in the bazaars; but the keeper of
one shop was still dozing over his pan of coals between a stack of aged
bread-sheets and a simmering kettle of sour-milk soup. I prodded him
until he was half awake, and gathering up the bread-sheets sat down in
his place. He dipped up a bowl of soup from force of habit; then,
catching sight of me for the first time, spilled the jelly-like mixture
over my outstretched legs.

The second serving reached me in the proper manner. A group of Arabs
gathered outside in the circle of light cast by the shop lamp, and
watched me eat. I finished the bowl of soup and called for a second.
They stared, astonished. Again I sent the bowl back. The bystanders
burst into a roar of laughter, and the boldest stepped forward to pat
their stomachs mockingly.

I inquired for an inn. A ragged giant stepped into the arc of light, and
crying “Taala,” set off to the westward. Almost at a trot he led the way
by cobbled streets, down the center of which ran an open sewer, up hill
and down. The corners we turned were so many that I could not count

We came, at last, to a brightly lighted café, where a dozen jolly Arabs
sat smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. My guide began calling out
mournfully in the darkness, and drew me into the circle of light. A roar
went up from the men in the café, and they tumbled pell-mell out upon

My guide explained my presence in a trumpet-like voice. From every
dwelling around poured forth dark, half-dressed men who, crowding
closely about, began talking all together. Some one said that we ought
to go inside the café. We did so, and the keeper, with his best company
smile, placed a chair for me in the center of the room. The older men
grouped themselves about me on more chairs, and the younger squatted on
their heels around the wall. We were trying to talk in the language of
signs, when a native pushed into the circle and addressed me in French.
Through him they asked me where I came from, and why I was there, and
were not satisfied until I had told them the entire history of my

I ended my story with the statement that I had left Sidon that morning.

“Impossible!” shouted the one who could speak French. “No man can walk
from Sidon to Soor in one day.”

“Soor?” I cried, recognizing the native name for Tyre, and scarcely
believing my ears. “Is this Soor?”

“Is it possible,” gasped the native, “that you do not know you are in
the ancient city of Tyre? Yes, indeed, my friend; this is Soor. But if
you left Sidon this morning you have slept a night on the way without
knowing it.”

I inquired about the men in the room. The interpreter introduced them,
one by one: the village clerk, the village barber, the village
carpenter, the village tailor, and—even thus far from the land of
chestnut trees—the village blacksmith. They every one decided that I
could not be allowed to continue on foot. Some days before, they said,
between Tyre and Acre, a white man had been found murdered by some blunt
instrument, and nailed to the ground by a stake driven through his body.
They told the story, leaving out none of the horrors. Then they told it
again to each other in Arabic, and acted it out for me. The village
carpenter was the white man, a fisherman and the clerks were the
assassins, and a piece of water-pipe was the stake.

Midnight had long since passed. I promised the good citizens of Tyre to
remain in their city for a day, to think it over. The keeper offered to
let me sleep on a rush mat in a back room of the café. I accepted the
invitation, and the men put up the shutters and marched away.

The ancient city of Tyre is to-day a collection of stone and mud huts
covering less than a third of the sandy point that was once filled with
the life of a great city. Its four thousand humble people are now
without education, art, or ambition. To the north, in the wretched
harbor, were a few old fishing-boats, far different from the fleets
whose sailors once made merry and sang in the streets of Tyre. Down on
the encircling beach, half buried under the drifting sands and worn away
by the lapping waves, lay the ruins of what must long ago have been
great business blocks. The Tyreans of to-day have carried away these
ruins, stone by stone, to build their own humble dwellings. Even as I
looked, half a dozen ragged Arabs were prying off the top of a great
pillar, and loading the pieces into an old sailing-vessel.

The next morning I passed through the city gate and continued my journey
on foot. From a short distance the gloomy group of huts behind looked
pitifully small and mean, huddled together on the great plain near the
vast blue sea.

I came to the “Ladder of Tyre,” a steep hill, which I climbed with many
bruises. Beyond, range after range of rock-covered hills stretched out
from the top of the ladder. Half climbing, half sliding, I went down the
southern slope, and struggled on across a trackless country in a
never-ceasing downpour.

Night came on. The sun was settling to his bath in the Mediterranean.
Across the throbbing sea, stretched a wavering ribbon of orange and red.
Away to the eastward, in the valleys of the Lebanon, darkness already
lay. Here and there on the rugged peaks, a tree, swaying in a swift
breeze, stood out against the evening sky. Near by a lonely shepherd
guarded a flock of fat-tailed sheep. Beyond him lay a sea of darkness.
The level plain soon changed to row after row of low sand-hills,
unmarked by a single footprint, over which my path rose and fell with
the regularity of a tossing ship.

The last glint of the blazing sun sank beneath the waves, leaving an
unbroken plain of black water. The swaying trees became dim; the very
peaks blended into the darkening sky of evening. It became difficult to
see where the hills ended and the trough began.

I stumbled half way up every slope. The shifting sands made walking
difficult. On the summit of the ridges sounded the low moaning of the
wind, rising and falling like far-off sobbing. It was easy to imagine
the surrounding blackness peopled with murderous nomads. Somewhere among
these never-ending ridges the “staked _faranchee_” had been done to

Mile after mile the way led on. My path rose and fell so frequently that
it seemed like crossing the same sandy billow over and over. The rain
had ceased, but not a star broke through the darkened sky, and only the
hoarse boom of the sea guided my steps.

Once, when coming down a ridge with my feet raised high at each step in
expectation of another hill in front of me, I plunged into a hole in
which I sank almost to my knees in the mire. From force of habit I
plowed on. The booming of the waves grew louder, and the wind from off
the sea blew stronger and more chilling. Suddenly there sounded at my
feet the rush of water. I moved forward cautiously, and felt the edge of
what seemed to be a broad river pouring seaward. I could not cross it on
a black night. I drew back from the brink, and, finding a spot that
seemed solid enough, threw myself down.

But I sank, inch by inch, into the wet earth. Fearful of being buried
before morning, I rose and wandered toward the sea, stumbling over a
heap of cobblestones probably piled there by peasants. I built a bed of
stones on the side of the pile sheltered from the wind, tucked my camera
in a hole among them, and, pulling my coat over my head, lay down. A
patter of rain sounded on the coat; then another, and another, faster
and faster; and in less than a minute there began a downpour that lasted
all night.

The heap of stones gave small protection against the piercing wind. My
bed was short and like a half-circle in shape, so that I had to lie
motionless on my right side, in order to protect my camera and films
beneath. The rain quickly soaked through my clothing and ran in streams
along my skin. The wind turned colder and whistled through the chinks of
the pile. Through it all the sea boomed constantly, and in the
surrounding marshes unwearying frogs croaked a dismal chorus.

I was certainly awake at the first gleam of day. The new year was
peering over the Lebanon when I rose to my feet. My left leg, though
creaking like rusty armor, held me up all right; but I had no sooner
shifted my weight to my right than it gave way like a thing of straw and
let me down suddenly into the mud. After rubbing it for some time I
recovered the use of the limb: but even then an attempt to walk in a
straight line sent me round in a circle from left to right.

Daylight showed the river to be lined with quicksands. Some distance up
the stream I managed to cross without sinking below my arm-pits. Far off
to the southeast lay a small forest. Thinking that a village might be
hidden in its shade, I pushed eagerly forward through a sea of mud.

When I reached the forest I found it to be a large orange grove
surrounded by a high hedge and a ditch filled with water. There was not
a house in sight. The trees were loaded with fruit. I emptied my
knapsack, plunged through ditch and hedge, and tore savagely at the
tempting fare. With half-filled bag I got back to the plain, caught up
my scattered belongings, and struck southward, peeling an orange. The
skin was close to an inch thick; the fruit inside looked juicy enough to
make anybody hungry. Greedily I stuffed a large piece into my mouth, and
stopped stock-still, feeling as if I had been struck a sudden blow in
the back of the neck. The orange was as green as the Emerald Isle, its
juice more sour and bitter than half and half of vinegar and gall. I
peeled another, and another. Each was more sour and bitter than the
last. Tearfully I dumped the golden treasure into the mire and stumbled

In the early afternoon I fell in with a band of roving Bedouins, and
traveled on with them, splashing long hours through surf and stream
along the narrow beach. Night had fallen before we parted in the Haifa

At a Jewish inn in Haifa I made the acquaintance of a fellow countryman.
He was born in Nazareth, of Arab blood, and had never been outside Asia
Minor. But his grandfather had lived for a few years in New York, and,
though the good old gentleman had long since been resting in his grave,
his descendants were considered citizens of the United States in their
native land, and did not have to pay taxes to the Turkish officials.
They had the right to greet travelers from the new world as fellow
countrymen. Nazry Kawar was overjoyed at meeting a man from his own
country. He spent the afternoon drawing sketches of the routes of
Palestine for me, and took his leave, promising to write me a letter of
introduction to his uncle, a Nazarene dentist.

Early the next morning I started out on the road to Nazareth. Toward
noon, in the lonely hills beyond the first village, two Bedouins, less
bloodthirsty than hungry, fell upon me while I ate my lunch by the
wayside. They bombarded me with stones from opposite sides; but they
threw like girls, and dodged like ocean liners, so that I caused more
injury than I received. Finally I started a race down the highway. They
were no mean runners; but, when over the hill, they caught sight of a
road-repair gang of bronze-faced and muscular women, and were forced to

An hour later I reached the highest point of the route. Far beyond,
colored by the delicate blue air that trembled and wavered in the
afternoon sunshine, stretched a vast plain, walled by mountain ranges,
that seemed many miles away. I followed the route along the top of the
western wall, now passing between two mountain-peaks, now coming out on
a plateau; and, rounding at last a gigantic rock, I burst into Nazareth,
the city where Christ spent his boyhood.

[Illustration: On the road between Haifa and Nazareth I met a road
repair gang, all women but the boss.]

Nazareth was a mere village in the time of Christ. To-day it covers the
bowl-shaped valley in which it is built, and climbs to the summits of
the surrounding hills. Seen from a distance, it looks like the
amphitheater of a circus.

I went on down into the city. In the crowded, babbling bazaars, I tried
in vain to find the dentist Kawar to whom my letter was addressed. When
my legs grew a-weary of wandering through the winding streets, and my
tongue could no longer misshape itself in attempts to pronounce the
peculiar sounds of the Arabic language, I sat down on a bazaar stand and
leaned back carelessly, knowing that I should soon be taken care of.
Near me on all sides rose a whisper, in the hoarse voice of squatting
shop-keepers, in the high-pitched voice of passing children: “Faranchee!
Fee wahed faranchee!”

Hardly a moment had passed before a scared-looking boy stopped near by
to stare at me, in the manner of one ready to run in terror at the first
sign of an unfriendly move on the part of this strange creature, whose
clothes were so queer, whose legs were clothed in separate garments.
Here, surely, was one of those dread bogey men who are known to dine on
small Arabs, and so near that—perhaps he had better edge away and take
to his heels before—But no; here are a dozen men of familiar look
collecting in a half-circle back of him! And there comes his uncle, the
camel-driver. Perhaps the bogey man is not so fearful, after all, for
the men crowd close around, calling him _faranchee_ and _efendee_, and
appearing not in the least afraid.

The camel-driver is doubly brave,—who would not be proud to be his
nephew?—for he actually begins to speak to the strange being, while the
crowd behind him grows and grows.

“Barhaba!” says the camel-driver in greeting. “Lailtak saeedee! Where
does the efendee hail from? Italiano, perhaps?”

“No; American.”

“Amerikhano!” The word runs from mouth to mouth, and the faces of all
hearers light up with interest. “America?” Why, that is where Abdul el
Kassab, the butcher, went long years ago. It is said to be far away,
further than El Gkudis (Jerusalem) or Shaam (Damascus). But the
camel-driver has found out something else about this _faranchee_.
Listen: “Bahree! The faranchee is a bahree, a sailor, a man who works on
the great water, the ‘bahr’ that any one can see from the top of yonder
hill and on the shores of which this same camel-driver claims to have
been. It is even said that to reach this America one must travel on the
great water! Indeed, ’tis far away, and were the faranchee not a bahree,
how could he have journeyed from far-off America to this very Nazra?”

But the few words of the Arabic that I knew were soon spent. I sat
there, unable to tell them more. To the simple Nazarenes I was as much
to be pitied as a deaf-mute, and they burst forth in pitying cries of
“Meskeen” (“poor devil”). The camel-driver was still trying to find out
more about me, when a well dressed native pushed through the crowd and
spoke to me in English. I held up the letter.

“Ah,” he cried, “the dentist Kawar?” And he took the note out of my hand
and tore it open.

“But here,” I cried. “Are you the dentist?”

“Oh, no, indeed,” said the native, without looking up from the reading.

“Then what right have you to open that letter?” I demanded, grasping it.

The native gazed at me a moment, astonished and hurt.

“Oh, sir,” he said, “the Kawar is my friend. If it is my friend’s letter
it is my letter. If it is my letter it is my friend’s letter. Arabs make
like that, sir. I am Elias Awad, cook to the British missionary and
friend to the dentist. Very nice man, but gone to Acre. But Kawar family
live close here. Please, you, sir, come with me.”

Ten minutes later I had been welcomed by the family Kawar like a
long-lost friend. Their dwelling showed them to be people of Nazarene
wealth and importance. The father, keeper of a dry-goods store, had once
been sheik, or mayor, of Nazareth, and was a man of most agreeable
manners. He spoke only Arabic. His sons ranged from bearded men to a boy
of nine. They had been distributed among the different mission schools
of the town. Two of them spoke English; a third spoke German; the fourth
spoke French, and the fifth Italian; the youngest was already beginning
to learn Russian. While I was bombarded with questions in four
languages, I found a moment here and there to congratulate myself on my
ignorance of the tongue of the Cossacks.

While the evening meal was preparing, the family, a small army of all
sizes, went forth to show me the sights. They pointed out Mary’s Well,
the workshop of Joseph, and other things that we read of in the Bible.

After supper three of the sons of the family persuaded me to go to a
little church on the brow of the valley, although I was very tired. The
sermon was preached in Arabic, but I had heard the tunes of the hymns
before. The worshipers in the church behaved quite differently from any
I had seen. The men, who sat in the front pews, wore fezes in the latest
style; while the women, dressed all alike in white gowns, sat silently
in the back seats, scarcely daring to breathe. Now and then one of the
men kicked off his loose slippers and folded his legs on his seat. And
even the most religious among them could not keep from turning to stare
at a _faranchee_ who sat bare-headed in church. At the close of the
service the ladies hurried home, but not one of the men was missing from
the crowd that waited to greet us as we left the church. My companions
told them all they knew of me—and more. Among the hearers were two young
men, Shukry Nasr and Nehmé Simán, teachers of English in the mission
school. Being eager for a chance to practice talking the English
language, and touched with the curiosity of the Arab, they would not go
until I had promised to be their guest after my stay with the Kawars.

The next day I learned something of the customs and ways of the
better-class Arab. Shukry Nasr and Nehmé Simán called early and led me
away to visit their friend, Elias, the cook. On the way, if I chanced to
want to buy something at the shops we passed, one or the other of my
companions insisted on paying for it. “You are our guest, sir,” said
Nehmé; “we are very glad to have you for a guest and to talk English.
But, even if we did not like, we should take good care of you; for
Christ said ‘Thou shalt house the stranger who is within thy gates.’”

“Why,” said the cook, when we began talking about the same subject after
reaching the mission, “in the days of my father, for a stranger to pay
for a place to live would have been an insult to all. A stranger in
town! Why, let _my_ house be his—and _mine!_—and _mine!_ would have
shouted every honorable citizen!”

“But Nazareth is getting bad,” sighed Shukry. “The faranchees who are
coming are very proud. They will not eat our food or sleep in our small
houses. And so many are coming! So some inns have been built, where they
take pay. Very disgraceful.”

“Did you give any policeman a nice whipping?” asked Elias suddenly.

“Eh?” I cried.

“If a faranchee comes to our country,” he explained, “or if we go to
live in America and come back, the policeman cannot arrest.”

“Yes, I know,” I answered.

“If a policeman touches you, then, you must give him a nice whipping,”
continued the cook. “If my father had been to America I would give nice
whippings every day. Many friends I have the policeman dare not touch.”

“If they only refuse to obey the soldiers,” said Nehmé, “that is
nothing. Everybody does that. But here is the wonderful! They do not
have even to give backsheesh!”

“Do you have backsheesh in America?” demanded Shukry.

“Ah—er—well, the name is not the same,” I stammered.

“To-morrow,” said Shukry, as I stropped the razor which the cook had
invited me to use, “you are coming to live with me.”

“Look out, sir!” said the cook; “you are cutting your moustaches.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Aah!” shrieked the cook, as I scraped my upper lip clean. “Why
faranchees make that? So soon I my moustaches would shave, so soon would
I cut my neck.”

The next morning, shod in a pair of Nazarene slippers, heelless and as
thin as Indian moccasins, I set out with the teachers for the home of
Shukry. It was a simple dwelling half way up a hill, and from its roof
spread out the bowl-shaped village at our feet. The death of the father
a short time before had left the youth to rule over the household.
Although he was only seventeen years old, he seemed like a man, boasting
already a bristling moustache, for human beings grow up early in the

It was January seventh, a holiday among the Greek churchmen, and a day
for visiting among all Christians. We had our shoes off, and were
sitting on a divan, when the guests began to appear. They were all men,
of course. Shukry stood erect in the center of the room, and bowed low
to each guest as he appeared. The visitor returned his bow. There was no
hand-shaking. After the greeting each arrival slid out of his slippers,
and squatted on the long divan. When all were firmly seated everybody
said “Naharak saeed” (“good evening”), and bowed again to everybody else
in turn.

If the newcomer were a priest, Shukry’s small brother slid forward to
kiss his hand, and ran back to some out-of-the-way corner. After all the
greetings had been given, each guest was served with cigarettes and a
tiny cup of coffee. Visitors who attended the same church as Shukry
broke into a lively talk with him. Others—the Greek priests
especially—sipped their coffee in absolute silence, puffed at a
cigarette, and, with another “Naharak saeed” glided into their slippers
and departed.

Later in the day we went to call on all the Christian families in the
village, finally stopping at the Kawar home. The former mayor, dressed
in _faranchee_ clothes, with a broad white vest, sat cross-legged in his
white stocking-feet, a fez perched on his head. He talked long and
pleasantly of things American, then wrote me four letters of
introduction to friends in towns I meant to visit.

“Without these letters,” he explained, “you would not dare to stay in
Gineen or Nablous; for my friends are the only Christians there, and
those are very bad towns. My friends in Jerusalem and Jaffa—if you ever
get there alive—may be able to find you work.”

                               CHAPTER XI
                         THE WILDS OF PALESTINE

The sun rose clear and red the next morning. It was the best sort of day
for continuing my journey. The teachers set out to accompany me to the
foot of the Nazarene mountains. They struck off through the village as
the crow flies, paying no attention to the run of the streets. Down
through the market, dodging into tiny alleys, under covered passageways,
through spaces where we had to walk sidewise, they led the way. Where a
shop was in the way they marched boldly through it, stepping over the
merchandise and even over the squatting keeper, who returned their “good
morning” without losing a puff at his cigarette. On they went, stopping
for nothing, straight up the wall-like slope of a tall hill and out upon
a well marked path that led over the brow of the hill.

At the foot of the mountain they paused. To the north rose a snow-capped
peak. Between the hills, to the west, peeped the sparkling
Mediterranean. Eastward, as far as the eye could see, stretched a wall
of mountains. We could see a dozen villages, tucked away in long, narrow
valleys clinging to steep slopes, or lying bent over sharp ridges like
broken-backed creatures. Shukry named these villages for me, and many of
them were places I had read of in the Bible. The teachers pointed out a
tall peak far across the trackless plain, which they said rose above the
bad town of Gineen, where all Christians were hated. Then, bidding me
good-by almost tearfully, they turned back up the mountain pass.

Late in the afternoon I passed through a country that looked like a
garden, with graceful palms and waving pomegranates, and perfumed with
the fragrance of orange and lemon groves, which covered the lower slope
of the peak that had been pointed out to me. Back of the garden stood
the bad town of Gineen. When I appeared among its people I met with
scowls and curses. A few stones from a group of youngsters at a corner
of the bazaar rattled in the streets behind me.

My letter was addressed in Arabic. The squatting shopkeeper to whom I
showed it scowled at me long and fiercely, but finally called a
passing-boy, and, mumbling a few words to him, bade me follow. The
urchin climbed up the sloping street, made several unexpected turnings,
and pointed out a large house surrounded by a stern-looking wall. Then
he scampered away as fast as he could go.

I clanged the heavy knocker again and again, until the sound echoed up
and down the street. But, receiving no answer, I sat down on the curb. A
well dressed native wandered by. I showed him the letter. He glared at
it, muttered, “Etnashar saa” (“Twelve o’clock at night”), and went on
his way. From time to time visitors paused at neighboring gates or
house-doors, and, standing in the center of the street, lifted up their
voices in mournful wails, and the doors were finally opened to them.
Beggars came past, wailing longer and more mournfully than the others;
nor did they stop until a few bread-sheets or coppers were tossed out to
them. Bands of women, whose faces were covered, drew up in a circle
around me to talk about me and to fill me with the creepy feeling one
might experience at a visit of the Ku-Klux Klan.

I had been squatting against the wall for fully two hours when an old
man in European dress came slowly down the street, mumbling to himself
as he ran through his fingers a string of yellow beads. He paused at the
gate and pulled out a key. I sprang to my feet and handed him the
letter. He read it with something of a scowl, and, motioning me to wait,
went inside. I waited a long time.

At last the gate groaned and made way for the ugliest creature in the
Arab world. He was a youth of about twenty, as long as a day without
bread, and so thin that the light seemed to shine through him. His
shoulders were bowed until his head stuck out at right angles to his
body. Long yellow teeth protruded from his lips. In his one eye was a
wicked gleam. His behavior at once showed him to be one who hated
_faranchees_ with a deadly hatred. He wore the headdress of the Bedouin
and half a dozen long flowing garments, which hung from his lank form as
from a hat-rack.

I understood enough of his snarling remarks to know that he was a family
servant, and that he had been sent to lead me to the servants’ quarters.
He led the way to a hovel on the opposite side of the street, unlocked a
battered door, and let me into a hut furnished with a moth-eaten divan
and a pan of live coals. A smartly dressed young native came in soon
after, and spoke to me in good French.

“My family is in an unfortunate position,” he explained. “We are friends
of the Kawar, and so always the friends of his friends. As we are the
only Christians in Gineen, we can give you only servants’ quarters. But
you must not stay in Gineen to-night. If you wait until to-morrow you
will have to go on alone, and in the mountains are Bedouins who every
day catch travelers and fill their eyes and mouths and noses with sand,
and drag them around by a rope, and cut them up in small pieces and
scatter them all around. You must go to-night with the mail caravan.
Then you will be safe.”

“I’ve tramped all day,” I answered; “I will find lodgings in the town if
I am troubling your family.”

“Great heavens!” shrieked the young man. “There you would be cut to
pieces in an hour! Gineen hates Christians. If you stop here they will
beat my family.”

He seemed so worried that I decided to do as he advised. He ordered the
crooked servant to bring me supper, and went out.

The queer creature followed his master, and returned with a bowl of
lentils. He brought back with him two companions who did not look much
better than he did. No sooner had he placed the food on the floor than
all three squatted around it, and, clawing at it with both hands, made
way with the meal so rapidly that I had to go hungry. When the last
scrap had disappeared, the newcomers fell to licking the bowls.

The long and crooked servant began the mournful wail that is the Arab
notion of a song. Rocking back and forth where he sat, and thrusting out
his long yellow teeth, he fixed a sidewise look upon me and howled for
an unbroken two hours. I could tell by the roars of laughter from his
mates that the words he sang were no compliment to _faranchees_.

At about nine o’clock in the evening he turned the other two into the
street; then, motioning me to take up my knapsack, he dived out into the
night. I managed to keep at his heels, although he dodged among the
huts, and even ran around some of them twice in his efforts to shake me
off. At last we reached the station for caravans. The keeper of the inn
was a bitter enemy of unbelievers, and at first did not want to let me
in. He finally made way, however; but he shouted abusive language at me
as long as I remained in the building. The servant settled his misshapen
form on a heap of straw, and took up his song of mockery where he had
left off, while he cast sidelong looks of hatred at me.

At last the caravan appeared. It was a train of four mules and three
drivers. The snarls of the servant and the keeper were friendly
greetings compared with the vicious language and looks cast toward me by
the newcomers when they were told I would go on with them. It looked to
me as if they were more to be feared than capture by sand-stuffing

One of the four mules was saddled with the mail-sacks, and, at a signal
from the leader, the drivers sprang astride the others. The caravansary
door opened, letting in a cutting draught of January air. I followed the
party outside, fully expecting to be offered a mount on one of the
mules. The train, however, kept steadily on. The hindmost Arab signed to
me to grasp a strap on the back of his mule; then he suddenly cut the
animal across the flanks dangerously near my fingers, and they started
off, while I trotted behind like a Damascus donkey-boy. I fancied I
heard several chuckles of delight, half smothered in loud curses.

The night was as black as a Port Said coaling negro. In the first few
rods I lost my footing more than once, and barked my shins on a dozen
large rocks. The joke the drivers played upon me, however, was not
ended. Once, far enough from the caravansary to make return difficult,
the leader shouted an order, the three struck viciously at the animals,
and, with a rattle of small stones against the boulders, away went the
party at full gallop. I lost my grip on the strap, broke into a run in
an attempt to keep up, slipped and slid on the stones, struck up a slope
that I had not seen in the darkness, and, stumbling half way up it on my
hands and knees sprawled at full length over a boulder.

I sat up and listened until the tinkle of the pack-mule’s bell died away
on the night air; then I rose to feel my way back to the caravansary. It
was closed and locked. Luckily, I managed to find my way to the street
in which the Christian lived, and pushed open the door of the hovel. No
one was in the room, although the lighted wick of a tallow lamp showed
that the servant had returned. I spread out three of the four blankets
folded on the divan, and lay down. A moment later the walking skeleton
entered, leaped sidewise as if he saw a ghost, and, spreading the
remaining blanket in the most distant corner, curled up with all his
flowing garments upon him. I rose to blow out the light; but the Arab
set up a howl of cowardly terror that might have been heard in Nazareth,
so I left it lighted.

The next day I went on toward Nablous. The route was rocky and wild. I
crossed range after range of rocky peaks covered with tangled forests of
oak and turpentine trees. Here and there, against a mountainside, clung
a black-hide tent village of roving Bedouins. These were the tribes that
were believed to catch lone Christians and scatter their remains along
the wooded valleys. To-day, however, they were doing nothing more
terrible than tending a few flocks of fat-tailed sheep.

Late in the morning I came in sight of the mud village of Dothan. It was
a crowded collection of hovels—made of mud and shaped like those of the
Esquimaux—perched on several shelves of rock that rose one above
another. The well marked path that I had been following for some time
led boldly up to the first hut, ran close along its wall, swung round
the building, and ended. There was no other path in sight.

A score of giant dogs, coming down upon me from the hill above, gave me
little time to think. Luckily, there lay within reach a long-handled
kettle, which I grabbed for self-protection; and the unwashed population
that came tumbling down the slope after the dogs, to gaze upon the
strange sight of a lone _faranchee_ in their midst, saw him laying about
right merrily. Not one of the villagers made any attempt to call off the
curs. It was the usual case of every man’s dog no man’s dog.

I went on up the slopes and shelves of rock. I could not find the path.
Wherever a narrow passage-way looked like the trail, I scrambled up the
jagged faces of the rock, only to find, after I had walked a long time,
that each passage brought me into back yards where several huts choked
the air with their smoke.

At last I caught sight of a peasant astride an ass moving back and forth
across the slope, but mounting steadily higher. I followed him, and came
out upon a broad platform of rock. Beyond this was a path so steep that
it seemed almost straight up and down. But that path merely showed me
what the day’s journey would be like. I overtook the peasant in a narrow
valley; and not far beyond, a second horseman burst out of another cut
in the earth, and joined us.

The peasant carried a club and a long blunt knife. He seemed quite
anxious to keep both in plain sight. The second horseman, who wore the
garb of a soldier, carried two pistols and a dagger in his belt, a sword
at his side, and a long slim gun across his shoulders. The countryman
offered to let me ride his beast; but, as the animal was too small, I
continued to trudge at its heels.

About noon, on a narrow plateau, we came upon an open well surrounded by
a party of wicked-looking Bedouins. They scattered quickly at sight of
the officer. My companions tied their animals near a patch of grass, and
drew out their dinners. The officer knelt beside the well with a pot;
but he was so stout that he couldn’t reach the water. The peasant was a
Tom Thumb in size. So I reached down and dipped up the water for them.
They were both grateful to me, and thrust food upon me from both sides
so fast that I was unable to take it all.

The officer seemed to be a man of wide experience. He did not appear
much astonished at the _faranchee_ way of eating; but, more than that,
he owned a strange machine at which the peasant gazed in speechless
wonder. The strange thing was an alcohol lamp! The peasant seemed afraid
of it, for he could not be coaxed within ten feet of it until the coffee
was prepared. Then, after he had once become bold enough to touch the
apparatus, he fell upon it like a child upon a strange toy, and examined
its inner workings so thoroughly that the officer spent half an hour in
fitting it together again.

In the afternoon the peasant turned aside to his village, and not far
beyond the soldier lost his way. What a small chance I should have had
alone on a route that puzzled even a native acquainted with the country!
We had followed for some distance a wild cut between the mountains.
Suddenly this ended against the wall of another cliff. On one side of us
was an impassable jungle of rocks and trees, and on the other a slope
leading upward almost as steep as the side of a house, and covered for
hundreds of feet with loose slaty rock and rough stones.

The officer dismounted and squatted contentedly at the foot of the
slope. For an hour at least he sat there without moving, except to roll
several cigarettes. At last a native, spattered with mud, appeared. The
officer asked him a question, and he replied by pointing up the wooded
slope. Three times the horse tried to climb up, only to slide helplessly
to the bottom. The officer handed me his gun: then, dismounting, he
tried to lead the steed up by walking back and forth across the slope.
Several times the animal fell on its haunches and tobogganed down the
hill, dragging the cavalryman after him. The gun soon weighed me down
like a cannon; but we reached the top at last, and were glad to stretch
ourselves out on the solid rock surface of the wind-swept peak.

The officer spread out food before us. Far below, to the southward, lay
a wonderful scene. Two ranges of sharp and broken mountain-peaks raced
side by side to the southeast. Between these ranges lay a wild tangle of
rocks and small forests, through which a swift stream fought its way to
the Mediterranean Sea, bending far out of its course in its struggle to
get around the base of the mountain on which we stood. The place was as
silent and lonesome as if it were some undiscovered world.

For an hour we followed the run of the stream far below, for we knew it
would finally lead us to lower, more level land. We rounded several
peaks, climbing down little by little. The path became somewhat more
plainly marked, but the scene remained wild and savage. Suddenly the
cavalryman, who had just rounded a monstrous rock before me, reined in
his horse with an excited jerk, grasped his sword, and pointed with it
across the valley. “Nablous!” he shouted. I hastened to his side. On a
small plateau far below us, backed by a rocky waste of mountains and
surrounded by a rushing river, stood a city, a real city, with straight
streets and closely packed stone buildings like those of the Western

We wound our way down the mountain path to an old stone bridge that led
directly into the city. At the gate a company of ragged, half-starved
Turkish soldiers tried to stop me; but my companion drove them off with
a wave of the hand. We plunged at once into the noisy, crowded streets
which were as narrow and as numerous as those of Damascus. They were
covered with arch-shaped roofs almost their entire length, so that we
seemed to be walking through a dark, cool tunnel. The shoes of the horse
rang sharply against the cobblestones as the animal plowed its way
through the jabbering crowd, and by keeping close at its heels I escaped
being jostled and pushed about.

The shops looked very much alike. The cavalryman dismounted before one
of them, handed the reins to the keeper who came forward to meet him,
and, turning to me, earnestly invited me to spend the night in the inn
above. But my Nazarene friends had given me letters to one Iskander
Saaba, a Nazarene teacher, and I thought I ought to deliver them.

I had a hard time finding the home of the teacher. In the cities of
western Asia the streets are not named, nor the houses numbered. Mr.
Smith, you learn, lives near the house of Mr. Jones. If you inquire
further you may be told that Mr. Jones lives not far from the house of
Mr. Smith, and so on; and you gain nothing by getting impatient or

A short distance from the inn, a water-carrier and a baker’s boy struck
me in the ribs at the same time with the burdens they carried. A runaway
donkey, bestrided by a mean-looking fellow, ran me down. A tradesman
carrying a heavy beam turned the corner just in time to make me see a
starry sky in the covered passage-way. These things, of course, were
merely accidents. But when three stout rascals caught hold of the
knapsack across my shoulders, and hung on to it until I had kicked one
of them into a neighboring shop, and a corner street peddler went out of
his way to step on my heels, I could not so easily excuse them. As long
as I remained among the crowded shops these sneaking injuries continued.
Whenever I stopped, a crowd quickly gathered about me to show their
dislike by purposely jostling against me, by making insulting remarks
about my race, and even by spitting on my clothes.

I found the home of Iskander Saaba at last, and spent a pleasant evening
there. The next morning a steady rain was falling, and the young teacher
urged me to stay over, with the old saying, “To-morrow is just as good
as to-day.” When I satisfied him that this was not a common saying in
the Western world, he set out to show me the way through the city. On
the way he stopped often to buy fruits, which he stuffed into my
knapsack. When I objected, he said: “It is far to Jerusalem, and some
day I will come to America.”

Since the oldest times Nablous has carried on much trade with Jerusalem;
but only until very lately has the lazy Turk begun to build a road
connecting the two towns. That part of the road beyond the southern gate
was well built; but in this rainy season it was a river of mud, which
clung to my shoes in great cakes, and made walking more difficult than
it had been in the pathless mountains to the north.

[Illustration: The shopkeeper and traveling salesman with whom I spent
two nights and a day on the lonely road to Jerusalem. Arabs are very
sensitive to cold, except on their feet and ankles.]

About noon I came to the end of the highway. I had been warned that the
road was not finished. “It is all complete,” Shukry had said, “except
over the mountain, the highest mountain of Palestine, and over that it
runs not.” And it was true. Before me rose a high mountain almost as
steep as a wall. A path was cut diagonally to the top, but I had to
crawl up on my hands and knees with the greatest care, in the fear of
losing my footing. At the top I came again upon the road. It was wide
and well built, yet as it stood, it must have been utterly useless: for
no carriage or other wheeled vehicle could ever have been dragged up
that wall-like hillside; and the sure-footed ass which still carries
merchandise between the two cities would make the journey exactly as
well had the new road never been thought of.

Long after nightfall I stumbled upon a lonely shop. Inside were the
keeper and a traveling salesman of tobacco. The building was no more
than a wooden frame covered over with sheet-iron; and soon after I had
gone to bed on one of the shelves that served as bunks, the rain began
to thunder on the roof near my head. This continued all through the
night. Sleep was as impossible as it would have been inside a bass drum
at a concert. In the morning a downpour more violent than I had ever
known held us prisoners; and, as the weather was bitterly cold, I stayed
on my shelf and listened to the roaring of the tin shack through the
longest day that ever rained or blew itself into the past tense.

The next day the storm was not so bad; so I set out again. In all the
dreary country round I came across only one stone village. It was the
ancient Bethel, lying among the sharp hills. Beyond it the highway
side-stepped to the eastward. The air of Palestine was filled with
moisture that morning. The hills ahead were somewhat veiled by the mist;
in the valleys lay a thick gray fog; while overhead the sky was dull and

[Illustration: The Palestine beast of burden carrying an iron beam to a
building in construction.]

Before me, well above the sky-line, hung a long, dark cloud. As I looked
at this cloud it began to take on the shape of a distant line of
buildings; yes, it was a city in the sky that I saw, with a wide strip
of sky beneath it. It grew plainer and plainer, until there appeared in
the heavens a dull gray city, a long city, bounded at one end by a great
tower, at the other shading off into nothing. Then suddenly it
disappeared. Black clouds, scurrying westward from across the Jordan
River, erased the image from the sky as if it had been a lightly
penciled line.

Yet it was Jerusalem that I saw. Miles beyond, the fog lifted and showed
the city plainly, and it was that same long city bounded on the east by
a great tower; but this time it had footing on the solid earth—on a
dull, drear hill that sloped to the west. I went on down the highway,
and across the hills and the dreary fields,—past the tombs of the Kings
and Judges, where to-day shivering shepherd boys seek shelter from the
winds,—and on into the crowded bazaars of the city where Christ was

Great, howling crowds swept me through markets dirtier than those of
Damascus, up and down slimy stone steps, jostling, pushing, trampling
upon me at every turn. They did not do this because they wanted to be
disagreeable to me: It was merely carelessness on their part, for they
had seen so many _faranchees_ that they did not notice me when I got in
their way. But I was very tired from my long day’s tramp; so when I
reached the end of a street I turned to an open doorway in order to get
out of the crowd. Through the doorway I caught a glimpse of a long
stretch of green grass and of a great mosque, or Mohammedan church.

I had no sooner stepped inside this yard than a shout arose from a
rabble of men and boys at one side of the square. But that did not
surprise me, for in Damascus the people had shouted every time I entered
the grounds belonging to a mosque. So I marched on, pretending I did not
notice that they were howling at me. The shouting became louder. Men and
boys came down upon me from every direction, howling like demons, and
firing stones at me from every side. Some of them struck me on the legs;
others whistled dangerously near my head. I left hurriedly.

Later in the day I learned that I had trespassed into the sacred grounds
of the mosque of Omar. It is named for Caliph Omar, the leader of the
Mohammedans who captured Jerusalem from the Christians in the year 1636.
One who does not worship Mohammed may not enter this mosque or the
grounds belonging to it without a guard of paid soldiers.

I got back into the crowded streets, and was pushed and jostled as
before. To escape this I went down more slimy steps and along a narrow
alley until I came to a towering stone wall. Here I saw a strange sight.
Hebrews, rich and poor, some dirty and ragged, others wearing diamonds,
by turns kissed and beat with their fists the great blocks of stones,
shrieking and moaning with tears streaming down their cheeks. I did not
have to be told where I was. This time I had fallen upon the “Jews’
Wailing Place.”

