Project Gutenberg's The Kingdom of Slender Swords, by Hallie Erminie Rives

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Title: The Kingdom of Slender Swords

Author: Hallie Erminie Rives

Commentator: Baron Makino

Illustrator: A. B. Wenzell

Release Date: March 29, 2013 [EBook #42427]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by David Edwards, Ernest Schaal, and the Online
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cover page


(Mrs. Post Wheeler)

Illustrated by A. B. Wenzell

Illustrated by Reginald B. Birch

Illustrated by Howard Chandler Christy

Illustrated by A. B. Wenzell






(Mrs. Post Wheeler)

With a Foreword by His Excellency Baron Makino






Copyright 1910

The Bobbs-Merrill Company








It has been my happy fortune to have made the acquaintance of the gifted author of this book. From time to time she was kind enough to confide to me its progress. When the manuscript was completed I was privileged to go over it, and the hours so spent were of unbroken interest and pleasure.

What especially touched and concerned me was, of course, the Japanese characters depicted, the motives of these actors in their respective roles, and other Japanese incidents connected with the story. I am most agreeably impressed with the remarkable insight into, and the just appreciation of, the Japanese spirit displayed by the author.

While the story itself is her creation, the local coloring, the moral atmosphere called in to weave the thread of the tale, are matters belonging to the domain of facts, and constitute an amount of useful and authentic information. Indeed, she has taken unusual pains to be correctly informed about the people of the country and their customs, and in this she has succeeded to a very eminent degree.

I may mention one or two of the striking characteristics of the work. The sacrifice of the girl Haru may seem unreal, but such is the dominant idea of duty and sacrifice with the Japanese, that in certain emergencies it is not at all unlikely that we should behold her real prototype in life. The description of the Imperial Review at Tokyo and its patriotic significance vividly recalls my own impression of this spectacle.

It gives me great satisfaction to know that by perusing these pages, the vast reading public, who, after all, have the decisive voice in the national government of the greatest republic of the world, and whose good will and friendship we Japanese prize in no uncommon degree, should be correctly informed about ourselves, as far as the scope of this book goes. We attach great importance to a thorough mutual understanding of two foremost peoples on the Pacific, in whose direction and coöperation the future of the East must largely depend. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us all to do our utmost to cultivate such good understanding, not only for those immediately concerned, but for the welfare of the whole human race.

In the chapters of this novel the author seems always to have had such high ideals before her, and the result is that, besides being an exciting and agreeable reading, the book contains elements of serious and instructive consideration, which can not but contribute toward establishing better and healthier knowledge between the East and West of the Pacific.

N. Makino.

Sendagaya, Tokyo, 9th of August, 1909.



I Where the Day Begins 1

II "The Roost" 13

III The Land of the Gods 27

IV Under the Red Sunset 42

V The Maker of Buddhas 52

VI The Baying of the Wolf-Hound 62

VII Doctor Bersonin 72

VIII "Sally in Our Alley" 78

IX The Web of the Spider 86

X In a Garden of Dreams 92

XI Ishikichi 101

XII In the Street-of-Prayer-to-the-Gods 107

XIII The Whorls of Yellow Dust 113

XIV When Barbara Awoke 119

XV A Face in the Crowd 125

XVI "Banzai Nippon!" 133

XVII A Silent Understanding 142

XVIII In the Bamboo Lane 149

XIX The Bishop Asks a Question 154

XX The Trespasser 160

XXI The Resurrection of the Dead 169

XXII The Dance of the Capital 181

XXIII The Devil Pipes to His Own 194

XXIV A Man Named Ware 198

XXV At the Shrine of the Fox-God 206

XXVI The Nightless City 213

XXVII Like the Whisper of a Bat's Wings 224

XXVIII The Forgotten Man 233

XXIX Daunt Listens to a Song 244

XXX The Island of Enchantment 252

XXXI The Coming of Austen Ware 266

XXXII The Woman of Sorek 276

XXXIII The Flight 284

XXXIV On the Knees of Delilah 288

XXXV When a Woman Dreams 292

XXXVI Behind the Shikiri 297

XXXVII ドント 303

XXXVIII The Lady of the Many-Colored Fires 308

XXXIX The Heart of Barbara 320

XL The Shadow of a To-Morrow 326

XLI Unforgot 334

XLII Phil Makes an Appeal 338

XLIII The Secret the River Kept 345

XLIV The Laying of the Mine 353

XLV The Bishop Answers a Summons 360

XLVI The Golden Crucifix 366

XLVII "If This Be Forgetting" 371

XLVIII While the City Slept 379

XLIX The Alarm 389

L Whom the Gods Destroy 396

LI The Laugh 401

LII The Voice in the Dark 409

LIII A Race with Dawn 414

LIV Into the Sunlight 425

LV Know All Men By These Presents 428


[pg 1]



Barbara leaned against the palpitant rail, the light air fanning her breeze-cool cheek, her arteries beating like tiny drums, atune with the throb, throb, throb, of the steel deck as the black ocean leviathan swept on toward its harbor resting-place.

All that Japanese April day she had been in a state of tremulous excitement. She had crept from her berth at dawn to see the hazy sun come up in a Rosicrucian flush as weirdly soft as a mirage, to strain her eyes for the first filmy feather of land. Long before the gray-green wisp showed on the horizon, the sight of a lumbering junk with its square sail laced across with white stripes, and its bronze seamen, with white loin-cloth and sweat-band about the forehead, naked and thewed like sculptures, as they swayed from the clumsy tiller, had sent a thrill through her. And as the first far peaks etched themselves on the robin's-egg blue, as impalpable [pg 2] and ethereal as a perfume, she felt warm drops coming with a rush to her eyes.

For Japan, every sight and sound of it, had been woven with the earliest imaginings of Barbara's orphaned life. Her father she had never seen. Her mother she remembered only as a vague, widowed figure. In Japan they two had met and had married, and after a single year her mother had returned to her own place and people broken-hearted and alone. In the month of her return Barbara had been born. A year ago her aunt, to whom she owed the care of her young girlhood, had died, and Barbara had found herself, at twenty-three, mistress of a liberal fortune and of her own future. Japan had always exercised a potent spell over her imagination. She pictured it as a land of strange glowing trees, of queer costumes and weird, fantastic buildings. More than all, it was the land of her mother's life-romance, where her father had loved and died. There was one other tangible tie—her uncle, her mother's brother, was Episcopal bishop of Tokyo. He was returning now from a half year's visit in America, and this fact, coupled with an invitation from Patricia Dandridge, the daughter of the American Ambassador, with whom Barbara had chummed one California winter, had constituted an opportunity wholly alluring. So she found herself, on this April day, the pallid Pacific fuming away behind her, gazing with kindling cheeks on [pg 3] that shadowy background, vaguely intangible in the magical limpidity of the distance.

The land was wonderfully nearer now. The hills lay, a clear pile of washed grays and greens, with saffron tinted valleys between, wound in a haze of tender lilac. By imperceptible gradations this unfolded, caught sub-tones, ermine against umbers, of warmer red and flickering emerald, white glints of sun on surf like splashes of silver, till suddenly, spectral and perfect, above a cluster of peaks like purple gentians, glowed forth a phantom mountain, its golden wistaria cone inlaid in the deeper azure. It hung like an inverted morning-glory, mist and mother-of-pearl at the top, shading into porphyry veined with streaks of verd and jade—Fuji-San, the despair of painters, the birthplace of the ancient gods.

The aching beauty of it stung Barbara with a tender, intolerable pang. The little fishing-villages that presently came into sight, tucked into the clefts of the shore, with gray dwellings, elfishly frail, climbing the green slope behind them—the growing rice in patches of cloudy gold on the hillsides—the bluish shadows of bamboo groves—all touched her with an incommunicable delight.

A shadow fell beside her and she turned. It was her uncle. His clean-shaven face beamed at her over his clerical collar.

"Isn't it glorious?" she breathed. "It's better [pg 4] than champagne! It's like pins and needles in the tips of your fingers! There's positively an odor in the air like camelias. And did any one ever see such colors?" She pointed to the shore dead-ahead, now a serrated background of deep tones, swimming in the infinite gold of the tropic afternoon.

Bishop Randolph was a bachelor, past middle age, ruddy and with eyes softened by habitual good-humor. He was the son of a rector of a rich Virginian parish, which on his father's death had sent the son a unanimous call. He had answered, "No; my place is in Japan," without consciousness of sacrifice. For him, in the truest sense, the present voyage was a homeward one.

"Japan gets into the blood," he said musingly. "I often think of the old lady who committed suicide at Nikko. She left a letter which said: 'By favor of the gods, I am too dishonorably old to hope to revisit this jewel-glorious spot, so I prefer augustly to remain here for ever!' I have had something of the same feeling, sometimes. I remember yet the first time I saw the coast. That was twenty-five years ago. We watched it together—your father and I—just as we two are doing now."

She looked at him with sudden eagerness, for of his own accord he had never before spoken to her of her dead father. The latter had always seemed a very real personage, but how little she knew about him! The aunt who had brought her up—her [pg 5] mother's sister—had never talked of him, and her uncle she had seen but twice since she had been old enough to wonder. But, little by little, gleaning a fact here and there, she had constructed a slender history of him. It told of mingled blood, a birthplace on a Mediterranean island and a gipsy childhood. There was a thin sheaf of yellowed manuscript in her possession that had been left among her mother's scanty papers, a fragment of an old diary of his. Many leaves had been ruthlessly cut from it, but in the pages that were left she had found bits of flotsam: broken memory-pictures of his own mother which had strangely touched her, of a bitter youth in England and America overshadowed by the haunting fear of blindness, of quests to West-Indian cities, told in phrases that dripped liquid gold and sunshine. The voyage to Japan had been made on the same vessel that carried her uncle, and they two had thus become comrades. The latter had been an enthusiastic young missionary, one of a few chosen spirits sent to defend a far field-casement thrown forward by the batteries of Christendom. His sister had come out to visit him and a few months later had married his friend.

Such was the story, as Barbara knew it, of her father and mother—a love chapter which had soon closed with a far-away grave by the Inland Sea. Her fancy had made of her father a pathetic figure. As a child, she had dreamed of some day placing a [pg 6] monument to his memory in the Japanese capital. She possessed only one picture of him, a tiny profile photograph which she wore always in a locket engraved with her name. It showed a dark face, clean-shaven, finely chiseled and passionate, with the large, full eye of the dreamer. She had liked to think it looked like the paintings of St. John. Perhaps this thought had caused the projected monument to take the form of a Christian chapel. From a nebulous idea, the plan had become a bundle of blue-prints, which she had sent to her uncle, with the request that he purchase for her a suitable site and begin the building. He had done this before his visit to America and now the Chapel was completed, save in one particular—the memorial window of rich, stained-glass stowed at that moment in the ship's hold. The bishop had not seen it. From some feeling which she had not tried to analyze, Barbara had said nothing to him of the Chapel's especial significance. Now, however, at his unexpected reference, the feeling frayed, and she told him all of her plan.

He gazed at her a moment in a startled fashion, then looked away, his hand shading his eyes. When she finished there was a long pause which made her wonder. She touched his arm.

"You were very fond of father, weren't you?"

"Yes," he said, in a tone oddly restrained.

[pg 7] "And was my mother with you when he fell in love with her?"

