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Title: The Crimson Azaleas
Author: Stacpoole, H. De Vere (Henry De Vere)
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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THE CRIMSON AZALEAS

A Novel

by

H. DE VERE STACPOOLE

Author of "The Blue Lagoon"



[Illustration]

New York
Duffield & Co.
1910



                                CONTENTS


                                PART ONE

                     THE TRAGEDY OF THE NIKKO ROAD

     CHAPTER                                                    PAGE

         I. THE ROAD TO NIKKO                                      5

        II. THE BLIND ONE                                         11

       III. THE LOST ONE                                          20

        IV. AMIDST THE HILLS                                      25

         V. THE TEA HOUSE OF THE TORTOISE                         31

        VI. THE DREAMER AND THE DRAGON                            44

       VII. HOW CAMPANULA BROUGHT FORTUNE TO THE
            HOUSE OF THE TORTOISE--AND OTHER
            THINGS                                                54

      VIII. THE SURPRISING STORY OF MOMOTARO--AKUDOGI
            AND SPOTTED DOG                                       61

        IX. THE HOUSE OF THE CLOUDS                               71

         X. OF MOUSMÉS AND OTHER THINGS                           82


                                PART TWO

                     THE MASSACRE OF THE BLUE-BELLS

        XI. THE DREAM                                             91

       XII. THE FOREIGN DEVILS                                   101

      XIII. THE MONASTERY GARDEN                                 107

       XIV. NAGASAKI BY NIGHT                                    119

        XV. M'GOURLEY'S LOVE AFFAIR                              124

       XVI. THE PHILOSOPHY OF EVIL                               135

      XVII. THE HOUSE BY NIGHT                                   141

     XVIII. MOSTLY ABOUT FLOWERS                                 151

       XIX. THE STORK AND THE TORTOISE                           172

        XX. THE SONG OF THE MUSHI                                183

       XXI. M'GOURLEY'S LOVE AFFAIR                              194

      XXII. THE COMPLETE GEOGRAPHER                              206

     XXIII. STRUGGLE                                             213

      XXIV. GEORGE DU TELLE                                      223

       XXV. RETROSPECTION                                        232


                               PART THREE

                            THE BROKEN LATH

      XXVI. THE BROKEN LATH                                      241

     XXVII. THE "EMPRESS OF JAPAN"                               247

    XXVIII. M'GOURLEY'S LOVE AFFAIR                              262

      XXIX. THE GARDEN-PARTY                                     268

       XXX. THE FALSE REPORT                                     280

      XXXI. FAREWELL                                             284

     XXXII. HER HOUSE IN ORDER                                   292

    XXXIII. THE "LA FRANCE"                                      296

     XXXIV. AMIDST THE AZALEAS                                   302

      XXXV. BON MATSURI                                          307



                               CHAPTER I

                           THE ROAD TO NIKKO

    "Upon the road to Nikko,
    Where the pilgrims pray,
    Along the road to Nikko
    Either side the way,
    Thundering great camellia trees
    Decked with blossoms gay,
    Adorn the road to Nikko,
    The mountain road to Nikko,
    In the month of May."


The singer stopped singing and began to whistle. Then he broke out into
prose.

"Damn boots! I'll be lame in another mile. Why can't we be content with
sandals like our 'brithers' the Japs!"

"Dinna damn boots, but their makers," replied his companion, a sandy
Scot of fifty or more, dressed in broadcloth and a bowler, a figure at
once a blot upon the lonely road and a blasphemy against Japan--a blot
whose name was M'Gourley. "I vara well remember when I was in Gleska--"

"Oh, don't!" said the poet of the Nikko road, Dick Leslie by name, a
young man, or rather a man still young, very tall, straight, dark, and
good-looking, and a gentleman from the crown of his close-clipped, curly
black head to the soles of the boots that were torturing him. "Don't
haul up your factory chimneys, your smoke and whisky bottles in this
place of places. I believe if a Scot ever gets into heaven he'll start
his first conversation with his first angel by making some reference to
Gleska: Look there!"

"Whaur?"

"There!" cried Leslie, turning from the direction of Fubasami and the
beginning of the great Nikko valley before them, and pointing backwards
away towards Kureise over an expanse of distant country where the clouds
were drawing soft shadows across the rice fields and the sinuous hills;
over little woods of fir and cryptomeria trees, lakes where the lotus
flowers spread in summer, and the king-fisher flashed like a jewel; over
occasional fields of flowers, flowers that grew by the million and the
million.

Many of these details were absorbed and dulled by distance, yet still
lent their spirit to the scene, producing a landscape most strange and
quaint.

Nearly every other country seems flung together by nature, but Japan
seems to have been imagined by some great artist of the ancient
days--imagined and constructed.

"Look there," said Leslie, "saw you ever anything better than that in
Clackmannan?"

"Ay, have I," replied M'Gourley, contemplating the view before him,
"many's the time. What sort of country do you call that? Man! I'd as
soon live on a tea-tray if I had ma choice."

"Well, you've lived in Japan long enough to be used to it. It's always
the way; put a man in a paradise like this where there are all sorts of
flowers and jolly things around him, and he starts grumbling and
growling and pining after rain, and misery, and cold, and sleet, and
peat smoke--if he's a Scotchman. How long have you been in Japan, Mac,
did you say?"

"Near ever since the Samurai took off their swords and turned
policemen."

"What kept you in the East so long if you don't like it?"

"Trade, like the wind, blaweth where it listeth, and a man must e'en
follow his trade," said M'Gourley; and they resumed their road.

They were walking to Nikko together, this strangely assorted pair,
strangely assorted though they were both Scotchmen. They were
approaching the place, not by that splendid avenue of cryptomeria trees
that leads from Utso-no-Miya, but by the wild hill road, which runs from
Kureise, or rather by the higher hill road, for there are two, and they
had taken the loneliest and the longest by mistake (M'Gourley's fault,
though he swore that he knew the country like the palm of his hand).

They had come twenty or twenty-five miles of the way by riksha, and were
now hoofing the remainder, their luggage having been sent on to Nikko by
train.

"And talking of trade," said M'Gourley, "let's go back to the matter we
were on a moment ago; there's money in it, and I know the beesiness. I
ken it fine; never a man knows better the Jap Rubbish trade."

"You were talking of starting at Nagasaki."

"Ay, Nagasaki's best."

"Well, I'll plank the money," said Leslie. "I'll put up a thousand
against a thousand of yours."

M'Gourley stopped and held out a hand sheathed in a mournful-looking
black dogskin glove.

"Is't a bargain?" said he.

"It's a bargain. Funny that we should have only met the other day in
Tokyo, and that you should have come along to Nikko to show me the
sights. I believe all the time you were bent on trepanning me into this
business."

"I was that," said M'Gourley, with charming frankness; "for your own
good. A man without a beesiness is a man astray, and when you told me in
the hotel in Tokyo you were a boddie with money, and nothing to do with
it, I said: 'Here's my chance.'"

"If I had met you two months ago," said Leslie bitterly, "I wouldn't
have been much use, for my father would not have been dead, and I would
not have come into his money. Do you know what I have been?--I have been
a remittance man."

"I've met vera much worse people than some of _them_," said Mac, who if
his newly found partner had declared himself a demon out of Hades would
perhaps have made the same glossatory remark--the capital being assured.

"I'm hanged if I have," said Leslie bitterly. "Give me a Sydney
Larrikin, a Dago, a Chinee, before your remittance man. I know what I'm
talking about for I have been one--see?"

"What, may I ask--" began M'Gourley, then he paused.

"You mean what was the reason of my being flung off by my father?
Youthful indiscretions. Let's sit down; I want to take my boot off."

The road just here took a bend, and became wilder and more lovely, a
stream gushed from the bank on which they took their seats, and before
them lay a little valley, a valley hedged on either side by cypress
trees, and thronged with crimson azaleas.



                               CHAPTER II

                             THE BLIND ONE


Crimson azaleas in wild profusion, here struck with sun, here shadowed
by the cypress trees--a sight to gladden the heart of a poet. Between
the cypress trees, beyond the azaleas, beyond country broken by sunlight
and cloud shadows, lay the sea hills of Tanagura in the dimmest bluest
distance.

"If I could get that into a gold frame," said Leslie, as he inhaled the
delicious perfume of the azaleas and bathed his naked foot in the tiny
cascade breaking from the bank on which they sat, "I'd take it to London
and send it to the Academy--and they'd reject it."

"Vara likely," replied Mac. "It is no fit for a peecture. Who ever saw
the like of yon out of Japan? It's nought but a fakement."

"I say," said Leslie, "talking of fakements--in this business of ours I
hope we'll steer clear of all that."

"In this beesiness of oors," said Mac, "I thought you distinctly
understood my friend Danjuro will be the nominal head of the firrm--we
are but the sleeping pairtners."

Mac's Scotch bubbled in him when he grew excited, or when he forgot
himself. Ordinarily he talked pretty ordinary English, but when the
stopper was off the Scotch came out, and you could tell by the
pronunciation of the word "money" whether he was mentioning the article
casually or deep in a deal.

"Well," said Leslie, "I don't want my dreams troubled by visions of
Danjuro swindling unfortunate tourists; you say we're to export things,
but I don't want to have him roping in people, selling them
five-shilling pagodas at five pounds a-piece."

Mac sighed as if with regret at the impossibility of such a delightful
deal as that.

"It's rather jolly going into business," continued Leslie, dreamily
gazing at the azaleas. "Only crime I've never committed, except murder
and a few others. Good God! when I started in life I never thought I'd
end my days peddling paper lanterns, and cheating people into buying
penny-a-dozen kakemonos for a shilling a-piece. Don't talk to me; all
trade is cheating."

"You should have known Macbean," said M'Gourley, who had also taken off
his boots and stockings and was bathing his broad splay feet in the
pretty little torrent.

"Who was he?"

"Forty year ago I was his 'prentice. Mummies, and idols, and pagods, and
scarabeuses was the output of the firm, and Icknield Street, Birmingham,
its habitation."

"Idols?"

"Ay, idols. Some the size of your thumb, and some the size of bedposts,
which they were derived from; some with teeth, and some with hair, and
some bald as a bannock. We stocked half West Africa with idols, and the
South Seas absorbed the balance."

"Well, you certainly take the cake," said Leslie.

"I took three pun ten a week at Macbean's, and learnt more eelementary
theology than's taught in the schules of Edinboro'. Macbean said
artistical idols was what the savages wanted, and what they would get as
long as old bedposteses were to be bought at knockdown prices, and sold
for the waurth of elephants' tusks."

"You disgust me," said Leslie, "upon my word you do."

"That's what Macbean said one day to the boddie I had in mind when I
began telling you of this. The boddie came in grumbling about a mummy--a
vara fine mummy it was, too--that had been sold to him for export. The
mummy had been stuftit with newspapers, but the _sachrum ustum_ used for
coloring the stuffing matter being omitted, the printed matter remained
in eevidence when the American who bought the article in Cairo opened it
to hunt for amulets and scarabeuses. 'Newspapers!' said Macbean. 'And
what more do you expect in a fifty-shullin' mummy? Did y' expect it
stuffed wi' dimonds?'"

"Well?" said Leslie.

"That's all, and that's the whole of beesiness in a walnut shell; y'
canna expect a fifty-shullin' mummy to be stuffed with--"

"Rubbish! the whole of swindling, you mean. Anyhow, we'll keep straight,
if you please; a fair profit I don't mind, but I object to rank
trickery--by the way, what's the time? my watch has stopped; and how far
is Nikko off?"

"It's after two," said Mac, who had no very definite idea of how far
Nikko might be off, having led his companion by the wrong road and
concealed the fact. "And Nikko is maybe twarree miles, maybe a bit
more--wull we go?"

For all answer Leslie took some bar-chocolate from his pocket, gave some
to his companion, and proceeded to lunch.

"I daresay you think it funny," said he at last, "my chumming up, and in
your heart of hearts--that is, your business heart (excuse me for being
frank)--you must think it strange I should put up my money with a man
whom I don't know in the least. But, man! the truth of the matter is I'm
weary for a friend. I have money enough and to spare, but--I'm weary for
a friend.

"I'm the lonest man in the world," went on Leslie, munching his
chocolate and gazing at the beautiful scene before him; "the lonest man
on God's earth. What is the matter with me that I should never have
found and kept a friend? If God had ever given me anything to love I'd
have cherished it, but--there is no God that I can see."

"Whisht, man," said Mac. "Dinna talk like that."

"I know I was wild," went on Leslie, "before I left England, but other
men have been as bad. I quarreled with my father, but other men's
fathers are different from what mine was. He drove me beyond the sea to
be an alien and an outcast. I've seen drunken loafers in the bars of
Sydney, where I was stuck as a remittance man three years; they had
friends of a sort--friends who stuck them, but friend or dog never stuck
to me."

"No wumman?" asked M'Gourley, spitting out the remains of the chocolate
he was eating, and lighting a vile-looking Hankow cigar.

"I loved a woman once," said Leslie, staring before him with eyes that
saw not Japan or the cypress trees or the azaleas. "Her name was Jane
Deering; we were boy and girl together, cousins, and her people lived
quite close to mine. We got engaged, and were to have been married,
and--she threw me over."

"For why?" asked Mac.

"Said she didn't want to get married."

"Well, that was deefinite."

"Damned definite. What's that noise?"

"Tap, tap, tap." It was the tapping of a stick upon the ground, and a
man in the dress of a coolie, with a saucer-shaped hat upon his head,
turned the corner of the road, coming in the direction of Nikko. He was
tapping the ground before him with a staff. He was blind.

"What an awful-looking face!" said Leslie, as the figure approached.
"Look, Mac! Did you ever see the like of that?"

One sees many extraordinary and sinister faces in the East, but the face
of the on-comer would have been hard to match, even in the stews of
Shanghai.

The nose seemed to have been smashed flat by a blow. The face was flat
and possessed an awful stolidity, so that at a little distance one could
have sworn that it was carved from stone. It impressed one as the
countenance of a creature long in communion with evil.

The two Scotchmen held motionless to let this undesirable pass, but he
must have possessed some sixth sense, for instead of passing he stopped
and begun to whine.

He spoke in a light, flighty, chanting voice, like the voice of a man
either insane or delirious.

"What's he say?" asked Leslie.

"He's a Chinee, and wants money."

"Tell the beast to go."

"Says he knows we're foreigners."

"Clever that; why, even I can hear your Scotch sticking out of the
gibberish you're talking."

"Says he wants opium--hasn't had any the whole day, and if we will give
him opium, or money to buy it, he'll show us things."

"What things?"

"Lord sakes! the creeture's daft; says he can make great magic--snakes
out of mud or flowers out of nothing."

"Why doesn't he make some opium if he's so clever?"

"Says the woods around here are full of devils."

"Tell him to show us a devil, then."

Mac translated and the person so well acquainted with devils made
answer.

"For a piece of gold he will show us one. Why, Leslie, man, don't you be
a fule."

Leslie had taken half a sovereign from his pocket.

"Give it him and tell him to show us a devil, and if he plays any tricks
I'll chivy him into Nikko, and give him up to the police."

"Don't be a fule," said Mac testily. "A'weel!"

Leslie put the piece of gold into the creature's hand, who put it to his
ear for a moment, and then hid it in his rags. Then he bent his head
sideways to the road.

"What's he doing now?"

"He's listening if the road's clear; he says there's nothing on it for
two ri on either side, but he hears seven rikshas coming in the
direction of Nikko, but he'll have time to do what he wants before they
arrive."

The Blind One bent down rapidly and traced an almost perfect circle
around himself in the dust of the road; then hurriedly outside this he
traced what an initiate might have taken for the form of the Egg, the
horns of Simara, and another form needless to describe. Then he said
something to Mac.

"He says, we're not to speak, or touch the circle or go near it. I have
not paid for this entertainment, and I juist think I'll take a bit walk
doon the road."

"Sit down, you old coward," said Leslie. "I'm the one that has paid, and
I'm the one the 'deevil' will carry off if there is a deevil. Look!"

The Blind One took from his rags a cane pipe such as blind men use in
Japan, only larger, and began to blow mournful notes out of it. It was
as strange a sound as ever left human lips, now ear-piercing, now low,
low and soothing; his face flushed and swelled; he seemed enraptured,
entranced with his own music, and the searching sound of it caused
things to move disturbedly in the trees around, and a low croaking, as
if from some feathered creature disturbed, to come from the cypress
wood.

As he played, he turned north, south, east, and west, lingering, at
last, with the reed pipe pointing between the cypress trees, as though
he were calling to the blue hills in the distance.

As he stood thus, Leslie, who had been looking at the mysterious symbols
around the circle, was seized with an impish impulse, and leaning
forward with his walking-stick, he made in the dust inside the circle,
and just behind the Blind One's heel, the form of a cross.

In doing this, the point of the stick touched the Blind One's heel.



                              CHAPTER III

                              THE LOST ONE


A congreve rocket incautiously touched by a match could not have given a
more surprising result.

Flinging the pipe from him with a yell, the Blind One sprang clear over
the circle, and stood for an instant panting and blowing at the sun.

He seemed blowing away things that were trying to enter his mouth; then,
the staff attached by a thong to his wrist flying about wildly, he began
to tear at himself all over his body and fling things away from him, as
though he were attacked by a hundred thousand scorpions; then as if
bitten by some more serious enemy, he seized his staff, and striking
about him wildly, began to run. Hither and thither, hitting right and
left, dashing against trees and seeming utterly regardless of them,
bleeding, torn, and all the time fighting his phantom pursuers he ran
till he vanished round the bend leading towards Nikko. The two Scotchmen
ran to the bend of the road, and there down the road they saw him still
running, and fighting as if for his life; striking above him as if at
things in the air, and around him as if at things leaping at him from
the ground. Suddenly he vanished round a further bend, and was lost to
view.

"He's gone gyte!" said Mac as they returned.

"Well, I'm damned!" said Leslie.

"I touched his heel, and I suppose he thought it was one of the
devils--mad fool!"

"'Tis no madness," said Mac. "If ever I saw a man chased by deevils I've
seen one now. 'Twas that mark you made let them loose, or my name's not
Tod M'Gourley. Did you no ken you were makin' the sign of the cross in
yon damned circle of his? Hech, man! _Look there!_"

"Where?"

"My God!" said M'Gourley, "look you there, _there_! There's a bairn
amongst the azaleas!"

"So there is!" said Leslie. "By Jove, a little Jap girl come out of the
wood."

"Dom it, man," roared M'Gourley, "she wasn't there twarree seconds ago.
She's come out of no wood; she's been _fetched_."

"Well, of all the superstitious idiots!" said Leslie, gazing from the
perspiring M'Gourley to the figure of the quaint and pretty little
Japanese girl who was busy amidst the azaleas plucking the blossoms.
"Why, it wouldn't take her more than 'twarree seconds' to come out of
the wood. Anyhow, I'll go and see if she's real."

"Man! man! hauld back!" cried the agonized M'Gourley as his partner
plunged amidst the bushes. "Ye'll be had; she's a bogle. Lord's sake!
Lord's sake! Well, gang your own gate, I'm off to Nikko."

Yet he waited.

The bogle was plucking blossoms as hard as she could and in the profuse
manner of childhood. She and the azaleas made a sight for sore eyes.

She might have been seven or eight, dressed in a blue kimono with a
scarlet obi, hair black as ebony shavings, tightly drawn off the
forehead and held up with a tortoiseshell comb--the "germ of a woman."

Her back was turned to Leslie, and as he got within arm's length of the
quaint and delicious little figure he did just what you or I might have
done--bent down, seized her up, and kissed her.

The bogle dropped her flowers and gave a shriek, a most distinctly human
shriek.

"He's kessed her!" cried M'Gourley, addressing the azaleas, the cypress
trees, and all Japan.

Then he stood in agony, held to the spot by the sight of Leslie and the
bogle making friends.

It didn't seem to take long, for presently he returned through the
azaleas triumphant, carrying her in his arms.

"Here's your bogle," said he, placing her on the dusty road where, with
all the gravity of the Japanese child, she made a deep obeisance to
M'Gourley. That gentleman returned the compliment with a short, sharp
nod.

"I'm awa' to Nikko," said he in the hard, irritable voice of a person
who is desirous of avoiding an undesirable acquaintance, gazing at
Leslie and steadily ignoring the lady in blue who was now holding on to
Leslie's right leg, contemplating M'Gourley, and sucking the tip of a
taper and tiny forefinger all at the same time. "I'm awa' to Nikko. 'Tis
no place for a mon like me. Never was I used to the company of fules--"

"Don't be an ass! Speak to her; you have the tongue, and I haven't."

"I winna."

"Well, of all the old women I ever met," said Leslie, addressing a
"thundering great camellia tree" that stood opposite, "this partner of
mine takes the bun!--don't he, Popsums?" bending down and looking into
the small face, the left cheek of which was now resting against his
knee.

Popsums, in reply to the smile and interrogative tone in the question
she did not understand, smiled gravely back and murmured something that
sounded like "Hei."

M'Gourley snorted, and Leslie broke out laughing; he had little of the
Japanese, but he knew that "Hei" meant "Yes."



                               CHAPTER IV

                            AMIDST THE HILLS


Just then a ripple of laughter came down the breeze, and round the
corner of the road, heading for Nikko, came at full trot seven rikshas
streaming out like a scarf of color; a dream of color--for each riksha
contained a lady most beautiful to behold under the splendor of her
umbrella.

They were a party of girls returning to Nikko after some sylvan freak,
and they drew up as if by common assent to admire the azaleas.

Leslie, removing his hat and lifting his treasure trove, held her up for
exhibition.

The girls laughed and spoke to her; had they been English girls she
would have been promptly handed round and kissed; and she, with becoming
gravity, replied gracefully in a few half-lisped words.

Then, leaving behind them on the air a cloud of dust, a perfume of
camellia oil, and a long drawn "Sayonara," the bevy of beauties passed
in a gorgeous flight of mixed colors round the bend of the road and were
gone.

"Ye mind he said seven rikshas were coming," cried Mac.

"Bother!" answered Leslie. "He'd come the same direction and passed
them. Do you think they'd have laughed and spoken to her if there was
anything wrong and they're Japs, and ought to know. Come! buck up, man!
You're not afraid to do what a girl has done?"

"A'weel!" said M'Gourley, half ashamed of himself; and dour as any
Procurator Fiscal, he set to the examination of the being who was now on
the ground again, her hand clasped in that of Leslie.

This was the result of the examination. Deponent lived with her father.
Where? She did not know.--Just beyond there somewhere. What was the
house like she lived in? It had a plum-tree growing before it. What did
her father do? He hammered things with a hammer. Had she any brothers
and sisters? No; but--sudden thought--she had a sugar-candy dragon, and
she had lost it. (Here deponent wept slightly and with reserve.)

Pause in the interrogations whilst a snub nose was wiped with Leslie's
pocket handkerchief.

And a kite, but that was at home. She had gone that day with a little
boy--a neighbor--to hunt for the saccharine dragon, and they had lost
themselves, then they had lost each other, then _she_ had lost herself.
How was that possible? Well, she had gone to sleep. Where? In the wood.

Here the examinate went off into a tale about an impossible tom-cat with
wings, which she had once seen on an umbrella, and beheld once again in
the wood, but was suppressed by the court and asked to keep to facts.

Whilst asleep in the wood she was awakened, so she declared, by a sound
like the passage of a flight of storks, and, coming out of the wood,
fearful of meeting a dragon, she began to pick the pretty flowers; then
she was seized by the honorable gentleman, whose height was greater than
a poplar tree.

How old was she? Eight times the cherry blossom had blown since her
humble self had come into the world.

Then she volunteered the entirely unsolicited statement that it was
likely her little boy companion had been lost in the snow. But that was
impossible--well, it was a field of lilies then--and he had been most
possibly devoured by a dragon.

What did she propose about going home? Did she know the way, and could
she go alone?

Here she declared herself utterly at a loss. Her home was somewhere near
by, but where, she could not exactly say.

"Well, well!" said M'Gourley, when he had finished his examination. "It
seems to me that bogle or no bogle you've saddled yoursel' wi' a lost
child. Whaur's your common sense now?"

"Just where it always was.--Question is--what are we to do? Can _you_
suggest anything?"

"Na, na! it's not for me to say," said the other, with that vile sense
of satisfaction a brither Scot feels when a brither Scot has made a
cubby of himself. Then, remembering the bond of partnership, "If I were
the party responsible, I'd just pop her back where I fund her first, and
rin."

"Well, you _are_ a beast! Why, you benighted old mummy-stuffer, I
believe you've got a scarab in your bosom instead of a heart! I'll take
her along to Nikko, and get the police to hunt out her home. Stay, we
haven't asked her what's her name."

M'Gourley asked the question, and the Lost One declared her name to be
"Bell-flower."

"Bell-flower!" said Leslie, who had a smattering of botany, "that's a
campanula. We'll call her--'Campanula.'"

She also made declaration that she was quite satisfied to go with the
honorable gentleman, whose height exceeded the tallest of trees. Leslie
lifted her up and seated her upon his shoulder, and, as they started, he
turned and looked back at the loveliness of the perfumed azalea
valley--a sight that was yet to haunt him in the time to come.

"It's my opeenion," said M'Gourley, as they took the road, "that there
was something forming in yon wood, something dom bad, and you flung it
out of the forming eelement, and she was just suckid in."

"What d'you mean?"

"The wraith of some dead bairn was wanderin' aboot, and the forming
eelement seized it."

"What forming element? Rubbish! That chap was a lunatic; well, when he
felt me touch him it set his lunacy off, that's all. Why, I once went to
a big asylum in Scotland, and I saw a man cutting just the same capers,
fighting devils. He's an opium taker, and the opium is out of his brain,
that's all. Drink does the same thing--Hi! By Jove, look up there! He's
at it still."

Away up in the wild mountain gorge they saw a figure. It was the Blind
One still pursued, still running, and apparently fighting for his life.
If his actions were not the outcome of insanity they gave food to the
mind for the most terrible suppositions.

Streaming with blood from his mad dashes against the trees, he seemed
surrounded on all sides, hemmed in, fighting furiously like a man
surrounded by wolves. If a tree chanced to be near, an opening seemed to
be made for him by his tormentors towards it, and he would rush at it
and dash himself against it, falling back bleeding but fighting still,
screaming and all the time being steadily shepherded further and further
into the loneliness of the hills.

"Sirs! Sirs!" cried Mac, throwing up his hands as the horrible spectacle
vanished round a distant bend of the gorge. "This is no sight for a
Christian mon!"

"It's pretty rotten," said Leslie who looked rather pale and sick.
"Fetch out that flask of yours, Mac. Thanks. Poor devil! would there be
any use following him?"

"Not for twanty thousand pounds would I follow him," said Mac, gurgling
at the flask. "He's in ither hands than ours."

And, indeed, not for a very great sum would Leslie have gone up that
desolate gorge to see the finish of the tragedy.

"Let's go on," said Leslie, "and don't let's speak of it again. I want
to forget it--ugh!"



                               CHAPTER V

                     THE TEA HOUSE OF THE TORTOISE


It was at the next turn that Nikko broke upon them, a long way off,
lying in its valley amidst the high hills, hills fledged with greenery
to their summit.

There are sights that strike the eye and the heart at the same time, and
the sight of Nikko where the Shoguns sleep, Nikko the beautiful in the
silent valley, amidst the silent hills, is one of these.

The delicate colors, the exquisite tracery of the temple roofs, the
crystal clearness of the air through which the eye can pick out detail
after detail, the atmosphere of tranquillity of the mountains, and the
green cryptomeria trees, make up a picture, leaving little for the heart
to desire, or the imagination to conceive.

"Why," cried Leslie, turning to his companion (Campanula was seated
aloft in solitary state upon his shoulder clutching his hair tight,
whilst he held in one big hand her two little sandal-shod, tabi-clad
feet), "if that's Nikko, it's ten miles off if it's a foot. What've you
got to say for yourself, hey?"

"A'weel," said M'Gourley, glowering at Nikko, "if you want my candid
opeenion, we've juist gone astray; the country I know well, but these
dom roads lead one like a Jack o'Lanthorn. It's my opeenion that a
Japanese road--"

"I don't want your opinion on Japanese roads, I want your concise
opinion about yourself--ain't you a fool?"

"Ay, ay," said M'Gourley, as if considering the matter, "a fule I may
be, but it's my candit opeenion that I'm not the only fule in Japan."

"Well," said Leslie, "fool or no fool, we'll have to tramp it, and
you'll have to take your turn to carry the kid, so--_Marchons_!"

Campanula, so far from being frightened at her awful elevation from the
earth, seemed to enjoy the situation, and to find food for a sort of
muse of her own, for she began to hum as Leslie took the road with his
long stride, and to sing in a lisping sort of way.

"What's she singing?" demanded her bearer of the sweating Scot at his
side.

"Lord knows! 'tis an eldritch chune, and I dinna like to listen to the
words. Man, Leslie, but your legs are longer than mine, and I canna keep
the pace."

"Well, I'll go slower if you'll listen, and tell me what she's singing."

"She's singing," gasped M'Gourley, "s' far as I can make out, some
diddering noensense aboot a sugar-candy dragon that a man like a poplar
tree is goin' to hunt, he and a man like a corbie."

"That's you."

"More like some bogle from the wood that's maybe after us now. I am not
a supersteetious man--na, na! ye may laugh or not--but would y' like to
know what in my humble opeenion you are cartin' on your shoulders?"

"Yes?"

"Some bairn that has been lost and dead these years, and has been
whustled up by that blind deevil with the pipe. What did she mean by
that reeference to the snaw--answer me that!"

"When I can get into the mind of a Japanese child, and see the world as
it sees it, I'll answer you; you know what children's minds are, how
they mix and imagine things."

"What did she mean by that reeference to the snaw?" grimly went on
M'Gourley. "Mix or no mix, what did she mean by the other bairn being
lost in the snaw?"

"Well," said Leslie, "I don't care a button whether she's a bogle or
not. If she is, she's the prettiest bogle that was ever bogled, and
about the heaviest, I should think. Here, you take a turn with her, I'm
about done."

They took it turn about, M'Gourley vastly loth, to carry the Lost One;
and the Lost One stopped them to gather flowers for her by the wayside,
to give her drinks from rivulets, to help her admire and wonder at
herons and other marvels of the way, so that it was after six of the
clock when two of the most dusty and perspiring Scotchmen in the Eastern
Hemisphere entered the happy village of Nikko from the mountain side,
Campanula this time on Leslie's shoulder, grave, triumphant, and holding
a huge lily in her hand.

Nikko and its surroundings just now was ablaze with scarlet japonica.
The lamps of the camellias were lit, the soaring wistaria vines had
broken into clusters of pale lilac blossoms, the iris beautified the
field, and the wild cherry the thicket. It was as if spring had called
from the tomb of Iyeyasu and her faithful had come to pray.

There are two hotels at Nikko known to the globe-trotter, "Kanayas" and
the "New Nikko," but M'Gourley knew a better place than these.

As they passed down the long inclined street a baby with a shaved head,
a baby that was half a baby and half an obi, tied behind in a stiff and
preposterous bow, spied Campanula being borne aloft, dropped his
immediate business--the attempt to fly a kite shaped like a moth--and
followed the newcomers with a shout.

The shout, as if by magic, brought half a dozen children from nowhere in
particular; girl children with dolls on their backs, older girl children
with babies on their backs, boys battledore in hand, and all with clogs
on their feet, clogs that went clipper-clapper, waking up the echoes and
calling forth more children, so that when they had got half-way down the
mile-long street from the upper village Campanula had a "following," the
like of which had never been seen, perhaps, since the pied piper passed
through Hamelin.

A colored, laughing, murmuring, rippling throng following with every eye
fixed on the Lost One borne sky-high on the shoulder of the tall
stranger; a throng, the half of which could have walked under a
dinner-table without much inconvenience; some empty-handed, some still
grasping their implements of play, all agog, yet of decent and orderly
behavior. A throng, in fact, of ladies and gentlemen in the making.

Backward over the summit of Leslie gazed Campanula upon this crowd,
whilst the stall-keepers and the stray riksha men, the pilgrims and the
paupers, the priest and the policeman, stood by the way to watch the
procession pass.

"I say," called Leslie to his companion, who was limping behind dead
beat, yet in an agony at the "splurge" they were making, "this is gay,
isn't it?"

"Dod rot the child!" cried M'Gourley, nearly tumbling over a fat baby
with a tufted head, who was running in front of him and trying to look
up in his face.

"I dinna ken whoat ye mean by gay. I have no immeediate particular use
for the waurd. Never before have I been held up to public reedicule. I'm
a decent livin' man, ye ken, an' I ha'na any use for such gayeties. I
leave them to ithers who care for makin' assinine eediots of
theirselves; but, thank the Laird, we're nearly there noo."

They turned a corner and entered a gate that led to a garden.

At the gate M'Gourley turned and addressed the camp followers, telling
them with forced politeness that there was nothing more to be seen; that
the show was over, in fact, and asking them honorably to excuse him the
pleasure of being followed any more.

The crowd murmured, and dissolved, the earth seemed to take it up like
blotting-paper, and M'Gourley, turning his back upon its remnants, led
the way through the garden, past a tiny lake in the midst of which stood
an island, inhabited by a huge frog, and so, by a path, to the front of
a long, low, white-washed house.

This was the Tea House of the Tortoise, a place well known to M'Gourley,
as (to use his own abominable expression) being "cheap and clean."

A panel of the front was drawn back, revealing cream-white matting and
lamp light.

M'Gourley sat down with a sigh on the side of the veranda, and began to
pull off his elastic side boots. Leslie sat down also, with Campanula in
his lap; he could not put her down for she had literally tumbled into
sleep.

"Pull off my boots, Mac," said he. "I can't let go of this blessed
child."

"Na!" said Mac mysteriously, and somewhat viciously, as he knelt down
and unlaced his partner's boots, "ye cannot let her go, ye cannot let
her go; forby, she wullna let _you_ go."

"You think she's going to stick to me?"

"Imphim," replied Mac.

Imphim is not Japanese, it is the double Scotch grunt, which has
twenty-two separate meanings, mostly unpleasant. Shut your mouth tight
and try to say "Hum, hum," and you will achieve "Imphim," but never do
it again, please.

Leslie was about to answer, when a sound behind made him turn, and
there, like a pinned-down butterfly, was a Mousmé on the mat, crying,
"Irashi, condescend to enter."

M'Gourley--a most unengaging figure in his stocking feet--rose and
addressed the Mousmé.

He told her things in language unknown to Leslie; things about the
sleeping Campanula evidently, for he pump-handled with his arm in the
direction where Leslie, bootless now, sat holding her.

The Mousmé on her knees, a camellia blossom in her hair and her eyes
fixed upon M'Gourley, seemed fascinated. Then she called out and....

"Hai tadaima," came a soft voice from somewhere in the back premises,
and a second Mousmé appeared, made obeisance, and listened whilst the
tale, whatever it was, was laid before her.

Deep astonishment, exclamations of wonder, a call:

"Hai tadaima!" and an old lady appeared, and made obeisance, and
listened whilst the thrice-told tale was told her by the two Mousmés and
M'Gourley all together.

Meanwhile Leslie, feeling ridiculously like a nursemaid, sat holding the
Lost One, whose soul was wandering in the vain land of dreams.

"What are you stuffing those creatures up with?" he suddenly broke out.
"Blessed if you oughtn't to be dressed in a kimono and a petticoat;
you're the biggest old woman of the lot. Ask one of them to take the
kid, or I'll go off to the hotel with her."