I wandered here and there, and at noonday remembered that a sum hardly
equal to forty cents jingled in my pockets. It was high time to look for
work. So I turned toward the office of the American consul. If there
were work to be had by _faranchees_ in the city, the consul, surely,
would know it. I fought my way through the gazing crowd of doorkeepers
and others into the outer office. A moment later I was admitted to the
inner office. The kindly white-haired consul asked me to give him a full
account of my journey in Palestine.

“I shall give you a note to the Jewish hotel across the way,” he said,
when I had finished, “and you may pay the bill when you earn the money.
For you will find work, you may be sure. See me again before you leave
the city.”

I mounted an outdoor stairway on the opposite side of David Street to a
good inn. From the window of the room assigned to me there was a
far-reaching view. To the north, east, and south spread a jumble of
small buildings, with their dome-shaped roofs of mud or stone outlined
against a few houses covered with red tiles. Here and there rose the
slender minarets or steeples of Mohammedan mosques, and in about the
center of the city was the great Christian Church, which is said to be
built to cover the spot where the Saviour was buried. At the farther
edge of the city, yet so near that I could see it from base to dome,
stood the beautiful mosque of Omar where I had but recently caused so
much excitement. Back of it was a forest of olive trees, and farther on
the Mount of Olives. Beyond, miles of dreary hills stretched away to the
great wall of the mountains of Moab.

While I was taking a walk after dinner, I came upon an Englishman who
lived in Jerusalem. The Englishman wanted some letters translated into
French. I began on them at once, and worked late into the night. For the
three days following I spent my time in writing and in sight-seeing. The
bazaars were half deserted at this period; for on Friday the Mohammedans
held a festival, Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath, and Sunday the day of
rest for Christians. So among them all there was little going on in the
business section during those three days.

On Saturday, at the hotel, there was nothing to eat but meat. It was
served cold, for what Jew could order his servants to build a fire on
the Sabbath? The day grew wintry cold, however. The hotel-keeper sent
for a servant, and gave orders in a language that sounded much like
German, ending with the unnecessary remark: “I believe this is one of
the coldest days we have had this year.”

The servant scratched his moth-eaten head, shuffled off, and returned
with a bundle of twigs that were soon crackling in the tiny sheet-iron

On Sunday I had nothing much to do; so I pushed through the howling mob
of peddlers at the gate of the city, and strolled southward along a road
from which I could see, now and then, the sparkling waters of the Dead
Sea. A few hours later I climbed into the wind-swept village of

Standing like a fortress at the center of the town is the Church of the
Nativity, built over the site of the manger where Christ was born. The
rough stone walls on each side of the low doorway of this church are so
blackened by the hands of centuries of pilgrims that the entrance looks
like a huge rat-hole. Had it been Christmas Eve while I was there, I
should have seen a great procession of priests, clergymen, and Turkish
soldiers carrying waxen candles and marching to the basement of the
church, where a waxen baby to represent the infant Jesus lies in a
marble manger, on cushions of red silk with a layer of straw beneath. I
should have heard the oldest priest of the procession sing the story of
Christ’s birth, while outside in the streets the people feasted and sang
merry songs until morning. As it was, however, I went inside to see
nothing more exciting than Christians of many beliefs worshiping in
different parts of the church.

That afternoon I returned to Jerusalem. The Englishman came next morning
with another letter, which I wrote in French and returned to him at
noon. Then, having paid my bill at the hotel, I went to tell the consul
that I was about to leave the city.

“How much money have you?” he asked.

“About two dollars.”

“Good! Now, my lad, take my advice. There is a steamer leaving Jaffa for
Egypt to-night. Take the afternoon train,—ten francs will more than pay
your fare,—and once in Jaffa perhaps you can get work on the steamer to
pay your passage across. Ask the American consul there to give you his

“I can save money by walking,” I had the courage to say.

“Impossible!” cried the consul. “It is forty miles to Jaffa. The ship
leaves at noon, and there is not another for ten days. Take the train;
you can’t walk there in time.”

In spite of the consul’s advice, I spent half my money for a roll of
films, and struck out on foot to the coast. Long after dark I found a
place to sleep in Latron, the home of the thief who was crucified with

I put off again before daylight, in a pouring rain, across a marshy
plain. It was nearly noon when I reached port; but the sea was running
mountain-high, and the task of loading the steamer was going on slowly.
A native offered for a few coppers to guide me to the American consul.
Together we rushed through the streets, ankle-deep in soft mud, and
stopped at last before a large hotel. I dashed into the office and
called for the consul.

“Impossible!” cried the clerk. “The consul is at dinner.”

I started toward the dining-room. The clerk snatched wildly at my
dripping garments, and sent a servant to tell the consul I wanted to
speak to him.

A moment later a very tall American consul stood framed in the doorway
before me—though, to be sure, the frame was a good six inches too short
and wrinkled the picture sadly. He was a Frenchman, and so excited
because he had been disturbed “before the wine” that he could think of
no words but those in his own language. While he scolded me violently he
tore at his hair. It was long before I could induce him to listen to me.
When he finally understood that I wanted merely a note to the ship’s
agent, he became more friendly and said he would write it at once.

A moment later the clerk handed me an unfolded note, and I rushed away
to the wharf a half mile distant. The ship was still there. I hurried to
the office window, and thrust the letter through the opening. Even in my
hurry I could not fail to notice that the agent who peered out at me
wore a glass eye—and a celluloid nose!

His face puckered up as he read the note. “Ah!” he said, drawing a
ticket from the rack. “Very well! The fare is twelve francs.”

“The fare? But doesn’t the consul ask you to let me work for my passage
as a sailor?”

He pushed the note toward me. It was in French. I heard a warning
whistle from the harbor! The letter was written in a scrawl:

    _Dear Friend:_

    The bearer, Harris Franck, is an American sailor who wishes to go
    to Egypt. Will you kindly sell him a ticket and oblige your
    humble, etc., etc.

                                                  —— ——,
                                            _American Consular Agent_.

A letter giving the company the right to sell me a ticket that it would
have been delighted to sell to any sort of man or ape that had the
money! It was of no value whatever.

Caring nothing for the rain, I sat down against a pillar outside the
office. Only four miserable francs rattled in my pocket. I now saw that
I would have to spend long, penniless days on the Jaffa beach. The
loading and unloading of the steamer were still going on. Boatmen were
struggling to row across the mountain-like waves. Now and then a giant
billow overturned a freight-filled rowboat high on the beach. Barefooted
natives waded into the surf with tourists in their arms. Each warning
whistle seemed to thrust Egypt farther and farther away. If only—

I felt a tap on the shoulder. A young native in the uniform of the
ship’s company was bending over me.

“Go on board anyway,” he advised me.

“Eh?” I cried.

“The captain is English. If you are a sailor he will give you work.”

“But I can’t get on board,” I answered.

For reply the native pointed to his company’s boat, loaded with baggage
and mails, at the edge of the wharf. I snatched up my belongings and
dropped into it.

The steamer was about to start when I scrambled on board. I fought my
way through a jumble of tumbled baggage, seasick natives, and shouting
seamen, and tried to make my way to the captain. A huge seaman pushed me
back. When darkness fell on an open sea I had not yet succeeded in
reaching him. Squirming natives covered every spot on the open deck. I
crawled under a canvas, used my bundle for a pillow, and fell asleep.

In what seemed about half an hour later I awoke to find the ship gliding
along as smoothly as on a river. I crawled out on deck. A bright morning
sun was shining, and before my astonished eyes lay Port Said.

The ship glided on. It was bound for Alexandria. I went to find the
captain once more—and once more was pushed back by the brawny seaman.

I returned to the deck and sat down. To my horror, the Arabian purser
began to collect the tickets. He came near me and held out his hand.

“Where can I see the captain?” I demanded.

“M’abarafshee” (“I cannot understand”), he answered in Arabic, shaking
his head. “Bilyeto!” (“ticket!”)

Certainly I must give some excuse for being on board without a ticket. I
rummaged through my pockets for the consul’s note, spread it out, and
laid it in the purser’s hand. Its yellow color looked disturbingly out
of place on the collection of dark blue tickets. The officer poured
forth his astonishment in a torrent of Arabic.

“M’abarafshee!” I mocked.

He opened his mouth to send forth another torrent, paused, scratched his
head, and, with a shrug of his shoulders, went on gathering _bilyetos_
from the native passengers.

Some time later he climbed down from the upper deck, and, beckoning to
me, led the way to the captain. The latter, a huge Briton, stormed back
and forth across the ship, striving to give orders to the native crew in
such Arabic as he could call to mind—but breaking into violent English
with every fourth word to rage at the sailors for their stupidity. His
eye fell upon me.

“Here!” he roared furiously. “What is all this?” And he waved the now
ragged note in my face.

“Why, that’s a note from the American consul in Jaffa, sir. I asked him
to write that I wanted to work for my passage to Egypt.”

The purple anger on the skipper’s face, caused partly by the strain of
trying to make himself understood in Arabic, disappeared somewhat at the
sound of his own language.

“But,” he went on more quietly, “this note asks the company to _sell_
you a ticket. It’s written in French, and this is what it says—” And he
translated it.

“American sailor, are you?” he went on.

I handed him my papers stating that I had been a sailor.

“I’m ready to turn to with the crew, sir,” I put in.

“N—no. That’ll be all right,” said the skipper, stuffing the note into
his pocket, as he turned to see what the seamen on the deck below were

“Cover that hatch before a sea fills her!” he shouted.

Early next morning I went ashore in Alexandria.

                              CHAPTER XII
                         CAIRO AND THE PYRAMIDS

In all of north Africa there was no place that I wanted to visit more
than Cairo. I had heard, too, that I might find work there easily. At
any rate, I felt that I must get there soon, before my money was
entirely gone.

I went to the railway station in Alexandria, and found that the fare to
Cairo was just three piasters more than I had. Should I go by train as
far as my money would take me, and finish the journey on foot and
penniless? Or should I save the few coins I had for food on the way, and
tramp the entire distance?

While I was thinking it over I dropped on a bench in a park, and fell to
whittling a stick. A countryman in fez cap and gown, strolling by,
stopped and stared at me. Then he sat down on the far end of my bench,
and watched my movements closely. Inch by inch he slid along the bench.

“Very good knife,” he murmured.

“Aywa” (“Yes”), I answered, tossing away the stick and closing the

The Arab gave a gasp of delight.

“But it shuts up like a door,” he cried.

I opened and closed it several times for him to see, then slid down in
my seat, my thoughts elsewhere.

“You sell it?” grinned the peasant.

“What?” I gasped, sitting up in astonishment.

[Illustration: A woman of Alexandria, Egypt, carrying two bushels of

“I give you five piasters,” he coaxed.

“Take it!” I cried, and, grasping the coin he held out to me, dashed
away to the station.

Half an hour later I was speeding southward across the fertile delta of
the Nile. How different was this land from the country I had so lately
left behind! Every few miles the train halted at a busy city. Between
these cities were the mud villages of the Egyptian peasant, and many
well cultivated fields. Inside the car, which was much like our own in
America, well dressed natives read the latest newspapers with the easy
manners of Paris business men. There were several half blind Egyptians
in the car, victims of an eye disease common in this country; but even
they leaned back in their seats contentedly. An eyeless one in one
corner roared with laughter at the lively talk of his companions. Far
more at ease was he, for all of his misfortune, than I, with neither
friend nor acquaintance in all the length and breadth of the continent.

Evening came on. The changing scenery grew dim. The land near and far
was so flat that in the dusk I could hardly tell the difference between
a far-off village and a water-buffalo lying down near at hand. The
western sky turned red for a moment, dulled to a brown, and then the
darkness that suddenly spread over the land left me to stare at my own
face beyond the window. The sight was not encouraging. Who would give
work to the owner of such a face and figure? The lights that began to
twinkle here and there over the black plain were of villages where
strangers were very probably disliked and unwelcome. Every click of the
wheels brought me nearer to the greatest city of Africa, of which I knew
little more than the name. Yet I would soon be wandering alone there in
the darkness, with only ten cents in my pockets! Perhaps in all Cairo
there was not another penniless adventurer of my race! Even if there
were, and a lodging for vagabonds somewhere in the great city, what
chance had I of finding it? For who would understand my words, and even
if they did who could direct me to such an out-of-the-way place?

The train halted in a vast domed station. A great crowd swept me through
the waiting-rooms and out upon a brightly lighted square. There the
screaming mass of hackmen, porters, donkey-boys, and hotel runners drove
me to seek shelter behind a station pillar. I swung my knapsack over my
shoulder, and gazed at the human sea about me, hopelessly undecided as
to what to do or where to go.

[Illustration: An abandoned mosque (Mohammedan church) outside the walls
of Cairo, and a caravan off for a trip across the desert.]

Suddenly a voice sounded above the roar: “Heh! Landsmann, wohin?”
(“Comrade, where are you going?”) I stared eagerly about me. Under a
near-by arc-light stood a young man of sunburned face, in a stout,
somewhat ragged suit, and a cloth cap. When he saw me look at him he
dived into the crowd and fought his way to my side.

“Ah!” he shouted in German. “I knew only one of the boys would blow into
town with a knapsack and a corduroy suit! Just got in from Zagazig
myself. How long have you been away? Business any good down at the
coast? Don’t believe it is. Cairo’s the place for easy winnings.”

As he talked we left behind the howling crowd. No need to ask where he
was taking me.

“You’ll meet all the comrades where we’re going,” continued my

We crossed a corner where street-cars clanged their way through a great
crowd, and turned down a street faced by brightly lighted shops.

“This street is the Moosky,” said the German. “Good old lane. Many a
piaster I’ve picked up in her.”

He dodged into a side alley, jogged over a street, and entered the
lodging of “the comrades.” It was a wine-shop with a kitchen in the
rear, on the lowest floor of a four-story building. A shuffling Jew was
drawing beer and wine for several groups of noisy Europeans at the
tables. The Jew kept up a continual jabber in Yiddish, to which the
drinkers replied now and then in German. A woman wandered in from the
back room with a steaming plate of meat and potatoes.

“The place has lodgings,” said my companion, pointing at the ceiling.
“They cost three piasters. You can still eat a small piaster worth.” For
I had told him how much money I had.

By the time I had finished eating, the “comrades” were demanding that I
tell them who I was and where I came from. As all the party spoke
German, I gave them a short account of myself in that language.

“And what countryman are you?” asked a youth at the next table.

“I am an American.”

The entire party, including the Jew, burst into a roaring laugh so
suddenly that two black boys who had been peering in upon us scampered
away down the street.

[Illustration: An Arab café in Old Cairo.]

“Amerikaner! Ja! Ja!” shrieked the merry-makers. “Certainly! We are all
Americans. But what are you when you tell the truth to your good
comrades? Amerikaner! Ha! Ha!”

The first speaker beat a tattoo on the table with his cane, and the
others became quiet. Plainly he was the leader of the company.

“Now, then,” he cried, as if I had the right by the rules of “the union”
to give two answers, “what country are you from?”

I repeated that I was an American.

“So you are an American really?” he demanded suddenly in clear English.

He thought I would not understand him; but a long reply in my own
language proved that I did. The others, however, grinned unbelievingly
and fell to chattering again.

“Why doesn’t the crowd believe me?” I asked of the youth who had spoken
to me in English.

“Ah!” he burst out, “here in Cairo all the boys are Americans. We have
Germans, Austrians, Poles, Hungarians, Norwegians—all sorts—in our
union; and every one is an American—except when they are together. And
not one of them ever saw the United States! It is because, of all the
foreign travelers in Egypt, the Americans are most ready to give
money—to their own countrymen, of course. The Germans will help us. Yes!
but how? By giving us a loaf of bread or an old pair of shoes or two
piasters. Bah! But the Americans—they give pounds and whole suits! The
tourists are your rich harvest, mein Freund! If you are a real
Amerikaner, you can live in Cairo until you grow a beard!”

So I had fallen among the beggars of Cairo! It was too late, however, to
find another lodging-place. I leaned back, and finally fell asleep amid
the fumes of tobacco that filled the room.

A whining voice sounded in my ear: “H’raus, hop!” (“Wake up!”) I opened
my eyes to find the Jew bending over me. The room was almost empty, but
the youth who had spoken to me in English still sat there. I paid my
lodging, and followed him up a narrow winding stairway at the back of
the shop. On the third floor he pushed open a door which was much like
the drop of a home-made rabbit-trap. This let us into a small room
containing six beds. Four of these were already occupied. It needed only
one long-drawn breath to prove that the bed-clothes had not seen the
wash-tub for months. But he who is both penniless and particular should
stay at home. I took the bed beside that of the German, and soon fell

The next morning I arose early, hoping to find work before noon. But my
new acquaintance of the evening before was awake. He asked me where I
was going.

I told him I was going to look for work.

“Work!” he shouted, springing to his feet. “A fellow who can talk
English—and German too—wants to _work_ in Cairo? Why, you—you’re a
disgrace to the union.”

I went down to the street and set out to look for a job. Long after
dark, footsore and half starved, covered with the dust of Cairo, I
returned to the lodging-place of the comrades, and sat down at one of
the tables. It was easy to see that the comrades were not footsore. They
had told a hard-luck story somewhere, and returned with enough money to
enable them to sit around for the rest of the day. Apparently that was
all they expected or cared to do for the rest of their lives.

The leader of the union watched me, with a half-smile on his face, for
some time after I had entered. “Lot of work you found, eh?” he began.
Then he raised his cane and rapped on the table for silence.

“Ei! Good comrades!” he cried. “I have something to show you! Look once!
Here is a comrade who is an American—do you hear?—a real American, not a
patched-up one. And this real American—in Cairo—wants to work!”

“_Work?_” roared the chorus. “_Work_ in Cairo—and a real American—Ist’s
denn ein Esel?” (“Is he a jackass?”)

I ate a tiny supper and crawled away to bed. For two days following I
tramped even greater distances, without success. But, in a side street
in which sprawled and squalled so many Arabian babies that I couldn’t
count them, I came upon the mission building called the Asile Rudolph.
Glad to escape from the beggar colony at last, I tugged at a bell-rope
that hung from a brick wall. A bare-legged Arab let me in. The
superintendent, seated in the office, welcomed me. He was a lively
Englishman about fifty years old. He had long been a captain on the
Black Sea, and was still known to everybody as “Cap” Stevenson.

There was something more than bed and board for the lucky lodgers of the
Asile Rudolph. The mission had a new shower bath! It was closed during
the day; but, as I was never the last to finish the evening meal, I
would get inside the wooden closet first; and it was only the argument
that the stream could be put to even better use among my companions that
saved me from a watery grave.

I looked for work for five days longer. No tourist ever peeped into half
the strange corners to which my wanderings led me. I learned the Arabic
language rapidly, too; for the servants of Cairo seemed to hate workmen
of my race; and the necessity of speaking my mind to them made me learn
new words every day.

Rich or penniless, however, there must be something wrong with any one
who does not enjoy the winter in Cairo. Here one never has to change his
plans on account of the weather, for Egypt is always flooded with joyous
sunshine. There is much to see, too, in this city of the Nile. If you
take a walk to the Esbekieh Gardens, you can hear a band concert at any
time, and Arabians are always performing queer tricks out there. At all
hours of the day, people of great wealth are driving about in the
gardens, while the crowds stand watching them. At times the Khedive and
his guard thunder by. Now and then the shout of Cairo’s most famous
runner tells us that the Khedive’s master, Lord Cromer, is coming near.
There is always enough to see—but not enough to eat.

[Illustration: Carriage runners of Cairo, clearing the streets for their

One day, while wandering sadly away across the city, I stumbled upon the
offices of the American ambassador. I managed to fight my way into the
presence of the consul-general himself, and told him of my experiences
in Cairo.

“If you are willing to do any kind of work,” he said, “I can give you
employment at once.”

I told him that any kind of work would be welcome.

The consul chose a card from his case, turned it over, and wrote on the

    _Tom_: Let Franck do it.

“Take this,” he said, “to my home; it is opposite that of Lord Cromer,
near the Nile. Give it to my butler.”

“Tom,” the butler, was a young American. I came upon him dancing blindly
around the ball-room of Mr. Morgan’s residence, and shouting himself
hoarse in Arabic at the servants under his charge. The consul, I was
told, was to give a dinner, with dancing, to the society people
wintering in the city. In the two days that were left before the evening
of the party, the ball-room floor must be properly waxed. Twelve Arabic
workmen had been puttering around in the dance-hall doing almost nothing
since early morning. About them was spread powdered wax; in their hands
were long bottles; above them towered the dancing butler.

“Put some strength into it!” he shouted, as I stepped across the room
toward him.

A thirteenth “workman,” who had been hired to squat in a far corner and
furnish musical encouragement, began to sing. For the next three strokes
the dozen bottles, moving together in time with the tune, nearly crushed
the powdered wax under them. But this unusual show of energy did not
last long.

I delivered the written message. Tom read it. “I’ll fire ’um!” he
bellowed. The Arabs bounded half across the room at his shriek. “I’ll
fire ’um _now!_ An American? I’m delighted, old man! Get after this job
while I chase these fellows downstairs. Had any experience at this

I thought of a far-off college gymnasium, and nodded.

“Take your own time, only so you get it done,” cried the butler, chasing
out the fleeing Arabs.

I tossed aside the bottles, and fixed up a tool of my own with which to
rub the floor. By evening the polishing was half done. When I turned my
attention to the dust-streaked windows, late the next afternoon, the
ball-room floor was too slippery to be safe for any but sure-footed

[Illustration: An Arab gardener on the estate of the American consul of
Cairo, for whom I worked two weeks.]

On the evening of the entertainment I helped to look after the dinner.
We were separated only by a Japanese screen from the guests of the
evening. Among them were Lord Cromer and the ex-Empress Eugénie, once
Queen of France, who was driven from the throne by the Germans in 1870;
the Crown Prince of Sweden was there, and the brother of the Khedive,
ruler of Egypt.

It was long after midnight when I returned to the Asile. Captain
Stevenson let me in. I found the inmates there still, all up and awake
at that late hour, waiting for me. They were as excited as so many
schoolgirls, and asked me question after question about whom I had seen
at the party, what they had done, how they had danced, what they had
talked about. I was sorry I did not have something interesting to tell
them. As it was, the dancing had not been especially graceful, and the
conversation of the great people had been commonplace. By arrangement
with Tom, I continued to “do it” long after the ball. The food at the
servants’ table was excellent, and I kept my cot at the Asile at a cost
of two piasters a day.

One evening while sitting in the office at the mission I saw in a Cairo
newspaper the following paragraph:

                                             Suez, February 2nd, 1905.

    The French troop-ship ——, outward bound to Madagascar with five
    hundred recruits, reports that while midway between Port Said and
    Ismailia, on her way through the Canal, five soldiers who had been
    standing at the rail suddenly sprang overboard and swam for shore.
    One was carried under and crushed by the ship’s screw. The others
    landed, and were last seen hurrying away into the desert. All five
    were Germans.

I showed the paragraph to the superintendent. “Aye,” said Cap; “I’ve
seen it; that happens often. They’ll be here for dinner day after

They arrived exactly at the hour named, the four of them, sunburned and
bedraggled from their swim and the tramp across the desert. Two of the
four were very friendly fellows. I was soon well acquainted with them.
One of the two had spent some months in Egypt before.

On the Friday after they arrived, the one who had been in Egypt on a
former occasion met me at the gate of the Asile as I returned from my
day’s labor.

“Heh! Amerikaner,” he began, “do you get a half holiday to-morrow?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“I’m going to take Hans out for a moonlight view of the Pyramids. It’s
full moon, and all the companies are sending out tally-ho parties. Want
to go along?”

I did, of course. The next afternoon I left the Asile in company with
the two. At the door of the office I stopped to pay my lodging for the
coming night.

“Never mind that,” said Adolph, the man who had invited us. “We’ll sleep
out there.”

“Eh?” cried Hans and I.

[Illustration: Egypt—A young Arab climbing down the pyramid.]

Adolph pushed open the gate, and we followed.

“Suppose you’ll pay our lodging at the Mena House out there?” grinned
Hans, as we crossed the Kasr-el-Nil bridge.

“Don’t worry,” cried Adolph.

We pushed through the throng of donkey-boys beyond the bridge. There was
a street-car line running along an avenue lined with trees, out to the
Pyramids in the desert; but we covered the eight miles on foot.

Darkness fell soon after we reached the place, and with it arose the
moon, large and red. The Pyramids were monstrous. They looked like
mountains. Adolph led the way in and out among them, and pointed out the
most charming views, like a guide. We climbed to the top of the Pyramid
of Cheops. Cheops was once a king of Egypt, you know. The Pyramid that
was built for his tomb still covers thirteen acres. It seems to run to a
peak when viewed from a distance, but we found the “peak” three yards
square when we reached the top. Some of the huge blocks of stone that we
had to pull ourselves over, in making the climb, weigh over fifty tons.

[Illustration: On top of the largest pyramid. From the ground it looks
as sharply pointed as the others.]

The desert night soon turned cold. We climbed down again. The tourist
parties strolled away to the great hotel below the hill, and Hans fell
to shivering.

“Where’s this fine lodging you were telling about?” he chattered.

“Just come here,” said Adolph.

[Illustration: I take a camel ride while visiting the pyramids.]

He picked his way over the huge blocks of limestone that had tumbled
from the ancient monuments toward the third Pyramid, climbed a few feet
up its northern side, and disappeared in a black hole. We followed, and,
doubled up like balls, slid down, down, down a steep tunnel about three
feet square, into utter darkness. As our feet touched a stone floor,
Adolph struck a match. The flame showed two small cave-like rooms, and
several huge stone coffins.

“Beds waiting for us—you see?” said Adolph. “Probably you’ve chatted
with the fellows who used to sleep here. They’re in the British museum
in London.”

He dropped the match, and climbed into one of the coffins. I chose
another, and found it as comfortable as a stone bed can be, though a bit
short. Our sleeping-room was warm, somewhat too warm, in fact, and Hans
began to snore. The noise echoed through the vaults like the beating of
forty drums. When we awoke it was still as dark as midnight, but our
sense of time told us that morning had come. We crawled upward on hands
and knees through the tunnel, and out into a sunlight that left us
blinking painfully for several minutes.

A crowd of tourists and Arabian rascals were surging about the
monuments. Four British soldiers in khaki uniforms kicked their heels on
the forehead of the Sphinx, puffing at their pipes as they told the
latest garrison jokes. We fought our way through the Arabs who clung to
us, took a look at the sights, and then strolled back to Cairo.

                              CHAPTER XIII
                           A TRIP UP THE NILE

One fine morning, some two weeks after my introduction to Tom, I left my
post in the consul’s household, and set about making plans for a journey
up the Nile. For I knew that if I once journeyed up or down this river
with open eyes, I would know all there is to know about this long and
narrow country.

I left Cairo on foot, and, crossing the Nile, turned southward along a
ridge of shifting sand beyond the village of Gizeh. There was an
irrigating ditch near the ridge. Scores of natives, moving with the
regularity of machinery, were ceaselessly dipping the water that gives
life to the fields of Egypt. Between the canal and the sparkling Nile,
groups of Egyptian farmers, called fellahs, deaf to the fiery sunshine,
set out sugar-cane, or clawed the soil of the dry plain. On the desert
wind rode the never-ceasing squawk of the Egyptian water-wheel.

Beyond the Pyramids of Sakkara I found shelter in the palm groves where
the ancient city of Memphis once stood, and took my noonday sleep on the
statue of King Rameses which lies at full length there. When I was
returning to the sandy road, a whole village of dark-faced people came
running up, and tried to head me off and make me give them baksheesh.
They forced me to run a gauntlet of outstretched arms. It is the
national song of Egypt, this cry of baksheesh. Workmen at their labor,
women bound for market, children rooting in the streets, drop everything
to crowd around the traveler who may be coaxed to “sprinkle iron” among
them. Even the unclothed infant astride a mother’s shoulder thrusts
forth a dimpled hand to the passing white man, with a gurgle of

[Illustration: “Along the way shadoofs were ceaselessly dipping up the
water that gives life to the fields of Egypt.”]

As darkness came on I reached the town of Magoonza. I spent the night in
a railway station. The next day I took the third-class coach, and halted
near noonday in the wind-swept village of Beni Suef. A young Englishman
who was called “Bromley, Pasha, Inspector of Irrigation,” agreed to meet
me on the bank of the canal beyond the village. Long after dark he
appeared on horseback, attended by two natives who carried flaming
torches. After being ferried across the canal, he led the way toward his
_dahabeah_ (winged house-boat), which was anchored at the shore of the

“I fancied I’d find something to put you at,” he explained, turning his
horse over to a jet-black servant who popped up out of the darkness.
“But I didn’t, and the last train’s gone. I’ll buy you a ticket to
Assiut in the morning.”

“I have a ticket,” I put in.

“Oh,” said the Englishman. “Well, you’ll stay with me here to-night,

He led the way across the plank into his floating residence. The change
from the windy plain of African sand to this floating palace was as
strange as if Bromley, Pasha, had been the owner of Aladdin’s lamp.
Richly turbaned servants in spotless white gowns sprang forward to greet
their master; to place a chair for him; to pull off his riding-boots and
to put on his slippers; to slip the Cairo “daily” into his hands; and
then to speed noiselessly away to finish preparing the evening meal.

Breakfast over next morning, I returned to the village, and left on the
south-bound train. The third-class coach was packed with natives huddled
together with unmanageable bundles. Three gloomy Arabs, who had no room
to squat on the floor, perched themselves on a bench at the side of the
car like fowls on a roost. The air that swept through the open car was
almost wintry. Only the faces of the men were uncovered. The women,
wrapped like mummies in fold after fold of black gowns, crouched on the
floor, so motionless that one could hardly tell which were women and
which were bundles.

At every station peddlers of food swarmed around the train. Dates,
boiled eggs, baked fish, oranges, and soggy bread-cakes—enough to feed
an army—were thrust upon all who dared to look outside. From the
neighboring fields came workmen loaded down with freshly cut bundles of
sugar-cane. They looked like a forest in motion. Three great canes, as
long and unmanageable as bamboo fishing-rods, sold for a piaster, and
almost every native in the car bought at least a half dozen.

The canes were broken into pieces two feet long; and each native,
grasping a piece in his hands, bit into it and, jerking his head from
side to side like a bulldog, tore off a strip. Then, with a suckling
that could be heard above the roar of the train, he drew out the juice
and cast the pulp on the floor about him. The pulp dried rapidly, and by
noonday the floor of the car was carpeted with a sugar-cane mat several
inches thick.

I spent the night at the largest city in upper Egypt—Assiut. Long before
daylight next morning I rose and groped my way back through the darkness
to the station. A ticket to Luxor took less than half my money. I
boarded the train and once more started south. At break of day the
railway crossed to the eastern bank of the river, and at the next
station the train stood motionless while engineer, trainmen, and
passengers went outside and performed their morning prayers in the
desert sand. Beyond, the chimneys of great sugar factories puffed forth
dense clouds of smoke, and at every stopping-place shivering small boys
offered for sale cone-shaped lumps of sugar, dark-brown in color.

The voice of the south spoke more clearly with every mile. We were now
coming to the district where rain and dew were unknown. The desert grew
more dry and parched; the whirling sand became finer, until it sifted
through one’s very clothing. The natives, already of a darker shade than
the cinnamon-colored Cairene, grew blacker and blacker. The chilling
wind of two days before turned warm, then piping hot; and before we drew
into Luxor, Egypt lay, as of old, under her glittering covering of
gleaming sunshine.

Before me were two great European hotels filled with tourists. And close
by the station was an inn for penniless wanderers. It was a tumble-down
shack wherein, dreaming away his old age over a cigarette, sat Pietro
Saggharia. Pietro was a wanderer once. His stories of “the road,”
collected during forty years of roaming about in Africa, and told in
almost any language the listener may choose, are to be had for a kind

I left my knapsack in Pietro’s keeping, and struck off toward Karnak.
Tourists go to Karnak to see what is left of many temples there. The
principal temple is that built in honor of Ammon, a being that the
Egyptians once worshiped. Ammon was an imaginary creature with the body
of a man and the head and horns of a ram. He was supposed to be very
wise and able to answer any question asked of him. His temple was once
magnificent, having immense columns, carvings, sculptures, and
paintings, placed there by his worshipers.

I did not expect to see the inside of the famous temples, for I had no
ticket. The price of such a ticket is little short of a vagabond’s
fortune. I journeyed to Karnak, therefore, with my mind made up to be
content with a view of her row of sphinxes and a walk around her outer

Natives swarmed about me, calling for “baksheesh.” Before I had shaken
off the last screeching youth I came upon a great iron gate that shut
out the un-ticketed, and paused to peer through the bars. On the ground
before the gate squatted a sleek, well fed native. He arose and told me
he was the guard, but made no attempt to drive me off.

As I turned away he said in Arabic: “You don’t see much from here. Have
you already seen the temple? Or perhaps you have no ticket?”

“No; no ticket,” I answered in Arabic. “Therefore I must stay outside.”

“Ah! Then you are no tourist?” smiled the native. “Are you English?”

“Aywa,” I answered, for the Arabic term “Inglesi” means all who speak
that language; “but no tourist, merely a working-man.”

“Ah,” sighed the guard: “too bad you are an Inglesi, then; for if you
spoke French the superintendent who has the digging done is a good
friend of working-men. But he speaks no English.”

“Where shall I find him?”

“In the office just over the hill, there.”

I went in the direction pointed out, and came upon a small office before
which an aged European sat motionless in a rocking-chair. About him were
scattered many kinds of statues, broken and whole.

“Are you the superintendent, sir?” I asked in French.

The aged Frenchman frowned, but answered not a word. I repeated the
question in a louder voice.

“Va t’en!” shrieked the old man, grasping a heavy cane that leaned
against his chair, and shaking it feebly at me. “Go away! You’re a
beggar. I know you are.”

I told him I had mistaken him for the superintendent. The aged Frenchman
watched me with the half-closed eyes of a cat, clinging to his stick.

“Why do you want to see the superintendent?” he demanded.

“To work, if he has any. If not, to see the temple.”

“You will not ask him for money?”

“Certainly not.”

“Well! It is there. Maghmood!” he coughed.

A native appeared at the door of the shanty.

“My son is the superintendent,” said the old man, showing a maze of
wrinkles meant for a smile. “Follow Maghmood.”

The son, a polite young Frenchman clothed in the thinnest of white
trousers and an open shirt, was bowed over a small stone covered with
ancient Egyptian figures. I told him why I had come.

“Work?” he replied. “No. Unfortunately, the society allows us to hire
only natives. I wish I might have a few Europeans to look after the
digging. But I am pleased to find a workman interested in the ruins. You
are as free to go inside as if you had a ticket. But it is midday now.
How do you escape a sunstroke, with only that cap? You had better sit
here in the shade until the heat dies down a bit.”

I assured him that the Egyptian sun did not trouble me, and he stepped
to the door to shout an order to the well fed gate-keeper just out of
sight over the hill. That official grinned knowingly as I appeared,
unlocked the gate, and, pushing back with one hand several small black
boys who were racing about, let me in to the noonday quiet of the forest
of pillars.

As the shadows began to grow long, a flock of sheep rushed into the
sacred place, and, stumbling through the ruins, awoke the sleeping
echoes with their bleating. They were trying to get to their shepherds,
who were calling to them in voices that sounded like phonographs. After
they had left, there came more peaceful beings weighed down with cameras
and note-books. Everybody was interested in one lively corner of the
place. There, in the latest hollow dug, an army of men and boys toiled
at the machines that raised the sand and the water which had been poured
into the pit to loosen the soil. Other natives, naked, groped in the mud
at the bottom, eager to win the small reward offered to the discoverer
of each ancient treasure buried in the earth.

One such prize was captured in the afternoon. A small boy, half buried
in mud and water, suddenly stopped wallowing about, and uttered a shrill
shriek of joy. He came dangerously near being trampled out of sight by
his fellow workmen. In a twinkling half the band, amid a mighty roar of
shouting and splashing, was tugging at some heavy object hidden from
view in the mud.

They raised it at last—a woman’s figure in blue stone, about four feet
in length. The news of the discovery was quickly carried to the shanty
on the hill. In a great white helmet that made him look like a walking
toad-stool, the superintendent hurried down to the edge of the pit, and
gave orders that the statue be carried to a level space, where a crowd
of excited tourists lay in wait with open note-books. There it was
carefully washed with sponges, while the tourists stood gazing eagerly
at it. Then it was placed on a car of the tiny railway laid among the
ruins. Crowds of natives grasped the long rope attached to the car, and,
moving in time to a wild Arabic song of rejoicing, dragged the new find
through the temple and placed it at the feet of the aged Frenchman.

As evening fell I turned back to my lodging-place. Several lodgers had
gathered, but neither they nor Pietro could tell me anything about the
land across the Nile, which I meant to visit next day.

There is another ruined temple near Luxor. Although it is a mile north
of Karnak, it was once connected with the temples of that town by an
avenue bordered on either side with ram-headed sphinxes. The temple is
of sandstone, and until the digging for it was begun in 1883 it was
entirely buried in sand and rubbish. About it six enormous statues of an
Egyptian king are still standing.

No one at the inn could tell me anything about the ruins that the
tourists came to see. The Greek keeper of the inn knew nothing of the
ruins of Thebes except the story of a man who had once stopped at his
hotel. This man had tried to make the excursion, and had returned wild
with thirst, mumbling a confused tale of having floundered about in a
sea of sand.

“For our betters,” said Pietro, in the softened Italian in which he
chose to address me, “for the rich ladies and gentlemen who can ride on
donkeys and be guarded by many guides, a visit to Thebes is very well.
But common folk like you and me! Bah! We are not wanted there. They
would send no army to look for _us_ if we disappeared in the desert.
Besides, you must have a ticket to see anything.”

I rose at dawn the next morning, and hastened away to the bazaars to get
food for the day’s trip—bread-cakes for hunger and oranges for thirst. A
native boatman tried to charge me ten piasters for rowing me to the
other side; but when I refused to pay him that much, he accepted one
instead, and set me down on the western bank. The shrill screams of a
troop of donkey-boys, who were crossing the river with their animals,
greeted the rising sun. A moment later a party of tourists, wearing
veils and helmets, stepped ashore from a steamer, and, mounting the
animals, sped away into the trackless desert. It was an interesting
sight. The half-mile train of donkeys that trailed off across the desert
was bestridden by every kind of European, from thin scholars and slender
maidens to heavy women and mighty masses of men, who had to beat their
animals continually to make them keep up with the rest.

The sharp climb to the Tomb of the Kings was more difficult to an
overburdened ass than to a man on foot. I kept pace with the band, and
even got ahead of the stragglers, often stopping to shake the sand from
my shoes. Even though the jeering donkey-boys kept pushing me into the
narrow gorges between the rocks, it was I who reached the gate first. An
Arabian policeman was on hand to help the keeper take tickets. But he
spoke Italian, and was so delighted to find that he could talk with me
without being understood by the rest of the crowd that he gave me
permission to enter.