"Yes," and after a pause: "I married them."

"Then they went to Nagasaki," she said softly, "and there—he died. You weren't there then?"

"No," he answered in a low voice. His face was still turned away, and she caught an unaccustomed note of feeling in his voice.

He left her abruptly and began to pace up and down the deck, while she stood watching the shoreline sharpen, the tangled blur of harbor resolve and shift into manifold detail. Shapeless dots had become anchored ships, a black pencil a wharf, a long yellow-gray streak a curved shore-front lined with buildings, and the warm green blotch rising behind it a foliaged hill pricked out with soft, gray roofs. There was a rush of passengers to one side, where from a brisk little tug, at whose peak floated a flag bearing a blood-red sun, a handful of spick-and-span Japanese officials were climbing the ship's ladder.

At length the bishop spoke again at her elbow, now in his usual voice: "What are you going to do with that man, Barbara?"

A faint flush rose in her cheek. "With what man?"

"Austen Ware."

She shrugged her shoulders and laughed—a little [pg 8] uneasily. "What can one do with a man when he is ten thousand miles away?"

"He's not the sort to give up a chase."

"Even a wild-goose chase?" she countered.

"When I was a boy in Virginia," he said with a humorous eye, "I used to chase wild geese, and bag 'em, too."

The bishop sauntered away, leaving a frown on Barbara's brow. She had had a swift mental vision of a cool, dark-bearded face and assured bearing that the past year had made familiar. It was a handsome face, if somewhat cold. Its owner was rich, his standing was unquestioned. The fact that he was ten years her senior had but made his attentions the more flattering. He had had no inherited fortune and had been no idler; for this she admired him. If she had not thrilled to his declaration, so far as liking went, she liked him. The week she left New York he had intended a yachting trip to the Mediterranean. When he told her, coolly enough, that he should ask her again in Japan, she had treated it as a jest, though knowing him quite capable of meaning it. From every worldly standpoint he was distinctly eligible. Every one who knew them both confidently expected her to marry Ware. Well, why not?

Yet to-day she did not ask herself the question confidently. It belonged still to the limbo of the future—to the convenient "some day" to which her [pg 9] thought had always banished it. Since she had grown she had never felt for any one the sentiment she had dreamed of in that vivid girlhood of hers, a something mixed of pride and joy, that a sound or touch would thrill with a delight as keen as pain; but unconsciously, perhaps, she had been clinging to old romantic notions.

A passenger leaning near her was whistling Sally in our Alley under his breath and a Japanese steward was emptying over the side a vase of wilted flowers. A breath of rose scent came to her, mixed with a faint smell of tobacco, and these and the whistled air awoke a sudden reminiscence. Her gaze went past the clustered shipping, beyond the gray line of buildings and the masses of foliage, and swam into a tremulous June evening seven years past.

She saw a wide campus of green sward studded with stately elms festooned with electric lights that glowed in the falling twilight. Scattered about were groups of benches each with its freight of dainty frocks, and on one of them she saw herself sitting, a shy girl of sixteen, on her first visit to a great university. Men went by in sober black gown and flat mortar-boards, young, clean-shaven, and boyish, with arms about one another's shoulders. Here and there an orange "blazer" made a vivid splash of color and groups in white-flannels sprawled beneath the trees under the perfumed haze [pg 10] of briar-wood pipes that mingled with the near-by scent of roses. From one of the balconies of the ivied dormitories that faced the green came the mellow tinkle of a mandolin and the sound of a clear tenor:

"Of all the girls that are so smart,
There's none like pretty Sally.
She is the darling of my heart—"

The groups about her had fallen silent—only one voice had said: "That's 'Duke' Daunt." Then the melody suddenly broke queerly and stopped, and the man who had spoken got up quickly and said: "I'm going in. It's time to dress anyway." And somehow his voice had seemed to break queerly, too.

Duke Daunt! The scene shifted into the next day, when she had met him for a handful of delirious moments. For how long afterward had he remained her childish idol! Time had overlaid the memory, but it started bright now at the sound of that whistled tune.

Her uncle's voice recalled her. He was handing her his binoculars. She took them, chose a spot well forward and glued her eyes to the glass.

A sigh of ecstasy came from her lips, for it brought the land almost at arm's length—the stone hatoba crowded with brown Japanese faces, pricked out here and there by the white Panama hat or pith-helmet of the foreigner; at one side a bouquet of gay [pg 11] muslin dresses and beribboned parasols flanked by a phalanx of waiting rick'sha,—the little flotilla of crimson sails at the yacht anchorage—the stately, columned front of the club on the Bund with its cool terrace of round tables—the kimono'd figures squatting under the grotesquely bent pines along the water-front, where a motor-car flashed like a brilliant mailed beetle—farther away tiny shop-fronts hung with waving figured blue and beyond them a gray billowing of tiled roofs, and long, bright, yellow-chequered streets sauntering toward a mass of glowing green from which cherry blooms soared like pink balloons. Arching over all the enormous height of the spring-time blue, and the dreamy soft witchery of the declining sun. It unfolded before her like a panorama—all the basking, many-hued, polyglot, half-tropical life—a colorful medley, queer and mysterious!

Nearer, nearer yet, the ship drew on, till there came to meet it two curved arms of breakwater, a miniature lighthouse at each side. The captain on the bridge lifted his hand, and a cheer rose from the group of male passengers below him as the anchor-chain snored through the hawse-holes.

Barbara lowered the glass from her eyes. The slow swinging of the vessel to the anchor had brought a dazzling bulk between her gaze and the shore, perilously near. She saw it now in its proper perspective—a trim steam yacht, painted white, with [pg 12] a rakish air of speed and tautness, the sun glinting from its polished brass fittings. It lay there, graceful and light, a sharp, clean contrast to the gray and yellow junk and grotesque sampan, a disdainful swan amid a noisy flock of teal and mallard.

Adjusting the focus Barbara looked. A man in naval uniform who had boarded the ship at Quarantine was pointing out the yacht to a passenger, and Barbara caught crisp bits of sentences: "You see the patches of green?—they're decorations for the Squadron that's due to-morrow. Look just beyond them. Prettiest craft I've ever seen east of the Straits.... Came in this morning. Owner's in Nara now, doing the temples.... Has a younger brother who's been out here for a year, going the pace.... They won't let private yachts lie any closer in or they'd go high and dry on empty champagne bottles."

Barbara was feeling a strange sensation of familiarity. Puzzled, she withdrew her gaze, then looked once more.

Suddenly she dropped the glass with a startled exclamation. "What are you going to do with that man?"—her uncle's query seemed to echo satirically about her. For the white yacht was Austen Ware's, and there, on the gleaming bows, in polished golden letters, was the name


[pg 13]


The day had been sluggish with the promise of summer, but the failing afternoon had brought a soft suspiration from the broad bosom of the Pacific laden with a refreshing coolness. Along the Bund, however, there was little stir. A few blocks away the foreign dive-quarter was drowsing, and only a single samisen twanged in Hep Goon's saloon, where sailors of a dozen nationalities spent their wages while in port. At the curbing, under the telegraph poles, the chattering rick'sha coolies squatted, playing Go with flat stones on a square scratched with a pointed stick in the hard, beaten ground. On the spotless mats behind their paper shoji the curio-merchants sat on their gaudy wadded cushions, while, over the glowing fire-bowls of charcoal in the inner rooms, their wives cooked the rice for the early evening meal. The office of the Grand Hotel was quiet; only a handful of loungers gossiped at the bar, and the last young lady tourist had finished her flirtation on the terrace and retired to the comfort of a stayless kimono. In the deep foliage of the "Bluff" the slanting sunlight [pg 14] caught and quivered till the green mole seemed a mighty beryl, and in its hedge-shaded lanes, dreamy as those of an English village, the clear air was pungent with tropic blooms.

On one of these fragrant byways, its front looking out across the bay, stood a small bungalow which bore over its gateway the dubious appellation "The Roost." From its enclosed piazza, over which a wistaria vine hung pale pendants, a twisted stair led to the roof, half of which was flat. This space was surrounded by a balustrade and shaded by a rounded gaily striped awning. From this airy retreat the water, far below, looked like a violet shawl edged with shimmering quicksilver and embroidered with fairy fishing junk and sampan; and the subdued voices of the street mingled, vague and undefined, with a rich dank smell of foliage, that moved silently, heavy with the odor of plum-blossoms, a gliding ghost of perfume. Thin blue-and-white Tientsin rugs and green wicker settees gave an impression of coolness and comfort; a pair of ornate temple brasses gleamed on a smoking-stand, and a rich Satsuma bowl did duty for a tobacco jar.

Under the striped awning three men were grouped about a miniature roulette table; a fourth, middle-aged and of huge bulk, with a cynical, Semitic face, from a wide arm-chair was lazily peering through the fleecy curdle of a Turkish cigarette. A fifth stood leaning against the balustrade, watching.

[pg 15] The last was tall, clean-cut and smooth-shaven, with comely head well set on broad shoulders, and gray eyes keen and alert. Possibly no one of the foreign colony (where a Secretary of Embassy was by no means a rara avis) was better liked than Duke Daunt, even by those who never attempted to be sufficiently familiar with him to call him by the nickname, which a characteristic manner had earned him in his salad days.

At intervals a player muttered an impatient exclamation or gave a monosyllabic order to the stolid Japanese servant who passed noiselessly, deftly replenishing glasses. Through all ran the droning buzz of bees in the wistaria, the recurrent rustle of the metal wheel, the nervous click of the rolling marble and the shuffle and thud of the ivory disks on the green baize. All at once the marble blundered into its compartment and one of the gamesters burst into a boisterous laugh of triumph.

As the sudden discord jangled across the silence, the big man in the arm-chair started half round, his lips twitched and a spasm of something like fright crossed his face. The glass at his elbow was empty, but he raised it and drained air, while the ice in it tinkled and clinked. He set it down and wiped his lips with a half-furtive glance about him, but the curious agitation had apparently been unnoted, and presently his face had once more regained its speculative, slightly sardonic expression.

[pg 16] Suddenly a distant gun boomed the hour of sunset. At the same instant the marble ceased its erratic career, the wheel stilled and the youngest of the gaming trio and the master of the place—Philip Ware, a graceful, shapely fellow of twenty-three, with a flushed face and nervous manner—pushed the scattered counters across the table with shaking fingers.

"My limit to-day," he said with sullen petulance, and flipping the marble angrily into the garden below, crossed to a table and poured out a brandy-and-soda.

Daunt's gray eyes had been looking at him steadily, a little curiously. He had known him seven years before at college, though the other had been in a lower class than himself. But those intervening years had left their baleful marks. At home Phil had stood only for loose habit, daring fad, and flaunting mannerism—milestones of a career as completely dissolute as a consistent disregard of conventional moral thoroughfares could well make it. To Yokohama he was rapidly coming to be, in the eyes of the censorious, an example for well-meaning youth to avoid, an incorrigible flanêur, a purposeless idler on the primrose paths.

"Better luck next time," said one of the others lightly. "Come along, Larry; we'll be off to the club."

The older man rose to depart more deliberately, [pg 17] his great size becoming apparent. He was framed like a wrestler, abnormal width of shoulder and massive head giving an effect of weight which contrasted oddly with aquiline features in which was a touch of the accipitrine, something ironic and sinister, like a vulture. His eyes were dappled yellow and deep-set and had a peculiar expression of cold, untroubled regard. He crossed to the farther side and looked down.