"One minit," said Mac. "They're conseedrin' the matter."

Scarce had he spoken when the old lady called out, and entered on the
scene, an old gentleman, the proprietor of the tea house, a black cat,
and two more Mousmés.

"Oh, _do_ call a few more!" said Leslie. "And call in a couple of
musicians and make the comic opera complete."

"There are no more to call," replied Mac. "They are conseedrin' the
matter. The Japanese are a very supersteetious people, and these are
good friends of mine, and I would not spring a pairson upon them with
dootful anticeedents. You see, Leslie, man, the presence of the bairn
must be explained. She is not a bale of goods we can dump in a corner.
Bide a wee; I will talk them over yut."

The Areopagus was considering the question as to whether Campanula, if
admitted to the Tea House of the Tortoise, would bring ruin and
destruction or a blessing on the premises, when Hedgehog San, the black
cat, settled the matter by coming up to Leslie and rubbing against his
leg.

Then the Hon. Hedgehog--may his ashes rest in peace!--jumped on Leslie's
knee and rubbed himself against Campanula.

That clinched the business.

The old lady herself advanced, and, taking the Lost One from the Weary
One, carried her bodily into the house, whilst Leslie, yawning and
stretching himself, followed.

Inside, in the bare, clean room, the little Mousmé with the camellia in
her hair addressed herself to Leslie in a soft and beseeching voice.

"What does she want?" he asked of Mac.

"She wants to know if you require anything."

"A bath--that's what I want more than anything--don't you?"

"I am not given to promeescuous bathing," said M'Gourley, "being greatly
subject to the siatickee; but a bath you wull have, and I'll e'en sit
here and smoke a pipe whilst you bathe yourself."

"I want also a sugar-candy dragon for the bairn," said Leslie. "Ask 'em
to send out and get one. I suppose you can get such things?"

M'Gourley gave the message to the maid, and she departed.

The travelers' luggage--a frightful-looking old mid-Victorian carpet bag
belonging to M'Gourley, and a Gladstone of Leslie's--had already arrived
at the tea house, having been sent on by rail _via_ Utsu-no-Miya, and
the two sat down on small square cushions, placed on the cream-colored
matting, to smoke a pipe, whilst dinner and the bath were preparing.

"The police will be here the morn about that bairn," said Mac in his
cheerful way, "and we'll have to acoont for her."

"Of course we will."

"Ay, ay," said Mac, "but have you ever acoonted for a thing to the
Japanese police?"

"Well, considering I've only been in Japan ten days, I haven't had much
time, you see, to fall foul of the police."

"I found a scairf pin once," said this comforter of Job, "on the Bund at
Nagasaki. Twa-and-sax-pence it was worth, or maybe three shullin', and I
took it to the police office and began to acoont for it."

He stopped and sighed and sucked his pipe.

"Well?"

"Well, I'm acoontin' for it still, and that's three months ago; letters
and papers, and papers and letters enough to drive a man daft! Well, I'm
thinkin' if a twa-and-saxpenny scairf pin can cause such a wully waugh,
what's a live bairn going to do? Now, I'm thinking--"

"May I give you a piece of advice, Mac?"

"I am always open to judeecious advice," answered the unsuspecting Mac.

"Well, don't think too much or you'll hurt yourself."

M'Gourley grunted, and at that moment the Mousmé with the camellia in
her hair entered with the announcement that the bath was ready in the
room above, and Leslie departed.

"When you have shown the honorable gentleman the bath, come down; I wish
to speak to you," said M'Gourley to the lady of the camellia. She obeyed
the request and M'Gourley held her in light conversation, till he knew
by the sounds above that his partner was in the tub. Then he released
the handmaiden, and she departed upstairs.

He listened, and presently he heard Leslie's voice.

"Go away, please. Good heavens I say, I _wish_ you'd go away! No, I
don't want soap. I say, Mac! Hi, McGourley!--leave my back
alone--_M'Gourley_!"

But M'Gourley, like an Indian Sachem, smoked on and answered not.

He was having his revenge for the Nikko road.



                               CHAPTER VI

                       THE DREAMER AND THE DRAGON


They had finished dinner; a dinner which began with tea and bean flour
cakes, passed on to fish served on little mats of grass, went on to soup
served in lacquered bowls, proceeded to prawns; halted, hesitated, and
went back to soup, scratched its head, so to speak, and then, as if with
an after-thought, served up a quail, apologized for the substantiality
of the quail by presenting a salted plum on a little plate, and then
harked shamelessly back to soup, ending deliriously with a shower of
little dishes containing everything inconceivable, and a big bowl of
rice.

This is an impressionist picture of a Japanese dinner. I have eaten
many, but I have never carried away more than an impression, and whether
kuchi-tori comes before hachiz-a-kana, I cannot say, or where the
seaweed or salted fish come in--but come in they do, they and other
things stranger than themselves.

A _chamécen_ was thrumming somewhere in the house as they dined, sitting
on the soft white matting, and waited upon by two Mousmés crouched on
the matting like little panthers preparing to spring.

A slid back panel of the front wall made a doorway through which they
could see the moon wandering over Nikko, casting her cool white light
upon the blazing japonica flowers, the glory of the camellias, the roofs
of the temples, and the sad dark beauty of the cryptomeria trees.

Nikko by day is fair, but by night, when the moon is overhead, when the
air is full of the sounds of wandering waters, and the wind is heavy
with the perfume of the wild azaleas, Nikko is a dream.

When the tea and bean cakes had been served, the moon was in the act of
washing weakly a house gable across the garden, and a pale lilac-colored
flower of the wistaria, which projected above the extemporized doorway;
but by the time the quail had made its appearance, the garden was solid
in moonlight, the pond was a mirror, and the frog self-marooned on the
little island, was as distinct as if seen by daylight.

"I must learn Japanese," said Leslie, taking a cigarette-case from his
pocket and lighting a cigarette at the tobacco-mono that stood at his
elbow. "My lines are cast in Japan, that's clear, but a man without the
language is a helpless baby."

"Ay, ay," said M'Gourley. "You can easily get instruction in the
Japanese: take a wumman to live with you."

"I haven't looked at a woman for ten years, and I don't want to look at
one again." Then suddenly bursting out: "Why, you old scamp, talking
like that--you told me you were a member of the Free Kirk."

"The Wee Kirk," corrected Mac, leisurely lighting his pipe with an ember
from the hibachi.

"Well, Free Kirk or Wee Kirk, you ought to be jolly well ashamed of
yourself; and were you a member of the Wee Kirk when you were
constructing idols in Birmingham with old What's-his-name?"

"Na, na; those were my godless days. I got my releegion late in life,
and a vara good releegion it is; a waurkable releegion, one that does
not heat in the bearings, but runs smooth."

"And what is this wonderful religion, if I may ask?"

"It is noet so much wonderful as waurkable, and it may be compreezed in
the sentence: 'Do unto ithers as ithers would do unto you.'"

"O good Lord! and you call that a religion! Why, you precious old
humbug, that means you can rob, and plunder, and murder, and cheat--that
is to say, you can act like a beast towards people who would act so to
you."

"Just so."

"Well, there's one thing I like about you, you're frank, to say the
least of it."

This remark seemed greatly to incense Mac, who, perhaps, misunderstood
the meaning of the word frank.

"When y've been in the waurld as long as I have, surrounded on ivry side
by scoondrels and robbers, y'll maybee be as fraunk as mysel'.
Fraunk.--wid ye give me a defineetion of the waurd--fraunk! I wid have
ye to understand I'm an hoenest mon with hoenest men, but _I'm a
scoondrel wi' scoondrels_. Fraunk!" And so he went on, his Scotch accent
deepening as deepened his excitement, till at last he broke down into
Gaelic, and thundered his remarks at the hibachi, slapping his thigh as
he did so, and wakening the echoes of the house, which was resonant as a
fiddle. So that by the time he had got to the end of his exordium,
Leslie saw a panel waver back an inch, and the lady of the camellia
peeping in to see what the Learned One was shouting about.

"Keep your hair on," said Leslie, when Mac, with a final "Fraunk!"
delivered in English, began to refill and light his pipe. "I didn't mean
to insult you; I only meant to say I like your open-heartedness."

"Ay, I was ever that to those I had a liking for."

"I meant more precisely your open-mindedness--but no matter, let's talk
of something else. I wonder where they've put the kid, and oh, by Jove!
I wonder if they've got that dragon. Sing out and ask, like a good
chap."

Mac clapped his hands, and "Hai tadaima!" came as a response.

It was worth the trouble of clapping one's hands to hear that sweet
reply.

A moment later, a panel slid back and the camellia lady appeared.

Campanula San was asleep, and at that very moment Wild-cherry-bud was in
search of the Hon. Dragon, with orders to leave no confectioner's stall
unvisited till she had secured him.

This with immovable gravity and deep, sweet earnestness of tone.

"Well," said Leslie when she had withdrawn, "of all the people I have
struck yet, give me the Japanese."

"Wait till you've had beesiness transactions with them," said Mac
darkly. "I am no so unfreenly to the Japs in or'nary life, but in
beesiness the Jap's a wrugglin' sairpent--all but one--Danjuro--the man
we're going to join in partnership; he's as straight as a Chinee."

"He must be damn crooked then!"

"Cruik'd enough to make his way in Japan, but straight enough to a
freend; but you're a poet, man, Leslie, and no beesiness man. I kent y'
for a poet when you sang that bit song on the road--the song aboot the
camellia trees."

Leslie laughed.

"That rubbish! It's not mine; I read it in the Sydney _Bulletin_. Funny
enough, too, it was the first thing that made me think of coming to
Japan! Poetry! Good God! Put a man through the remittance mill in Sydney
and see all the poetry that will be left in him! Put a butterfly through
a sausage machine and then see how beautifully it will fly! Yes, I was
once a poet; years and years ago I was a poet--a poet who never wrote
anything, but a poet for all that. I could see the beauty of the world;
and then they blinded me. Who? I don't know--the world. Maybe it was
myself, maybe not. Maybe it was my father, maybe not. I only state the
fact that something in me is dead--the something that took joy in life
and found beauty in innocence--or was dead till I came to Japan. Oh,
M'Gourley, man, the years I've spent in Sydney under a cloud, mixing
with bar loafers, cursing my father and myself; the years I've spent in
Sydney have broken my soul in me!"

"Why did ye not waurk?"

"Work! I had just enough money to keep me from starvation and decently
dressed. I might have got a clerkship; for what good? To make another
hundred a year. To spend on what? Can you not understand, man, that my
mainspring was gone, that I was put out of the world I knew, tied by the
leg to Sydney, bound to appear every quarter-day at the double-damned
lawyer's office, or starve? Two things only kept me alive--tobacco and
books--saved me from myself and from drink."

"What sort of a mon was your faither?"

"A hard, dour, just man--a man who could make no allowance for folly."

"Ay, ay! Had y' any brithers and sisters?"

"Never a one, and my mother died when I was two; and he used to leather
me. Well, you can fancy my joy when old Bloomfield, the lawyer, sent for
me one day and said: 'I've bad news for you, Mr. Leslie.' 'What's that?'
said I. 'Your father is dead. He died intestate, and you have inherited
his property. I am advised it amounts to over twenty-one thousand
pounds.'"

"Twenty-one thousand?" said Mac in admiration.

"Yes; and I said to Bloomfield: 'You must be either a fool or a
hypocrite, for that's the best news I ever heard in my life, and you
know it.' Then some instinct took me over here to Japan. I was thinking
of going to England, but I found all at once I had a horror of England
and the English, so I came to Japan; and glad I am I came. Can you fancy
what these people here are to me after the population of Sydney--those
raucous, horse-racing, drink-swilling beasts? Then I fell in with you at
Tokyo, and took a fancy to your old Scotch mug--and here we are."

At this moment a little figure crossed the garden, bearing a lantern on
the end of a stick. It was Wild-cherry-bud; and presently she appeared
with the much-sought-for dragon wrapped in rice paper.

It was a wonderful creation with a twisted tail, rather stumpy wings,
but with a mouth that made up for all defects; nothing so ferocious had
ever perhaps before been done in sugar candy.

When the thing had been inspected and approved, Wild-cherry-bud led the
way to where Campanula slept, for Leslie wished his present to be placed
beside her, so that she might find it when she awoke.

The Lost One, looking very much lost indeed on a huge futon (a quilt
thicker than a muffin), and covered by a blue mosquito-net with red
bound edges, was so profoundly asleep that the clicking of the net being
pulled aside and the light of the night lantern borne by Wild-cherry-bud
did not disturb her. She was sleeping on her back, the top futon only
drawn to her waist, and her little perfectly shaped white hands were
crossed pathetically on her breast.

Leslie knelt down, and lifting one little hand placed the long-sought
monster beneath it. The hand clasped the dragon, the long-sought dragon,
and across the sleeper's face passed what seemed the ghost of a smile.

"A'weel!" thought Mac as he looked on, "had he a bairn he'd make a
better faither to it than his own faither made to him."

Then the mosquito-net was drawn and they departed, leaving Campanula to
the possession of her dreams.

Up in their room Leslie steadily refused to undress till the waiting
Mousmé had "cleared out." He had already refused to allow her to rub his
back when he was in his tub and now this--

The Tea House of the Tortoise people, good old-fashioned, Japanese inn
people, unused to foreign follies, could not make it out.

The Areopagus convened itself again, and held council by the light of an
andon, or night lantern.

"What could it mean?" There was simply no meaning in it. Such a thing
had never happened before, and the general conclusion was that Leslie
had "gone gyte."

Then the Areopagus went to bed all together under the same mosquito-net,
and silence reigned with the moon over the Tea House of the Tortoise.
The moon wandering over Nikko touching temple and tea-house pointed a
pallid finger between the window chinks of the room where the Lost One
lay asleep, as if to show her to the night. Clasping the candy dragon
whose ferocious eyes shone carbuncle-like in the placid moonlight she
made a strange picture, veiled by the blue gauze of the mosquito-net.



                              CHAPTER VII

                  HOW CAMPANULA BROUGHT FORTUNE TO THE
                    HOUSE OF THE TORTOISE--AND OTHER
                                 THINGS


The sun rose up and struck Nikko; struck the sacred red lacquered bridge
that crosses the foaming river, and the common bridge that you and I may
use, the potter's shop, and the golden shrine of Iyeyasu.

Then temple after temple broke up from shadow as the sun reached for
them and found them, and the hills took on a momentary splendor, an
ethereal loveliness, evanescent as youth and never to be recaptured by
the day.

In the garden of the Tea House of the Tortoise a bomb-shell full of
bickering sparrows seemed suddenly to burst above the pond, the sun
looked over the wall upon the dwarf maples in their blue porcelain
flowerpots, a panel of the white house front slid back and a Mousmé
appeared, her head tied up in a blue cotton duster; appeared another
Mousmé, dragging a futon to air in the morning brightness, and yet
another who came out and yawned at the sun, showing him the full extent
of her pink gullet, and every one of her thirty-two white teeth.

Then Hedgehog San, a cat honored and beloved, came forth with tail
erect, and a grasshopper hanging by the veranda in a tiny cage creaked
forth a thin hymn of praise.

Thus started the day at the Tea House of the Tortoise.

When Leslie and M'Gourley came downstairs--a stair like a ship's
companion-way but without any balustrade--they found Campanula having
her obi tied by Fir-branch (she who had yawned at the sun), and Leslie
was informed through his partner that the dragon had been found and that
he had grown; this statement, with some confidential information
concerning a thunder-cat of which she had dreamed, Mac translated from
the original with a serious face.

Up to this he had treated the Lost One as an adult, and as a most
undesirable adult, with whom he wished to have nothing to do. But
Campanula, fresh and spruce in the light of morning, chattering over her
shoulder to you about thunder-cats, whilst Fir-branch tied her obi in a
huge bow, was a person whose charm was not to be denied, and Mac began
to thaw.

"What's a thunder-cat?" asked Leslie.

"Lord only knows! some contraption in the shape of an animal that makes
thunder. The Japs are full of supersteetions about animals. Wull we out
before breakfast?"

Leslie the night before had declared his intention of sending for the
police next morning before the police sent for him, and had given a
message to the landlord accordingly. But he might have saved his breath.

Nikko was agog. Whether the tale had leaked through the chinks of the
Tea House of the Tortoise, whether Wild-cherry-bud had distributed it
during her peregrinations in search of the dragon, no one will ever
know; the fact remains that the story of Campanula had gone abroad with
additions--all sorts of weird and wonderful additions. Half Nikko had
seen her borne aloft on the shoulders of Leslie, the other half had
heard extraordinary statements concerning her origin; the result was
that the whole of Nikko ached inwardly with a great ache of curiosity.

By seven o'clock fifteen Mousmés or maybe twenty, had arrived singly and
in couples, not to ask questions, but to borrow things, or to offer the
loan of things, or to ask after the health of old mother Ranunculus, the
landlady of the "Tortoise." Incidentally they learned about Campanula.

A juggler had made her on the Nikko road. Out of what, for goodness'
sake? Out of a wild azalea bush!

No!

Yes, assuredly, the Learned One had said so.

And what had become of the juggler? He had vanished in a clap of
thunder--turned into a dragon.

Surprising!

And they went off to spread the news.

At half-past eight, or thereabouts, a little man in white, the chief of
the Nikko police, arrived. He had come officially, but he also was
aching to get to the truth of this marvelous tale.

Now the Japanese police is the most perfect police force in the world in
every respect. They are recruited from the Samurai or fighting-class,
and they are gentlemen to a man.

The chief of the Nikko police made profound apologies for disturbing the
peace of the strangers, then he heard the story told by M'Gourley.

He agreed that it was strange, but opined that the Lost One might simply
be a lost child. Where exactly was she found? In a valley of crimson
azaleas on the road from Kureise. Ah, yes! there was such a valley well
known, for the azaleas were crimson, and differed from the wild scarlet
azaleas so common hereabouts. There were also villages around there, and
tea houses; it might possibly be that she belonged to one of these. As
to the mad man they had seen running away, no one else had seen him.

Then Campanula was brought in and questioned, the whole of the
"Tortoise" people squatting round in a ring, even down to Hedgehog San,
who sat with judicial gravity, and seemed to be taking mental notes.

She told her little tale about the house with the plum tree in front of
it, and the kite, and the sugar-candy dragon which she had lost and
found again. How the said dragon had grown very much, and seemed
different, but tasted all right. Here she hastened to explain that she
had not eaten him, only touched him with her tongue.

She could not possibly say what men called her father. He hammered
things. What sort of things? She did not know, but they went pong, pong,
pong, when he struck them.

"Tinsmith," murmured M'Gourley.

She was sure of one thing, that her father's house was quite close to
the wood and the azalea valley.

How old was she?

Seven times had the cherry blossoms blown since her humble self--

"Hauld there," said M'Gourley. Then in Japanese he explained that
yesterday she had declared that eight times the cherry blossoms had
blown since her humble self, etc.

Ah, yes! but how was she to know? a lump of mud like her!

In conclusion, she took back her statement about the snow. She must have
dreamt that in the wood.

Then the court began to consult, the "lump of mud" sitting in their
midst pensive and rather sad, a scarlet flower in her black hair, and
the bow of her obi looking very stiff and huge.

"Look here," said Leslie at last. "Tell him I'll look after her, and pay
all expenses till she's found. Tell him to have the place searched, all
that wood and country, and I'll pay for it; and if they can't find her
people I'll adopt her. I will, begad!"

Mac translated.

At first the chief of police seemed to think that the "lump of mud"
should be hauled off to the police office--impounded, in short; then
M'Gourley intervened. M'Gourley was a power in Japan just then, for the
astute Scot had made himself very useful to the government in past
years, and the chief of police, when he heard what Mac had to say,
agreed to leave matters where they were whilst the country was being
searched, and the chief of police at Tokyo communicated with.

Then he took his departure, and here began the prosperity of the Tea
House of the Tortoise.

Three elderly gentlemen in kimonos were the first to arrive; after them
a youth in a bowler hat, and with the face of an uninspired idiot. These
sat round and sipped saki and smoked little pipes, and talked to
Wild-cherry-bud and Fir-branch, and listened to the grasshopper singing
in his cage, whilst more guests arrived, and still more. So that
Fir-branch, Wild-cherry-bud, & Co., were full of business, so full
indeed that mother Ranunculus, driven to her wits' end, sent out for
hired help.

At eleven, when M'Gourley and his companion went out to inspect the
golden Shrines, the Tea House of the Tortoise was humming like a
bee-hive.

"It's a funny business," said Leslie, as they turned the corner into the
street.

"I'm thinkin'," said Mac, "that you'll no find it so funny a beesiness
in the end."



                              CHAPTER VIII

               THE SURPRISING STORY OF MOMOTARO--AKUDOGI
                            AND SPOTTED DOG


"I don't care a button," said Leslie, on the third morning of their stay
in Nikko. "Danjuro may go be hanged. I'm not going to leave here till
I've settled about the kid."

"Ay, ay!" said Mac. "The man who will to Cupar maun to Cupar. I would
only imprees upon you this, that time is going and time is money."

"I know; but it won't take more than a few days now. They say they've
hunted the whole country round there, and can't find trace of her
people."

"Na, and never will. If she has onny real people they won't fash
themselves aboot her; girls in Japan are as plentiful as blaeberries in
Lorne--you're sadlit with her."

"Well, I want her, that's the truth. I've taken a fancy to her; she's
not the sort of thing one picks every day--she and her thunder-cats and
dragons."

"I won't say she is not an attractif wee boddie," said Mac, "but think
of the future, mon, when she's graun up."

"Bother the future! I'm rich enough to see after her. D'y know, Mac--"

"Weel?"

"I wonder did she come out of those azaleas?"

Mac gave a grunt.

Curiously enough, his point of view had changed, and he was now
convinced, or pretended to be convinced, that the treasure trove was a
solid body and no bogle.

"Because," went on Leslie, "it may be fact or fancy, but when I picked
her up she seemed slipping away into thin air till I kissed her, and
then she became solid."

"Imphim," said Mac, using a variation of the sound that was simply
stuffed with meanings all uncomplimentary to Leslie's intelligence.

"They used to tell me when I was a kid that babies came out of parsley
beds. Well, I'm half inclined to believe the tale has come true at last,
and she came out of those azalea bushes. Of course," said Leslie
suddenly, and as if apologizing to his own common sense, "I don't really
believe it, but I like to fancy it; it's so much nicer than thinking she
came into the world the other way."

The prosperity of the Tea House of the Tortoise still continued, people
coming from far and near to get a glimpse of the foundling.

Every day Mac and Leslie would take her out for a walk, and she clopped
beside them in her little clogs delightfully grave, and seemingly
unmindful of the polite following of children that always tailed after
them without appearing quite to do so. Children bouncing colored balls,
playing hop scotch or what not, yet always with an eye on the child that
had come out of the azaleas.

Shopping with Campanula Leslie found to be a new pleasure; a present, no
matter what, was received with such deep thankfulness, such quaint
expressions of gratitude.

He ordered Mother Ranunculus--requested her, rather--to get a complete
new outfit for his charge, everything that money could buy, from tabi to
hairpins, from kimonos to clogs. As for toys, she simply wallowed in
them: bouncing balls and battledores fell round her as if from the sky,
not to mention a doll as big as a baby of three, which she instantly
became a mother to, carting it about on her back tucked under her
kimono.

The one thing that disturbed Leslie was her seeming indifference to her
own strange position. Beyond the bald statement that she had a father,
she never referred to that enigmatical gentleman, nor did she grieve,
outwardly at least, about her separation from him.

By the end of the week the two Scotchmen and their charge began to be
welded into a corporate body--a little quaint family party. It was
strange the influence of this child upon these two men whom fate had
drawn together from the corners of the earth. Leslie, with newly
acquired interest in life, had grown five years younger in mind, and as
for Mac, he had grown ten degrees more human. His withered fatherly
instincts were awakened--at least they opened one eye--and it was pretty
to see him with his gnarled, horny hands and intent, weather-beaten face
making chickens for the Lost One out of orange pips.

They would go out, all three, and wander about Nikko and its temples,
and they would sit on grassy banks in the gardens of Dai Nichi Do, just
as a father and an uncle and niece might sit on seats in Kensington
Gardens, and then Leslie and his partner would discuss the future and
trade, whilst Campanula played with her doll or bounced a ball.

Here one day, whilst the sun shone on the little lake and the pink and
copper maples, the tiny islands and bridges and pagodas, Campanula,
weary of play, told, in a sing-song voice and broken manner, the story
of Momotaro, otherwise called Peachboy, and his wonderful deeds. She
told it standing before them, and striking attitudes suitable to the
phases of the tale.

One day, it appears, an old woman found a huge peach, and she was just
going to cut it in two with a knife when the peach broke open, and out
tumbled a baby. This very surprising thing happened a long time ago, but
exactly when Campanula could not possibly say.

Then Peachboy grew up, and every day he grew fatter and stronger, till
at last he grew so big that he determined to fight Akudogi, the king of
the Ogres, who lived on an island--somewhere. And he started out, said
Campanula, with a sword and a bag full of millet dumplings, each with a
salted plum in the center, to fight the Ogres.

Here she took from her sleeve a paper of sweets, and gravely presented
it to her companions, who each took one. She took one herself, consumed
it, and resumed the narrative.

On the way he met a spotted dog, a monkey, and a crow, and to each he
gave a dumpling, and they followed him to the attack on Akudogi, the
king of the Ogres.

The narrator's voice became deeper in tone, and she spread out her
fingers as if in fear.

The crow flew first to the castle of Akudogi and held him in talk,
whilst Peachboy, spotted dog, and the monkey, got over the castle wall.

Campanula was now standing before her auditors in a most dramatic
attitude, her hands uplifted, the fallen back sleeves of her kimono
showing her arms, and her brown eyes full of fear. She did not seem to
see either Leslie or M'Gourley. Her eyes were fixed on the frightful
Akudogi, and Peachboy, the spotted dog and the monkey, who were about to
attack him.

The crow, when he saw that his companions had gained an entrance to the
castle, flew away with a laugh, and Akudogi turned and beheld Peachboy
and his brave companions. He gnashed his teeth, pulled out his sword,
and oh!

Frightened to death with her own imaginations, she rushed with a little
shriek into Mac's arms for protection.

"Hauld yourself taegether; I winna let them catch ye! I winna let them
catch ye!" cried Mac, as he clasped the perfumed bundle that had flung
itself into his arms.

"What's all that she was telling?" asked Leslie, who felt rather jealous
that Mac should have been chosen as the harbor of refuge.

"Only a daft tale about ogres an' spotted dogs. She's clean crackit on
all sorts of queer beasties. Only last night she told me a tale aboot a
rat that played the fiddle an' a tortoise that came to listen, and she
told what the tortoise speired an' what the rat made answer, till you
could have sworn you heard the rat and the tortoise claverin'
taegither."

"Well, hand her over here," said Leslie; "she's not yours." And he took
Campanula from Mac and placed her on his knee. "She's mine. I paid ten
shillings to that chap with the reed-pipe to whistle her up."

"I'll tell you what," said Mac.

"Well?"

"I'll gi' you ten shullin' for a half share, and pay half the expeenses
of her upbringing."

"No, she's mine; you can play with her as much as you like, but I'm
going to keep her. She's the jolliest thing I ever struck, and I'm going
to stick to her. I saw that policeman Johnnie this morning, and he's
quite given up hope of finding her people. They've hunted everywhere. I
offered him a fiver to cover the business, but he would not touch the
money. He says the chief of police at Tokyo knows you."

"Weel does he know me, seven year and more."

"And he says there's no objection to our taking her along to Nagasaki if
you give your bond that she will be looked after, so I was thinking of
starting to-morrow."

"Wull you take her with us?"

"I was thinking of leaving her with the 'Tortoise' people till I settle
about a place to live in at Nagasaki, and then coming back to fetch her.
She'll be all right with them, I suppose?"

"Ay, she'll be right enough," said Mac, and they left the gardens of Dai
Nichi Do, and headed for the hostelry.

That night the Areopagus convened itself again, and M'Gourley explained
matters. It was necessary that he and his honorable friend should go to
Nagasaki, and they proposed that the Lost One should be left behind at
the Tea House of the Tortoise, to be kept till called for, warehoused,
in short, and, of course, paid for accordingly. Was Madame Ranunculus
willing?

Most willing.

A sum of money would be placed in the landlord's hands as guarantee.

Oh, that was perfectly unnecessary!

Still, the Hon. Leslie wished it.

Accordingly, a sum equivalent almost to the value of the Tea House of
the Tortoise, was placed in the landlord's hands, who placed it in
numerous folds of rice paper, and handed it to his wife, who engulfed it
in her kimono.

These matters having been satisfactorily settled, Campanula was led off
to bed and dinner was served.

Next morning at eight o'clock two rikshas arrived to take the travelers
to the station. The whole of the "Tortoise" folk, Hedgehog San included,
came to the front of the house. The cry, "Sayonara--come again quickly,"
followed them as they swept round the pond and out at the gate, a cry
made up of the landlord's croaking basso, the sweet voices of the
Mousmés, and Campanula's childish treble.

"She seemed sorrier to part with old Mac than me," thought Leslie as
they span along. "Ugh!" He turned his head in disgust from an English
tourist in tweeds, who was engaged in kodaking a temple.

In the train, with a pipe in his mouth and M'Gourley opposite to him, he
felt as if he had just stepped out of a dream; a dream of sun and
splendor, a dream in which figured camellia trees twenty feet high, and
the form of the Lost One standing amidst the glory of crimson azaleas.

But another picture obtruded itself upon this pleasant dream.

Away in the mountains not far from Lake Chuzenji, a green thing had been
discovered, a thing that had once been a man. Mac had been to view it at
the request of the police, but he could not identify it as the body of
the Blind One of the Nikko Road. It was green from the chlorophyll of
the cryptomerias. In the quaint language of the Japanese police, it was
the body of a man whom "the trees had beaten to death."



                               CHAPTER IX

                        THE HOUSE OF THE CLOUDS


Danjuro, the curio dealer of Jinrikisha Street, Nagasaki (no relation of
Danjuro the actor), was a gentleman of uncertain age, with a face which
seemed the relic of a thousand years of debauchery.

It was probably only opium, but the awful weary look with which he
swindled you, when you were once in the trap he called his shop, would
have given Dante points for the construction of a new circle in his
_Inferno_.

He had spent years in China, had Danjuro, hence, perhaps, the expression
on his face; also the fact that he did his calculations not by aid of
the so-ro-ba, or calculating machine used by the Japanese tradesmen. He
did his calculations in his head, and with that far-away look so filled
with the poetry of the horrible, he would calculate the difference
between the price he had paid for the okimono he was selling you and
your offer for it, contrasting them with your own personality, and from
these three factors calculating to a nicety how much money he could
swindle out of you.

He had a hand in the selling of the Great Tung Jade to the Empress of
China, or rather to her ambassador the Mandarin Li, the shadiest
transaction that ever emerged from darkness; and could you place end to
end the globe trotters swindled and chiseled and fleeced by him, they
would reach in a noxious line from London to Newcastle, and maybe
further. He had long, polished finger nails that shone like plate glass,
and when you entered his establishment he advanced, bowed, and hissed at
you by way of welcome.

He was a rogue, yet he was straight in his way. To be a perfect rogue,
at least to succeed in the art, you must be straight in some ways. The
bandit who betrays his brethren never goes far without a dagger sticking
in his back.

M'Gourley had "discovered" Danjuro years ago. M'Gourley had twice come
to financial smash, once because of an earthquake, and again in the
upheaval caused by the breaking of the Barings. Danjuro had helped him
twice, and he had helped Danjuro many times; helped him with his Western
craft, Scotch cuteness, and knowledge of Europeans.

In every city of the East, in every city of the world, you will find a
fixed Scot always prospering; M'Gourley was a floating Scot. Navigating
Japan from end to end, now at Tokyo, now at Kioto, now at Nagasaki,
crossing to Corea and pottering about there, meeting brither Scotchmen
and helping them in trade speculations, selling, or assisting in the
sale, of everything sellable from coals to kakemonos, went M'Gourley, a
busy man, but somehow a rather unfortunate one.

Suddenly Japan rose and smashed China, Russia stepped in and robbed her
of the pieces, and Japan sat down, drew her kimono round her, and began
to think about Russia.

M'Gourley just then (it was some two years before he met Leslie) was on
the Lao-Tung peninsula, a black wandering dot, innocuous to governments,
one would imagine, as a beetle.

Suddenly M'Gourley returned to Japan, and the day after his return a
sheaf of documents addressed by a gentleman named Lessar to a gentleman
named Mouravieff was in the hands of the Japanese Council of Elders.

I don't say anything about the transaction at all; it is not for me to
take away the characters of my characters. I only know this, that if the
Russian Government had caught Mac just then, they, laboring under,
perhaps, a fantastically wrong impression, would have done something
decidedly unpleasant to him.

At all events, Mac bought a new suit of reach-me-down clothes at a
native shop in the Honcho Dori at Yokohama, and got so drunk that three
Mousmés had put him to bed, whilst a fourth fanned him, and a fifth
played soothing tunes on a moon-fiddle to exorcise the demon; and a
piece of priceless gold lacquer presented to Mac by a high official was
sold by him to an American week later for five thousand dollars gold
coin--gold coin being much more useful than gold lacquer to a man in
Mac's way of life.

Thus it came about that Mac was a persona grata with the Japanese
Government, and had many little privileges not enjoyed by ordinary
Europeans.

Danjuro's shop was situated in Jinriksha Street, a street like a picture
slashed out of the "Arabian Nights," a picture that a child had made
additions to with a lead pencil and half spoiled.

A bowler hat in Jinriksha Street, for instance, is a thing very much out
of place, yet you see many of them, mostly potted down on the back of
Japanese heads, and making the wearers both frightful and
ridiculous-looking.

Here passes a Mousmé under an umbrella, a figure fashioned seemingly
from a rainbow, a figure to bless the eye and make the heart feel glad.
Here stumps along a thing that once was a Mousmé, a thing in European
dress--alas!

Here you turn from a shop sign in the vernacular, and across the way,
over the booth where cakes reposing on myrtle branches are sold, "Englis
here is spoke," blasts your sight.

Jinrikisha Street, and for Jinrikisha Street read nearly every other
street in sea-board Japan, is a picture, as I have said, spoiled as if
by a meddlesome English child.

Danjuro's shop was all open in front so that you could come right in
past the bronze stork on the tortoise, past the leaping dragon made of
jointed steel, a dragon hard as adamant yet flexible as india-rubber.
Then you met Danjuro, and he sank towards the floor and hissed at you by
way of welcome. The chief treasures were in the cellar below, but here
was quite enough to feast the eye of a not too wise amateur, and make
the purse jump in his pocket.

Danjuro had the art of shop-dressing at his finger-ends. Things always
looked better in his establishment than they did when fetched home.

People would cry: "Is _that_ the Owari vase I bought? Why, _what has
happened to it_?"

It would be the same vase, but divorced from its surroundings.

You cannot imagine the effect of a dwarf plum tree in a green tile pot
upon a dragon of steel until you see them in juxtaposition, nor the
strange difference certain backgrounds make in an Owari vase till you
try them. Danjuro was well up in these subtleties, and this knowledge,
combined with his own personality, lent an added value to his
wares--twenty per cent. at least.