I was now so used to such places that I was able to find my way about
alone. I left the party and struck southward toward a steep cliff of
stone and sand. To go past this, those on donkeys had to make a circuit
of many miles; but I made up my mind to climb over it. Clinging to sharp
edges of rock, I began the climb. Half way up, a roar of voices sounded
from the plain below. I felt for a safer hand-hold and looked down.
About the policeman at the foot of the cliff was grouped the party of
Europeans, gazing upward—certain now, no doubt, of their earlier belief
that I was a madman who had escaped from his guardians. Before they had
gone one fourth the distance around the mountain, I had reached the top,
while they had still many a weary mile to travel.

The view that spread out from the top of that mountain was one that
might have awakened the envy of the tourists below. North and south
stretched sand-colored hills, deep and brilliant vermilion in the
valleys, the highest peaks splashed blood-red by the sunshine. Below lay
the plain of Thebes, its thick green carpet weighted down by a few farm
villages and the great heavy playthings of an ancient people. As I
looked off before me, an old saying came to my mind: “Egypt is the
Nile.” Clinging tightly to the life-giving river, easily seen in that
clear air for a hundred miles, the slender hand of Egypt looked like a
spotless ribbon of richest green, following every curve of the Father of
Waters. All else to the east and to the west was nothing but an endless
sea of choking yellow sand.

[Illustration: The Egyptian fellah dwells in a hut of reeds and mud.]

I climbed down, and spent the afternoon among the ruins at the edge of
the plain. I had examined almost everything before the tourists, worn
out and drooping from a day in the saddle, overtook me, and I went on
before them to the bank of the river. There they shook me off, however.
The guides in charge of the party snarled in anger when I offered to pay
for crossing the river in the company boat. There was nothing else for
me to do, much as I disliked the idea, but to be ferried over with the

I left next day on the train for Assuan, and reached that place in time
to hear the afternoon concert. I was now nearly six hundred miles from
the last “hotel” for homeless wanderers, and I was again obliged to go
to a native inn and to put up with the companionship of half-savage
Arabians. But my bedroom on the roof was airy, and the bawling of the
priest who stood on the balcony of a Mohammedan church steeple calling
out the hour of prayer awoke me early enough to see the glorious sunrise
of a new day.

Some miles beyond Assuan lay the new dam, where there was work for any
one who wanted it. Just how far, I could not know; neither did I know
that it was connected with the village by rail. From morning till high
noon I clawed my way along the ragged rocks overhanging the weakened
falls of the river, before I came in sight of the great dam that had
robbed them of their waters.

This dam was built by the British for the purpose of irrigating the
surrounding country. Among the rocks in what was once the bed of the
Nile sat a dozen wooden shanties for the workmen. But I had arrived too
late. The superintendent of the work told me that the dam had been
completed that very day, and he and his men were going back to England
in the morning.

I still had left fifty piasters, so I decided to push on up the Nile.

I came to the end of the railway. But steamers left twice a week from
Shellal, a town above the dam. At the landing a swarm of natives were
loading a rickety old barge, and a native agent was dozing behind the
bars of a home-made ticket-office.

“Yes,” he yawned, in answer to my question; “there is to-night leaving
steamer. Soon be here. The fare is two hundred fifty piasters.”

“Two hundred!” I gasped. “Why, that must be first-class.”

“Yes, very first-class. But gentleman not wish travel second-class?”

“Certainly not. Give me a third-class ticket.”

The Egyptian jumped to his feet and stared at me through the bars.

“What say gentleman? Third-class! No! No! Not go third-class.
Second-class one hundred thirty piasters very poor.”

“But there is a third-class, isn’t there?”

“Third-class go. Forty piasters. But only for Arabs. White man never go
third-class. Not give food, not give sleep, not ride on steamer; ride on
barge there, tied to steamer with string. All gentlemen telling me must
have European food. Gentlemen not sleep with boxes and horses on barge?
Very Arab; very bad smell.”

“Yes, I know; but give me a third-class ticket,” I interrupted, counting
out forty piasters.

The native blinked, sat down sadly on his stool, and with a sigh reached
for a ticket. Suddenly his face lighted up, and he pushed my money back
to me.

“If white man go third-class,” he crowed, “must have pass. Not can sell
ticket without.”

“But how can I get a pass?”

“There is living English colonel with fort the other side of Assuan. Can
get pass from him.”

I hurried away to the railroad station. The fare to Assuan was a few
cents, and one train went each way during the afternoon. But it made the
up trip first! I struck out on foot down the railroad, raced through
Assuan, and tore my way to the fort, which was three miles below the
village. A squad of black men dressed in khaki uniforms flourished their
bayonets uncomfortably near my ribs. I bawled out my errand in Arabic,
and an officer waved the guard aside.

“The colonel is sleeping now,” he said; “come this evening.”

“But I want a pass for this evening’s steamer.”

“We cannot wake the colonel.”

“Is there no one else who can sign the order?”

“Only the colonel. Come this evening.”

Pass or no pass, I would not be cheated out of a journey into the
Soudan. I threw my knapsack over my shoulder again, and pranced off for
the third time on the ten-mile course between Assuan and Shellal. Night
was falling as I rushed through Assuan. When I stepped aside to let the
down train pass, my legs wabbled under me like two rubber tires from
which half the air had escaped. The screech of a steamboat whistle
resounded through the Nile valley as I came in sight of the lights of
Shellal. I broke into a run, falling now and then on the uneven ground.

The sky was clear, but there was no moon, and the night was black in
spite of the stars. The deck-hands were already casting off the shore
lines of the barge, and the steamer was churning the shallow water. I
pulled off my coat, threw it over my head after the fashion in which the
Egyptian fellah wears his gown after nightfall, and dashed toward the
ticket office.

[Illustration: Soudan steamer on the Nile: A Soudanese cavalry soldier
with whom I shared a blanket on the way up to Wady Haifa.]

“A ticket to Wady Haifa,” I gasped in Arabic, trying to imitate the
timid tone of the Egyptian peasant.

For once, I saw a native hurry. The agent glanced at the money, snatched
a ticket, and thrust it through the bars, crying: “Hurry up; the boat is
go—” But the white hand that clutched the ticket showed him who I was.
He sprang to the door with a howl: “Stop! It’s the faranchee! Come

I caught up my knapsack as I ran, made a flying leap at the slowly
moving barge, and landed on all fours under the feet of a troop of

An Arab who stood grinning at me as I picked myself up seemed to be the
only man on the craft who had noticed how suddenly I had boarded the
vessel. He was dressed in native clothes, save for a tightly buttoned
khaki jacket which he wore over his gown. His legs were bare, his feet
thrust into red slippers. About his head was wound a large turban of red
and white checks: on each cheek were the scars of three long gashes; in
the top of his right ear hung a large silver ring.

The scars and ring showed him to be a Nubian; the jacket, an officer of
cavalry; the bridle in his hand showed him to be care-taker of the
horses; and of course his name was Maghmood!

We became great chums, Maghmood and I, before the journey ended. By
night we shared the same blanket; by day he would have divided the lunch
in his saddle-bag with me had I been without food. But the black men who
trooped down to each landing with baskets of native food kept me
supplied with all I needed. Maghmood told me tales of the time he was in
the battle-field with Kitchener, in a clear-cut Arabic that even a
_faranchee_ could understand; and, except for the five periods each day
when he stood barefoot at his prayers, he was as pleasant a companion as
any one from the Western world could have been.

When morning broke I climbed a rickety ladder to the upper deck. It was
so closely packed from rail to rail with Arabs huddled together that a
poodle could not have found room to sit on his haunches. I climbed still
higher, and came out upon the roof of the barge. No one else was there.
From that height I could view the vast moving picture of the Nile.

[Illustration: Arab passengers on the Nile steamer. Except when saying
their prayers, they scarcely move once a day.]

There was nothing growing on its banks. The fertile strips of green fed
by the dippers and the squawking waterwheels had been left behind.
Except for a few tiny oases, the desert had pushed its way to the very
water’s edge, here sloping down in beaches of the softest sand, there
falling sheer into the stream in rugged, rocky cliffs. Yet somewhere in
this yellow wilderness a hardy people found a living. Now and then a
dark-faced peasant waved a hand or a tattered flag from the shore, and
the steamer ran her nose high up on the beach to pick up the bale of
produce that he rolled down the slope. At every landing a troop of dark
barbarians sprang up from a sandy nowhere, making in the gorgeous
sunlight wild-looking shadows as black as their leathery skins.

We tied up at Wady Haifa after nightfall. I landed the next morning. In
two days I saw everything there was to see in Wady Haifa, and decided to
return to Cairo.

On a Monday morning I boarded the steamer _Cleopatra_ as a deck
passenger, and drifted lazily down the Nile for five days, landing here
and there with the tourists of the upper deck to visit a temple or a mud
village. In Cairo, at the Asile Rudolph, Captain Stevenson welcomed me
with open arms. A day later I called on the superintendent of the
railway, and, armed with a pass to Port Said, bade the capital farewell.

                              CHAPTER XIV
                    STEALING A MARCH ON THE FAR EAST

All through that month of February in Cairo I studied the posters of the
steamship companies to learn what ships were sailing eastward; for I
hoped to get work on one of them as a sailor, and continue my trip
around the world. While I was in the train on my way to Port Said, I saw
four giant steamers gliding southward through the canal, so close that I
could read from my window the books in the hands of the passengers under
the awnings. How fortunate those people seemed to me! They were already
on their way east, while I was still crawling slowly along the edge of
the desert. Gladly would I have exchanged places with the dirtiest
workman on board.

I wanted to go to Bombay; but I should have been glad to escape from
that neck of sand in almost any direction. Not that there weren’t ships
enough—they passed the canal in hundreds every week. But their sailors
were yellow men or brown, and they anchored well out in the middle of
the stream, where a white sailor might not go to ask for work.

All this I thought of as I crawled through the African desert behind a
wheezing locomotive. But one solemn promise I made to myself before the
first hut of Port Said bobbed up across the sand—that I would escape
from this place somehow, on something, be it coal-barge or raft, before
its streets and alleys became such eye-sores as had once those of

I reached Port Said. After dinner I hurried away to the shipping
quarter. As I had expected, no sailors were wanted. I went to ask advice
of the American consul.

“A man without money in this place,” he said, “is here to stay, I fear.
We haven’t signed on a sailor since I was sent here. If you ever make a
get-away, it will be by hiding on one of the steamers. I can’t advise
you to do it, of course. But if I were in your shoes I’d stow away on
the first boat homeward bound, and do it at once, before summer comes
along and sends you to the hospital.”

Early the next morning I saw a great steamer nosing her way among the
smaller boats that swarmed about the mouth of the canal. She looked so
much like the _Warwickshire_ that I half expected to see my former
mess-mates peering over her rail. I made out the name on her bow as she
dropped anchor in the middle of the canal. Then I turned to a near-by
poster to find out more about her.

“_S. S. Worcestershire_,” ran the notice. “Largest, fastest steamer
sailing from England to British Burma. First-class passengers only. Fare
to Colombo, one hundred eighty dollars.”

A sister ship of the vessel that had brought me from Marseilles! The
very sight of her made me think of the prime roasts we had had while
crossing the Mediterranean. I hurried down to the landing-stage, and
spoke to the officers as they left the ship with the tourists for a run

“Full up, Jack,” answered one of them.

I thought of the advice the American consul had given me. A better craft
to hide on would never drop anchor in the canal. Bah! I could never get
on board. The blackest night could not hide such rags as mine! Besides,
the steamer was sure to load on coal and be gone within a couple of

A native fair was going on at the far end of town. I became so
interested in watching the snake-charmers and dancers that I soon forgot
all about the ship I had seen that morning.

Darkness was falling when I strolled back toward the harbor. At the shop
where mutton sold cheaply I stopped for supper; but the keeper had put
up his shutters. Hungrily I wandered on toward the main street that
bordered the canal, and stopped stock-still in astonishment. There
before me, cutting off the view of the buildings across the canal, the
vast bulk of the _Worcestershire_ was still standing.

What a chance—if I could once get on board! Perhaps I might! But an
official would be sure to halt me if I tried to do it. I must have some
good excuse to offer him for being rowed out to the steamer. If only I
had something to be delivered on board: a basket of fruit, or—exactly!—a
letter of introduction.

Breathlessly I dashed into the reading-room of the Catholic Sailors’
Home, snatched a sheet of paper and an envelope, and scribbled a letter
asking for work of any kind on board the ship. Then I sealed the
envelope and addressed it in a bold hand to the chief steward of the

But my knapsack? Certainly I could not carry that on board! I dumped its
contents on the floor, snatched my camera and papers, and thrust them
into an inside pocket. There was nothing else. With my faded clothes in
the shadow, I would look like one of the passengers. Many an English
lord, traveling in the East, wears a cap after nightfall.

In high excitement I rushed down to the dock. The _Worcestershire_ was
still there. Two Arab boatmen squatted under a torch on one corner of
the landing-place, waiting to row passengers out to the steamer. They
charged sixpence. I had three. It cost me some precious moments to beat
down one of them. He stepped into his boat at last, and pushed off
cautiously toward the row of lighted port-holes.

As we drew near the steamer I made out a figure in uniform on the lowest
step of the ship’s ladder. The game was lost! I certainly could not pass
this bridge officer.

My oarsman swung his boat against the ladder with a sweep of the oar. I
held up the note.

“Will you kindly deliver this to the chief steward?” I asked. “The
writer wants an answer before the ship leaves.”

“I really haven’t time,” apologized the mate. “I’ve an errand ashore,
and we leave in fifteen minutes. You can run up with it yourself,
though. Here, boatman, row me to the landing.”

I sprang up the ladder. Except for several East Indian workmen who
jumped aside as I appeared, there was no one on the deck. From somewhere
below came the sound of waltz music and the laughter of merry people. I
strolled carelessly around to the other side of the deck, and walked aft
in the shadow of the upper cabins. For some moments I stood alone in the
darkness, gazing at the streaks of light from the lower port-holes
sparkling in the canal. Then a step sounded behind me—a heavy British
step that came toward me for several paces, and then halted. One could
almost tell by his walk that he was an officer of the ship; one could
certainly hear it in the gruff “Ahem!” with which he cleared his throat.
I waited in fear and trembling.

A minute passed, then another. I turned my head, inch by inch, and
peered over my shoulder. In the dim light stood a man in faultless
evening dress, gazing at me through the darkness between us. His dress
looked like that of a passenger, but the very set of his feet on the
deck proved that he was no landsman. It was the captain himself, surely!
What under officer would dare appear out of uniform on a voyage?

I turned away my head again, determined to bear the coming blow bravely.
The dreaded being cleared his throat once more, stepped nearer, and
stood for a moment without speaking. Then a hand touched me lightly on
the sleeve.

“Beg pahdon, sir,” murmured a very polite voice; “beg pahdon, sir, but
’ave you ’ad dinner yet? The other gentlemen’s h’ all been served, sir.”

I swallowed my throat and turned around, laying a hand over the place
where my necktie should have been.

“I am not a passenger, my man,” I replied scornfully; “I have a message
for the chief steward.”

The servant stretched out his hand.

“Oh, I cawn’t send it, you know,” I objected. “I must deliver it myself,
for it requires an answer before the ship leaves.”

“Goodness, you can’t see _’im_,” gasped the Briton; “we’re givin’ a
dance, and ’e’s in the ball-room.”

The sound of our voices had attracted the quartermaster on duty. Behind
him appeared a young steward.

“You’d best get ashore quick,” said the sailor; “we’re only waitin’ for
the fourth mate. Best call a boatman or you’ll get carried off.”

“Really!” I cried, looking anxiously about me. “But I must have an
answer, you know!”

“I couldn’t disturb _’im_,” wheezed the older steward.

“Well, show me where he is,” I argued.

“Now, we’re off in a couple o’ winks,” warned the quartermaster.

“’Ere, mate,” said the youth; “I’ll take you down.”

I followed him to the deck below, and along a lighted passageway. My
make-up would never stand the bright glare of a ball-room. I thrust the
note into the hands of my guide.

“Be sure to bring me the answer,” I cautioned.

He pushed his way through a group of his mess-mates and disappeared into
the drawing-room. A moment later he returned with the answer I had

“So you’re on the beach?” he grinned. “’Ard luck. The chief says he has
enough sailors, and the company rules don’t allow ’im to take on a man
to work ’is passage. S’y, you’ve made a mistake anyway, though, ayn’t
you? We’re not ’omeward bound; we’re going out. You’d best rustle it and
get ashore.”

He turned into the cook-room of the ship. Never had I dared to hope that
he would let me out of his sight before I left. His carelessness was
due, probably, to his certainty that I had “made a mistake.” I dashed
out of the passageway as if fearful of being carried off; but, once
hidden in the kindly night, I paused to peer about me.

Where was there a good place to hide? Inside a mattress in the steerage?
But there was no steerage. The ship was first-class only. Down in the
hold, where the cargo was stored? The doors covering the stairways
leading to it were all nailed down. In the coal-bunkers? That would do
very well in the depth of winter, but would be sure death in the heat of
this country. In the forecastle, where the sailors live? Sure to be
found in a few hours by tattletale natives. In the chain-locker? The
anchor and chain might be dropped anywhere in the canal, and I should be
dragged piecemeal through the hawse-hole.

Still thinking rapidly, I climbed to the spot where I had first been
seen. From the starboard side, forward, came the voice of the fourth
mate, clambering on board. In a few moments officers and men would be
flocking up from below. Noiselessly I sprang up the ladder to the
highest deck. There was no one in sight. I crept to the nearest
life-boat, and dragged myself along the edge that hung well out over the
canal. I tugged at the canvas cover on the boat for a minute that seemed
a century before I succeeded in making an opening. When it had loosened
for a space of four feet, I thrust my head through. Inch by inch, I
squirmed in, fearful of making the slightest noise. Only my feet
remained outside when my hand struck an oar inside the boat. Its rattle
could have been heard in Cairo. Drenched with perspiration, I waited for
my discoverer. But the music, it seemed, held the attention of everybody
on the ship. I drew in my feet by doubling up like a pocket-knife, and,
thrusting a hand through the opening fastened the canvas cover back in

The space inside was too small. Seats, kegs, oars, and boat-hooks left
me barely room to stretch out on my back without touching the canvas
above me. Two officers brushed by, and called out their orders within
six feet of me. I heard the rattle of the anchor-chain, and knew that
the long trip through the canal had begun.

When I could breathe without opening my mouth at every gasp, I was
forced to remember that I had had nothing to eat that afternoon. Within
an hour my hunger was forgotten. The sharp edge of a keg under my back,
the oars under my hips, the seat that my shoulders barely reached, began
to cut into my flesh, sending sharp pains through every limb. I dared
not move for fear of sending some unseen article clattering. Worst of
all, there was hardly room for my head, while I kept my neck strained to
the utmost. The tip of my nose touched the canvas. To have stirred that
ever so slightly would have landed me back on shore at the first canal

The position grew more painful hour by hour; but after some time my body
grew numb and I sank into a half-conscious state that was not sleeping.

Daylight did not help matters, though in the sunshine that filtered
through the canvas I could see the objects about me. There came the
jabbering of strange tongues as the sailors quarreled over their work on
the deck. Now and then there was a shout from a canal station that we
were passing. Passengers climbing to the upper deck brushed against the
life-boat as they took their walks. From time to time I heard them
talking—telling what they were going to do when they reached India.

It became so hot that all but the officers returned to the shade below.
By noon the Egyptian sun, pouring down upon the canvas, had turned my
hiding-place into an oven. A raging thirst had long since silenced my
hunger. In the early afternoon, as I lay motionless, there sounded a
splash of water close at hand. Two natives had been sent to wash the
life-boat. For an hour they dashed bucketful after bucketful against it,
splashing, now and then, even the canvas over my head.

The gong had just sounded for afternoon tea when the ship began to rock
slightly. Then came a faint sound of waves breaking against her side. A
light breeze moved the canvas ever so little, and the throb of the
engines became louder. Had we passed out of the canal? I was about to
tear at the canvas and bellow for water. But had we really left the Suez
Canal behind? Was this, perhaps, only the Bitter Lakes? Or, if we had
reached the Red Sea, the pilot might still be on board! To be set ashore
now would mean an endless tramp back through the burning desert to Port

I held myself quiet, and listened intently for any word that might show
me our whereabouts. None came, but the setting sun and falling darkness
brought coolness. The ship did not pitch as it did in the open sea. I
made up my mind to wait a little longer.

With night the passengers came again, to lean against my boat and tell
their secrets. A dozen schemes, ranging from a plan for making
Christians of all the Indias to the arrangement of a tiger hunt in the
Assam hills, were told within my hearing during that motionless evening.
But when music sounded from below they left the deck deserted, and I
settled down to listen to the faint tread of the second mate, who paced
the bridge above me.

The night wore on. Less fearful, now, of being discovered, I moved, for
the first time in thirty hours, and, rolling slowly on my side, fell
asleep. It was broad daylight when I awoke to the sounding of two bells.
The ship was rolling and pitching, now, in a way that indicated plainly
that we were on the open sea. I tugged at the canvas cover and peered
out. My muscles were so stiff that I could not move for some moments.
Even when I had wormed myself out, I came near losing my grip on the
edge of the boat before my feet touched the rail. Once on deck, I waited
to be discovered. No land-lubber could have mistaken me for a passenger

Calmly I walked toward the stairway, and climbed down to the second
deck. A score of bare-legged brown men were “washing down.” Near them,
their overseer, in all the glory of embroidered jacket and rubber boots,
strutted back and forth, fumbling at a silver chain about his neck. I
strolled by them. The low-caste fellows sprang out of my way like
startled cats; their overseer gazed at me with an uncertain smile. If
they were surprised they did not show it. Probably they were not. What
was it to them if a _sahib_ (white man) chose to turn out in a ragged
hunting costume in the early morning? Stranger things than that they had
seen among these queer beings with white skins. For some time I paced
the deck without catching sight of a white face. At last a small son of
Britain clambered unsteadily up the stairway, clinging tightly to a pot
of tea.

“Here, boy,” I called. “Who’s on the bridge—the mate?”

“Yes, sir,” stammered the boy, sidling away; “the mite, sir.”

“Well, tell him there’s a stowaway on board.”

“W’at’s that, sir? You see, sir, I’m a new cabin-boy, on me first trip—”

“And you don’t know what a stowaway is, eh?”

“No, sir.”

“If you’ll run along and tell the mate, you’ll find out soon enough.”

The boy mounted to the upper deck, clutching now and then at the rail.
Judging from the grin on his face as he came running back, he had added
a new word to his vocabulary.

“The mite says for you to come up on the bridge quick. ’E’s bloomin’

I climbed again to the hurricane-deck. The mate’s anger had so overcome
him that he had left his post and waited for me at the foot of the
bridge-ladder. He was burly and heavy-jawed, bare-headed, bare-footed,
his hairy chest showing, his duck trousers rolled up to his knees, and
his thick tangle of disordered hair waving in the wind. With a ferocious
scowl and set jaw, he glared at me in silence.

“I’m a sailor, sir,” I began. “I was on the beach in Port Said. I’m
sorry, sir, but I had to get away—”

The mate gave no other sign of having heard than to push his heavy jaw
farther out.

“There was no chance to sign on a ship there, sir. Not a man shipped in
months, sir, and it’s a tough place to be on the beach—”

“What has that got to do with me and my ship!” roared the officer,
springing several yards into the air, and coming down to shake his
sledge-hammer fist under my nose. “I’ll give you six months for this
directly we get to Colombo. You’ll stow away on my ship, will you? Get
down off this deck before I brain you with this bucket!”

Not certain as to what part of the _Worcestershire_ he wanted me to go,
I started forward. Another bellow brought me to a halt.

“You—” But never mind what words he used. The new order was that I was
to wait in the waist until the captain had seen me.

I went down, snatched a swallow of lukewarm water at the pump, and
leaned against the side of the ship. Too hungry to be greatly terrified,
I had already taken new heart at the mate’s words. “Colombo,” he had
said. Until then I had feared that the _Worcestershire_, like most ships
bound for East India, would put in at Aden in Arabia, and that I would
be set ashore there.

An hour, two hours, three hours, I stood in the waist, returning the
stares of everybody on board, Hindu or English, who passed by me. With
the sounding of eight bells a steward came by with a can of coffee. Once
started, an endless procession of bacon, steaks, and ragoûts filed by
under my nose. It was almost more than I could bear. To snatch at one of
the pans would have been my undoing. I thrust my head over the railing,
where the sea breezes blew, and stared at the sand billows on the
Arabian coast. Not until the last of the dishes had passed by did I dare
to turn around once more.

“Peggy,” the steward’s cook, peered cautiously out upon me. “Eh, mite,”
he whispered; “’ad anything to eat yet?”

“Not lately.”

“Well, come inside. There’s a pan o’ scow left to dump.”

Very little of it was dumped that morning.

I had barely returned to my place when four officers came down a ladder
to the waist. They were led by the mate, carefully dressed now in a
snow-white uniform. His language, too, had improved. A “sir” falling
from his lips showed me which of his companions was the captain. My
hopes rose at once at sight of the latter. He was a very different sort
of man from his first officer. Small, neat, and quick of movement, his
iron-gray hair gave setting to a face that showed both kindliness and
strength. I knew I should be treated with fairness.

The officers pretended they didn’t see me. They mounted the ladder and
strolled slowly along the deck, examining as they went. Peggy came to
the door of the kitchen with the dish-cloth in his hands.

“Morning h’inspection,” he explained in a husky whisper. “They’ll be
back here directly they’ve looked over the other side. The little
feller’s the captain. ’E’s all right.”

“Hope he lives out the voyage,” I muttered.

“The fat jolly chap’s the chief steward,” went on Peggy. “Best man on
the ship. The long un’s the doctor.”

The officers continued examining the ship for things that needed
repairing. They came back toward the waist, and halted several times
within a few feet of me to look over some part of the ship’s machinery
or furnishings. When the scuppers had been ordered cleaned and the pump
had been pronounced in proper condition, the mate turned to the captain
and pointed angrily at me:

“There he is, sir.”

“Ah,” said the captain. “What was your object, young man, in stowing
yourself away on this vessel?”

I began the story I had tried to tell the first officer. The captain
heard it all without interrupting me.

“Yes, I know,” he said, when I had finished. “Port Said is a very
unfortunate place in which to be left without money. But why did you not
come on board and ask permission to work your passage?”

“I did, sir!” I cried. “That’s just what I did! I brought a letter to
the chief steward. That’s how I came on board, sir.”

“That’s so!” put in the “fat jolly chap”; “he sent a note to me in the
drawing-room. But I sent back word that we had all the men we needed.”

“I see,” replied the captain thoughtfully. “You’re the first man that
ever stowed away on a vessel under my command,” he went on almost sadly.
“You make yourself liable to severe punishment, you know?”

“I’d put him in irons and send him up, sir,” burst out the mate.

“N—no,” returned the captain; “that wouldn’t be right, Dick. You know
Port Said. But you know you will have to work on the voyage,” he added,
turning to me.

“Why, certainly, sir,” I cried, suddenly beginning to fear that he might
see through my coat the camera that contained a likeness of his ship.

“You told the chief officer you were a sailor, I believe?”

“A. B., sir—and steward.”

“Have you anything you can put him at, Chester?” he asked the steward.

“I’ve more men than I can use now,” replied the steward.

“Beg pardon, sir,” put in the mate; “but the chief engineer says he can
use an extra man down below.”

He was a kindly fellow, was the mate. He wanted to force me to shovel
coal into the furnace. Not only was the place an oven in that climate,
but the Hindu firemen would have made life very disagreeable for me had
I been sent to work among them.

“No, no,” answered the commander. “The man is a sailor and a steward; he
is not a stoker. You had better take him on deck with you, Dick.”

He started up the ladder.

“Huh,” muttered the mate, “I know what I’d do with him if I was in

“Take him on board with you, Dick,” repeated the captain, from above.
“Get something to eat now, my man, and report to the chief officer,
forward, when you have finished.”

“I’ll send you down a couple of cotton suits,” whispered the steward,
before he followed the captain up the ladder; “you’ll die with that
outfit on.”

I stayed in the kitchen long enough to eat breakfast, and then hurried
forward. The mate, scowling, began asking me question after question as
rapidly as he could. Perhaps he wanted to find out whether I had told
the truth when I said I had been a sailor.

“Box the compass,” he snarled suddenly.

I did so. For an hour he gave me a severe examination.

“Umph!” he growled at last. “Take that holy-stone with the handle”—it
weighed a good thirty pounds—“and go to polishing the poop. You’ll work
every day from six in the morning till seven at night, with a half-hour
off for your meals. From four to six in the morning, and from eight to
ten at night, you’ll keep watch in the crow’s-nest, and save us two
natives. On Sunday you’ll keep watch from four to eight, nine to twelve,
two to seven, and eight to ten. Look lively now, and see that the poop
begins to shine before I get there.”

From that time on, the mate rarely gave me a word. Without a break I
toiled at the task he had given me as long as the voyage lasted. The
holy-stone took on great weight, but the view I had from the crow’s-nest
of every tropical sunrise and sunset I would not have exchanged for a
seat at the captain’s table. My mess-mates were good-hearted, and the
chief steward was friendly and kind. But the Hindu crew tried to make
life unpleasant for me. Few were the moments when a group of the brown
rascals were not hovering about me, chattering like apes and grinning
impudently. The proudest man on board was the overseer; for it was
through him that the mate sent me his orders. Since the days when he
rolled naked and unashamed on the sand floor of his native hut, he had
dreamed of no greater happiness than the power to give commands to a

Ten days the _Worcestershire_ steamed on through a motionless sea, under
a sun that became more torrid every hour. The kitchen became too hot to
live in. Men who had waded through the snow on the docks of Liverpool
two weeks before took to sleeping on the deck in the thinnest of
clothing. On the eleventh evening we were certain that there was an odor
of land in the air. Before morning broke I had climbed again to the
crow’s-nest. With the first gray streak of dawn I could see the dim
outline of a low mountain range, colored by the gleam of sunrise behind
it. Slowly the mountains faded from view as the lowlands beneath them
rose up to greet us.

By eight bells we could see a score of naked black-brown islanders
paddling boldly seaward in their queer outrigger canoes. The
_Worcestershire_ glided past a far-reaching break-water, and, steaming
among a school of smaller boats and vessels, rode to an anchorage in the
center of the harbor. A crowd swarmed on board, and in the rush and
noise I left my stone and hurried below to pack my “shore bundle.”
Through the kindness of the chief steward, I was well supplied with
cotton suits. I returned to the captain, got his permission to leave,
tossed my bundle into the company launch, and, with one English
half-penny jingleless in my pocket, set foot on the green island of

                               CHAPTER XV

The scenery that met my gaze as I moved through the streets of Colombo
seemed much like that of some great painting. The golden sunshine, the
rich green, the dark bodies moving here and there among figures clad in
snowy white, were more colorful than I had ever imagined. At noonday the
fiery sun beat down on me so unmercifully that I sought shelter in a
neighboring park. There I dreamed away my first day’s freedom from the
holy-stone. A native runner awoke me toward nightfall, and thrust into
my hands a card. On it was printed an advertisement of a “Sailors’
Boarding House of Colombo, Proprietor Almeida.” I found it easily. It
was a two-story building, with stone floor, but otherwise of the
lightest wooden material. The dining-room, in the center of the
building, had no roof. Narrow, windowless rooms in the second story
faced this open space. These housed the sailors who stayed there.

Almeida, who kept the boarding-house, was a Singhalese who belonged to a
higher class or caste than certain other natives of Ceylon. In proof of
this he wore tiny pearl earrings and a huge circle comb. His hair was
gray, and being thin did not hold the comb in position very long at a
time. It dropped on the floor behind him so often that he had a little
brown boy follow him about all day with nothing else to do but to pick
it up for him. Almeida wore a white silk jacket decorated with red braid
and glistening brass buttons, and a skirt of the gayest plaid. His feet
were bare, and his toes spread out so that they pointed in five
different directions.

I signed a note promising to pay for my room and board after I had
earned the money, and was made a guest in the Sailors’ Boarding House.
Four white men and as many black leaned their elbows on the board used
for a table, and waited for the evening meal. In a cave near by, two
brown men were sitting on their heels, stirring something in a kettle
over a fire of sticks. After a time they ceased stirring, and began
chattering like monkeys in high, squeaky voices. Suddenly they became
silent, dashed through the smoke in the cave, and dragged the steaming
kettle forth into the dining-room. One of them scooped out the steaming
rice and filled our plates. The younger ran back into the smoky cave and
snatched up a smaller pot containing chopped fish. Besides this, we had
bananas and drinking water that was saltish, discolored, and lukewarm.

The cooks gave us each a tin spoon, then filled a battered basin with
rice, and, squatting on their heels, began eating their own supper with
their fingers. The wick that floated in a bottle of oil lighted up only
one corner of the table, and the rising moon, falling upon the naked
figures, cast strange shadows across the uneven floor.

I laid my head on a hand to show that I was getting sleepy, and one of
the cooks led the way to the second story and into one of the narrow
rooms. It was furnished with three low wooden tables having queerly
curved legs. I asked for my bed. But the cook spoke no English, and I
sat down and waited for my room-mates.

A long hour afterward two white men stumbled up the stairs. The first
carried a candle high above his head. He was lean, gray-haired, and
clean-shaven. The other man was a heavy, yellow-haired Swede.

“Oho! Ole,” grinned the older man, “here’s a new bunkie. Why don’t you
turn in, mate?”

“I haven’t found my bed yet,” I answered.

[Illustration: A Singhalese woman stops often to give her children a

“Your bed!” cried the newcomer. “Why, you’re sitting on it.”

I followed the example of the others—undressed and put on a thin garment
that I found hanging over my “bed.” Then, using my bundle of clothing
for a pillow, I lay down upon the table and sweated out the night.

Over the tea, bananas, and cakes of ground cocoanut that we had for
breakfast, we told each other how we happened to be in that part of the
world. The Swede was merely a sailor. But the older man was an Irishman
named John Askins, once a professor in the Dublin University, who had
been obliged to give up his work because of poor health.

Before many days had passed I had found work. An Englishman had
advertised for a carpenter, and for three days following I superintended
the labors of a band of coolies in laying a hardwood floor in his

After the work was finished I set off early one morning for a trip into
the interior of the island. At about noon I reached the open country.
Tropical plant life ran wild over all the land. In the black shadows
swarmed naked human beings. But the highway was wide, as well built as
those in Europe, and closely bordered on both sides by thick forests of
towering palm trees. Here and there bands of coolies repaired the
roadway or fought back the war-like vegetation with ax-like knives.

Clumsy, heavy-wheeled carts, covered like a gypsy wagon, creaked slowly
by behind humped oxen. At first sight the roof seemed made of canvas,
but as the vehicle came nearer I saw that it was made of thousands of
leaves sewn together. Under it the scrawny driver grinned cheerily and
mumbled some strange words of greeting. The glare of sunshine was
dazzling; a wrist uncovered for a moment was burned as red as if it had
been branded, and my face shone browner in the mirror of each passing

In the forest there were the slim bamboo, the broad-leafed banana tree,
and most of all the cocoanut-palm. Natives armed with heavy knives
clasped the trees like monkeys and walked up the slender trunks. Then,
hiding themselves in the bunch of leaves sixty feet above, they chopped
off the nuts, which struck the soft spongy earth and rebounded high into
the air. All through the forest sounded this dull, muffled thump, thump,
thump of falling cocoanuts.

In the middle of the afternoon, as I lay resting on a grassy slope under
shady palms, I heard a crackling of twigs; and, turning around, I met a
pair of eyes peering wonderingly at me. I nodded encouragingly. A
native, dressed in a ribbon and a tangle of oily hair, stepped from
behind a great drooping banana leaf and came slowly and timidly toward
me. Behind him tiptoed about twenty naked men and boys. They moved
toward me smilingly like stage dancers, but pausing often to make signs
meant to encourage one another. How different was their behavior from
that of the quarrelsome Arab! It seemed as if a harsh word or cross look
on my part would send these simple countrymen scampering away through
the forest. A white man is a tin god in Ceylon.

When they saw that I was not ill-natured, the natives gurgled some words
of greeting and squatted in a half-circle at the foot of the slope on
which I lay. We chatted in the language of signs. They seemed to be
interested in my pipe. When it had burned out I turned it over to the
leader. He passed it on to his companions. To my horror, they began
testing the strange thing by thrusting the stem half way down their
throats and sucking fiercely at it. After that they fell to examining
the articles in my knapsack. When I took my camera from them, they
begged me with tears in their eyes to allow them to open it. To turn
their attention from it I began inquiring about their tools and
betel-nut pouches. They offered to give me every article that I asked to
see; and then sneaked round behind me to carry off the gift while I was
examining another.

I rose to continue my way, but the natives burst out begging me to stay,
and, sending three boys on some unknown errand, squatted about me again
and fell to preparing new chews of betel-nuts. The boys soon returned,
one carrying a jack-fruit, another a bunch of bananas, and the third
swinging three green cocoanuts by their rope-like stems. The leader laid
the gifts, one after another, at my feet. Two men with jungle knives
sprang forward, and, while one hacked at the hard jack-fruit, the other
caught up a cocoanut, chopped off the top with one stroke, and invited
me to drink. The milk was cool and refreshing, but the meat of the green
nut was as tough as a leather strap. The jack-fruit, which looked much
like a watermelon, was at last split into long slices. These in turn
split sidewise into dozens of parts like those of an orange. The meat
itself was white and rather tasteless. The bananas were small, but
delicious. When I had sampled each of the gifts, I distributed them
among the givers and turned down to the highway.

Night had no terrors for me in Ceylon. When it grew too dark for
tramping, I had only to lie down on the grass under my feet, sleep
peacefully in the warm breeze that blew over me, and rise refreshed with
the new dawn.

I was twenty miles from the city when I rose from my first forest
lodging and set out on my second day’s tramp before the country people
were astir. Now and then the road left the encircling palm trees and
crossed a small rolling plain. I came upon little villages with every
mile—rambling two-row hamlets of bamboo. Between them lonely cottages
with roofs made of grasses and reeds peeped from beneath the trees.

As the sun climbed higher, grinning groups of countrymen pattered by.
Half the houses along the way offered the fruits of the forest and tea
and cocoanut cakes for sale. Before every hut, however wretched, stood
an earthenware vessel of water, beside which hung, for use as a
drinking-vessel, the half of a cocoanut-shell. So I did not have to go
hungry or thirsty long at a time.