"What a height!" he said. "The whole harbor is laid out like a checker-board." He spoke in a tone curiously dead and lacking in timbre. His English was perfect, with a trace of accent.

"Pretty fair," assented Phil morosely. "It ought to be a good place to view the Squadron, when it comes in to-morrow morning. It must have cost the Japanese navy department a pretty penny to build those temporary wharves along the Bund. They must be using a thousand incandescents! By the decorations you'd think the Dreadnaughts were Japan's long lost brothers, instead of battle-ships of a country that's likely to have a row on with her almost any minute. I wonder where they will anchor."

The yellowish eyes had been gazing with an odd, intent glitter, and into the heavy, pallid face, turned away, had sprung sharp, evil lines, that seemed the shadows of some monstrous reflection on which the mind had fed. Its sudden, wicked vitality was in [pg 18] strange contrast to the toneless voice, which now said: "They will lie just opposite this point."

"So far in?" The young man leaning on the balustrade spoke interestedly.

"It seems as though from here one could almost shoot a pea aboard any one of them."

"You might send me up some sticks of Shimosé, Doctor," said Phil with satiric humor, "and I'll practise. I'll begin by shying a few at this forsaken town; it needs it!"

The big man smiled faintly as he withdrew his eyes, and held out his hand to the remaining visitor. The degrading lines had faded from his face.

"I'm distinctly glad to have seen you, Mr. Daunt," he said. "I've watched your trials with your aëroplane more than once lately at the parade-ground. I saw the elder Wright at Paris last year and I believe your flight will prove as well sustained as his. It's a pity you can't compete for some of the European prizes."

"I'm afraid that would take me out of the amateur class," was the answer. "It's purely an amusement with me—a fad, if you like."

"A very useful one," said the other, "unless you break your neck at it. I wonder we haven't met before in Tokyo. I have an appointment to-night, by the way, with your Ambassador. Come in to see me soon," he said, turning to Phil. "I'm at home most of the time. Come and dine with me again. [pg 19] I've only an indifferent cook, as you have discovered, I'm afraid, but my new boy Ishida can make a famous cup of coffee and I can always promise you a good cigar."

"Doctor Bersonin's the real thing!" said Phil, when the other had disappeared. "He's a scientist—the biggest in his line—but he's no prig. He believes in enjoying life. You ought to see his villa at Kisaraz on the Chiba Road. He's worth a million, they say, and he must make no end of money as a government expert." He paused, then added: "You seem mighty quiet to-night! How does he strike you?"

Daunt was silent. He had seen that strange look that had shot across the expert's face—at the sound of a laugh! He was wondering, too, what attraction could exist between this middle-aged scientist with his cold eyes and emotionless voice and Phil, sparkling and irresponsible black-sheep and ne'er-do-well, who thought of nothing but his own coarse pleasures. Frequently, of late, he had seen them together, at theater or tea-house, and once in Bersonin's motor-car in Shiba Park in Tokyo.

"You don't like him! I can see that well enough," went on Phil aggressively. "Why not? He's a lot above any man I know, and I'm proud to have him for a friend of mine."

"There's no accounting for tastes," returned Daunt dryly. "At any rate, I don't imagine it matters [pg 20] particularly whether I like Doctor Bersonin or not. There's another thing that's more apropos." He pointed to the decanter in the other's hands. "You've had enough of that to-night, I should think."

Phil reddened. "I've had no more than I can carry, if it comes to that," he retorted. "And I guess I'm able to take care of myself."

Daunt hesitated a moment. To-day's call had been a part of his consistent effort, steadily growing more irksome, to keep alive for the sake of the old college name, the quasi friendship between them and to invoke whatever influence he might once have possessed.

"I'm thinking of your brother," he said quietly. "You say his yacht came into harbor from Kobe to-day. He'll scarcely be more than a week in the temple cities, and any train may bring him after that. You'll want all the time you've got to straighten out. You'll need to put your best foot forward."

A look that was not pleasant shot across Phil's face. "I suppose I shall," he said savagely. "A pretty brother he is! He wrote me from home that if he found I'd been playing, he'd cut his allowance to me to twenty dollars a week. I'd like to knock that smile of his down his throat—the cold-blooded fish! He spends enough!"

"He's earned it, I understand," said Daunt.

[pg 21] "So will I, perhaps, after I've had my fling. I'm in no hurry, and I won't take orders always from him! I've had to knuckle down to him all my life, and I'm precious tired of it, I can tell you."

Daunt's eyes had turned to the broad expanse below, where the white sails of vagrant sampan drifted. In the road he could hear the sharp tap-tap of a blind amma—adept in the Japanese massage which coaxes soreness from the body—as he passed slowly along, feeling his way with his stick and from time to time sounding on his metal flute his characteristic double note. Across the moment's silence the sound came clear and bird-like, very shrill and sweet.

"What business is it of his," Phil added, "if I choose to stay out here in the East?"

Daunt withdrew his gaze. "Take his advice, Phil," he said. "The East isn't doing you any good. You're doing nothing but dissipate. And—it doesn't pay."

Phil gave a short, sneering laugh. "Why shouldn't I stay abroad if I can have more fun here than I can at home?" he returned. "If I had my way, I'd never want to see the United States again! This country suits me at present. When I get tired, I'll leave—if I can raise enough to get out of town."

A flush had risen to Daunt's forehead, but he turned away without reply. At the stair, however, he spoke again:

[pg 22] "Look here, Phil," he said, coming slowly back. "Why not come up to Tokyo for a while? It's—quieter, and it will be a change. I have a little Japanese house in Aoyama that I leased as a place to work on my Glider models, but I don't use it now, and it's fairly well furnished. The caretaker is an excellent cook, too." He took a key from its ring and laid it on the table. "Let me leave this anyway—the address is on the label—and do as you like about it."

Phil looked at him an instant with narrowing eyes, then laughed. "Tokyo as a gentle sedative, eh? And pastoral visitations every other day!"

"You needn't be afraid of that," replied Daunt. "I'll not come to lecture you. I haven't set foot in the place for a month, and probably shan't for a month to come. Go up and try it, anyway. Drop the Bund and the races for a little while and get a grip on things!"

Phil looked away. A sudden memory came to him of a face he had seen in Tokyo—at one of the matsuri or ward-festivals—a girl's face, oval and pensive and with a smile like a flash of sunlight. Her kimono had been all of holiday colors, and he had tried desperately to pick acquaintance, with poor success. A second time he had seen her, on the beach at Kamakura. Then she had worn a kimono of rich brown, soft and clinging, and an obi stamped with yellow maple leaves and fastened with a little [pg 23] silver clasp in the shape of a firefly. She was with a party of girls bent on frolic; they had discarded the white cleft tabi and clog and were splashing through the surf bare-kneed. He could see yet the foam on the perfect naked feet, and below the lifted kimono and red petticoat, the gleam of the white skin that is the dream of Japanese women. A flush crept over Phil's face as he remembered. He had had better success that time. She had dropped her swinging clog and he had rescued it, and won a word of thanks and a smile from her dark eyes. She herself had unbent little, but the girls with her were full of frolic and the handsome foreigner was an adventure. He had discovered that she spoke English and lived in Tokyo, in the ward of the matsuri. But though he had strolled through that district a score of times since, he had not seen her again.

"You're not a bad sort, Daunt," he said. "I don't know but I—will."

"Good," said Daunt. "I'll send a chit to my caretaker the first thing in the morning, and I'll put your name on the visitors' list at the Tokyo Club. Well, I must be off."

Phil saw him cross the fragrant close to the gate with a growing sneer. Then he threw himself on a chair and gazed moodily out across the deepening haze to where, just inside the harbor breakwater, [pg 24] lay the white yacht of whose coming Daunt had spoken.

A bitter scowl was on his face. Far below, at a little wharf, he could see a tiny red triangle; it marked his sail-boat, the Fatted-Calf, so christened at a tea-house on the river where he and other choice spirits maintained the club whose geisha suppers had become notorious. Japan, to his way of life, had proven expensive. He had drawn on every available resource and had borrowed more than he liked to remember, but still his debts had grown. And now, with the coming of the white yacht, he saw a lowering danger to the allowance on which he abjectly depended. He knew his brother for one whom no plea could sway from a determination, who on occasion could hew to the line with merciless exactitude. Suppose he should cut off his allowance altogether. An ugly passion stole over his countenance. He sprang up, filled a glass from the decanter and drank it thirstily. With the instant glow of the liquor his mood relaxed. He picked up the key from the table and stood thoughtfully swinging it a moment by its wooden label. Then he put it in his pocket and, looking at his watch, caught up a straw hat and went briskly down to the street.

He swung down the steep, twisting, ravine-like road to the Bund with less of ill-humor. He had no thought of the dark blue sky arching over, soft with [pg 25] vapors like a smoke of gold, or of the glimpses of the sea that came in sharp bursts of light between the curving walls that towered on either side. He sniffed the thick, Eastern smells as a cat sniffs catnip, his eye searching the stream of brown, shouting coolies and toiling rick'sha, to linger on a satiny oval face under a shining head-dress, or the powdered cheek of a gold-brocaded geisha on her way to some noble's feast.

At the foot of the hill, stood a sign-board on which was pasted a large bill in yellow:






He paused in front of this a moment, then passed to the Bund. At its upper end, near the hotel front, great floating wharves had been built out into the water. They were gaily trimmed with bunting and electric lights in geometrical designs, and were flanked by arches covered with twigs of ground-pine. A small army of workmen were still busied on them, for the European Squadron in whose honor they had been erected would arrive at dawn the next morning. Just beyond the arches, under a row of twisted pines, were a number of park benches, [pg 26] and from one of these a girl with a beribboned parasol greeted him.

"You're a half hour late, Phil," she complained. "I've been waiting here till I'm tired to death." She made place for him with a rustle of flounces. She was showily dressed, her cheeks bore the marks of habitual grease-paint and the fingers of one over-ringed hand were slightly yellowed from cigarette smoke.

"Hello, Cissy," he said carelessly, and sat down beside her. In his mind was still the picture of that oval Japanese face suffused with pink, those pretty bare feet splashing through the foam, and he looked sidewise at his companion with an instant's sullen distaste.

"I had another row with the manager to-day," she continued. "I told him he must think his company was a kindergarten!"

"Trust you to set him right in that," he answered satirically.

"My word!" she exclaimed. "How glum you are to-day! Same old poverty, I suppose." She rose and shook out her skirts. "Come," she said. "There's no play to-night. I'm in for a lark. Let's go to the Jewel-Fountain Tea-House. They've got a new juggler there."

[pg 27]


In the first touch of the shore, where the Ambassador's pretty daughter waited, Barbara's problem had been swept away. Patricia had rushed to meet her, embraced her, with a moist, ecstatic kiss on her cheek, rescued the bishop from his ordeal of hand-shaking and carried him off to find their trunks, leaving Barbara borne down by a Babel of sound and scent whose newness made her breathless, and to whose manifold sensations she was as keenly alive as a photographic plate to color.