Here in the shop of Danjuro, in a semi-twilight, glimmer demons and
beasts in porcelain and bronze. The frightful face of Akudogi shouts at
you from the wall, the lotus expands over pools in the silent land of
lacquer, and the hundred guinea ivory Mousmé, ten inches high, trips
beneath her ivory umbrella, ever on the way to some fanciful pageant
that had once existed in her creator's dreams.

Here is a Jap baby, about as big and as round as a tangerine orange,
feeding ducks. Here a little box a size larger than a walnut. Open it;
inside are seated a man and boy playing some game with dice. The man is
holding the dice cup up preparing to cast; in it are the dice, every
cube separate and real, and each marked with the proper pips.

In the shop of Danjuro you are gazing, not upon bronzes and lacquers,
but upon the mind of Japan, partly made visible. There is here evidence
of patience and labor sufficient to conquer the world, beauty enough to
charm the world, and ferocity enough to terrify it.

There is nothing so strange on earth as this art that reveals in
glimpses the exquisite and the awful, where the lily blossoms and the
dragon tramples it under foot.

That baby feeding the ducks, could anything be more laughable or
lovable? But do not open the drawers of the cabinet he is standing on:
they are filled with ivory obscenities carved with just as loving care.

No, the kakemonos and bronzes that adorn the drawing-rooms of Bayswater
and Bedford Park do not disclose the whole of Japanese art. If you don't
believe me, then go to Japan and become a friend of Danjuro the
curio-dealer, who lives in Jinrikisha Street, in the quaint city of
Nagasaki.

"There's no use talking," said Leslie, the second day after his arrival
at Nagasaki. "I don't want to live in the European quarter. I want that
white house up on the hill there you said was empty, and I want to buy
it."

"Weel," said Mac--they were standing in Danjuro's shop consulting--"I'm
thinking you want more than it's likely y'll get. You cannot buy the
house--rent it, maybe. Stay till I ask Dan."

Dan and he had a consultation, the upshot of which was that the
curio-dealer, after a cynical declaration to the effect that anything
could be obtained for money, offered his services as an intermediary.

A friend of his, a brother dealer, a Mr. Initogo, or some such name,
owned the house up there on the heights; he would probably let it. It
was named the House of the Clouds, warranted rainproof and free from
ghosts.

Mr. Initogo was fetched from across the way--a gentleman in horn
spectacles, who looked as wise as Confucius but was a little bit deaf.
After some five minutes' polite bawling on the part of Mac and Danjuro,
Mr. Initogo came to understand the matter, and at once declared with a
thousand protestations of regret that the thing was impossible.

Why?

Well, he could not allege any specific reason. The House of the Clouds
was empty, but he had not considered the matter of letting it. The
proposition came as an honorable shock to him.

Then Mac and Danjuro tackled Mr. Initogo, tea was brought forth, and
after half an hour's wavering Mr. Initogo began to give in.

He sent for his son, and piloted by the son, the two Scotchmen went off
to inspect the House of the Clouds.

They passed up a by-street and then up a steep path, till they came to a
gate shadowed by lilac trees. The gate led to a tiny demesne, a long,
white, two-storied house, before which lay a grass plot, at the far end
of the house some cherry trees, and a space that might be used as a
garden.

From the veranda of the House of the Clouds one could look down on
Nagasaki and the harbor that pierces the land like a crooked sword. The
hum of Jinrikisha Street came up, mixed with the eternal song of the
cicalas.

Across the harbor, where the junks and sampans contrasted strangely with
the foreign shipping, hills rose up, green near the water, brown further
off; over the hills a few white fleecy clouds passed on the light wind.
It was the sky of an English summer.

"I like this," said Leslie, turning from the view. "Now let's look at
the house."

It was furnished with primrose-colored matting, nothing else, and it was
about as substantial as a bandbox. There were two stories connected by a
flight of steps without a balustrade, and you could make as many rooms
as you liked with sliding panels.

"I'll take it," said Leslie, and they returned to the shop of Danjuro.
Mr. Initogo was fetched, and after more wriggling and haggling and
tea-drinking and the smoking of tiny pipes, he consented to let the
place--the authorities willing.

Mac undertook to make everything right in that respect, though it would
cost him a good deal of trouble, as the government have a holy horror of
foreigners spreading beyond the allotted quarters; and then a Chinese
comprador was obtained, and received orders from Leslie to furnish the
place with the necessary futons (he determined to live in the native
way), pots, tins, kettles, Mousmés, and a decent cook; also screens and
mosquito-nets, plum trees in pots, and everything else that might be
necessary for comfort and adornment.

Three days later the comprador appeared at the Nagasaki hotel, where
Leslie was staying, and declared that everything was in order--even to
the last tea-cup. He had hired servants, made a most advantageous
bargain: he had hired a whole family.

"But, bless my soul! I don't want a family," said Leslie. "I only want a
cook and a couple of girls."

Just so. This family consisted of a cook--her name was Fir-cone--and
three daughters. They would all come together or not at all; he had got
them at a bargain. The names of the daughters were: Moon, Plum-blossom,
and Snow. Sixteen shillings a month a-piece was the wages they were
promised. There was also a cat belonging to this family--

"Oh, well, I'll take them," said Leslie, "and if they don't suit I can
get others."

That afternoon, preceded by the comprador and followed by two coolies
carrying his luggage he went up to take formal possession, and was
received by his new servants all on their knees--the three Mousmés in
front and mother Fir-cone in the background.

Next day he started on the long journey to Nikko to fetch Campanula.
When he returned with his charge the first person to meet him on the
quay was Mac. Mac in a stove pipe hat he had bought cheap and which did
not fit him but of which he seemed proud. Campanula instantly recognized
Mac with a smile and an attempt to kow-tow before him, which Leslie
frustrated, on account of the dirty state of the quay. It was a pretty
little incident, and went to the old fellow's heart.



                               CHAPTER X

                      OF MOUSMÉS AND OTHER THINGS


Plum-blossom was a Mousmé with a broad face, ever lit by a half smile.
Moon was a girl with a serious expression, but gorgeous of dress as any
girl of Kioto. Snow looked shrunk--not withered, you understand, fresh
as a daisy, in fact; but something had happened in her development: she
was preternaturally small, and looked like a Mousmé seen through a
diminishing glass.

The three Mousmés and old mother Fir-cone took almost entire possession
of Campanula San when she arrived, and Campanula San seemed quite
content.

Mixed with her charming childishness there was a philosophical calm that
would have done honour to a sage of the Stoic school. Riding on
Leslie's shoulder through Nikko, under examination at the Tea House of
the Tortoise, playing with Plum-blossom in the veranda of the House of
the Clouds, she was just the same. Life was a pageant at which she was
an humble spectator, whose duty was to be amiable and submissive, and
accept things just as they came.

She did not say this, but she acted it, or rather expressed it in her
actions and ways.

Down on the Bund an office had been rented by M'Gourley. He slept there
and lived there, ascending occasionally at night to the House of the
Clouds to smoke a pipe with his partner and talk business, and give
advice on things Japanese, advice often needful enough to the
uninitiated Leslie.

House-keeping in Japan is full of surprises. One day, for instance,
Leslie met a figure coming from the back part of the premises--a figure
like a rag-doll that had spent its life in a coal-scuttle. Interrogated,
the figure turned out to be the mother of Moon, and by profession--well,
her profession was helping to coal the Canadian Pacific boats.

"But," said Leslie, "it is impossible, for Moon already has a mother
whose name is Fir-cone."

He was just going to send for the police when the whole truth came out
on the veranda, in the form of Moon herself.

She explained in indifferent English, kneeling as she spoke with the
backs of her little hands held upwards to her face, that the comprador
had lied; that there was no particular connection between her and her
fellow-servants; that the comprador had made a bunch of them just as he
might make a bunch of weeds, picking one up here and the other there,
and pretending they were all the one family. Why had he done this thing?
Who could say? For some dark reason of his own. She said also that her
mother was not always as dirty as that, but was going home now to wash.
Would Leslie San like to see her washed so that Moon's words might be
proved to him true? Leslie San would not.

M'Gourley was had up, and managed to arrange matters without the
disruption of the household, which seemed imminent.

M'Gourley mixed a good deal in the affairs of the House of the Clouds.
Six months had not passed before the member of the Wee Kirk declared
that Campanula should be sent to the missionary day school near the
Bund, and brought up a Christian.

Leslie at first demurred. The state of Campanula's mind, as revealed by
her in conversations mostly translated by Mac, but often conducted
limpingly by Leslie himself (he was beginning to pick up the native),
did not argue a good foundation for a structure like the Christian
religion.

Her mind, as far as he could get at it, was the mind of a sensitive and
cultured lady who was slightly mad--mad on the subject of demons and
strange beasts.

Tortoises who talked, storks whose language was the acme of politeness,
and toads of polished speech, seemed as real to her as ordinary folk.

Whether the tin-smith, her supposed father, had filled her head with
these things, no one can say, but the fact remained that she was a
perfect Uncle Remus as far as animal-tale construction was concerned,
and had a Mrs. Radcliffe touch in the weird, so that it was a not
uncommon thing for her to be marched off to bed, the triumvirate of
Mousmés--Moon, Plum-blossom, and Snow--acting as a body-guard to protect
her from her own extraordinary fancies.

Then the self-abasement, the absolute self-abasement with which she
would kow-tow with both tiny hands backs upward before your august self,
and next minute she would be spinning a top on the veranda, or playing
just like an ordinary child with Kiku San, a dot about her own size, and
only daughter of Mr. Initogo, the landlord.

She had a whole host of baldheaded Pagan friends, male and female, and
Leslie, taking a siesta of an afternoon, would hear their clogs rattling
on the veranda, or their naked feet pattering in the kitchen, and half
fancy himself the proprietor of a kindergarten.

Quaint kites were often to be seen flying above the House of the Clouds,
kites shaped like hawks and butterflies, and M'Gourley down in the
street below would sometimes glance up and see these evidences of
Campanula's existence, and nod his head and say, "A'weel!" and hurry on
to Danjuro's to meet him about some perhaps questionable transaction,
revolving in his mind the while the question of Campanula's conversion
to Christianity.

He was a strange mixture. He would spend a whole morning in trade. That
is to say, he would get to the office on the Bund early, do his
correspondence and what not with regard to the export of cheap curios,
go to the hotel and have a cocktail, and fish round for victims; find
some well-to-do stranger and lead him into Danjuro's shop, deliver him
up as a dripping roast into Danjuro's hands, receive his commission, and
go off and have tiffin. Then as likely as not he would go up to the
House of the Clouds and fetch Campanula out for a walk, and buy her
toys, or sweets, or flowers.

And once a week or so he would tackle Leslie about the Christianity
business, till Leslie at last gave in.

Campanula went to the missionary day school, the prettiest school child
in the world under her scarlet umbrella pictured with flying storks.

Leslie went away sometimes for weeks, leaving her in charge of the
Mousmés and leaving Mac with instructions to keep an eye on her welfare.

For the first eight months or so of this new life he was amused and
interested, the beauty of the country, the quaintness of the people, the
new conditions of life, kept him from thinking much about the past or
troubling about the future.

Then came reaction. A craving came on him to see England once again, a
veritable home-sickness that was not to be denied.

He made a journey to London. He only spent a fortnight there; every one
he had known in the past was either gone or dead. He belonged to no
club. It was a miserable fortnight, and every day of it Japan called him
back.

When he returned, he told himself that he had done with the West for
ever. Just as men sometimes tell themselves they have done for ever with
sin, folly, or love.



                                PART TWO

                     THE MASSACRE OF THE BLUE-BELLS



                               CHAPTER XI

                               THE DREAM


The "Jap Rubbish trade" was prospering mildly.

During the first two years it seemed likely to languish and die, but in
the third year it woke up, got on its legs, and, to use M'Gourley's
phrase, "began to pick a bit." In the fourth year it was bringing Leslie
in some two hundred a year, a fair amount considering the capital
originally invested in it.

Not that he wanted the money, he kept his interest in the thing just for
something to do--a toy business to play with when he was otherwise
disengaged.

As for Mac, he was getting rich, not out of the Rubbish trade, but in a
manner we will hint at later on.

The House of the Clouds remained unaltered, save for a tiny landscape
garden not much bigger than a dining-table which Leslie had laid out for
Campanula. It lay beyond the garden walk in front of the veranda, and it
had mountains and rivers and savannas of moss, and old oak trees,
fierce-looking, but not much bigger than your thumb, and twisted fir
trees that reflected themselves gloomily in lakes the size of
hand-mirrors, and a Shinto temple about the size of a Buszard's Dundee
cake; there were also bridges across the rivers.

The thing had been laid out as a New Year's gift for Campanula, and it
had cost Leslie about the price of a Steinway Grand.

Azalea bushes grew right up to it, azaleas bordered the house, and there
was a wilderness of azaleas in the open space near the cherry trees.

Crimson azaleas, imported all the way from the azalea valley at Nikko in
the very first year of Leslie's residence in Nagasaki. It was a pretty
thought, and it had cost a good penny, and caused much grumbling from
Mac, and great admiration in Mr. Initogo, who had turned out the most
delightful of landlords, a good hand at whist, and most adaptable about
repairs. He was a modern Japanese agnostic when he was well, was Mr.
Initogo, and a Shinto when he was ill or in trouble; but he was an
all-round good landlord at all times.

One bright afternoon Leslie was seated beneath the cherry trees in a
deck chair, his hat tilted back, and the pipe he had just been smoking
lying on the ground at his feet. He was asleep. Lately he had been
suffering from a touch of fever and chills caught on a duck-shooting
expedition down the coast; he had been taking opium for it, and now as
he sat beneath the cherry trees the opium was troubling his dreams.

Just before dropping off, his eye had fallen on a single azalea blossom
that had burst into flame, as if spring had just touched off with her
torch the fire of crimson flowers that soon would blaze round the house.

Then he fell asleep, and Opium plucked the crimson blossom, and followed
him with it into the land of dreams.

He was in a Hongwanji temple, and there were people there, Europeans
seemingly, dressed in European clothes; but though in a specious
disguise, they were soon perceived to be not the people of this earth.
They had strange and distorted faces, and forms that surely never were
made in God's image. One man, who suddenly hid himself behind a screen
of lacquer, Leslie could have sworn was made of stone.

Then in great tribulation of spirit he was escaping from the company of
these people, passing down a corridor where soft matting took the foot;
but something was following him with a hissing sound, a sound such as
Danjuro made by way of welcome when you entered his shop. Of a sudden
the opium spirit touched the corridor wall with the flower he had been
patiently carrying, the Hongwanji temple vanished, and Leslie found
himself on the Nikko road.

The valley of azaleas lay before him and the mournful cypress trees, the
country where the moving clouds cast their shadows, and the far blue
hills beyond.

There was something moving amidst the azaleas. He knew it was a child,
but, by some curious and subtle freak of the opium fiend, the child was
hidden from him, all but vague glimpses; were it to make itself half
visible for a second a phantom azalea bush would come before it, but he
could see a tiny white hand busy plucking the crimson blossoms.

Then from somewhere far away through the dream came the mournful toot,
toot, of a blind man's reed-pipe. At first it seemed beyond the bend of
the road, and then it seemed amidst the azaleas, and then in the wood of
cypress trees. It grew more insistent and piercing, and changed subtly
into the sound he had once heard on the Nikko road when, sitting with
M'Gourley, he had listened to the tune of the blind juggler with the
pipe.

As he listened, shuddering, he saw something which he at once knew to be
the reason of the music and the soul of the opium drama that was
unfolding before him.

A tiny black dot was visible in the sky away over the distant hills. It
expanded and grew, dilated as if in response to the enchanted music. And
then he saw that it was a bird; a vast bird, larger than an eagle, a
ferocious and awful bird, a tragic apparition called up from the lands
of night. It poised above the valley, seeming to float and be upborne,
not on air, but on the music welling from the wood.

He knew that if he could get to the half-seen child amidst the azaleas
he could save it from its fate. But he could make no movement nor utter
a sound, but stood paralyzed, watching the tiny white hand plucking the
crimson flowers and the Horror above preparing to strike.

The music had now turned to a drone, a sound like the spinning sound of
a vast top. The thing in the air circled and span. He knew it was
preparing to fall like a thunderbolt.

Then he awoke.

He saw the garden, the cherry trees, the house. Opium land had vanished,
but the music remained, ringing in his ears; or was it real?

He sprang to his feet and staggered along the path leading to the gate
looking wildly round him and listening. As he came, the sound died off;
died and turned to the sound of ordinary life, the hum from the city
below, the sound of the wind in the lilac trees, the tune of ceaseless
cicalas.

"My God! what a dream!" he muttered as he grasped the gate and stared
down the lilac-shadowed path. Then he returned slowly to the seat
beneath the cherry trees, and lit a cigarette.

Opium had played a trick upon him like this before. He had taken it
first months ago for fever; since then he had taken it occasionally for
the slightest ache. He reacted well to it sensually speaking, and found
it at once soothing and stimulating. Once before it had pushed him into
dreamland, but a dreamland without plot or plan, and unstained by a
horror such as he had just witnessed.

He was seated half drowsing, when suddenly some influence made him look
up and he saw before him a lovely thing. It was Campanula. She had just
come out of the house by way of the veranda, and was approaching him.
Campanula, far removed from the child he had carried on his shoulder
into Nikko five years ago.

The child had turned into a girl with that rapidity of transformation
characteristic of the women of Japan. She was taller than the ordinary
Mousmé of fourteen or fifteen; her face, even to Western eyes, was
beautiful with a sad and mysterious beauty of its own, and her every
movement was graceful as the movement of a bluebell when touched by the
wind.

She had ceased to attend the mission school after nearly four years'
instruction, during which she had grasped the art of speaking and almost
of thinking in English, and was now Leslie's housekeeper, his adopted
daughter, and absolute ruler of the small domain known as the House of
the Clouds--as far, that is to say, as the household affairs went.

She still retained her childishness of mind, and for all the Christian
endeavor of the missionaries, she still retained much of her pristine
belief in "things"--things with wings as well as hoofs, things that
lived in woods, birds that talked, and beasts that made answer.

Though she could speak English, she never spoke in long sentences, or
told a connected tale in that language, always falling back on the
vernacular when her imagination was roused, or a long and connected
statement had to be made.

She was approaching Leslie now with a porcelain bowl figured with storks
in her hand, and a smile upon her face. There was little mat on the
ground near his chair, and on this she sat down--kneeling fashion--with
the bowl before her.

"See!" said she, producing some things like small gun wads from the
sleeve of her kimono, "I bought these to-day to give you pleasure. Oh,
so beautiful! Watch!"

She cast one of the ugly discs upon the surface of the water. It lay
there for a moment unchanged, and then, as if by magic, began to expand
as it sucked up the fluid, and break up, growing bigger and broader till
at last on the surface of the water floated three pink-tinted
lotus-flowers, a most delicate and perfect resemblance of the real
things.

She folded her hands and looked up at him with a happy smile.

"Where did you get them?" asked Leslie.

"M'Gourley San told me of them, he wished to buy them for me--but I
bought them for you."

She removed the lotus-flowers and cast another disc on the water.

Leslie watched her. During the last few months Campanula's attitude to
him had changed. From a happy, humble, and somewhat heedless thing--a
creature that regarded him with affection--an affection of about the
same strength as she exhibited for M'Gourley, Sweetbriar San, the cat,
and her children schoolmates; she had become a follower of his alone,
always striving to please him, forestalling his wants, always happy in
his presence, and drooping--unknown to him--when he was away.

The second wad under the influence of the water broke up and began to
form the branch of a cherry tree covered with blossom.

"Arashiyama," murmured she, folding her small hands and speaking
dreamily, as if communing with herself. Then she sat watching the branch
of the cherry tree expanding over the surface of the water.

From the house came a somewhat discordant voice singing a song about a
bee and a lilac bough.

It was Pine-breeze singing at her work. Moon, Plum-blossom, and Snow,
with their fictitious mother Fir-cone, had vanished from the House of
the Clouds two years and more, giving place to Pine-breeze, a miracle of
daintiness and prettiness, and two other Mousmés, one "rather old," the
cook, Lotus-bud by name, and the other named Cherry-blossom, as pretty
as Pine-breeze.

"Listen!" said Campanula, suddenly looking up from the bowl and its
contents. "There is some one at the gate."

Leslie half turned.

A man and woman had passed through the gateway shadowed by lilac, a
short, stout man dressed in tweed and a tall woman in blue serge.

Leslie could see them only indistinctly from where he sat, and they, not
looking in his direction, failed to see him at all.

They were coming up to the veranda when the woman turned to the little
picture garden, laughed, and pointed it out to her companion. Then she
left the path, stepped gingerly right into the middle of the landscape
garden country, and tried to pluck up an oak tree, a gnarled and
ancient-looking oak tree eight inches high.

"Who?" asked Campanula, turning from the sight of this outrage with
uplifted forefinger.

"They are Foreign Devils," said Leslie using the Chinese idiom. He was
very pale, leaning forward in chair. "Look, Campanula! I verily believe
she is trying to tear up your mountains to see how they grow. That's
what they call in England 'cheek,' Campanula."



                              CHAPTER XII

                           THE FOREIGN DEVILS


The female Foreign Devil having failed to uproot the oak, which clung to
its native soil with a tenacity highly Japanese, returned to the garden
path. And then came the voice of Pine-breeze kow-towing to the
strangers, bidding them welcome, and imploring them to make the
honorable entrance.

They passed from view into the house, and Leslie rose from his chair.

"Wait here awhile, Campanula," he said, "and then follow me in. I think
I know them, but I will go and see."

"Yes," said Campanula.

He walked to the house and kicked his garden shoes off in the veranda,
noting the fact that the Foreign Devils had committed the unspeakable
outrage of entering with their shoes on.

"_Richard!_" cried the tall woman, advancing to him with outstretched
hand as he entered the room where they were. "Why, you've grown!" She
spoke as though they had parted yesterday, but her voice had an
hysterical quaver, then she presented her cheek to him for a cousinly
kiss.

"This is Richard Leslie," said the woman, turning to the little stout
man in tweed. "We grew up together; that's why I'm so tall, I suppose.
Dick--my husband George. Gracious, Dick, where are your chairs and
things? Have you nothing to sit down on?"

"Only the floor," said Leslie, fetching some square cushions and placing
them on the matting. "See, this is how it's done," and he sat down on
one of the cushions, whilst his companions followed suit.

Jane du Telle, once Jane Deering, was, despite her vivacity and
carelessness of manner, evidently in a state of high nervous tension.

Leslie, notwithstanding the years that had passed since their last
meeting, saw in her mentally little change. She was the same Jane who
had once hacked his shins, when they were boy and girl together, up in
Scotland, and then flung herself on his neck in a burst of repentance
and tears. Emotional, good-hearted, selfish--giving herself away one
moment, but always saved the next by a latent discretion that was to her
flighty nature as a gyroscope. The same Jane with whom he had fished for
salmon and played at tennis in the past, seated before him now on a
floor in Japan, chattering of everything and nothing just in the old
familiar way.

"And that's the fellow she has married!" thought he, as he glanced
across at George du Telle, a podgy, red-headed little man, a
globe-trotting Briton of the most blatant description.

"How did you know I was here?" asked he, after Jane had somewhat talked
her hysterical feelings off.

"Mr. Channing told us last night at the hotel. He's a friend of yours.
He told us he knew an Englishman named Richard Leslie living in the
native fashion, and I asked him if he was good-looking and tall and
dark, and he said, 'Yes.' He said you lived at the House of the
Clouds--sounds like an address in a dream, doesn't it?--so we took
rikshas and came."

She put her hand to her back, where the "floor stitch" had seized her.
The floor may be a convenient enough resting-place for a Mousmé who
sinks down upon it quite naturally in the likeness of a compressed and
joyously colored Z, but for an English woman of five feet eight or more,
dressed in a tailor-made gown, and laced in a _corset parfait_ it is at
first rather difficult.

"I would have got chairs," said Leslie, "if I had known you were coming;
but of all the people of the world, you were the last I expected to see.
Where did you come from? I mean, how did you strike Nagasaki?"

"We came from Colombo."

"Beastly hole," put in her husband, who was stroking Sweetbriar San, the
cat of the establishment, who had just come in to inspect the strangers.
"We stayed at the Beach Hotel two nights, and d'you know what they
charged us? Just think."

"Don't think," said Jane, who had wriggled into a more comfortable
attitude. "Give me that cat, George; and I wish you would try to repress
your hotel bills. Dick, I was so sorry to hear the news about your
father."

"What news?"

"About his death."

"Well, you were sorrier than I was."

"Oh, Dick! but don't let us talk about it, it's all so sad. And have you
been living here in Japan ever since?"

"Ever since."

"Just like this on the floor?"

"Just like this on the floor."

"You must find it rather flat, I should think," said the carroty-headed
George.

"Richard," said Jane suddenly, ignoring her husband, "you're not married
to a Japanese--or anything--are you?"

"No."

"Do you live here alone?"

"Well, I have three servant girls, and a daughter, if you call that
'alone.'"

"A daughter!" said Jane.

"Yes; and she's Japanese, too."

"Japanese!"

"Yes; I adopted her."

George du Telle snorted, and fortunately at that moment a panel slid
back, and Pine-breeze appeared with the tea, followed by Lotus-bud with
an hibachi and Cherry-blossom with a heap of tiny plates.

"Are these your--I mean is one of these your--"

"Daughter? No. Turn round, and you will see her,"

Jane was seated with her back to the drawn-back panel that made a
doorway on to the veranda. She turned, and there in the sunlit space
stood Campanula in her blue kimono, broad scarlet obi, and with a
scarlet flower in her hair. Behind her, as a background, lay the picture
garden, antique hills, spun-glass torrents, and tiny, twisted fir trees,
that looked, oh, so old, and tired of the world, and tormented by the
wind.

Campanula went right down on her knees upon the matting, and murmured
the usual Japanese welcome.

Now this was a practice that Leslie disliked. He had tried to break her
of it, and in the attempt he had come across a strange fact.

Campanula in her heart of hearts was a real child of Old Japan. She
might have been a sister to the seven-and-forty Ronins in the time
before Osaka was defiled by factory chimneys, and the monastery of
Kotoku-in by the presence of Cook's tourists.

She tried honestly to be modern, as it was the wish of Leslie, but in
times of emotion, back her intellect would go to Old Japan, and she
would act as her ancestors had acted in who knows what lotus-strewn and
blossom-scented ages.

"What does she say?" asked Jane, as George du Telle rose to his feet.
"Tell me, and ask her to excuse me for not getting up, for when I get
up, I'll have to be _pulled_ up."

"She is bidding you welcome and at the same time apologizing for the
fact of her own miserable existence."

"I accept the apology," said Jane, as Campanula, her devotions over,
sank down before the tea-service, and prepared to act as hostess.
"Freely and frankly, Dick, I must congratulate you on your taste--she is
lovely."

Campanula looked up with a faint, apologetic smile.

"I speak English," she said.



                              CHAPTER XIII

                          THE MONASTERY GARDEN


Jane gazed over Nagasaki, the blue water, the green hills, to the blue
beyond, and sighed. They were standing near the gate; tea was over, and
they were waiting for Campanula, who had gone into the house to make
some alteration in her dress before accompanying them "down town."

"Richard," she said, "take us somewhere where we can talk, you and I. I
have such a heap of things to ask you and talk about. Twelve years--can
it be twelve years since we last saw each other? Did you get my last
letter?"

George du Telle was standing near smoking a cigar, and staring at the
beautiful view with about the same amount of interest he would have felt
had it been a soap advertisement, but she did not lower her voice. She
was perfectly frank with the world and her husband.

This frankness carried her far, and enabled her sometimes to skate on
ice that would have given under many a woman of half her weight, for it
was a genuine frankness, not a thing put on.

She was a person whom women called nice-looking on first acquaintance,
and men mentally registered as plain. Tall, pale, with an excellent
figure, and gray eyes. A man met her and spoke to her, and found her
plain but very jolly, increased the acquaintanceship and found her
plainness vanishing, and then, all of a sudden, his foolish soul was
caught in a trap.

It was the magic of her lips, perhaps. They formed the true Cupid's bow,
full, and seemingly cut by a chisel wielded by a master hand, sensitive
and sensuous. Gazing at them one came to understand how in the ancient
world tall Troy fell before a kiss.

"Which letter?" asked Leslie, plucking a lilac spray and strewing the
ground with the tiny petals.

"The one I wrote six years ago telling you I was married. I sent it care
of your father."

"No," said Leslie gloomily. "I have heard from no one for eight years
and more. I cut the world, you know--or it cut me rather; but I'll tell
you some other time, here's Campanula."

Then they started, Leslie and his companion leading the way.

"Where are you going to take us?" asked Jane, when they had reached the
street.

"Through the city to a place I know on a hill," replied Leslie.

He had called four rikshas from the stand, and he gave some directions
to the riksha men, and they started.

You cannot imagine the size of Nagasaki till you drive through it in a
swift-running riksha, nor the quaintness, nor the terror that causes
your heart to fly upwards as your riksha man shaves a baby, not with a
razor, but with the off wheel.

Boy babies fighting tops, girls bouncing colored balls, flights of
children whose clogs clatter like the dominoes in an Italian restaurant
as they pursue each other in some mysterious game--everywhere children,
a shifting, colored maze in which the eye gets tangled and lost. Babies,
temples, tea-houses, streets upon streets of houses that look as if you
could flatten them out with the blows of a shovel, bursts of
cherry-blossoms, tripping Mousmés, stone monsters, awful, yet pathetic
with the gray of lichen and the green of moss, a courtyard with a
twisted fir tree leaning across it, laughter, and the tune of a
_chamécen_ running through it all, that is the impression that a riksha
ride through Nagasaki in spring would leave on the mind, were not the
picture blurred by the European element.

Street after street they passed through, and still the mysterious city
kept building up streets before them. Leslie had thought of taking his
companions to the O Suwa, but he had changed his mind and given other
directions to the riksha men.

They passed up a steep incline, dark with fir trees, and drew up at a
great gateway consisting of two joists of wood supporting a vast beam,
the whole making a figure something in the fashion of the Greek II.

Beyond the gateway lay an inclined path, bordered by cryptomeria trees,
leading to the façade of a temple.

"It's a place I sometimes come to," said Leslie, as he helped Jane to
descend. "It's quiet, and worth seeing in its way."

Campanula and George du Telle led the way this time, Leslie and his
companion leisurely following.

"Come down this path," said Jane, turning to a side alley. "Oh, how
pretty! and how mournful too, with those rows of dark trees. Dick, this
is not a cemetery you have brought us to?"

"No; it's a Shinto monastery. Few people know it, and it's out of the
run of the general sight-seeing bounders."

"Things with kodaks?"

"And without--but see here, Jane."

"Yes?"

"What's your husband?"

"George?"

"Yes, I suppose his name is George. What is he?"

"He's in the wool trade--he's the richest man in the wool trade, they
say. He thinks and talks of nothing else but wool. He got off the
subject to-day with you for awhile; wasn't he brilliant? But we get on
all right together; he has his set, and I have mine."

"What is his set?"

"The very best--I mean the very worst; the poor old Smart Set that every
one is always beating as if it were a donkey--which it is," said Jane,
taking her seat on the plinth supporting the prancing figure of Ama-ino,
fronted across the walk by the equally fantastic figure of Koma-ino, a
veritable Lion and Unicorn. "Sit down beside me, Dick, and tell me--"

"Yes?"

"What have you been doing all these years?"

"I--I've been keeping alive--"

"Dick," suddenly broke out Jane, as if she had not been listening, "I
have often thought you must have thought me a heartless wretch; but I'm
not."

"There is no use in going over the past," he said. "What is done is
done, and never can be undone. I can only say that I have never in the
past had a friend to stick to me, or a woman to love me, or a father to
care for me."

"May it not have been your own fault, Dick? Think for a moment. I don't
want to reproach you, but you know how wild you were--you know that was
one of the reasons we couldn't get married. Oh, it wasn't 'my
heartlessness,' as you told me in your last letter but one. I have heart
enough--at least I hope so," said Jane, looking at Koma-ino as if for
confirmation, "and I wouldn't have done what I did if you'd been
different. Never mind, Dick, cheer up!--buck up! as they used to say in
the poor old Smart Set, till the respectable folk took the expression
away from them. What've you been doing all these long years, Dick?"

"Oh, I've been in Australia."

"What were you doing there?"

"Curse Australia!" suddenly broke out Leslie, digging his heel in the
ground. "Don't speak to me about it; let's talk of something else."

"Well, what are you doing here? I mean, what have you been doing all
these years--playing the guitar, or what?"

"I'm a shopman."

"I beg your pardon?"

"I and a man named M'Gourley are in business."

"Two Scotchmen?" sneered Jane.

"Two Scotchmen."

"And what are you selling--paper umbrellas?"

"Yes; and hats and kakemonos, and every other sort of a mono that the
European trade will swallow. We export them."

"Then you're a merchant, _not_ a shopman," said Jane in a half-angry,
half-relieved voice. "I _wish_ you would not give me these sort of
horrible shocks. I thought at first you were serving in some place
behind the counter--"

"Oh, I don't want to make money in business much; I do it more for
interest and to have an object in life. I'm well off; my father's money
all came to me--he died well off."

"And wasn't it queer?" said Jane. "George is awfully rich, you know;
well, directly I was married, old Aunt Keziah died, and every penny of
her money came to me. Fifty thousand. No, forty-eight thousand, four
hundred and eighty-two pounds, ten and sixpence. It seemed so sweet, the
little sixpence following at the end. I sent for it, and had a hole
drilled through it, and I always wear it on this bangle--look!"

He looked; there were many things hanging on the bangle. He touched a
tiny gold pig swinging by a ring.

"Good heavens!"

"_You_ gave me that," said Jane, "and I've never parted with it."

"What's this?" said he, fingering a cabalistic-looking blue stone.

"That's an inkh, I think; I'm not sure of the name. It's lucky, or
supposed to be."

"Who gave it to you?"

"A boy at Cairo last winter."

"How old was he?"

"Oh, about twenty."

"And this?" said Leslie, picking out another charm in the form of a
heart.

"Look here," said Jane, pulling her wrist away, "I don't want to waste
time like this, I want you to tell me more about yourself; I want you to
tell me about that child Campanula. _Why_ did you adopt her?"

"I found her on the road going to Nikko."

"Where's that?"

"It's away up in Shimotsuke, beyond Tokyo. I and M'Gourley were on the
tramp. We were sitting by the roadside resting, when a blind man came
along. He was half mad, and talked wild. Said he was a juggler, and
offered to fetch devils out of a wood near by, if we gave him gold."

"Why didn't you try him?" said Jane in an interested voice.

"I did try him," said Leslie; "gave him some money. He made a circle in
the dust, with signs round the rim of it, told us not to touch it or
come near it, got into the middle of it, and fetched out a reed-pipe.
Then he began to play a tune that would make you shiver to hear, and
things croaked in the wood."

"Go on," said Jane shivering pleasantly.

"I took my walking-stick and made a mark in the dust just near his foot.
I touched his heel by accident, and--whew!"

"Yes?"

"He went off like a rocket; bounded out of the circle, rushed this way
and that, knocking against trees and striking right and left with his
stick, as if dogs were about him. He got round the bend of the road and
vanished. We were pretty much astonished, but that wasn't the end of it.
In front of us was a valley of the most beautiful crimson azaleas."

"Wait a moment, Dick; you're a very bad story-teller. You should always
stage your characters: you should have described the azaleas first and
the scenery. Well, go on."