Bathing seemed to be the national sport of Ceylon. Every stream I passed
was alive with splashing natives. Mothers, walking from one village to
another, halted at every stream to roll a banana leaf into a cone-shaped
bucket and pour gallons of water on their sputtering babies, crouched
naked on the bank. Travelers on foot or by oxcart took a dip every hour
or so along the way. The farmer left his plowing often to plunge into
the nearest water-hole. His wife, instead of calling on her neighbors,
met them at the brook, and gossiped with them as she splashed about in
cool and comfort. The men, wearing only a loin-cloth, paid no attention
to their clothing. The women, wound from their knees to their arms in
sheets of snowy white, came out of the water, and after turning
themselves round and round in the blazing sunshine, marched home in dry

On the third day I came to foot-hills covered with tea plantations.
Beyond these hills the highway climbed up some low mountains. At the top
I paused at a little wayside shop built of rubbish picked up in the
forest. A board, stretched like a counter across the open doorway, was
heavily laden with bananas. Near at hand a brown woman was spreading out
grain with her feet. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to ask my friends at
the Sailors’ Boarding House the Singhalese words for “How much?” I
pointed at the fruit and tossed on the counter a coin. It was a copper
piece worth one and three fourths cents—enough surely, to pay for half a
dozen bananas, I thought. The woman carefully picked up the coin, and,
turning it over and over in her hand, stared at me with wide-open eyes.
Had I been stingy? I was thrusting my hand into my pocket for another
copper, when the woman motioned to me to open my knapsack. Then she
dropped into it three dozen bananas, paused a moment thoughtfully, and
added another bunch.

[Illustration: The yogi who ate twenty-eight of the bananas at a

A short distance beyond, I sat down in the shade and began eating the
fruit in order to lighten my burden. An old man, blacker than anybody I
had met that day, came wandering past. A strip of cloth covered with red
and yellow stripes was wrapped round his waist and fell to his knees.
Over his head was folded a sheet of orange color. In each hand he
carried a bundle tied with green vines. The upper part of his face
looked shy. The lower half was totally covered with a heavy tangled
beard deeply streaked with gray.

He limped painfully to the roadside, and squatted on his heels at the
edge of the shade. Plainly, he too was “on the road.”

“Have a bite?” I invited, pushing the fruit toward him.

A child’s voice squeaked within him. Gravely he rose to his feet and
began bowing, expressing his thankfulness in every motion possible
except that of standing on his head. This over, he fell to eating with
both hands so willingly that, with never a pause or a choke, he made
away with twenty-eight bananas. Small wonder he slept awhile in the edge
of the shade before going on.

I rose to plod on, and he would not be left behind—far behind, that is.
I could not induce him to walk beside me; he pattered always two paces
in the rear. From the motions and signs he made in answer to my
questions, I learned that he was journeying to some place of worship in
the mountains. Two hours beyond our meeting-place, he halted at a branch
road, knelt in the highway, and, before I knew what he was going to do,
pressed a loud kiss on the top of one of my Nazarene slippers. Only a
quick movement on my part saved the other from the same fate. He stood
up slowly, almost sadly, as if he were grieved to part from good
company,—or bananas,—shook the dust of the road out of his beard, and,
turning into the forest-choked path, was gone.

Night falling over the mountains overtook me just as I came near a
thatched roof at the roadside. The owner took no pay for my lodging, and
the far-off howling of dogs lulled me to sleep.

With dawn I was off once more. Sunrise waved greetings over the leafy
trees as I entered the ancient city of Kandy.

Hundreds of years ago this mountain city was the seat of the native
king. To-day the ruler of Ceylon is a bluff Englishman who lives in a
stone mansion within sight of the harbor of Colombo. Nevertheless, a
descendant of the native king still lives in the capital of his
forefathers. But his duties have narrowed down to that of keeping alive
the religion of Gautama, the Buddha, or the wandering prince.

This prince lived more than twenty-four hundred years ago. He taught
that if men are not very good indeed while living, after death they will
have to live again and again in the shape of some animal, and later of
some human being, until they at last learn to be pure. For thousands of
years the natives of Ceylon and India have followed his teaching. That
explains why they worship animals, and why there are so many classes or
castes of people in India.

Although Buddha did not consider himself holy, his followers have built
temples in his honor and worshiped him since his death. Hundreds of
years ago, it is said, there was found in Burma one of the teeth of this
prince. This was sent a long distance to the egg-shaped island of
Ceylon, and over it was built the famous “Temple of the Tooth.” It was
this temple that I had come to visit, although I was not sure that I
should be allowed to enter.

[Illustration: The thatch roof at the roadside, under which I slept on
the second night of my tramp to Kandy.]

The keeper of the inn where I stopped had two sons who spoke English.
The older was a youth of fifteen. We became friends at once.

“Have you, I wonder, visited our Temple of the Tooth?” he asked.

“Outside,” I answered. “Are sahibs allowed to enter?”

“Surely!” cried the youth. “We are joyed to have white men visit our
temples. To-night we are having a service very important in the Temple
of the Tooth. With my uncle, who keeps the cloth-shop across the way, I
shall go. Will you not forget your religion and honor us by coming?”

“With pleasure,” I answered.

Two flaring torches threw fantastic shadows over the chattering crowd of
natives that lifted us bodily up the broad stairway to the outer temple.
At the top of the stairs surged a noisy multitude, each and every one of
them carrying a candle, a bit of cardboard, or the lotus-flower, to lay
in the lap of his favorite statue. From every nook and corner, the image
of the wandering prince looked on with sadness.

Of all the crowd I alone was shod. I dropped my slippers at the landing,
and, half expecting a stern command to remove my socks, walked into the
brighter light of the interior.

A whisper arose beside me, and swelled louder as it passed quickly from
mouth to mouth: “Sahib! sahib!” I had dreaded lest my coming should
cause them to turn angrily upon me; but Buddha himself, arriving thus
unexpectedly, could not have won more boisterous welcome. The worshipers
swept down upon me, shrieking gladly. Several thrust into my hands the
blossoms they had meant for Buddha. One pressed upon me a badly rolled
cigar of native make. From every side came candles and matches.

At the tinkle of a far-off bell the natives fell back, leaving a lane
for our passing. Two priests in yellow robes, smiling and bowing low at
every step, advanced to meet me, and led the way to a balcony
overlooking the lake.

In the dim light of a corner, three natives in scanty breech-clouts and
great turbans squatted before what appeared to be large baskets. I
remained near them with the priests, and waited for “the service very

Suddenly the three in the corner, each grasping two weapons that looked
like clubs, stretched their hands high above their heads and brought
them down with a crash that made me jump to my feet. What I had taken
for baskets were tom-toms! Without losing a single beat, the drummers
began to blow vigorously on long pipes from which came a sad wailing. I
spoke no more with my guide, for the “musicians” made noise that drowned
all other sounds for the next two hours.

I marched on with the monks, who had given me a place of honor in their
ranks, from one statue to another. Behind us surged a murmuring
multitude who fell on their knees again and again. No one sat during the
service, and there was nothing like a sermon. The priests spoke only to
the dreamy-eyed Buddhas.

It was late when the service ended. The boiler-factory music ceased as
suddenly as it had begun, the worshipers poured forth into the soft
night, and I was left alone with my guides and a dozen priests.

“See,” whispered the innkeeper’s son. “You are honored. The head man of
the temple comes.”

An aged father drew near slowly. In outward appearance he looked exactly
like the other priests. A brilliant yellow robe was his only garment.
His head was shaved; his arms, right shoulder, and feet were bare.
Having joined the group, he studied me a moment in silence, then said
something to me in his native language.

“He is asking if you are liking to see the sacred tooth?” translated my

I bowed my thanks. The high priest led the way to the innermost room of
the temple. In the center of this room he halted, fell on his knees,
and, muttering a prayer, touched his forehead to the stone floor three
times. The attendant priests imitated every movement he made.

He then rose and drew forth a large gold casket. From it he took a
second a bit smaller, and handed the first to one of his companions.
From the second he drew a third, and from the third a fourth. This was
kept up until nearly every priest held a casket, some fantastically
carved, some inlaid with precious stones. With the opening of every
third box, all those not holding anything fell on their knees and
repeated their prayers and bowings. Finally the head priest came to the
innermost casket, not over an inch in length and set with diamonds and
rubies. At sight of this all fell on their knees and murmured prayers.
Then the head priest opened it carefully. Inside, yellow with age, was a
tooth that certainly never grew in any human mouth. The fitting together
of the box of boxes required as much ceremony as was necessary in taking
them apart.

                              CHAPTER XVI
                         THE MERRY CIRCUS DAYS

I returned to Colombo by train, reaching the city in the late afternoon.
I made my way at once to Almeida’s. In the roofless dining-room sat
Askins and the Swede, highly excited over the news that Colombo was to
be visited by a circus.

“That means a few chips a day for some of us,” said Askins. “Circuses
must have white workmen. Natives won’t do.”

“Huh! Yank,” roared the Swede half a minute later, “you get burn some,
eh, playing mit der monkeys in der jungle? Pretty soon you ban
sunstroke. Here, I make you trade.” He pointed to a helmet on the table
before him. “He ban good hat,” went on Ole proudly; “I get him last week
from der Swede consul. Min he too big. What you give?”

I went upstairs, and returned with a cotton jacket that I had left in
the keeping of Askins.

“How’s this?” I demanded.

“He ban all right,” answered Ole, slipping into it; “der oder vas all
broke by der sleeves.”

I put on the helmet, and strolled down toward Gordon Gardens, where I
had taken up sleeping quarters. It was a park rich in fountains, gay
flowers, and grateful shade. Under the trees the night dew never fell,
the ocean breeze was the coolest in Colombo, the fountains were good
bathrooms, and the ground was a softer bed than any short-legged table
could be.

One by one, there drifted into Colombo four fellow countrymen of mine,
who, following my example, took up their lodgings in Gordon Gardens. It
soon became known as the “American Park Hotel.” One of the newcomers was
Marten, from Tacoma, Washington. He was a boy who had spent two seasons
in the Orient, diving for pearls.

Another American in our party claimed New York as his birthplace. He
said that if we wanted a name for him, “Dick Haywood” would do well
enough for a time. But I will tell more of him later.

One day, as dawn was breaking, I climbed the fence of the “American Park
Hotel,” and strolled away toward the beach for a dip in the sea, to take
the place of breakfast; for my last coin was spent. As I lay stretched
on the sands after my bath, I heard someone shout my name. I sprang up,
to see the Swede rushing toward me, waving his arms wildly above his

“Circus!” he cried. “Der circus is coom, Franck! Creeket-ground!” And,
turning about, he dashed off faster than most white men dare to run in

I dashed after the flying Norseman, and overtook him at the entrance to
the public playground.

The center of the cricket-field was a wild jumble of animal-cages, rolls
of canvas, scattered tent-poles, clowns, jockeys, snake-charmers, and
everything else that goes to make up a traveling show. Around it a
growing crowd of natives were peering, pushing, chattering, falling back
in terror when the angry circus men shook their tent-stakes at them, but
sweeping out upon the scattered trappings again as soon as the latter
had passed.

We fought our way through the crowd into the center of the mass. “Do you
want help?” we shouted to the circus manager. He was a powerful
Irishman, with a head like a cannon-ball, and a face and jaw that looked
as if he were ready for a fight. Tugging at a heap of canvas, he peered
at us between his outstretched legs and shouted: “Yes! I want four min!
White wans! If ye want the job, bring two more.”

We turned to look at the sea of faces about us. There was not a white
man in the crowd.

“Ve look by Almeida’s!” shouted the Swede, as we battled our way through
the mob. Before we could escape, however, I caught sight of a familiar
slouch hat well back in the crowd. A moment later Askins stood beside
us. Behind him came Dick Haywood. The four of us dashed back to the

“Well!” he roared, “I pay a quid a week! Want it?”

“A pound a week,” muttered Askins. “That’s more’n two chips a day. Aye!
We’ll take it.”

“All right! Jump on to that center pole an’ get ’er up. If these natives
get in the way, thump ’em with a tent-pole. Step lively, now!”

We soon had a space roped off. The boss tossed a pickax at me and set me
to grubbing holes for the poles that were to hold up the seats.
Carefully and evenly I swung the tool up and down, like an old lady; for
the natives pressed around me so closely that the least slip would have
broken a Singhalese head. To them the sight of a white man doing such
work was as astonishing as any of the wonders of the circus. Few of them
had ever before seen a European using heavier tools than a pen or
pencil. Within an hour the news spread through the city that the circus
had brought some “white coolies” to town; and all Colombo and his wife
did without the afternoon nap and trooped down to the cricket-field to
gaze upon the odd sight of white men doing muscular labor.

The mob followed me as I went from hole to hole. My mates, too, were
hindered in their work by the crowd as they carried seat-boards, or
sawdust for the ring. Haywood, of the untamed temper, taking the boss at
his word, snatched up a tent-pole and struck two natives. Even after
that they still crowded around him.

I heard two natives at my elbow talking in English:

“This sight is to me astounding!” shrieked a high-caste youth to his
older companion. “I have never before known that Europeans can do such

“Why, indeed yes!” cried his companion. “In his home the sahib does just
so strong work as our coolies; but he is play cricket and tennis he is
doing even stronger. He is not rich always and sitting in shade.”

“But do the white man not losing his caste when he is working like
coolies?” demanded the youth. “Why is this man work at such? Is he
perhaps prisoner, that he disgraces himself lower than the keeper of the

“Truly, my friend, I not understand,” admitted the older man a bit
sadly; “but I am reading that in sahib’s country he is make the workings
of coolie and yet is not coolie.”

There were others besides the natives who stood in the crowd watching
the “white coolies.” Here and there I caught sight of a European
scowling darkly at me. I wondered what I had done to displease them.

When night fell all was in readiness for the show. The circle of seats
was built; the tents were stretched; rings, ropes, and lights were ready
for use. Half a thousand chairs had been placed for Europeans. We had
worked so hard under the blazing sun that we agreed we would not dare to
do so more than once a year, not even for “more than two chips.” The
boss gave a last snarl, called a ’rickshaw, and drove off to his hotel.
We went to a shop across the way, ate our curry and rice, and returned
to stretch out on the grass near an entrance.

That night, at the circus, we found greater amusement in watching the
people on the circle of benches than in watching the ring. First we
acted as ushers. The crowds that swarmed in upon us belonged to every
caste on the island. In seating them we had to settle important
questions that never trouble circus men of the Western world. It was
difficult to determine where to put them. A company of priests wearing
cheesecloth robes began to scream at us because we seated them where
there was no room for their betel-nut boxes. Light-colored islanders
began to shout angrily when we tried to seat them near darker natives.
Merchants refused to sit in the same section with shop-keepers.
Shop-keepers cried out in rage when we made the mistake of placing them
near clerks. Clerks cried out hoarsely when we seated them among
laborers. Skilled workers screamed in frenzy whenever we tried to make
room among them for common coolies.

The lowest class native, called the sudra, who wears nothing but a scant
cloth about as big as a pocket handkerchief, is the most despised of
all. When I ushered in one of these, row after row of natives raised an
uproar against him as he passed. He shrank timidly behind me as we
journeyed through the tent, looking for a seat. Most of the natives
refused to sit as circus seats are meant to be sat on, but squatted on
their heels, hugging their scrawny knees. We had much trouble trying to
keep tricky ’rickshaw runners from crawling in among the chairs when we
weren’t looking. And through it all certain native youths, in order to
show that they understood English, kept bothering us by asking
unnecessary and unanswerable questions.

Toward the last, when the Europeans came in, quiet and proud in manner,
the natives began to behave themselves a little better. And when the
bicyclers appeared for the first act, they forgot that the despised
_sudra_ sat under the same tent with them. The mixed crowd settled down
into a motionless sea of strained, astonished faces. When “The Wonderful
Cycle Whiz” was over, we hurried to pull down the bicycle track and
carry the heavy pieces outside the tent. While we lowered a trapeze with
one hand, we placed and held the hurdles with the other. We had to make
tables and chairs for a “Hand Balancing Act” appear as if by magic.
Breathlessly we led the trick ponies on, cleared the ring for the
performing elephant, set it up again for the “Astounding Bareback
Rider,” and cleared it again for the “Hungarian Horses.”

Then “Mlle. Montgomery” capered out into the ring to perform her “Daring
Horsemanship Act.” We did our best to strike the fair rider squarely on
the head with paper hoops—not so much because we wished to charm the
audience with our skill as to escape the words of scorn that
“mademoiselle” flung back at us when we blundered.

Away with hoops and ribbons! We rushed to get the place ready for the
clown act. After the clowns came an act to show “The Wonderful Power of
Man Over Ferocious Beasts,” during which a thin and moth-eaten tiger,
crouched on a horse, rode twice around the ring with a sad and
hen-pecked expression on his face.

Then came ten minutes’ recess that was no recess for us: for we had to
bring on more hoops and rings of fire, tables and chairs, performing
dogs that had to be held in leash, and at last to set up the elephant’s
bicycle and drive the lion out for a spin on the huge animal’s back. How
we did work! We must have left streams of sweat behind us. Although our
tasks were not finished by the time the last stragglers left the tent,
we lost no time in tearing off the heavy uniforms the boss had provided
for us.

When everything had been put away, we made our beds by setting several
chairs side by side, and turned in. Although we were disturbed in the
night by prowling natives, we slept part of the time.

The circus had been nearly a week in Colombo when I was unexpectedly
advanced to a position of importance. It was in an idle hour late one
afternoon. The four of us were showing what tricks we could perform in
the empty ring, when the ring-master and the manager walked in upon us
and caught me in the act of “doing a hand-stand.” I quickly righted

The ring-master looked me over from my shaved head to my bare feet,
turned to scowl at the manager a moment, and then began talking to me in
a voice that sounded as if it came from a phonograph:

“Know any other stunts?”

“One or two,” I answered.

“Where’d ye learn ’em?” snapped the ring-master.

I told him I had been a member of a gymnasium for a few years.

“Gymnasium on shipboard?” asked the owner.

“Why, no, sir; on land.”

“Could you do a dive over that chair into the ring, a head-stand, a
stiff-fall, and a roll-up?” rasped the ring-master.

I heard my companions chuckle and snort behind me. They seemed to think
it was funny.

“Yes, sir; I can work those,” I stammered.

“You’re a sailor?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then a few tumbles won’t hurt you any. Can you hold a man of twelve
stone on your shoulders?”

My fellow workmen snorted again.

I figured it up quickly: twelve times fourteen pounds—one hundred and
sixty-eight pounds.

“Yes,” I answered.

“Well,” snapped the ring-master savagely, “I want you to go on for
Walhalla’s turn.”

“Whaat!” I gasped. “Walha—!” I was so astonished that I almost took to
my heels. Walhalla and Faust were our two funniest clowns, who kept the
natives roaring with delight for more than an hour each day. My
companions were so overcome that they laughed aloud behind me.

“Here, you!” cried the ring-master, whirling upon them. “Go over and
brush the flies off that elephant! An’ keep ’em brushed off! D’ye hear

“Now, then, Franck,” he went on to me, “Walhalla has a fever. Now—”

“But I’m no circus man!” I argued.

“Oh, nonsense!” said the ring-master. “You’ve been with us long enough
to know Walhalla’s tricks, and you can learn how to do them in a couple
of rehearsals.”

“There’ll be ten chips a day in it,” put in the manager.

“Eh—er—ten rupees!” I choked. (That was more than three dollars and a
quarter.) “All right, sir. I’ll make a try at it.”

“Of course,” said the manager. “Now go and get tiffin, and be back in
half an hour. I’ll have Faust here for a practice.”

I sprang for the door, but stopped suddenly as a thought struck me.

“But say,” I wailed, “we’re aground! The clothes—!”

“Stretch a leg and get tiffin!” cried the ring-master. “Walhalla’s rags
are all here.”

That evening, before the show began, I worked feverishly with Faust. We
practiced jokes, tumbles, tripping each other up, pretending we were
knocked down, and so on, while the manager tried to give us more time by
holding back the audience. When the natives finally stormed the tent and
forced their way inside, I scurried away to the dressing-tent to put on
my clown’s outfit and have my face painted.

We had to leave out some of the acts until the next day gave more time
for practice; but the natives didn’t seem to notice it, and the
Europeans didn’t care, so I got through the performance with nothing
worse happening to me than one rather bad fall that was a little too

We gave two performances a day because the natives enjoyed our act. But
one day, while back in the dressing-tent where I scraped dried paint off
one side of my face, while my fellow clown daubed fresh colors on the
other, while I was jumping out of one foolish costume into another more
idiotic, turning the place topsy-turvy in a mad scramble to find my
dunce-cap and a lost slap-stick, I began to lose my love for the clown’s

And when I went to bed on my row of chairs that night, I found myself
wishing that the time would soon come when I could earn my living in
some other way.

One long week I wore the cap and bells on the cricket-field of Colombo.
Then the day dawned when our tent was quickly taken down and bundled
into the hold of a ship by naked stevedores. On the forward deck the
moth-eaten tiger peered through the bars of his cage at the jungle
behind the city and rubbed a watery eye; at the rail an unpainted Faust
stared gloomily down at the water. But we four wanderers shed no tears
as we stood at the far end of the break-water and watched the circus
carried off until it sank below the sky-line. As we straggled back at
dusk to join the homeless wanderers under the palms of Gordon Gardens, I
caught myself feeling now and then in the band of my trousers for the
money I had sewed there.

                              CHAPTER XVII
                        THREE WANDERERS IN INDIA

The merry circus days had left me so great a fortune that I decided to
sail to the peninsula of India at once. Marten, of Tacoma, offered to go
with me, and I agreed; for the ex-pearl-fisher could speak the Hindu
language freely and he knew the country well.

On the morning of April fourth we bought our tickets for passage on the
afternoon steamer, and set out to bid farewell to our acquaintances in
the city. It was almost time to sail, when Haywood burst in upon us at

“I hear,” he shouted, “that you fellows are off for India.”

We nodded.

“I’m going along,” he declared.

We scowled. We didn’t want him to go with us. But how could we stop him?
He had the same right to travel on that steamer that we had. We kept
silent, therefore; and, determining to shake off our unwelcome companion
as soon as we landed, marched down to the dock with him, and tumbled
with a crowd of coolies into a barge that soon set us aboard the
steamship _Kasara_.

We landed in the early morning in a village of mud huts and bamboo
bazaars. Here we waited only long enough to catch the train that,
rumbling through the village, carried us northward.

I settled back in my seat and looked out of the window at the flying
landscape. It was not much like the country of Ceylon. On either hand
stretched treeless flat-lands, as parched and brown as Sahara, a desert
blazed by a fiery sun, and unwatered for months. A few naked farmers
toiled over the baked ground, scratching the dry soil with worthless
wooden plows. A short distance beyond, we flew past wretched mud huts,
too low to stand in, where the farmers burrow by night and squat on
their heels by day.

[Illustration: I take a last ’rickshaw ride before boarding the steamer
for India.]

A hundred miles north of the sea-coast we halted to visit the famous
Brahmin temple of Madura. Brahminism is another religion of India—older
than Buddhism and much like it. Its followers believe in caste. In
ancient times they inflicted severe punishment on themselves for the
purification of the soul.

The temple proved to be a great stone building surrounded by a massive
wall. Four thousand statues of Hindu gods—so our guide-book told
us—adorned each gateway. They were hideous-faced idols, each pouring
down from four pairs of hands his blessings on the half-starved humans
who crawled and lay flat on the ground to worship them.

Inside the gates swarmed crowds of pilgrims wearing rags as a punishment
for their sins. A sunken-eyed youth wormed his way through the crowd and
offered to guide us through the temple for a coin or two. We followed
him down a narrow passage to a lead-colored pond in which not very neat
pilgrims washed away their sins. Then he led us out upon an open space
from which we could see the golden roofs.

“High up within one of those domes lives a god,” whispered the youth,
while Marten translated. But when I asked him to lead us up so that we
could see the god, he said that white men were never allowed to enter
the temple.

He took us, instead, to see the sacred elephants. Seven of the monsters,
each chained by a foot, thrashed about over their supper of hay in a
roofless stable. They were as ready to accept a tuft of fodder from a
heathen _sahib_ as from the dust-covered native pilgrim who had tramped
many a burning mile to offer it, so that the holy beast would forgive
him his sins. Children played in and out among the animals. The largest
was amusing himself by setting the little ones, one by one, on his back.

In a far corner stood an elephant that even the clouted keepers avoided.
He was the most sacred of them all, our guide said, for he was mad, and
he visited a terrible punishment on any who came within reach of his
angrily twisting trunk. Yet the sunken-eyed youth explained to us that
if a man were killed by one of these holy animals he was very fortunate:
for “if a coolie is killed in that way he will be a farmer when he is
born again,” he said; “the peasant will become a shop-keeper, the
merchant a warrior, in his next life.” But those present must have been
satisfied to remain what they were in life, for we noticed that even the
despised _sudra_ was careful to keep away from that far corner.

“And how about a white man?” asked Haywood, when our guide had finished
his explanation.

“A sahib,” said our guide, “when he dies, becomes a crow. Therefore are
white men afraid to die.”

We rode all night, and arrived at the station of Trichinopoly early the
next morning. The city was some miles distant from the station. We
called out to the driver of a bullock-cart, offering four annas for the
trip to town. (An anna is equal to a cent.) The cart was a heavy
two-wheeled affair. When two of us tried to climb in behind, we almost
lifted the tiny, raw-boned bullock in mid-air. A screech from the driver
called our attention to the danger his beast was in. We jumped down, and
allowed him to tell us how to board the cart. While Haywood and the
driver went to the front of the vehicle Marten and I stayed at the back.
Then, drawing ourselves up on both ends of it, all at the same time, we
managed to keep it balanced until we were aboard. The wagon was about
four feet long and three wide, with an arched roof. It was too short to
lie down in, and too low to sit up in. Haywood crouched beside the
driver, sitting on the knife-like edge of the board in front. With his
knees drawn up on a level with his eyes, he held on by clinging
desperately to the edge of the roof. Marten and I lay on our backs under
the roof, with our legs extending out at the rear.

At first the bullock would not move; but after much shouting from the
driver he set out with little mincing steps, like a man in a sack race—a
lame man at that. The driver screamed shrilly, struck the animal a dozen
heavy whacks with his long pole, and forced him into a trot that lasted
just four paces. Then the animal slowly shook his head from side to
side, and fell again into a walk. This was repeated several times during
the trip—always with the same result. The cart had no springs, and the
road was like an empty stone-quarry. We were bounced up and down during
the whole trip, until we fancied our bones rattled.

We grew very hungry, and Marten ordered the driver to take us to an
eating-shop. The native grinned to himself and drove toward a _sahib_
hotel. We called out to him, telling him that that place was too
high-priced for us. He shook his head mournfully, and said that he knew
of no native shop where white men were allowed to enter. We bumped by
more than a dozen restaurants, but all bore the sign, “For Hindus Only.”

At last, in a narrow alley-way, the bullock fell asleep before a
miserable hut. The driver screeched, and a scared-looking coolie tumbled
out of the shanty. Then he, Marten, and the driver began to talk
excitedly in the language of southern India. For a time the coolie
refused to sell us food, because if he touched anything that we touched
he would become something lower than a coolie in his next life. But when
we offered him the princely sum of three annas each he agreed to risk
losing caste to get us something to eat. So we climbed down off the cart
and squatted on his creaking veranda.

The bullock crawled on. The coolie ran screaming into the hut, and came
out again with three banana-leaves, a wife, and many naked children,
each of whom carried a cocoanut-shell filled with water or curries. They
put these on the floor of the veranda. The native spread the leaves
before us, and his wife dumped a small peck of hot rice into the center
of each of them. When the meal was over we arose to go; but the native
shrieked with terror, and insisted that we carry the leaves and shells
away with us, as no member of his family dared touch them.

[Illustration: “Haywood” snaps me as I am getting a shave in

Our dinner had been generous enough, but it did not seem to satisfy our
hunger. Within an hour I caught myself eyeing the food spread out in the
open shops on all sides. There were coils of rope-like pastry fried in
oil, lumps, balls, cakes of sweetmeats, brittle bread-sheets, pans of
dark red chillies, potatoes cut into small cubes and covered with a
green curry sauce.

I dropped behind my companions, and aroused a shop-keeper who was sound
asleep among his pots and pans. For months, while traveling through
countries where I could not speak the language, I had been in the habit
of picking out my own food; but no sooner had I laid a hand on a
sweetmeat than the merchant sprang into the air with a wild scream that
brought my fellow countrymen running back upon me.

“What’s that fellow bawling about, Marten?” demanded Haywood.

“Oh, Franck’s gone and polluted his pan of sweets.”

“But I touched only the one I picked up,” I explained, “and I’m going to
eat that.”

“These fellows won’t see it that way,” replied Marten. “If you put a
finger on one piece, the whole dish is polluted. He’s sending for a
low-caste man now to carry the panful away and dump it. Nobody’ll buy
anything while it stays here.”

The keeper refused angrily to talk to me when I offered to buy the whole
dish, and we went on.

Wherever we went, the people were afraid to come near us. The peddler of
green cocoanuts begged us to carry away the shells when we had drunk the
milk; passing natives sprang aside in terror when we tossed a
banana-skin on the ground. When we bought slices of watermelon of a
fruit-seller, he watched anxiously to make sure that we didn’t drop a
seed on his stand. If we had done so he would have thrown away his
entire stock to save himself from losing caste.

As we turned a corner in the crowded market-place, Haywood, who was
smoking, and who was not at all neat in his habits, carelessly spat upon
the flowing gown of a turbaned passer-by.

“Oh, sahib!” screamed the native in excellent English. “See what you
have done! You have made me lose caste. For weeks, now, I may not go
among my friends or see my family. I must stop my business, and wear
rags, and sit in the street, and pour ashes on my head, and go often to
the temple to purify myself.”

“Stuff!” said Haywood.

But the weeping Hindu turned back the way he had come.

This strange belief makes India a land of unusual hardship for a man who
cannot afford to stop at the great European hotels. He not only has
difficulty in buying food and lodging, but, worse than that, he cannot
get water. And in a hot country like India water is an absolute
necessity. For this reason the English rulers have made a law to help
travelers who find themselves stranded far in the interior of the
peninsula. India is divided into states or districts, and each district
is ruled by a governor, called a commissioner, who lives in the largest
city of his district. The law provides that if a European finds himself
penniless and unable to buy food, he may apply to any commissioner, who
must give him a third-class ticket to the capital of the next district,
and enough money, called _batter_, to buy food on the way.

We had not been in Trichinopoly long when Marten, who had tossed his
last anna to a beggar, decided to pay a visit to the district
commissioner. I agreed to accompany him, for I wanted to see a
commissioner’s bungalow and to make the acquaintance of so important a
personage as the governor himself; and wherever we went Haywood was sure
to follow. Thus it happened that, as noonday fell over Trichinopoly,
three cotton-clad Americans walked out of the native town and turned
northward toward the governor’s bungalow.

Heat-waves hovered like a fog before us. Here and there a tree cast its
slender shadow, like a splash of ink, across the white highway. A few
coolies, whose skins were safe from sunburn, shuffled through the sand
on their way to the town. We spoke to one to ask our way; but he sprang
with a side jump to the farthest edge of the roadway, in terror of our

“Commissioner sahib keh bungalow kéhdereh?” (“Where is the
commissioner’s bungalow?”) asked Marten.

“Hazur hum malum neh, sahib” (“I don’t know, sir”), stammered the
native, backing away as we stepped toward him.

“Stand still, you fellows,” shouted Marten; “you’re scaring him so he
can’t understand. Every coolie knows where the governor lives.
Commissioner sahib keh bungalow kéhdereh?”

“Far down the road, O protector of the unfortunate.”

We came upon the low, rambling building in a grove among rocky hillocks.
Along the broad veranda crouched a dozen servants (called
_punkah-wallahs_), pulling drowsily at the cords that moved the great
velvet fans (called _punkahs_) that hung from the ceiling within. Under
the _punkahs_, at their desks, sat a small army of native secretaries
and clerks, looking rather grand in their flowing gowns, great black
beards, and the bright-colored turbans of the high-class Hindu. Servants
swarmed about the writers, and fell on their knees with their faces to
the ground each time an official gave a command. White men there were

The official wearing the brightest turban rose from his cushions as we
entered, and addressed us in English:

“Can I be of service to you, sahibs?”

“We want to see the commissioner,” said Marten.

“The commissioner, sahib,” replied the Hindu, “is at his bungalow. He
will perhaps come here for a half hour at three o’clock.”

“But we want tickets for the one o’clock train,” Haywood blurted out.

“I am the assistant governor,” answered the native. “What the governor
sahib can do I can do. But it takes a long time to get the ticket, and
you cannot, perhaps, catch the one o’clock train. Still, I shall hurry
as much as possible.”

In his breathless haste he returned to his seat, carefully folded his
legs, rolled a cigarette with great care, blew smoke at the _punkahs_
for several moments, and, pulling out the drawers of his desk, examined
one by one the books and papers within them. He seemed unable to find
that for which he was looking. He rose slowly to his feet, inquired
among his dark-faced companions, returned to his cushions, and, calling
a dozen servants around him, sent them on as many errands.

“It’s the book in which we enter the names of those who ask for
tickets,” he explained; “it will soon be found.” And he lighted another

A servant came upon the book at last—plainly in sight on the top of the
assistant’s desk. That officer opened it slowly, read half the writing
it contained, and, carefully choosing a native pen, prepared to write.
He was not trying to provoke or tease us: he really thought that he was
moving with all possible haste.

Slowly his sputtering pen wrote down whatever Marten and Haywood told
him in answer to his questions. Then he laid the volume away in a
drawer, locked it, and called for a time-table. He studied it dreamily
before dragging forth another heavy book. But his pen refused to write
smoothly; he couldn’t find the keys to the strong box for a time; and
when he did find them they refused to fit the lock. He gave up at last,
and, promising that a servant would meet us at the station in the
evening with the tickets, he bade us good day.

As we rose to depart, Marten asked for water. The native officials
scowled. They cried out in horrified chorus when Haywood stepped toward
a _chettie_ in the corner of the room.

“Don’t touch that, sahib!” shrieked the governor’s assistant. “I shall
arrange to give you a drink.”

Among the servants within the building were none low enough in caste to
be assigned the task of bringing us water. The assistant sent for a
_punkah-wallah_. One of the great folds of velvet fell motionless, and
there sneaked into the room the lowest of human creatures. The assistant
gave a sharp order. The _sudra_ dropped to a squat, raised his clasped
hands to his forehead, and shuffled off toward the _chettie_.

Picking up a heavy brass goblet, he placed it, not on the table, but on
the floor in the middle of the room. The officials nearest the spot left
their desks, and the entire company formed a circle around us. Haywood
stepped forward to pick up the cup.

“No, no,” cried the natives; “stand back!”

The coolie slunk forward with the _chettie_, and, holding it fully two
feet above the goblet, filled the vessel, and drew back several paces.

“Now you may drink,” said the assistant.

“Do you want more?” he asked, when the cup was empty.


“Then leave the lota on the floor and stand back.”

The _punkah-wallah_ filled it as before.

“Good day,” repeated the assistant, when we had acknowledged ourselves
satisfied; “but you must carry the lota away with you.”

“But it cost a good piece of money,” suggested Haywood.

“Yes,” sighed the Hindu; “but no one dares touch it any more.”

A native clerk met us at the station with the tickets.

We boarded the express that thundered in a moment later, and in the
early morning of the next day stopped at a station just outside the city
of Madras. It was here that Haywood’s bad temper so overcame him that he
rushed out upon the platform and struck an impudent fruit peddler who
had sold him some spoiled bananas. Shortly afterward a native policeman
arrested him, and we were rid of our fiery-tempered companion at last.
The train sped on, and a few minutes later drew up in the station of

We turned away toward the Young Men’s Christian Association building.

“I’ll pick you up in a day or two,” said Marten, at the foot of the
steps. “I’ve got an uncle living in town, and I always go to see him
when I land here.”

                             CHAPTER XVIII
                         THE WAYS OF THE HINDU

It was my good fortune to find employment while in Madras. The job was
the easiest I had yet had, and it brought me three rupees a day. All I
had to do was to sit in street-cars and watch the Hindu conductors poke
the fares paid into the cash-registers they wear around their necks, and
to make sure they did not make a mistake and put some of the coppers
into their pockets instead. For the Hindu makes many mistakes, and is
naturally so careless that he has even been known to forget to collect
fares from his friends on the car.

Thus for merely sitting on different cars all day, and reporting to the
street railway company any conductor who made such mistakes, I was paid
three rupees a day. It gave me an excellent chance to see Madras.

As I was riding through the city I noticed that there were almost no
horses there. Their place was taken by leather-skinned, rice-fed
coolies. These natives were hitched to heavy two-wheeled carts, which
squawked horribly as they were drawn through the streets. Perhaps the
natives did not know that axle-grease would make them run more smoothly.
Yet two of these thin, starved-looking coolies will draw a wagon loaded
with great bales from the ships, or a dozen steel rails, for miles over
hills and hollows, with fewer breathing spells than a truckman would
allow a team of horses.

One day I came upon a sight that surprised me. At a corner where the car
in which I sat swung toward the harbor, a gang of coolies was repairing
a roadway. That in itself was no cause for wonder. But among the
workmen, dressed like the others in a ragged cloth around the hips,
swinging his hammer as dully, gazing as stupidly at the ground as his
companions, was a white man! There could be no doubt of it. Under the
tan of an Indian sun his skin was fiery red, and his eyes were blue! But
a white man doing such work, in company with the most miserable, the
lowest, the most despised of human creatures! To become a _sudra_ and
ram stones in the public streets, dressed in nothing but a clout!
Suppose that I were obliged to come to such an end! A terror came upon
me, a longing to flee while there was yet time from the unfortunate land
in which a man of my own flesh and blood could fall to this.

Again and again my rounds of the city brought me back to that same
corner. The fallen one toiled slowly on, bending hopelessly over his
task, never raising his head to glance at the passers-by. Twice I was
about to get off the car and speak to him, to learn his dreadful story.
But the car had rumbled on before I gathered courage. Leaving the office
as twilight fell, I passed that way again. A _babu_ (educated Hindu)
standing near the edge of the sidewalk began talking to me in English,
and I asked him about the white laborer.

“What! That?” he said, following the direction of my finger. “Why,
that’s a Hindu albino” (colorless Hindu).

