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dice-box moves with incredible slowness. The notes and dollars are piled in little heaps all in one quarter of the mat. The obsequious courtiers have followed the inspiration of their king.
There is another second or two of tense excitement and expectation, and then a shout is raised,—a shout which is discordant and angry, tingling with passionate disappointment—a shout with which are blent imprecations and fierce ejaculations of disgust—a shout which ends in a sound like a sob. The king's inspiration has failed him, and he and his courtiers, in consequence, are the poorer by many good silver dollars. It is the last coup of a disastrous evening, and the king, who is a prudent soul withal, will have no more of it. The Chinamen gather up their gaming-gear and their winnings, and depart into the night. Their unemotional faces—faces "like wooden planks," as the Malay idiom has it— betray no consciousness of the obvious hatred which they inspire. They are quite indifferent to it, for the money is duly pouched, and they know that the justice-loving British Government, in the person of the Resident, sits mighty and impassive on the river's farther bank, and takes thought even for the property and the lives of the despised yellow man. A little naked boy, who has been sleeping fitfully with his head pillowed on a courtier's knee, rouses himself, puts on an enormous orange-colored cap a size too large for him (his only garment), lights a cigarette, and sits listening gravely to the hum of talk about him,—talk of all that might have been had chance proved less fickle. He is Rflja Saleh, the king's baby son.
Jack Norris, who has been watching the play with such patience as he can command, sees that his time has come at last. He has visited the palace in order to have speech with the king concerning some of that shameless
monarch's most glaring misdemeanors, —matters connected with an abducted wife, an aggrieved husband, and a pack of motherless bairns—a squalid tragedy, in which the king has played the part of an ignoble Mephistopheles. The culprit is curiously insensitive. His feelings, overlaid by many strata of ruffianism and self-content, are things which have to be dug for. He knows now what has brought Norris to his hall, but he evinces no desire that the humiliating discussion about to take place should be conducted in private. In a sense he is somewhat proud of his achievement, for it is not every man of his years who can be such a devastating roui as he, and he enters with gusto into a lurid account of his indiscretions, making display of an unfettered coarseness of speech and thought, while the little angel-faced boy, his son, sits at his side looking preternaturally wise. It is not the first time that the child has been privileged to listen to an exposition of his father's crude notions concerning morality and seemliness of conduct. It is Jack, not the king or his people, who is irked by the boy's presence, and finds the ugly discussion doubly degrading while those big sad eyes are fixed upon him. To the Malays the innocence of childhood makes no appeal: to them there is nothing incongruous in the subject of the talk and its baby audience. But duty may not be shirked; the matter must be threshed out, and before such listeners as the king may select; wherefore ignoble passions, and the wanton cruellties born of them, are freely canvassed for an hour or more. The discussion, as all who take part in it know well, is only a form, but it is deemed to be necessary in order to salve the royal self-esteem and render possible the king's inevitable surrender to a power greater than his own. When at last the end is reached. sweetmeats of unspeakable nastiness are served, the king, little RAja Saleh, and Norris eating from the same tray, while the courtiers range themselves around others in the order of their precedence and rank. The child pecks at the unwholesome stuff with the blast indifference bred of long familiarity and the absence of any attempt to restrain his appetites, and all the while his grave looks are fixed upon the white man.
"Why dost thou not wear a hat, TOan?" he inquires suddenly, gazing with open disapproval at Norris's bare bead.
"l follow my custom, little one."
"And thou wearest boots—even in the King's hall!"
"That too is my custom; moreover, it prevents my feet from being bruised by stones on the way."
"I wore boots once, Tuan," says the child proudly. "Shoes of gold cunningly fashioned. That was on the day when for the first time l trod upon the earth. There was a great feast that day because of my boots."
"Men do not think it necessary to feast whenever l put on my boots, nor can i afford to have them fashioned of gold. Did they hurt thy feet, little brother?"
"Yes," says the child thoughtfully. "They hurt me sore; but, TQan. they were beautiful to behold. Do thy boots hurt thee?"
"No, my boots are soft and comfortable. Thou shouldst wear boots like mine, little one."
"So will l. Thou, TQan, are doubtless wealthy. Thou shalt send to Singapura and purchase boots for me. Thou wilt send, wilt thou not. Ttlan, for l desire greatly to possess them?" He drops his little head on one side with so insinuating an air that he is altogether irresistible.
"Thou shalt have thy boots, little one. never fear," says Jack.
"Listen, you people," cries the child exultantly to the assembled courtiers. "The Tflan is sending to Singapura to purchase boots for me, stout leather boots, yellow and comely. Armed with them, how gallantly shall i kick! 0 Ma'! there'll be many children with sore stomachs in the king's compound the day l don them!" and he laughs in joyful anticipation.