"Bother the azaleas!" said Dick. They were fast getting into the old
boy-and-girl way of talking to each other, a somewhat dangerous language
at thirty. "It doesn't matter whether they come in first or last. Where
was I? Oh yes. Mac suddenly said: 'Look there!' I looked, and there sure
enough was a child amidst the azaleas. She hadn't been there a few
seconds before, and Mac would have it that she had been 'fetched'; it
was a pretty wild country and no houses around, and there she was, just
as if she had stepped out of a house, plucking away at the azalea
blossoms for all she was worth, a tiny dot in a blue kimono and scarlet
obi. I stole up behind her."

"I'd have caught her up and kissed her."

"Just what I did, in fact; and it may have been fancy, but she seemed
slipping through my fingers like--grease till I kissed her, and she
became solid."

"There's one thing, Dick, you'll never make a poet. Well, go on; it's
awfully interesting."

"We carried her off to Nikko. No parents could be found to own her, so I
adopted her."

"What became of the juggler?"

"That was a funny thing. As we turned the bend of the road we saw him
away up in a gorge of the hills. He was still running for all he was
worth, beating about him with his stick as if hitting off devils, and
dashing himself against trees in a quite regardless manner."

"How awful!"

"Well, frankly, it was, and it had a sequel, for his dead body was found
miles away some days after, and the Japanese police said the trees had
beaten him to death, which they practically had."

"But, Dick, what was the meaning of it?"

"Who knows! When I touched him on the heel perhaps he may have thought
it was a devil seizing him, and his imagination did the rest. Mac
thinks, or, at least, he once thought--"

"Yes?"

"That there was something developing in the wood, something bad; that
Campanula's ghost was wandering in the wood; that when I made the mark I
did inside the circle, the bad thing was flung out of the developing
medium and Campanula's ghost sucked into it, and so she became
materialized."

"And the bad thing went for the juggler man?"

"It and perhaps others."

"I never heard anything half so horrible, if it's true."

"It's true enough. I was forgetting it almost, but I had a horrid dream
to-day that brought it all back. I was sitting in the garden smoking and
I dropped off to sleep; and I heard the sound of that beast's pipe, and
I saw the place on the Nikko road, and there was a child amongst the
flowers. Then a frightful bird came along and was going to attack the
child, and I awoke--it was just before you came."

"Dick, what was the mark you made on the road?"

"The sign of the cross," said Leslie.

Jane was silent for a moment then--



                              CHAPTER XIV

                           NAGASAKI BY NIGHT


"I wish you wouldn't tell me stories like that," she suddenly broke out.
"I'll be dreaming about it all to-night." She shuddered, and gazed at
Koma-ino. "Japan seems a horribly creepy sort of place; I think I'll
make George come away to-morrow."

"One side of it," said Leslie, "is simply crawling; you have no idea,
and I who have lived here five years have only a glimmering of the mind
of the people. Do you know what I think?"

"Yes?"

"I think that in the sleeves of their kimonos--I mean their frock coats,
for they've put off their kimonos for a while for business
purposes--they are simply laughing at us."

"At whom?"

"At the English--at Europe."

"Like their impudence!"

"Perhaps it's impudence, perhaps not, anyhow--I distrust them--"

"Dick," said his companion, "look! It's getting dusk: let's go and look
for George and your 'adoptive daughter.' Mercy! What's that!"

A deep hum filled the air; it seemed to come at first from the statue of
Koma-ino--a soul-disturbing hum that deepened and swelled and then
leapt, leapt into a deafening roar that rushed over Nagasaki, to die on
the distant sea.

Jane clung to her companion like a child, hugged him as a child might
hug a nurse; her straw hat was pushed sideways, and he found his face
buried in the masses of her perfumed hair. His arm had slipped round her
waist, her arm was over his shoulder, and her fingers pressing his neck;
for a moment he felt as if he were absorbing her being--drinking her.

Then the sound died away.

"_What_ was it?" gasped she, pushing away from him and gazing at him
with a white, drawn face. "Why, you seem half dazed; you were more
frightened than I. Dick, what was it?"

"I'm all right," said Leslie, in the voice of a man waking from the
effect of an opiate. "I wasn't frightened. It was only the big gong of
the monastery; I've heard it lots of times."

"Then why couldn't you have told me?" cried Jane, flying from fright to
fury. "Think what it must have looked like, you hugging me like that."
She sprang to her feet. "You bring me here and tell me ghost stories,
and frighten me to death with gongs and things, and then--I believe
you're half a Japanese already, you've grown so horrid."

"There wasn't any one to see," said Leslie, rising to his feet. "And
talking about hugging--"

"I don't want to talk about hugging--talk about hugging! Do you fancy
yourself on Hampstead Heath? Come, let us find George. I want something
common-place after all this."

They found George and Campanula--the most strangely matched pair in the
world--waiting for them at the gates.

"You'll come and dine with us at the hotel, won't you?" asked Jane as
they got into the rikshas.

"I'll come right enough," said Leslie. "Wait, please."

He went to Campanula's riksha and asked her, but she prayed to be
honorably excused--she had a headache.

She passed her hand across her forehead as if in confirmation of her
words. Leslie tucked the riksha blanket round her knees, and explained
to the Du Telles, and they started.

The quaint city they had come through had changed to a quainter city
still. Night had blotted out the traces of Europe on Nagasaki--at least,
in the purely native streets. All sorts of strange little trades that
sleep in the daytime had awakened with the dusk. Things queer in the
daytime were now mysterious, and things common, quaint. The fish shop,
with its huge paper lantern, besides the fish and the sea-weed on its
slabs, disposed of dreams which it flung away gratis to the passing
traveler in the running riksha, and the booth of the sandal merchant,
with the tiny potted rose tree in front of the wares, became at once an
apology and atonement for all the commonplace villainy condensed in the
word "shop."

Mousmés passed, now half Mousmés, half glowworms, each bearing a
colored lantern on the end of a little stick; and then the shadows
half lit by lamp-light, where a cherry tree was attempting to peep
into the street: the light of lamps glimmering through paper shutters,
the light of lanterns swinging in the wind--red, blue, white, and
yellow, some pictured with chrysanthemums; the stork that stands so
boldly forth in Japanese pictures but is nearly gone from Japan,
cherry-blossoms, and fish that seem swimming vigorously in a bowl of
water lambent and green; and then the sounds, ten _chamécens_ for one
in the day. The riksha whisks by a booth, whence comes the squalling of
cats--seemingly. It is the gaku, Japanese poetry set to music and flung
into the lamp-lit street to make things stranger, and heighten, if
possible, the charm. At the corner of the by-street leading to the
House of the Clouds they met Pine-breeze simply laden with all sorts of
weird and wonderful paper boxes, and lighting herself on her way with a
lantern pictured with a cuttle-fish and carried on the end of a short
bamboo rod. She had been marketing. It was a fortunate meeting, for she
could escort Campanula home.



                               CHAPTER XV

                        M'GOURLEY'S LOVE AFFAIR


Following Pine-breeze, who went before her like a fantastically colored
glowworm, Campanula ascended to the house.

As she stepped onto the veranda she heard the voice of M'Gourley San
addressing Lotus-bed, and asking when she thought Leslie San would be
back. Mac's elastic-side boots were in the veranda, and his gamp was
propped against the wall.

He was sitting on the floor smoking a pipe and reading the _Japan Mail_
through a pair of spectacles when Campanula entered.

Mac often came up of nights like this. He was a vivid Radical, and
Leslie was a hide-bound Conservative, so they had a splendid time
together when they got on politics; or they would play chess, or Mr.
Initogo would drop in and they would have a rubber of dummy whist.

But what Mac really came for, though he scarcely knew it himself, was
Campanula.

Campanula was a lot to Mac; much more than one can express in prose, and
M'Gourley is scarcely the figure to make a ballad of. Yet the poem was
there round about him, unsung, unuttered, unguessed by any one, least of
all by himself.

When he had made chickens out of orange-pips for her at Nikko, she just
as cunningly had made him her slave.

She had taken this dull, hard-grained, and shady old business man into a
byway, of life, and made him spin tops and fly kites. She had made him
admire flowers and listen to fairy tales, and all as naturally and as
peacefully as though these things had been matters of everyday
occurrence with him the whole long length of his arid life.

"_Einst, O wunder!_"--that ballad might have been inspired by Mac--had
the writer ever met him in business or seen him in the flesh.

"Hech!" said Mac. "There you are; and where have you been trapsing to
this hour of the evening?"

Campanula explained that Leslie had met friends, and that he had gone to
dine with them at the hotel.

"Wonder who they can be?" soliloquized Mac, as Campanula clapped her
little hands together for Pine-breeze to bring refreshments. "Some
people he has picked up at the hotel, maybe."

They sat opposite to each other on the matting, this strangely assorted
pair. A panel in the front was open, for the night was warm, and the
lamplight fell on the veranda and the garden path beyond.

And they ate salted plums and crystallized prawns, soup with seaweed in
it, and rice with fish sauce, whilst the perfume of the cherry blossoms
stole in from the night outside, and the twang of a _chamécen_ came from
somewhere in the mysterious depths of the house.

It was Lotus-bud relieving her soul with music, mournful as the sound of
the wind blowing over the wet fields of millet in the rainy weather.

The things having been removed, Campanula brought forth a chess-board,
which she laid on the matting before Mac.

He had taught her chess, and had found her an apt pupil, a veritable
Zukertort, a female Nogi, who attacked his positions with her ivory
army, stormed his fortifications, and put him to rout when she chose.

Yet he often won. She would make amazing blunders just in time to save
him from defeat, and Mac would chuckle and say--

"There you are, there you are--thrown a pawn away that might have given
you back your queen in two more moves. Never mind, you're getting on;
I'll noat say ye aren't im--" long pause--"proving. Check--and how's
that for mate?"

Then Campanula would throw her hands up in assumed horror at her own
stupidity, and Mac would chuckle over his own supposed cleverness, and
all would be harmony and peace.

To-night, however, Campanula's mind was somewhat astray, and the
chess-player who lived in her brain took advantage of the fact, and beat
Mac thoroughly in the course of a dozen moves.

"I'm getting auld," said Mac testily. "Here, put the things away. Na,
na, I'll play no more the night."

He lit his pipe at the tobacco-mono and moodily smoked it. He could not
bear being beaten at chess, and now he looked as if he would be sour for
the whole evening.

She reached for a long-necked _chamécen_ that lay near her on the
matting, and tuned it, striking a few somber notes.

"Ay, sing us something," said Mac, and as the night wind sighed and the
cherry blossoms filled the room with their faint, faint fragrance,
Campanula, her eyes fixed across illimitable distance, sang in a voice
like the ripple of a mountain brook, a song telling of the Miakodori,
and the sunlit slopes of Maruyama, where the great old Gion cherry tree
blooms at the foot of Yaamis lane. And then an old love-song strayed in
from the night and was caught by the strings of the _chamécen_ and made
articulate by her voice.

It told the fate of a maiden named Pine-bough, who lived by the sea at
Hamada where the foam and the sand are as snow.

She loved a noble, this maiden named Pine-bough--you can guess the rest.
Mac listened, soothed; it was the case of David and Saul over again--a
very inferior sort of Saul, it is true.

"Now," said the Charmed One as the rafters absorbed the last echoes of
the fate of Pine-bough, "tell us a story."

Campanula, with the _chamécen_ lying across her lap, knitted her brows
in thought. She was evidently pursuing strange beasts across the fields
of Fancy, and undetermined as to which she would mark down and serve up
to her guest. Then she solved the matter by suddenly clearing her brow
and telling a tale without any beasts in it at all.

"There is a garden," declared Campanula, "where every one may enter; the
Mikado himself goes there, and the riksha man, the Mousmé and the
Mousko, Bo Chan, and Kiku San. Even Campanula herself, lowly as she is,
may enter there. And there the Mousko pulls the beard of the Emperor
unafraid, and the riksha man forgets his riksha and drinks tea at the
tea houses, where no money is paid and no money is asked for."

"What's this garden you're telling me of?" demanded Mac, his business
instincts and common sense in arms at the latter statement.

"It is the garden of sleep," answered Campanula cunningly. She had been
waiting for the question and now she paused, gently plucking a string of
the _chamécen_, filling the air with a faint throbbing sound as if to
summon around her the tale-bearers of the night.

"Here in the garden of sleep," pursued the dreamy voice, as the
vibrations died away, "every tree bears a lighted lantern swinging in
the wind and painting the grass beneath with its color--red lanterns
painted with storks, and blue lanterns pictured with the blossoms of the
cherry; lanterns on which dragons fly pursuing each other, and lanterns
disported upon by my lord the Bat.

"A wanderer in the garden has but to pluck a lantern from a tree, and
his dreams will at once turn in a happy direction, and by the light of
the lantern he will see before him the object of his desire, be it what
it may."

"I'll remember that," said Mac grimly, "next time I find myself there."

"One has no memory there," said Campanula, "and few people know of the
secret of that place, else every one would be happy in their dreams.

"One night entered the garden Taro San, a child no higher than one's
knee. He was the son of a tea-house keeper, and he had plucked a
glowworm from a bush, by which feeble light he was lighting himself
through the darkness of the garden.

"All at once he found himself beneath a tree, from the lowest branch of
which swung a huge lantern of wistaria-blue.

"It was the lantern of Spring, and the painted butterflies upon it, by
some magic, moved their wings in flight, yet remained always in the same
place, and the painted cherry-blossoms upon it waved in some magic wind,
yet never faded or lost a petal, and the bird upon it pursuing the
dragon fly was always gaining upon the dragon fly, yet the dragon fly,
oh mystery! always outstripped the bird."

Campanula paused in thought, and a faintly plucked string of the
_chamécen_ filled the air with the hum of the dragon fly's wings as it
flew by reed and iris, by mere and pond, by the unblown lotus and the
blue of the river in the country of eternal spring.

"O Taro San," continued the story-teller, "gazing up and beholding this
fair thing, strove to reach it, and failing, he began to weep.

"Now, there was passing by at that moment the Daimiyo of his province,
and the great lord walked with his gaze fixed upon the ground overcome
as he was by the reverie of sleep; but hearing the sound of Taro San
weeping, he paused and asked the child what ailed him, and hearing the
trouble, he lifted him upon his shoulder; and Taro San grasped the
lantern and waved it in the air and laughed, for its light showed him a
pleasant path beset with roses and leading to a sea, blue as the sea of
Harima, and in the path stood a little girl plucking the amber and
crimson flowers.

"Taro cried out to the Daimiyo to take him to the little girl, but the
Daimiyo did not heed, for to him the lantern had shown Osaka Castle
stormed by knights in armor, and the spears of the Samurai all bent
towards its walls under a roof of flying arrows. Towards this sight he
ran, and Taro dropping the lantern, it went out, and the Daimiyo awoke
in his palace and Taro awoke in the tea house upon the futon, where he
slept beside his father.

"Another night stood Taro beneath the lantern which hung beyond his
reach, but a beggar man who chanced to pass lifting him upon his
shoulder, the child seized the lantern and waved it in the air, and
instantly before him appeared the flower-set path and the form of the
Mousmé, more beautiful now and attired in a kimono of palest amber
embroidered with silver bats.

"But the beggar man saw nothing but a purse of silver lying before him
on the ground, and, stooping to pick it up, Taro fell from his shoulder,
the lantern went out, and the beggar man awoke by the roadside where he
had fallen asleep, and Taro on the futon beside his father.

"Many times did Taro stand beneath the lantern of spring and many people
raised him towards it, but never one of them saw what Taro saw, all
their dreams being of things other than flowers and the time of spring.

"One night," resumed Campanula after a pause, "Taro entered the garden,
and beneath the lantern there stood a child, and the child implored him
to lift him upon his shoulder, and being there the child seized the
lantern and laughed aloud with pleasure at the vision of the roses, and
the Mousmé, and the sea. But Taro saw nothing of this. He only saw a tea
house where customers were waiting to be served, for Taro," said
Campanula, "Had now grown up, and was a man."

She finished her little tale with three mournful notes drawn from the
bass string of the _chamécen_.

"Humph!" said Mac.

He tapped the ashes out of his pipe into the little receptacle of the
tobacco-mono, refilled it, and lit it with a glowing ember.

Whilst he was thus engaged, Campanula rose and went to the open panel
space leading on to the veranda. He heard her addressing some one in her
low, sweet voice, then there was a pause, then she spoke again as if in
answer to some remark, then she returned.

"Blind man," said Campanula, putting the _chamécen_ away.

"I heard nobody," said Mac, looking up as he finished lighting his pipe.
"What did you say? Blind man? Was it he you were speaking to?"

"Yes; he said he had come from a great way, and he looked oh, so ugly
and tired! He has gone to the back entrance, and they will give him
food."

"It's these blessed paper houses," said Mac.

"They either swallow a sound or magnify it, so's you can't hear yourself
speak if a man sneezes in the next room."

He smoked for a while, and then rose to go.

"There!" said Campanula, as she too rose. "He's gone away again down the
path towards the gate."

"I'll just follow him," said Mac, "and see what he's like."

He bade Campanula good night and departed.

The gate was closed, and there was no one on the garden path; no one on
the hill path either, he found as he descended it slowly, peering
through the gloom before him.

"It's dom queer!" muttered Mac to himself as he reached the street. "I'd
have staked my life she was talking to herself."

He felt vaguely uneasy, and thought of returning. Then he decided not.
The path looked gloomy and mysterious viewed from down below, and its
descent without meeting any one had already given him a slight attack of
the "creeps."



                              CHAPTER XVI

                         THE PHILOSOPHY OF EVIL


Dinner was served in the Du Telles' private room. Channing dined with
them--the man who had informed Jane of Leslie's whereabouts--a young,
clean shaven man, member of the Shanghai Jockey Club and practically
head of the great silk firm of Channing, Matheson & Co.

At dessert Jane asked Leslie's permission to tell of Campanula's
finding. Leslie at first demurred. No one knew anything about it except
the far-away folk in Nikko and the secretive Japanese police. It seemed
scarcely fair to Campanula to give the tale away, but at last he
consented, for George du Telle had eaten and drunk himself into a state
of torpor. He was staring at a pineapple before him with a flushed face,
from which protruded a great cigar, and as for Channing he was off to
Shanghai next day. So Jane told the story, and Channing listened.

"Well, what do you think?" said Jane when she had finished her tale.

"I never think about these matters," said Channing, "I simply accept
them. My dear lady, were you to live a long time in the East you would
come to believe in things that Western people would rank as nursery
tales. The Tokyo fire-walkers can walk barefoot over a bed of live
charcoal as thick as a mattress. I have seen them. How do they do it? I
don't know.

"It is very curious how the Western people, Christians, and so forth,
treat the unknown. They look upon it as the unknowable. The Easterns
don't. I had a missionary man in at my office the other day over at
Shanghai subscription hunting. I gave him what he wanted, and then,
without scarcely saying 'Thank you,' he asked me did I believe in God. I
asked him did he believe in the devil. He said 'Yes.' I asked him did he
believe in devils, and he said 'No.' I asked him did he believe in the
Bible. He said 'Yes.' Then I recalled to his mind the story of the
Gadarene swine, and his reply was that times are changed since then.
Then I suppose, I said, all the devils are dead? He walked away in a
huff--with my check in his pocket, though.

"Now the juggler man"--turning to Leslie--"may have been chivied to
death by devils just as the Gadarene swine were chased into the sea--who
knows?

"Of course it may have been that his madness, if he were mad, took an
acute turn, who knows? But I have lived a good time in the East, and I
am very well assured of this, that there are men here hand in glove with
evil. I have seen things done in China, and for money too, that could
not possibly have been done by trickery, and could not, I think, have
been done by permission of the powers of Good. I'm not what you call a
Christian, and what's more, I think the Christian religion has done a
great deal of harm--not to speak of other what you call 'religions'--Am
I wearying you, Mrs. du Telle?"

"Not in the least; please go on."

"In this way. It has robbed us of our terror of evil. It paints a vague
devil that no man really believes in. Now take that much-read book, 'The
Sorrows of Satan,' where the Devil sits down and plays the piano and
sings a song."

"I thought it was a guitar he played," said Jane.

"Well, a guitar; it's all the same. People read that with a grave face.
He's quite a good sort and so forth." Channing paused for a moment and
gazed reflectively at the wine in his glass, took a sip and went on:
"Don't you think the thousands of people who read that stuff, and admire
it, must have lost all sense of the horrible thing that evil is? The
sense that evil is a reality, a thing to fill us with the wildest horror
if one could only appreciate it, a very real thing, and a very
determined thing, and a thing all black; yet we get people playing in
fancy with, and even laughing about, this horror. And writers painting
the cuttle-fish center of it as a semi-sentimental idiot capable of
assuming evening clothes and talking twaddle, or criticizing plays as he
does in Satan Montgomery's poem. We don't play with a thing we loathe
even in fancy. But we--I mean Christians--play with the idea of the
devil as if it were a poodle dog. The truth is that Christians don't
fear the Power of Evil, they fear the Power of Good. They praise him,
propitiate and worship him in a most fulsome manner, and say they love
him. I tell you this for a fact that no man can love good who does not
abhor evil, and you can't abhor a thing that you play with."

"Do you abhor evil, Mr. Channing?" asked Jane.

"Honestly, I do. Any one with eyes and the capacity for thought who
lives in China _must_."

"Then you must love good?"

"One does not 'love' the sun, one worships it, so to speak--but this is
all very strange my talking like this; my business in life is mainly
silk and racehorses."

"'Scuse me," said George du Telle, who was swaying slightly in his
chair, the gone-out cigar still stuck in the side of his mouth, his face
bulged and red, and his eye a fixity. "'Scuse me."

"One moment, George--Well, I think, Mr. Channing, there are worse
Christians in the world than you are."

"Perhaps there are worse men, but I don't claim to be a Christian. Only
a man who recognizes fearfully the existence of evil as well as good."

"'Scuse me," said George du Telle, speaking loudly now as if he were
calling a servant or railway porter. "I'm not going to have this sort of
thing at my table. _I'm_ a Christian, brought up a Christian, die one.
'M not going to--"

"George!" said his wife in a mild voice, but a voice very steady and
full of command.

The Christian, who had raised himself in his chair, subsided.

Jane rose from the table.

"Shall we go into the drawing-room and have some music?" she said. "You
sing, Dick--or used to."

As they passed to the drawing-room she said to Channing: "Did I tell you
the mark my cousin Dick made--you know what I mean--was the Christian
emblem?"

"My dear lady," said Channing, "I especially dread hurting another
person's religious feelings, and I, what am I? Just a man who thinks his
own thoughts, but--"

"Well?"

"Well, if there were anything in it at all, may it not be that the cause
of the disturbance was the fact that he touched him?"

"How is that?"

"You have never touched the wire in connection with a running dynamo?"

"No."

"No," said Channing, "for if you had you would not be here. The metaphor
is a bad one. I only mean to say that the touch of a stick or a hand may
disturb the play of great forces with most surprising results."



                              CHAPTER XVII

                           THE HOUSE BY NIGHT


It was late when Leslie left the hotel. The moon was rising over
Nagasaki, and he required no lamp to light him up the hill path leading
to the house.

In the veranda he sat down to rest a moment and pull off his boots. The
landscape garden, looking very antique in the moonlight, lay before him,
the moon lighting its tiny hills and melancholy groves with the same
particular care that presently he would bestow on the forests of Scindia
and the Himalayas. On one of its verdurous swards lay a mark. It was the
mark of Jane du Telle's footstep imprinted on Campanula's garden.

He sat for a while in thought, then he unlatched a panel with a sort of
gridiron-shaped key, then he searched in his pocket for matches, and
found he had none.

Determining to grope his way up and go to bed by moonlight, he closed
and fastened the panel, leaving himself in darkness, caught his toe
against an hibachi, left as if on purpose for him to tumble over, swore,
knocked himself against a screen, which fell crash on Sweetbriar San,
the household cat, who had once made part of the Fir-cone, Plum-blossom,
Moon, and Snow ministry, and the intelligent animal, conceiving that
robbers had entered, rushed wildly round and round in the dark till a
panel slid back revealing Pine-breeze with a wan and weary smile on her
face, and an andon or night lantern in her hand. She handed Leslie a
candle and box of matches, and, still smiling, slid back, closing the
panel as she went, like a figure in a trick toy, Sweetbriar San
bristling and glowering on her shoulder like a fiend.

The upper part of the House of the Clouds was divided by panels into a
passage and three rooms. One for Leslie, one for the Mousmés, and the
third for Campanula.

Pine-breeze, with her arm full of towels, or what not, would often come
into Leslie's bedroom through the wall. He might be in his bath, he
might be--anything, it was all the same to Pine-Breeze, she was thinking
of her duties, not of him.

One night, long ago, he had awakened in the arms of Mother Fir-cone, who
was jibbering with fright. There was a mosquito-net between them, for
she had rushed through the wall, and literally flung herself upon him,
tearing the mosquito-net from its attachments. I do not wonder at her
fright. Also San was in eruption, and a fearful earthquake was roaring
and billowing under Nagasaki.

Several times had the Mousmés rushed into his room all clinging
together, and crying "Dorobo!" (Robbers). Robbers had tried to burgle
the house twice, in fact. He had shot one the second time, and they
never came again. Yet he always slept with a Smith and Wesson
convenient, for a Japanese robber is a business man, without a heart,
but with a desire for plunder keen as the edge of a sword.

Leslie's bedroom was a very bare apartment, furnished mostly with a
nothing. A futon and pile of pillows--he had tried the makura or
Japanese pillow, but given it up in disgust--under a mosquito-net, a
wash-stand, a stick-rack, and some pegs to hang clothes on, constituted
the remainder of the furniture. The window was a wide open space crossed
by lattice slats, through which the moon was now shining, her light
partly intercepted by the dance of a cherry bough waving in the wind.

Leslie undressed and got into bed. Seen through the blue gauze of a
mosquito-net, the room had a character all its own.

The House of the Clouds by night was not the place for a person
afflicted with insomnia. There were so many noises only waiting to tell
strange tales to the strained ear. Tales of mystery and exaggeration.
Lying awake you would hear some one leaning close against the attenuated
house wall; it was the wind. And now, a scratching sound as of a panther
trying to commit a burglary; it was the wind; and now a whisper like the
whisper of a lover to his mistress--or maybe of a robber to his mate; it
was the wind.

Then the owl sitting on the roof, staring with saucer eyes at the moon,
would give one low, whistling cry, and his mate beyond somewhere, would
make cautious answer.

Then "tap, tap, tap." It would be the wind--making the skeleton finger
of a dead Samurai out of a loose lattice.

Then a thunder of cats and a yell on the veranda roof, and the drowsy
one, just off to goblin land with the dead Samurai, would be brought up
all standing, and half rise for a boot, or a boot-jack, or anything
hurlable, and sink back with a sigh, remembering that he was in Japan.

The wind played upon the House of the Clouds just as a maestro plays on
a fiddle, but with a more distressing result. Sometimes of an autumn or
winter night you might have sworn the place was surrounded by a company
of old Japanese ghosts escaped from the clutches of Emma O[1] and
requestful of succor and safety.

    [1] The Guardian of the Buddhistic hells.

Leslie could not sleep. This eruption of his past into the present
disturbed him deeply.

He had been getting acclimatized, losing little by little that horrible
sense of exile and home-sickness that had driven him once across half
the world to London, and now it was all coming back.

And she was married to that little beast, and, worst of all, she seemed
content.

For eight years he had looked upon her as a thing dead to him, and now
she had returned with sevenfold power, for she brought the past with
her. The golden past, golden despite that dour father, Colonel Leslie of
Glenbruach, that just man unacquainted with folly. She brought the river
in spate and the leaping salmon, the heather-scented wind from the
purple hills, Glenbruach in the midst of a world of snow, the ripple of
the mountain burn and the faint reek of peat.

Worse than all these, she brought herself. She was the same spiritually
and mentally as the slim girl of long ago--a slip of a girl straight as
a wand and as full of laughter and movement and brightness as a mountain
brook.

But materially she had vastly altered. She was now a woman, divinely
formed, a creature appealing to every sensual fiber in a man's nature.

And George du Telle owned all this!

Leslie, I daresay you have perceived, was a man who did not take what
one may call a dry-light view of things, past or present, when they had
relation to himself; as a matter of fact, he saw the shortcomings of
others tremendously clearly. The shortcomings of his father, of
Bloomfield the lawyer, of the Sydney bar loafers, of Danjuro the curio
dealer, and of poor old sinful, grubbing M'Gourley--too clearly, in
fact.

His own shortcomings he acknowledged by word of mouth. He knew they were
there, just as a merchant knows a bale of damaged and unsaleable goods
is in his cellar, but he did not go down and rake them out and examine
them carefully.

No one ever had cared for him, he said, but he never asked himself if he
ever had permitted any one to care for him. With this outlook on life, a
semi-poetical nature, and passions that slept long and deeply only to
awake rejuvenated and with the strength of demons, he might before this
have gone entirely to the devil, only for a lodger he had.

An old Scotch ancestor lived with him. This "pairson," who had
once worn a long upper lip and had been a writer to the signet, a
just, hard, God-fearing, and straight man, had a chamber in a
convolution of Leslie's brain, where he sat--he, or his attenuated
personality--twiddling his thumbs like a night watchman and waiting for
alarms.

It was this gentleman who had saved his descendant from the weak man's
form of suicide--drink.

He now came out in his old carpet slippers and read his descendant a
lecture on the text: "Thou shalt not lust after another man's wife."

And he spoke hard and strong, taking almost entirely the "wumman's" side
of the question; pointing out that society, as we know it, imperfect as
it may be, is ruled by a number of laws whose aim is the common weal and
the individual's comfort and happiness.

He pointed out that the life of a "wumman" is composed, not of grand
passions and Italian opera scenes, but of a hundred thousand trifles,
each one insignificant enough, yet each helping to form that grand
masterpiece, a pure woman's life.

That a woman might be pure in mind, even if married to a "red-headed
runt" like George du Telle. That if that was so she was a happy woman,
and that if a man loved her, loved he never so madly, it would be a
strange expression of that love to blast her happiness, and soil her
soul.

It would not be love, but lust--the passion of those devils which Mr.
Channing had hinted at that evening, those people of the night who
slumber not nor sleep.

Having finished, he went into his chamber and shut the door.

And Leslie lay reflecting on his words, also on the words of Channing.

Evil made manifest. The face of the creature on the Nikko road came
before his mental eye. That was evil made manifest. He had seen the
thing. He had known the devil by hearsay since a child. He had heard the
"Deevil" thundered at from Scotch pulpits, tracts about the devil had
been put into his hand; he had heard people make laughing remarks about
him: he was so familiar with the vague personality called Satan that he
felt no interest in him, neither interest nor aversion. Never a shudder.

But that thing in the sky of the opium dream, the music that had brought
it--that, indeed, was evil painted by the hand of an artist; worth all
the sermons ever thundered from pulpits, all the tracts ever printed.

Then his weary brain grew drowsy, and there strayed across it the fair
figure of the Lost One, the very antithesis of all things evil.

Only last night before going to bed she had murmured a story half to
herself, half to him, with her eyes fixed on the glowing embers of the
hibachi, and he retold it to himself now to put himself to sleep.

It was about the great battle between the beasts and the birds--the real
reason why the owl was reduced to shame and forced to cover himself with
night.

"And they came from the North and the South and the East and the West in
flight, oh, many ri broad. The quails from the millet, the stork from
the river, and from the pond the king-fisher, flashing like a blue jewel
in the sunlight.

"Then said the stork, who led all these people of the air:

"'Behold! we are all assembled but where tarries Sir Owl?'"

"Then a sparrow made answer and said:

"'As I paused to rest on a cherry bough, for my wings be little though
my heart is big, I heard Sir Owl in treasonable conversation with a rat.
And said he, "Come forth from thy burrow, O Rat, that I may feast my
eyes upon thee; and the empire of the beasts shall be thine, and also
the empire of the birds."'"

"And the voice of the Hidden One replied--"

But what the Hidden One made answer, Leslie did not remember, for the
artless story had lulled him to sleep.



                             CHAPTER XVIII

                          MOSTLY ABOUT FLOWERS


O Japan! Spring! Dawn! what an exquisite and roseate mystery surrounds
the meeting of ye three!

Night, and the owls, and the ghosts, have vanished, day and the sparrows
have come.

Up from Nagasaki rise the murmurs of life, mists are vanishing from the
hills across the harbor, where the lateen sails of junks are rising to
find the wind, and the sampans dart about like attenuated water-beetles.

The far, faint sound of a bugle from the man-of-war anchorage crosses
the far, shrill crowing of a cock owned by Mr. Pinecape, the cobbler of
Jinriksha Street--two rapiers of sound crossing each other in the now
brilliant air. Then the noises of the day deepen, and the whirr of the
cicala mixes with all sorts of faint domestic noises, a _mélange_ from
which the ear can pick out notes just as the eye points in an
impressionist's picture: the clatter of a pair of clogs, the call of a
watercress seller, the clash of a tin pan dropped somewhere, and then
cock-crow after cock-crow from far and near, some loud and defiant,
others defiant enough but faint, as if coming through a pin-pole half a
mile away.

The kitchen of the House of the Clouds is a square apartment, with no
matting on the floor, and just now flooded with sunshine.

Leslie, in the early days, had caused to be constructed by a stranded
ship's carpenter, a solid English kitchen-table of white pine. He wanted
to give the man a job, and he thought the thing would prove useful; and
it did.

To begin with, it smelt deliciously, and Mother Fir-cone amidst her
avocations would take a sniff at it now and then, just as a snufftaker
takes a pinch of snuff; she would also sit under it preparing sweet
potatoes, stringing beans or what not; but as for using it as a table,
such an idea never occurred to her. In fact, she had no ideas at all
about a table, and was quite convinced that this gift of Leslie San's
was a sort of pine-wood temple, constructed for the purpose of being sat
under.

It was also a place of refuge in time of earthquakes, when the whole
household, saving Leslie and Campanula, got under it for fear of the
roof falling. It received the title of "Honorable," and was altogether a
thing very much respected, and even vaguely beloved.

Under it this morning sat Lotus-bud, preparing fish for breakfast; on it
(these new Mousmés used it as a shelf) reposed various paper boxes
containing eggs and groceries, weird-looking boxes suggesting that a
conjurer was about to commence operations, not a cook.

The sun laid a great square of light like a burning mat upon the floor
near the table, and on her knees in the center of this mat of light sat
Pine-breeze cleaning an hibachi. Cherry-blossom, the third Mousmé,
squatted right before Pine-breeze doing nothing.

From under the table was escaping a faint blue haze of smoke. Lotus-bud
had just taken a few whiffs from a tiny pipe.

They all smoked, these Mousmés, pinches of stuff like chopped hay in
pipe bowls the size of a child's thimble; but Campanula had never
acquired the art, though all her friends were ardent tobacco lovers.
Leslie San had said "No," and that was enough.

As Pine-breeze cleaned the hibachi and made it spick and span, she was
telling the others a yarn, mostly to do with her doings when down the
town marketing last evening. How she had bought this or that, what had
been said to her, and so forth--a tale simple enough, but a miracle of
genius considering the tongue in which it was told. For in the Japanese
there are but two parts of speech, the noun and the verb; these, and
splinters and scraps of broken-up nouns and verbs, which, in the form of
particles and suffixes, help to shore up the meaning and pin together
the common sense, have to do all the talking.