One day I decided to have my clothes washed by a Hindu laundryman,
called a _dhoby_. The _dhoby_ is a hard-working man. High above his head
he swings each streaming garment, and slaps it down again and again on
the flat stone at his feet, as if he were determined to split it into
bits. When his strength gives out, he flings down the tog, and jumps up
and down on it as if he had lost his reason. His bare feet tread wildly,
and when he can dance no longer he falls upon the helpless rag, and tugs
and strains and twists and pulls as if determined that it shall come to
be washed no more. Flying buttons fill him with glee. When he can beat
and tramp and tug no longer, he tosses the shreds that are left
scornfully into the stream. Yet he is strictly honest: at nightfall he
takes back to its owner the dirt he carried away and the threads that
hold it together.

The cook of an eating-shop offered, for three _annas_, to wash all that
I owned except my shoes and helmet. In a colder land I should have had
to go to bed until the task was done. But not so in India. The roadsters
gathered in the dining-room of the shop saw nothing strange in my
costume as I sat down to pass the time in writing letters.

From the back yard, for a time, came the shrieks of my maltreated
garments. Then all was silent. In fear and trembling, I stole out to
take a look at the remains. But as a _dhoby_ the cook was a failure.
There were a few tears in the garments hanging in the blazing sunshine,
a button was missing here and there; but that was all. An hour’s work
with a ship’s needle sufficed to heal the wounds, though not the scars,
of battle.

We left Madras on the train early the next morning. Two days later we
were on our way to Puri, the city of the god Juggernaut. Puri lies on
the shores of the Bay of Bengal, about two hundred miles south of
Calcutta. It is here that the car of the god makes its yearly trip from
one temple to another about two miles distant. The car, weighing many
tons, is set up outside the temple, and the god Juggernaut, a
hideous-faced idol is placed on his throne within. Hundreds of natives
rush around the place, screaming and struggling for a chance to pull at
the long ropes attached to the car; and, to the sound of strange prayer
and song, the procession starts. The great road, fully an eighth of a
mile wide, stretches away straight and level to the smaller temple.
There was a time, it is said, when natives threw themselves and their
children under the great car and let it crush them to death, so that
they might win favor with the god; but such events were probably

We left the train at Khurda Road, and bought tickets to the sacred city.
The long train that we boarded was so crowded with natives that there
was scarcely room for us.

Night was falling when we stepped off at Puri. The station stood in the
open country, and we started off on a tramp to the city fully two miles
away. Natives, coming upon us in the darkness along the road of
sacrifice, sprang aside in terror and shrieked a long-drawn “Sahib hai!”
to warn others to keep away from us. Nearer the city, a hundred families
who had come from far had pitched their tents at the edge of the great

In the city we were hardly able to buy food. Merchants cried out in
anger when they saw us coming toward their tumble-down shacks, and only
with much coaxing could we draw one of them out into the street to sell
us sweetmeats and fruits. Half the shops sold nothing but _dude_, which
is to say, milk—of bullocks and goats, of course; for the cow is a
sacred animal in India. The Hindu thinks the soul of a human being lives
in the body of the cow.

We stopped at one shack to buy some of this _dude_. A wicked-looking
youth took our coin cautiously and filled two dishes that looked like
flower-pots. I drank the liquid in mine, and stepped forward to put it
back on the worm-eaten board that served as counter. The youth sprang at
me with a scream of rage and fear; but before the pot had touched the
counter Marten knocked it out of my hand and shattered it to pieces on
the cobblestones, then smashed his own beside it.

There was not a native hut in Puri that we could enter, and we had
nowhere to spend the night. We returned to the station, and asked the
agent if we could sit in the two wicker chairs in the waiting-room. He
would not let us, but told us of an empty car near the station. We
stumbled off through the railway yards, and came upon a first-class
coach on a side-track. It was the best “hotel” of our Indian trip—a
parlor car containing great couches covered with the softest leather.
There were bright copper lamps that we could light after the heavy
curtains had been drawn, large mirrors, and running water. No wonder we
slept late the next morning.

We were not allowed to go inside the great temple built to house the god
Juggernaut, but much could be seen from without. The temple rises in
seven domes one above another like the terraced vineyards of the Alps.
The steps that wind up and around these domes are half hidden by the
horrible-looking statues of gods and misshapen animals. Above them
towers the Juggernaut’s throne-room, looking like a cucumber standing on
end. Perhaps the builder, when his task was completed, was doomed to
lose his hands, like so many successful architects of Asia, so that he
could not build anything more wonderful for others.

While we were walking around the temple we came upon one of the sacred
bulls starting out on his morning walk past the straw-roofed shops of
Puri. He was a sleek, plump beast, with short, stumpy horns and a hump.
He seemed as harmless as a child’s pet poodle. We kept him company.

Starting for the nearest shop, he walked proudly along, shouldering his
way through the crowd, pushing aside all who stood in his path, not
rudely, but firmly. Natives threw themselves flat on the ground before
him; street peddlers stepped aside with muttered prayers; scores of
women fell on their knees and elbows in crowded streets, bowed their
heads low in the dust, and ran to kiss his flanks.

Marching boldly up to the first booth, the bull chose a morsel of green
stuff from the stand, and, chewing it daintily, strolled on to the next
stall. He selected something from each of the long rows of shops,
stopping longest where the supplies were freshest. The keepers did not
like this, but they did not say much against it. For how may a Hindu
know that the soul of his grandfather does not look out through those
calm eyes? At any rate, he is just so much more sure of heaven for every
leaf and stalk that he loses. Now and again Marten told me what the
storekeeper was saying.

“Hast thou not always had they fill, O holy one!” prayed one native,
rocking his body back and forth in time to his prayer. “I would
willingly feed thee. Hast thou not always found welcome at my shop? But
I am a poor man, O king of sacred beasts. I pray thee, therefore, take
of the goods of my neighbor, who has great wealth. For I am very poor,
and if thou dost not cease to-morrow I may not be here to feed thee.”

As if in answer to the prayer, the animal moved on to the booth of the
neighbor, who showed no sign of the great wealth that had been charged
against him. His stock was fresh, however, and the bull ate generously
in spite of the keeper’s prayer. A second and a third time the keeper
begged him to stop, but he would not. Then the Hindu, picking up a
bamboo stick, murmured the prayer into it.

“Thou canst not hear the prayer of a poor man, O sacred one, through
thine ears,” wailed the merchant. “Listen then to this.” And, rising in
his place, he struck the animal sharply over the nose with the bamboo
stick. The bull turned to gaze on the sinner, looked reproachfully at
him for a moment through half-closed eyelids, and strolled slowly away.

We saw many widows among the swarming thousands of Puri. There was a
time when, on the death of her husband, the Hindu woman had to mount the
funeral pyre and be burned with his dead body. But since the British
have taken possession of India they have made a law against such
cruelties. Now, on the death of her husband, the Hindu woman must merely
shave her head and dress in a snow-white sheet, and she must never marry

There were other women in the crowd. Most of them wore jewelry. We met
some who wore rings on every finger and toe and bracelets on both arms
from wrists to elbows. It was not unusual to meet a woman with rings in
the top, side, and fleshy part of each ear, or women wearing three
nose-rings, one of which pierces the left nostril and swings back and
forth against the cheek of the wearer.

That afternoon we left by train for Calcutta. The express rumbled into
Khurda Road soon after we reached the main line. To rest our bones we
strolled along the platform, stepped into another car—and fell back in
astonishment. Swinging from a peg near the ceiling was a helmet we had
seen before. It was none other than Haywood’s. And beneath it, lying at
full length on a bench, was Haywood himself. He had been released from
prison, and had lost no time in taking the north-bound express—to
overtake us, very likely.

His joy at meeting us once more was greater than ours. We were unable to
look pleased, and Marten grumbled under his breath at the luck that kept
us in such harmful company.

In the early morning the train stopped at Howrah, a suburb of Calcutta,
and Haywood alighted with us at the station. We crossed the Hoogly River
on a floating bridge that connects Howrah with Calcutta, meeting crowds
of coolies tramping to a day of toil in the city. The Hoogly was alive
with natives sporting in the muddy waters. Below the bridge scores of
ships lay at anchor; native barges darted here and there among them;
from the docks came the rattle of machinery and the shrill chatter of
men loading freight on the boats. Here, at last, was a real city, with
all its familiar uproar. My companions started off to visit some
missionary, and I plunged aimlessly into the stream of people that
surged through the dusty streets.

                              CHAPTER XIX
                         IN THE HEART OF INDIA

Late that afternoon we met at the Sailors’ Home. It was not long before
Marten and I decided that we must rid ourselves of Haywood once for all.
Go where we would, he was ever at our heels, bringing disgrace upon us.
Picking pockets was his glee. When there was no other excitement, he
took to filching small articles from the stores along the way. As we
were returning to the Home along a crowded street on our second day in
Calcutta, his behavior became unbearable. The natives of the big city
did not spring aside when they came near a white man, as those in the
country had done. Instead they were more likely to push him aside. To be
jostled by a coolie was more than Haywood could stand. He started
striking at those who pushed him, but could not reach them, for the
street was crowded, and the higher-caste natives who annoyed us carried

Suddenly he thought of a way to get even with them. Opening his
pocket-knife, he marched boldly through the crowd, slashing wickedly at
every sun-shade whose owner crowded against him. An angry murmur rose
behind us. Before we had reached the Home, a screaming mob of tradesmen
surged around us, waving ruined umbrellas in our faces. Certainly it was
time to be rid of such a companion. It was useless to tell him of his
faults. There was nothing left but to skip out when he wasn’t looking.

Haywood ate heartily that evening. His plate was still heaped high with
curry and rice when Marten and I left, to sit on a bench in the garden
of the Home.

“Look here, mate,” said Marten in a stage-whisper, as soon as we were
seated, “we must get away from that fellow. The police will be running
us in along with him some day.”

I nodded. A seaman came to stretch himself out in the grass near at
hand, and we fell silent. Darkness was striding upon us when a servant
of the Home came to close the gate leading to the street.

Suddenly Marten raised a hand and called to the gateman.


“Let’s get out,” he said to me.

“Where?” I asked.

“Up country.”

“All right,” I answered, springing to my feet.

We slipped out through the gate, walked across a park among the statues
of _sahibs_ who had made history in India, past old Fort William, and
down to the banks of the Hoogly. The tropical night had fallen, and
above the city behind blazed a shining mass of stars. For an hour we
tramped along the docks, jostled now and then by black stevedores and
native seamen. The cobblestones under our feet gave way to a soft
country road. A railway crossed our path, and we stumbled along it in
the darkness. Out of the night rose a large two-story bungalow.

“Trainmen’s shack,” said Marten.

A freight train stood on the near-by track. A European in the uniform of
a brakeman ran down the steps of the bungalow, a lantern in his hand.
Behind him came a coolie, carrying his lunch-basket.

“Goin’ out soon, mate?” bawled Marten.

“All ready to start,” answered the Englishman, peering at us a moment
with the lantern high above his head, and hurrying on.

“Think we’ll go along,” shouted Marten.

The brakeman was already swallowed up in the darkness; but his voice
came back to us out of the night:

“All right!”

A moment later the British engine shrieked, and the freight screamed by
us. We grasped the rods of a high open car and swung ourselves up. On
the floor, folded to the size of a large mattress, lay a waterproof
canvas. We lay down on it. A cooling breeze, sweeping over the moving
train, lulled us to sleep. Once we were awakened by the roar of a
passing express, and peered over the edge of the car to find ourselves
on a switch. Then our train rattled on, and we stretched out again. A
second time we were awakened when our train was turned off on to a
side-track; and the brakeman, passing by, called out that he had reached
the end of his run. We climbed out, and, finding a grassy slope, lay
down and slept out the night.

The morning sun showed a large forest close at hand. A red, sandy
roadway, deep-shaded by thick overhanging branches, led into the woods.
We followed it. Here and there, in a tiny clearing, a scrawny native
cooked a small breakfast over a fire of leaves and twigs before his
grass hut. Above us sounded the song of a tropical bird. The pushing
crowds and dull, ugly roar of Calcutta seemed hundreds of miles away.

The forest opened and fell away on both sides, and we paused on the high
grassy bank of a broad river that glistened in the slanting sunlight.
Below, in two groups, natives, men and women, were bathing. Along a road
near the river stretched a one-row town of low huts, above which stood a
government building and a little church.

“Thunder!” snorted Marten. “Is this all we’ve made? That old train must
have been side-tracked half the time we slept. I know this burg. It’s
Hoogly, not forty miles from Calcutta. But there’s a commissioner here.
He’s the right kind—ticketed me to Calcutta four years ago. Don’t
believe he’ll remember me, either. Come on.”

We strolled on down the road. Before the government building a score of
prisoners, with belts and heavy anklets of iron connected by chains,
were piling cobblestones.

We turned in at the gate of the park-like grounds, and followed a
graveled walk toward a great white bungalow with windows overlooking a
distant view of the sparkling Hoogly and the rolling plains beyond. From
the veranda, curtained by trailing vines, richly clothed servants
watched us, as we came near, with the half-ferocious, half-curious
manner of faithful house-dogs. I did not intend to ask for a ticket, so
I dropped on to a seat under a tree. A chatter of Hindustanee greeted my
companion; a stout native rose from his heels and went inside the

Then something happened that I had never experienced before in all my
Indian travels. A tall, fine-looking Englishman, dressed in the whitest
of ducks, stepped briskly out on to the veranda, and, seeming not to
notice that we were mere penniless wanderers, called out:

“I say, you chaps, come inside and have some breakfast.”

I should have been less astonished had he suddenly pointed a gun in our
direction. I looked up, to see Marten leaning weakly against a post.

“I have only come with my mate, sir,” I explained. “It’s he who wants
the ticket. I’m only waiting, sir.”

[Illustration: The Hindu street-sprinkler does not lay much dust.]

“Then come along and have some breakfast while you wait,” returned the
Englishman. “Early risers have good appetites, and where would you buy
anything fit to eat in Hoogly? I’ve finished, but Maghmood has covers
laid for you.”

We entered the bungalow on tiptoe, and sat down at a flower-decked
table. Two turbaned servants slipped noiselessly into the room and
served us with food from other lands. A _punkah-wallah_ on the veranda
kept the great fans in motion. Upon me fell a strange feeling of having
been in a scene like this before—somewhere—hundreds of years ago. Even
here, then, on the banks of the Hoogly, men ate with knives and forks,
from delicate chinaware, wiping their fingers on snow-white linen rather
than on a leg of their trousers, and left fruit peelings on their plates
instead of throwing them under the table. It seemed as if I were in a

“I told you,” murmured Marten, finishing his steak and a long silence,
and mopping his plate dry with a slice of bread plastered with butter
from far-off Denmark; “I told you he was the right sort.”

Maghmood entered to tell us we were to follow the commissioner to his
office, two miles distant.

An hour later we were journeying contentedly northwestward in a crowded
train that stopped at every village and cross-road. Marten had received
a ticket to Bankipore. In order to reach this city we had to change at
Burdwan. We alighted at this station three hours before the night
express. A gazing crowd gathered around us as we halted to buy
sweetmeats in the bazaars, and, flocking at our heels, quickly drew the
attention of the native police to us.

At that time Russia was at war with Japan, and the Indian government,
for some reason, was on the lookout for Russian spies. The police were
ordered to watch all foreigners in the country. The native policemen,
who wanted to please the English officers, were very anxious to discover
such spies. So they asked questions of every sahib stranger they met.

Two lynx-eyed officers hung on our heels, and, following us to the
station as night fell, joined a group of railway police on the platform.
They talked together for a long time; then they all lined up before the
bench on which we were seated, and a sergeant drew out one of the small
books that the government uses for recording facts about traveling

“Will the sahibs be pleased to give me their names?” coaxed the sergeant
in a timid voice.

I took the book and pencil from his hand, and wrote the answers to
printed questions on the page.

“And you, sahib?” said the officer, turning to Marten.

“Oh, go chase yourself!” growled my companion. “I ain’t no Roossian. You
got no business botherin’ Europeans.”

“The sahib must answer the questions or he cannot go on the train,”
murmured the native.

“How will you stop me from goin’?” demanded Marten.

The officer muttered something in his own language to his companions.

“You would, would you?” shouted Marten.

“Ah! The sahib speaks Hindustanee?” gasped the sergeant. “What is your
name, please, sir?”

“Look here,” growled Marten; “I’ll give you my name if you’ll promise
not to ask any more fool questions.”

The native smiled with delight, and raised his pencil.

“And the name, sir?”

“Higgeldy Piggeldy,” said Marten.

“Ah! And how is it spelled, please, sahib?”

The sergeant wrote the words slowly and solemnly as my companion spelled
them for him.

“And which is the sahib’s birthplace?” he coaxed.

“Look here, now,” roared Marten; “didn’t you say you wouldn’t ask
anything else?”

“Ah! Yes, sahib,” said the _babu_; “but we must have the informations.
Please, sir, which is your birthplace?”

“If you don’t chase yourself I’ll break your neck!” roared Marten,
springing to his feet.

The officers fell over each other in their haste to get out of Marten’s
way. My companion returned to the bench and sat down in ill-tempered
silence. The sergeant, urged forward by his fellow officers, came toward
us again, and, standing ready to spring, addressed me in gentle tones:

“Sahib, the police wish, please, sir, to know why the sahibs have come
to Burdwan.”

“Because the local train dropped us here, and we had to wait for the

“But why have you not take the express all the time?”

“We were at Hoogly. It doesn’t stop there.”

“Then why have you not stay in the station? Why have you walk in the
bazaars and in the temples?”

“To see the sights, of course.”

“But there are not sights in Burdwan. It is a dirty village and very
poor and very small. Europeans are coming to Benares and to Calcutta,
but they are not coming in Burdwan. Why have the sahibs come in Burdwan,
and the sun is very hot?”

“I told you why. The sun doesn’t bother us.”

“Then why have the sahibs bought sweets and chappaties in the bazaars?”

“Because we were hungry.”

“Sahibs are not eating native food; they must have European food. Why
have you bought these?”

“For goodness’ sake, hit that fellow on the head with something!” burst
out Marten. “I want to sleep.”

The sergeant moved away several paces and continued his examination:

“And why have the sahibs gone to the tem—?”

The shriek of an incoming train drowned the rest, and we hurried toward
the European compartment.

“You must not go in the train!” screamed the sergeant, while the group
of officers danced excitedly around us. “Stop! You must answer—”

We stepped inside and slammed the door.

“The train cannot be allowed to go!” screeched the _babu_, racing up and
down the platform. “The sahibs are not allowed to go. You must hold the
train, sahib!” he cried to a European conductor hurrying by.

“Hold nothing,” answered the conductor. “Are you crazy? This is the
Bombay mail.” And he blew his whistle.

The sergeant grasped the edge of the open window with one hand, and,
waving his note-book wildly in the other, raced along the platform
beside us.

“You must answer the questions, sahibs—”

The train was rapidly gaining headway.

“Get down, sahibs! Come out! You are not allowed—”

He could keep the pace no longer. With a final shriek he let go his
hold, and we sped on into the night.

We halted late at night in Buxar, and took a slower train next morning
to the holy city of Benares. The train was closely packed with wildly
excited natives. Every window framed eager, longing faces straining for
the first glimpse of the holy city.

To many of our fellow travelers this trip was one they had dreamed of
for years, and this twentieth of April would be the greatest day of
their lives. For if they merely looked at the holy city, and at the
river that flowed past, they believed the sight helped to purify them of
their sins, and assured them of a higher caste in their next life on

As we came round a low sand-hill a murmured chorus of outcries sounded
above the rumble of the train. We went to the open window to see what
had caused the excitement. There, a half mile distant, the holy river
Ganges swept round from the eastward in a graceful curve and flowed on
southward across our path. On the opposite shore, bathing its feet in
the sparkling stream, sprawled the holy city.

The train rumbled across the railway bridge, and halted on the edge of
the city. We plunged into the narrow, crooked streets, and almost lost
sight of each other as we were swallowed up in a great whirlpool of
people. We pushed our way forward only a short distance before we were
tossed aside among the goods placed in front of the shops. Here we
paused for breath, and then tried to go on. When we came to a corner,
pushing crowds carried us down side streets where we had not chosen to
go. People of all shades and castes, and from every part of India,
swarmed through the streets.

Holy bulls shouldered us aside as if they cared nothing for the color of
our skins. Twice great elephants crossed our path. On the fronts and
roofs of Hindu temples, monkeys, wearing glittering rings on every
finger, scampered and chattered daringly. No wonder the natives thought
that the souls of men lived in the bodies of these bold and lively

We had been tossed back and forth through the winding streets for more
than an hour, when a wild beating of drums and a wailing of music from
pipes burst on our ears.

“Religious procession!” screamed Marten, dragging me after him up the
steps of a temple. “We’ll have to stand here till it gets by. How are
those for glad rags?”

Below us the street quickly filled with a parade of Hindus wearing
strange costumes of all kinds and colors. To the wild, screaming music a
thousand marchers kept uncertain step. One bold fellow was “made up” to
look like an Englishman. He was dressed in a suit of shrieking checks
that fitted his thin body as tightly as a glove; on his feet were shoes
with great, thick soles in which he might without harm have walked on
red-hot coals. His face was so covered with flour that he was far paler
than the palest of Englishmen. Over his long hair he wore a
close-cropped wig of sickly yellow; and the helmet on his head was big
enough to give shade to four men. He was smoking a pipe, and he swung a
queer-looking cane gaily back and forth as he walked. Every dozen yards
he pretended that he had become very angry, and danced about madly,
rushing toward the other paraders and striking wildly about him with his
fists. In these fits of anger he never once opened his lips. The natives
looking on laughed with delight. They thought he was acting just like a

We fought our way onward to the center of the town, and climbed down the
great stone stairway of another temple, where we could watch the
pilgrims wash away their sins in the holy waters. Up and down the banks
of the river Ganges, groups of thinly dressed natives, dripping from
their baths in the holy waters, smoked bad-smelling cigarettes in the
shadow of the temple, or bought holy food from the straw-roofed shacks.

Bathing in the holy waters were men wearing almost no clothing, and
women wearing winding sheets. From time to time bands of pilgrims
covered with the dust of travel tumbled down the stairways and plunged
eagerly into the river. For the Hindu believes that, no matter how badly
a person has behaved, his sins can be washed away in the Ganges at the
foot of Benares.

The river did not look as if it could make one pure. Its waters are so
muddy that a ray of sunshine will not pass through a glassful of it. I,
for one, would be afraid to bathe in that fever infected flow of mud.
Yet the native pilgrims splashed about in it, ducking their heads
beneath the surface and dashing it over their faces; they rinsed their
mouths in it, scraped their tongues with sticks dipped in it, and blew
it out of their mouths in great jets, as if they were determined to get
rid of all the sin in their bodies.

[Illustration: I do a bit of laundry work washing my coat in the Ganges
below the city and at the same time keeping a good lookout for

We went through the city, and reached the station in time for a
“wash-up.” Twice that day we had been taken for Eurasians (a Eurasian is
a person who is half European and half Asiatic); so we thought it was
about time to wash our faces. The station stood at the end of the city.
Beyond it stretched a flat, sandy plain. Armed with a lump of soap of
the color of maple-sugar, we slid down the steep bank below the railway
bridge, with a mass of loose sand and rolling stones. When we reached
the spot, however, Marten decided that he was “too tired” to turn
_dhoby_, and stretched out in the shade on the bank. I waded out into
the river, sinking half way to my knees in the mud. It would not have
been impolite or out of place to undress at once, but there would
certainly have been a sadly sunburned sahib ten minutes afterward. So I
scrubbed my jacket while wearing my shirt, and the shirt while wearing
the jacket, and wrapped the jacket around me while I soaked my trousers
in waters filled with Hindu sins.

“Say, mate,” drawled Marten, as I daubed my trousers with the
maple-sugar soap, “you’ll surely go to heaven fer scrubbin’ your rags in
that mud. There’s always a bunch of Hindu gods hangin’ around here. I
don’t want to disturb a honest workin’-man, o’ course, but I’d be so
lonesome if you was gone that I’m goin’ to tell you that there’s one
comin’ to take you to heaven now, and if you’re finished with livin’—”

I looked up suddenly. Barely ten feet away, the ugly snout of a
crocodile was moving toward me.

“Stand still!” shouted Marten, as I struggled to pull my legs from the
clinging mud. “He’s a god, I tell you. Besides, he’s probably hungry.
Don’t be so selfish.”

The trousers, well aimed, ended his speech suddenly as I reached dry
land. After that I worked with wide-open eyes; and before I was through
with my washing I saw as many as fourteen of the river gods of India.

We reached the station in time for the train, and arrived in Allahabad
late that night. After walking half a mile from the station we found
“The Strangers’ Rest,” a home for wanderers, closed. But the Irish
superintendent was a light sleeper, and we were soon weighing down two
_charpoys_ under the trees.

After breakfast the next morning I set out to explore the city alone,
while my companion called on the commissioner. When evening came I was
again sitting under the spreading trees near the “Rest,” when I looked
up and saw Marten turning slowly and sorrowfully in at the gate. He had
been to ask the commissioner for a ticket. According to our plan, he had
promised to ask for a pass to Kurachee, a city at the mouth of the Indus
River. But he had made a mistake and had blurted out the familiar name
of Bombay. He had received, therefore, a ticket to the city on the west

Marten did not want to go to Bombay, because I had refused to go there
with him. But he had the ticket, and the law required that he leave by
the first train. Even if it had not, there was no one else to whom he
could apply. He felt very sad about it—so much so, indeed, that he began
to cry. To dry his tears I agreed to accompany him to the capital of the
next district, where he could ask for a ticket that would take him my

Before the night was over we had reached the town of Jubbulpore, where
we passed a sharp-cornered rest in the station. Marten told a carefully
worded story to the commissioner of that district, and received a ticket
to Jhansi. To get there he had to take a train southward until he
reached the main line, where he could change cars and go northwest. I
wished to go by another line that would take me through a wilder part of
India. So we separated, promising to meet again at Bina.

The train on which I traveled was run by a Eurasian driver, who gave me
a compartment in the car all to myself. The country we passed through
was covered with hills and ridges, over which the train rose and fell
like a ship crossing the waves of the ocean. On both sides of the track
stretched a jungle where the vines and trees grew so thick and close
together that even the sunshine could not pierce its way into the woods.
The villages we passed were merely clusters of huts behind the railway
station. Every time our train stopped at one of these places, the people
flocked to the station to greet us. Now and then, as we went on, I
caught sight of some kind of deer bounding away through the shrubbery;
and once I saw that dreaded beast of India—a tiger. He was a lean,
lively beast, more dingy in color than those we see in cages. He moved
toward the track rapidly, yet cautiously, vaulting over the low jungle
shrubbery in long, easy bounds. On the track he halted a moment, gazed
scornfully at our slowly moving engine, then sprang into the thicket and
was gone.

We halted at noon at the station of Damoh. Never thinking that anyone
would enter my compartment, I left my knapsack on a bench, and went to
eat lunch in the station buffet. When I returned a strange sight greeted
my eyes. Before the door of my compartment was grouped the population of
Damoh. Inside stood a Hindu policeman, in khaki uniform and red turban.
Under one arm he held my guide-book, a spool of film, and my lunch
wrapped in a leaf, that he had taken from my knapsack. The sack itself,
half a dozen letters, and my camera cover lay on the floor at his feet.
In some way he had found the springs that opened the back of the camera,
and, having laid that on the bench beside him, was cheerfully turning
the screw that unwound the ruined film while his fellow countrymen
looked on with delight. All the pictures I had taken on that trip were
lost to me because of his meddling.

The natives fled when they saw me coming, and the policeman dropped my
possessions on the floor and dashed for the shelter of the
station-master’s office. I followed after to make complaint, and came
upon him cowering behind a heap of baggage, with his hands tightly
clasped over the badge that bore his number.

“He says,” explained the Eurasian station-agent, “that it is his duty to
look in empty compartments for lost articles, but that he has not taken
the littlest thing, not even a box of matches, and asks that you forgive
him. If you cannot put the queer machine together again, he will.”

I went on to Bina, where I stayed three days without seeing anything of
Marten. For some time I supposed he had failed to find me there and had
gone on without me. But three days later, when I arrived in Agra, I
found in a letter-rack at the station a post-card across which my name
was misspelled in bold blue letters. On the back was scrawled this
simple message:

                                          Godawara, India, April 25th.

    _Felow beech comer:_

    Missed the train to Bina becaze I knoked the block off a black
    polisman. They draged me down hear and the comish finned me
    fifteen dibs and then payed the fine and put me rite as far as
    Agra. I will pick you up ther on the 27th. yours,

                                                          BUSTED HEAD.

The twenty-seventh was past. The ex-pearl-fisher must have gone on, for
I saw him no more.

The next afternoon I went to see the wonderful Taj Mahal, a great white
marble building erected by a king as the burial-place of his wife. Then
I took the night train to Delhi. In that city I found almost an Arab
world. I began to fancy that I was back in Damascus, the stores and
people were so much like those of “Shaam.” The calls to prayer, the fez
headdress, the lean-faced Bedouins with their trains of camels, even the
stray dogs, reminded me that there was a time when the followers of
Mohammed ruled a large part of India. But there were also many Arab
eating-shops where the keepers were not afraid to let me pause to choose
my food from the steaming kettles that stood near the doorway.

It was these signs of a Western world, perhaps, that soon brought to my
mind that my side trip “up country” had carried me a thousand miles out
of my way. I awoke one morning with my mind made up to turn eastward
once more. I spent that day perspiringly as chief ball-chaser for the
Delhi Tennis Club, fagging three games for the district commissioner and
as many more for his friends. They did not reward me at once, however,
and at twilight I turned back penniless toward Delhi, four miles

[Illustration: A lady of Delhi out for a drive in a bullock cart.]

The stillness of the summer night was broken only by the murmuring hum
of insects, or by the leaves moving softly in the gentle breeze. Now and
then I heard the patter of native feet along the dusty roadway. Once I
was startled by a loud chorus of men’s voices that burst out suddenly
from the darkness in words of my own language; and a moment later a
squad of English soldiers trooped by me, arm in arm, singing at the top
of their lungs, “The Place Where the Punkah-wallah Died.” Plainly they
were returning to their barracks after spending a merry afternoon on
leave. They disappeared down the road, and I tramped on into the silence
of the night.

I had to find lodging somewhere; for, although the weather was warm,
Hindu thieves were numerous. As I crossed the railway tracks I recalled
the fine “hotel” we had occupied in Puri. The next moment I slid down
the bank into the broad railroad yards. Head-lights of puffing switch
engines sent streaks of bright light through the blackness of the night.
I wandered here and there, looking for an empty car. There were freight
cars without number, an endless forest of them; but they were all closed
or loaded with goods. Passenger cars there were none. I struck off
boldly across the tracks toward the lighted station. Coming into the
blinding glare of a head-light, I suddenly felt myself falling down,
down, into space. Long after the world above had disappeared, I landed
in utter darkness, unhurt except for the barking of my nose. Near at
hand several live coals gleamed like watching eyes. I had walked into a
cinder-pit on the track near the engine-house.

Giving a cat-like spring from the top of the largest heap of ashes, I
grasped the rail above and pulled myself out. Beyond the station lay a
thickly wooded park known as Queen’s Gardens. I climbed over the railing
and stretched out in the long grass. But the foliage overhead offered no
such shelter as had the trees of equatorial Ceylon, and I awoke in the
morning dripping wet from the falling dew.

That afternoon I received a ticket and two rupees for chasing the
tennis-balls, and I returned to Calcutta Saturday night.

                               CHAPTER XX
                           BEYOND THE GANGES

Two hours after my arrival in Calcutta, there was seen making his way
through the streets of that city a youth who had been turned away from
the Sailors’ Home by a hard-hearted manager because he had once left
that place without permission for a trip “up country.” In his pocket was
a single rupee. His cotton garments were threadbare rags through which
the torrid sun had reddened his once white skin. Under one arm he
carried a tattered, sunburned bundle of the size of a camera. In short,
’twas I.

Later, with much trouble, I gained entrance into the Seamen’s Mission.
It was here that I made the acquaintance of the only guest of the place
who paid his expenses. He was a clean, strong young man of twenty-five,
named Gerald James, from Perth, Australia. He had been a kangaroo-hunter
in his native land, and later a soldier in South Africa. After the war
there he had turned northward with two companions. In Calcutta his
partners had become policemen; but James, weary of bearing arms, had
taken a position as salesman in a department-store.

Four days after my arrival a chance meeting with a German traveler who
spoke no English raised my wealth to seven rupees. I had also made the
acquaintance of a conductor who promised to let me ride as far as
Goalando, a city on the banks of the Ganges. It was on the day following
that I decided to escape from Calcutta and continue my journey eastward.

As I lay stretched on the roof of the building, that night, the man
beside me rolled over in his blanket and peered at me through the

“That you, Franck?” he whispered.

The voice was that of James the Australian.

“Yes,” I answered.

“Some of the lads,” came the answer, “told me you were going to hit the
trail again.”

“I’m off to-morrow night.”

“Where away?”

“Somewhere to the east.”

The Australian fell silent a moment, and his voice sounded as if he were
apologizing when he spoke again:

“I quit my job to-day. There’s the plague and the summer coming on, and
they expected me to take orders from a _babu_ manager.

“I’d like to leave Calcutta and go to Hong-Kong. Do you think you’ll
come anywhere near there?”

“I expect to be there inside of a couple of months.”

“How if I go with you?” murmured James. “I’ve had some experience
tramping round Australia after kangaroos.”

“Agreed,” I answered; for, of all those at the institute, there was no
one I should sooner have chosen as a partner for the rough days to come
than James.

“How’ll we make it?” he inquired. “It’s a long jump.”

“I’ll set you right to Goalando,” I replied. “We can go down on the
Ganges boat to Chittagong. From there I think we can beat our way
through the jungle to Mandalay. Then we’ll drop down to Rangoon. They
say shipping is good there. But let’s have it understood that when we
reach Hong-Kong each one goes where he likes.”

“All right,” said the Australian, lying down once more.

Thursday passed quickly in looking over our belongings; and, having
stuffed them all into James’s carpet-bag, we set off at nightfall for
the station.

“What! Two?” cried the conductor, when I had introduced James. “Well,
pile on.”

He passed on, and, as the train started, James tumbled into an empty
compartment after me. When daylight awakened us, our car stood alone on
a side-track at the end of the line.

Goalando was a village of mud huts, perched on a slimy, sloping bank of
the Ganges River, like turtles ready to slip into the stream at the
first sign of danger.

Two days later we reached Chittagong after dark night had fallen.

As the sun was setting the next afternoon, we climbed the highest of the
green hills in Chittagong to seek information from the district
commissioner; for the natives in the city knew nothing of the route to
Mandalay. The governor, aroused from a Sunday afternoon nap on his
vine-curtained veranda, received us kindly, even delightedly, and,
having called a servant to look after our thirst, went inside to
astonish his wife with the news that he had European callers. That lady,
after being properly introduced, consented to play upon the piano for

White men do not often come to Chittagong. Chatting like old
acquaintances, with the district ruler stretched out in a reclining
chair between us, we came near to forgetting, for a time, that we were
mere beach-combers.

“And now, of course,” said the governor, when James had told him about
our journey from Calcutta, “you will wait for the steamer to Rangoon?”

“Why, no, Mr. Commissioner,” I answered; “we’re going to walk overland
to Mandalay, and we took the liberty of calling on you to—”

“Mandalay!” gasped the Englishman, dropping his slippered feet to the
floor. “_Walk_ to Man—Why, my dear fellow, come here a moment.”

He rose and stepped to a corner of the veranda, and, raising an arm,
pointed away to the eastward.

“That,” he said almost sadly, “is the way to Mandalay. Does that look
like a country to be crossed on foot?”

It certainly did not. Beyond the river lay an unexplored wilderness.
Range after range of bold hills and rocky mountain chains lay beyond the
forest, rising higher and higher until they were lost in the blue and
haze of the eastern sky. At the very edge of the river began a
vine-choked tropical jungle, covering hill and valley as far as the eye
could see, and broken nowhere in all its extent by a clearing, or even
by the beginning of a pathway.

“There,” went on the commissioner, “is one of the wildest regions under
British rule. Tigers abound; snakes sun themselves on every bush; wild
animals lie in wait in every thicket. The valleys are full of wild men,
savage outlaws that even the government fears; and the spring floods
have made the mountain streams raging torrents. There is absolutely
nothing to guide you. If you succeeded in traveling a mile after
crossing the river, you would be hopelessly lost; and, if you were not,
what would you eat and drink in that wilderness?”

“Why,” said James, “we’d eat the wild animals and drink the mountain
streams. Of course we’d carry a compass. That’s what we do in the
Australian bush.”

“We thought you might have a map,” I put in.

The commissioner stepped into the bungalow. The music ceased and the
player followed her husband out to the veranda.

“This,” said the commissioner, spreading out a chart he carried, “is the
latest map of the region. You mustn’t suppose, as many people do, that
all India has been mapped out. You see for yourselves that there is
nothing between Chittagong and the Irawaddy River but a few wavy lines
to show mountain ranges. That’s all any map shows, and all any civilized
man knows of that part. Bah! Your scheme is idiotic. You might as well
try to walk to Llassa.”

He rolled up the map and dropped again into his chair.

“By the way,” he asked, “why don’t you stop at the Sailors’ Home

“I never imagined for a moment,” I replied, “that there was a Home in a
little town like this.”

“There is, and a fine one,” answered the commissioner; “and just waiting
for someone to occupy it.”

“No place for us,” retorted James. “We’ve spent our last coin.”

“Nothing to do with it,” cried the Englishman. “Money or no money,
you’ll stop there while you’re here. I’ll send word to the manager at

The Sailors’ Home of Chittagong was a wonder in comfort and beauty. The
city itself was a garden spot. The Home was a white bungalow set in the
edge of the forest on a river-bank. The parlor was carpeted with mats,
the dining-room furnished with _punkahs_. In another room stood a
pool-table and—wonder of wonders—a piano!

Three native servants, housed in a near-by cottage, were ready to come
when called and wait on us. For, though weeks had passed since a sailor
had stopped at the Home, everything was as ready for our accommodation
as if the manager had been expecting us.

An hour after we had moved into the bungalow, we were resting in veranda
chairs with our feet on the railing, watching the cook chasing one of
the chickens that later appeared before us in our evening curry, when a
white man turned into the grounds and walked lazily toward us, swinging
his cane and striking off a head here and there among the tall flowers
that bordered the path. When he reached the shade of the bungalow, he
sprang up the steps with outstretched hand, and, having expressed his
joy at the meeting, sat down beside us. Whoever he was, he was an expert
story-teller, and entertained us with tales of life in the army until
the shades of night fell. Suddenly he stopped at the most interesting
point of a story to cry out:

“The commissioner sent for me this afternoon.”

