« PreviousContinue »
touch seeris Tis m thee mylder for
funds which would have to be replaced would leave me ten as commission. at the end of the month. Raheem He need not know ; I can say I got would not have given a pice for such it; we of the bazaar get most things a purpose, of course ; but with detec- at times in our profession. And the tion and disgrace staring his brother money was thine,—for thy salvation, in the face it would be different. remember.” Besides, the money was his, for his Hoshyar looked at her as a man salvation. “ Listen, Raheem," he looks at a venomous snake he has no went on, summoning up a penitential power to kill. tone; but his brother interrupted him “Lo, Babooji !” said a trollop of a swiftly, a sort of dread in his dark, girl, lounging in with a giggle. “Thy hollow eyes. “There is naught in brother Raheem asks for thee below. the box now, brother,” he said, with 'Tis the first time, methinks, he hath a catch of fear in his voice. “I have entered such a house, for he stands naught but this ; ” he laid his hand like a child, clasping a brocaded bag lightly upon the booklet, and its very as if there were pests about, and it touch seemed to bring comfort, for he held camphor.” smiled. “'Tis my salvation, Hoshyar, Yasmeena sate up among her quilts for I have given thee my pilgrimage and looked at Hoshyar. “Bid the See, I am making a holder for it. good creature to the courtyard at the Dost recognise the stuff ? 'Tis a bit back,” she said in a level voice. of the little brocade coat, brother.” “ Thou wilt like to see him alone,
Hoshyar had caught up the book. doubtless, Hoshyar. And, Merun, let, glanced at it, and now flung bid some man take him a sherbet ; it down with a passionate oath. he would be affrighted of a houri. “ Salvation, — fool, 'tis perdition !” Make it of sandal-essence, girl, and Then he laughed suddenly, a loud, bring it to me to see that it is rightly bitter laugh. “That is an end,” he flavoured. Thou likest not sandalsaid rising to go. “I only waste essence, Hoshyar, 'tis true, but 'tis time here. Good-bye, Raheem ; 'tis most refreshing to those who have well thou hast a keepsake of me; thou walked, and thou needst not touch art not likely to see much of me these it.” seven years to come.”
Hoshyar's look changed. It was “What dost mean, brother ?” be- the look now which a bird gives to gan the comb-maker, fearfully; but the snake. Hoshyar, without another word, turned back to the bazaar.
Raheem was at the station next “ 'Tis thou that art the fool,” said day in plenty of time, though, rather Yasmeena, with a yawn, after Hosh- to his surprise, he had slept later than yar had raged for a quarter of an usual that morning, and slept heavily hour of his ill-luck, of his brother's also; perhaps because he seemed not foolery, of her extravagance. “Why to have a care left in the world after didst not take the ticket? It must Hoshyar had retracted all his rebe worth something, surely ?” Then proaches and bidden him go in peace. a sudden interest came to her languid Peace,—what else could remain in a eyes, where vice itself seemed weary. man's heart after that renunciation in “Seest thou, beloved, I have an idea! the dark deserted mosque upon the Old Deena the drum-player is for ever homeward way, which had left Ratalking of second-hand salvation. He heem's conscience clear at last, left him hath forty rupees saved for it; that without a wedding garment and yet
No. 436.–VOL. LXXIII.
content? And now, with his ticket to other ticket; but not while a score of the junction duly snipped, his bundle folk were struggling over him in their in one hand and the other assuring it rush to be out first. He was out self of the booklet's safety in the brocade last, of course, and had barely time to bag, he passed down the platform in snatch the booklet from its bag, ere the rear of the rush from the waiting- an official warned him to hurry up. shed, looking diffidently for a seat in So panting, confused, his bundle in the close-packed carriages, which with one hand, his treasure in the other, he their iron bars and struggling occu- sped over the bridge to the next pants looked like cages of wild beasts. platform.
“Here, neighbour Hâjji, here ! ” “ Tickets, tickets, all tickets !” cried a cracked, familiar voice full of came another alien voice, and he elation, full of importance. “Now paused to obey, setting his bundle on that demon of a drum hath gone there the ground in order to have both is room for a saint or two. He is hands for his task. But the opening Hâjji already, my masters, and will be of the cover was to him as the closing a good companion. But 'tis done of the Book of Life; for it was cheaper nowadays, and I, I swear, empty. have it cheaper than ye all. How “Pass on, pass on !" came the not much, is a secret; but the Lord kept unkindly voice of command once more. his eye on old Deena." So he went “Out of the way, you there, and on boastfully, till even his voice was don't stand like a fool. You've drowned in the great shout which dropped it likely; run back and see ; went up as the train moved on. He there's time yet.” was back on his own good fortune, So over the bridge again went however, when the hundred and fifty Raheem, in frantic hope, back on his and odd passengers in their carriage, steps again in frantic despair. “I separated into scores by iron bars, had had it, Huzoor, indeed I had it! subsided into a mere babel of speaking Here is the cover ! ” voices. “No cover, say you ?” he The ticket-collector shook his head, replied resentfully to a captious and Raheem, with a dazed look, criticism on his ticket. “What good turned away quietly. is a cover? Dew is pretty, but it “Trra !” came the voice of the don't quench thirst; so I, being a drum-player sententiously and safely pilgrim, drink plain water. My ticket from the window of a carriage. “He will take me as far as thine.”