The learner of Japanese feels at first like a person condemned to eat
gravy soup with chop-sticks. Oh, for even a pronoun! Imagine talking to
a person without being able to use the word "You," without being able to
use the word "I"! Imagine the horrible tortures of a Japanese egoist on
his death-bed making, or attempting to make, his dying speech!

But there are no egoists in Japan--can't be with such a language--and
there are no purse-proud snobs, or if there are, they hide themselves
very closely.

For self-depreciation is the key-note of Japanese conversation and
manners.

So she goes on with her story, in a voice sweet to listen to as the
ripple of a mountain brook, and Lotus-bud listens under the table,
fish-knife held in air, for the tale is reaching an interesting point.

Then Campanula's voice is heard speaking to Sweetbriar San. She is
coming to the kitchen to superintend things and--crack! the fish's head
is cut off, and three Mousmés are working like one.

Campanula San is younger than any of these Mousmés, and she treats them
like sisters, yet strangely enough, they do not encroach, but treat her
as their mistress--a condition of things impossible in Europe, and
presently, perhaps, impossible in Japan.

The sun has leapt now over the hills, and Leslie is heard moving
upstairs. Pine-breeze claps her hands with horror, and rises to her
feet: she has forgotten to fill his bath.

She goes to do so, and Campanula wanders out the front way to the
balcony, where she pauses to gaze at the azaleas, shading her eyes with
her hand.

The fire is spreading; another crimson blossom is almost unfolded, and
others are soon to be born. Every spring the coming of the azaleas is an
event in Campanula's life.

A wealth of crimson azaleas is one of her first recollections. Away
beyond that crimson fire of flowers lies the land of her earliest
childhood. The house with the plum tree, very vague indeed; the father
who hit things with a hammer, still vaguer; the sugar-candy dragon lost,
and so miraculously recovered; the little boy who went to sleep in the
snow--or was it in a field of lilies?

Her real life, it seemed to her, began as she was reaching for a crimson
blossom one day in a field of crimson blossoms, and was suddenly caught
up sky-high by a thing taller than a tree, who did something to the side
of her neck, just under her left ear, that was not hurtful or
particularly unpleasant, but which, nevertheless, made her scream.

Then, behold, she saw that the thing was a man, though in strange
clothes, but he did not frighten her in the least, and she gave him her
hand at once, and with confidence, whereupon he took her in his arms and
carried her to a road where stood another man, all black, even to his
hands, but his face was white, and he had a red beard.

Then this man, who was also unfrightful, began to make her remember
things that she had for the moment forgotten. To remember her father,
and the fact that she had lost her way, and other things too, including
the errant dragon. He made her remember that she wished to get back to
her father, but she did not remember this so very clearly. In fact she
was quite content to go with these two men over the hills and far away,
feeling sure she was safe with them, went they where they would.

The scenes on the road to Nikko she remembered: a funny man away in the
distance dancing amongst trees, and the entry into Nikko borne sky-high
above all the other children, the Tea House of the Tortoise,
and--grandest remembrance of all!--the miraculous awakening with the
long-lost dragon in her hand. He was so full of mystery that she never
had even dreamt of eating him, and she still possessed him. He was
upstairs in the drawer of a lacquered cabinet, cracked, it is true, by
changes of temperature and warped in the back, for age touched all
things, even sugar-candy dragons.

Then there was her life at the House of the Clouds, the mission school;
rainy days when she splashed through the mud under a broad paper
umbrella; fine days when she flew kites with M'Gourley San, played
hop-scotch with Kiku San and Kitsune Ken, with all sorts of other Sans,
mostly with shaved heads.

This was Campanula's childhood as she remembered it. But as you cannot
remember your childhood till you have stepped over the line where the
child becomes a boy or girl, Campanula had not begun remembering it till
about six months ago.

Up till then M'Gourley San, and Leslie San, and Sweetbriar San, and a
host of other honorable people surrounded her, one as important as the
other, Mac perhaps more important than any.

Then all at once--in a week or so, to be more precise--a host of new
ideas came to her, bothersome, formless ideas, as ungraspable yet as
insistent as the great Boyg himself.

Then the ideas began to take form. It was in the garden one day. Her
eyes fell on one of the flowerless azalea bushes, and she remembered how
it had been covered with crimson flowers last year, and how beautiful
they were, beautiful above every other flower, even the lordly peony,
who seems to hold the whole glory and mystery of summer in the gloom of
his splendid heart. And her mind wandered back from spring to spring,
led by the crimson blossoms, till she called to mind the valley where
Leslie had found her.

It was he who had found her wandering alone there, and he had picked her
up.

She had never forgotten the valley; it had lain in the distance in her
mind, but she had no use for it till now. Now it came to her in all its
splendor, and explained to her why the azalea was the flower she loved
above the peony, the lotus, or even that glorious mystery, the
dragon-spume chrysanthemum.

Flowers are so bound up with the lives of the children of Japan that
they have a meaning and speak a language to them almost unknown to us.

So Campanula sat immersed in her dream, and Leslie, who had swung a
hammock between two cherry trees and was lying in it, little knew what
was going on in the small head of the person seated near him on the
square of matting. She had been doing some needlework, but her work had
dropped in her lap, her hands were folded, and her eyes were fixed on
the azalea bush.

Next day, or perhaps the day after, for a man's perceptions in these
matters are sometimes dull, he noticed a change in her. He could not say
what it was, but the submissive and humble person, the very fact of
whose existence was a theme for perpetual self-excuse, had somehow
changed. She was just as submissive and humble, but there was a subdued
joyousness in her manner when excusing her existence as though she
thought that somehow it might not be such a frightful crime after all,
and perhaps capable of condonation some day.

Then, when he called for his cigar-case Pine-breeze did not appear with
it, though Pine-breeze loved to be the carrier of it, because it was a
foreign thing, and the leather smelt deliciously.

Campanula brought it _and_ a match-box, a thing that Pine-breeze's
flighty little mind nearly always forgot.

A few days before, Leslie had possessed three servants and what he
called an adoptive daughter. Then he suddenly found himself in the
possession of four servants, one of them more attentive than the other
three put together. He put it down to the fact that her housewifely
instincts were awakening, and as the change in her wrought for his
comfort and ease he did not speculate on the cause as he would have done
had the reverse been the case.

Women are curious creatures, as the philosophic Mac once said. But on
the whole, in their way, I think men are just as strange.

Kite-flying had now been put aside with other childish things, and the
tiny hands that had grasped the sugar-candy dragon were now preparing to
grasp the real business of life: a business whose main objective was the
happiness and comfort of "He who is taller than the tallest of trees."

Pine-breeze, Lotus-bud, and Cherry-blossom. Looking at them in a row,
you might have thought them pretty much alike, as far as mind and spirit
were concerned, just as three sleek, well-groomed ponies may seem
identical--until you try to drive them.

It was not till Campanula took the reins that she found the three
underlings were each afflicted with a special infirmity, or rather
special infirmities.

Pine-breeze was such a scatterbrain that if you sent her down town in a
hurry for eggs she would, as likely as not, dawdle home in an hour with
tomatoes and some wild tale picked up on the way, pleasant and
interesting enough, no doubt, but useless for the purpose of making an
omelette. She would leave Leslie's bath unprepared, and then, sitting in
her own tub, would clap her hands with horror at the remembrance of her
own forgetfulness, and as likely as not attempt to rectify her error
attired in a bath towel; and she would smash things--crockery ware
understood--with almost the facility of your Western parlor-maid. To
make up for these bad points, she was literary above her class; had a
passion for flowers above her fellows, and had composed a poem about a
grasshopper.

Lotus-bud was the cook; her infirmity was weakness. She would sit and
listen to Pine-breeze's idle chatter and let the bread burn. Pine-breeze
could work and talk, but Lotus-bud could not even work and listen. So
she would sit with her hands in her lap, listening. She made a splendid
audience but a somewhat indifferent cook.

As for Cherry-blossom, she was purely and simply an idler, a
lotus-eater, a hobboe in the guise of a butterfly. A thing so fragile
and pretty, so perfectly dressed and so seemingly boneless, that you
felt to expect work from her would be absurd; which, indeed, it would
have been.

For she never worked, she dreamed.

She was enamored of a riksha man, and she would go out and meet him
under the lilacs at the gate, and then vanish with him to goodness knows
where for the evening.

He was the strangest natural phenomenon, this lover of Cherry-blossom's,
for he was always changing in size, and his face was never scarcely
twice alike, and his number--rikshas are numbered just like hansom
cabs--was


       255.
        66.
         7.
       103.
    and 42.


At least Pine-breeze, who was an observant body, got that far in her
notation, and then gave it up as a bad job.

All these things, and more, Campanula had to cope with, and she did so
with more or less success, gaining in her experience much that a girl of
her age is supposed not to know, but losing nothing either in gentleness
or modesty.

She brought Pine-breeze to a vague sense of the wrongfulness of flighty
ways, and with her own little hands she made new bread to replace a
batch of loaves burnt to cinders by Lotus-bud (bread that gave Leslie
indigestion for a week).

As for Cherry-blossom, she told her, missionary fashion, that she would
certainly go to hell and be burnt like Lotus-bud's loaves if she did not
stop vanishing down town with riksha men; and Cherry-blossom ground her
nose on the matting and wept, and promised reformation, and went out two
nights afterwards with No. 173 to a grand blaze up at the O Suwa temple,
where she devoured candied beans and comfits, and bowed before graven
images, and had a general good time with a host of "heathen" people like
herself.

Cherry-blossom's rikshas never cost her anything. Love lent them to her.

Leslie's socks up to this had always been vanishing, and the ones that
remained, were always, or generally, in holes. The Mousmés said it must
be the mice. Campanula, however, found Pine-breeze one morning cleaning
a kettle with a silk dress-sock. It seemed silk socks at half a guinea a
pair gave a polish nothing else would give.

The kettles were duller after that, but the depredations of the mice
ceased.

Having looked at the promise of the azaleas, she went in to see how
things were getting on.

Presently she and Leslie were seated at breakfast opposite to one
another on the floor. Leslie, attired in a suit of faultlessly fitting
pale gray tweed, looked much more like an Indian cavalry officer on
leave than an umbrella merchant, as he called himself. He had arranged
to call for Jane du Telle at ten o'clock to take her out shopping; the
gloomy thoughts of the night before, the effect of the opium, and the
effect of the dream, had vanished.

He was sipping his tea, and glancing over the _Japan Mail_, when
Campanula interrupted him.

"What iss Dick?" she suddenly asked; she prolonged her s's in the
faintest degree, difficult to reproduce in print, for there is no type
capable of representing an s and a quarter.

"What is what?" asked Leslie, lowering the _Japan Mail_, and staring at
his pretty _vis-â-vis_.

"Dick--she called you Dick."

"Who?"

"She who gave you the flower," said Campanula, lowering ever so little
her head.

"Which flower?"

"The one in your coat--yesterday."

"Oh," said Leslie, remembering a bluebell that Jane had plucked and
given him as they went down hill the day before, and remembering also
that George du Telle and Campanula had been walking behind and must have
seen the transaction. "She calls me Dick because that is short for my
name."

"Dick," murmured she, in a meditative voice.

She seemed turning the name over in her mind. Tasting it mentally, so to
speak.

"She is an old friend of mine," continued Leslie. "I knew her,
Campanula, before you were born, away over in another part of the world,
where half the year it snows and where the wind blows just as hard as it
does in Nippon, but the wind never brings flowers as it does here."

"No flowers," she murmured, incapable of imagining such a land.

"Only flowers like that blue one, and wild roses and a few others, but
you never see camellia trees growing by the roads, nor lotus flowers on
the ponds."

"Nor azaleas?"

"Nor azaleas--at least, as they grow here."

A shadow crossed the open doorway.

"M'Gourley San," said Campanula, who was seated facing the door.

"Dinna rise," said M'Gourley. "I've had ma breakfast, and I'll juist tak
a seat on the verandy till y've done."

"I'm done," said Leslie, forgetful of grammar, and rising up, he came
out, the _Japan Mail_ under his arm, and a briar root in his hand.

They talked business a while, and then Leslie said:

"I say."

"Weel?"

"You remember that woman I told you of on the Nikko road?"

"Which wumman?" asked Mac, taking up a pebble from the path just by the
veranda, and shying it at one of the hills of the landscape garden.

"Girl, I meant; you remember the girl I told you of?"

"Oh ay; the lass that flung you ower board--what of her?"

"She's here with her husband."

"Whaur?" said Mac, turning his head as though he fancied Jane and her
spouse were camping out in the garden.

"She's staying at the Nagasaki Hotel with her husband."

"Whoat's their names?"

"Du Telle."

Mac doubled himself up for a moment, alleging for reason a touch of the
stomach-ache, as a matter of fact it was a touch of internal laughter.

The day before yesterday he had found the newly-arrived George du Telle
in the smoke-room of the Nagasaki Hotel, stood him drinks, and conducted
him to Danjuro.

There they had saki and pipes, and George du Telle had bought a
Pickford's van-full of rubbish, and parted with a fat green check on
Cox's. An exceedingly fat check written with one eye shut, it is true,
but quite in order.

"I dined with them."

"Ye whoat!" cried Mac, coming back from a vision of the victorious
Danjuro doing the cake-walk amidst his bronzes and lacquers, kimono
pinched up on either side between finger and thumb, his nose in the air,
and on his face an assumption of stiff and haughty pride enough to kill
one with laughter.

"Weel! weel!" said Mac, addressing the hills of the landscape garden.

"What are you weel-weeling about?" asked Leslie irritably.

"I am not a puncteelious man," said Mac, still addressing the hills, "in
the small concairns of life, but if a lassie had treated me same's she
you, _I'd a seen her dammit before I'd ha' dined wi' her_." He shouted
the last words, and brought his big fist down on his knee with a bang.

"Don't shout," said Leslie, "and make an ass of yourself. We didn't
quarrel when we parted; we parted good friends. She didn't want to marry
me--well, that was her look-out."

"I wish they hadna' come," said Mac gloomily.

"What on earth is the matter with you _now_?"

"I've seen the waurld," said the Gloomy One, "and I've seen wummen. And
I've seen _her_--saw her in the smoke-room--" He stopped.

"What smoke-room?"

"Of the hotel. I was havin' a crack wi' her husband day-fore yesterday,
and in she come to speak a word to him; and I know wummen--and, weel, I
know, fixed between that chap with a head like a blazin' whin-bush and
you, which way she'll run."

"I wish you wouldn't be such a fool," said Leslie, now really annoyed
and therefore keeping himself in check; "she's nothing to me."

Mac turned, and under his bushy, half-grizzled eyebrows stared in
Leslie's face, and Leslie did not support his gaze, but turned away
irritably, and flung stones at a brown hawk that was circling in the air
before them.

Mac got up, tapped the ashes out of his pipe, and made off.

"See ye the morn?" he called back as he got to the gate.

"Maybe," said Leslie, looking at his watch and rising to go into the
house.

He went down at ten, and shortly after his departure, out came
Campanula, a basket in her hand and sandals on her feet, for the weather
was dry. She came along the path towards the cherry trees, examining the
ground and the interstices of the bushes.

At last she saw what she wanted, a bluebell.

She plucked it with tender care and put it in her basket, then she saw
another and treated it the same, and another; so went she on till it
became perfectly plain that her object was not gardening, or the
gathering of a bunch of flowers, but the extermination of every bluebell
on the premises.

When the place had been cleared and the basket was half full of victims,
the question came how to dispose of them. Impossible to throw them away
or burn them; she would as soon, almost, have treated children so.

She stood at the gate undecided, till suddenly there came the solution
of the problem, and opening the gate she passed down the lilac-shaded
path to Nagasaki. On the way she saw more bluebells and stopped to pluck
them, so that when the lane at the bottom was reached the basket was
nearly full.

In a rabbit-hutch of a house off the lane lay a tragedy, or the remains
of one, in the form of O Toku San, a poor work-girl. She had loved a
man, and he had not even betrayed her in the ordinary way. He had simply
changed his mind, and gone off with another girl.

She tried to kill herself, not in the native way, but with some
abominable sort of foreign poison--Oxalic acid, most likely; but they
saved her life, and she lay in the hospital nearly a month with her
hands tied, to prevent her trying to kill herself again.

When she came out of the hospital she made no more attempts to obtain
peace. She was in the clutches of pernicious anæmia, and she now lay
dying, a despairing shadow, the ghost of what had once been a pretty and
happy girl.

Campanula turned to the tiny house, and that day O Toku San had a whole
silver yen to give to her mother on her return, and a bunch of
freshly-gathered blue flowers to charm her eye: things to the dying
better than all music and poetry, and far above the greatest
masterpieces of art.



                              CHAPTER XIX

                       THE STORK AND THE TORTOISE


They were in the street running parallel with Jinrikisha Street, a
street truly of the old time, narrow with the house-tops, when the
houses had upper stories over-leaning the way.

Jane seemed fascinated by the contents of the little shops, that sold
everything from cuttle-fish to paper lanterns. Shops that were, most of
them, simply raised platforms, matted and roofed.

Here abounded the tortoise-shell carvers, and the men who can make a
netsuké to charm the eye out of anything: a knot of wood, a shark's
tooth, a useless bit of ivory.

"I'm going to buy things," said Jane, looking with a lustful eye on the
cheap, or seemingly cheap, curios exposed for sale in some of the shops:
old bronze gongs, kettles, sword guards, broken crockery were carefully
mended, lamps, such as the Chinese magician might have hawked at the
back entrance of the palace of Aladdin, fans, trick toys, and tiny boxes
for holding rouge; tobacco-monos and opium pipes, broken-down English
umbrellas, lacquer trays, and a heap of other dust-traps utterly
useless, and some of them not very ornamental.

"If you _will_ waste your money," said Leslie, "I'd advise you to come
to Danjuro's. We can get to it by this lane, and I won't let him swindle
you beyond the ordinary tourist pitch."

"Very well," said Jane, turning from a booth bearing this cabalistic
inscription on its front, "Come rightin!"[2] "The things look pretty
dusty, and I don't see anything I very much want--I'd like to buy
_that_, though." She pointed to a mite in the colored kimono, playing
battledore and shuttlecock in the gutter with another mite of its own
size. "They seem so happy and jolly, these Japanese children, and clean,
and I read somewhere they never give any trouble, or break things, or
annoy people--Bless the child!"

    [2] I presume "Come right in!" was the artist's intention.

A shuttlecock hit her a slap in the face, and the shuttlecock hitter
laughed, and trotted after it, without any semblance of apology to his
target.

"There's another illusion shattered," said Jane, wiping her face with
her handkerchief.

"Have you--" began Leslie.

"What?"

"Any children?"

"No," said Jane; "I have not."

The stork on the tortoise, emblem of eternal life, and a "supposed"
masterpiece of the great Miochin family of metal-workers, still stood on
guard in the fore-front of Danjuro's wares. It was the same stork that
Leslie had seen five years ago--at least, in appearance. In reality it
had been sold five or six times during the last five years.

The selling of the thing always brought forth Danjuro's latent sense of
humor, and could Danjuro the actor have seen his namesake at these
supreme moments of trade, he would certainly have claimed him as a
brother in art.

It would be an American woman, perhaps, in a blue veil, and with a
smattering of knowledge picked up from artistic books about Japan. Mac
would be the go-between, translating the desires of the female into
Japanese for the edification of Dan, who spoke English, by the way, as
well as Mac, and even, perhaps, better.

"Sell it!" Danjuro would cry. "I would as soon think of selling my own
mother. Tell her Augustness to ask of me anything else. It is a piece of
true Miochin, owned by my father, and his father before him. It has
always brought my family luck, etc."

All of which M'Gourley would faithfully translate with the addition:

"He's the greatest auld scamp in the waurld; he's only puttin' up the
price. Bide a wee, and let him simmer doon. It is not a true Miochin,
but it's a vara excellent imitation, made, mayhap, by some pupil of the
Miochins. Would y' be wullin' to pay twanty poonds?"

The Blue-veiled One assenting, Mac and Danjuro would go for each other
in Japanese, and after five minutes' ferocious wrangling, and five
minutes more of interpretations, the thing would change hands at
twenty-five pounds, to be replaced next day, or, at least, the day after
the departure of the Blue-veiled One from Nagasaki, by its twin image. A
man at Osaka made them by the gross, and he charged two pounds ten
a-piece for them to the trade.

Fortunately, the dead know not the doings of the living, else would the
artistic Miochin family be turning eternally in their uneasy graves,
with the rapidity of spinning bobbins.

Danjuro came out with his usual profound salute and low hiss.

Hiss is perhaps not the proper word, for the sound is made by the intake
of air between closed teeth, and is intended to represent delight beyond
words.

And, indeed, when Danjuro beheld M'Gourley entering with a client ready
to be shorn, the sound came from him as no empty compliment, but as a
natural expression of his true feelings.

It was different as regards Leslie. Danjuro looked on Leslie with the
nervous dread with which you or I might look upon a mischievous lunatic.

Leslie had once nearly spoiled a bargain--a delightful bargain from the
dealer's point of view, a disgraceful swindle viewed by the cold light
of English ethics.

An English Member of Parliament had been trepanned into paying two
hundred pounds for a pair of vases worth, maybe, twenty. Mac in his
jubilation boasted before Leslie, and Leslie had "put the stopper on,"
caused the money to be returned, with a note to the effect that the jars
were now discovered (from some documents connected with them) to be
imitation, and not as represented when bought.

The Member of Parliament, instantly concluding that _this_ was a
swindle, and that he had obtained priceless articles by accident,
refused to accept the money, or return the jars.

And thus was he done brown on his own spit, and basted by his own right
hand, for in his book of travels, "Amongst the Japs," he mentioned the
transaction, and, worse still, sent a copy of the book to Danjuro, with
the passage marked with blue pencil.

Dan read the passage with the aid of a pair of horn-rimmed spectacles,
and with a face mirthless as a shovel.

But the soul in him bubbled. He could quite understand the Member of
Parliament's point of view, but Leslie's was quite beyond his power to
grasp.

Honesty for the sake of honesty, and without any ulterior reason, even
Art for Art's sake was more understandable than that.

So he hissed without pleasure as he bowed before Leslie and Jane,
imploring them to condescend to make the honorable entrance, and
intimating that everything in the place was theirs.

Jane nodded to him, and looked round.

"There's one of the monstrosities I told you of that George bought the
other day," said she, pointing to a bronze frog half as big as an
ordinary coal-box. "Oh, look at _that_!"

She pointed to a furious struggle in bronze between a man and a monster.
The monster had opened its mouth to devour the man, and the man had
caught it by the tongue, which he was tearing out.

It was the climax of the fight, and the conclusion one could read in the
triumphant ferocity of the man's face--a thing to make one shudder.

"Danjuro San," said Leslie grimly, speaking in Japanese, whilst Jane
gazed at the fighting group, "this is the lady whose husband you and
M'Gourley San entertained the other day--the Red-headed One. She is a
friend of mine, and I pray you to entertain her differently."

This is a vague interpretation of the Japanese for "This is the lady
whose husband you swindled the other day, but if you play any of your
tricks with _her_, I'll make you sit up--see?"

To fight with a Japanese you must come to blows, for you can't possibly
do it in words properly. The old Japanese who made the language had no
use for terms of abuse: swords were good enough for them.

"I'll have that," said Jane, suddenly seizing the fat baby, the size of
a tangerine orange, done in ivory and engaged in feeding ivory ducks on
top of a lacquer cabinet, "and the ducks. Tell him to send them to the
hotel; you can fight with him about the price afterwards--and those two
vases; and oh, that ivory Mousmé with the umbrella--isn't she sweet! I
don't see anything else I want. _You_ have something, I want to make you
a present."

"I don't want anything, I'm tired of curios."

"Well, you'll just have to want something, for I'm going to make you a
present. I'll give you this."

She took up a short sword in a carved ivory scabbard. On the ivory
handle of it was figured a grimacing god, dancing apparently. She drew
the blade, polished and razor-sharp, and then returned it to its sheath.

"Take it; it will come in handy when those robbers you told us of last
night at dinner come again."

"I don't want the thing; it's unlucky to give knives."

"It's not a knife, it's a sword!"

"All right," said Leslie, "anything for peace;" and he took a great
sheet of rice paper from Danjuro and wrapped the thing carefully up.

"Now," said Jane, "I want something for langn-yappe, as they say in New
Orleans--something thrown in."

Danjuro declared that the whole shop was hers to do what she liked with.

"I don't want the whole shop," said Jane, "but I'll have that." She took
possession of a tiny rose tree in the pot, a rose tree with blossoms the
size of farthings.

"Now come."

"One moment," said Leslie.

His ear had caught a familiar sound. It came from the cellar where many
of Danjuro's goods were stowed; it was the voice of Mac, and it came up
like the voice of the Hidden One in Campanula's story. Mac evidently had
a victim in the cellar. Leslie went to the cellar stairs and listened.

"I would not let him see you're wanting it. Juist assume a casual
expreesion as if ye were na so vary carin' whether ye got it or no'.
He'll be sure to tell ye it's a piece o' Miochin--it is _not_."

"How much do you think it's worth?" (A burly English voice, suggestive
of shepherd's plaid trousers, a corporation, gold albert, and double
chin.)

"All of fifty pounds, but not a penny more, not a penny more. Show him
the money; there's not a Jap in Nagasaki can withstaund the sight of
goud--or notes."

"Look here, if you get it for forty, I'll give you a ten per cent.
commission."

"Am no so very carin' about commeesions; stull, as you offer it, I'll
not say 'No.'"

The stork and tortoise were being sold again.

Leslie turned away in disgust.

"Come," he said to Jane, "let's go." And they passed out into the sunlit
street, he carrying the parcel containing the sword, she the rose tree
done up in rice paper pictured vaguely with the forms of storks.

"She has given him a wakizashi," murmured Danjuro, and he retired into a
corner to smoke a whiff or two of hay-colored tobacco, and think
inscrutable thoughts, before addressing himself to the victim that Mac
was preparing down in the cellar.

"What shall we do now?" asked Jane when they were in the street.

Leslie thought for a moment.

"I'll tell you," said he. "We'll get rikshas and go to the cemetery--"

"I'll do no such thing," said Jane promptly.

"If you will allow me one moment--I'm not proposing to take you to a
place like Kensal Green. A Japanese cemetery is worth seeing, just as
much worth seeing as a Japanese town. Then we can go and have luncheon."

"Where?"

"Would you like to go to an eel-house?"

"Gracious, no! I hate eels. First a cemetery, and then an eel-house! I
have half a mind to go back to the hotel."

"Well, a tea house, then; we can go to the Tea House of a Thousand
Joys."

"Oh, that quite decides the matter," said she, assuming an outraged air,
and hailing one of two rikshas that were passing.

Leslie hailed the other, and quietly directed the riksha boys to the
cemetery.



                               CHAPTER XX

                         THE SONG OF THE MUSHI


"It almost makes one wish one were dead," sighed Jane. They were sitting
on a moss-grown tussock near a grave adorned with a fresh spray of
cherry-blossom, contained in a joint of bamboo. Beneath them the hill
stretched downwards, terrace after terrace, casting before their eyes
the cold color of marble, and the mournful green of cryptomeria trees,
the delicate tracery of ferns, and the glory of the wild camellias.
Beyond lay the blue of the harbor, black-blue where the wooded cliffs
met the water; from the water the hills led the eye past camphor woods
and the green of the young bamboo, up and away to where the brown of
their summits cut the dazzling azure of the sky. "I have never seen
anything so beautiful, so peaceful. What are you thinking of, Dick?"

"I was thinking," said Leslie, rousing himself, "that we might have
luncheon at my place."

"You are perfectly disgusting!" said Jane. "I'll never go to a cemetery
with you again. Luncheon! Who wants luncheon here?"

"Very few," said he grimly, gazing over the tombs.

"Now you're trying to be smart--at the expense of these poor things. Ah!
look at that tiny grave with the white flower in the little vase."

"Some child."

"Yes; a thing with a great sash that was flying its kite or spinning its
top the other day, and now it's here."

"Or hitting shuttlecocks about the street."

"Yes," wiping her cheek where the shuttlecock had hit her--then
suddenly: "I think men are beasts," addressing the distant hills.

"I'm with you there."

"No, you're not; all men are just the same."

"I suppose you mean to infer in a roundabout way that I'm a beast.
Thanks."

"There's nothing to be thankful for, only--they don't understand."

He took her hand in his as if to make friends, and she let him hold it
for a moment, then she suddenly drew it away.

"Had not we better be going? What's the time?"

"Twelve."

"Will you come and have luncheon at the hotel?"

"No, thanks; why not come and lunch at my place? I'll give you all sorts
of funny Japanese things to eat. Luncheon won't be till half-past one,
but you can have a talk with Campanula. It will only take us ten minutes
or so to get there from here."

They came down to where the rikshas were waiting; he helped her in,
tucked the linen apron round her, and gave the men their direction.

Campanula San had not yet returned, declared Pine-breeze, as she
kow-towed before them on the matting.

"Well, she won't be long," said Leslie. "Shall we go into the house or
the garden?"

"The house," replied Jane. "I'm tired of the sunlight; let's go in, and
sit on the floor and talk."

"Right. But do you mind--"

"What?"

"Well, as a matter of fact, there's a clause in the lease that no one is
to go in with their boots on."

"Why, for goodness sake?"

"They say it spoils the matting."

"All right," said Jane, holding up a small foot, and trying to unbutton
the shoe on it.

"Let me," said Leslie, going down on his knees.

The shoe came off, and the little foot in its bronze silk stocking lay
in his hands for half a second--half a second during which he was seized
with a wild desire to kiss it. Next moment it was out of his hands, and
the other was presented to him.

"You are all thumbs!" said Jane. "Do be quick! I'm not a stork to stand
on one leg for an hour. There, you've burst a button off! I knew you
would. Stupid!"

"Pine-breeze will sew it on," said he, hunting for the button on his
knees.

"No, she won't. It doesn't in the least matter. Gracious, Dick! when I
see you just like that, crawling about on your knees--"

"What?"

"I can't help remembering--Do you remember the rainy day at Glenbruach,
when you and I were playing marbles in the pistol gallery, and I said
you cheated, and you said you didn't, and I said you did, and you called
me a liar?"

"And you hacked my shins?"

"Yes; and old Mrs. Johnstone, the housekeeper, came in and saw me and
said I was an 'awfu' lassie!' Can it be that all that really happened,
and that we are the same people? Imagine me hacking your shins now!
Imagine us both playing marbles on the veranda!"

"And we didn't speak to each other for a day," said he, following her
into the house. "And you looked so stiff and sour, and all of a sudden
you came up from behind and flung your arms round my neck."

"And you shouted: 'Oh, get away, you little brute!'"

"Yes; because I thought you were making another attack on me, and all
the time you only wanted to k--"

"I didn't. I only wanted to apologize."

"Well, apologize, then!" said he, arranging the cushions on the floor,
and placing the rose tree and the parcel containing the sword in a
corner.

"It is sad to look so far away," said she, taking as comfortable a
position as she could upon the cushions. "Life was so jolly then. Oh! a
good old day's trout-fishing is worth all the money in the world. Money
is no use; what's the good of it? It just makes one not care for the
simple pleasures of life. Do you remember the picnic you and I and those
American children, who were staying at Callander, had, when the
soda-water bottle burst, and we found we'd left everything behind but
the jam and the eggs? Dick, I--I--want to ask you something."

It was one of the peculiarities of Jane's mind that a question
formulating there would work its way along like a worm, under, maybe,
ten minutes of conversation, and then come out at the end of a
paragraph, rise for air, so to speak, in a manner irrelevant and
sometimes startling.

"Yes?"

"What became of you all those three years before you came here to
Japan?--you vanished. You told me the other day you were in Australia;
were you?"

"I was in prison."

She turned deathly pale, and stared at him as if he had struck her.

"Oh, you need not be so alarmed; it was not a criminal but a social
prison. My father allowed me a hundred and fifty a year, paid quarterly,
as long as I lived in Sydney, and as I had no trade and no money I lived
in Sydney for three years--tied by the leg."

"I think you take a pleasure in frightening me; first you told me you
were a shopman, now a prisoner. Dick, why do you _always_ make your own
case out worse than it really is? Tell me, what was the last quarrel
with your father about?"

"Debts."

"And, Dick--you know you used to--"

"I know I used to drink, but I don't drink now."

They were silent for a while, then he began to speak and tell her the
story of his life as a remittance man, and he did not spare black in the
composition of his picture.

She listened at first interested and amused by the thought of Dick tied
by the leg in Sydney, hobbled, so to speak, and made to behave.

Then her amusement gave way to compassion. She saw him wandering in the
Domain, by the sea-shore, in the streets, a lonely figure, a man with no
interest in life, an exile banned by society.

She thought of all the men she knew and the number of them who were just
as wicked and foolish as Dick had ever been, yet who by keeping on the
right side of their bank balance retained their social position and the
respect of all men.

And thinking of all this the heart in her was moved. A most dangerous
condition just now, for Jane, Bessemer steel in her everyday laughing
mood, became wax when her compassion was aroused.

"Why didn't you write and tell me?" said she. "I'd have gone and seen
your father. Oh, it was wicked to send you off like that, away from
every one. _How_ could a father treat his child so!"

They were silent again for a moment.

"Poor Dick!" said Jane suddenly, and she took his hand in both hers and
stroked it. A little shiver went through him.

Then, all at once, she felt an arm around her waist and his breath upon
her cheek, and she did not try to take her hand from his or struggle,
nor, after the first second of troubled alarm, did she feel the wish to
struggle.

She had ceased for the moment to be Jane du Telle, a married woman, a
person with a stainless reputation. All these facts were swept away by
nature, just as shrubs and fir trees are swept away by the rush of the
avalanche.

A great faintness came over her. She clung to him, and sinking
backwards, fell upon the matting; his arms were around her, his breath
on her cheek, her lips were returning his kisses, yet all the time her
lips were murmuring: "Don't--don't--don't!"

                               * * * * *

At this supreme moment came a sound strangely alien to the
situation--the jingling of tea-cups no less--and through the wall, or at
least the opening of a panel, entered Pine-breeze, followed by
Cherry-blossom, with the luncheon.

                               * * * * *

"Dick!" she cried, sitting up with her cheeks raging red, "tell them to
go away."

But Dick was not heeding her. He was sitting up with his hands to the
side of his head, and an expression on his face that made her almost
forget her own position before the Mousmés.

"Do you hear it?" said he.

"What?"

"That noise, my God, that noise."

A tiny cage was hanging from a hook on the wall. In it was a thing much
beloved by Campanula--an insect like a grasshopper that sang a buzzing
and tremulous sort of song. The mushi was a creature that only sang by
night as a rule, but some spirit had moved its poetic soul, for it was
singing now.

"It's that thing in the cage," said Jane, pointing to it tremulously,
thankful for any excuse to escape the glances of the Mousmés.

He looked up, sprang to his feet, went to the cage, and tore it from its
hook.

The Mousmés screamed out, for from his furious manner and the expression
of his face they felt he was about to dash cage and mushi on the
matting, and trample them underfoot.

And he was, for one horrible moment. Then something in him
prevailed--the something that had made him pick the Lost One up and kiss
her, and carry her all the way to Nikko; the spirit of good that had
made him always not so bad as he might have been.

He rehung the little cage on the hook, and the thing in it became dumb;
the sound in his head that troubled him had died away, and he returned
to where Jane was sitting, and resumed his position on the cushions near
her.

Then he told the Mousmés to leave what they had brought on the floor,
and to go away till he called them.