“That so?” asked James.

“Yes. He thinks you fellows are going to start to Mandalay on foot.
Mighty good joke, that”; and he fell to chuckling, while he glanced
sidewise at us.

“No joke at all,” I put in. “We _are_ going on foot, just as soon as we
can find the road.”

“Don’t try it!” cried the Englishman, raising his cane on high. “I
haven’t introduced myself, but I am chief of police for Chittagong. The
commissioner has given orders that you must not go. The police have been
ordered to watch you, the boatmen forbidden to row you across the river.
Don’t try it.” With that, he said no more about it, and began telling
another yarn.

Late that night, when James had finally agreed to leave off making
strange noises on the piano, we made a surprising discovery. There was
not a bed in the Home! While James hurried off to ask a servant about
it, I went carefully through each room with the parlor lamp, peering
under tables and opening drawers, in the hope of finding at least a
ship’s hammock. I was still searching when the Australian returned with
a frightened native, who assured us that there had never been a bed or a
_charpoy_ in the Home. Just why, he could not say. Probably because the
manager babu had forgotten to get them.

So we turned in side by side on the pool-table, and took turns in
falling off at regular intervals through the night.

With the first gray light of morning we slipped out the back door of the
bungalow and struck off through the forest toward the uninhabited
river-bank beyond. For, in spite of the warning of the chief of police,
we had decided to try the overland journey.

To get past the police was easy; to escape the jungle, quite a different
matter. A full two hours we tore our way through the undergrowth along
the river without finding a single spot in the wall-like eastern bank
that we dared to swim for. James grew peevish and cross; we both became
painfully hungry. And finally we turned back, promising ourselves to
continue hunting for an opening in the forest beyond the river on the
following day.

The servants at the Home, knowing that _sahibs_ often take early morning
strolls, grinned cheerfully when they saw us returning, and told us
breakfast was ready. While we were eating, the chief of police bounded
into the room, told a new story, and said that the commissioner wished
to see us at once; then bounded away again, complaining that he was
being worked to death.

When we reached his bungalow on the hilltop, we found the ruler of the
district pacing back and forth between rows of native secretaries and

“I have given orders that you are not to start for Mandalay,” he began

“But how shall we get out any other way?” demanded James.

“If you were killed in the jungle,” went on the governor, as if he had
heard nothing, “your governments would blame me. But, of course, I have
no intention of keeping you in Chittagong. I have arranged, therefore,
with the agents of the weekly steamer, to give you deck passages, with
European food, to Rangoon. Apply to them at once, and be ready to start
to-morrow morning.”

In a blinding tropical shower we were rowed out to the steamer next
morning. For four days following we lolled about the winch (a crank for
raising weights) on which the Chinese stewards served our European
“chow.” The steamer drifted slowly down the eastern coast of the Bay of
Bengal, and, rounding the delta of the Irawaddy River on the morning of
May thirteenth, dropped anchor three hours later in the harbor of

                              CHAPTER XXI
                         TRAMPING THROUGH BURMA

At the time we reached Rangoon, that town was filled with sailors who
had been looking for a chance to “sign on” for months past, with no
success. Moreover, they assured me that there was no work ashore, that
the city was suffering from the plague, and that we had fallen upon the
most unlucky port in the Orient.

Nevertheless, we were there, and we had to make the best of it. We
struck off through the city to see the sights. The native town,
squatting on the flat plain along the river, had streets as wide and
straight as those of Western cities. There were no sidewalks, of course.
People on foot walked among the wagons and carts, and disputed the way
with donkeys and human beasts of burden. A flat city it was, with small
two-story huts built on stilts. Above it gleamed a few golden pagodas,
and high above all else soared the pride of Burma, the Shwe Dagón

There are probably as many pagodas in East India and China as there are
churches in our own country. A pagoda is a temple containing idols or
statues of gods which the people worship. We climbed the endless
stairway up into the great Shwe Dagón in company with hundreds of
natives carrying their shoes in their hands. We watched them wandering
among the glittering statues, setting up lighted candles or spreading
out blossoms before them, bowing until their faces touched the floor,
but puffing all the time at long cigars. While we gazed, a breathless
woman with closely cropped hair pushed past us, and laid before an idol
a braid of oily jet-black hair.

Outside once more, we stood looking up until our necks ached at the
towering Shwe Dagón, which was covered from peak to swollen base with
brightest gold. It was all too brilliant in the blazing sunlight. When
we turned aside and looked into the shadows to rest our eyes, tiny
pagodas floated before our vision for a long time afterward.

“Mate,” said James, later in the day, as we stood before a world map in
the Sailors’ Home, “it looks to me as if we’d come here to stay. There’s
nothing doing in the shipping line here, and not a chance to earn the
price of a deck passage to Singapore. And, if we could, it’s a long jump
from there to Hong-Kong.”

“Aye,” put in a grizzled seaman, limping forward; “ye’ll be lucky lads
if ye make yer get-away from Rangoon. But once ye get on the beach in
Singapore, ye’ll die of ould age afore iver ye see ’Ong-Kong, if that’s
’ow yer ’eaded. Why, mates, that place is alive with sailors that’s been
’ung up there so long they’d not know ’ow to eat with a knife if iver
they got back to a civilized country. Take my word for it, and keep away
from Singapore.”

“It would seem foolish, anyway,” I remarked to James, “to go to
Singapore. It’s a good nine hundred miles from here, a week of loafing
around in some old tub to get there, and a longer jump back up
north—even if we don’t get stuck there.”

“But what else is there for us to do?” objected James.

“See how narrow the Malay Peninsula is,” I went on, pointing to the map.
“Bangkok is almost directly east of here. We’d save miles of travel by
going overland, and run no risk of being tied up for months in

“But how?” demanded the Australian.

“Walk, of course.”

The sailors grouped about us burst out in a roar of laughter.

“Aye; ye’d walk across the Peninsula like ye’d swim to Madras,” chuckled
one of them. “It’s bats ye have in yer belfry from a touch o’ the sun.”

“But Hong-Kong—” I began.

“If it’s ’Ong-Kong, ye’ll go to Singapore,” continued the seaman, “or
back the other way. There’s no man goes round the world in the north
’emisphere without touching Singapore. Put that down in yer log.”

“If we walk across the Peninsula,” I went on, still addressing James,
“it would—”

“Yes,” put in an old fellow, “it would be a new and onusual way of
committin’ suicide—original, interestin’, maybe slow, but blamed sure.”

“Now look ’ere, lads,” said the old seaman, almost in tears, “d’ye know
anything about that country? There’s no wilder savages nowhere than the
Siamese. I know ’em. When I was sailin’ from Singapore to China, that’s
fourt—fifteen year gone, we was blowed into the bay, an’ put ashore fer
water. We rowed by thousands o’ dead babies floatin’ down the river. We
’adn’t no more’n stepped ashore when down come a yelpin’ bunch o’
Siamese, with knives as long as yer arm, an’ afore we could shove off
they’d kilt my mate an’ another and—chopped ’em all to pieces. Them’s
the Siamese, an’ the wild men in the mountains is worse.”

In short, the “boys” had so much to say against such a trip that we were
forced to go out into the street to continue our planning. For, in spite
of their jeers, I still believed the overland trip was possible, and it
would be more interesting to travel through a wilderness that had never
before been explored.

James told me he was “game for anything,” and we began studying maps for
trails and rivers. Natives who had lived in Rangoon all their lives
could tell us nothing whatever of the wilds seven miles east of the

Late one afternoon, as we were lounging in the Home talking it over, an
Englishman in khaki uniform burst in upon us.

“Are you the chaps,” he began, “who are talking of starting for Bangkok
on foot?”

“We’ve been asking the way,” I answered.

“Well, save yourselves the trouble,” returned the officer. “There _is_
no way. The trip can’t be made. You’d be killed, and your government
would come back at us for letting you go. I have orders from the chief
of police that you are not to leave Rangoon except by sea, and I have
warned the police on the east side of the city to head you off. Thought
I’d tell you.”

“Thanks,” muttered James; “but we’ll hold down Rangoon for a while yet,

But of course we could not give up the plan. One afternoon, as the
manager of the Home was sleeping, we laid hold on the knapsack we had
left in his keeping, and struck off through the crowded native town.

“This is no good,” objected James. “All the streets leading east are

“The railroad to Mandalay isn’t,” I replied. “We’ll run up the line out
of danger, and strike out from there.”

The Australian halted at a tiny drug-store, and, awakening the
bare-legged clerk, bought twenty grains of quinine. “For jungle fever,”
he muttered as he tucked the package away in his helmet. That was our
“outfit” for a journey that might last one month or six. In the knapsack
were two cotton suits and a few ragged shirts. As for weapons, we had
not even a penknife.

A mile from the Home we entered a small station, bought tickets to the
first important town, and a few minutes later were hurrying northward.
James settled back in a corner, and fell to singing to himself:

                     “On the road to Mandalay,
                     Where the flying-fishes play—”

About us lay low rolling hills, deep green with tropical vegetation.
Behind sparkled the golden tower of the Shwe Dagón pagoda, growing
smaller and ever smaller, until the night, falling quickly, blotted it
out. We fell asleep, and, awakening as the train pulled into Pegu, spent
the rest of the night in two willow rockers in the waiting-room.

Dawn found us already astir. A fruit-seller in the bazaars, given to
early rising, served us breakfast. We did not know the directions,
however, and had to wait for the rising sun to show us which way was
east. When we saw it peering boldly over the horizon, we were off.

A sandy highway led forth from the village, but soon swung northward;
and we struck across an untracked plain. Far away to the eastward were
rocky hills, deep blue in color, foot-hills of wild mountain chains that
we would have to cross later. But around us lay a stretch of sandy
lowlands, dull and flat, with never a hut or a human being in sight.

Ten miles of plodding, without even a mud-hole in which to quench our
thirst, brought us to a crowded village of bamboo huts hidden away in a
tangled wood. A pack of dogs came leaping toward us, barking noisily. We
drove them off and drank our fill, while the natives stood about us,
staring curiously. As we started on again, a _babu_ pushed his way
through the group and invited us to his bungalow. He was employed on the
new railway line that was being built from Pegu to Moulmein, and which
when it was completed was to bring him the title of station-master in
his own town. In honor of his future position he was already wearing a
brilliant uniform, designed by himself, which made his fellow townsmen
gaze in wonder.

We squatted with him on the floor of his open hut, and made away with a
dinner of rice, fruit, bread-cakes, and—red ants. No Burmese lunch would
be complete without the last. When we offered to pay for the meal, the
_babu_ rose, chattering with anger, and would not pardon us until we had
patted him on the back and put our thin pocket-books out of sight.

A few miles beyond the village we came upon a gang of men and women at
work on the new railroad. There were at least three hundred of them, all
Hindus, for the Burman scorns coolie labor. There was no machinery. A
few scooped up the earth with shovels in the shallow trenches; the
others swarmed up the embankment in endless line, carrying flat baskets
of earth on their heads.

Nightfall found us still plodding on in a lonely jungle. We had heard
that a division engineer lived just across the Sittang River, and we
were determined to reach his bungalow before midnight. Not long
afterward we were brought to a sudden halt at the bank of the river.
Under the moon’s rays the broad sheet of water showed dark and
dangerously rough, racing by with the swiftness of a mountain stream. A
light twinkled high up above the opposite shore nearly half a mile
away—too far to swim in that rushing flood. I tore myself free from the
entangling bushes, and, making a trumpet of my hands, bellowed across
the water.

For a time only the echo answered. Then a faint cry was borne to our
ears, and we caught the Hindustanee words, “Quam hai?” (“Who is it?”)

I took a deep breath and shouted into the night:

“Do sahib hai! Engineer sampan, key sampan key derah?”

A moment of silence. Then the answer came back, soft, yet distinct, like
a near-by whisper:

“Acha, sahib” (“All right”). Even at that distance, we could tell that
it was the humble voice of a timid Hindu coolie.

A speck of light moved down to the level of the river; then, rising and
falling in regular time as if someone were carrying a torch, it came
steadily nearer. We waited eagerly; yet half an hour passed before there
appeared a flat-bottomed sampan rowed by three struggling Hindus whose
brown skins gleamed in the light of a dickering lantern. Evidently they
thought we were railway officials. While two wound their arms around the
bushes to hold the boat steady, the third sprang ashore with a
respectful greeting, and, picking up our knapsack, dropped into the boat
behind us.

With a shout the others let go of the bushes, and the three grasped
their oars and pulled with all their strength. The racing current
carried us far down the river; but we swung at last into more quiet
water under the shadow of a bluff, and, creeping slowly up the stream,
reached the other side. A boatman stepped out with our bundle, and,
zigzagging up the side of the hill, dropped the bag on the veranda of a
bungalow at the top, shouted a “sahib hai,” and fled into the night.

The next moment an Englishman flung open the door with a bellow of
delight. He was a noisy, good-hearted giant, who insisted on our
stopping at his bungalow for the night. I dropped my bespattered
knapsack on the top step and followed my companion inside. When our
thirst had been quenched, we followed the Englishman to the bath-room,
where we plunged our heads and arms into great bowls of cool water, and,
greatly refreshed, took our places at the table.

We learned that our host was an engineer of the new line, a soldier of
fortune who had “mixed” in everything from railway building to battles
and wars on three continents, and who knew more geography than can be
found in an atlas. His bungalow was a palace in the wilderness; he said
that he earned his money to spend, and that he paid four rupees a pound
for Danish butter without wasting a thought on it.

We slept on the veranda high above the river, and, in spite of the
thirty-two miles in our legs and the fever that fell upon James during
the night, we rose with the dawn, eager to be off. As we took our leave
the engineer held out to us a handful of rupees.

“Just to buy your chow on the way, lads,” he smiled.

“No, no!” protested James, edging away. “We’ve taken enough from you

“Nonsense!” cried the adventurer. “Don’t be a dunce. We’ve all been in
the same boat, and I’m only paying back a little of what’s fallen to

When we still refused to take it, he called us cranks and no true
soldiers of fortune, and took leave of us at the edge of the veranda.

Sittang was a mere bamboo village with a few grass-grown streets that
faded away in the surrounding wilderness. At one time we lost the path
and plunged on aimlessly for hours through a tropical forest. Noonday
had passed before we broke out upon an open plain where the railway
embankment began again, and satisfied our screaming thirst in the hut of
a _babu_ employed by the railway company.

Beyond, walking was less difficult. The wildly scrambling jungle had
been laid open for the railroad that was to be built; and where the
tangled vegetation pressed upon us, we had only to climb to the top of
the newly made bank and plod on. The country was not the lonely waste of
the day before. Where bananas and cocoanuts and jack-fruits grow, there
are human beings to eat them, and now and then a howling of dogs told us
that we were near a cluster of native huts tucked away in a fruitful

Every few miles we came upon gangs of coolies, who fell to chattering
excitedly when we came into view, and, dropping shovels and baskets,
squatted on their heels, staring until we had passed, paying no
attention to the maddened screaming of their high-caste bosses. Good
bungalows for engineers were being built on high places along the way.
The carpenters were Chinamen, who seemed to work faster than the Hindus.

We saw more and more of these wearers of the pig-tail as we continued
our travels on into Burma. Many of them kept stores. They were shrewd,
grasping fellows.

We came to the end of the embankment for the new railroad, and tramped
on into an open country where there were many streams through which we
had to wade or swim. We were knee-deep in one of these when there
sounded close at hand a snort like the spouting of a whale. I glanced in
fright at the weeds growing in the river about us. From the muddy water
were thrust a dozen ugly black snouts.

“Crocodiles!” screamed James, turning tail and splashing by me.

“But hold on!” I cried, before we had reached the bank. “These things
seem to have horns.”

The creatures that had so startled us were harmless water-buffaloes,
which, being freed from their day’s labor, had plunged into the muddy
stream to escape from flies and the blazing sun.

From there the route turned southward, and the red sunshine beat in our
faces throughout the third day’s tramp. We passed several villages of
brown-skinned natives, and the jungle was broken here and there by
thirsty rice-fields.

As the day was dying, however, we tramped along a railway embankment
between two dark and unpeopled forests. We were almost ready to lie down
and sleep out of doors, when we came upon a path leading into the
forest. Hoping to find some empty shack left by a railway gang, we
turned aside and tumbled down the bank. The trail wound away through the
jungle, and brought us, a mile from the line, to a grassy clearing in
the center of which stood a bungalow.

It was one of the public rest houses kept by the British government for
_sahibs_ traveling through the wilds. This one seemed to be deserted,
for there were no servants about. We climbed the steps, and, settling
ourselves in veranda chairs, stretched our weary legs and listened to
the humming of countless insects. We might have fallen asleep where we
were, had we not been hungry and choking with thirst.

Like every house in British India, the bungalow stood wide open. I rose
and wandered through the building, lighting my way with matches and
peering into every corner for a bottle of water or a sleeping servant.
In each of the two bedrooms there were two canvas _charpoys_; in the
main room a table littered with tattered books and magazine leaves in
English; in the back room several pots and kettles. There was plenty of
water also—a tubful of it in a closet opening out of one of the
bedrooms. But who could say how many travel-stained _sahibs_ had bathed
in it?

I returned to the veranda, and we took to shouting our wants into the
jungle. Only the jungle replied, and we climbed down the steps and went
around the building, less in the hope of finding any one than to escape
the temptation of the bath-tub. Behind the bungalow stood three ragged
huts. The first was empty. In the second we found a snoring Hindu
stretched on his back on the dirt floor, close to a dying fire of

We woke him. He sprang to his feet with a frightened “Acha sahib, pawnee
hai,” and ran to fetch a _chettie_ of water—not because we had asked for
it, but because he well knew the first need of travelers in the tropics.

“Now we would eat, O chowkee dar,” said James in Hindustanee. “Julty
karow” (“Hurry up”).

“Acha, sahib,” repeated the cook.

He tossed a few sticks on the fire, set a kettle over them, emptied into
it the water from another _chettie_, and, catching up a blazing stick,
trotted with a loose-kneed wabble to the third hut. There sounded one
long-drawn squawk, a muffled cackling of hens, and the Hindu returned,
holding a chicken by the head and swinging it round and round as he ran.
Catching up a knife, he slashed the fowl from throat to tail, snatched
off skin and feathers with a few skilful jerks, and in less than three
minutes after his awakening our supper was cooking.

We returned to the veranda, followed by the _chowkee dar_, who lighted a
crippled-looking lamp on the table within and trotted away. He came back
soon after to clear away the plates and chicken-bones. After paying him
the last of our coppers, we rolled our jackets and shoes into pillows,
and turned in.

We slept an hour, perhaps, during the night. A flock of roosters crowed
every time they saw a new-born star, and dozens of lizards made the
night miserable. There must have been a whole army of these pests in the
bungalow. They were great, green-eyed reptiles from six inches to a foot
long. Almost before the light was blown out, one on the ceiling struck
up his song; another on the wall beside me joined in; two more in a
corner gave answering cry, and the night concert had begun:

_She-kak! she-kak! she-kak!_

Don’t fancy for a moment that the cry of the Indian lizard is the gentle
murmur of the cricket or the tree-toad. It sounds more like the
squawking of an ungreased bullock-cart:

_She-kak! she-kak! she-kak!_

To try to drive them off was worse than useless. The walls and ceiling,
being made of grasses and reeds, offered more hiding-places for creeping
things than a hay-stack. When I fired a shoe at the nearest, a shower of
branches and rubbish rattled to the floor; and, after a moment of
silence, the song was resumed, louder than before. Either the creatures
were clever dodgers or they could not be wounded; and there was always
the danger that anything thrown swiftly might bring down half the roof
on our heads.

_She-kak! she-kak! she-kak!_

Wherever there are dwellings in British India, there are croaking
lizards. I have listened to their shriek from Colombo to Delhi; I have
seen them darting across the carpeted floor in the bungalows of
commissioners; I have awakened many a time to find one dragging its
clammy way across my face. But nowhere are they in greater numbers or
more loud-voiced than in the jungle of the Malay Peninsula. There came a
day when we were glad they had not been driven out—but I will tell of
that later.

Early the next morning we came to a broad pathway that led us every half
hour through a grinning village, between which were many lonely huts. We
stopped at all of them for water. The natives showed us marked kindness,
often waiting for us with a _chettie_ of water in hand, or running out
into the road at our shout of “Yee sheedela?”

This Burmese word for water (_yee_) gave James a great deal of
amusement. Ever and again he would pause before a hut, to call out in
the voice of a court crier: “Hear ye! hear ye! hear ye! We’re thirsty as
Hottentots!” Householders young and old understood. At least, they
fetched us water in abundance.

The fourth day afoot brought us two misfortunes. The rainy season burst
upon us in fury not an hour after we had spent our last copper for
breakfast. Where dinner would come from we had not the least idea; but
we did not waste our strength in worry.

The first shower came suddenly. One sullen roar of thunder, the heavens
opened, and the water poured. After that they came often. At times we
found shelter under some long-legged hovel. Even when we scrambled up
the bamboo ladders into the huts, the squatting family showed no anger.
Often they gave us fruit; once they forced upon us two native cigars. It
was these that made James forever after a firm friend of the Burmese.

Frequently we plodded on in a blinding down-pour that, in the twinkling
of an eye, drenched us to the skin. The storm lasted only about five
minutes. With the last dull growl of thunder the sun burst out, hotter
than before, sopping up the pools in the highway as if with a giant’s
sponge, and drying our dripping garments before we had time to grumble
at the wetting. The gorgeous beauties of the surroundings gave us so
much to look at that the ducking we had received was quickly forgotten,
and the next down-pour took us as completely by surprise as if it were
the first of the season.

It was still early in the morning when, down the green-framed roadway,
came a funeral procession on its way to the place where the body was to
be burned. There came, first of all, dozens of girls dressed as if for a
holiday. About their necks were garlands of flowers; in their jet-black
hair, red and white blossoms. Each carried a flat basket heaped high
with bananas of the brightest yellow, with golden mangoes and great
plump pineapples, for the dead. The girls held the baskets high above
their heads, swinging their bodies from side to side and tripping
lightly back and forth across the road, the long line performing a
snake-dance as they came. The strange music that rose and fell in time
with their movements sounded like a song of victory; now and again a
singer broke out in merry laughter.

The coffin was a wooden box gayly decked with flowers and trinkets, and
three of the eight men who carried it on their shoulders were puffing at
long native cigars. Behind them more men, led by two yellow-robed
priests, pattered through the dust, chattering like schoolgirls, or now
and then adding their harsh voices to the singing.

We reached the village of Moulmein late at night, and went home with a
Eurasian youth who had invited us to sleep on his veranda. There we
threw ourselves down on the floor, and, drenched and mud-caked as we
were, sank into corpse-like slumber.

                              CHAPTER XXII
                        IN THE JUNGLES OF BURMA

The next morning we went to call on an American missionary. He lived in
a handsome bungalow set in a wooded park on a hill just outside the
town. The first persons we saw when we reached the place were a native
gardener clipping away at the shrubbery on the grounds, and another
servant following two very little girls who drove about the house a team
of lizards harnessed together with reins tied to their hind legs.

When we told the missionary that we were looking for work, he quickly
found something to put us at. Among other things, I repaired the floor
and several windows, and made two kitchen benches. James put a new cover
on the missionary’s saddle, cleaned and oiled his fire-arms, put new
roosts in his hen-house, and set his lumber-room in order.

We found some work in the city also, and, with some four dollars in
silver and copper, set off once more. A jungle trail led eastward
through a dark forest. We walked as fast as we could, for the hour was
late and the next village was fully fifteen miles distant. Not a hut or
a human being did we pass on the journey; only the path showed that
someone had been there before us.

Black night had fallen when we reached Kawkeriek. The town was only a
collection of those same one-story bamboo huts standing in uneven rows
in the square clearing which its inhabitants had won after a hard fight
with the wilderness.

We had heard that a commissioner lived at Kawkeriek. We wandered among
the huts, asking passers-by to direct us to his bungalow. The few whom
we came upon in the darkness listened with trembling limbs to our
question, grunted something that we couldn’t understand, and hurried
noiselessly away.

The hour was late when we came upon one who must have been made of
bolder stuff than his fellow townsmen, for he agreed to guide us. Beyond
the last row of huts, he plunged into a pathway that led into the woods,
and, climbing a low hill, stopped before a bungalow almost hidden in the
trees. We turned to thank him, but found that he had slipped silently

The commissioner was reading in his study. To our surprise, he was a
brown man—a Burman from “over Mandalay way.” He said he had not dined,
and for that we were thankful; for to have missed the dinner that he
invited us to share would have been a misfortune indeed.

We watched the commissioner with interest; for it is not often that
England honors a brown man by making him a ruler over one of her
districts. In appearance he was like other Burmans of the wealthier
class. He wore the usual flowing robe, though his legs were dressed and
his feet were shod. His long, thick black hair was caught up at the back
of his head in a graceful knot. But in manners and speech he was like an
educated European. He spoke English so well that if we had entered the
bungalow blindfolded we should never have suspected that his skin was
brown. We were much surprised to learn that he was still a bachelor; for
people of Asia usually marry when they are very young. When we gave
expression to our astonishment, he answered: “I have been too busy in my
short life to give attention to such matters.”

[Illustration: The chief of a jungle village agrees to guide us for one
day’s journey.]

There was a dak bungalow in Kawkeriek. The commissioner’s servant showed
us the way, prepared our bath, and arranged the sleeping-rooms for us.
In the morning we took breakfast with the governor. Later that morning
he called together his council of eight wise men for no other purpose
than to talk over with them our plans for traveling to Siam on foot.
Toward noon they called us in to tell us what they thought about it. One
speaker said that the country east of the city was a trackless jungle
overrun with savages, poisonous snakes, and man-eating tigers. Even the
people of Kawkeriek dared not go far into it. However, if we were
determined to risk our lives and go, there was outside the door a “wild
man,” chief of a jungle village, who was going our way, and he would
guide us for one day’s journey.

We answered that we must start immediately. A servant stepped out on to
the veranda and summoned the _boh_, as they called the “wild man.” He
came into the council-chamber, a tall, thin, bony, awkward wild man. His
skin was a leathery brown, his hair short and standing up like bristles
all over his head. His eyes were small, and moved about so restlessly
that he made us think of a leopard. His cheek-bones were high and his
forehead sloped backward to his hair. The chewing of betel-nuts had made
his teeth jet-black. We began to fancy that we had seen him before,
playing and chattering in the tree-tops.

His clothes, nevertheless, were brilliant. Around his head was wound a
strip of pink silk; an embroidered jacket, having no buttons, left his
chest bare to the waist-line; his hips and legs were clothed as far as
the knees in many yards of bright red stuff draped to look like
bloomers. Below the knees he wore nothing. At his waist was fastened a
bag for betel-nuts. He carried a leather sack of the shape of a
saddle-bag, and—an umbrella.

He spoke a Burmese so different from that used by the commissioner and
his council that their words had to be translated for him by another
native. We knew that they were telling him that he was to be our guide
through the jungle. He listened carefully, and gave a grunt now and then
to show that he understood, bowing so low each time he spoke that his
head all but touched his knees. From time to time, when he wished to
show unusual politeness, he sat down on his heels. When he left, he
backed toward the door, bowing almost to the floor with every step, and
forgetting his leather sack until he was called back by a member of the

The brilliant clothes that this jungle chieftain wore while calling on
the governor were not his traveling costume, of course. As soon as we
were outside the city, he signed to us to wait, and stepped inside a
hut. When he came out again we hardly knew him. His fine clothes had
been packed away in his sack. The broad strap of this sack was his only
covering save a strip of cotton which he wore about his hips.

He turned at once into the jungle, moving with little mincing steps,
while we stumbled along awkwardly over the uneven ground. The path was
so narrow that the outstretching branches whipped us in the faces. It
was overgrown with tough creepers that entangled our feet. None but a
human being who had lived in the jungle all his life could have followed
that wandering, often hidden path through the thick maze of vegetation.
Had we been alone we should certainly have lost it. Flocks of
brilliantly colored birds flew away before us, screaming shrilly; now
and then we heard a sudden crashing in the underbrush as some wild
animal fled from our path.

Our guide was the most silent of creatures. Never once during the day
did a sound escape him. Where the path widened a bit, he raised his
umbrella and trotted steadily forward. Even swollen streams did not stop
him—he hardly seemed to notice them. With never a pause, he splashed
through the first as if there were nothing in his way, and galloped
carelessly on along the branch-choked path. We hallooed to him as we sat
down to pull off our shoes. If we let him get out of our sight we should
be hopelessly lost in the jungle. He halted a moment, but set off again
before we had waded ashore. We shouted once more, and he turned to stare
open-mouthed while we put on our shoes. He could not understand why we
strange creatures should wear garments on our feet, or why we should
stop to put them on when there were other streams to wade through. When
we had overtaken him, he made signs to show us that we should do better
to toss aside the foolish leather things that made it necessary for us
to stop so often. He could not understand that a mile over sharp stones
and jagged roots would have left us crippled.

As we neared the mountains we came across stream after stream, rushing
past with increased swiftness. By the time we had waded through
thirty-six of these we grew tired of halting every hundred yards to pull
off our shoes and shout after the _boh_, who always forgot to wait for

When we reached the next stream, James tried crossing it on a few
stepping-stones without removing his shoes. But he slipped, lost his
balance, and sprawled headlong into the water. I followed more
carefully, and reached the other bank without falling. After that we
waded through streams that for the most part were over knee-deep, and
marched on with the water gushing from our shoe-tops. It mattered little
in the end, for a sudden storm burst upon us.

He who has never bowed his back to a tropical storm at the height of the
rainy season cannot know how violent they are. With a roar like the
explosion of a powder-mill, a furious clap of thunder broke above us;
then another and another, in quick deafening blasts. Flaming flashes of
lightning continuously chased each other across the heavens, blinding us
with their sudden glare. We half expected to see the mass of plant life
about us burst into flame.

In the falling sheets of water we plunged on; the biggest trees could
not have sheltered us from it. The _boh_ had raised his umbrella. It
kept the storm from pounding him, but could not save him a drenching.
What cared he, dressed only in a cloth the size of a handkerchief? The
water ran in little rivers down his naked shoulders and along the
hollows between his outstanding ribs. Between the crashes of thunder the
thud, thud of the storm drowned all other sounds. Only by speaking into
my companion’s ear as into a trumpet, and shouting at the top of my
lungs, could I make him hear me.

The storm died down slowly at first, then suddenly, and all seemed quiet
except our voices, which continued to be shrill and loud. Quickly the
sun burst forth again, to blaze fiercely upon us—though not for long.
All that day the storms broke upon us one after another so rapidly that
we had no idea of their number. More often than not, they caught us
climbing a wall-like mountainside by a narrow, clay-bottomed path down
which an ever-increasing brook poured, washing us off our feet while we
clutched at overhanging bushes.

The _boh_ led us on by zigzag routes over two mountain ranges before the
day was done. At sunset we were climbing down into another valley, when
we came suddenly upon a tiny clearing in the jungle, and a tinier
village. “Thenganyenam,” the natives called it. There were four bamboo
huts and a dak bungalow, housing thirty-one “wild men” and one tame one.
It was easy to see how many there were, for the natives poured forth
from their hovels to meet us before we had crossed five yards of the

At their head trotted the tamed human being. Among all the shrieking,
staring band of men, women, and children, there was no other that wore
clothing. He was a babu, the “manager” of the public rest house. With a
low bow, he offered us welcome, turned to wave back the gazing crowd,
and led the way to the dak bungalow.

“Look here, babu,” I began, as we sank down into wicker chairs on the
veranda. “This is a splendid little surprise to find a dak rest bungalow
and a man who speaks English here in the jungle. But we’re no
millionaires, and the government fee is two rupees, eh? Too strong for
us. Can’t you get us a cheaper lodging in one of the huts?”

“The government,” returned the babu, pronouncing his words very
carefully, “the government have made the _dak_ bungalow for Europeans.
Why, you may not ask me. In two years and nine days that I am living in
Thenganyenam there are come two white men, and one have only rested and
not sleep. But because the dak bungalow is make, all sahibs coming in
Thenganyenam must stop in it. When I have see you coming by the foot and
not by the horses I must know that you have not plenty money. Every day
we are not everybody rich. How strong you have the legs to come from
Kawkeriek by the feet. The two rupees you must not pay. If you can give
some little to the cook, that he make you a supper—”

“That’s the word,” burst out James. “Of course we pay for our chow.
Where’s the chowkee? Tell him to get busy.”

“But,” apologized the _babu_, “this is a very jungly place and we have
not proper food for Europeans.”

“Great dingoes!” shrieked the Australian. “European food? We haven’t had
anything to eat for a day! Bring a pan of rice, or a raw turnip, or a
fried snake—anything. Ring up the chowkee.”

“The other day,” said the _babu_ dreamily, “there was a chicken in
Thenganyenam; I shall send the cook to hunt him.”

A few minutes later we saw the population of Thenganyenam chasing the
lone fowl. He was finally run to earth with a great hubbub, and put to
death while the crowd looked on. After that all was quiet for so long a
time that we became uneasy, wondering if some one else was enjoying our
dinner. Finally, when our overgrown hunger had become very painful
indeed, the chicken appeared before us as tongue-scorching curry in a
generous setting of hard-boiled rice.

Meanwhile we had pulled off our water-soaked rags, rubbed down with a
strip of canvas, and put on our extra garments. The change was most
agreeable. It was not until then that we knew how useful those squares
of oil-cloth were. They had kept our baggage dry. Supper over, we
stretched out on the canvas cots and tried to sleep.

The swamps and streams through which we had plunged that day had swarmed
with leeches, commonly called bloodsuckers. One of these had fastened
itself in a vein of my right ankle. I could not pull it out. A tiny
stream of blood trickled along my toes. When I awoke in the morning I
seemed to be fastened to the cot. The blood, oozing out during the
night, had grown hard, gluing my right leg to the canvas.

Before I had dressed, the Hindu cook and care-taker wandered into the
room, and, catching sight of the long red stain, gave one shriek and
tumbled out on to the veranda. James, who was sleeping in a room next to
mine, was awakened by the scream, and, hearing the Hindustanee word for
“blood,” sprang to his feet in the belief that I had been murdered while
he slept. I was explaining the matter to him when the cook, looking very
frightened, returned with the book in which we had written our names the
night before. Waving his arm now at the book, now at the cot, he danced
about us, screaming excitedly. We could not understand his chatter, so
we stepped past him out to the veranda. The “manager” was just coming up
the steps.

“Here, babu,” demanded James, “what’s wrong with our friend from the

The Hindu turned to the manager, talking so rapidly that he almost
choked over his words. Tears were streaming down his yellow-brown

“He says,” cried the babu, when the cook became silent at last, “in the
charpoy is much blood. Have you become wounded?”

“It was only a blood-sucker,” I explained; “but what does he say about
the book?”

“The cook asks that you will write all the story of the blood in it,
very careful.”

“What nonsense!” I answered, when James had stopped laughing. “I’ll pay
for the damage to the charpoy.”

“Oh! It is no dam-magé,” protested the babu, “no dam-magé at all. He is
not ask for pay. But when the inspector is coming and seeing the much
blood in the charpoy, he is thinking the cook have kill a man who have
sleep here, and he is taking him to Kawkeriek and making him shot. Very
bad. So cook cry. Please, sir, write you the story in the register

I sat down at the veranda table and wrote a long story for the visiting
inspector. Only when I had filled the page below our names, and half the
next one, was the Hindu cook satisfied. He then carried the book away
for safe keeping.

We wrapped our dry garments in the oil-cloth once more, and put on the
rags and tatters we had stretched along the ceiling the evening before.
They were still clammy wet. As for our shoes, we almost gave up the hope
of getting into them. When we managed to pull them on at last we could
hardly walk. Our feet were blistered and swollen to the ankles, the
shoes wrinkled and shrunken until the leather was as hard and unbendable
as sheet-iron. However, we hobbled down the veranda steps and away. For
the first hour we walked as if we were crossing a field of hot coals.
Once James slipped and stumbled over the stones like a man learning to
skate. We suffered at every step of our journey from Thenganyenam to

                             CHAPTER XXIII
                                IN SIAM

The distance to the free state was not great. When we reached the
boundary we came upon a camp of native soldiers. Here we stopped, as was
our duty before crossing into Siam. The soldiers were simple,
good-hearted fellows who showed their astonishment and their sorrow at
the condition of our feet through the language of signs, and did their
best to prepare us a good dinner from the rice and jungle vegetables
they had. It was fortunate for us that they were so generous, for there
were no stores in the jungle land.

The native lieutenant showed a strong curiosity to know what had brought
us so far into the wilds. We tried to motion out our reasons for coming,
but failed to make him understand. Finally he ordered a soldier to guide
us to the first Siamese village, where he was to explain our presence to
the head man.

When the sun had begun to set and the latest storm had ceased, we left
the camp and Burma behind. The river that marked the boundary between
the two countries was not very wide and only waist-deep. We waded across
it easily, and climbed the sandy eastern bank—in Siam at last.

We knew that the first village was no great distance off, so we strolled
easily on through the jungle, pausing to rest in shady thickets so often
that the native soldier left us and went on alone. Two hours later we
met him on his homeward journey. He paused to tell us by signs that he
had delivered his message and that the village was waiting to receive

[Illustration: A freight carrier crossing the stream that separates
Burma from Siam.]

The day was not yet done when we came in sight of the first clearing in
Siam. We were met at the edge of the jungle by a Siamese with ape-like
countenance, who led us to the hut of the village head man.

Picture to yourself a very fat, important-looking brown man, with a face
like an Alaskan totem-pole and the general appearance of a wild man in a
circus, a skin the color of a door-mat that has been in use for many
years, dressed in a castoff dish-cloth, and you have an exact image of
the ruler of this Siamese village. He received us in a misshapen bamboo
shack, sitting with folded legs on a grass mat in the middle of the
floor. Around the walls squatted several of his chief men, dressed like
himself. Through the network partition that separated the city hall from
the family chamber peered a leathery-skinned woman and a troop of dusky

If we had waited for an invitation to be seated we might have remained
standing all night. These Siamese did not appear at all friendly toward
us. We made ourselves comfortable on the floor, with our backs to the
wall. For more than an hour the head man and his advisers sat
motionless, staring fixedly at us, and mumbling in a low tone without
once turning their heads toward those to whom they were speaking.