A half-dozen gnarled, unshaven porters in excessively shabby jackets and straw sandals carried her hand-baggage into the hideously modern, red-brick custom-house, over whose entrance a huge golden conventionalized chrysanthemum shone in the sunlight, and as she watched them, a dapper youth in European dress, with a shining brown derby, a bright purple neck-tie, a silver-mounted cane and teeth eloquent of gold bridge-work, slid into her hand a card whose type proclaimed that Mr. Y. Nakajima "did the guiding for foreign ladies and gentlemans." The air was fragrant with the mild [pg 28] aroma from tiny Japanese pipes and a-flutter with moving fans. A group of elderly men in hot frock-coats and tiles of not too modern vintage were welcoming a returning official, and sedate gentlemen in sad-colored houri and spotless cleft foot-wear, bowed double in stately ceremonial, with the sucking-in of breath which in the old-fashioned Japanese etiquette means "respectful awe bordering on terror."

Barbara had found herself singularly conscious of a feeling of universal good-nature. It came to her even in the posture of the resting coolies, stretched at the side of the quay, lazily sunning themselves, with whiffs of the omnipresent little pipe, and in the faces of the bare-legged rick'sha men, with round hats like bobbing mushrooms, arms and chests glistening with sweat, and thin towels printed in black and blue designs tucked in their girdles. She smiled at them, and they smiled back at her with that unvarying smile which the Japanese of every caste wears to wedding and to funeral. She even caught herself patting the tonsured head of a preternaturally solemn baby swaddled in a variegated kimono and strapped to the back of a five-year-old boy.

The rick'sha ride to the stenshun (for so the Japanese has adapted the English word "station") was a moving panorama of strange high lights and shades, of savory odors from bake-ovens, of open [pg 29] shop-fronts hung with gaudy figured crape, or piled with saffron biwa, warty purple melons, ebony eggplant, shriveled yellow peppers and red Hokkaido apples, of weighted carts drawn by chanting half-naked coolies, and swiftly gliding victorias of Europeans. From a hundred houses in the long, narrow streets hung huge gilded sign-boards, painted with idiographs of black and red. At intervals the tall stone front of a foreign business building looked down on its neighbors, or a tea-house towered three stories high, showing gay little verandas on which stood pots of flowers and dwarf trees; between were smaller houses of frame and of cement, and thick-walled go-downs for storing goods against fire.

Here and there, from behind a gateway of unpainted wood, showing a delicate grain, a pine thrust up its needled clump of green, or a cherry-tree flung its pink pyrotechnics against the sky's flood of dimming blue and gold. At a crossing a deformed beggar with distorted face and the featureless look of the leper, waved a crutch and wheedled from the roadside, and a child in dun-colored rags, unbelievably agile and dirty, ran ahead of Barbara's rick'sha, prostrating himself again and again in the dust, holding out grimy hands and whining for a sen. In the side streets Barbara could catch glimpses of bare-breasted women sitting in shop doors nursing babies, and [pg 30] children of a larger growth playing Japanese hopscotch or tossing "diavolo," the latest foreign toy.

When the rick'sha set them down at the station she felt bewildered, yet full of exhilaration. As they drew up at its stone front, a porter with red cap and brass buttons emerged and began to ring a heavy bell, swinging it back and forth in both hands. The bishop bought their tickets at a little barred window bearing over it the sign: "Your baggages will be sent freely in every direction."

Making their way along the platform, crowded with Japanese, mostly in native dress, and filled with the aroma of cigarettes and the thin ringing of innumerable wooden clogs on stone flags, Barbara was conscious for the first time of a studious surveillance. A young Japanese passed her carrying his bent and wizened mother on his back; the old woman, clutching him tightly about the neck, turned her shaven head to watch. Children in startling rainbow tinted kimono stared from the platform with round, serious eyes. A peasant woman, with teeth brilliantly blackened, peered from a car window, and a group of young men turned bodily and regarded her with gravely observant gaze, in a prolonged, unwinking scrutiny that seemed as innocent of courtesy as of any intent to offend. In European cities she had felt the gaze of other races, but this was different. It was not the curious study of a phenomenon, of an enduring puzzle of far origins, [pg 31] nor the expression of the ignorant, vacantly amused by what they do not understand; it was a deeper look of inner placidity, that held no wonder and no awe, and somehow suggested thoughts as ancient as the world. A curious sense began to possess Barbara of having left behind her all familiar every-day things, of being face to face with some new wonder, some brooding mystery which she could not grasp.

They entered the car just behind an ample lady who had been among the ship's passengers—a good-natured, voluble Cook's tourist who, the second day out, had confided to Barbara her certainty of an invitation to the Imperial Cherry-Blossom party, as her husband had "a friend in the litigation." She wore a painted-muslin, and the husband of influential acquaintance and substantial, red-bearded person showed now a gleaming expanse of white waistcoat crossed by a gold watch-chain that might have restrained a tiger. The lady nodded and smiled beamingly.

"Isn't it all perfectly splendid!" she cried. "There was a baby on the platform that was too sweet!—for all the world like the Japanese dolls we buy at home, with their hair shingled and a little round spot shaved right in the crown! My husband tried to give it a silver dollar, but the mother just smiled and bowed and went away and left it lying on the bench." She found a seat and fanned herself [pg 32] vigorously with a handkerchief. "I just thought I never would get through that car door," she added. "It's only two feet across!"

The road was narrow gage and the seats ran the length of the car on either side. Hardly had its occupants settled themselves when, to the shrill piping of a horn, the train started.

"Goodness, this is a relief!" sighed Patricia, as the bishop opened the first Japanese newspaper he had seen for many months. "I hate rick'sha—they're such unsociable things! I haven't said ten words to you, Barbara, and I've got oceans to talk about. But I'll be merciful till I get you home. What a good-looking youth that is in the corner!"

The young man referred to had a light skin and long, almond-shaped eyes. He wore a suit of gray merino underwear, and between the end of the drawers and the white, cleft sock, an inch of polished skin was visible. His hat was a modish felt. His houri, which bore a woven crest on breast and sleeves, swung jauntily open and above his left ear was coquettishly disposed an unlighted cigarette. Next him, under a brass rack piled with bright-patterned carpet-bags, an old lady in dove-colored silk was placidly inflating a rubber air-cushion. Her face had an artificial delicacy of nuance that was a triumph of rice-powder and rouge. Beside her was a girl of perhaps eighteen, in a kimono of dark blue and an obi of gold brocade. The latter wore white [pg 33] silk "mits" with bright metal trimming and on one slender finger was a diamond ring. Her hands were delicately artistic and expressive, and her complexion as soft as the white wing of a miller. She gazed steadfastly away, but now and then her sloe-black eyes returned to study Barbara's foreign gown and hat with surreptitious attention.

"What complexions!" whispered Patricia. "The old lady made hers this morning, sitting flat on a white mat in front of a camphor-wood dressing-chest about two feet high, with twenty drawers and a round steel mirror on top. It beats a hare's-foot, doesn't it! The daughter's is natural. If I had been born with a skin like that, it would have changed my whole disposition!"

Having settled her air-cushion, the old lady drew from her girdle a lacquer case and produced a pipe—a thin reed with a tiny silver bowl at its end. A flat box yielded a pinch of tobacco as fine as snuff. This she rolled between her fingers into a ball the size of a small pea, placed it carefully in the bowl and began to smoke. Each puff she inhaled with a lingering inspiration and emitted it slowly, in a thin curdled cloud, from her nostrils. Three puffs, and the tiny coal was exhausted. She tapped the pipe gently against the edge of the seat, put it back into the case and replaced the latter in her girdle. Then, tucking up her feet under her on the plush seat, she turned her back to the aisle and went to sleep.

[pg 34] Three students in the uniform of some lower school with foreign jackets of blue-black cloth set off with brass buttons, sat in a row on the opposite side. Each had a cap like a cadet's, with a gilt cherry-blossom on its front, and all watched Barbara movelessly. The man nearest her wore a round straw hat and horn spectacles. He was reading a vernacular newspaper, intoning under his breath with a monotonous sing-song, like the humming of a bumblebee. Between them a little boy sat on the edge of the seat, his clogs hanging from the thong between his bare toes, the sleeves of his kimono bulging with bundles. He stared as if hypnotized at a curl of Barbara's bronze hair which lay against the cushion. Once he stretched out a hand furtively to touch it, but drew it back hastily.

"If I could only talk to him!" Barbara exclaimed. "I want to know the language. Tell me, Patsy—how long did it take you to learn?"

"I?" cried Patricia in comical amazement. "Heavens and earth, I haven't learned it! I only know enough to badger the servants. You have to turn yourself inside out to think Japanese, and then stand on your head to talk it."

"Never mind, Barbara," said the bishop, looking up from his newspaper. "You can learn it if you insist on it. Haru would be a capital teacher—bless my soul, I believe I forgot to tell you about her!"

"Who is Haru?" asked Barbara.

[pg 35] "She's a young Japanese girl, the daughter of the old samurai who sold us the land for the Chapel. The family is a fine old one, but of frayed fortune. I was greatly interested in her, chiefly, perhaps, because she is a Christian. She became so with her father's consent, though he is a Buddhist. She isn't of the servant class, of course, but I thought—if you liked—she would make an ideal companion for you while you are learning Tokyo."

"I know Haru," said Patricia. "She's a dear! She's as pretty as a picture, and her English is too quaint!"

"It would be lovely to have her," Barbara answered. "You're a very thoughtful man, Uncle Arthur. Are you sure she'll want to?"

"I'll send her a note and ask her to come to you at the Embassy this evening. Then—all aboard for the Japanese lessons!"

"No such wisdom for me, thank you," said Patricia. "I prefer to take mine in through the pores. All the Japanese officials speak English anyway, just as much as the diplomatic corps. By the way, there's Count Voynich, the Servian Chargé." She nodded toward the farther end of the carriage where a bored-looking European plaintively regarded the landscape through a monocle. "He's nice," she added reflectively, "but he's a dyspeptic. I caught him one night at a dinner dropping a capsule into his soup. He has a cabinet with three [pg 36] hundred Japanese nets'kés—they're the little ivory carvings on the strings of tobacco-pouches. He didn't speak to me for a month once because I said it looked like a dental exhibition. Almost every secretary has a fad, and that's his. Ours has an aëroplane. He practises on it nearly every day on the parade-ground. The pudgy woman in the other corner with a cockatoo in her hat is Mrs. Sturgis, the wife of the big exporter. She wears red French heels and calls her husband 'papa'."

Barbara's laughter was infectious. It caught the bishop. It reflected itself even on the demure face of the Japanese girl, and the serious youths opposite giggled openly in sympathy.

"I do envy you your first impressions!" exclaimed Patricia. "I've been here so long that I've forgotten mine. It seems perfectly natural now for people to live in houses made of bird-cages and paper napkins, and travel about in grown-up baby-buggies, and to see men walking around with bare legs and oil-skin umbrellas. It's like the sea-shore at home, I suppose—you get used to it."

The train had stopped at a suburb and guards went by proclaiming its name in a musical guttural, their voices dwelling insistently on the long-drawn, last syllable. The next carriage was a third-class one with bare floors and wooden benches, set crosswise. Through the opened door Barbara could see its crowd of brown faces, keen and saturnine. On [pg 37] its front seat a heavy-featured, lumpish coolie woman was nursing a three-year-old baby, holding it to her bared breast with red and roughened hands. Just outside the station's white-washed fence, a clump of factory chimneys spouted pitchy smoke into the dimming sky, and the descending sun glistened from a monster gas-tank. Farther away, beyond clipped hedges, lay thatched roofs, looking as soft as mole-skin, with wild flowers growing on the ridges, and bamboo clumps soaring above them, like pale green ostrich-feathers yellow at the tips. Through the open window came the treble note of a girl singing.