"There is no need to teach young tiger-cubs how to use their claws," says an old man admiringly, quoting a native proverb, and the king leads the laughter.
"if thou makest any such use of thy boots thou shalt lose them." says Norris; "and now l must take my leave of the king."
"And wilt thou take the woman with thee?" inquires the child. "That will surely anger my father. When I am big l will take all the women l choose and use them villainously—ay, and keep them too, if so l wish'!"
"There is no need to teach young tiger-whelps how to prey!" cackles the old man again, and once more it is the king who leads the applause.
Other pictures flit across Norris's memory. Days upon the river with boat and casting-net, or when the natives of the countryside muster to help drag the great re/op-cord downstream for miles, driving shoals of frightened fish before it, to be caught at last in cunning mazes of bamboo stakes. Days in the fruit orchards, when all the court goes a-picnicking, and the boys gather in little groups to feast gluttonously while they talk knowingly of war and daggers and women. Days in the jungle, when the king and his people go forth to gather flowers, mounted on huge clay-colored elephants. And in every picture Saleh fills a space, always cutting a pretty figure; always sally clad in delicate silks; always having as his right the best of everything that is going; always pampered and petted, flattered and adulated; always taught that his whims are above aught else, that his desires are given him to satisfy, not to restrain; always applauded most loudly for his naughtiest deeds and sayings.
Then the recollection recurs of a day in the palace cock-pit when Saleh's bird is mishandled by its juara—its keeper—and the young prince in a fury of anger seizes a billet of wood which chances to be lying near at hand, and deals the culprit a sounding blow on the head. There is, unknown to Saleh, a long rusty nail in the billet, and the jufira is carried away, a limp burden, with blood streaming down a face gone suddenly gray beneath the brown skin. When Norris comes upon the scene the little raja is weeping passionately in a paroxysm of grief and selfhatred, which in his father's eyes is unmanly, and far more reprehensible than the crime which is its occasion.
The memory of a later day comes next—the day which is the end of childhood for Rilja Saleh. There has been much feasting and high revelry for weeks in the palace on the river's bank, culminating in rude horse-play on the yellow sandbank below the high fence, when all the world has been unmercifully soused with water, so that the gorgeous silk raiment of the feasters is drenched and ruined. Late that afternoon little Saleh is circumcised by the palace iutiditi. and so enters at last upon man's estate. lmmediately on his recovery he should celebrate his emancipation, according to the custom of his people, by taking to himself a wife, or at any rate a concubine or two; but this lad, born and bred up in the villainous atmosphere of a Malayan court, has come into the world in an age of many changes. Hitherto the presence of the white men in the land has affected him but little, but now the alien folk step in and demand
to have a hand in the ordering of his destiny. A year or two earlier, when the future seemed still so distant that pledges given concerning it could not affect the comfort of the present, the king had consented to the lad being sent to Europe to be educated. Now he repents him of this promise bitterly; but the Resident stands firm, and in spite of the tears of the boy himself and the frantic ravings of the palacewomen, he will not suffer the word once passed to be recalled.
lt is a forlon little figure that stands on the deck of the P. & O. steamer which has just slipped its moorings from the wharf at Singapore, with the keening of the knot of Malays which has come to bid him God-speed wailing in his ears, and with no friend in all the world save the European officer who is to see him safely to his destination. He is bound for that mysterious country concerning which nought is known save that it lies somewhere in that vague quarter which is called "above the wind." The ship moves away with an impassivity, a calmness at once cruel and inexorable. The boy feels himself to be a thing of torn and bleeding roots, plucked wantonly from the soil in which they have won a hold. The consciousness of his helplessness, his impotence, crushes him; he watches his fatherland being drawn away and away from him with eyes wide with despair. What time, in the palace on the banks of the great river. —the palace made suddenly so very empty,—a woman weeps and laments with tears frantic and unrestrained, throwing herself prone upon her sleeping-mat. biting at the flock pillows, and tearing her hair savagely, because her son has been taken from her by the infidels. His going robs her of the sole love of her dreary life, slips the last tie that binds her to her lord and master, who has long treated her with neglect, and has lavished his smiles of gratitude, from those they rule and serve, to outweigh the hatred they have inspired in that one broken woman's heart!
and his gifts upon younger and fairer rivals. How vast a work of kindness and of love must the white men do, in exile and bitter travail, to win enough
(To be continued.)
TOLSTOY AND THE TOLSTOYANS.