The sun sank into the jungle, and swift darkness fell. The
leathery-skinned woman drifted into the room and set on the floor an oil
torch that gave a dim, flickering light. I had learned a few Siamese
words from the _babu_ of Thenganyenam. When the talking ceased for a
moment, I put these words in use by calling for food. The head man
growled, and the woman floated in once more and placed at our feet a
small wash-tub of boiled rice.

But I was tired of eating rice. I dragged out my note-book and again ran
my eyes down the list of Siamese words. I had failed to write down the
words for chicken or curry. The only word that appeared to be of any
value at the time was “sugar.” Sugar would make my rice less tasteless.
I shouted the word at the head man. He stared open-mouthed until I had
repeated it several times.

“Sugar?” he echoed, showing great astonishment.

“Yes, sugar,” I cried, sprinkling an imaginary handful over the rice.

The law-makers gazed at each other with wondering eyes, and the word
passed from mouth to mouth: “Sugar!”

“Sure, sugar!” cried James, taking up the refrain.

A man rose slowly to his feet, marched across to us, and squatted before
the dish.

“Sugar?” he inquired, peering into our faces. “No, no!”

He took a pinch of the food between his fingers, put it into his mouth,
and munched it slowly as if he were trying to examine the taste. Then he
shook his head forcefully and spat the mouthful out on the floor.

“No; no sugar, no!” he cried.

[Illustration: My companion, Gerald James of Perth, Australia, crossing
the boundary line between Burma and Siam.]

“Of course there’s no sugar!” shouted James. “That’s why we’re making a
holler. Sugar, you thick-headed mummy.” James thought it was not
necessary to be polite, since they couldn’t understand him.

The official taster went back to his place; a silence fell over the
company. We continued to shout. Suddenly a light of understanding
brightened the face of the head man. Could it be because we _wanted_
sugar that we were raising such a hubub, not because we had fancied some
had been accidentally spilled on our supper? He called to the woman.
When she appeared with a joint of bamboo filled with muddy brown sugar,
the council men rose gravely and grouped themselves about us. I
sprinkled half the sugar on the rice, stirred it in, and began to eat.

At the first mouthful such a roar of laughter went up from the group
that I choked in astonishment. Whoever would have guessed that these
gloomy-faced great ones could laugh? The chief fell to shaking as with a
fit; his advisers doubled up with laughter. They shrieked until they
were heard in the neighboring huts. Wild-eyed Siamese tumbled into the
shack. Within two minutes half the village had flocked into the room to
see those strange beings who ate sugar with their rice.

The head man stopped laughing, then became stern and drove all but the
high and mighty among his people forth into the night. Among those who
stayed was a _babu_. He was a Siamese youth who had been educated in
Rangoon. To satisfy the head man he questioned us as to our plans, and
later told the chief and his followers what we had replied. The company
then talked it over for about two hours. At the end of that time they
told us what they thought of the trip we had planned. They said the
jungle to the eastward was so wild, entangled with undergrowth, and
pathless that even the natives did not try to get through it. Certainly
white men would not be able to make their way through such a place. We
must not try it. There was in the village a squad of soldiers who were
going to Rehang in a week or ten days—we could travel with them. Until
then we must stay in the village.

James and I said we certainly could not wait for so long a time. The
head man replied that we should stay, whether we liked it or not. As it
was late at night, we pretended that we were willing to do as they said,
and told them we were sleepy. The village chief lighted us into one of
the small rooms of his palace, and left us to sleep on the bamboo floor.

We fell asleep at once. Early the next morning, long before the sun was
up, we awoke, grasped our oil-cloth baggage, and tried to get away
before anyone saw us. Softly we entered the council-chamber. But the
chief was already astir. We hurried toward the door, thinking that he
would try to stop us. All he did was to shout at us as we stepped out
into the dripping dawn.

At the eastern end of the town began a faint path; but it soon faded
away, and we pushed and tore our way through the jungle, guided only by
our pocket compass. The war-like vegetation battled against us, tore our
rags to bits, and cut and gashed us from head to ankles. The
perspiration ran in stinging streams along our bleeding skins and
dripped from our faces. Though we fought the undergrowth tooth and nail,
we did not cover two miles an hour.

The sun was high when we reached a spot showing that someone had passed
that way before. It was a clearing not more than six feet square, in the
center of which was a slimy pool, with a few joints of bamboo that
looked as if they had been cut only a short time. With these we drank
our fill of the lukewarm water, and then threw ourselves down in the

Suddenly we heard human voices. We sprang to our feet, half expecting to
be attacked by murderous savages. Then our fright left us as there burst
into the clearing a squad of little brown soldiers.

There were seven in the party, a sergeant and four common soldiers armed
with muskets, and two coolie carriers, each bowed under the weight of
two baskets that hung from the pole on their shoulders. When they saw us
they gasped in astonishment. Then they rushed for the bamboo cups beside
the water-hole, while the servants knelt to set their baskets on the
grass. For a time we thought they had been sent to bring us back; but
when they let us handle their weapons we knew that we had nothing to
fear. They were on their way to Rehang, but why they had left the
village so much earlier than the time set we could not find out.

They looked like boys playing war. The sergeant, larger than the others,
did not come to James’s chin—and the Australian was not tall. The rest
were weak-looking little runts. An average American school-boy could
have tied any one of them into a knot and tossed him aside into the
jungle. There was nothing war-like in their manners or their babyish
faces. They were dressed in the regular khaki uniform, except that their
trousers came only to their knees, leaving their scrawny legs bare. From
their belts hung bayonets; and around the waist of each was tied a
stocking-like sack of rice.

We talked with them some time by signs. I tried to tell the sergeant
that my own country owned the Philippine Islands, which were not far
from his country. He thought I meant that my country owned Siam. He
sneered at me most cuttingly. The very idea that the white man had any
claim on the free country of Siam! How foolish! He told his soldiers
about it. They scoffed at us, and even the carriers grinned scornfully.
When they had eaten a jungle lunch the soldiers stretched out for their
noonday nap, and we went on alone.

It was long hours afterward that we came to a break in the jungle.
Through the undergrowth we made out two miserable huts. We dashed
eagerly toward them, for we had had nothing to eat since the night
before and our tramp had made us very hungry.

Two thin brown women, dressed in short skirts and broad-brimmed hats
made of big leaves, were scratching the mud of a tiny garden before the
first hut. I called for food and shook a handful of coppers in their
faces; but, although they must have understood us, they would not
answer. We danced excitedly about them, shrieking all the Siamese names
for food that we knew. Still they stared with half-open mouths, showing
uneven rows of black teeth. We had expected this. Even far back in
Moulmein, we had been warned that the jungle folk of Siam would not sell
food to travelers. Far off in this howling wilderness among the
mountains, the people had never used money and did not know that our
coins had any value.

We went on, and just at sunset burst into the scattered village of
Banpáwa. About forty howling storms had poured upon us during the day,
and we had waded through an even greater number of streams. My jacket
was torn to ribbons; my back and shoulders were painfully sunburned; in
a struggle with a stubborn thicket I had lost a leg of my trousers. And
the Australian looked about as pretty as I.

Near the center of the village was a large roof of grass upheld by
slender bamboo poles. Under it were huddled about twenty
freight-carriers, surrounded by bales and bundles. They were the human
freight trains of the Siamese jungle—cross, silent fellows, who, though
they stared open-mouthed when we appeared, would not have anything to
say to us.

They were strong-looking, with great knots of muscles standing out on
their glistening brown bodies. A small rag was their only clothing.
Above it the skin was thickly tattooed to the neck with strange figures
of beasts. Among these the form of a fat pig seemed to be the favorite.
Below the hip-cloth the figures were blue, even more closely crowded
together, but stopping short at the knees.

We tried to buy food from our sulky companions. They growled for answer.
Like the soldiers, each of them wore at his waist a bag of rice. A few
were preparing supper over bonfires at the edge of the shelter; but not
a grain of rice would they sell. A raging storm broke while we were
wandering from one to another offering them our money. When the storm
began to die down, we hobbled out into the night to try to buy from the

There were about twenty huts in the clearing. We climbed into one after
another of them, in spite of our aching legs. But it was useless: nobody
would sell. Too hungry to care what happened to us, we climbed boldly
into the last hut, and caught up a kettle, intending to cook our own

The householder shrieked wildly, and, before we had kindled a fire, a
mob of his fellow townsmen swarmed into the shack and fell upon us. They
were not the fiercest of fighters—we shook and kicked them off like
puppies. But when the last one had tumbled down the ladder we saw that
they had carried off every pot, pan, and eatable about the place.
Besides the bare walls there remained only a naked brown baby, that
rolled about the floor, howling uproariously.

The people of the village were screaming around the shanty in a way that
made us glad we had a prisoner. James sat down, gazed sadly at the
wailing infant, and shook his head.

“No good,” he sighed. “Not fat enough. Anyway, there’s no kettle to cook
it in. Let’s get out of this.”

We turned toward the door. A man was peering over the edge of the
veranda. By the silken band around his brow we knew that he was a Burman
and also that he spoke Hindustanee. We understood enough of his excited
chatter to know that he had come to lead us to a place where food was
sold. As we reached the ground the crowd parted to let us pass; but the
furious natives danced about us, screaming and shaking sticks and clubs
in our faces. A few steps from the hut one bold spirit struck me a
resounding whack on the back of the head. It was a heavy blow, but the
weapon was a hollow bamboo stick and caused no damage. When I turned to
fall upon my assailant the whole crowd took to their heels and fled into
the night.

“All I’ve got to say,” panted James, as we hurried on after our guide,
“is, I’m glad that’s not a crowd of Irishmen. Where would the pioneer
beach-combers of the Malay Peninsula be now if that collection of
dish-rags knew how to scrap?”

The Burman led us through half a mile of mud and brush, and a stream
that was almost waist-deep, to a hut a long distance from Banpáwa. He
went in with us, and sat down to keep us company until our rice and fish
had been boiled. He was quite clever in understanding the few words and
the motions we made. Suddenly he began to wish that he had a tropical
helmet to wear in place of the band around his brow. He pointed at the
one James wore and held up one finger.

“One rupee! Say yes, sahib?” he coaxed.

“Can’t sell it,” growled the Australian. “Think I want to get

The Burman shrugged his shoulders, then rose and went sadly forth into
the night.

We turned in soon after on a sort of platform, with nine youngsters who
amused themselves by walking and tumbling over our outstretched forms. A
lizard chorus sang loud and gaily. We slept a little by snatches.

When daylight came the Burman appeared again. This time he pointed at
James’s helmet and held up two fingers. James still refused to sell.

“Then yours, sahib,” begged the fellow in Hindustanee. “One rupee!”

“Only one?” I cried. “Two rupees.”

“One!” he shrieked. “Two for the sahib’s which is new. One for yours.”

The Burman gave in at last, however, and, dropping two coins in my hand,
marched proudly away with my old helmet set down over his ears.

I handed one of the coins to the head of the family, and we hit the
trail again. Out of sight of the hut, we halted to put on the extra
suits in our bundles. From the rags and tatters of my old suit I made a
band to wind around my head, after the fashion of Burma. Even with the
top of my head uncovered to the sun and rain, I did not suffer.

                              CHAPTER XXIV
                              HUNGRY DAYS

The territory beyond Banpáwa was more savage than any we had yet seen.
Everywhere the climbing and creeping plant life was so thick and
interwoven that our feet could not reach the ground. Often, when we
tried to plunge through a thicket, we were caught as if in a net. It was
impossible to get through, and we crawled out with torn garments and
bleeding hands and faces to fight our way around the spot. We were now
in the very heart of the mountains. Range after range appeared, covered
with unbroken jungle. From the top of every mountain there spread out
before us an endless forest of teak and bamboo matted together with the
wildest undergrowth. Mountains that were just blue wreaths in the
morning climbed higher and higher into the sky—and beyond them were more
mountains, all covered with a mass of waving tree-tops. Every valley was
choked with vegetation.

Often, while climbing, we lost our footing and went plunging headlong
through thorn-bristling thickets. There were no level spaces. No sooner
had we reached the bottom of a narrow valley than we found ourselves at
the base of another higher mountain, which we climbed hand over hand as
a sailor climbs a rope. In our ears sounded the continual hum of
insects; now and then a snake squirmed off through the bushes; more than
once we heard the roar of some beast. Monkeys swarmed in the thick
network of branches overhead, and fled screaming away, as we came near,
into the dark depths of the forest.

At every mud-hole we halted to drink; for within us burned a thirst such
as no man knows who has not suffered it in the jungle. Chocolate-colored
water we drank, water alive with squirming animal life, in pools out of
which wriggled brilliant green snakes. Often I rose to my feet to find a
blood-sucker clinging to my lower lip.

As the day grew, a raging hunger fell upon us. In a sharp valley we came
upon a tree on the trunk of which hung a dozen or more jack-fruits
within easy reach. We grasped one and tried to pull it down. The short,
tough stem was as stout as a manila rope, and knife we had none. We
wrapped our arms around the fruit and tugged with the strength of
despair; we might as well have tried to pull up a ship’s anchor by hand.
We chopped at the stem with sharp stones; we hunted up great rocks and
attempted to split the fruit open on the tree, screaming with rage and
bruising our fingers. Streams of perspiration raced down our
sun-scorched skins; our hunger and thirst grew maddening; and still
nothing came of it. When we finally gave up and plunged on, our violent
attack on the fruit had hardly scratched its stony rind.

Weary and half starved, matted with mud from crown to toe, and bleeding
from countless cuts and scratches, we were still struggling with the
entangling vegetation well on in the afternoon, when James, who was
ahead of me, uttered a shriek of victory.

“A path! A path!” he cried. “And a telegraph wire!”

Certain that hunger and the sun had turned his brain, I tore my way
through the thicket that separated us. He was not mad. A path there was,
narrow and steep: and overhead a sagging telegraph wire, running from
tree to tree.

After following it for about a half-hour we came to a little plain
crossed by a swift stream, in which swam a covey of snow-white ducks. On
the western bank stood a weather-beaten bungalow. Above it the telegraph
wire disappeared. We drank from the river until we were thirsty no more,
and then mounted the narrow steps and shouted to attract attention.
There was no answer. We pushed open the door and entered. The room was
about eight feet square and entirely unfurnished. In one corner hung an
unpainted telephone instrument. It was home-made and very crude. A
spider had spun his web across the mouth of the receiver, and there were
no signs that anyone had ever lived in the hut.

“There is nothing worth while here,” said James. “Let’s swim the creek.”

On the opposite bank was a bamboo rest house, the floor of which was
raised some feet above the damp ground. Back of it, among the trees,
stood a cluster of seven huts. We went to all of them, trying to buy
food, but returned to the rest house with nothing but the information
that the village was called Kathái Ywá. Nine freight-carriers had
arrived. Among them were several we had seen the evening before. They
had, perhaps, some secret hatred against white men; for they not only
refused to sell us rice, but scowled and snarled when we drew near them.
The day was not yet done. We should have pushed on had not James fallen
victim to a burning jungle fever.

While there was plenty of water at hand, our hunger became unbearable.
For a time we kept ourselves cheerful by thinking that perhaps the next
carrier who wandered into the place would be more friendly. But each new
arrival was more stupid and surly than the others. The sun touched the
western tree-tops. James lay on his back, red-eyed with fever. Eat we
must, if we were to have strength to go on in the morning. I made the
round of the huts a second time, hoping to bully the inhabitants into
selling me food. The people rose in a mass and swarmed upon me. The men
carried long, overgrown knives; the women, clubs. I returned hastily to
the rest house.

The sight of the telephone wire awakened within me the senseless notion
that I might call for help from some neighboring village. I left my
shoes and trousers in charge of the Australian, and dashed through the
stream and into the government bungalow. At the first call I “got”
someone. Who or where he was I could not guess. I bawled into the
receiver English, French, German, and all the Hindustanee I could think
of. When I paused for breath the unknown subscriber had “rung off.” I
jangled the bell and shook and pounded the instrument for five minutes.
A glassy-eyed lizard ran out along the wire and stared down upon me. His
mate in the grassy roof above screeched mockingly. Then another voice
sounded faintly in my ear.

“Hello!” I shouted. “Who’s this? We want to eat. D’you speak English? Do
sahib hai, Kathái Ywá. Send us some—”

A flood of meaningless jabber interrupted me. I had rung up a Burman;
but he was no babu.

“English!” I shrieked. “Anyone there that speaks English? We’re sahibs!
Hello! Hello, I say! Hello—”

No answer. Central had cut me off again. I rang the bell until my arm
was lame, and listened breathlessly. All was still. I dropped the
receiver and tumbled out of the hut, determined to throttle one of the
freight-carriers. In the middle of the stream I slipped on a stone and
fell on my knees, the water up to my arm-pits. The startled ducks ran
away before me. I snatched up a club, and ran after them through the
village and back to the creek again. The inhabitants ran screaming
behind me. I threw the weapon at the nearest fowl. It was only a joint
of bamboo, and fell short. The ducks took to the water. I plunged in
after them, and once more fell sprawling.

Before I could scramble to my feet, a shout sounded near at hand. I
looked up to see the squad of soldiers breaking out of the jungle. They
halted before the government bungalow, and watched me with deep-set
grins as I came toward them. The sergeant, understanding the motions I
made, offered us places around the common rice heap. I returned to the
rest house for my garments. The villagers were driving their panting
ducks homeward. The Australian struggled to his feet and waded the
stream once more, joining the soldiers on the veranda of the government
bungalow. Their porters brought huge wet leaves to protect the floor,
and built a fire within. Half an hour later the troopers rose to their
feet, shouting, “Kin-kow! Kin-kow!” (“Eat!”) We followed them into the
smoke-choked building. In a civilized land I would not have tasted such
fare as was spread out on that banana leaf in the center of the floor,
to win a wager. At that moment it seemed food fit for a king.

We slept with the soldiers in the telephone bungalow. James’s fever
burned itself out, and he awoke with the dawn, ready to push on. For the
first few miles we followed a path below the telephone wire. In
stumbling over the uneven ground my shoe-laces broke again and again.
Well on in the morning I halted to replace them with stout vines. The
Australian went on ahead. Before I had overtaken him the path divided
into two paths, and the wire disappeared in the forest between the two
trails. I hallooed to my companion; but the rain was coming down in
torrents, and the voice does not carry far in the jungle. I struck into
one of the paths; but in less than an hour it faded and was lost. I
found myself alone in a trackless wilderness.

[Illustration: The sort of jungle through which we cut our way for three
weeks. Gerald James, my Australian companion, in the foreground.]

Here was a misfortune indeed. The Australian had carried off the
compass; our money was in my bundle. What chance was there of finding
each other again in hundreds of miles of untraveled wilds?

I set a course by the sun, and for three hours fought my way up the
wall-like face of a mountain. To crash and roll down the opposite slope
took me less than a third of that time. In the valley, tucked away under
soaring teak trees, was a lonely little hut. A black-toothed woman in a
short skirt squatted in the shade under the cabin, pounding rice in a
hollowed log. The jungle was humming its sleepy tune. I climbed to the
veranda and lay down, certain that I had seen the last of James, the
Australian. Under the hut sounded the _thump_, _thump_, _thump_ of the

But it was not by loafing in the shade that I should beat my way through
to civilization. I soon rose to my feet and arranged the things in my
bundle again. If I could only hire a guide. Hark! The sound of a human
voice came faintly to my ear. No doubt the owner of the hut was
returning from a morning hunting trip. I listened attentively. Then off
to the right in the jungle rang out a familiar song:

              “Oh, I long to see my dear old home again,
              And the cottage in the little winding lane.
              You can hear the birds a-singing,
              And pluck the roses blooming;
              Oh, I long to see my dear old home again!”

It was the Australian’s favorite ballad. I shouted at the top of my
lungs, and, springing to the ground, with one leap crashed into the
jungle. A thicket caught me in its tough grasp. I tore savagely at the
entangling branches. The voice of the Australian rang out once more:

     “Oh, why did I leave my little back room, out in Bloomsburee?
     Where I could live on a quid a week in such luxuree—”

He was farther away now. I snatched myself loose and plunged on after
him, leaving a sleeve of my jacket in the thicket.

“Hello, James! Hello!” I bellowed.

He was singing so loudly that the sound of his own voice filled his
ears. I opened my mouth to shout again, and fell through a bush into a
clearly marked path. Above it sagged the telephone wire, and just in
sight through the overhanging branches plodded the Australian.

“Goodness, but you’re slow,” he laughed, when I had overtaken him.

“When’d you find the path?” I demanded.

“Haven’t lost it,” he answered. “Why? Did you?”

“Haven’t seen it for five hours,” I replied.

“Great dingoes!” he gasped. “Thought you were close behind, or I’d have
felt mighty little like singing.”

We had no difficulty in keeping to the path for the rest of the day, and
passed several freight-carriers traveling westward. With never a hut on
the way, we went hungry. Yet, had we but known it, there was food all
about us. What a helpless being is civilized man without the tools of

Faint from hunger, we had halted at the edge of a mountain stream well
on in the afternoon, when we were overtaken by the little brown
soldiers. They had packed away their uniforms and wore only loin-cloths
and caps.

“Kin-kow? Kin-kow?” (“Are you hungry?”) asked the sergeant, placing his
hand on his stomach.

We nodded sadly. He chuckled to himself, and waved his arms about him as
if to say there was food all about us. We shrugged our shoulders
unbelievingly. He laughed gleefully, and turned to say something to his
men. Two of the soldiers picked up clubs, and, returning along the path
to a half-rotten log, began to move back and forth on both sides of it,
striking it sharp blows here and there. They came back with a half-dozen
lizards—those great, green reptiles that sing their _she-kak!_ all night
long in the grassy roofs of the Indian bungalows.

Meanwhile two others of the company were kneeling at the edge of a
mud-hole. From time to time they plunged their bare arms into it,
drawing out frogs and dropping them, still alive, into a hollow bamboo
stick. The sergeant took his long, heavy knife, or _dah_, and cut down a
small tree at the edge of the jungle. One servant dug some reddish-brown
roots on the bank of the stream, while the other started a fire by
rubbing two sticks together.

In a few minutes all were gathered beside us. The lizards were skinned,
cut up with lumps of red curry in an iron pot, and set to boiling. A
servant drew out the frogs, one by one, struck them on the head with a
stick, and tossed them to his companion. The latter rolled them up
inside mud balls and threw them into the fire. The sergeant split open
his tree, pulled out a soft spongy stuff from the center of it, cut it
into slices, toasted them on the point of his _dah_, and tossed them on
to a large leaf spread out at our feet. The reddish roots were beaten to
a pulp on a rock and sprinkled over the toasted slices. Rice was boiled.

The soldiers, grinning at one another, began saying, “Kin-kow? Kin-kow?”
and the meal began. Before it was finished we thought better of both the
jungle and its people. Taken from their shell of mud, the frogs were
found to be baked in round balls and tasted like fried fish. The toasted
pith from the tree tasted like pickled beets. Best of all was the lizard
curry. James and I ate more than our share, and we told each other that
we wished the pair sent to pound the old tree-trunk had remained longer
at their task.

We went on with the soldiers, halting after dark at the bank of the
largest stream we had yet faced. There was no village here, but the
government had built a rest house for soldiers on the bank. In this we
spent the night with the troopers, after eating a frog-and-lizard

Beyond there were not so many mountains and the path was well marked;
but the river beside which we had left the soldiers was deep and swift,
and wound back and forth, crossing our route again and again. In the
first few morning hours we swam it no less than fourteen times. It was
the ninth crossing that gave us the most trouble. Reaching the narrow,
sandy bank a bit before my companion, I pulled off my clothes, tied the
bundle to my head, and plunged in. James began to disrobe as I reached
the other shore. Without removing his ragged shirt or his helmet, he
fastened on his bundle as I had done, and struck out.

Being an excellent swimmer, he glided along easily, with long, swift
strokes. Unfortunately, he did not take care to keep his head pointed
up-stream. The powerful current caught him suddenly and dragged him
under. He righted himself quickly, but in that short struggle lost both
his bundle and his helmet. He tried to save them, but caught only his
helmet. His bundle raced down-stream. I sprang to my feet and dashed
along the sandy shore after it. But the stream was far swifter than I.
The tangled undergrowth brought me to a sudden halt, and the
Australian’s possessions were swallowed up in the jungle.

I returned to find him sitting unhappily on the bank.

[Illustration: Myself after four days in the jungle, and the Siamese
soldiers who invited us to eat a frog and lizard supper.]

With the bundle had gone his shoes, trousers, jacket, the odds and ends
he had picked up on his travels, his military and citizenship papers,
and the pocket compass; in short, everything he owned except a helmet
and a tattered shirt.

But James was not a man to be long discouraged by little things. He tied
the shirt about his loins and we went on. As he had nothing to carry, he
marched more easily and crossed the streams with far less difficulty
than I. But in less than an hour his shoulders, back, and legs were
painted a fiery red by the unmerciful sun; and the stones and jagged
brambles tore and bruised his feet until he left a blood-stain at every

We were again overtaken by the soldiers about noonday, and halted for
another jungle meal. Off once more, we pushed ahead, but found it wise
to wait for the troopers to lead the way; for the route was beset by
unexpected pitfalls—as once when, in fighting our way along the bank of
the river, we crashed headlong through the bushes into a dry, stony bed
of a branch river fifteen feet below. This accident left little of my
clothing, and made the Australian look worse than before.

So we waited for the soldiers, and followed them along a wider path. The
higher mountain ranges fell away; but the foot-hills were very steep,
and the slopes were often bare and covered with deep mud. At the top of
such a hill we overtook a troop of horsemen returning from some village
off to the southwest. Burdened with huge packsaddles, the horses began
the dangerous downward climb unwillingly. Suddenly three of them lost
their footing, sat down on their haunches, and rolled over and over,
their packs flying in every direction. James laughed loudly and slapped
me on the back. The blow made me lose my balance. My feet shot from
under me, and slipping, sliding, rolling, clutching in vain for
something to hold to, I pitched down the five-hundred-yard slope and
splashed head-first into a muddy stream at the bottom several seconds
before the horses got there.

Another mile left me bare-footed and nearly as naked as my companion.
Now and again we overtook a band of freight-carriers; one a young
Buddhist priest in tattered yellow, attended by two servants. We had
seen him somewhere a day or two before, and remembered him not only by
his dress, but on account of the bold and impudent expression of his
face. He joined our party without being invited, and tramped along with
us, puffing at a long _saybully_, and chattering loudly and
continuously. The soldiers roared with laughter at everything he said,
and winked at us as if they thought we could understand his remarks. We
were more sorry than ever that we did not understand the Siamese tongue.

James was complaining that he could not go on another yard, when we came
most unexpectedly to the edge of the jungle. Before us stretched a vast
rice-field, deeply flooded. The soldiers led the way along the tops of
the ridges toward a thick wood two miles away. At least a hundred curs
began howling as we drew near, and as many chattering brown people
swarmed about us when we stopped to rest in a large, deeply shaded
village at the edge of a river fully a mile wide. It could be no other
than the Menam—the “great river” of Siam. Along the low eastern bank
stretched a real city with white two-story buildings, before which were
anchored large native boats. It was Rehang. The soldiers told us so with
shouts of joy, and ran away to put on their uniforms.

We threw off what was left of our garments, and plunged into the stream
to wash off the blood and grime of the jungle. When we had finished, the
soldiers were gone. We asked the villagers to set us across the river.
They refused. We pushed out one of a dozen dugout logs drawn up along
the shore, and the village swarmed down upon us in a great landslide of
men, women, children, and yellow curs. Catching up two paddles, we beat
them off. In two minutes we were alone.

We pushed the dugout into the stream, and were climbing in when two
ugly, wrinkled brown women ran down the bank and offered to ferry us
across. They pointed the craft up-stream and fell to paddling. They were
expert water dogs, and crossed the swift stream without accident,
landing us at a crazy wooden wharf in the center of the town.

On nearer sight Rehang was disappointing. The white two-story buildings
were poor, rickety things. The roads between were not much better paved
than the jungle paths, and deeper in mud. There was no health
department, it seemed, for here and there a dead dog or cat had been
tossed out to be trampled underfoot. There were great crowds of people,
but the passing throng was merely a larger gathering of those same
strange “wild men” of the jungle villages. The fear of being arrested
for having no clothes soon left us. James in national costume attracted
much less attention than I in the remnants of jacket and trousers.

We were glad, however, to be in even this tumble-down city on the bank
of the Menam; at least, it was a market town. James dashed into the
first store with a whoop of delight, and startled the keeper out of his
wits by demanding a whole three cents’ worth of cigarettes. He splashed
on through the muddy streets, blowing great clouds of smoke through his
nostrils, and forgetting for a time even the smarting of his torn and
sun-scorched skin.

Half the merchants of the town were Chinamen. We stopped at a shop kept
by three wearers of the pig-tail, and, seating ourselves before a bench,
called for food. One of the keepers, moving as if he disliked having us
there, set canned meat before us, and after a long time brought us as a
can-opener, a hatchet with a blade considerably wider than the largest

When we rose to go, the Chinese demanded ten tecals. The market price of
the stuff we had eaten was certainly not worth one. I gave them two.
Three screams split the air, and half a dozen Chinamen bounded into the
shop and danced wildly about us. One caught up the hatchet and swung it
high above his head. James snatched it from him, kicked him across the
room, and threw the weapon among the heaped-up wares. We fought our way
to the street. The keeper nearest us gave one loud bellow that was
answered from every side. Chinamen stumbled out through every open
doorway, out of every hole in the surrounding shop walls; they sprang up
from under the buildings, dropped from the low roofs, swarmed out of the
alleyways, for all the world like rats, screaming, yelping, snarling,
clawing the air as they ran, their pig-tails streaming behind them. In
the twinkling of an eye the mob at our heels had increased to a hundred
or more. We refused to disgrace ourselves by running. The crazed yellow
men scratched us savagely with their overgrown finger-nails, caught at
our legs, spattered us with mud. Not one of them used his fists. When we
turned upon them they bounded away as if from a squad of cavalry, and we
could get even only by catching a flying pig-tail in either hand, to
send a pair of yellow-skinned rascals sprawling in the mud. They came
back at us after every stand before we had taken a dozen steps. Our
backs were a network of finger-nail scratches. We cast our eyes about us
for some weapon, and found two muddy sticks. Before we could use them
the Chinamen turned and fled, still screaming at the top of their lungs.

Not far beyond, we turned in at the largest building in the town—the
Rehang barracks for soldiers. Among the half hundred little brown
soldiers lounging about the porch were our comrades of the few days
past. It was plain that they had told our story. The recruits gathered
about us, laughing and asking questions in the deaf-and-dumb language.
How had we liked lizard curry? What had turned our dainty skins so
blood-red? What ignorant and helpless creatures were white men, were
they not?

Suddenly, while they were chattering, I thought I heard someone say that
there was a white man on the floor above. We sprang toward the stairway
at the end of the porch. The soldiers shrieked in alarm and snatched at
my rags. We must not go up; it was strictly against barrack rules. A
guardsman on duty at the foot of the stairs held his musket out before
him and feebly shouted a command. James caught him by the shoulder and
sent him spinning along the veranda. We dashed up the steps. Two doors
stood partly open. James sprang to one, while I pushed open the other.

“Hello!” I shouted. “Where’s the white—”

A roar of delight from my companion sent me hurrying after him. He was
dancing gleefully just inside the second door, and shaking a white man
fiercely by the hand—an astonished white man in khaki uniform with
officer’s stripes. I reminded the Australian of his costume, and he
became quiet. The European invited us inside, and sent a servant for
tea, biscuits, and cigars. Our host was commander of the soldiers—a Dane
who spoke English well. That we had been wandering through the jungle he
could see all too plainly without our telling him; but that we had come
overland from Burma was a tale he could not believe until the sergeant
had been called in to prove that what we said was true. Forgetting his
military duties, the commander asked us wondering questions until dusk
fell, and then ordered three of his soldiers to find us a place to spend
the night.

On the veranda the soldiers spread a pair of army blankets. We were for
turning in at once. They would not hear of it. For a half-hour they
trotted back and forth between our bungalow and that of the commander,
carrying steaming dishes. The table they had set up was groaning under
its load before the sergeant signed to us to begin. There were broiled
fish, a mutton roast, a great steak, a spitted fowl, and fruits and
vegetables of many kinds.

We spent the night on the veranda. We did not sleep there. Our
sun-scorched skins would not permit it. Even had they burned less
fiercely, we could not have slept. One would have fancied the place a
gigantic hen-yard during the hours of darkness. After every shower the
unveiled moon was greeted with a din of crowing that was awful. In the
moments of quiet between, we tossed about wide awake on our hard couch,
listening to the musical tinkling of pagoda bells.

When dawn came the Dane sent for us. We hurried to his bungalow and
joined him at breakfast. He had gathered together two pairs of shoes and
four khaki uniforms. They were from his own tailor in Bangkok, still
very useful, though fitting us a bit too tightly and chafing our
blistered skins. Rolling up our extra garments and swinging them over
our shoulders, we bade our host farewell.

                              CHAPTER XXV

The path to Bangkok, such as it was, lay on the eastern bank of the
Menam River. This time we crossed the stream in a dugout canoe fully
thirty feet long, which held, besides ourselves and four paddlers,
twenty-two natives, chiefly women. All day we tramped through jungle as
wild as that to the westward, following the course of the river. We
passed many bamboo villages, and for every hut at least a half dozen
yellow curs added their yelpings to the uproar that greeted us as we
came near.

The inhabitants were careless “wild men” like those of the mountains,
content to live and die in their nests of jungle rubbish, with never a
peep at the outside world. Both the men and the women wore their dull
black hair some two inches long and dressed in a bristling pompadour
that made them look like startled porcupines. Both had jet-black teeth.
The children were strong and healthy little animals.

On the way we had to swim across many branches of the Menam River.
Sometimes they were swift and deep. What we dreaded more were the almost
motionless streams through which we must wade waist-deep in acres of
green slime where poisonous snakes lay in hiding.

The sun was still high when we reached a handsome large bungalow set in
the center of a clearing on the bank of the Menam, with a half circle of
huts roundabout and at some distance from it. The bungalow was the home
of the “jungle king,” as he was called; his servants lived in the huts
about it.

We had heard of the king at breakfast that morning. The Dane had told us
of a white man from Sweden who was manager for a lumber company dealing
in teak forests, and that he was called the king on account of the style
in which he lived.

We found the royal person sitting on the veranda of his palace, gazing
peacefully out across the clearing. He was a white man who must have
weighed nearly a quarter ton. The servants who moved about near him
looked like manikins in his presence. We stopped at the foot of the
veranda and asked for a drink of water. He looked at us without a sign
of surprise, and with a calm wave of his hand ordered a servant to bring
it. One would have thought white men passed his palace every hour. He
watched us silently as we drank, asked from us where we came and where
we were going, and that was all. He was not enough interested in our
doings to ask more.

“I can let you stay in one of my bungalows,” he said, “if you have
planned on stopping here.”

We were of half a mind to push on. It was an hour before sunset, and, to
tell the truth, we were a bit disappointed at his coolness of manner. In
the end we swallowed our pride and thanked him for the offer. It was
fortunate for us that we did so.

The “king” waved a hand once more, and a servant in a scarlet uniform
stepped forth and led us to one of the half circle of bungalows. Five
servants were sent to look after our wants. They put water for us in two
bath-tubs, and stood ready with crash towels to rub us down. Our skins
were so painfully sunburned and scratched, however, that we had to do
without that service. When we had changed our garments, a laundryman
took charge of those we had worn. By this time a servant had brought a
phonograph from the palace and set it in action. How we did enjoy it!
For weeks we had heard no music save the shrill croaking of lizards.

Then came our evening feast. For days afterward James could not speak of
that without a trembling of his voice. It made the supper of the night
before seem like a penny lunch in comparison.

We had just settled down in our bungalow to talk matters over, when a
sudden hubbub burst forth. I dashed out upon the veranda. Around the
palace fluttered half the people of the place, squawking like excited
hens; and the others were tumbling out of their bungalows in their hurry
to join the crowd.

The palace was afire. From the back of the building a mass of black
smoke wavered upward in the evening breeze. When we had pushed our way
through the frightened crowd, a slim blaze was licking at a corner of
the back veranda. It was not hard to guess how it had started. At the
foot of a bamboo post lay a sputtering kettle over a heap of burning
sticks. Around it the natives were screaming, pushing, tumbling over one
another, doing everything except putting out the fire. A dozen of them
carried buckets. Twenty yards away was a stream. But they stood or
rushed about helplessly waiting for someone to tell them what to do.

James snatched a bucket and ran for the creek. I caught up the kettle
and dumped the half-boiled rice on the flame. The Australian’s first
bucketful lowered the blaze somewhat, and after that it took us only a
moment to put it out entirely. When the last spark had disappeared a
native arrived with water from the stream. Behind him stretched a long
line of servants with overflowing buckets. They fought with each other
in their eagerness to flood the blackened corner of the veranda. Those
who could not reach it dashed their water on the surrounding crowd and
the real firemen; then ran for more. We were obliged to pull the buckets
out of their hands to save ourselves from drowning.

[Illustration: An elephant, with a native dozing on his head, was
advancing toward us.]

As the last native was running across the clearing, I looked up to see
the “king” gazing down upon us. He showed not a sign of excitement.

“These wild men are a useless lot of animals,” he said. “I’m glad you
turned out.” Then he waddled back into his palace.

We returned to our bungalow and started the phonograph again. Fully an
hour afterward the “king” walked in upon us. He carried what looked like
a great sausage, wrapped in thick brown paper.

“I’m always glad to help a white man,” he said breathlessly, “especially
when he has done me a service.”

I took the parcel in one hand, and nearly lost my balance as he let it
go. It weighed several pounds. By the time I had recovered from my
surprise he was gone. I sat down and unrolled the package. It contained
fifty silver tecals.

Four days later we were miles beyond the place, on our way toward the
mouth of the Menam. As we lay resting in a tangled thicket, a crashing
of underbrush brought us anxiously to our feet. We peered out through
the maze of branches. An elephant was coming toward us. We jumped back
in terror. A second glance showed us, however, that a native sat dozing
on his head. Behind him came another and another of the great, heavy
animals, fifteen in all, some with armed men on their backs. We stepped
out of our hiding-place in time to meet the chief of the company, who
rode between the seventh and eighth elephants on a stout-limbed pony. He
was an Englishman, a manager for the Bombay-Burma Lumber Company, who
had spent fifteen years in wandering through the teak forests of Siam.
Never before, he declared, had he known white men to travel through
these forests alone and without guns. He urged us to turn back and spend
the night with him. When we declined, he warned us to keep a sharp
lookout in the forest beyond, declaring that he had killed two tigers
and a murderous savage within the past week.