A man passed hastily through the carriage leaving a trail of small pamphlets bound in green paper with gold lettering—an advertisement of a health resort, printed in English for the tourist. Barbara opened one curiously. She looked up with a merry eye.

"Here's a paragraph for you, Uncle Arthur," she said. "Listen:

"'This place has other modern monuments, first and second-class hotels and many sea-scapes. In one quarter are a number of missionaries, but they can easily be avoided.'"

"Do let us credit that to difficulties of the language," he protested. "I'm sure that must have been meant complimentarily."

[pg 38] "But what a contradiction!" put in Patricia wickedly.

"Well," he retorted. "My baker has a sign on his wagon, 'The biggest loafer in Tokyo.' He means that well, too."

A shrill whistle, a slamming of doors, and now the gray roofs fell away. On one side the steel road all but dipped in the bay. Wild ducks drew startled wakes across the rippleless lagoon. On a sand-bar a flock of gray and white gulls disported, looking at a distance like pied bathers; and about an anchored fishing boat, a dozen naked urchins were splashing with shrill cries. Far across the inlet, hazy, vapory, visionary, Barbara could make out a farther shore, an outline in violets and opalines, coifed with lilac cloud, and in the mid-azure a high-pooped junk swam by, a shape of misty gold, palely drawn in wan, blue light.

On the other side the train was rounding grassy hills, terraced to the very tops. Laid against their steep sides, or standing upright on wooden framework, were occasional huge advertisements in red or white—Chinese characters or pictures—while flowering camelia trees and small green-yellow shrubs drew lengthening blue shadows. A high tressle spanned acres of orchard where continuous trellis made a carpet of growing fruit, across which Barbara saw far away the bold outline of bluish hills.

[pg 39] They were crossing flooded rice-fields now, like gigantic crazy checker-boards, and the air was musical with the low, chirring chorus of frogs. Shades of orange light played over the marshes, bars of rape braided them with vivid yellow, and on the narrow, curving partitions between the burnished squares, round stacks of garnered straw stood like crawfish chimneys. Amid them peasants worked with broad-bladed mattocks, knee-deep in mud. They were blue clad, with white cloths bound about their heads, and some had sashes of crimson. Here and there, naked to the thighs, a boy trod a water-wheel between the terraced levels. At intervals a refractory rock-hillock served as excuse for a single twisted pine-tree shading a carved tablet to some Shinto divinity, or a steep bluff sheltered a tiny shrine of unpainted wood; and all along the way, shining canals drew silver ribbons through the paddy-fields, and little arrowy flights of birds darted hither and thither.

Occasionally they passed small, neat stations, each with its white sign-boards bearing long liquid names in English, and queer Japanese characters. Opposite one, on a sloping hill that was a mass of deep glowing green, Patricia pointed out the peaked roofs of a cluster of temples, the shrine of some century-dead Buddhist saint. Barbara began to realize that these fields through which this modern train was gliding were old Japan, that in those blue hills [pg 40] had been nurtured the ancient legends she had read, of famous two-sworded samurai, of swaggering bandits and pleasure-loving shogun, and of tea-house geisha who danced their way into daimyo's palaces. The spell of the land, whose sheer beauty had thrilled her on the ship, drew her closer with the threads of memories almost forgotten.

Its contrasts were wonderful. They spoke of primary and unmixed emotions, that lisped themselves through the fading golden sunlight, the moist, dreamy air, the graceful outlines of roof and tree. In the west the sun was declining toward a range of hills jagged as the teeth of a bear. Their tops were pale as cloud and their bases melted into an ebony line of forest. The plain below was a winey purple, with slashes of red earth gorges like fresh wounds, and one side had the cloudy color of raspberries crushed in curdled milk. The farther range seemed a part of a far-off painted curtain, tinted in pastels, and high above a milky cloud floated, curling like a lace scarf about the opal crest of Fuji, mysteriously blue and dim as an Arctic summer sea.

Barbara glimpsed it, the very spirit of beauty, between the whirling shadows of pine and camphor trees, between tiled walls guarding thatched temples, flights of gray pigeons and spurts of pink cherry-blossom. As she leaned out, and the pines bowed rhythmically, and the water-wheels turned [pg 41] in the furrows, and the yellow-green of the bamboo, the purple-indigo of the hills and the golden-pink of the cherries lifting, above the hedges, went by like raveling skeins of a tapestry—that majestic Presence, ghostly and splendid above the wild contour of hill and mountain, seemed to call to her.

And across the gorgeous landscape, rejoicing from every rift and crevice of its moist soil, in its colors of rich red earth and green foliage, in the grace and vigor of its springing, resilient bamboo groves and the cardinal pride of its flowering camelias, Barbara's heart answered the call.

[pg 42]


The slowing of the train awoke Barbara from her reverie. The three boy students got out, casting sidelong glances at her. More Japanese entered, and two foreigners—a bright-faced girl on the arm of a keen-eyed, soldierly man with bristling white hair, a mustache like a walrus, and a military button. The girl's hands were full of cherry-branches, whose bunches of double blossoms, incredibly thick and heavy, filled the car with a delicate fragrance. The bishop folded his newspaper and put it into his pocket.

As he did so the owner of the expansive waistcoat leaned across the aisle and addressed him.

"Say, my friend," he said, "you've lived out here some time, I understand."

"Yes," the bishop replied. "Twenty-five years."

"Well, I take it, then, you ought to know this country right down to the ground; and if you don't mind, I'd like to ask a question or two."

"Do," said the bishop. "I'll be glad to answer if I can."

[pg 43] The other got up and took a seat opposite. "You see," he pursued confidentially, "I came on this trip just for a rest and to settle the bills for the curios my wife"—he indicated the lady, who had now moved up beside him—"thinks she'd like to look at back home. But I've been getting interested by the minute. It's quite some time since I went to school, and I guess there hadn't so much happened then to Japan. I wish you'd run down the scale for me—just to hit the high places. Now there was a big rumpus here, I remember, at the time of our Civil War. They chose a new Emperor, didn't they?"

"No. The dynasty has been unbroken for two thousand years."

"Two thousand years!" cried the lady. "Why, that's before Christ!"

"When our ancestors, Martha, were painting themselves up in yellow ochre and carrying clubs—what was the row about, then?"

"It was something like this. To go back a little, the Emperor was always the nominal ruler and spiritual head, but the temporal power was administered by a self-decreed Viceroy called the shogun. Japan was a closed country and only a little trading was allowed in certain ports."

His questioner nodded. The girl beside the white-haired old soldier had touched the latter's sleeve, and both were listening attentively. "Then Perry [pg 44] came along and kicked open the gate. Bombarded 'em, didn't he?"

The bishop's eyes twinkled. "Only with gifts. He brought a small printing-press, a toy telegraph line and a miniature locomotive and railroad track. He set up these on the beach and showed the officials whom the shogun's government sent to treat with him, how they worked. In the end he made them understand the immense value of the scientific advancement of the western world. The visit was an eye-opener, and the wiser Japanese realized that the nation couldn't exist under the old régime any longer. It must make general treaties and adopt new ideas. Some, on the other hand, wanted things to stay as they were."

"Pulling both ways, eh?"

"Yes. At length the progressists decided on a sweeping measure. Under the shogunate, the daimyos (they were the great landed nobles) had been in a continual state of suppressed insurrection."

"Some wouldn't knuckle down to the shogun, I suppose."

"Exactly. There was no national rallying-point. But they all alike revered their Emperor. In all the bloody civil wars of a thousand years—and the Japanese were always fighting, like Europe in the Middle Ages—no shogun ever laid violent hands on the Emperor. He was half divine, you see, [pg 45] descended from the ancient gods, a living link between them and modern men. So now they proposed to give him complete temporal power, make him ruler in fact, and abolish the shogunate entirely."

"Phew! And the big daimyos came into line on the proposition?"

"They poured out their blood and their money like water for the new cause. The shogun himself voluntarily relinquished his power and retired to private life."

"Splendid!" said the stranger, and the girl clapped her gloved hands. "So that was the 'Restoration,' the beginning of Meiji, whatever that may mean?"

"The 'Era of Enlightenment.' The present Emperor, Mutsuhito, was a boy of sixteen then. They brought him here to Yedo, and renamed it Tokyo——"

"And proceeded to get reeling drunk on western notions," said the man with the military button, smiling grimly. "I was out here in the Seventies."

"True, sir," assented the bishop. "It was so, for a time. And the opposition took refuge in riot, assassination, and suicide. But gradually Japan worked the modernization scheme out. She sent her young statesmen to Europe and America to study western systems of education, jurisprudence and art. She hired an army of experts from all over the world. She sent her cleverest lads to foreign universities. [pg 46] In the end she chose what seemed to her the best from all. Her military ideas come from Germany and her railroad cars from the town of Pullman, Illinois. When the best didn't suit her, she invented a system of her own, as she has done with wireless telegraphy."

"So!" said the other. "I'm greatly obliged to you, sir. I've read plenty in the newspapers, but I never had it put so plain. It strikes me," he added to the old soldier, "that a nation plucky enough to do this in fifty years, in fifty more will make some other nations get a move on." He brought a big fist smashing down in an open palm. "And, by gad! the Japanese deserve all they get! When we go back I guess me and Martha won't march in any anti-Jap torch-light processions, anyway!"

The fields were gone now. The train was rumbling along a canal teeming with laden sampan, level with the paper shoji of frail-looking houses on its opposite bank. Beyond lay a sea of roofs, swelling gray billows of tiling spotted with green foam, from which steel factory chimneys lifted like the black masts of sunken ships. A leafy hill of cryptomeria rose near-by, and an octagonal stone tower peeped above its foliage. Crows were circling about it, black dots against the bronze. The train was entering Tokyo.

A door slammed sharply. From the forward smoking carriage a man had entered. He was an [pg 47] European and Barbara was struck at once by his great size and the absence of color in his leaden face. The bored-looking diplomatist in the corner gathered himself hastily into a bow, which the other acknowledged abstractedly. Seemingly he had been occupied in some intent speculation which spread a kind of glaze over his sharp features. A book drooped carelessly from his heavy fingers.

"That is Doctor Bersonin," said the bishop, as the girls collected their wraps. "He came just before I left, last fall. He is the government expert, and is supposed to be one of the greatest living authorities on explosives."

"Oh, yes," said Patricia, "I know. He invented a dynamo or a torpedo, or something. I saw him once at a reception; he had a foreign decoration as big as a dinner-plate."

The big man made his way slowly along the aisle and, still absorbed, took a dust-coat from a rack. As he ponderously drew it on, the daylight was suddenly eclipsed, and the rumbling reëchoed from metal roofing. They were in Shimbashi Station.

"Isn't he simply odious!" whispered Patricia, as the expert stepped before them on to the long, dusky, asphalt platform. "His eyes are like a cat's and his hands look as if they wanted to crawl, like big white spiders! There is the Embassy betto," she said suddenly, pointing over the turnstile, where stood a Japanese boy in a wide-winged kimono of [pg 48] tea-colored pongee with crimson facings and a crimson mushroom hat. "The carriage is just outside. You'll come, too, of course, Bishop," she added. "Father will expect you."