"Oh," said Jane, when they were alone again, "to think they should have
seen me like that. Oh, _Dick_! How could we--how could I--"

"_They_ don't matter," said he gloomily.

"Oh, don't _talk_ to me!" She wrung her hands.

"For goodness sake," said Leslie, "don't make mountains out of
molehills. They saw me kiss you, well, what of that? and they don't talk
English--at least, English that any one can understand."

"But like that on the floor," murmured Jane, comforted somewhat by the
last statement.

"Well, what of that? We are in Japan, where people live on the floor. I
admit if a servant in England came in and saw--"

"_Don't!_" screamed she; "don't speak about it again. It was a moment of
weakness; let us forget forget it. I mean, let us _remember_ it as a
warning."

"Do you feel like eating luncheon?" he asked, looking at the pathetic
little dishes and tea-cups, each on its sea-green mat.

"No; I feel like nothing. I only want to go and bury myself."

He poured her out some tea and took some himself.

"You frightened me," she said in a tremulous voice after they had sat
for a moment in silence. "I thought you were going to do something
dreadful."

"When?"

"When you took that cage down with the buzzing thing in it that annoyed
you--poor atom!"

"It didn't annoy me; that was not the sound I heard. It was the sound I
heard in the dream I told you of--that devil--"

A figure stood in the doorway: it was Campanula returned.



                              CHAPTER XXI

                        M'GOURLEY'S LOVE AFFAIR


Mac had gone down to the office that morning in a temper.

The staff consisted of himself and Ah Hop Sing, the Chinese office boy.
He could not quarrel with himself, so he quarreled with Ah Hop Sing,
using a rattan cane to enforce the argument, till Ah Hop Sing hopped and
sang in a fashion that justified his title.

Then Mac wrote business letters and whilst he wrote, the thoughts of
this dusty and unlovable-looking Scot went far astray on pleasant and
picturesque roads, under blue skies, by brakes all gay with the crimson
japonica flowers and the glorious beauty of the red camellias, and
beneath the solemn darkness of the cryptomeria woods of Nikko.

That is to say, they would stray to these places, and then he would
recall them to indite letters of advice to Maconochie of Glasgow, a
letter of abuse to Mr. Oyama--a gentleman who never fulfilled his
contracts when they threatened loss, sheltering his business self behind
the ample kimono of the Tokyo guild--and letters to divers other people
in trade.

And still his thoughts would stray whilst he gummed and stamped the
envelopes, and they would be buying dolls now at booths in Jinrikisha
Street, or helping to fly kites at the House of the Clouds.

They would stand watching a small person playing kitsune-ken with
another person of her own age; and the same small person laboring up the
Hill to the House of the Clouds, burdened with a bundle of books, and
sheltered beneath a many-ribbed crimson umbrella.

Then they would glance at the same person, bigger grown, and suddenly
become beautiful; then they would heave their shoulders and sigh, and
all come back to help in the addressing of a letter to M'Clintock of
Osaka, or some other magnate of the Jap Rubbish Trade.

Mac was in love, as I have before indicated: in love with three people.
A tiny dot in a blue kimono and stiff sash; a person somewhat similarly
dressed, whom he had sometimes helped of evenings with her lessons, or
watched as she pricked her fingers over needlework; and a Mousmé as
pretty as seven.

He had been in love for years without knowing it; a flower had been
growing in this dusty soil, where one could not fancy any green thing
finding nutriment, unless, perhaps, a weed. A white flower, pure and
without stain.

Nothing could be more ideal than this love, nothing with legs and arms
attached to it could be more un-ideal than Mac. And the strange thing
was that this pure blossom of the soul did not improve the soul it grew
from a bit, at least as far as human eye could see, for the man of the
Great Tung Jade and the Lessar papers incidents was, morally, just the
same--worse, if anything--as the wailing clients of Danjuro could
testify.

When Campanula was alone with Leslie in these later days, she wore a
grave and thoughtful air. Watching her, one could perceive that he alone
possessed her mind; all the quaint and charming ways of her childhood,
all things frivolous and light, she seemed to have dropped and left
behind her with her toys.

When Campanula was quite alone with M'Gourley, a subtle change came over
her. The child came out and played.

Though Leslie had adopted her as a daughter, she had by no means adopted
him as a father.

Tod M'Gourley was her adoptive father, or, at least, she treated him as
such. He acted also as uncle, aunt, grandmother, brother and general
playmate all combined; and any half-holiday during the last few years,
you might have seen Campanula and her family strolling along Jinrikisha
Street, or on the Bund: the family in an old top hat, black broadcloth
suit, and bearing a gamp umbrella in its hard fist.

They would stray together through the wonders of the town, Mac and she,
and pause and gaze in at shops like two children, buy sweets and eat
them unashamed and openly. Stop to look at performing monkeys, or listen
to street ballad-singers, or criticize passing funerals.

He had never seen so much of life round town as Campanula showed him,
clapping beside him in her little clogs when the streets were damp, or
gliding beside him sandal-shod in the warm, dry days of spring.

Where Campanula was concerned, this dour and dusty Scot had all the
delicate and instinctive feelings of a woman; he had noticed "fine" the
change that had come over her of late, and the change in her manner
towards Leslie.

The thing pleased him, yet it made him sigh--and frown, when he called
to mind "that wumman," the mental label he had attached to Jane du
Telle.

When he had finished business he went to Danjuro's shop, where he had an
appointment, as we have seen, with an Englishman. The Englishman having
been duly plundered, Mac looked at his watch, found it was nearly
twelve, and was struck by a bright idea.

He would go to the House of the Clouds, fetch Campanula out, and have
luncheon with her.

Ten minutes later found him on the veranda.

Campanula had just returned, having left O Toku San.

M'Gourley sat down on the veranda, and Campanula sat down beside him on
a little fur rug made from the skin of an Ounce, or some such small
animal. She looked sad and depressed, and her eyes wandered about the
landscape garden as if questioning its hills, its streams, its old, old
forests.

"Campanula," said Mac, taking her little hand between his great rough,
red paws, "what ails you, child? You look sad and fashed, what's been
worrying you?"

"I have been to see O Toku San," replied Campanula, speaking in
Japanese. "She is dying. Her heart is dead," said Campanula, putting her
other little hand over her own heart. "I am--oh, so sad! for to-day the
thought of death has come to me, a thought that I never knew before."

"Child, child," said M'Gourley, "dinna speak like that. We must all die
soon or later--ay, ay, we must all die, sure enough."

"But not so sadly as she," replied Campanula with a little sob.

M'Gourley looked at her; she was in tears.

He drew her close to him just as a mother might have done, and held her
to him whilst she rested her head against his old coat, and sobbed and
wept like a little child, gazing at the landscape garden through the
veil of her tears.

He rocked her gently to soothe her, but said nothing, holding her just
as he had held her that day in the gardens of Dai Nichi Do, as if to
protect her against Death, as he had that day protected her against the
vision of the terrible Akudogi.

Her sobs slowly ceased, but still she kept her cheek rested against his
coat.

"What is Death?" she suddenly asked. The question was quite beyond
M'Gourley.

"Dinna ask me," he said. "It's what we all must come to some day."

"And will O Toku San see him she loved when she goes--there?" continued
she, as if unheeding his reply. "Perhaps"--after a long pause--"he will
know her love for him when he too is there, and make her happy."

"Mayhap," said M'Gourley, who did not know the facts of the case, or
perhaps he would not have taken so cheerful a view of O Toku San's
lover's future state. "Mayhap." He looked down at her little face. Her
eyes were dry, but a tear was still wet on her cheek. He took out his
handkerchief and dried it.

Campanula smiled faintly, pressed her cheek ever so slightly against his
arm as if in thanks, and drew away from him, resuming her position on
the little rug.

M'Gourley took out his pipe, lit it, and began to smoke.

"Now," said he, "just put on those sandal shoes of yours again, for I am
going to take you out with me."

"Where?" asked Campanula.

"No matter where," replied Mac, rising from the veranda. "A nice place
where you and I'll go--you and I together, as we did along the Nikko
road, only not on my shoulder. Na, na! you're ower big for that. Do you
remember the sugar-candy dragon?"

"Ah! the Hon. Dragon!" replied she in the vernacular, as she bent to
pass the sandal-strap past the great toe of her white tabi. "He is
upstairs with--other things, but the Hon. Dragon is very old now."

Then she took her umbrella and opened it, and M'Gourley and she passed
down the path to the gate.

He held the gate open for her, and she passed through with a murmured
word of thanks, and then she led the way down hill under the perfumed
beauty of the lilac boughs.

About half-way down, Campanula stepped aside as if to let some one pass.
M'Gourley, close on her heels, and in a reverie, did the same thing
unconsciously. If someone had passed, that someone must have effaced
himself amidst the lilac trees on the left of the path.

"Poor blind man!" said Campanula, looking back up the path.

"Whoat?" cried Mac. "Whoat did y' say?"

"Blind man," replied Campanula; "he who came last night--you remember!"

M'Gourley took off his old top hat, and drew his coat sleeve across his
forehead. Beads of sweat had sprung there all of a sudden.

He stood for a second or two looking at Campanula, and then for a second
or two looking up the path, pied with sunshine and shadow, the pretty
path that for him had suddenly been made horrible. There was nothing to
be seen, nothing but the sunshine and shadow.

"My eyes are growing auld," he said at length. "Do you see him still,
Campanula?"

She had turned away to look at a fern that was growing on the bank.

"I do not see him now," she replied. "He has gone through the gate."

"Are you sure," said Mac, speaking in a subdued voice, "that he was the
same man that came last night?"

Campanula was quite sure.

"Wait for me," said Mac, "and I'll run up and tell them to give him some
food."

He came hurriedly back up the path, very much against his will.

There was nobody in front of the house, he went round to the kitchen.
The Mousmés were there, preparing luncheon--at least, preparing to
prepare it in a leisurely way.

Had they seen anyone about the house, a blind man?

No, they had seen nobody, only the poulterer, who had been with eggs an
hour ago.

Had they seen a blind man last night--had a blind man called round at
the kitchen to ask for food?

No; nobody had been for food to the kitchen last night, least of all a
blind man.

Then Mac hurried off, and the Mousmés dropped everything to discuss the
meaning of all these questions asked by the Learned One; and Pine-breeze
embarked on a story about two blind men and a frog, and the fox-faced
representative of the rice god, a story that put the luncheon back half
an hour.

Campanula was plucking flowers when Mac returned. Just three or four
with a delicate fern frond, such a charming little bouquet, a veritable
work of art made in a moment with unerring taste and a few turns of her
deft fingers. She made Mac bend, and fixed the tiny bouquet in his
coat-lapel.

Then they pursued their way, Mac vastly perturbed in his mind.

There was just now living in the pleasant city of Nagasaki an inn-keeper
of the name of Yamagata, who owned a tea house named "The Full-blown
Peony Flower."

Mr. Yamagata was a Progressive. He believed that a tea house where a
real English luncheon or dinner could be obtained would, judging from
his compatriots' passion for things European, be a success.

And it was, till half Jinrikisha Street nearly died of indigestion.

His tea house was a tiny affair situated up an entry near Danjuro's
shop, and surrounded by a little courtyard, wherein grew
dyspeptic-looking plum trees in pale amber-colored pots.

Danjuro, who was a friend of Yamagata's, had been chanting the praises
of the place so long, that Mac had become obsessed by the idea of it;
and casting about for somewhere new to take Campanula, the idea had
turned up like a horrible sort of trump card.

The tea house was on its last legs, and practically deserted, so they
had the place to themselves; and having ordered the meal they sat on the
matting of a desolate room and waited for it to come.

"Campanula," said Mac, "you have never seen that blind man before?"

She shook her head.

"Never; nor one so ugly as he."

"Campanula," said Mac earnestly, "if you see him again dinna speak with
him; he's an ill man and bodes no good."

Oh, indeed, she did not wish to speak with him, but he was so old and
poor and ugly she could not but feel sorrow for him; and he said last
night that he had come such a long way off, and must soon return.

M'Gourley shuddered.

"Ay," said he to himself, "a dom long way off;" then to Campanula: "Said
he anything else?"

"No," replied Campanula, "for I told him to go to the back entrance, and
he went."

At this moment the soup was brought in by three somewhat faded-looking
Mousmés, each armed with a plate, a real English soup plate.

The soup was thin and not exuberantly hot, but it seemed vastly to amuse
Campanula when it was put before her. "A," said she, pointing with her
spoon-tip to something at the bottom of the plate, "B--C"--she was
pointing to the little Italian paste letters floating, or rather sunk,
in the mixture. "D--and look--a cow!"

Mac looked over to admire.

"Ay, ay, it's a coo, right enough, an' there's a cock and hen; but eat
it up before it gets cold."

Campanula ate her alphabet, and the next course appeared. A boot sole
labeled a beef-steak, which vanished, uneaten, and was replaced by what
seemed to be an old stone cannon-ball, such as they used to fire out of
Mons Meg. The O.S.C.B. was labeled a pudding.

It was the caricature of an ordinary English middle-class country
luncheon.

But it was an amazingly clever caricature: a perfect work of art.

After luncheon, M'Gourley returned to business, and Campanula to the
House of the Clouds.



                              CHAPTER XXII

                        THE COMPLETE GEOGRAPHER


On the way, she stopped at the shop of Mr. Initogo to pay a visit to her
friend Kiku.

Campanula in her school-days had shown both qualities and defects of
mind. At languages, at least in learning the English language, she was a
success; a very moderate success where mathematics were concerned,
though she knew enough to do long division, and to keep household
accounts. They teach a lot of useful things at the mission
schools--needlework, and so forth, and in some of these branches
Campanula shone, but at geography she was a dismal failure. She had been
always lacking in the power of location. Witness her first statements as
to the whereabouts of the house with the plum tree in front of it.

The long sea voyage from Tokyo, or rather from Yokohama, had brought
into her mind the impression that she had traveled to the end of things,
yet they told her there were things beyond.

They showed her maps and globes. The maps were flat, and the globes were
round, yet they said they were the same thing, or were pictures of the
same thing. How a flat thing could be round or the converse, she could
not say, but Howard San, the missionary, said they were. Was it for her
to contradict him? So, instead of setting up her own wits against Howard
San, and questioning him, she accepted his words just as you or I accept
the words of mathematicians or physiologists concerning subjects on
which we are ignorant. And thus on geography she got hopelessly muddled,
and remained so.

This morning she was lamenting her want of geography, and casting about
for some friend learned in the art. Of course she might have gone to
Howard San, but she would have to wait till school was over, and,
besides she felt a certain diffidence in approaching him on the subject,
so she turned to the shop of Mr. Initogo.

Mr. Initogo was sitting on his heels on the floor of his shop, engaged
in the gentle art of making tea; it was one of his fads that he always
made his own tea with his own hands. Beside him stood an hibachi, on
which a kettle was coming to the boil; before him, a tea-cup without a
handle on a tray, and a microscopic tea-pot.

He warmed the tea-cup with a few drops of hot water; then, from a
cylindrical tea-canister, with a thing like a snuff-scoop, he took a
small quantity of green tea--tea of the color that an old black coat
turns after years of sun and rain--this he popped into the tea-pot.

Then the honorable hot water being ready, he poured it into a porcelain
dish to let it cool slightly, which it did, becoming converted during
the act into the honorable old hot water.

The honorable old hot water being now ready, he poured it into the
tea-pot, popped on the lid, looked up, and saw Campanula.

So immersed in his darling employment had he been, that he had not
observed her entrance.

She wished to see Kiku? She was upstairs; this with a thousand apologies
for his own blindness, and comparisons of himself with worms and other
sightless things.

Campanula knew the way up; she had been up often enough before, and up
she went.

Kiku San, since we hinted at her as a playmate of Campanula, had grown.
The tumbling tot that Leslie had once caught by the "scruff" of her obi
and held out at arm's length wriggling, for the amusement of M'Gourley,
had become a Mousmé with a face at once heavy and flighty-looking; a
broad face, pretty enough, but with a maddeningly irresponsible
expression.

Pine-breeze was bad enough in the irresponsible line, but she could have
learnt much from Kiku.

She was the dunce, or, rather, had been the dunce at the mission school;
this is not saying very much against her, for Japanese girls are
amazingly quick in the "uptake," learning coming to them as easily as
ignorance to English girls; all the same she had been the dunce. She had
never been able to conquer the letter "l" in English; and would say
"raidy" for "lady;" yet she had a memory of sorts, blocks of facts swam
in the ocean of her unintelligence like those houses that float about
after an inundation of the Mississippi.

But the place left vacant in her skull by want of learning was by no
means devoid of a tenant; therein dwelt a colossal impudence, a supreme
self-assurance that sheltered and helped to hide the nakedness of her
mind, and even obtained for her, amongst her girl friends, a sort of
fungoid reputation for cleverness.

For when Kiku San said a thing, she said it with such assurance that it
seemed true--the assurance of the absolutely untrustworthy intellect,
which of all assurances is the greatest.

She was sitting now on her heels in a bare room on the upper floor, a
tobacco-mono at her side, and in her hands a round flat box with a glass
lid. She was playing at Pigs-in-Clover.

The two Mousmés bowed to one another with great ceremony, enquiring
after each other's honorific health, and then Campanula came to rest
upon the matting opposite to her friend.

They formed a pretty picture in the bare room with its chess-board
matting, against the bare walls, whose only ornament was a kakemono
representing Fuji San crested with snow.

Kiku was soon to be married--married to a government clerk to whom she
had been engaged nearly since birth; and she entertained Campanula with
long and uninteresting descriptions of her husband-to-be, his mother,
his father, his grandfather, who lived at Nagoya, his brothers and
sisters, how old they were and all about them.

Kiku was a bore, a female bore of the first water, and in this respect
she could have given any old member of the Rag or Carlton points, and
beaten him.

She told all these things looking up from under her thick eyelids, and
with a half-smile, and Campanula listened, half mesmerized, wholly
weary, but with all her courteous soul awake to do honor to the tale.

At last an hiatus occurred of which Campanula took advantage to ask the
question in her mind.

Did Kiku, so learned on all subjects, know of any land where the snow
lay for half the year?

Oh, certainly Kiku did, and she told about it.

Describing her future husband and his relations she had been vague and
uninteresting, lacking, as she did, the gifts of perception and
narration. But now, plunging into the empire of pure lies, she spoke
with an assurance that made her words sound like gospel.

Such a country existed; as a matter of fact, she had it all in a book
somewhere, but she did not need the book, as she never forgot anything.
It lay in the sea beyond Nankin two hundred and sixty-seven ri beyond,
and the snow lay there half a year, sometimes more.

"Is it a country where blue flowers grow, and roses--sometimes?" said
Campanula.

"Just so, sometimes;" and Kiku, searching in the capacious bag of her
ignorance, began to produce old broken-up facts that had been lying
there like rubbish in the basket of a chiffonier.

The sea all round that place was frozen most of the year, and the sun
shone once a month or so.

Then she painted a graphic picture of this desolate land which she
declared to be divided into four parts, Unster, Munster, Rinster and
Comit; and Campanula sat listening and receiving it all as truth.

Liars, somehow, are always sure of an audience; you and I, who speak the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, languish in
conversation and are not heard, whilst your mendacity-monger holds the
floor and absorbs the interest.

So Kiku San went on spinning her tale, and Campanula San sat opposite to
her and listened, shivering at the dismal pictures being raised before
her.

Then, all at once, from below came the irate voice of Mr. Initogo
calling Kiku the "Heedless One." If he could have used a stronger
expression he would have used it, for the dinner ought to be cooking at
this moment, and the fish and seaweed had not arrived. The Heedless One
had been, as a matter of fact, playing at Pigs-in-Clover all the morning
instead of marketing.

The Complete Geographer rose to her feet in a hurry, for filial
obedience resided in her breast, not so much as a virtue, but rather as
a sort of mainspring put in by nature--or rather, I should say,
heredity.

They went out together, and Kiku bought the fish and the seaweed and a
few other important items, and then they parted, Kiku returned home
laden with marketings, and Campanula to the House of the Clouds.



                             CHAPTER XXIII

                              THE STRUGGLE


Leslie walked back to the hotel that day with Jane. When he left her he
was vastly troubled in his mind. Troubled about Jane, troubled about
Campanula, troubled about himself, and troubled about a vast, vague,
tragic something: a shadow stealing up from his past and already
tingeing his future with the twilight that comes before eclipse.

What demon had called Jane up from the past?

Unconsciously during the last five years he had been altering for the
better. The friendliness and kindness of Japan, the frank friendliness
of M'Gourley, that most unconscionable Scot, the beauty of the flowers
and seasons, and Campanula--above all, Campanula--these things had
worked upon him with slow but sure effect.

Slowly, he had learnt the great, great secret that happiness is to be
found, not in grand palaces, not in wealth, not in success, but amongst
the lowly and little things of life, the things that no man can
appreciate who has not a free and untroubled conscience.

The new book, the pipe of tobacco smoked beneath the cherry trees of a
morning, the home-coming of Campanula from school of an evening laden
with books and perplexities, the rubber of whist with Mr. Initogo, the
quaint, funny things that are always happening in a Japanese
household--these and a thousand other trifles had made up the sum of his
life, and the addition of them made happiness.

And Campanula--he little knew how much she had entered into his
being--what a multitude of impalpable threads bound her to him, threads
that had been spinning from the very first day, when he found her lost
amidst the crimson azaleas!

He had eaten the lotus for nearly five years; he had been preparing a
future of happiness and peace, and who knows what boundless
possibilities of love?

Suddenly, Satan had appeared before him with the command, "Get up and
fight, fight me for this future you have been preparing for yourself;
fight me for the beauty of it, the happiness you will have in it, the
happiness you will make for others in it; get it if you can, for my
weapon is Lust."

That night, when the moon, now waxing stronger, laid her patient square
of pure white light on the floor of his room, the battle began in
earnest.

He had determined on going to Arita on the morrow to get away for a
while from the woman against whom he felt fate was driving him with
ruinous intent.

Now, as he lay alone, with the powers of good and evil on either side of
him, he reviewed his position clearly for the first time.

The cold, calculating, sneaking, pickpocket form of adultery, which is
the canker at the heart of English society--to put it in plain English,
the bestial use of another man's wife behind his back--was a form of
crime as unthinkable to Leslie as the crime of cheating at cards, or
forging a check.

To obtain the woman he wanted, there was only one way. The open way.

That meant the smashing up of everything around him. He must leave
Japan, leave Campanula, for, deep in his heart, something told him that
Campanula could have no place in that new life. It meant the social ruin
of Jane du Telle.

Here, alone, away from the object of his passion, all this was very
clear.

Then that same old Scotch ancester, with the long upper lip, and the
crude common sense, and the rigid belief in God and the law, came out of
his cell and spoke to this effect. There is no excuse before God or man
for adultery. Love, the child of God, has no part therein, but Lust, the
child of the devil, and the end of Lust is Hell.

All this, with the thoughts that went before it, was edifying and made
for good, and the devil said nothing, for the devil, like the great
Boyg, has a method with some natures. He does not strike, but lets the
victim do the striking, hedging him gently, gently, letting him hit out
widely till he is exhausted, or beats himself to death as the Blind One
beat himself against the trees.

Early in the morning Leslie rose, white and haggard, and dressed, and
went off to the station without waiting for breakfast.

"Tell Campanula San I am going to Arita on business, but will be back
to-night. Tell her I am going alone," he said to Pine-breeze.

"Kashko marimashta," murmured Pine-breeze, in a voice of devotion, and
he departed.

He was going to Arita to get beyond the reach of Jane, and lo! when he
got into the railway carriage, she was there--not in the flesh, but in
the spirit. And when he alighted at Arita, she was on the platform, and
in the street she walked at his side.

The tones of her voice thrilled him, and he smelt the perfume of her
hair, he felt the curve of her waist, and his lips felt the satin of her
throat, but the physical desire was small compared with the terrible
sentiment that was born of it, the heart-breaking longing inspired by
her idealized image.

Passion, when it rises to this dimension in the mind of a man, has
beautiful attributes as well as vile, it holds in its hands pictures of
perfect innocence, besides the others.

The devil takes care of that!

He saw Jane not only as she was, but as she had been, fair, and fresh,
and innocent, against the background of the beeches round Glenbruach,
and the sea lochs, and the purple hills.

What he did with his body that day in Arita, or where he wandered, he
could never tell, for his mind was fighting a battle so fierce that all
intelligent perception of outward things was blurred.

At the end of it he found himself in a tea house sitting before some
food which he had apparently ordered, and the battle was won. So he told
himself.

As a matter of fact, he was worn out. Passion was exhausted, fighting
against fate, attempting to escape from the pursuing devils, beating
himself against the trees, he had fallen beneath them, telling himself
that the battle was won, wondering at himself that he ever could have
even dreamed of the ruinous course of action which lust had urged him
to.

But the trees remained steadfast and unharmed, waiting only for the
renewal of the madman's strength and the inevitable end.

It was dark when he reached the Nagasaki station. He picked a riksha
from a row of them standing outside with hoods up, for it had been
raining slightly, and looking absurdly like a row of tiny, unhorsed
hansom cabs, and told the man to take him to the House of the Clouds.

He came up the hill-path, and as he came the wind, blowing against him,
brought a perfume with it, the perfume of rain-wet azaleas. During the
day and the previous night dozens of blossoms had broken forth, filling
the garden with their fragrance and beauty; dozens more would be born
ere the morrow under the light of the silvery moon now gliding up over
the hill-tops behind a tracery of flying, fleecy clouds.

As he approached the house, he saw through the open panel space the
silhouettes of Pine-breeze and Cherry-blossom.

They were sitting opposite to each other on their heels upon the lamplit
matting, and seemed at first to be engaged in the game of kitsune-ken,
but almost instantly he perceived that they were playing at no game, but
were engaged in conversation. Alarmed conversation, to judge by the
movements of their hands, now up-flung, now flung out sideways.
Sweetbriar San was promenading the matting with tail fluffed out, now
rubbing against Pine-breeze, now against Cherry-blossom, attempting
apparently to join in the conversation, and seeming to share in the
excitement.

Something had happened of a tragic nature--but what? Two steps brought
him on to the veranda two more into the house with his boots on, despite
the clause in the lease.

The Mousmés gave two little shrieks, wheeled round, and kow-towed before
the August One.

"What is the matter?" he asked. "Has anything happened? Is Campanula San
safe?"

Campanula San was quite safe.

Then why all this? What had they been conversing about with so many
exclamations?

Confused replies.

"Go," he said, "and bring me some tea, and ask Lotus-bud to come
hither."

In a few moments Lotus-bud, wearing a very white face, appeared, and
kow-towed.

He questioned her. At first her answers were vague, and then it all came
out.

Things had happened. Campanula San had gone into the town that day, and
had met he whose head was like the rising sun (George du Telle in plain
prose); and he with the sun-bright head had walked with her, and had
spoken dishonorable words. Oh, shame!--he had offered her gold.

"God!" said Leslie, staring at the bent figure on the matting before
him.

He remained speechless for a moment, then he took out his watch and
looked at it: it was eleven o'clock.

He turned furiously and strode out of the room: on the veranda he
stopped like a horse suddenly reined in.

Jane's image had appeared before him, turning him back.

Suppose he were to go to the hotel now and drag George du Telle out and
beat him within an inch of his life, as was his intention a moment ago?

The idea of Jane in the midst of that scene brought his fury down from
boiling point.

He returned to the room, where Lotus-bud was still on her knees, with
her hands clasped.

Where was Campanula San now?

In bed and asleep. She had returned, it seems, greatly troubled at noon,
and had confided her trouble to Lotus-bud, making her promise to tell no
one--Leslie San especially--and Lotus-bud had promised--with the result
we have already seen.

For a moment he thought of waking Campanula, but he dismissed the
thought. The thing had occurred and was irremediable, the question now
remained, what was he to do about George du Telle.

He went up to bed. In times past he could have obtained his remedy.

Where lay his remedy now? The law could do nothing; there remained only
physical force.

A wheezy pug dog protected by a woman's skirts, that is what George du
Telle was. Leslie knew that if once he could catch the brute by the
scruff of the neck, the only struggle would be with himself as to the
limits of chastisement to be inflicted.

If he could only get him away from Jane up a back street anywhere, just
for five minutes! The thing was to be done. With the help of the astute
M'Gourley he felt it was to be done, and would be done on the morrow.

He got up and went to a rack on the wall where he kept his sticks, and
took down a whangee cane half an inch thick, a most efficient instrument
for the chastisement of a brute. He made it sing through the air, then
he put it on the rack again and returned to bed, and slept soundly, far
more soundly than he had slept the night before.



                              CHAPTER XXIV

                            GEORGE DU TELLE


He was awakened by voices. Sunlight was streaming into the room, the
sparrows were bickering round the trees, and from below came the voice
of Pine-breeze crying, "Irashi, condescend to enter!"

Then Jane's voice: "I don't understand what you say. Stop rubbing the
matting with your nose. I want your master." Then an octave higher,
"Richard!"

"Hullo!" cried Leslie, leaning on his elbow, and scarcely able to credit
his ears.

"Oh, you are there! Come down at once, I must speak to you. Quick!"

"What on earth has happened?"

"All sorts of things."

"I'll be down in two minutes, but for goodness sake tell me what _is_
the matter."

"Can I speak without any one understanding?"

"Oh, that's all right."

"Well, then, George has bolted."

"George has _what_?"

"Gone away."

"Where has he gone to?"

"Oh! come down and I'll tell you everything. Dick! Dick! is that a bath
I hear you dragging over the floor? Dick, if you dare to have the
impudence to keep me waiting whilst you take a bath, I'll--I'll come up
and pull you out of it. Do come on!"

"Directly!"

"Well, don't be long," grumbled Jane; and she apparently took her seat
on the cushions upon the matting, for he could hear her grumbling about
the absence of chairs.

This was a new development of affairs. George bolted! It was just what
one might have expected of the man, to insult a girl and then fly from
the wrath to come.

It was rather a relief, too, viewed by the light of morning. No man
likes the task of thrashing a dog that has misbehaved: the thing has to
be done, but it is unpleasant, and if the creature runs away and hides,
so much the better. And the thrashing of a fat, wheezy pug without teeth
or means of defense was what the punishment of George du Telle would
amount to.

He dressed rapidly and came down to the room where Jane was sitting on a
cushion, trying to read the _Japan Mail_.

"Oh, there you are! Come and sit down. No, not beside me; right
opposite, if you please."

"Tell me all about it."

"Oh, there's not much to tell. I was in bed nearly all yesterday with a
headache, and George went off for a walk in the afternoon; said he was
going to call on _you_. I told him you had gone to Nagoya."

"Arita."

"It's all the same--then he went out, I don't know where, and that is
the last I've seen of him. At nine yesterday evening they brought me a
note saying he had gone to Osaka, and to follow with our luggage."

Leslie whistled.

"What are you whistling about?"

"Osaka! Why, that's over three hundred miles away!"

"Where is it?"

"On the Inland Sea."

"Where's that?"

"Oh, it runs from here up to--well, practically to Osaka. At least, it
doesn't exactly reach from here, you have to go through the Straits of
Tsu-shima."

"Well, I don't care what Straits you have to go through; he's gone to
Osaka on important business the note said. Now, what business can have
taken him there. What do they do at Osaka?"

"Make all sorts of things, from machinery to tea-pots, and so on."

"Well, he can't have gone to buy machinery or tea-pots--what can it
_mean_? He was so good, too, yesterday; brought me up some antipyrine,
and wanted to fetch a doctor, and plumped up my pillows, and then went
out and off to Osaka without a word, and how did he get there? He says
follow by next boat to-morrow. I was going to ask the hotel people, but
I didn't like to. I just told them I knew he was going, and I was going
to follow him to-morrow."

"There's no railway to Osaka," said Leslie, "for this bit of Japan is an
island. He must have gone by a Holt liner; one started last evening. The
Canadian Pacific boats don't stop at Osaka, they go right on to
Yokohama. I suppose he means for you to follow by the Messagerie boat
that leaves to-morrow evening."

"I'll give him tea-pots," said Jane gloomily, "when I catch him! The
idea of his leaving me like that! In a strange country, too. I wonder
_what_ is the meaning of it all!"

"Perhaps he went away--because of a girl."

"You mean he's run away with some girl!" flashed Jane. "Why don't you
say so if you mean it?"

"Because I don't mean it. I said 'because of a girl,' not 'with a
girl.'"

"Dick, you know something!"

"Yes, I do."

Jane turned pale, and he hated to see her like that, but he had suddenly
made up his mind to tell her all.

"He met Campanula yesterday afternoon, and, not to put too fine a point
upon it, insulted her."

"Oh, Dick!" said Jane, turning, if possible, paler than before. She
stared at him in a frightened way, then she recovered herself. "There
must be some mistake; she must have misunderstood him. He couldn't have
done such a thing; however foolish he may be, he's a gentleman."

"Yes, a gentleman in England, but not a gentleman in Japan. He--God damn
it!" blazed out Leslie suddenly, bringing his fist down with a bang on
the matting--"he offered her money."

"I must go to him at once," said Jane, making as if to rise, "and ask
him if this thing is true."

"Sit down for a while; you can't possibly get to Osaka to-day. Oh, it's
true enough. I was in a boiling rage last night when I came home and
heard it all. I was going down to the hotel with a stick to have it out,
and then I thought of you, and the disgrace and uproar there would be,
so I just bit on the bullet and went to bed. Honestly, I was going to
have got him somewhere by himself to-day, and have it out with him, but
it seems he prefers insulting women to facing men. Forgive me, Jane, for
all this; I feel bitter about it, but I hate to have to say these things
to you."

"It was good of you to think of me last night," said Jane in a broken
voice, gazing at the matting as she spoke, then looking up full in his
face, "very good of you."

"Oh, I suppose it's really nothing, after all," he said. "Those
confounded fools that write books about Japan have got it into English
people's heads that every 'Jap-girl,' as they call them, is a
what's-its-name at heart. Let's say no more on the matter, the affair is
closed. Have some breakfast?"

"No, thanks; I'm too much troubled and worried," said Jane, sighing and
folding her hands in her lap.

"Oh, don't trouble about it. I told you because--well, I thought you
ought to know."

"Richard," said she, looking up, "if you meet George again--"

"Don't be a bit alarmed. I will do nothing to him except to cut him. He
has run away; that closes the affair entirely. A man can only be really
angry with a man."

"Richard," said she, now half tearfully, "I'm going to say something I
want to say. Men don't understand women. I'm fond of George. Men are
always talking about love, and so are novels. I never loved George that
way. I don't think I ever loved any one really in that way, but I have
an affection for George; I suppose that is the best name to give it. I
know he's ugly, I know he's a lot of things he ought not to be, yet I
feel he belongs to me.

"It's the sort of feeling one has for an--for an animal. I'm just
telling you what I feel. An animal may be terribly ugly, yet one may
love it. George has been very good to me, and he has grown into my life;
that is the only way I can express it.

"Do you know, Dick, when you have your face very close to another
person's face you cannot tell what they are like. Well, it's just the
same with marriage. After people have been married some time they don't
see each other as they saw each other before; they have lost their
identity--each is part of the other. And, Dick, I know George has been
wicked, but ought we not to remember, the day before yesterday--"

"Yes," he said; "the day before yesterday I kissed you."

"It was a moment of weakness on my part," continued Jane. "We are all
very weak and wicked, but I have always been faithful to my husband--I
should say, to myself. It is strange to talk like this."

"The whole affair is closed," he said. "Let us wipe the slate clean and
begin again."