For miles we struggled on through the tangle of vines, bushes, and
branches. Nowhere was there a sign that anyone had been there before us.
The shadows lengthened eastward; twilight fell and thickened to
darkness. To travel by night was utterly impossible. We tried to do so,
but lost our way and sank to our knees in a slimy swamp. When we had
dragged ourselves out, we found that we could not remember in which
direction we had been traveling. With raging thirst and gnawing hunger,
we threw ourselves down in the depths of the wilderness. The ground was
soft and wet. In ten minutes we had sunk until we were half buried. I
pulled my bundle loose and rolled over to another spot. It was softer
and wetter than the one I had left.

“Hark!” whispered James suddenly. “Is that a dog barking? Perhaps
there’s a village near.”

We held our breath and listened. A far-off howl sounded above the dull
humming of the jungle. Perhaps some dog was baying at the faint face of
the moon. Or possibly it was the roar of some beast roaming about in
search of prey. “Tigers abound,” the Englishman had said. So must snakes
in the undergrowth of this damp spot. A crackling of twigs close beside
me sent an electric shock along my spine. I opened my mouth to call to
James, but found I couldn’t speak. The noise had been made by the
Australian himself moving past me. He spoke before I could.

“Hello!” he whispered. “Say, I’ll get a fever if I sleep in this mud.
Let’s try that big tree.”

It was a giant of a tree. The lowest of its wide-spreading branches the
Australian could reach from my shoulders. He pulled me up after him, and
we climbed higher. I sat astride a great limb, tied my bundle above me,
and, leaning against the trunk, sank into a doze.

I was awakened suddenly by a blow in the ribs.

“Quit it!” cried James angrily, thumping me again. “What are you tearing
my clothes off for?”

I opened my mouth to tell him I was not doing anything of the kind, when
I was interrupted by a noisy chattering in the branches above as a band
of monkeys scampered away at the sound of our voices. They soon
returned. For half the night those jabbering, clawing little brutes kept
us awake, and ended by driving us from the tree. We spent the hours of
darkness left on the ground at its foot, caring nothing for either
snakes or tigers.

When daylight came we found the river again within a few hundred yards
of our resting-place. A good hour afterward we stumbled, more asleep
than awake, into a village on the northern bank. The place had a shop
where food was sold. In it we made up for the supper we had gone without
the night before.

Almost before we had finished eating we were in the center of a village
fight. It was all the fault of the natives. We offered them money to row
us across the river, but they turned scornfully away. When we stepped
into one of the boats, made of dugout logs, that were drawn up on the
bank, they charged down upon us. For a moment I thought we would end our
wanderings in that very village.

In the thick of the fight a howling fellow, swinging a great knife,
bounded suddenly into the boat. James caught him by an arm and a leg,
and a glistening body flashed high in the air, gave one long-drawn
shriek, and sank in the black water some distance behind us. When he
came to the surface again he had lost his knife and we had pushed off
from the shore.

“Beastly savages!” growled the Australian, catching up a paddle. “Serve
’em right if we kept their old hollow log and went down to Bangkok in
her. What say we do?” he cried. “My feet are nothing but two blisters.”

For answer I swung the boat half round, and we glided out and down the
Menam. A boat-load of natives put out behind us; but, instead of
following directly after us, they paddled across the river and down the
opposite bank. We stretched out in the bottom of the dugout, and,
drifting with the current, let them get ahead of us. Far down the stream
they landed and ran off into a grove of trees above which rose a white
building. I dozed a moment, and then sat up suddenly with a shout. They
had come back and were pushing off in the boat again, while behind them
came a second canoe bearing six khaki-clothed soldiers armed with
muskets. The white building was a military post, and a part of the
terrible Siamese army was after us.

“Swing her ashore,” shouted James, grasping his paddle. “No naval
battles for me.”

Our dugout ran aground near the bank. Between the jungle and the water’s
edge was a narrow open space. Throwing our bundles over our shoulders,
we set off down the bank at an easy walk. The “wild men” pulled their
boats up on the beach near the dugout, and dashed after us, shouting
angrily. When they came near enough, the soldiers drew up in a line and
leveled five guns at us. Their sergeant shouted the Siamese words for
“Ready! Fire!” An icy chill ran up and down my spine, but we marched
steadily on without a pause. They did not fire. When we had gone on a
few yards, the troop ran after us and drew up once more in firing line.
The sergeant bellowed in very loud tones; but the guns did not go off.

Seven times this move was repeated. We were already a half mile from the
landing-place. Suddenly a villager snatched a gun from a soldier, ran
close up on our heels, and took a careful aim at us. He looked like a
bold, bad man. My flesh crawled, in expectation of the sting of the
bullet. I caught myself wondering what part of my body it would
puncture. But the fellow merely aimed, and shrieked in anger; he dared
not pull the trigger.

Finding that we paid no attention when they attempted to frighten us,
the sergeant tried a new plan. One by one, the bare-footed soldiers
slipped up behind us and snatched at our packs and jackets. When we
turned on them they fell back wild-eyed. They continued to pester us in
this way until we lost all patience.

“Tell me when you see the next one trying it,” said James.

Out of a corner of an eve I watched a soldier steal up to my companion
and reach for his small bundle.

“Now!” I shouted.

The Australian whirled and caught the trooper’s gun in both hands. The
fellow let go of it with a scream, and the whole crowd—sergeant,
soldiers, villagers, and bold, bad man—turned tail and fled.

Miles beyond, we met two lone soldiers wandering northward, and, knowing
that they would stop at the white building, we made them take the gun
with them.

We plodded on. Once more we spent the night in the jungle, and again the
ground was wet and spongy and the trees alive with monkeys. On the
following day, for all our sleepiness and blistered feet, we tramped a
full thirty miles, and spent that night in a strongly scented bamboo

Forty-eight hours later we came upon an unfinished railroad that a
German company was building in Siam. It was the only railroad in the
country. We struck out along the top of it in the early afternoon, and
with no thorny bushes or tangled vines to hinder, we got on faster than
we had for weeks past. Long after dark we reached the house of the
German superintendent of the line. He gave us permission to sleep in a
neighboring hut in which were stored several tons of dynamite.

An hour’s tramp next morning brought us to the work train. Hundreds of
Chinese laborers, in mud-spattered trousers and leaf hats three feet
wide, swarmed upon the flat cars as they were unloaded. We climbed on to
one of these cars, and were jolted away with the Chinese coolies through
the sun-scorched jungle.

Ten miles south the train turned on to a side-track and stopped near a
helter-skelter Chinese village. A heavy storm drove us into a shop where
Chinese food was sold. We spent the whole morning talking about the
nature of the yellow race while the store-keepers quarreled over their
cards, and, when they tired of this, tossed back and forth about the
room a dozen boxes of dynamite. At noon they set out on those same boxes
a generous dinner of pork, duck, and rich wine, and invited us to join
them. We did so, for we were very hungry; but we feared that we would
have to part with most of our money when the time came to pay the bill.
Throughout the meal the Chinamen were most polite, helping us to
everything good to eat. When it was over they rolled cigarettes in
wooden wrappers for us. They themselves smoked these all the time, even
while eating.

“Suppose they’ll want all our cash, now,” groaned James, as I drew out
my purse to pay them. But, to our great surprise, they refused to take a

“Now, what do you suppose their game is?” gasped the Australian.
“Something tricky or I’m a dingo. Never saw a pig-tail look a coin in
the face yet without grabbing for it.”

The head shop-keeper, an old fellow with a straggly gray queue and
shifting eyes, swung suddenly round upon us.

“Belly fine duck,” he grinned.

Our faces froze with astonishment.

“Dinner all light?” he went on. “Belly good man, me. No takee dollies
for chow. Many Chinyman takee plenty. You find allee same me. No blamed
fear. One time me live ’Flisco by white man, allee same you, six year.
Givee plenty dollies for joss-stick. Me no takee dollies for chow.”

The rest of the company had grouped themselves about us, laughing
gleefully at the surprise which the old man had sprung on us. Of the
eight Chinamen in the hut, six spoke English and had understood every
word we had said.

We spent the afternoon there while those jungle merchants taught us the
Chinese names of things we would be likely to need. At dusk they
prepared a second feast, after which two of them shouldered our packs
and led the way through the wilderness to a place on the railroad where
the engine of the work-train would stop on its way south.

Freed of its burden of flat cars, the engine raced like a thing of life
through the cool, silent night, turning around the curves so swiftly
that it almost tipped sidewise. We sat high up, chatting with the
Eurasian driver, who allowed the engine to rush madly on until the
station lights of a large village flashed up out of the darkness.

At noon the next day we boarded a passenger train and rumbled across
flooded rice-fields, stopping often at excited bamboo villages. Then
towering pagodas rose slowly above the southern sky-line, the jungle
died away, and at five o’clock the daily train of Siam pulled in at the
Bangkok station. By that time we did not look like white men. Until we
had shaved and washed in a barber’s shop we did not dare introduce
ourselves as such to any innkeeper of the Siamese capital.

                              CHAPTER XXVI
                        ON THE WAY TO HONG-KONG

Spread out in the low, flat valley of the Menam, Bangkok was a dull city
of rambling rows of cottages. Her poorly paved streets were crossed by
many canals, on which low-roofed boats and floating houses set on bamboo
rafts were rising and falling with the tide.

The people of the city were dull and careless. They had the black teeth,
the bristling pompadour, and they wore no more clothing than their
brothers of the trackless bush. There were many Chinamen and some

We found that deck passage to Hong-Kong cost next to nothing, and four
days after our arrival we went to buy tickets at the steamship offices.
The next afternoon a “wild woman” paddled us lazily across the Menam in
a raging downpour, and set us aboard a small steamer that was officered
by five Germans and manned by a hundred Chinese seamen, stokers, and
stewards. When the Germans and Chinese talked together they spoke

Three hours after we boarded the vessel she cast off her shore lines and
slipped down over the sand-bar at the mouth of the river. Never before
had she carried white men as deck passengers. The Chinese thought the
deck belonged to men of their race, and that we had no business there.
They glared at us with scowls and snarls when we came on board, and
tried their best to get in our way and to bump against us while about
their work. We laughed at their unfriendly acts, and, choosing a place
back of the wheel-house, took our coats off and settled down for a long
and tiresome voyage.

[Illustration: Bangkok is a city of many canals.]

On the afternoon of our second day aboard, about thirty Chinese stewards
marched to our end of the vessel with their bowls of rice, and squatted
in a half circle about us. We paid no attention to them. One of them sat
down on the bundle containing my camera. When I motioned for him to get
off, the fellow leered at me and refused to move. I pushed him off, and
picked up my bundle. In his fall he dropped and broke his rice-bowl. The
entire crowd sprang to their feet.

“Kang kweitze!” (“Kill the foreigners!”) screamed the chief of the
stewards suddenly. With a roar the Chinamen surged forward. A heavy
piece of timber struck me a stunning blow on the back of the head, and I
landed face down among some chains near the railing.

When I came to enough to realize what had happened to me, a dozen
Chinamen were beating me with bamboo clubs. I struggled to my feet.
James was laying about him right merrily. Inch by inch we fought our way
around the deck, and had almost freed ourselves, when James stumbled and
fell headlong. A score of Chinamen rushed at him; every man of them
struck him blow after blow with some weapon. A Chinaman struck at me
with a long thin knife. I threw up my right hand, grasping the blade. It
cut my palm and slashed my wrist; but the fellow let go of the weapon. I
snatched hold of it with my other hand and with its help fought our way
forward, where four of the German officers stood huddled together like
frightened sheep.

We washed our wounds in salt water and bound them up as best we could.
The captain armed himself with two revolvers and marched down the deck
to restore order among his seamen. He pretended that it had not been
much of a fight, and tried to laugh it off; but he turned over to us an
unfurnished cabin and left us to spend a feverish and painful night on
the wooden slats of the narrow bunks. In the morning there was not a
spot the size of a man’s hand on either of our bodies that was not black
and blue.

Eight weary days the creaking old tramp of a ship wheezed past the many
bays that cut into the southern coast of French Indo-China. Early one
gray morning, one year after my departure from Detroit, two small
islands rose from the sea on our left. Several queer-looking Chinese
boats, manned by evil-faced, unshaven yellow men, bobbed up out of the
dawn, and, hooking the rail of our vessel with grappling-irons, floated
along beside us, while their crews shouted to the passengers, offering
to help them with their baggage. Greener islands appeared, and when we
slipped into the horseshoe-shaped harbor of Hong-Kong it was still half
shaded by the forest that incloses it.

A Chinese house-boat containing a large family set us ashore. We made
our way to the Sailors’ Home. My hand had healed, but James was still so
badly injured that we tried to secure entrance for him at the city
hospital. For several days he was turned away; but at last, when he had
become much worse, he was admitted, and I turned my attention to
outgoing ships, eager to be off, though sorry to leave behind the best
companion with whom I had ever shared the joys and miseries of the open

The next morning I boarded an English freight steamer about to sail for
Shanghai, and asked for work to pay for my passage.

“Sure, lad,” cried the good-natured British mate. “Come on board
to-night and go to work. The old man will be glad to give you a few bob
for the run.”

At midnight we sailed. Four days later we were steaming slowly up the
dark river between flat banks and warehouses. Our ship stopped close by
the Sailors’ Home.

I saw many Americans and Europeans in Shanghai. In fact, the city is
filled with blocks of great buildings where business is carried on
solely by European merchants. Outside the European section lies many a
square mile of two-story shanties that crowd one another in an effort to
stand upright. The maze of narrow foot-paths winding among these
buildings are aglow with the brilliant signboards of gay Chinese shops,
and swarm with sour-faced yellow men who scowl fiercely at the white
foot traveler, or mock his movements and make faces at him. Cackling
peddlers zigzag through the crowd; wealthy Chinamen in gay robes and
carefully oiled queues pick their way along the narrow meandering lanes.
Great, muscular runners, carrying on one shoulder a Chinese lady who
cannot walk, jog in and out among the shoppers.

After spending three days in Shanghai I awoke one morning to find it
raining dismally. To spend a day indoors was too much for me, and I
began to think of continuing my journey. So I packed my belongings
hurriedly, and an hour later was slipping down the plank on board a
Japanese steamer. Among several hundred third-class passengers I was the
only European; but I was treated kindly by my fellow-travelers. Our
sleeping quarters consisted of two shelves sloping toward the wall and
running along half the length of the ship. In my ignorance, I neglected
to apply for a place on this shelf until every foot of it had been
claimed. But I lost nothing thereby; for no sooner was it noised about
among the Japanese that an American was aboard without a place to sleep
than a dozen crowded round to offer me their places. I joined a party of
four students returning from Pekin, and, by packing ourselves together
like spoons, we found room without robbing any other of his rest.

On the second morning out, the rolling green hills of Japan rose slowly
above the sun-flecked sea. My companions cried out joyfully when they
caught sight of their native land, and tried to make me believe that it
was the most beautiful spot on the globe. We soon steamed into the
harbor of Nagasaki. From the water’s edge rose a brown-roofed town that
covered low green mountains like a wrinkled brown carpet, and faded away
into the blue wreaths of hillside forests.

The port was busy and noisy. House-boats, in which stood Japanese
policemen in snow-white uniforms, scurried toward us. Close to our
vessel two dull gray battle-ships scowled out across the harbor.
Doctors, custom officers, and armed policemen crowded on board. By
blazing noonday I had stepped ashore.

                             CHAPTER XXVII
                           WANDERING IN JAPAN

“Set me down at the Sailors’ Home,” I ordered, stepping into the first
’rickshaw to reach me.

“No good,” answered the runner, dropping the shafts. “Sailor Home be

[Illustration: My ’rickshaw man whose picture I took from my seat in the
’rickshaw while seeing the sights of Tokio.]

However, I found a hotel beside a canal down near the harbor. The
proprietor, awakened from a doze, gurgled a welcome. He was an American
who had lived for some years in Nagasaki. The real manager of the hotel
was his Japanese wife, a lively woman who seemed to have a better head
for business than her husband. They had two interesting children, a boy
and a girl of twelve and ten. No American children could have been more
quick to see and act, or more whole-heartedly busy at their work and
play; no Japanese more polite of behavior. Already the father asked his
son’s advice in business matters of importance; and the mother depended
upon her daughter to look after the flower garden and the wardrobe.

[Illustration: Numadzu: A view of the fishermen along the river. Rows of
huge fish can be seen on the bank.]

I was given an airy chamber where I could have slept late next morning
had I not been awakened at daybreak by what seemed to be several shots
from a revolver. I sprang to the window, wondering what had happened. In
the yard below squatted the American-Japanese children, with a stick of
“punk” and a great bundle of fire-crackers. I had forgotten the date. It
was the Fourth of July, and Nagasaki was celebrating. All through the
day shots and explosions were heard about the city; nor was the racket
made entirely by Americans.

On other days the boy and girl of the hotel dressed exactly like their
playmates, and no sooner turned their backs on their father than they
began at once to speak the Japanese language. But on this American day
the boy wore a knickerbocker suit and leather shoes; his sister had laid
aside her kimono and wooden sandals to wear a short skirt and long
stockings. Instead of the fancy coil on top of her head, her jet-black
hair hung in two braids over her shoulders; and all that day they spoke
nothing but the English language.

Two days later I hunted up the railway station and took third-class
passage for Hiroshima. The train wound through a rolling country, here
circling the base of a thickly wooded hill, there clinging close to the
shore of a sparkling bay. Farm crops grew in every valley and on every
hillside. Peasants toiled in the fields; their neat cottages dotted the
landscape as far as the eye could see. We passed through village after
village. The stations were well built and bore the name of the town in
both Japanese and English.

The trains were like those of America, but every car was a smoker; for
tobacco is used by almost every man and woman in Japan. There were
ladies seated in the car, smoking pipes that looked like long
lead-pencils with bowls that held much less than the smallest thimble.
There were no dining-cars. At nearly every station boxes containing
rice, several boiled and pickled vegetables, one baked fish, and a pair
of chop-sticks only half split in two, were sold. The contents were
always the same; the price surprisingly low.

I reached Hiroshima at twilight, and left the train in company with two
English-speaking Japanese youths who had taken upon themselves the task
of finding me a lodging. The keeper of a hotel not far from the station
said that he had never housed a white man, but that he would for a
change. I bade my new acquaintances farewell.

[Illustration: Some street urchins near Tokio.]

The hotel office was paved with small stones from which a broad stairway
led upward. The keeper shouted a word of command. A smiling woman, short
and fat, with a wide sash wound round and round her waist, appeared on
the landing above and beckoned me to climb up. I caught up my bundle;
but before I had mounted two steps the proprietor sprang forward with a
scream, and, clutching at my coat-tails, dragged me back. Half a dozen
servant-girls tumbled wild-eyed into the office and joined the landlord
in scolding me. I had dared to start up the stairway without removing my

I pulled them off. The keeper, grinning at their weight, added them to a
line of wooden sandals placed along the wall; and the stout woman led me
to a small room with a balcony opening on the street. Everything about
the place made me feel as if I were a giant among pigmies: the low
ceiling, covered with gayly painted dragons; the walls, mere sliding
screens of paper stamped with flowers and strange figures; the highly
polished floor of such light boards that they bent under my feet with
every step. With a flying start I could have run straight through the
house and left it a wreck behind me.

[Illustration: Osaka: One of her many canals.]

The room was entirely unfurnished. My hostess placed a cushion for me in
the center of the floor, and clapped her hands. A servant-girl slipped
in, carrying a tray on which was a tiny box of live coals, several
cigarettes, a joint of bamboo standing upright, and a pot of tea with a
cup and saucer. Having placed her burden at my feet and touched her
forehead to the floor, the maid handed me a cigarette, poured out tea,
and remained kneeling a full half hour, filling the tiny cup as often as
I emptied it.

When she was gone I picked up the joint of bamboo, fancying it contained
sweetmeats. It was empty, however, and I was left to wonder until the
hostess returned. When she understood my motions, she began to explain
by talking rapidly; but I shook my head. Then, with a wry face, she
caught up the hollow joint and spat into it. The thing was merely a
Japanese spittoon.

A maid soon served supper. She brought first of all a table some eight
inches high; then a great wooden bucket brimming full of hard-packed
rice; and, lastly, several little paper bowls. One held an oily liquid
in which floated the yolk of an egg; another a small boiled turnip; a
third a sample of some native salad; at the bottom of a fourth lay, in
dreary loneliness, a pitiful little minnow. Of rice there was enough for
a squad of soldiers, but without it the meal could not have satisfied a
hungry canary.

As I ate, the girl poured out tea in a cup that held a single swallow.
Fortunately, I had already learned how to use chop-sticks, or I should
have been forced to eat with my fingers. As it was, it took a great deal
of skill to possess myself of the swimming yolk; and he who fancies it
is easy to balance a satisfying mouthful of rice on the ends of two
slivers has only to try it to discover his mistake.

I fancied I might have to sleep on the polished floor; but the
hotel-keeper’s wife glided in once more, and asked, by resting her head
in the palm of her hand, if I was ready to go to bed. I nodded, and at
her signal a servant appeared with a quilt of great thickness, which she
spread in the center of the floor. This seemed of itself a soft enough
resting-place; but not until six pudding-like covers had been piled one
on top of the other was the landlady content. Over this couch, that had
taken on the form of a huge layer-cake, the two of them spread a
coverlet,—there were no sheets,—and backed out of the room. They
returned shortly after dragging behind them a great net. While the
matron fastened the four corners of the top to hooks in the ceiling, the
maid tucked the edges under the stack of quilts, so that the net formed
a sort of tent over my bed. I crawled under it, and was soon asleep.

[Illustration: Horses are rare in Japan. Men and baggage are drawn by

How surprised I was when I awoke in the morning! It was broad daylight.
The sun was streaming in across the balcony, and the constant scraping
of wooden clogs sounded from the street below. But the room in which I
had gone to bed had entirely disappeared! I sat up with bulging eyes.
Under me was the stack of quilts, but all else was changed. The net was
gone, and I sat alone and deserted in the center of a large hall, the
front of which for its entire length opened on to the public street. The
change was no magician’s trick, though it was several moments before I
was sufficiently wide awake to understand what had happened. The
servant-girls had merely pushed together the screens that made the

[Illustration: Japanese children playing in the streets of Kioto.]

Later I managed to find the highway that led out of Hiroshima. It led
the way between bright green hedgerows, through village after village,
past many farm-houses and rice-fields. The air was fresh and cheering,
and I was often within sight of the bright blue arm of old ocean that
wound in and out along the coast. Now and then an ocean liner, awakening
memories of far-off lands, glided by. In shallow bays unclad fishermen,
too brown to sunburn, disentangled their nets and heaped high their
catches in wicker baskets.

It needed a very few hours on the road to teach me that the country
people of Japan are very curious—even more so than the Arab. I had only
to pass through a village to cause all business to stop. Workmen dropped
their tools, children forgot their games, girls left their pitchers at
the fountain, even gossips ceased their chatter—all to stare wide-eyed
if I passed on, to crowd around me if I paused.

[Illustration: Women do most of the work in the rice-fields of Japan.]

Wherever I stopped for a drink of water, the town rose in a mass to
watch my strange action. When I set the cup down they passed it
wonderingly from hand to hand. To stop for a lunch was almost dangerous,
for the crowd that collected at the door of the shop threatened to do me
to death under their trampling clogs. In the smaller villages the whole
population, men, women, and children, followed me out along the highway,
leaving the place as utterly deserted as if the dogs of war had been
loosed upon it. Once I passed a school at the recess hour. Its two
hundred children trailed behind me for a long mile, paying no attention
to the jangling bell and the shouts of their excited masters.

Partly by foot and partly by rail, I finally reached Kyoto, where I
spent a day. At the station next morning four yen were more than enough
for a ticket to Tokyo, with stopovers anywhere I chose. At Maibara a
squad of Russian prisoners, clothed in arctic cloaks and fur caps,
huddled in a sweltering group on the station platform. As long as the
train stood there not a sound of mockery rose from the crowd, and the
towns-people came in a continual procession to offer the silent fellows
baskets of fruit, packets of tobacco, and all manner of delicacies.

From Nagoya the railway turned southward, following the coast, so that
again I caught frequent glimpses of the ocean as we sped along, passing
through a country filled with rice-fields, where peasant women wallowed
in the water, clawing with bare hands the mud about the roots of the
rice plants. On slopes too steep to be flooded, long rows of tea bushes
stretched from the railway to the wooded tops of the hills.

I reached Yokohama at night, and stopped at the Sailors’ Home, certain
that in this city I could soon get work on some vessel going to my
native land. I squandered the seven yen I had left, and on a morning
late in July wandered down to the port to ask for work on some ship.

                             CHAPTER XXVIII
                             HOMEWARD BOUND

It was Saturday, nearly two weeks after my arrival in Yokohama, that I
saw a chance to escape from Japan. The American consul had promised to
speak for me to the captain of a fast mail steamer to sail a few days

Early the following Monday, the last day of July, I turned in at the
American consul’s office just as two men stepped out. One was the
vice-consul; the other, a large man of some fifty years, wearing
thick-rimmed spectacles and a broad-brimmed felt hat. His black hair was
unusually long. I supposed he was a missionary, and stepped aside to let
him pass. The vice-consul, however, catching sight of me as he shook the
stranger’s hand, beckoned to me.

“By the way,” he said, speaking to the stranger; “here is an American
sailor who wants to work his passage to the States. Can’t you take him
on, captain?”

Captain, indeed! Of what? The fast mail steamer, perhaps. I stepped
forward eagerly.

“Umph!” said the stranger, looking me over. “On the beach, eh? Why, yes;
he can come on board and I’ll set him at work.”

“Good!” cried the vice-consul. “There you are! Now don’t loaf and make
us ashamed to ask a favor of the captain next time.”

“Go get something to eat,” said the captain, “and wait for me on the

I raced away to the Home to invite one of the “boys” I had met there to
a farewell luncheon, then returned to the place of meeting. The day was
stormy, and a dozen downpours drenched me as many times during the seven
hours that I waited. Toward nightfall the captain drove up in a
’rickshaw, and we stepped into his launch.

Ten minutes later I should have given much to have been able to spring
back on the wharf. The launch raced at full speed out across the harbor,
past the last steamer riding at anchor, and turned toward the open sea.
Where in the name of Father Neptune was she bound? I wiped the water
from my eyes and gazed in astonishment at the fast disappearing shore.
The last ship was already behind. The higher waves of the outer bay
caught our tiny boat as she slipped through the mouth of the
break-water, and sent me waltzing about the slippery deck. Was the
long-haired captain a lunatic who had chosen a launch for a sea voyage?
Then all at once I understood, and gasped with dismay. Far off through
the driving rain appeared the towering masts of the sailing-vessels, and
that one toward which we were headed had her sails bent, ready for
starting. That vice-consul had sentenced me to work my way home on a

Dusk was settling over the harbor when the launch bumped against the
ship’s side. Several seamen, sprawling about the deck, sprang to their
feet as I poked my head over the bulwarks.

“Hooray!” bawled a loud voice. “A new shipmate, lads. Turn out an’ see.”

Sailors dressed and half dressed stumbled out on the deck; and in the
twinkling of an eye I was surrounded by all hands and the cook.

The cook gave me leave to dry my uniform in the galley, and I went to
the forecastle to tell my story to the excited crew.

[Illustration: When I arrived in Yokohama I found the city decorated in
honor of Secretary Taft’s party, which, with Miss Roosevelt, arrived
July 25, 1905. The arch through which they drove to the station is made
of evergreens.]

“It’s a ragged deal t’ ’ave t’ work your passage ’ome on a wind-jammer,”
cried one of the seamen, when I had finished. “Howsomever, ’ere you are,
an’ it’s no use kickin’ after you’re ’ung.

“This tub?” he went on, in answer to my question about the ship. “She’s
the _Glenalvon_, English built, as you can see wi’ your eyes shut, solid
enough, being all iron but ’er decks; but that’s all can be said for
’er. This crowd shipped on ’er from England two years ago with loaded
saltpeter for Yokohama, and she’s bound now for the States all right—to
load wheat for ’ome, like ’nough. Maybe it’ll take a month to get

By the time my clothes were dry the second mate came forward to tell me
what my work was to be, and I turned in with my new mess-mates. It
barely seemed possible that I had fallen asleep, when there came a
banging on the iron door of the sailors’ room and a noisy shout of:

“All hands! Up anchor, ho!”

With only five minutes to jump into our clothes, we tumbled out
hurriedly. Twenty-two men and boys, their heads still heavy with sleep,
grasped the bars of the capstan—the wheel that pulled up the anchor. For
four hours we marched round and round the creaking thing. One man at a
proper machine could have raised the anchor in ten minutes; but the
_Glenalvon_ had not so much as a donkey-engine.

Dawn found us still treading around in a circle in time to a mournful
song sung by long-winded members of the crew. The sun rose, and the
sweat ran in streams along the bars. Hunger gnawed us inwardly. The
captain went ashore for his morning outing, a steamer slipped by us, and
I caught myself gazing sorrowfully away across the bay at the city we
were about to leave behind.

Then all at once the second mate, peering over the side, raised a hand.

“Shake ’em out!” he bellowed. “All hands! Man the wheel!”

The crew sprang into the rigging and climbed the masts. We loosened a
dozen sails, and, leaving a man on each mast to fasten the ropes, slid
down on deck again. Then came a harder task, to raise the upper
topsail-yards—timbers that kept the sails stretched out to their full
width. Every man on board pulled on the rope; even then we were not
enough. The heavy iron yard rose, but only inch by inch; and every pull
seemed to yank our arms half out of their sockets.

It was finally fastened in place, however. Then, breaking up into
smaller groups, the crew raised more timbers, and, when we turned in for
breakfast an hour late, weak and ugly from hunger, the _Glenalvon_ was
ready to sail.

“At least,” I told myself, rubbing my aching arms between mouthfuls of
watery soup, “we’re off, and the worst is over.”

Which only proved how little I knew of the queer ways of “wind-jammers.”

Refusing to hire a tug, our captain was determined to beat his way out
of Tokyo harbor by tacking back and forth against the wind that blew
steadily in at the mouth of the bay. A bellow called us on deck before
breakfast was half over, to go about ship again. A few more mouthfuls,
and we were at it again. But it was of no use. The wind blew stronger
and held us back; the bay was narrow. On the third time across the
captain moved too near the shore, lost his head, and roared out an

“Let go the anchor!”

The anchor dropped with a mighty roar and rattle of chain; sails came
down with a run; ropes screamed through the blocks; the topsails fell
with a crash; sails swelled out and snapped in the breeze with the boom
of cannon; blocks fell about our heads; ropes and chains of every size
threshed about the decks, snatching us off our feet and slashing us in
the face; men and goats sprawled about the deck. It seemed as if an
earthquake had struck us, and in three minutes the work of five toilsome
hours had been utterly undone.

When the uproar ceased we began the work of restoring things to order
again—furled the sails, raised yards, coiled up the thousand and one
ropes that carpeted the deck, attended to many other tasks. To most
people this would have seemed work enough for one day. But after less
than a half hour for dinner we were called out once more and sent over
the side with our paint-pots.

Exactly the same thing happened to us the next day, and the next. Day
after day the wind blew steadily in at the mouth of the harbor, holding
us there.

A week went by. A ship that had long ridden at anchor near the
_Glenalvon_ was towed out to sea and sailed away. The fast mail steamer
glided by so close that one of the “boys” whom I had known at the
Sailors’ Home waved to me from her deck. A dozen ships went in and out,
and still the white cone of Fujiyama gazed down upon us. The harbor of
Yokohama came to be a sight hateful to all on board. The crew was worn
out in body and spirit, and I began to give up hope of ever again
setting foot on land.

But our skipper was forced to hire a tug at last. On the morning of
August eleventh we turned out to raise the anchor for the tenth time.
The skipper had been rowed ashore the afternoon before, and a tug was
waiting to take us out of the harbor. Late in the day she dropped us
outside the narrows, and when night fell the _Glenalvon_ was tossing on
the open sea.

We had no time to feel dull on the trip across. First of all, the breeze
that had held us bottled up in the harbor for twelve days increased to a
heavy gale. For more than a week it blew steadily from the same
direction. Rain poured constantly. Lashed by the storm, the sea rose
mountain high, and the ship reared like a cow-boy’s broncho, or lay on
her side like a mortally wounded creature.

[Illustration: A Yokohama street decorated for the Taft party.]

There was no standing on the deck. The best pair of sea legs failed to
do it. We moved like mountain goats on a mountain-peak, springing from
post to railing and from railing to stairway, or dragging ourselves hand
over hand along the ropes. After a time the wind changed in direction so
often that every square of canvas had to be furled, rolled up, and
shaken out again a dozen times a day. The bellow ordering us about was
forever ringing in our ears. We lived in the rigging, like apes in

The wind, the pouring rain, and the sudden gales continued for weeks.
The weather turned bitter cold. Unable to hold her course, the
_Glenalvon_ ran “by the wind” far to the north. One night in the second
week out, a goat froze to death. With only my khaki uniform, I should
have suffered the same fate had it not been for the kindness of a
shipmate who allowed me to use a “dead man’s gear” which he was afraid
to wear.

To tell of all the hardships and misfortunes that befell us during that
voyage would make this story too long. We slept in wooden bins on sacks
filled with bits of straw and lashed ourselves fast to keep from being
thrown out on the deck. The kind of beds we had mattered little, though,
for we were not in them much of the time. The food fell so low that we
had to get along on half rations; which was well, perhaps, for what was
left had been on board more than two years. The biscuits in one cask
opened toward the end of the voyage, were stamped with the date of 1878.

Looking forward to an easy passage, the captain had rigged out the ship
in her oldest suit of sails. One by one, the fury of the wind tore them
to ribbons. The bursting of canvas sounded above the roar of every
storm. As each sail went, new ones of double-weight canvas were dragged
from the locker and raised on high to the top of the mast. It was
dangerous work to hang on away up there while bending a sail on the icy
poles, with the wind howling about you, the foot-rope slippery, and
every line frozen stiff, while the ship swung back and forth far below
like a cork on the end of a stick. Every old sail was carried away
before that unchanging wind, and even the new canvas was sometimes

On the eighth of September we found that, after all our work, we had
covered just sixty miles! But on that day the wind changed, and our
vessel caught the breeze on her beam and raced homeward like a steamer.

On the nineteenth day of September some one said that we were nearing
port. Several of the seamen declared that the voyage was not half over;
but, for all that, everybody began to get excited. In the middle of the
afternoon the mate gave an order to get the anchor over the side. He did
not have to repeat the command. The men rushed to the work, laughing
childishly. In a short time the anchor swung in place, and we waited
impatiently for signs of land.

But the best pair of eyes could not have made out a mountain a ship’s
length away in the fog that enveloped us. For two days we beat up and
down the coast, not knowing just where we were, while the crew nibbled
stale biscuits in helpless rage.

On the twenty-first the gale died down to a quieter breeze, and in the
early afternoon the fog thinned and lifted, and a mighty cheer from the
watch brought every man tumbling from his bunk. A few miles off before
us a rocky highland rose slowly, throwing off the gray mist like a giant
freeing himself of a flowing garment. A tug hovering near the shore
spied the flapping canvas of the _Glenalvon_, and darted out to meet us.
We were near the entrance to Puget Sound.

All night long the tug strained at the ropes of our vessel. In the
afternoon we dropped anchor in a quiet bay close off a wooded shore
decorated by several wigwams.

The next morning I began work with the crew as usual, and toiled from
daylight to dark. No hint that I was to be freed from duty having
reached me by the next afternoon, I marched forward and asked for my

“What’s your hurry?” demanded the captain. “I’ll sign you on at full
wages and you can make the trip home in her.”

“Thank you kindly, sir,” I answered, “but I’m home now, once I get

“Aye!” snorted the captain. “And in three days you’ll be on the beach
and howling to sign on again. Turn to with the crew until she’s tied up
in Tacoma, and I’ll give you your discharge.”

I told him plainly that I could not wait. I wanted to go ashore at once.

“Huh! That’s it!” growled the master. “Every man jack of you with the
price of a drink coming to him is ready to desert if a shift of work
turns up. Well, to-morrow is Sunday. I’ll get some money when I go
ashore, and pay you off on Monday morning. But I’ll have to set you down
on the records as a deserter.”

“Very good, sir,” I answered.

Fifty-seven days after boarding the _Glenalvon_ I bade farewell to her
crew. Dressed in a khaki uniform and an ancient pair of sea-boots that
had cost me four messes of plum-duff, I landed with the captain at a
rocky point on the farther side of the bay. He marched before me until
we reached the door of a lonely tavern, then turned and dropped into my
hand seven and a half dollars.

“You must be back on board by to-morrow night,” he said.

“Eh!” I gasped.

“Oh, I have to tell you that,” snapped the skipper, “or I can’t set you
down as a deserter,” and, pushing aside the swinging doors before him,
he disappeared.

I plodded on toward the city of Victoria. The joy of being on land once
more—above all, of being my own master—was so keen that it was with
difficulty that I kept myself from cutting a caper in the public street.

I was really in a foreign land still; yet how everything about made me
think of the fatherland from which I had been so long absent. The wooden
sidewalk drumming under my boots; the cozy houses, roofed with shingles
instead of tiles, and each standing far back from the street on its own
green lawn; the tinkle of cow-bells in neighboring pastures—a hundred
little unimportances, that I had hardly noticed when I lived among them,
stood forth to call up memories of the years gone by. In Victoria each
passer-by seemed like a long-lost friend, so familiar did each look in
face, clothing, and actions. All that day, as often as I heard a voice
behind me, I whirled about and stared at the speaker, utterly astonished
that he should be speaking English.

I caught the night boat for Seattle, and landed at midnight in my native
land, after an absence of four hundred and sixty-six days.

For two days following I did little but sleep. Then I boarded a train
one evening to continue eastward, landing in Spokane the second night
thereafter. My wages as a seaman being nearly spent, I stopped a week in
Spokane, where I helped build cement sidewalks. At the end of that time
I shipped as a railway laborer to Paola, Montana.

The train halted at midnight at the station named ——, a lonely shanty in
a wild mountain gorge.

The next morning I went on to Havre. While stepping from one of its
restaurants, a ranchman accosted me. He put me in charge of seven
carloads of cattle, and when night fell I was speeding eastward again.

Six days later I turned the animals over to the tender mercies of a
packing-house in Chicago, and on the morning of October fourteenth
walked into the home of my parents.


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Changed “Sidra” to “Sidon” on p. 92.
 2. Silently corrected typographical errors.
 3. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 4. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

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