He shook his head and motioned toward a dense assemblage comprising a half dozen of his own race in clerical black, and a half hundred kimono'd Japanese, whose faces seemed one composite smile of welcome. "There is a part of my flock," he said. "There will be a jubilation at my bachelor palace to-night. I shall see you to-morrow, I hope."

They watched him for a moment, the center of a ceremonious ring of bowing figures, then passed through the station to the steps where the carriage waited.

The station debouched on to a broad open square bordered with canals and lined with ranks of rick'sha, some of which had small red flags with the name of a hotel in white letters, in English. The space was gray and dusty; pedestrians dotted it and across it a bent and sweating street-sprinkler hauled his ugly trickling cart, chanting in a half-tone as he went. A little distance away Barbara caught a glimpse of a busy paved street, lined with ambitious glass shop-fronts and with a double line of clanging trolley-cars passing to and fro beneath a maze of telegraph wires seemingly as fine as pack-thread. Her nostrils twitched with strange odors—from stagnant moats of sticky, black mud, from panniers of dressed [pg 49] fish, from the rice-powder and pomade of women's toilets—all the scents bred in swarming streets by a glowing tropic sun.

At one side waited a handful of foreign carriages. All the drivers of these wore the loose, flapping liveries and the round hats of green or crimson or blue. "They are Embassy turn-outs," explained Patricia. "Each one has its color, you see. Ours is red and you can see it farthest." As they took their seats an open victoria rolled up, with cobalt-blue wheels, and a betto with a kimono of dark cloth trimmed with wide strips of the same hue ran ahead, clearing the way with raucous cries. "There goes the Bulgarian Minister's wife," said Patricia. "She's got the finest pearls in Tokyo."

A hundred yards from the entrance the Embassy carriage halted abruptly and Barbara caught her companion's arm with a low exclamation. At the side of the square, seated or reclining on the ground was a body of perhaps eighty men dressed in a deadly brownish-yellow, the hue of iron-rust, with coarse hats and rough straw sandals. They were disposed in lines, a handcuff was on each left wrist, and a thin, rattling iron chain linked all together.

"They are convicts," said Patricia; "on their way to the copper mines, I imagine. They will move presently and we can pass."

At the head of the melancholy platoon stood an officer in dark blue cloth uniform and clumsy shoes, [pg 50] a sword by his side. He stood motionless as an idol, his sparse mustaches waxed, his visored cap set square on his crisp, black hair, his bronze face impassive. The prisoners looked on stolidly at the stir of the station, the flying rick'sha, the crowded sampan in the canal, and the noisy trolley-cars passing near-by. Some talked in low tones and pointed here and there, with furtive glances at the officer. Barbara noted their different expressions, some stolid, low-browed and featureless, some with side-looks of sharper cunning, all touched with oriental apathy.

A bell now began to clamor in the train-shed and there came the rasping hoot of an engine. The officer turned, gave a sharp order, and the prisoners rose, with light clanking of their chains. Another order, and they moved, in double lines of single file, into the station.

Patricia heaved a sigh of relief as the halted traffic started. "Hyaku, Tucker," she called to the driver. "Hyaku means quickly," she explained aside. "His name is Taka, but I call him Tucker because it's easier to remember."

As they rolled swiftly on, through the wondrous panorama of teeming Tokyo streets, the sun hung, an elongated globe of deep orange-crimson, streaked with little whips of rosy cloud. Beneath it the mountains lay like coiled, purple dragons, indolent and surfeited. One star twinkled palely in the [pg 51] lemon-colored sky. Yet now to Barbara the splendor of color seemed tragic, the poured-out beauty but a veil, behind which moved, old and apish and gray, the familiar passions of the world. Before her eyes were flowing and mingling a thousand strands of orient life, yet she saw only the red light glowing on the stone entrance of Shimbashi, with those hideous saffron jackets filing perpetually into its yawning mouth, like unholy spectres in a dream.

[pg 52]


The setting sun poured a flood of wine-colored light over Reinanzaka—the "Hill-of-the-Spirit"—whose long slope rose behind the American Embassy, whither the Dandridge victoria was rolling. It was a long leafy ridge stippled with drab walls of noble Japanese houses, and striped with narrow streets of the humble; one of the many green knolls that, rising above the gray roofs, make the Japanese capital seem an endless succession of teeming village and restful grove.

Along its crest ran a lane bordered with thorn hedges. A little way inside this stood a huge stone torii, facing a square, ornamented gateway, shaded by cryptomerias. The latter was heavily but chastely carved, and on its ceiling was a painting, in green and white on a gold-leaf ground, of Kwan-on, the All-Pitying. From the gate one looked down across the declivity, where in a walled compound, the rambling buildings of the Embassy showed pallidly amid green foliage. Beyond this were sections of trafficking streets, and still farther a narrow, white road climbed a hill toward a military barracks—a blur of dull, terra-cotta red. In the dying afternoon the lane had an air of placid aloofness. [pg 53] Somewhere in a thoroughfare below a trolley bell sounded, an impudent note of haste and change in a symphony of the intransmutable. Over all was the scent of cherry-blossoms and a faint musk-like odor of incense.

From the gate a mossy pavement, shaded by sacred mochi trees, led to a Buddhist temple-front of the Mon-to sect, before which a flock of fluttering gray-and-white pigeons were pecking grains of rice scattered by a priest, who stood on its upper step, watching them through placid, gold-rimmed spectacles. He wore a long green robe, a stole of gold brocade was around his neck, and his face was seamed with the lines of life's receding tides. At one side of the pavement, worn and grooved by centuries of worshiping feet, was a square stone font and on the other side a graceful bell-tower of red lacquer. Back of this stood a forest of tall bronze lanterns, and beyond them a graveyard, an acre thick with standing stone tablets of quaint, squarish shape, chiseled with deep-cut idiographs. Nearer the graveyard, overshadowed by the greater bulk of the temple, was a long, low nunnery, with clumps of flowers about it. Through its bamboo lattices one caught glimpses of women's figures, clad in slate-color, of placid faces and boyishly shaven heads. About the yard a few little children were playing and a mother, with a baby on her back, looked smilingly on.

The space where the priest stood was connected [pg 54] by a small, curved, elevated bridge with another temple structure standing on the right of the yard, evidently used as a private residence. This was more ornate, far older and touched with decay. Its porch was arcaded, set with oval windows and hung with bronze lanterns green from age. Its entrance doors were beautifully carved, paneled with endless designs in dull colors, and bordered with great gold-lacquer peonies laid on a background of green and vermilion. From their corners jutted snarling heads of grotesque lions and on either side stood gigantic Ni-O—glowering demon-guardians of sacred thresholds. Through the straight-boled trees that grew close about it, came transient gleams of a hedged garden, of burnished green and maroon foliage, where cherry-blooms hung like fluffy balls of pink smoke. The garden had a private entrance—a gate in the outer lane—and over this was a small tablet of unpainted wood:

Which, translated, read:


Maker of Buddhas

[pg 55] Directly opposite stood a small Christian Chapel. It was newly built and still lacked its final decoration—a rose-window, whose empty sashes were stopped now with black cloth. High above the flowering green its slanting roof lifted a cross.

It rose, white and pure, emblem of the Western faith that yet had been born in the East. Over against the ornate pageantry of Buddhist architecture, in a land of another creed, of variant ideals and a passionate devotion to them, it stood, simple, silent, and watchful. The priest on the temple steps was looking at the white cross, regarding it meditatively, as one to whom concrete symbols are badges of spiritual things.

Footsteps grated on the gravel and the occupant of the older temple came slowly through its garden. He was a foreigner, though dressed in Japanese costume. His shoulders were broad and powerful and he moved with a quickness and grace in step and action that had something feline in it. His hair, worn long, was black, touched with gray, and a curved mustache hid his lips. His expression was sensitively delicate and alertly odd—an impression added to by deeply-set eyes, one of which was visibly larger than the other, of the variety known as "pearl," slightly bulbous, though liquid-brown and heavily lashed.

The new-comer ascended the steps and stood a moment silently beside the priest, watching the gluttonous [pg 56] pigeons. As he looked up, he saw the other's gaze fixed on the Chapel cross. A quick shiver ran across his mobile face, and passing, left it hard with a kind of grim defiance.

Presently the priest said in Japanese:

"The Christian temple across the way honorably approaches completion. Assuredly, however, moths have eaten my intelligence. Why does the gloomy hole illustriously elect to remain in its wall?"

"It is for a thing they call a 'window'," said Thorn. "After a time they will put therein an august abomination, representing sublimely hideous cloud-born beings and idiotic-looking saints in colored glass."

The priest nodded his shaven head sagely.

"It will, perhaps, deign to be a gaku of the Christian God. I shall, with deference, study it. I have watered my worthless mind with much arrogant reading of Him. Doubtless He was also Buddha and taught The Way."

An acolyte had come from the temple and approached the red bell-tower. Midway of the huge bronze bell a heavy cedar beam, like a catapult, was suspended from two chains. He swung this till its muffled end struck the metal rim, and the air swelled with a dreamy sob of sound. He swung it again, and the sob became a palpitant moan, like breakers on a far-away beach. Again, and a deep [pg 57] velvety boom throbbed through the stillness like the heart of eternity.

"It is time for the service," said the priest, and turning, went into the temple, from whose interior soon came the woodeny tapping of a mok'gyo—the hollow wooden fish, which is the emblem of the Mon-to sect—and the sound of chanting voices.

Thorn, the man with whom the priest had spoken, crossed the bridge to the other temple with a slow step. He passed between the scowling guardian figures, slid back a paper shoji and entered. The room in which he stood had been the haiden, or room of worship. Around its walls were oblong carvings, marvelously lacquered, of the nine flowers and nine birds of old Japanese art. In one were set six large painted panels; the red seal they bore was that of the great Cho Densu, the Fra Angelico of Japan. In its center, under a brocade canopy, was a raised platform once the seat of the High Priest. It faced a long transept, like a chancel; this ended in a short flight of steps leading, through doors of soft, fretted gold-lacquer, to a huge altar set with carved tables, great tarnished brasses and garish furniture. The walls of the transept were done in red with green ornamentations. From the overhead gloom grotesque phœnix and dragon peered down and in the gathering dimness, shot [pg 58] through with the wan yellow gleam of brass, the place seemed uncanny.

Thorn drew back a heavy drapery which covered a doorway, and entered a room that was windowless and very dark. He lit a candle.

The dim light it furnished disclosed a weird and silent assembly. The space was crowded with strange glimmering deities—of bronze, of silver, of priceless gold-lacquer—the dust thick on their faces, their aureoles misty with cobwebs. Some gazed with passionless serenity, or blessed with outstretched hand; some threatened with scowling faces and clenched thunderbolts: Jizo of the tender smile, in whose sleeves nestle the souls of dead children; Kwan-on, of divine compassion, with her many hands; Emma-dai-O, Judge of the Dead, menacing and terrible; strange sardonic tengu, half-bird, half-human. The floor was thick with them. From shelves on the walls leered swollen, frog-like horrors such as often appear on Alaskan totem-poles, triple-headed divinities of India and China, coiled cobras, idols from Ceylon, and curious Thibetan praying-wheels. A sloping stairway slanted through the gloom; beside it was an image of the red god, Aizen Bosatsu, his appalling countenance framed in lurid flames, seated on a fiery lotos.