hath lost the inside ; that comes of a Raheem, crouched up between the cover. Well, well, prayers are over ; drum-player and a fat butcher, heard up with the carpet ! But he is Hajji vaguely, and fingered the outline of already, my masters, so 'tis not as his treasure in its bag of brocade, though it were one of us sinners." feeling glad he had so honoured it; “Keep thy sins to thyself, chatfor it took him further than Mecca, terer," retorted his next neighfurther than this world. The Gates bour tartly, as the train moved on. of Pearl were set ajar for him, and he “We be virtuous men enough." could see through them to the glory “If you haven't money to go on, and glitter of Paradise. And so, after you must go back. The booking. a rush through a long stretch of desert office is over there, and the up-mail sand, the train slackened, rousing him will be in in a few hours." from a dream. This must be the This official view of the question junction, and he must take out the given by the authorities as they
Car was taking ation,
gathered round the disappointed pil ways, and not a signal for twenty grim was simplicity itself, even to miles ! Half an hour of warning at Raheem. He never thought of con- the least, and nothing to be done ; necting his ticketless cover with nothing save to accept the disaster. Deena's coverless ticket. The fact “Bring up the relief-engine sharp, that his chance was gone absorbed Smith,” said the Traffic Superintendent him utterly; he had lost salvation, when, ere a minute was past, the for the very thought of taking back hopeless news reached him. “Graham, his gift to Hoshyar was impossible to run over for Dr. Westlake, for him. That was the outcome of it all. Harrison, too, if he's there ; splints, So he sat patiently waiting for his bandages, dressers, and all that. train to come in, sat patiently, after Davies, wire back to the other end he had found a place in it, waiting for to send what they can from their it to go on, so absolutely absorbed in reserve.” his loss, that he did not even hear his And so, swiftly as hands and brains neighbours' comments on the delay. could compass it, two more engines
“Line clear at last !” said the fled shrieking into the growing dusk guard joyfully to the driver as he of evening behind those two, the came out of the telegraph-office, where down-mail and the up-mail, coming but one instant before the welcome nearer and nearer to each other on the signal had echoed. “Steam away all single line. you know, sonny, and make up lost “Twenty minutes since they started, time. I promised my girl to be about,” said one man, who was standpunctual; there's a hop on at her ing with a watch in his band, in house."
curiously quiet tones. “It must be So, with a shriek, they were off for soon now ; and there is a curve about a twenty-mile scamper across the the middle. I hope to God there is desert; out, with a bump over the no friend of mine in either ! ” points, out with a whistle past the “Royston's in the down,” replied last signal, out with a flash by the another studiously even voice. “He telegraph-posts. But something else was going to see his wife. But the was flashing by the posts also ; for a firsts are well back; it's the thirds, message came clicking into the station poor devils— ” He paused, and the they had left not a minute ago, others nodded. “ Mistake-line blocked-down-mail.” The thirds, doubtless! And in one
“My God !” said the station-master of them, far forward, crouched Raheem, in a thick voice, standing up blindly. staring out into the calm dusk, abHe was an old Mutiny man, but he sorbed in the horror of going back, was white as a sheet.
going back to die before he had saved "It isn't our fault, father," began his own soul ! his son, a slim young fellow, showing So, suddenly, through and above the mixed blood.
rush and the roar and the rattle that “D-n it all, sir," shouted the he scarcely heard, came a new sound other furiously, “what does it matter forcing him to listen. It was a whose fault it is ? What's to be quivering, clamorous, insistent whistle. done?”
It brought no recognition to his ignorNothing could be done, save to tele- ance, or to the ignorance of those graph back quick as kind nature could around him, but far back in the firstcarry it: "Line blocked-up-mail also." class carriages white faces peered out Fateful words! The line blocked both into the gloom and foreign voices
they had met licking into the us for a
called to each other : “Danger whistle In fact, they were both so pleased that
-what's up?" Still, it was a strange, it came upon them by surprise one disturbing sound with a strange echo. day, when Raheem, with clasped hands, And was that an echo of the rush, asked when he was to die. and the roar, and the rattle? Raheem “Die? Rubbish !” said Dr. Westsat up quickly. Was it the end of all lake, cheerfully. “Not from this, at things? Why had they struck him— any rate, and we will do what we can who-Hoshyar! Then thought ended for the lungs afterwards." in a scream of pain.