Sitting opposite to her here in the morning light he was a very
different person from the man wandering about Arita yesterday, pursued
by her image.

The course of a great passion like his is not a high level line. If a
man were to live through such a phase of existence at Italian opera
heights he would be mad or dead in a very few days.

Its course is most like the temperature chart of a typhoid fever case:
tremendous ups and downs, fever point now, a few hours later almost
normal.

He clapped his hands, and Pine-breeze appeared.

"Breakfast," he said. "You'll stay to breakfast," turning to Jane. "And
there is something I forgot day before yesterday. You have come to see
Japan--well, look here--"

He went to a big lacquer cabinet where he kept his papers, and returned
with a large, square, cream-colored card covered with Chinese
ideographs.

"What is it?" said Jane, turning it over.

"An invitation to a garden-party. A man named Kamamura is giving it
to-morrow at O-Mura."

"A Japanese garden-party!" said Jane, with interest in her voice.

"Yes, very Japanese. He told me to bring any of my friends."

"But to-morrow," said Jane--"I am going away to-morrow."

The words went through him like a pang.

"Never mind," he said. "Your boat does not start till evening; you will
have plenty of time to get back."

"I'd love to go," she said; "but--are you sure it's all right for me to
go without an invitation?"

"Perfectly, or I would not bring you."

Pine-breeze entered with a tray.

"Where," enquired Leslie, "is Campanula San?" Campanula San had not
risen yet; she had a headache.



                              CHAPTER XXV

                             RETROSPECTION


"I'll go up and see her," said Jane, when they had finished breakfast.
"May I?"

"Yes, if you like; Pine-breeze will show you the way--but, Jane, say
nothing to her of what occurred yesterday; she thinks nobody knows
except one of the servants here."

"I'll say nothing," replied Jane; "but I've got some antikamnia tabloids
in my pocket, fortunately, and I'll just make her take one."

"All right," said Leslie; "but for goodness sake don't poison her."

This was another point on which Jane had not altered. As a girl she had
been possessed by a passion for drugs, and would swallow anything in the
way of medicine she came across or was given. She had always been
doctoring rabbits and other unfortunate animals, and had once nearly
poisoned herself by taking half a bottle of pain-killer for a dose. And
now here she was, nearly fifteen years after, in Japan, going upstairs
to doctor Campanula, with just the same manner and seriousness of face
with which long ago, medicine bottle in hand, she would give the order:
"Prize its mouth open, Dick; don't hurt it. Steady now, I'm going to
pour."

Quarter of an hour later she came down triumphant.

"She took it like a lamb. She's the dearest child! Now I'm off. I have a
hundred things to do. Will you walk down with me as far as the hotel?"

He accompanied her to the hotel, and neither of them spoke much on the
way.

"I won't ask you in," said Jane, when they reached the door, "because it
wouldn't be proper. Now let me see. To-morrow is the garden-party; we
might do something to-day, you and Campanula and I--might not we?"

"We could run over to Mogi," he said. "We can get rikshas, have luncheon
there, and come back to tea at my place; and to-night there's an affair
on at the O Suwa temple, we might go there. Shall I call for you at
twelve or so?"

"Yes," said Jane, "if you'll bring a chaperon. You see, now George is
away I must be awfully 'propindicular,' like that person in Uncle
Remus--the Terrapin--wasn't it?"

"I'll bring Campanula--or one of the Mousmés, at a pinch."

"Campanula chaperoning me!" said Jane with a laugh. "Well, I don't care.
It's only for the sake of Mrs. Grundy."

"There is no Japanese Mrs. Grundy."

"No, but there is an English one."

They parted, and Jane entered the hotel.

She went to her bedroom, got her writing-case out of a portmanteau, and
began to write. She was writing a letter to George.

The first began:

    "Your abominable conduct has been discovered. You have heaped
    shame on me, you have heaped shame on yourself--"

When she got as far as this she found that it was too melodramatic,
somehow, and the "heaped shames" did not ring true, so she tore it up
and began again:

    "My cousin, Richard Leslie, sent for me this morning in great
    distress. _How_ you could have acted as you did towards that
    sweet child surpasses me. Fortunately for yourself you have run
    away--"

She tore this up too, flew into a temper with herself, and then wrote as
follows:

    "GEORGE,--I've heard everything. Dick is furious, but he's not
    going to do anything, so just stay at Osaka till I come, and
    don't go bolting off anywhere else. And don't drink too much
    port, for if you get another attack of gout _I_ won't nurse
    you.--JANE.

    "_P.S._--You ought to be ashamed of yourself."

She sealed this classical epistle and addressed it. Then she remembered
that she might just as well have left it unwritten, for there was no
communication to be had with Osaka till the morrow; and if she posted
it, it would go by the same boat as herself. So she tore it up.

Then she sat down on the side of her bed and bit a corner of her
handkerchief.

She was thinking.

To-morrow she would never see Dick again, most probably, after that.

She had never loved Dick, that is to say in the good old _Family Herald_
way. Their boy and girl relationship had been anything but sentimental.

Recalling the past she could conjure up no tender pictures.

She could see herself clinging to a rod bent like a bow, and shouting to
Dick: "Now then, chucklehead, gaff him!"

She could see herself tramping after him like a squaw after a chief on
rabbiting expeditions--dozens of pictures like this, but none of them
sentimental. She had never thought of marriage till the day she received
a letter from Dick, asking her to marry him; to which she replied by
writing half a dozen letters refusing him, which letters she tore up one
after the other, and then wrote a seventh accepting him, which she
posted.

Now one of the worst evils in an accepted proposal of marriage is this.
That directly they hear of it, the girl's relations, male and female,
take their implements--nets, ferrets, and so on--and go off rabbiting in
your past.

Dick had not much of a past as far as size goes, but it was well stocked
with game for hunters such as these.

So well stocked that old Mr. Deering, a retired London wine merchant who
had taken a country seat in Scotland, near Glenbruach, put his foot down
and forbade Jane to have anything more to do with her cousin: an order
which would have driven her straight into his arms, had not the
unfortunate Dick, hearing of the inquisition that had been made, come
North inflamed with rage and whisky.

Men drank harder even in the 'eighties than they do now, and Scotland
was never the home of abstinence; yet the scene Dick Leslie created in
Callander went beyond the bounds of even Scottish convention, and
utterly destroyed any chance of his marriage with Jane du Telle.

Remembering his description of the affair which he gave to M'Gourley on
the Nikko road, you will agree with me that he was not a man who viewed
his own acts--well, as others viewed them.

In this, however, he was by no means singular.

Jane, sitting on her bed and biting the corner of her handkerchief, was
at the same time looking back back over the past. She was a person with
an infinite capacity for affection, with no capacity at all for a Grand
Passion. Her life was made up of a bundle of petty interests, and her
history was the history of a pure and somewhat commonplace soul.

She had loved Dick as a brother in the past, and now that he had come
into her life again after all those years (even after that terrible
scene long ago), bringing with him so much from the happy days that were
for ever gone, her heart went out to him as it had never gone to human
being before.

And to-morrow she must say good-bye to him, and never, perhaps, see him
again.

They must part; there was no other thing to be done. She was her own
mistress, with plenty of money at her command; she could have flown in
the face of society, and made Dick forever her own. Such a course did
not even occur to her, for she was a creature bound by the laws of
convention, almost as rigidly as you or I by the laws of gravity.

Out of very light-heartedness she would do things and say things that
would have been dangerous symptoms in a woman of a sterner mold; and men
had often pursued her, led on by this laughing spirit that vanished
behind a veil, which, being lifted, disclosed an adamant door.

Her great danger lay in her compassionate emotions, and all the womanly
nature that lay behind them. Her great danger lay in Richard Leslie, for
he was the only being that had ever aroused them to their full strength.

All at once she cast herself upon the bed, and after the fashion of her
childhood, buried her face in a pillow, and sobbed, and "grat."

When she had occupied herself thus for some ten minutes, she rose and
looked at herself in the glass, and wondered at her own distorted image,
and how she could possibly be such a fool. But she felt better; the pain
of parting with Dick was not quite so bad, and she felt kindlier towards
George.

If his conduct had taken place in England, I doubt if her anger would
have been so soon assuaged. But they were in Japan--and the Japs, you
know!--



                               PART THREE

                            THE BROKEN LATH



                              CHAPTER XXVI

                            THE BROKEN LATH


A heat wave from the Pacific had stolen over Nagasaki, and the windless
night was filled with stars and lights.

Stars in the sky, and stars in the harbor, long wavy reflections of
light from the ships in the anchorage, and ten thousand lanterns
spangling the mysterious city.

A spangle of colored lamps that spread away to the base of the O Suwa
hill which they stormed, covering it with a thousand sparkles like
phosphoric sea-spray, and cresting its summit with a burning zone,
bright as the snow crest of Fuji.

It was a gala night, and the O Suwa, that galaxy of temples, had called
the true believers in love and beauty to worship in the name of
religion.

From the great double temple, which is the crowning glory of the hill,
Leslie and his companions looked down upon shrine after shrine, broad
flights of steps stained with the soft amber and pink of lantern light,
and the colored crowd ever shifting, and murmurous as the sea.

The shadow spaces and the vagueness of night made great distances in
this dim but splendid picture, till the moon, rising over the hill-top,
chased the shadows away, paled the lamps, and drew the distances
together.

Touched by her light the crowd below became sonorous as a musical glass
touched by the finger; the murmur of voices, the ripple of laughter, the
sigh of moving silk and the flutter of a thousand fans intensified, rose
blended and mixed, and dwelt in the air a nimbus of sound. The native
city beyond grew more distinct, yet more unreal in the moonlight, which
strengthened the black shadows of the wooded cliffs and converted the
harbor into a trembling mirror.

"We shall never see anything again so beautiful as that," said Jane, "so
mysterious, so strange."

He did not reply. A small hand had stolen into his; it was Campanula's.
She, too, was gazing at the scene around and below them, filled with who
knows what thoughts.

They were not alone here on the utmost heights; women, gayly dressed,
were passing into the temple behind them to pray and clap their hands
before their gods. Women surrounded them, laughing, chattering,
dispelling quaint perfumes on the air from large incessantly-waving
fans. From the tea houses behind the temple came the thready music of
_chamécens_ and sounds of unseen festivity; and from the great park
beyond, through the hot night, the perfume of azaleas and the odor of
the dew-wet cryptomeria trees.

"Come," said Jane, "let us go and take the picture with us before it
gets dulled. I will never forget this night--there is something in the
air of this place I have never felt before. No, thanks, I don't want to
see the tea houses, I am quite content with this; let us go down right
through it, and home."

They descended the broad flights of steps through the murmuring,
laughing, and perfumed crowd. There was something in the air indeed,
something as intoxicating as wine, yet far more subtle, subtle as a
poison or a love philter.

They found rikshas to take them back, and the whole party returned to
the hotel, where they left Jane.

"To-morrow at noon," she said to Leslie, as she turned to enter.

"Yes, or even a little later; the train doesn't start till after one."

"Good-night!" She waved her hand in the lamplit portico and vanished.

They had no need of lanterns to show the way up the hill-path to the
House of the Clouds; the path was a tangle of moonlight and lilac-bough
shadows, a tremulous carpet upon which above them they perceived a
creeping and colored thing.

It was Cherry-blossom. She, too, had been at the festival at the O Suwa,
and was now returning, wearied out and walking like a somnambulist, a
lantern painted with butterflies held before her nodding at the end of a
bamboo cane.

In the house, when he had fastened the shoji and taken his night lantern
from Pine-breeze, he turned to where Campanula was standing, a vague
figure in the dimly-lit room. Yielding to a sudden impulse he picked her
up from the ground, just as he might have picked up a child, and kissed
her--kissed her just as he had kissed her when she was a child that day,
years ago, in the valley by the Nikko road.

That night sleep was impossible. The lights of the O Suwa burned before
him, the perfume of the azaleas and cryptomerias pursued him, lighting
always and leading him always to the same image--Jane.

He lay considering what the future would be when Jane was gone; the
rainy season would soon be upon them, and then the autumn and the winter
and the spring again after that, and the years to come.

Whilst thus torturing his soul his mind was steadfastly making a
resolve. A resolve that, come what might, Jane must not go out of his
life. That to-morrow he must act in such a way as to make her for ever
his own.

Come what might!

There was no time left for thought, scarcely enough for action.

He had quite ceased to battle with himself, to say this is right or this
is wrong. Time had cut all these arguments short with the command: "Act
now, now, in the next twenty-four hours! for after that your chance is
gone."

Then he began to sketch out the plan that had been vaguely forming in
his brain all the evening--a plan that the villainous conduct of George
du Telle made possible and practicable, and, to Leslie's mind, almost
plausible.

As he lay thus, a faint sigh came through the lattice of the window. The
wind had risen, and was moving the cherry branches and the azaleas.

Then came another sound--the sound of a stick tapping on the garden
path, as if some blind person were cautiously feeling their way round
the house.

Up along the garden path, pausing now, now advancing, now dying away,
now returning, somebody was promenading in front of the house, keeping
watch and ward like a sentry, somebody whose feet made no sound,
somebody blind.

A feeling of sick terror came over him--terror not to be borne.

He pulled the mosquito-net aside, and rose, shivering and trembling,
feeling that he must look out at all hazards--even at the worst.

He pulled the slats aside and looked out. Nobody. The moonlight lay on
the azaleas and the garden path, but of the prowler there was no sign.

Then he saw the cause of the sound. A lath broken from the house wall
was hanging with tip touching the path, and tapping upon it as the wind
shook it.

He returned to bed, and tried to snatch a few hours' sleep, but the
sound of the blind man tapping his way continued all night long--now
faint, now loud, and insistent as the wind rose and fell.



                             CHAPTER XXVII

                         THE "EMPRESS OF JAPAN"


If Mr. Kamamura had sent a special messenger to Paradise to pick from
the aviary there a blue-winged and bright-eyed day for his garden-party,
he would not have obtained a better one than that which came by chance.

A haze hid its coming. Just after sunrise, looking from Leslie's garden
one could scarcely see Nagasaki down below--a toy town, seen through
faint blue gauze, it seemed. The wind came in puffs, hot from the
Pacific, shaking the cherry branches.

The great double cherry-blossoms were falling. The close, even moss
under the trees was white, like ground after a mild snowstorm.

There was something in the atmosphere which loosened the petals this
morning. At each puff of wind a fresh shower fell, sifting through the
air to scatter softly on the ground. It was a ghostly sight in the gray
and silent dawn; the trees seemed despoiling themselves, casting their
blossoms from them in sorrow or fear.

In the veranda stood the crimson garden umbrella, all damp with dew, and
four pairs of dogs in a row. The house was deathly still; and one might
have likened it to a tomb, had it not possessed so much the appearance
of a bandbox, looped and latticed.

Presently a faint sound might have been heard. A panel slid back, and a
figure appeared, holding in its hand a lighted paper lantern.

It was Campanula, clad in blue, her feet peeping from beneath her skirt
like two white mice.

She put out the lantern, and hung it on a hook. Then she put on a pair
of clogs, and clicked down the steps. She went down the path, through
the little gate, and vanished from sight; and as her footsteps died
away, silence returned to the house and the garden.

Then in a few minutes a glorious transformation scene took place. The
haze turned to a golden mist; it became sundered by rivers of clear air,
and from it leaped the sun, like Helios from the sea.

Instantly the silence of the orchard became broken by the bickering of
birds; a cock crowed somewhere in the back premises, and he was answered
by the cock that lived half-way down the hill at the cooper's shop--who
was answered, a minute later, by all the roosters in Nagasaki.

The mist vanished entirely now, the sun began steadily to mount into the
vault of perfect blue; his slanting rays shot through the cherry
orchard, striking here the bole of a tree glistening with great tears of
fragrant gum, and there on the ground besnowed with blossom, even the
fierce old hills of the landscape garden lost something of their
ruggedness in the warm and mellow light.

Then the house began to awaken. Pine-breeze appeared on the veranda, and
after Pine-breeze the other Mousmés all busy, or appearing so, dragging
out futon to air for a moment in the morning brightness, and lacquer
screens to be dusted.

"Summer has come in the night," said Lotus-bud, pointing out the fallen
cherry-blossoms.

"Yes," chimed in Pine-breeze, "but spring has gone."

"I dreamt last night of frost." This from Cherry-blossom, who was busily
engaged watching the others at work.

Frost is a bad dream in Japan, and the Mousmés conferred in murmurs as
to what it might mean.

"I know," said Lotus-bud suddenly, with an air of conviction.

"What?"

"The riksha man will die."

"Which?" asked Pine-breeze.

Then the two Mousmés began to "guy" Cherry-blossom as to the number of
the riksha man destined to die.

"Ichi-ban, Ni-ban, San-ban,"[3] murmured Lotus-bud.

    [3] Number one, number two, number three.

"Shi-ban, Go-ban, Roku-ban," rippled Pine-breeze.

"Hachi-ban!" suddenly cried Lotus-bud, with an air of inspiration.

"Ku-ban!" replied Pine-breeze, with the air of going one better.

"Leslie San!" said Cherry-blossom: and Pine-breeze got up and scuttered
into the house, where Leslie San was calling for his bath to be heated.

An hour later he appeared on the veranda, fully dressed.

He noticed the promise of heat in the air; he noted the great fall of
cherry-blossoms that had occurred during the night; he noted the lantern
that Campanula had hung on the hook.

Then he left the veranda, came down into the garden path, and through
the gate.

Outside the gate there was a little by-path that led upwards and to the
left, between a double bank of bushes to an open space like a natural
platform, from which a splendid view of the harbor and hills could be
obtained, A great camellia tree forty feet high grew here, alone in its
splendor, and beneath it he stood gazing at the harbor.

He could hear the faint monosyllabic cry of the brown hawks ever
circling above the blue water, and the distant sound of a drum from the
_Rurik_ where she lay at anchor. He could see the sampans shooting
hither and thither, carrying fruit and what not to the ships in the
anchorage, and the Junks floating like brown phantoms past the shadow of
the opposite cliffs.

But his eye was searching for something that was not there.

He looked at his watch, put it back in his pocket with an impatient
gesture, and continued to gaze.

Suddenly--Hrr-'mph!--Haa-aar!--the blast of a syren came shouting up the
harbor, and chasing the echoes through the hills. The brown hawks rose
and circled in wild flight, and past a bend came a great, white,
double-funneled steamer.

It was the Canadian Pacific boat, the _Empress of Japan_, touching at
Nagasaki, and due to leave the morning following for Yokohama and
Vancouver.

He watched her for a moment as she swam to her berth, beautiful and
graceful as a swan. Then he turned to the house.

To-morrow morning he and Jane would be on board that boat, bound
northward up the Inland Sea, past Tsu-shima, past Osaka, past Yokohama,
and away across the blue Pacific to Vancouver.

The whole plan was cut and dried. Jane had given no consent; that did
not matter. She would consent; he felt the power in himself to _make_
her consent.

Men of his stamp, lazy, neurotic, yet strong-willed, stung into action
by love or hate, sometimes assume momentary but terrible command over
events; they infect with their passion, infuriate with their hate, or
paralyze with their love.

He entered the house, ordered breakfast, and enquired for Campanula.

She had gone down at dawn, said Pine-breeze, to see O Toku San, the poor
girl who was so ill, and was now dying. He was glad Campanula was out,
and determined if possible to get his preparations over before her
return. Jane and he would return from Mr. Kamamura's about six that
evening. It would be time enough then to tell Campanula of his journey.

As he breakfasted, he completed that part of his plans which had
reference to Campanula.

She would be safe and well looked after by M'Gourley, till--he came
back. He told himself he would come back some day; perhaps in six months
or so he would come back.

And why should he worry about leaving Campanula for a time? He had often
gone away before, once as far as London; he had always come back.

Why should Campanula mind his going away again?

Why, indeed!

He tried to forget how her little hand had stolen into his on the
evening before as if for protection. How, when he had kissed her, she
had suddenly flung aside her timid reserve, and with her arms around his
neck, but without a word, had told him what only a woman can tell
without speech.

Perhaps it was because he loved her far more than he knew, that his mind
was filled with gloom and apprehension.

But it was the time for action, not for thought; only a few hours lay
before him in which to prepare for this journey--the journey from which
he would return quite soon perhaps.

He would leave the house just as it was to Campanula and the Mousmés
till he came back and made other arrangements. M'Gourley, as his agent,
would supply them with all the money needful just as he had done before.

Then he called Pine-breeze and told her to get his portmanteau up to his
room, as he was going on a journey.

He packed hurriedly, whilst Lotus-bud handed him things. He wanted to
get the packing over and done with.

The strong sunlight reflected from the matting lit up the room with a
golden glow. Pine-breeze in the kitchen below was singing a song about a
lilac bough--the same song he had heard in the orchard that day when
Campanula had cried: "Hist, some one at the gate!"

He leaned back sitting on his heels to listen. He heard the end of the
song now. He did not hear it that day, for Jane, knocking at the
veranda, had cut it short.

This was the gist of the last verse:


    "_The bee comes no more
    When the lilac's white blossom is dead_."

Then he went on with his packing at a furious rate, stuffing in shirts,
collars, handkerchiefs, his mind wandering over all sorts of subjects.

His packing finished, he went to the window, took out his pocketbook,
and examined its contents. Three hundred and ten pounds, half in
circular notes, half in notes of the Bank of England.

Then he took out a check-book and a stylograph pen, and wrote a check
for five hundred, payable to himself.

Ten minutes later he was in a riksha making for the Bund, where he
stopped at Holme & Ringers, the shipping agents, bought two first-class
tickets for Vancouver, and changed his check, receiving part in cash,
and part in a check upon the National Specie Bank of Yokohama.

It was now eleven o'clock, and he had practically completed his
preparations. He had now to see Mac, and he turned his steps to the
office, which was only a stone's throw from the shipping agents. Mac was
writing letters.

"Morning," said he, glancing up, and seeming surprised to see his
partner at that hour.

"What's agate?"

"I am," said Leslie, trying to assume a jovial manner. "I'm off for a
holiday, and I want you to look after things same as you've done
before."

"This is sudden," said Mac, going on with his correspondence without
looking up.

"Oh, it's never too sudden for a holiday. And see here, I'd better leave
you some ready cash: here's a check for two fifty. I want you to look
after the bairn whilst I'm away."

"Keep the money," said Mac, "and pay me--when y' come back. Ay, ay,
it'll be soon enough then--soon enough then."

"I'd sooner leave you the money."

"Weel, put it in that drawer."

"Well, you _are_ a bear this morning. See here, I've put it in the
drawer, but I'll see you again before I go: I'm not off till to-morrow."

"Imphim!" replied the Dour One, and Leslie went off.

Your true Scot has a very nasty habit of expressing his bad opinion of a
man. He does it in a round-about way, using hints and innuendoes,
instead of coming to the matter by a direct route.

What Mac suspected or what he knew, Leslie could not tell; judging from
his manner, however, he knew or suspected a lot.

However, he had no time to trouble about Mac. He had one thing more to
do before meeting Jane, Mr. Initogo the landlord had to be interviewed,
and the rent paid.

There was a fair of a sort on in the street that formed the shortest cut
to Mr. Initogo's. It was filled with a many-colored crowd, flags were
fluttering, awnings flapping in the wind; every shop had some extra
advertisement to attract customers, and during the past night, like
mushrooms, extra booths had sprung into being.

A roaring trade was going forward; here, all kinds of fruit, there all
kinds of fish, some with bunches of violets in their mouths; cakes
reposing on branches of cherry or myrtle; cakes in the form of donkeys
and monkeys and goats; cakes shaped like spinning-tops; cakes in the
shape of suns, moons and stars; candied beans, beans mixed with comfits,
kites, masks, and paper dragons. Paper fish shaped like carp for the
Little-boys' Festival of the 5th of May.

The noise and bustle somehow pleased Leslie, and soothed him; and he
drifted along with the chattering stream of men, women, Mousmés, little
boys and mere babies. Some of the children had long, curved trumpets of
glass, from which they blew the most horrible of hobgoblin sounds. Here
a man was frying pancakes, wrapping them in rice paper, and flinging
them to unseen customers in the crowd, who flung him back the money.
Here a person in spectacles, who looked like a professor of chemistry
gone mad, was blowing from a glass-blower's tube dragons and fish in
sugar-candy. Apothecaries, with great golden eyes painted on their
booths, were selling little rice paper charms, one to be taken dissolved
in water for the stomach-ache, two for lumbago, three for migraine. Here
stood a man who would pull your teeth out with his fingers, three sen a
tooth.

The cheap curio dealers were in evidence with their wares cheap and bad;
those quaint perambulating curio dealers, who, as a rule, only start
business at sundown, and whose stock-in-trade include old top hats, old
boots, old--anything--European. "Caw--caw--caw!" You look up, and see a
great kite straining at its strings.

And then the umbrellas! Leslie had a good view of them, for he was head
and shoulders taller than any one in the crowd. Red, pink, gray,
gray-green, pink-and-white, blossom-bestrewn, stork-bestrewn, a shifting
mass of color reflecting the sunlight.

But though he saw all this, and though the noise and bustle and laughter
and general atmosphere of festivity fell in with his humor, his thoughts
were far away at Osaka; he was wondering what George du Telle was doing,
and what George du Telle would say in a day or so, and how he would
look. He had never hated George du Telle really till now that he had
determined to rob him of his wife.

Now that he was about to commit, or attempt to commit, a vile and
abominable act against George du Telle, that person seemed to him the
acme of all things vile and abominable.

Suddenly, through an opening in the crowd, Leslie caught a glimpse of a
face, the face of a blind man, stolid, stony, with a flattened nose and
wearing an indescribable expression of eld, weariness, and misfortune.

It was only a momentary glimpse, but revealed just for a moment, and
contrasted with the shifting colored mass around him, with the noise and
laughter, the sunlight and the movement of life, it was like a vision of
death.

Leslie stood for a moment startled and chilled; the joyous exaltation in
his mind a moment ago had vanished: it was as if a cloud had come
between him and the sun.

Why were these things always occurring to fret his soul and trouble his
imagination? This blind man was nothing but an ordinary blind man of
Japan such as one might see any day. The broken lath that had troubled
him all night was but a broken lath; the song of the mushi that had
started that infernal sound in his head was but the sound of an insect
buzzing; the azalea that had caused that frightful dream was but a
flower.

These slight things, he told himself, acting on a brain made
over-sensitive by opium, were not warnings, but simple causes of complex
effects. And he passed on his way, cursing himself for a fool, till he
reached the shop of Mr. Initogo.

That gentleman, for a wonder, was not making tea, but the sight of
Leslie San instantly inspired the desire for his favorite beverage,
caused him to clap his hands, and the tea-tray to appear in the hands of
his wife almost instantly upon the sound.

He received his rent, which he put away with an appearance of
indifference, expressed sorrow on hearing that Leslie was going away for
even a short time, but joy at the thought that the journey might benefit
his honorable health.

He was really fond of Leslie, this old Japanese gentleman; but the worst
of the flowery Japanese language is that it remains always, so to speak,
at boiling point, and towards friend or perfect stranger is the same.
You can't cool it, and you can't warm it.

Whilst they were talking Kiku came in; her eyes were red and she had a
snuffle in her voice.

She had been, it seems, to see the poor girl who was dying, O Toku San;
Campanula was with her.

"Ah, yes," said Mr. Initogo, as his daughter retired upstairs. "Most
sad, poor girl. A man whom she loved left her, and she is dying of it,
just as a flower dies from want of water."

Leslie looked at his watch: it was after twelve. He hastened from the
shop of Mr. Initogo, and securing a riksha drove to the Nagasaki Hotel
on the Bund.



                             CHAPTER XXVIII

                        M'GOURLEY'S LOVE AFFAIR


At about three o'clock on that eventful day M'Gourley met one of Holme &
Ringer's clerks in the street.

"So your partner's off for a holiday," said the clerk.

"So he tells me," replied Mac.

"He's going pretty far afield," went on the clerk; "Vancouver isn't--"

"Where did you say?" cut in M'Gourley.

"Well, he's bought two tickets for Vancouver this morning, one for his
cousin and one for himself. She is married, and they are going to pick
her husband up at Yokohama," he went on, smiling slightly.

"Vancouver!" said Mac. He stood for a moment in astonishment, then
hailing a passing riksha he jumped into it, and told the driver to take
him to the House of the Clouds.

Campanula had just returned, she was in the garden; and when she heard
his step coming up the hill path she came to the gate to meet him.

She greeted him with a smile, but there was something about her that
struck M'Gourley strangely.

She had a far-away look in her face, and she wore an abstracted air.
Away from the world her mind seemed wandering in some far, strange
country, whilst her little body walked beside him, and her lips answered
his questions, and told him things.

"O Toku San is dead," said she; "I have just left her." She spoke
gravely, but without any sorrow in her voice; one might even have
imagined that she was referring to some good fortune that had fallen on
O Toku San; and perhaps, indeed, she was.

"Ay! puir thing, is she?" said Mac, whose mind was also astray.

He asked had Leslie returned, and Campanula told him that he had gone to
a garden-party at Omura, and would not return till evening.

"He is going away," finished Campanula, pausing on the veranda steps and
unlatching the strap of her sandal.

"Oh! so he's told you?" said Mac.

Campanula said nothing; possibly she did not hear the question, so
absorbed was she by her own ideas and thoughts. Suddenly she said,
turning to Mac, who was leaning his shoulder against the veranda post
and feeling in his pocket for his tobacco-pouch:

"I saw the Blind One to-day as I was leaving O Toku San's. I did not
speak to him; he spoke to me. He said the master of the house on the
heights is going on a journey from whence he will not return. Then he
went away. A wind from the hill blew my kimono apart and a chill came to
my breast. I do not know who the Blind One is--perhaps he is Death."

M'Gourley, as she spoke, noticed that she had refolded her kimono from
right to left instead of from left to right.

Now in Japan, the only people who wear their kimonos folded from right
to left are the dead.

He felt sick and shivery at the words she had just spoken, and he could
not reply to them or ask questions; he was filled with a horror of the
subject, a dead, blind terror of it. He looked down and said gruffly:

"What way is that you've folded your kimono? Just run into the house and
put it right. I'll bide here on the verandy and smoke my pipe."

She vanished into the house, and Mac sat down, but he did not light his
pipe. What could be the meaning of all this? Surely he was dead, and
laid long ago in the green woods of Nikko--could it be possible that the
dead return?

Why was it that she alone could see him, hear him, and speak to him?

His eye caught the crimson azaleas as they bloomed in their beauty and
splendor, and the Nikko road rose before him, the mysterious valley,
peopled by the crimson flowers, the cypress trees, the far-off country,
and the distant sea hills beyond Tanagura.

He heard Leslie's voice as it denied the existence of God, and declared
that if he had ever been given a creature that loved him, he would have
cared for and loved it.

Then he felt something touch his shoulder, and, turning with a start,
found it was Campanula.

"Come," said she, in the manner of a person who would say, "I wish to
show you something."

He rose and followed her into the house. She led the way upstairs, and
down the narrow passage to Leslie's room.

At the door she paused and pointed to an object on the floor. It was a
portmanteau packed and strapped.

They both looked at it without saying a word: a silence, that spoke of
the deep, unconscious understanding between them.

"Come," said Mac in his turn, and taking her by the hand he led her
downstairs.

Had the portmanteau been a coffin, containing some being beloved by
Campanula, he could not have spoken more gently, or led her away from it
more tenderly.

Downstairs the old, rough, gruff M'Gourley seemed very much perturbed.

Could he have found Leslie alone at that moment, a very regrettable
scene might have ensued.

And yet at the bottom of all his anger and perturbation lay a golden
gleam. If Leslie went off like this, Campanula would be all his (Mac's)
own.

He had no idea of marrying her, or anything of that sort; but he had an
immense idea of possessing her all for himself.

He had, proposed to buy a half share in her at Nikko, and he would have
made a bad bargain, for during the last five years he had possessed a
full half share without paying a cent, unless we count the pounds and
pounds expended on dolls, sweets, and so forth.

But this was not like having her all to himself: a creature to feed and
clothe, to buy hairpins for and tabis, fans and sweets; to listen to of
an evening, as her fingers strayed over the strings of a _chamécen_, or
her tongue told fabulous tales of folk clad in fur or feathers.

All at once, as he paced the room, he turned to her, literally picked
her up, hugged her, gave her a kiss, and said: "He'll come back to you.
Dinna greet; I canna stand it. I'll be back and see you the morrow morn
before he goes."

He hurried out of the house, and went raging down the hill.

To be in anger with one whom one loves works, indeed, like madness in
the blood.

Mac, as he plunged down the hill, was lashing himself into a fury
against Leslie. He turned into a saki shop and drank half a pint of that
seemingly innocuous liquor; then he went to the office, took a whisky
bottle from a cupboard, and poured himself out a liberal peg.

He was an abstemious man as a rule, but once he took the bit between his
teeth nothing on God's earth except death would stop him, till the next
morning's headache came.

At five he recognized that he was hopelessly embarked on a grand drunk,
and determined to take a riksha over to Mogi; there complete the
business, and return in time next morning to see Leslie before he
started.

Just before starting from the hotel a waiter brought him out a cablegram
from Shanghai, which had come round from the office. It was relative to
a bank disaster that had occurred in India. He read it, stuffed it into
his pocket, and ordered the Djin to proceed.



                              CHAPTER XXIX

                            THE GARDEN-PARTY


Within an hour of the great city of Nagasaki, in the midst of a park
that was at the same time half a garden, lay the country residence of
Mr. Kamamura; once a man who carried two swords, with the longer of
which he would have beheaded you for two words and have done it with
neatness and despatch, now a gentleman in a frock-coat and tall hat,
wearing gold-rimmed glasses and a smile.

The long, low house, white as snow and surrounded by a narrow veranda,
faced west, and was surrounded by a garden recalling the gardens of Dai
Nichi Do: a garden filled with the music of fountains and the poetry of
birds.

Alas! on the day of his garden-party Mr. Kamamura, seized with the
spirit of modernity and the savagery of civilization, not content with
the music of heaven, and prompted, no doubt, by the devil, had hired a
brass band and placed it in a little kiosk, with orders to bray Strauss
in the face of Nature from three o'clock till dusk.

There were many guests, and the gardens soon presented an animated
appearance. Many of the ladles had retained the national dress, and
marvelous were the fabrics to be seen in the form of the obi or flowing
loose in the graceful kimono.

Some of the guests surrounded a pair of jugglers, two terrible men
dressed in red, who fenced with and transfixed one another with long
swords, swallowed fire, and belched it like dragons.

In another corner of the grounds fireworks were whizzing and cracking,
filling the clear air above with a thin blue haze through which, just as
Jane and Leslie entered the grounds, there rose a wonderful fire balloon
made of colored paper and fashioned in the form of a turkey cock.

"It's like a party in the lunatic asylum," whispered Jane, as they
threaded the maze of guests in search of their host and hostess. "And,
Dick, you _do_ look perfectly awful in that panama amongst all these men
in tall hats--I mean they look awful beside you, but they are _de
rigueur_; and it's better to be _de rigueur_ and look frightful, than to
be not _de rigueur_ and look nice. How d'y' do?" and Jane extended her
arm, pump-handle fashion, to the little gentleman with the sallow face
to whom Leslie was introducing her.