The master of this celestial and infernal pantheon closed and locked the door, and mounted the [pg 59] stairway to the loft—a low, rambling room of eccentric shape, under the curving gables.

Here, through a long window beneath the very eaves, the light still came brightly. In the center was a board table, littered with delicate carving-tools. He kindled the charcoal in a bronze hibachi, and set over it a copper pot which began to emit a thick, weedy odor. From a cabinet he took phials containing various powders, and measured into the pot a portion from each. Lastly he added a quantity of gold-leaf, slowly, flake by flake. At one side a white silk cloth was draped over a pedestal; he drew this away and looked at the unfinished figure it had concealed. It was an image of Kwan-on, the All-Merciful.

Through the open window the chant of the priests came clearly:

"Waku hyoryu kokai
Ryūgyo Shokinan
Nembi Kwan-on riki
Harō funōmotsu."

(He who is beset with perils of dragon and great fish—who drifts on an endless sea—if he offer petition to Kwan-on, waves will not destroy him.)

Thorn crossed the room and leaning his elbows on the window-ledge, looked out. Through the odor of incense the monotonous intonation of the [pg 60] liturgy rose with the grandeur of a Gregorian chant:

"Shūjō kikon-yaku
Muryōku hisshin
Kwan-on myochiriki
Nōku sekenku."

(He who is in distress—when immeasurable suffering presses on him—Kwan-on, all-wise and all-powerful, can save him from the world's calamity.)

Once, while the quiet yard echoed back the slow cadences of the antique tongue, the watcher's eyes turned to the image on the pedestal, then came back to an object that drew them—had drawn them for many days against his will!—the white cross of the Chapel. A last glow of refracted light touched it now, as red as blood, a symbol of the infinite passion and pain. A long time he stood there. The twilight deepened, the chant ceased, lights sprang up along the lane, night fell with its sickle moon and crowding stars, but still he stood, his face between his hands.

At length he turned, and groping for the cloth, threw it over the Kwan-on and lit a lamp swinging from a huge brass censer. Unlocking an alcove, he took out a fleece-wrapped bundle and sweeping the tools to one side, set it on the table. He carefully closed the window and thrust a bar through the staple of the door before he unwrapped it.

When the fleece was removed, he propped the [pg 61] image it had contained upright on the table. He poured into a shallow plate a few drops of the liquid heating over the fire-bowl—under the lamplight it gleamed and sparkled like molten gold—and with a small brush, using infinite care, began to lay the lacquer on its carven surface.

Once, at a sound in some room below—perhaps the movement of a servant—he stopped and listened intently. It was as if he worked by stealth, at some labor self-forbidden, to which an impulse, overmastering though half-denied, drove him in secret.

It was a crucifix with a dead Christ upon it.

[pg 62]


Barbara stood in her room at the Embassy. It was spacious and airy, the high walls paneled in ivory-white, with draperies of Delft blue. The bed and dressing-table were early Adams. A generous bay-window set with flower-boxes filled a large part of one side, and its deep seat was upholstered in blue crepe, the tint of the draperies, printed with large white chrysanthemums. The floor was laid with thin matting of rice-straw in which was braided at intervals a conventional pattern in old-rose. Opposite the bay-window stood a Sendai chest on which was a small Japanese Buddha of gold-lacquer, Amida, the Dweller-in-Light, seated in holy meditation on his lotos-blossom. At first sight this had recalled to Barbara a counterpart image which she had unearthed in a dark corner of the garret in her pinafore days, and which for a week had been her dearest possession.

To this room Mrs. Dandridge herself had taken her, presenting to her Haru, whom the bishop's note had brought—a vivid, eager figure from a [pg 63] Japanese fan, who had sunk suddenly prone, every line of her slender form bowed, hands palm-down on the floor and forehead on them, in a ceremonious welcome to the foreign Ojo-San. Her mauve kimono was woven with camelias in silver, set off by an obi, showing a flight of storks on a blue background and clasped in front with a silver firefly. The heavy jet hair was rolled into wings on either side, and a high puff surmounted her forehead. Thin twin spirals, stiff with pomade, joined at the back like the pinions of a butterfly, and against the blue-black loops lay a bright knot of ribbon. She was now moving about the room with silent padding of light feet in snowy, digitated tabi, admiring the gowns which the maid had taken from Barbara's trunks. Occasionally she passed a slim hand up and down a soft wrap with a graceful, purring regard, or held a fleecy boa under her small oval chin and stole a glance in the cheval glass with a little ecstatic quiver of shoulder. Once she paused to look at the lacquer image on the Sendai chest. "Buddha," she said. "Japan man think very good for die-time."

"Haru," said Barbara as the maid's busy Japanese fingers went searching for elusive hooks and eyes, "is it true that every Japanese name has a meaning?"

"So, Ojo-San! That mos' indeed true. All Japan name mean something. 'Haru' mean spring, for because my born that time. Very funny—né?"

[pg 64] "It is very pretty," said Barbara.

"How tha's nize!" was the delighted exclamation. "Mama-San give name. My like name yella-ways for because mama-San no more in this world. My house little lonesome now."

"Where is your house, Haru? Near by?"

The slender hand, pointed to the wooded height behind the garden. "Jus' there on the street call Prayer-to-the-gods. My house so-o-o small, an' garden 'bout such big." She indicated a space of perhaps six feet square. "Funny!—?"

"And who lives there with you?"

Haru smiled brilliantly. "Oh, so-o-o many peoples! Papa-San, an'—jus' me."

"No brother?"

She shook her head. "My don' got," she said. "Papa-San very angry for because my jus' girl an' no could be kill in Port Arthur!"

She spoke with a smile, but the matter-of-fact words brought suddenly home to Barbara something of the flavor of that passionate loyalty, that hot heroism and debonair contempt of death which has been the theme of a hundred stories. "Do all Japanese feel so, Haru?" she asked. "Would every father be glad to give his son's life for Japan?"

The girl looked at her as if she jested. "Of course! All Japan man mos' happy if to be kill for our Emperor! Tha's for why better to be man. Girl jus' can stay home an' wish!" As the gown's [pg 65] last fastening was slipped into its place, she turned up her lovely oval face with a smiling, sidelong look.

"Ma-a-a!" she exclaimed. "How it is beau-tee-ful! ? only—"

"Only what?"

"My thinks the Ojo-San must suffer through the center!"

Laughingly Barbara caught the other's slim wrist and drew her before the mirror. By oriental standards the Japanese girl was as finely bred as herself. In the two faces, both keenly delicate and sensitive, yet so sharply contrasted—one palely olive under its jetty pillow of straight black hair, the other fair and brown-eyed, crowned with curling gold—the extremes of East and West looked out at each other.

"See, Haru," said Barbara. "How different we are!"

"You so more good-look!" sighed the Japanese girl. "My jus' like the night."

"Ah, but a moonlighted night," cried Barbara, "soft and warm and full of secrets. When you have a sweetheart you will be far more lovely to him than any foreign girl could be!"

Haru blushed rosily. "Sweetheart p'r'aps now," she said, "—all same kind America story say 'bout."

"Have you really, Haru?" cried Barbara. "I love to hear about sweethearts. Maybe—some day—I [pg 66] may have one, too. Some time you'll tell me about him. Won't you?"

Suddenly, far below the window, there came a snarling scramble and a savage, menacing bay. Barbara leaned out. A tawny, long-muzzled wolf-hound, fastened to a stake, glared up at her out of red-dimmed eyes.

"Poor fellow!" she exclaimed. "He looks sick. Does he have to be tied up?"

The Japanese girl shivered. "Very bad dog," she said. "My think very danger to not kill."

The deep tone of the dinner gong shuddered through the house and Barbara hastened out. Patricia met her in the hall and the two girls, with arms about each other's waists, descended the broad angled stair to the dining-room, where the Ambassador stood, tall and spare and iron-gray, with a contagious twinkle in his kindly eye.

"Well," he asked, "did you feel the earthquake?"

Barbara gave an exclamation of dismay. "Has there been one already?"

"Pshaw!" he said contritely. "Perhaps there hasn't. You see, in Japan, we get so used to asking that question—"

"Now, Ned!" warned Mrs. Dandridge. "You'll have Barbara frightened to death. We really don't have them so very often, my dear—and only gentle shakes. You mustn't be dreaming of Messina."

The Ambassador pointed to the ceiling, where a [pg 67] wide crack zigzagged across. "There's a recent autograph to bear me out. It happened on the eleventh of last month."

"Father remembers the date because of the horrible accident it caused," said Patricia. "A piece of the kitchen plaster came down in his favorite dessert and we had to fall back on pickled plums.

"I'm simply wild to see your gowns, Barbara," she continued, as they took their places. "Is that the latest sleeve, and is everything going to be slinky? We're always about six months behind. I know a girl in Yokohama who goes to every steamer and kodaks the smartest tourists. I've almost been driven to do it myself."

"You should adopt the Japanese dress, Patsy," said Mrs. Dandridge. "How does it seem, Barbara, to see kimono all around you?"

"I can't get it out of my mind," she answered, "that they are all wearing them for some sort of masquerade."

"It takes a few days to get used to it," said the Ambassador. "And what a beautiful and practical costume it is!"

"And comfortable!" sighed Patricia. "No 'bones' or tight places, and only four or five things to put on. I don't wonder European women look queer to the Japanese. The cook's wife told me the other day that the first foreign lady she ever saw looked to her like a wasp with a wig on like a Shinto devil."

[pg 68] There rose again on the still night air the savage bay Barbara had heard in her room. "I'm afraid I must make up my mind to lose Shiro," the Ambassador said regretfully. "He's a Siberian wolf-hound that a friend sent me from Moscow. But the climate doesn't agree with him, apparently. For the last two days he's seemed really unsafe. There's a famous Japanese dog-doctor in this section, but he's been sick himself and I haven't liked to go to an ordinary native 'vet.' But I shall have him looked at to-morrow."

"I do hope you will," said Mrs. Dandridge nervously. "He almost killed Patsy's Pomeranian the first day he came. Watanabé says he hasn't touched his food to-day, and we can't take any risks with so many children in the compound. We have forty-seven, Barbara," she continued, "counting the stablemen's families, and some of them are the dearest mites! Every Christmas we give them a tree. It makes one feel tremendously patriarchal!"

It was a home-like meal, albeit thin slices of lotos-stem floated in Barbara's soup, the lobster had no claws, and the entrée was baked bamboo. Save for a high, four-paneled screen of gold-leaf with delicate etchings of snow-clad pines, the white room was without ornament, but the table gleamed with old silver, and in its center was a great bowl of pink azaleas. Smooth-faced Japanese men-servants came and went noiselessly in snowy footwear and dark [pg 69] silk houri whose sleeves bore the Embassy eagle in silver thread.