Raheem's face did not lose its
anxiety. “And when, if the Huzoor “There is a man caught by the feet will say, shall I be able to walk under that wheel,” said Dr. Westlake again ?” As he lay in the comfortable not many minutes after, as he came bed he had been making up his mind out of the hideous pile of wreckage to sacrifice all comfort, to leave life all grimed and smirched. “He is behind him, and start on foot for breathing yet, so have him out sharp. death, with his face towards Mecca. We may save him, but these others “Walk ?" echoed the doctor, with
- ” He passed on to seek work a significant look at his assistant. significantly.
Then he sate down on the edge of the And so Raheem, stunned and with cot, and told the truth. both feet crushed to a jelly, was dug Raheem heard it, looking increduout; the only man left alive in the lously at the cradle; and then suddenly forward third-class carriage of the up- he interrupted a platitude about its mail. He was still unconscious when being better to be a cripple than to it came to be his turn for the doctors die, with an eager question: “Then in the crowded hospital. “Badly the Huzoor means that I shall never nourished,” said Dr. Westlake, “but be able to walk again ?" it is his only chance. Harrison, the The doctor nodded. eucalyptus sawdust, please ; it is a “May God reward the Huzoor for good case for it, and we shall be short ever and ever,” said Raheem in a of dressings.”
whisper, raising both hands in a So two days afterwards Raheem, salute; and his face was one radiant recovering from a slight concussion of smile. the brain, found himself in a strangely Dr. Westlake looked at his assistant comfortable bed with a curious hump as they passed on to the next cot. of a thing over his feet under the “They are an incomprehensible people," coverlet. He did not know that there he said in rather an injured tone. “I were no feet there; that they had both never expected to hear a man thank been amputated at the ankle, and that me rapturously for cutting off both his he was a cripple for life. And there feet.” was no reason why he should find it He did not know that cripples are out, since the sawdust did its work specially exempted from the duty of without more ado, much to the doctor's pilgrimage, and that the patient was delight, who, as he took Raheem's repeating his version of the text : “It temperature, talked of first intents is better to enter halt into life, than, and septic dressings to his assistant. having two feet, to be cast into hell."
WANTED—A DEAD LETTER OFFICE.
THE Trustees of the British Museum have followed the prevailing fashion and published a volume of letters.' The volume differs in many respects from those with which we have of late grown perhaps somewhat too familiar.
amiliar. For one thing, it is much shorter, yet it covers a much longer period of time; for another, it is not concerned with the exhibition of a single personality, nor with a single range of interests. More than three centuries have passed since the earliest of these letters was written; the last is dated just ten years ago. Through all that time the hands which penned them were making history busily, each in its own degree and after its own fashion;
hands of great sovereignsand statesmen, of great captains and churchmen, men of action, men of affairs, men of letters. A queen heads the roll, and a queen closes it. The first letter was written by Queen Katherine of Arragon to her husband Henry, then warring in France ; it is dated from
a from Woburn on the 16th of September, 1513, just one week after Surrey had crushed the Scottish power at Flodden, and one month after Henry had, himself routed the French chivalry on the
in the memorable Field of Spurs. The last, dated from Windsor Castle on the 16th of March, 1885, was written by Queen Victoria to the sister of Charles Gordon.
It is impossible, now and here, to give any adequate idea of the contents of this interesting volume, nor indeed should it be necessary; it may be
Yi 10 may be 1 FacsimilES OF Royal, Historical, LITERARY, AND OTHER AUTOGRAPHS IN
ER AUTOGRAPHS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF MANUSCRIPTS, BRITISH MUSEUM. Printed by Order of the Trustees, London, 1895.
bought, at the Museum or elsewhere, for the moderate sum of six shillings, (just one-fourth of what we are asked to pay for the privilege of reading the correspondence of the brothers Rossetti), while any single letter may be purchased for threepence. Some of them the visitor may already have read, through a glass darkly, as they lie in the cases ranged about the small gallery between the Grenville and the King's libraries; and summaries of them are given in the admirable little guide to the Department of Manuscripts lately printed by order of the Trustees. In this volume, the first of a promised series, the curious reader may study the very handwriting of these departed the very worthies; and in some of the earlier letters he will not find it, we may add, a very simple study, though, as every one who has worked among our State Papers knows, the secret of these old vanished hands is one easily mastered. The copies in this volume are lithographed, or photographed, or reproduced by some other process, in facsimile of the original manuscript; and herein lies, we may say, our only cause of complaint against the Trustees. The process of reproduction, whatever it may be, allows only one side of a page to be copied, and this in many cases, of course, materially diminishes the interest and value of the copy. Might not the facsimile of a part have been supplemented, where necessary, by a reprint of the whole ? The cost of the volume would have been slightly increased, no doubt ; but another shilling or two would hardly be grudged, we fancy, by those who care for such curiosities. Indeed, as matters go, the Trustees