"Much pleasure, much pleasure," said Mr. Kamamura, whose English was
mixed and limited, and who, like Kiku San, had not completely mastered
the letter "l." "Will the honorable rady so make equal health Nagysaki
(the proper way to pronounce Nagasaki) you stay? So good. Over there
Mrs. Kamamura; you make known;" and Mr. Kamamura presenting his arm Jane
was led away through the crowd like some tall and graceful frigate
threading a maze of painted cock-boats.

Leslie, left to himself, turned with a gloomy expression of countenance
to where the jugglers were dislocating each other's necks. He did not
see them; he was looking out of the side of his eyes at Jane.

She had been led across one of the willow-pattern bridges, and he could
see her now standing at one of the kiosks, a tea-cup in her hand. She
was talking to Mr. Kamamura and a little lady in European dress--Mrs.
Kamamura, probably.

What could they be talking about? Conversation, probably, sufficient to
dislocate the gravity of a Socrates.

He turned his head impatiently and tried to take an interest in the
jugglers, without success. There was something deeply irritating about
the scene of frivolity in which Fate had staged the last scenes of the
most important act in his life.

The _Empress of Japan_ sailed at eight on the morrow morning, and as yet
he had made no movement as regards Jane. All this trifling was but a bad
prelude to those words so soon to be spoken.

He little knew that Tragedy stood at his elbow in the form of James
Anderson, manager to M'Cormick, the great silk dealers on the Bund.

"Why, Leslie, man! I thought I knew the nape of your neck. How are you?"

"Hullo, Anderson!" said Leslie, returning the other's hand-grip. "What
are you doing here?"

"I'm just looking round," said Anderson. "I'm just looking round, and
you'll admit it's worth the turning of one's head. I shouldn't mind
exchanging places with Kamamura. It's not a bad life, his, by a long
penny. This affair will bang a hole through a good pile of ten pun
notes. They tell me those balloons made like dicky-birds cost--I forget
now, but it's a good pile of dollars a-piece, for every feather is
painted correct, and that's just like the Japs--make a pretty thing, and
then stick it away in some hidey-hole where no one can see it, or burn
it--What's agate now?"

The crowd was in motion, flooding towards a part of the grounds where a
little stage had been erected, backed and half surrounded by cypress
trees. On the stage, against the dark-green background, could be seen
the graceful figure of a girl.

She was dancing. It was a dance that at first insipid, became after a
few moments fascinating, lulling, exquisite to watch as the movements of
a flower blown by the wind.

They drew close and stood to look. The girl was dressed in amber and
scarlet, with a scarlet flower in the night of her hair--a _bijou rose
et noir_, recalling Baudelaire's Lola de Vallence.

Her supple body seemed inspired by the mysterious music we hear
wandering through the land of spring, and expressing itself in the
voices of the wind and the birds and the streams.

She seemed to have learned her art in the academy where the daffodils
are taught to dance and the bluebells to make their bow.

"It's the Geisha Kamamura has hired--paid her something like two hundred
to dance that fan-dance, or whatever they call it. She was a Tokyo girl,
and had left the business to get married, but she couldn't withstand the
two hundred; the best Geisha in Japan, they say. What's this her name? O
something San. Hoots! but my memory is gone fishing to-day. Listen!
she's talking."

The dance had ceased, and the girl, in the silence that followed the
tinkling of the three accompanying _chamécens_, had commenced one of
those poetical recitals in favor with an intellectual Japanese audience.

Her recitation was sad; it bemoaned the thing we call change. The
cherry-blossom is fair, ran this untranslatable poem, but it must die
and give place to the lotus.

"I cannot understand this depression in trade," murmured the muted voice
of Anderson, as he stood beside Leslie. "It's been spreading and
spreading, and there's nothing it hasn't spread into."

And the lotus parts with its petals to give place to the chrysanthemum,
the Royal chrysanthemum.

"We've had a good year till now, ourselves, but hech! man, there's a
matter of fifteen thousand gone over the breaking of the Bombay and
Benares bank--clean gone, never to come back--and that takes the sugar
off the cake--ay, the devil himself won't whistle it home again."

And the gray winter sky and the snowflakes, like ghosts of flowers,
finished the poem of the Geisha, whilst Leslie stood transfixed for a
second, frozen by the news he had just heard, and unable to turn. He
turned round full on Anderson.

"The breaking of _what_?"

"The Bombay and Benares. Have you not heard the news? It came by cable
to-day at one o'clock. Good God! man, you hadn't much money in it, had
you?"

"Everything--everything," said Leslie in a stammering voice. "I'm
smashed."

He linked his arm in Anderson's, and dragged him along hurriedly. He
wanted to go, nowhere in particular, but just get away from the spot
where Anderson had sentenced his future to death.

"Man, I'm sorry! Man, I'm sorry!" said his companion. "I should not have
told you so sudden, but how was I to know?"

"Smashed--smashed--smashed!" said the other, talking as a man talks in
his sleep.

He held Anderson by the arm as he spoke. All around spread the
many-colored crowd; fans were fluttering, umbrellas bobbing, tongues
chattering, soft women's voices inlaid like music of gold on the silvery
music of the fountains and cascades.

"Anderson, man, are you sure they've broken--sure?"

"Ay, ay, sure. Better to tell you straight. Sure as my name's James
Anderson."

Boom! Boom! Boom! the band broke into a march by Gungl, and Leslie,
releasing Anderson, ran after a figure in the crowd some twenty paces
distant.

"Jane! I must speak to you at once."

Jane looked up from the little Japanese gentleman who was escorting her,
saw the distress in her countryman's face, and dismissed Asia with a
bow.

"I have just had frightful news. Come with me to some quiet place till I
tell you about it. Anywhere. No matter where. See! there are no people
across that bridge where the trees are; let us go there."

Jane spoke not a word, but he saw that she was very pale and trembling.
That weakness of Jane's gave him a strange sensation. It said something
that her lips had never uttered.

They passed over the little bridge. They passed over another bridge;
there were no people here, only trees; they went no further.

They were in a small forest. The garden was lost to sight; only the
music of the band, muted by distance, told of the festivity so near, yet
apparently so far away.

The trunk of a felled tree lay in the path; they sat down upon it by
common consent. Leslie took out his watch, and looked at it attentively.
Then, still holding it open in his hand, he spoke.

"I want you to listen to me for five minutes--only five minutes; you can
hold the watch, and measure the time yourself. Jane, when a man is going
to be hanged, they will give him a glass of brandy to help him along to
the drop. Will you do the same by me--give me five minutes' clear
speech, and let me say just what I please without interruption; will
you?"

"Yes," said Jane, and she shivered as she spoke the word. She had
maintained a strange silence; impulsive as she was, one might have
expected her to implore him to tell her the worst, and have it over.
Perhaps she understood dimly that Leslie's disaster was personal to
herself, a cataclysm the effect of which would reach her future as well
as his.

"You remember," he said, after a moment's pause, "how I asked you to
marry me long ago, and everything that happened after? Well, when I
think of all that, it seems to me that I must have passed through life
in a state of insanity, and only awakened to consciousness now. Jane, I
am feeling now as a man must feel when he wakes in hell, and
remembers--No matter, it is all done with now; and even if you loved me
as well as I love you, it's all over and done with and useless now."

He leaned forward with his face in his hands. Jane did not speak; the
music of the band had ceased, and the only sound to be heard was the
weary sighing of the warm wind in the pine-tops.

"I'm broken utterly, I have just heard the news. Don't think I brought
you here to listen to me whining about my misfortunes. I brought you
here to tell you I love you. I meant to have carried you off in the
steamer that sails to-morrow morning for the north-west. With the money
I had yesterday, I would have supported you, I would have torn you out
of society, and made you love me. I would have made you a Paradise. Yes,
by the living God, a Paradise, or there's no such thing as love. But now
I'm a beggar, and I love you too well to drag you into my ruin, and it's
Fate, Fate, Fate that has done it all, and cursed be its name!"

Again silence, broken only by a faint, dreary sound. Jane was weeping.

"Don't, for the love of God!" cried Leslie. "Don't cry, or you'll make
me cry too. Oh, miserable life! why was I ever born into it?" And he
moved his hands in the air, as blind Samson might have done amidst the
pillars of the temple.

A bird piped three times in the recesses of the wood, three flute-like
notes sweet as the notes of a bell-bird. They were answered by its mate
in the branches above.

Leslie put his hands to his ears, as if to shut out the happy sounds.

Jane's tears had ceased, but she did not speak, she did not breathe;
only a deep sigh occasionally escaped from her.

"And now, we can only say good-bye. Let us part here for ever. We will
meet again in--Heaven," said Leslie, with a horrible shuddering laugh.

He stretched out his hand and took hers. She let him have it without
seeming to know that he had taken it.

She was murmuring his name in a whisper, staring at him and through him,
and as if her gaze was fixed on some terrible catastrophe beyond.

"Dick! Dick! Dick!" All poetry could not express the helpless, hopeless
sorrow she put into those three little whispered words.

Suddenly, filtering through the wood, came a sound, a voice, a spirit,
that unrolled around them a panorama of loch, moor, and sky, hills
purple with heather, lakes dark with shadow. "Auld Lang Syne."

The band was playing it, villainously enough, but the distance smoothed
away the defects.

It broke Jane down. She leaned against his shoulder and sobbed like a
child, and then, with both hands upstretched, she drew his face down to
hers and murmured--no matter what.

Then all at once--heedless of ruin, forgetting all things, carried away
on the dumb tide of passion, the wave that had retreated before
disaster, only to come shoreward again resistless and gigantic--all at
once, and without a word, he took her in his arms.

It was the eloquence of passion and despair, the speech without tongue
of a soul tormented and _in extremis_.

It broke Jane down utterly. Hopeless, haggard, and pale as a person in
the midst of some terrible disaster, she clung to him, whispering in his
ear words repeated over and over again, with that reiteration which
forms the rhetoric of the dying and the lost.

She had cast everything aside, the world, her position in society, her
husband, her wealth. Passion and pity, that strange combination, had for
the moment blinded her eyes to everything but the man beside her--but
did she love him? Fate had not yet disclosed the answer to that old
fatal question, that sphinx-like question whose answer forms the plot of
each man's story.



                              CHAPTER XXX

                            THE FALSE REPORT


Mr. Kamamura never again saw his two tall English guests.

As a matter of fact, they sought for and found a means of leaving his
garden by a back way that brought them to a road which in its turn
brought them to the station.

And the native gentlefolk in the train, which brought them back to
Nagasaki by six o'clock, could not imagine what great grief it was that
made the tall English lady so pallid, and so like the very picture of
woe.

At the Nagasaki station Leslie helped his companion into a riksha.

"Don't come back with me to the hotel," she murmured; "I will drive
there alone. I want to be alone, quite alone for a while. All our
arrangements are made, and there is nothing more to be said. God help
me!--God help us both! Good-bye, Dick, for the present."

He watched her drive off. Then he took a riksha himself, and ordered the
man to take him to the House of the Clouds.

Everything was arranged. Jane was to be his for ever. But there was no
triumph in the thought. The battle had been won by his own weakness, not
by his strength. Jane's compassion for him had betrayed her.

They were to sail to-morrow by the _Empress of Japan_. He was to stay
the night at the hotel, for he could not possibly remain the night at
the House of the Clouds having once bidden good-bye to Campanula.

Beyond Vancouver lay the scheme traced out by him, accepted by Jane.
They were to buy a farm in the Canadian North-west, and live there for
ever happily. He would not touch a penny of her money; he had jewelry
worth at least four hundred pounds, which would be amply sufficient to
start on. His share in M'Gourley's business was to be left for
Campanula.

It is true he knew little about farming, but--love can do anything.

Viewed from a natural standpoint the whole arrangement was not only
natural but praiseworthy. That a woman, fond of a natural life in the
open air, should leave a creature like George du Telle, and cast herself
into the arms of a man like Leslie. What could be more in keeping with
the grand aim of Nature, the propagation of the fit in body?

Viewed from a social standpoint the whole arrangement was wickedly
absurd. And from a moral standpoint simply wicked.

Nature stood decidedly on Leslie's side; God (according to the
theologians) and society stood against him.

These problems are occurring every day and every minute of the day,
perplexing the thinker and confounding his belief, unless he looks upon
the world as a higher thing than a breeding ground for animals. And it
is generally by their side issues they are to be solved, and the side
issue in Leslie's case was Campanula.

He was nearing Danjuro's shop when he saw a riksha with a disguised
figure in it.

It was Mac, and Mac was disguised with whisky.

He was flushed, and his hat was on the back of his head, and he was so
obviously fuddled that the gentle Japanese who passed smiled and passed
on, without looking back.

"Stop!" cried Leslie to his man, then jumping out he ran to M'Gourley's
riksha, which had also stopped.

"Have you heard the news?"

"News?" said Mac. "News--what news?"

"The Bombay and Benares bank is broken."

"It is not," replied the other, fumbling in his pocket. "Na, na--false
report. Bombay and Ta-Lien, you mean." Then, drawing a paper from his
pocket, and with ferocity: "Canna ye read?"

Leslie took the paper; it was a cablegram from Shanghai.

    "False report. Bombay and Ta-Lien suspended. Bombay and Benares
    safe.

                                                  JARDINE MATHESON."

"Good Heavens!" said Leslie. "When did you get this?"

"Hoor ago. Drive on, you--wheel me awa'."

"Where are you going?"

"Mogi--to forget I was ever such a fule as to go into partnership with a
man like--_wheel me awa'_!"

"Steady on, steady on," said Leslie.

"I'll be back the morrow morn and see y' before you're awa' to
Vancouver." Then, leaning back as the riksha started: "I may be a fule,
but I'm not a blind fule, and I'm not a--(_hic!_)."

The riksha joggled over a stone and he collapsed like a shut-down opera
hat.

Leslie continued his way.



                              CHAPTER XXXI

                                FAREWELL


It was seven o'clock; the birds were taking their nests in the cherry
orchard with one final burst of chattering. The sky in the west,
wave-green melting into vaguest blue, held one solitary cloud floating
like a rose-leaf beneath the evening star. Leslie stood at his gate,
looking for the last time at the twilight stealing over Nagasaki. He had
just arrived.

M'Gourley's words were still ringing in his ears, and his mind was in a
turmoil.

He was in exactly the position of the man who has cheated unwittingly at
cards, who has found out his mistake, and who has still time to save his
honor.

If the Bombay and Benares bank was safe, it was his plain duty to go at
once to Jane du Telle and inform her of the fact. She was laboring under
the impression that he was a ruined man. Half of her sympathy, the whole
of the present situation, had arisen from that misconception. To leave
her under this delusion would amount to fraud--the meanest of all
frauds.

He was feeling this keenly, but unfortunately his mind, instead of
grappling with the situation, and forcing his body to act, was engaged
in cursing Fate, and the tangled net in which he found himself taken.

Was it his fault that the false news had come just at the psychological
moment, the news that had actually thrown Jane into his arms? He kept
asking himself this, as he gazed across the dusk-eyed harbor to the
hills now becoming dimmed by the twilight.

This last touch of Fate would, if he accepted it without resistance, rob
him of the last remnants of honor and all self-respect.

His hand was upon the stakes, he had a moment to decide whether to take
them or leave them: to be a thief or an honest man.

Suddenly, as if silence had placed her finger upon their throats, the
birds in the orchard ceased their chatter.

The warm day dying seemed to have called all the spirits of beauty from
air and earth and sea, to stain the skies above its death-bed with the
tints of the ocean and the dawn. Over the tomb of light Color, Light's
firstborn child hovered like some exquisite ephemera whose wings change
from beauty to beauty before dissolving for ever in darkness and death.

The silence that had come over the orchard was broken occasionally by
little outbursts of squabbling from over-full nests, sounds like the
flirting of a fan amongst the leaves, chirrupings that told of
differences made up. Then final and complete silence that would last
till night woke the owls.

Leslie at the gate suddenly made a gesture as if he were flinging
something away, turned on his heel, and came towards the house.

He entered just as Cherry-blossom, with a white flower in her hair, her
amber sleeves fallen back and exposing her fore-arms, her body stretched
to its fullest height on the tips of her tabis, was in the act of
lighting the big hall-lamp. She looked like a little cat stretching
herself.

A pang went through his heart. He would never see Cherry-blossom light
the big hall-lamp again, never again see Pine-breeze bring in the
tea-cups, nor Lotus-bud carrying off Sweetbriar San to his box in the
kitchen.

You cannot possibly live in Japan without loving your maid-servants. I
mean by love that sort of passion which was inspired in Matthew Prior by
the lady of fashion aged five.

It was a feature of the House of the Clouds that sometimes on the lower
floor you would find a hall with two rooms on either side of it, and
sometimes two rooms and no hall, and sometimes, in very hot weather, one
huge room. The sliding paper partitions made this possible; nay, very
easy, for Mr. Initogo had improved upon the ordinary Japanese method,
being of an inventive turn of mind.

He looked into the room on the right of the hall. A _chamécen_ lay on
the floor, an hibachi showed a crimson spark, and a dwarf maple in a pot
of Arita ware displayed its pretty form vaguely in the twilight.

He looked into the room on the left: no one.

Where was Campanula? She must have returned by this, surely. Perhaps she
was upstairs.

He went up, making little noise in his stocking-feet. At the door of his
room he peeped in.

There was Campanula. Oh, desolate sight! She was sitting on his big
portmanteau all alone in the dusk. Her head was bent.

She looked so forlorn and so small, and the sash of her obi so huge in
comparison with the wearer, that he could not but recall how she sat
that morning in the Tea House of the Tortoise. That morning, when she
had likened herself to a lump of mud; the morning he had proposed to
adopt her, and care for her, and make her a chattel of his own.

A moment later, he had caught her up in his arms. She did not resist,
but he seemed to have taken up a lifeless thing.

As he carried her downstairs, had he known, it might have seemed strange
to him that so great a grief should be so light a burden.

He brought her to the room on the right, where Cherry-blossom had just
lit the lamp, and sat down beside her on the matting.

He took a cigarette from his pocket, and approached the tobacco-mono
with it. Then, without lighting it, he flung the cigarette away.

"Campanula, I am going on a journey. I did not tell you last night, for
I had not made up my mind."

"I have heard it," she replied. She sat there beside him, a small figure
with head bowed and hands folded in her lap; and the sadness and
sorrowful sweetness of those four words pierced his heart.

To get this terrible interview over, to tear himself away at once, he
would have sold years of his life. But it had to be gone through with.

Whether she loved him as a woman loves a man, or a child loves a father,
she loved him, loved him as no person had ever loved him before--and he
knew it.

Then he talked to her, telling her that he would come back.

"I have been away before, Campanula, and I have returned. Will you not
believe me that I will return?"

"Ah yes," she answered, "but you did not go with her."

He said nothing for a moment. There was a sound outside; it was the
coolie he had ordered to take his portmanteau to the hotel. He heard
Pine-breeze accosting him, he heard him go upstairs and come down again,
walking heavily. It was like the sound of a man carrying out a coffin.

He heard his steps on the garden walk dying towards the gate.

How had she discovered with whom he was going?

If she would only weep or cry out, or move, or break in some way this
terrible stillness. If she would only reproach him. But she said
nothing, nor even sighed. She seemed like a person stricken not by
grief, but death. Then he began to talk again, telling her of the
arrangements he had made. How M'Gourley San would look after her, just
as he had done before, till he came back. And he would write every
week--till he came back. And they would all be happy together again, as
happy as ever they had been--when he came back.

To which she replied:

"If you are going away to find happiness, my happiness is great."

Fancy a white house, lantern-lit, and steeped in dusk, a tall man
walking away from it rapidly, three Mousmés on their knees on the
veranda crying after the vanishing form: "Come again, oh, condescend to
come again quickly!"

The sound of their voices rings in his ears as he passes through the
little gate. He hears it pursuing him like the faint murmur of bees,
until a puff of wind blows it away and replaces it by the faint sound of
the city below.

Come again! He will never come again to lie in the hammock beneath the
cherry trees. Never more shall Lotus-bud hand him the night lantern to
light him to his bed, nor thy small hands, O Pine-breeze, bear him the
brown leather cigar-case that thy small nose loved to smell!

As he came down hill towards Nagasaki he felt as though he were leaving
spring for ever behind him.

Thrice he stopped as if to return, and stood gazing into the darkness of
the uphill path, listening to the wind in the branches of the lilac
trees.

The last of these pauses ended more abruptly than the others, and he
plunged on again down hill through the gloom.



                             CHAPTER XXXII

                           HER HOUSE IN ORDER


Left alone, Campanula sat, her hands folded in her lap--a Lost One
indeed.

Before her mental vision, beyond Japan, beyond that desolate country
always surrounded with ice, the country where the bluebells grew--beyond
all this lay the land where O Toku San had gone that day, the land where
one never regrets, one never forgets, one never remembers.

He had gone to find happiness. Not one word had she spoken to hold him
back or keep him by her, this true daughter of Dai Nippon, soul sister
of O Gozen San, daughter in spirit of the immortal Hirose.

Cleopatra with the asp and all the mouthing heroines of history would
seem cheap indeed beside this small and faithful figure to whom death
was nothing, passion and personal happiness nothing beside the happiness
of the being she loved.

She sat for an hour scarce moving; then she rose up. She had no more
time for personal thoughts; all things had to be left in order, and her
trust to the least detail faithfully fulfilled.

She called the Mousmés to her, and told them that now Leslie San had
left, they would be discharged until he came back. They could go that
evening to their homes in the city below. She would pay them their wages
and a month in advance, and a little present for each out of money of
her own. And the three kow-towed, delighted at the prospect of change
and the month's money for doing nothing, and the little present besides.
They never thought to ask her what she would do herself in the house
alone, their butterfly brains were so filled with the thoughts of
pleasure.

Then she made Lotus-bud bring all the bills owing, bills yard long and
extraordinarily minute in detail. These she discharged. There were chits
out, but these were Leslie's affair, and he had no doubt settled them.

She thought of Sweetbriar San the cat, and as he was fondest of
Pine-breeze, she gave Pine-breeze a small sum to take him home and keep
him, applying to M'Gourley San if more money were needful.

Then she went upstairs to her own room and folded neatly the obis and
kimonos in the drawers of the great lacquer cabinet. In one of these
drawers were things she had only, as it were, dropped from her hand; the
toys she had played with as a child. Here was the doll bought in Nikko,
and bouncing balls, ever so many; and in a piece of rice paper, still
ferocious, but terribly old and warped, the famous dragon.

She took him out and tried to remove the paper from his sugar-candy
sides, but it was stuck too tight. She put him back, and, holding the
drawer with both hands, pressed her forehead against them.

As she stood like this, mute and utterly motionless, the night breeze
came through the window, bearing the perfume of the azaleas.

It was as if they were calling to her, and she closed the drawer gently
and turned, as if to say, "I hear."

Then she came down and found the three Mousmés waiting, each with a
lighted lamp on the end of a stick, and her frail belongings on her
back, luggage consisting of cardboard boxes, except in the case of
Pine-breeze, who was also burdened with a basket containing Sweetbriar
San.

They had received their wages, and there was nothing left for them now
to do but go; which they did, after profound salaams, murmurs and
declarations of personal unworthiness.

Then Campanula found herself standing alone. The only living thing
beside herself in the house was the mushi, that musician of the night,
already saluting its mistress with a thin stream of song. She went to
the doorway where it hung, and unhooked the little cage.



                             CHAPTER XXXIII

                            THE "LA FRANCE"


The fair that had been going on all day in the street leading to the
Bund was still in full swing. A lurid sight the street presented, lit by
lanterns of all colors, and flare lamps near the booths.

Leslie was glad of the noise and bustle around him; one cannot think
much when pressing one's way through a Japanese fair, colored lamps
dancing, Mousmés laughing, and showmen shouting, rikshas passing at a
trot, or attempting so to do, children blowing trumpets, babies whirling
rattles, men-of-war's men from the ships in harbor walking four abreast
and arm in arm, singing "Jean Francis de Nantes," or "We won't go Home
till Morning." _Chamécens_ and moon fiddles buzzing and tinkling, dogs
barking, and gakunin wailing.

It was ten when he reached the hotel. In the entrance-hall, where the
orange trees in tubs reflected the lamp-light from their glossy leaves,
a Chinese hall porter in a blue silk blouse sat on guard. From the
half-open door of the _salle à manger_, where a party of Russian
officers were at dinner, came the sound of laughter and the clinking of
glasses.

As he entered the hotel the whole world around him changed. Campanula
vanished from his mind. He was no longer in Japan. He was in the same
house with Jane, and in a few more hours she would be his.

The Chinaman rose from his seat when he saw Leslie enter and led him
down a corridor to the door of the private sitting-room where he had
dined with Du Telles. He had promised Jane to wait for her there till
the morning.

The sphinx-like Celestial closed the door, and Leslie found himself
alone.

The windows were open on account of the warmth, and they gave a view of
the narrow mysterious harbor that seems to have been cut in the old
heroic days by some giant who was also a poet. The high cliffs cast
their shadows like sable robes upon the water, jeweled with the lights
of the shipping. The sky all silence and stars, paling now in the
moonlight, was almost the sky of Europe. Orion was there, and the
Pleiades, and Cassiopæa dreaming in her diamond-studded chair.

The room itself was a strange mixture of Japan and Europe. The floor was
the matted floor of Japan, the cane sofas might have been bought at
Shoolbred's. The walls were as plain and unadorned as the walls of a
Japanese house are wont to be--that is to say, under the fans which the
hotel proprietor had fastened to them--fans from Kioto, Tokyo, and Nara
crucified against the white paneling and looking like great butterflies
in some giant's collection.

He lit a pipe. Jane was upstairs in some room, but there were still nine
hours of waiting to be done; and he had promised that he would not go
upstairs if permitted to pass the night in the hotel, but wait patiently
for her to come to him at the hour of starting.

He felt that if he thought about her he would break his oath, so he
drove her from his mind.

He watched the twinkling lights in the harbor; those darting about like
fire-flies were the sampans; that long hulk all crusted with light was
the _La France_, the ship in which Jane had intended to sail for Osaka.
It was after ten now, and she was overdue to leave. That sister-hulk,
equally gemmed, was the Nord Deutscher Lloyd boat leaving at dawn for
Colombo. Those three lights in a triangle were the anchor lights of the
great Russian cruiser _Rurik_--the ill-fated _Rurik_.

Suddenly a horn of light shot out from the bow of the _La France_, and
she began to move like a glittering town towards the sea, and the wind
from the west brought the faint music of a band. The _La France_ had
unbuoyed and was away.

He watched her as she picked her course through the shipping stealthily
like a robber. Now with all side lights showing, now with them half
extinguished as she veered to avoid the bell-buoy of the Atraska shoal;
now a vague phantom swallowed by the shadows of the night.

The hotel was silent now, the Russians had gone off to their ship.
Somewhere outside, somewhere in the gloom of the mysterious night, a
_chamécen_ was tinkling to the muttering of a little drum. What dancing
girl was setting her steps to that tune--and where?

He rose to his feet and began to pace the room, then he turned the lamp
up till it smoked, and turned it down till it was nearly out, and cursed
the burner for his own stupidity.

Still the distant _chamécen_ kept up its buzzing to the devil's tattoo
of the distant drum.

He walked to the window and shut it. Result--absolute silence and
stifling heat. No matter; anything was better than that infernal drum.

He had shut out the drum, but he had shut in a mosquito. It was in the
lace curtain, and its twang brought him again to his feet. He tried to
find it in the curtain, failed, pulled the whole curtain down from its
attachment, and trampled it under-foot.

Silence, this time unbroken, until one of the fans upon the wall
rustled, and from beneath it crept a frightful-looking spider as brown
and as broad as a penny.

He did not see it; he was sitting in the arm-chair with his head between
his hands, breaking his promise to Jane.

When it was broken he got up, crossed the room, opened the door, and
went into the hall.

The Chinese night-porter was sitting like a figure of stone in a blouse
of blue silk. Leslie went up to him, spoke some words in a low tone, and
handed him some money.

The Chinaman rose and led the way upstairs. Down a passage they went
till the guide stopped, pointed to a door, turned, and vanished as
silently as he had come.

Leslie went to the door and knocked softly. No answer. He turned the
handle, the door opened and he entered--an empty room.

A lamp was burning on a table in one corner, a bed stood close to the
window: the bed was empty.

It was Jane's room, for there lay her trunks. A glove lay on the floor.
He picked it up, looked at it, smelt it, and then threw it down. The
dressing-table held none of those articles of the toilet one might have
expected to see. Beside the lamp on the side-table lay a letter.

He had seen the letter almost on the first moment of his entering the
room, with that vague, half-terrified comprehension which we may imagine
in the brain of the bull when the sun-light flashes on the sword of the
matadore.

He approached it now, and read the superscription: "Richard Leslie, Esq.
Important."

He opened it, and a number of bank notes came out. These he laid on one
side, took the letter that was with them, and began to read.

He read the letter, not as if he were reading a letter, but the face of
some scoundrel he had dragged by the ears into the zone of lamplight. He
envisaged it, took whole sentences in _en bloc_. He read first at the
end, then in the middle, then at the beginning.

"And now good-bye for ever. Oh, Dick, don't think badly of me for this;
I have only done what was right.

"When you get this I shall be gone. I am leaving by the _La France_ to
meet George.

"I leave you money. Half what I have is yours; remember we are cousins,
and ought to help one another.

"Oh, Dick! Dick! I _can't_ do what you want. I am not thinking of myself
but of my people. Imagine the disgrace and ruin it would bring them. My
dear old father, it would kill him."



                             CHAPTER XXXIV

                           AMIDST THE AZALEAS


It was very late at night; clouds from the Pacific were rolling over
Nagasaki, and it was evident that the hot weather of the last two days
had been the prelude of a storm.

The House of the Clouds, lamp-lit and deserted, cast from the opening in
the shoji a long parallelogram of light that cut the darkness like a
sword; a sword of light lying upon the veranda, the graveled walk, and
the landscape garden.

With the darkness outside had come a great silence broken only by the
wind.

Had you been standing on the veranda you would have sworn that some
blind person was prowling before the house, soundless of foot and
cautiously feeling his way by tapping on the ground with a stick.

It was only the lath shaken by the wind, the tireless lath that all day
and all the night before had kept the echoes of the garden answering its
summons, and still kept up the unwearied sound-semblance of a blind man
who walked without footstep, a patient sentinel, now advancing, now
retreating, now at the garden gate, now near the azaleas, and ever
waiting.

The garden gate clicked, and hurried footsteps came up the path.

It was Leslie, hatless, bright and wild of eye, walking rapidly, but in
a tottering manner. His lips were of a dull purple color, and he had the
aspect of a man heavily drugged with opium.

He crossed the veranda and entered the deserted hall. He looked into the
rooms on either side--they were both empty. Then he came back to the
hall, and cried out, "Campanula!" The rafters returned the sound of his
voice, but she did not answer.

He was perfectly clear of mind, but his breathing was affected, and a
deadly torpor hung over him which his will alone prevented falling.

He took in all the details around him with extraordinary clearness,
amongst others the fact that the mushi's cage had been removed.

Having waited for a moment, straining his ears to catch the faintest
sound, he seized the swinging paper lantern that lit the hall, and with
it in his hand went into the kitchen. It was deserted. Then he went
upstairs--every room was empty. It was like a house from which the
people had fled in terror, and he came down again, wild with the
apprehension of some unknown tragedy.

He brought the lamp into the room on the right of the passage, and
placed it on the floor. Something crimson lay on the primrose-colored
matting. He picked it up; it was Campanula's obi. Why had she cast it
there?

He was looking round him as if for a person to explain all these things,
when his eye caught an open drawer of the great lacquer cabinet that
contained his papers. He looked into the drawer, and it was empty. It
was the drawer in which he had placed the waki-zashi--the suicide sword,
given to him by Jane.

From the open drawer his eyes turned to the obi, which he had dropped,
and then he looked round him, as Dives looks round him in that picture
of Teniers, where Dives wakes in Hell.

As he stood, the wind shook the broken lath outside, and played with it.
"Tap! tap! tap!"

He saw the sunlit Nikko road, the valley of the crimson azaleas, the
Lost One who had loved him as no other being had loved him--the one he
had lost for ever.

She was dead, yet it was denied to him to find her, and clasp her in his
arms, and die with her.

Death was nothing, but never to find her again, never to see her again,
or touch her small body, that was an agony far beyond death.

He left the room, feeling by the walls like a man without sight.

Outside, the world was in utter darkness. More clouds had rolled up over
the sky, as if called by the Blind One, the tapping of whose stick
betrayed him, as he walked, waiting for his prey.

If he could find her, what cared he for the Blind One! If he could not
find her he felt that he would be for ever lost. But he could never find
her more, for the opium sleep was falling upon him now. He had no more
strength to fight it, and the darkness of the pit lay around him.

Suddenly, the night wind changed, and brought him the perfume of the
unseen azaleas, and with the perfume a thin thread of song.

It was the song of the mushi--the atom of life he had spared that day in
his fury, even as God might now be sparing him--the mushi she had loved
so well. Feeling by the veranda wall, he followed the song like a man
led by a thread, and as he came he crushed something beneath his foot:
it was the lath, whose sound would never trouble him again.

He felt the azalea bushes around his knees, and advanced amongst them,
still led by the tremulous song, till his foot touched something soft,
and his hand a tiny cage, hanging to one of the crimson-flowering boughs.



                              CHAPTER XXXV

                              BON MATSURI


It was the 18th of August--the last night of Bon Matsuri.

Under a sky splendid with stars, the hills about Nagasaki were gemmed
with colored lights. Ten thousand colored lanterns adorned the terraced
cemeteries, and towards dawn each lantern would be fixed to a tiny boat
of straw, freighted with a few small coins, and some small offering of
fruit, to stay the souls of the dead on their long journey home.

M'Gourley had come out to see the fairy-like spectacle, for he knew that
Mr. Initogo, that faithful old Pagan gentleman, was amidst the rejoicers
on the hillsides, and had lit two lanterns, and freighted two small
boats, for the souls of two friends he had known on earth.

Just as the morning breeze began to blow, and before the first star had
paled in the dawn breaking over the Pacific, the gazers from the ships
and the shore drew their breath, for suddenly the whole hillsides seemed
in motion, shifting and glittering down to the water's edge, till the
ripples became surrounded by a zone of rose-colored fire.

Then the water itself became dyed with the glow of ten thousand
lanterns, each bravely upborne on its little ship of straw, whose sails
took the Eastern breeze.

As the fairy flotilla sailed away, spreading the harbor with light and
color, ship after ship took fire, and ship after ship was lost.

M'Gourley, hat in hand, stood watching till the last spark had vanished
in the lilac of the dawn; then, with a sigh that spoke of things that
were not, but might have been, he turned slowly home.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber's note:

Throughout the dialogues, there were words used to mimic accents of the
speakers. Those words were retained as-is.

Errors in punctuations and inconsistent hyphenation were not corrected
unless otherwise noted.

On page 17, a quotation mark was removed after "Lord sakes!"

On page 29, a superfluous quotation mark was deleted.

On page 29, a quotation mark was moved one space to the correct
position.

On page 47, a period was added after "as fraunk as mysel'".

On page 81, "Lesile" was replaced with "Leslie".

On page 120, "perfumed hair" was replaced with "perfumed hair".

On page 128, "acros" was replaced with "across".

On page 150, a quotation mark was added after "Lord and also
the empire of the birds."

On page 243, "though" was replaced with "through".

On page 264, "horor" was replaced with "horror".

On page 272, "Baudelaires" was replaced with "Baudelaire's".

On page 281, "jewelery" was replaced with "jewelry".





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