An international movement has been started for the purpose of paying solemn collective homage to Count Tolstoy—as much homage as he can be induced to accept—on his attainment of his eightieth birthday. And the question naturally arises: Why?
lt is not a captious question, but the bald, unembellished statement of a problem. lt implies no criticism of Tolstoy's eminence as a novelist, for it is not in the capacity of novelist that it is proposed to do him reverence. He stands before the world at the present time as a teacher—as that and nothing else, unless it be as a pattern and example of the way to live. The merits of his novels have only an indirect bearing upon his reputation. They gained him his public, but they do not contain his message. At the most they only foreshadow it, as we are taught that the Old Testament foreshadows the New. And, by common consent, the message is "the thing." Tolstoy says so, and the Tolstoyans agree with him. The novels are only important to them in so far as they lead up to the message, which is mainly propounded in tracts. The following of Tolstoy is for them not a literary enthusiasm, but a religion. They have evolved, as it were, from admirers to worshippers.
A typical instance of the evolution may be found in the case of Mr. Ernest Howard Crosby, the chief of the American disciples. When Mr. Crosby read Anna Earenina. he was "duly impressed by it"—and that was all. lt was when
he read the tract On Vicious Pleasures that the change of heart began. The perusal of this work caused him to "stop smoking for three or four days" —a first step in asceticism which, he says, cost him a good deal. He next bought the tract On Life, and, having studied it, was impelled to a further act of self-denial. Feeling that he had "risen to a loftier plane," he went out into the garden and gave half a piastre to a small boy who was playing there. it was, we gather, his first experience in philanthropy. "No act of mine," he writes, "had ever given me so much pleasure"; and thereafter there was no looking back. Mr. Crosby purchased all the other tracts as they appeared, and went on from grace to grace until he finally wrote the work on Tolstoy and his Message, which was published by the Simple Life Press in 1903. He had come to regard Tolstoy, that is to say, not as an artist, but as a teacher; and that is the general note of the Tolstoyans.
lt would be a most natural and proper note for them to strike if they really believed in the teaching. But they do not believe in it—that is the weak point in their position. Some of them believe more than others; but nobody—or nobody who counts—believes the whole of it. The only consistent and thorough-going Tolstoyans are those French conscripts who now and again incur disciplinary punishments by refusing to practise at the rifle ranges, and who figure before the world as dupes rather than as discipies. The professional exponents of the doctrine are always hedging, and qualifying, explaining some dogmas away, and making excuses for others. Even Mr. Crosby, whose enthusiasm is exuberant, and who writes that "the world has never looked to be quite as it used to" since the day when he gave away half a piastre under Tolstoyan influences, expounds after that halting fashion. He criticises the method by which Tolstoy arrives at his conclusions, and he criticises the conclusions when arrived at. He does it quite nicely, like a sick nurse arguing with an eccentric mental patient. Perhaps he could hardly do otherwise, seeing that the methods are obviously unsound, and some at least of the conclusions are obviously absurd. But the fact remains that, if Mr. Crosby be taken as a typical Tolstoyan, then we are entitled to define Tolstoyans as "people who do not quite agree with Tolstoy."
Tolstoyans may reply, perhaps, that they have as much right to read their own meaning into the sayings of Tolstoy as Christians have to read their own meaning into the sayings of Christ; but the analogy is not fair. The sayings of Christ come to us only at second or third hand, in a language different from that in which they were delivered. They may have been incorrectly reported; their significance may be conditioned by local and special circumstances which we do not fuly understand. The critics have a legitimate field for conjecture and speculation. lt is perfectly natural that they should fall to agree in their answers to the question: What is Christianity?— perfectly natural that the Bishop of London and the Reverend R. J. Campbell, for instance, should both contend that Christ meant what they mean, though their respective meanings are as the poles apart . The problem is one from which the personal equation can
not be eliminated. ln the interpretation of Tolstoy, however, the personality of the interpreter has no part to play. Tolstoy himself is there to explain, and he spends most of his time in explaining.
He explains, it is true, that his doctrine is a kind of Christianity; and the explanation has been rather widely accepted. That view of his teaching was indubitably at the back of the roar of indignation that arose when the heads of the Greek Church excommunicated him. On the part of so good and great a man, it was argued, a little divergence from orthodoxy should have been tolerated. Perhaps it should; but it may be as well, before definitely committing ourselves to the opinion, to ascertain how far Tolstoy's divergence from orthodoxy extends. We may do this by reading two of the most recent tracts, the Appeal to the Clergy and The Overthrow of Hell and lts Restoration.
The latter pamphlet is an allegory in which the Devil is represented as "arranging" the miracles, "inventing" the Church, and "suggesting" the sacraments. The former denounces, in plain and simple language, almost every doctrine that any branch of the Christian Church has ever taught .
First of all it is the Bible that Tolstoy dismisses with scorn:—
We speak of harmful books! but does there exist in the Christian world a book that has done more harm to men than this dreadful book called The iScripture History of the Old and New Testaments f
Then follows the assault upon what are commonly called "the Christian mysteries":—
lf the Trinity, the immaculate conception, the redemption of the human race by the blood of Jesus, are possible, then everything is possible, and the demands of reason are not obligatory. lf you insert a wedge between