The Ambassador was a man of keen observation, and a cheerful philosophy. His theory of life was expressed in a saying of his: "Human-kind is about the same as it has always been, except a good deal kinder." He had learned the country at first hand. He had a profound appreciation of its whole historical background, one gained not merely from libraries, but from deeper study of the essential qualities of Japanese character and feeling. He had the perfect gift, moreover, of the raconteur, and he held Barbara passionately attentive as he sketched, in bold outlines, the huge picture of Japanese modernization. Yet light as was his touch, he nevertheless made her see beneath the veneer of the foreign, the unaltering ego of a civilization old and austere, of unfamiliar, strenuous ideals, with cast steel conventions, eternal mysteries of character and of racial destiny.

Coffee was served in the small drawing-room—a home-like, soft-toned room of crystal-paned bookcases, and furniture that had been handed down in the Dandridge family from candle-lighted colony days.

"It seems a shame," said Mrs. Dandridge, "that this evening has to be broken, but Patsy and I must look in at the Charity Bazaar. I'm sure you won't mind, Barbara, if we leave you alone now for [pg 70] an hour or so. It's a new idea: every lady is to bring something she has no further use for, but which is too good to throw away."

"I presume," observed the Ambassador innocently, "that some of them will bring their husbands."

"Ned," said Mrs. Dandridge, as she drew on her wrap, "people will soon think you haven't a serious side. It would serve you right if I took you along as my contribution."

"Ah," returned he, "I was thoughtful enough to make a previous engagement. Doctor Bersonin is coming to see me."

Patsy's nose took a decided elevation.

"The Government expert," she said. "He was on the train. It's the first time I ever saw him without that smart-looking Japanese head-boy of his who goes with him everywhere as interpreter."

"I've noticed that," Mrs. Dandridge said. "He's always with him in his automobile. By the way, Patsy, who does that boy remind me of? It has always puzzled me."

"Why," Patricia answered, "he looks something like that Japanese student we saw so often the winter Barbara and we were in Monterey. You remember, Barbara—the one who spoke such perfect English. We thought he was loony, because he used to sit on the beach all day and sail little wooden boats."

[pg 71] "So he does," said her mother. "There's a decided resemblance. But Doctor Bersonin's boy is anything but loony. He has a most intelligent face."

"Besides," said Patricia, "the other was nearsighted and wore spectacles. Good-by, Barbara. I hope the doctor will be gone when we get back."

Her voice came muffled from the hall "—Oh, I can't help it, mother! I'm only a diplomat-once-removed! He is horrid!"

[pg 72]


The Ambassador received his caller in his study. From across the hall, Barbara, through the half-open door, could see the expert's huge form filling an arm-chair, where the limpid light of the desk-lamp fell on his heavy, colorless face. The walls were lined with bookshelves and curtains of low tone, and against this formless background his big profile stood out pallid and hawk-like. She could hear his voice distinctly. Its even, dead flatness affected her curiously; it was not harsh, but absolutely without tone-quality or sympathy.

For some time the talk was on casual topics and she occupied herself listlessly with a tray of photographs on the table. She read their titles, smiling at the extraordinary intricacies of "English as she is Japped" by the complaisant oriental photographer: The Picking Sea-Ear at Enoshima; East-looking Panorama of Fuji Mount; Geisha in the Famous Dance of Maple-Leaf.

The smile left her face. Something had been [pg 73] said in the farther room which caught her attention and in a moment she found herself listening intently.

"I understand the trials of the new powder have been very successful," the Ambassador was saying. "Is it destined to revolutionize warfare, do you think?"

"It is too soon to tell yet," was the reply, "just what the result will be. It will enormously increase the range of projectiles, as Your Excellency may guess, and its area of destruction will nearly double that of lyddite."

Barbara felt, rather than saw, that the Ambassador gave a little shudder. "I can imagine what that means," he said. "I saw Port Arthur after the siege. So war is to grow more dreadful still! When will it cease, I wonder."

"Never," Bersonin answered, with a cold smile. "It is the love of power that makes war, and that, in man, is inherent and ineradicable. A nation is only the individual in the aggregate, and selfishness is the guiding gospel of both."

To Barbara the words seemed coldly, cruelly repellant. She felt a sudden quiver of dislike run over her.

"You paint a sorry picture," said the Ambassador. "Can human ingenuity go much further, then? What, in your opinion, will be the fighting engine of the future?"

"The engine of the future"—Bersonin spoke deliberately—"will [pg 74] be along other lines. It will be an atomic one. It will employ no projectile and no armor plate will resist it. The discoverer will have harnessed the law of molecular vibration. As there is a positive force that binds atoms together, so there must be a negative force that, under certain conditions, can drive them apart!"

He spoke with what seemed an extraordinary conviction. His manner had subtly changed. For the first time his tone had gathered something like feeling, and the dry, metallic voice seemed to Barbara to vibrate with a curious, gloating triumph.

"Granted such a force," he went on, "and a machine to generate and direct it, and of what value is the most powerful battle-ship, the most stupendous fort? Mere silly shreds of steel and stone! Why, such an engine might be carried in a single hand, and yet the nation that possessed it could be master of the world!"

A dark flush had risen to his pallid cheek, and on the arm of his chair Barbara saw the massive fingers of one huge hand clench and unclench with a furtive, nervous gesture. The sight gave her a sharp sense of recoil as if from the touch of something sinister and evilly suggestive.

"No!" said the Ambassador vehemently. "Humanity would revolt. Such a discovery would be worth less than nothing! Its use by any warring nation would call down the execration of civilization, [pg 75] and the man who knew the secret would be too dangerous to be at large!"

There was dead silence for a moment. Bersonin sat motionless, staring straight before him. Very slowly the color seemed to fade from his cheek. When he spoke again his voice had regained its dead level of tonelessness.

"That has occurred to me," he said. "I think Your Excellency is right. Invention may do its work too well. However—no doubt we speak of scientific impossibilities; let us hope so, at any rate."

Barbara pushed the photographs aside and slipped into the next room, closing the door and drawing the heavy portières that hung over it. She had had for a moment a vague, almost childish, sense of shrinking as if from something monstrous and uncanny—such a sensation as the naked diver may have, when, peering through his water-glass, he sees a dim grisly shape glide, stealthy and cold, through the opaque depths. She was growing absurdly fanciful, she thought. She did not turn on the electric light, but threw open one of the long, French windows. There was a new moon and a pale radiance flooded the room, with a sudden odor of wistaria and plum-blossoms. The window gave on to a porch running the length of the house, and this made her think suddenly of home. Yet the air was too humid for California, too moist and rich even for Florida. And suddenly she found herself [pg 76] pitying the people there to whom the East would always be a closed book. Yet how dim and vague Japan had been to her a month before!

A grand piano stood open by the window and in the dim light she sat down and let her fingers wander idly in long arpeggios. She could see one side of the Japanese garden, with a glimpse of a tiny dry lake and a pebbled rivulet spanned by an arching bridge of red lacquer. It ended in a sharp, sloping hill covered with shrubbery. On the ridge far above she distinguished the outlines of native houses and flanking them the curved, Tartar-like gables of a gray old temple. Somewhere, beyond that little hill, perhaps, stood the Chapel erected to her father's memory, which she had yet to see. As her fingers strayed over the ivory keys, she thought of him, of his vivid, aberrant career and untimely end.

There are nights in the Japanese spring when the landscape, in its wondrous delicacy of tones, seems only an envelope of something subtler and unseen, the filmy covering of a beauty that is wholly spiritual. To-night it seemed so to Barbara. The close was very still, wrapped in a dreamy haze as soft as sleep, the mountains on the horizon wan shapes of silver mist, semi-diaphanous. It seemed to her that in this living, sentient breath of Japan, her father was nearer to her than he had ever been before.

The thought brought to her vague memories of [pg 77] her mother and of her childhood. Old airs began to mingle with the chords, and on the shrill fairy sound-carpet woven by the myriad insect-looms of the garden, the bits of melody went treading softly out across the perfume of the wistaria.

[pg 78]


She thought no one heard, but out by the azalea hedge, a man was standing, listening to the hushed chords floating through the open window.

From the bungalow on the Yokohama Bluff, Daunt had come back to Tokyo with a sense of dissatisfaction deeper than should have been caused by his jarring talk with Phil. Perhaps, though he did not guess it, his mood had to do with a bulky letter in his pocket, received that day. It was from "Big" Murray, his chum at college, whom he had commonly addressed by opprobrious epithets that covered an affection time had not diminished. Of all the men in his class Daunt would have picked him as the one least likely to marry. Yet the letter had contained a wedding-invitation and a ream of the usual hyperbole. "Going to name me godfather, is he!" Daunt had muttered as he read. "The driveling old horse-thief!" For in some elusive way the intended distinction suggested that he himself was a hoary back-number, not to be reckoned among the forces of youth. Strolling from [pg 79] Shimbashi Station, under the clustered, gaily-colored paper-lanterns, swaying above the rustle and stir of the exotic street, this thought rankled. A vague discontent stirred in him.

Tokyo had been the objective point of Daunt's six years of diplomatic career, and he had found the Kingdom of the Slender Swords a fascinating and absorbing study. He loved its contrasts and its contradictions, its marvelous artistry, the reserve and nobility of its people, and its savage, unshamed, sincerity of purpose. In the absorbing routine of the Chancery and the bright gaieties of the capital's diplomatic circle, the first year had gone swiftly enough. Since then the Glider experiments had lent an added zest.

Even at college, Langley's first aëroplane had interested him and out of that interest had grown a course of reading which had given him a broad technical knowledge of applied mechanics. In Japan he had conceived the idea of the new fan-propeller, worked out in many an hour of study in the little Japanese house in Aoyama, which he had taken because it adjoined the parade-ground where his earliest experiments were made. At first the Corps Diplomatique had smiled at this as a harmless pour passer le temps, to be classified with the Roumanian Minister's kennel of Pomeranians or the Chilian Secretary's collection of daimyo dolls. But week by week the little crowd of Japanese spectators had [pg 80] grown larger; often Daunt had recognized among the attentive brown faces this or that superior military officer whom he knew, albeit in civilian dress. One day his friend, Viscount Sakai, a dapper young officer on the General Staff, had surprised him with the offer from the Japanese War Department of the use of an empty garage on the edge of the great esplanade. Only a month ago, he had awaked to the knowledge that his name was known to the aëro enthusiasts of Paris, New York and Vienna, and that his propeller was an assured success.

Yet to-night he felt that he had somehow failed. The splendid vitality of the moving scene, the thud and click of wooden géta and the whirr of rick'sha—all the many-keyed diapason of the rustling, lanterned vistas stretching under the pale moon-lighted sky—lacked the sense of intimate companionship. The warm still air, freighted with aromatic scents of cedar from some new-built shop, the pungent smell of incense burning before some shadowed shrine, the odors of drenched shrubbery behind the massive retaining wall of some rich noble's compound, came to him with a new sense of estrangement. The murmured sound of voices behind the glimmering paper shoji told him, suddenly, that he was lonely. For the first time in six years, he was feeling keenly his long isolation from the things of home, the pleasant fellowship and the firesides of old [pg 81] friends. In this foreign service which he so loved, he had been growing out of touch, he told himself, out of thought, of the things "Big" Murray had sought and found.

Unconsciously, the "drivel," as he had denominated it, of the letter in his pocket, had infected him with sweet and foolish imaginings, and slowly these took the nebulous shape of a woman. He had often dreamed of her, though he had never seen her face. It was half-veiled now in the bluish haze of his pipe, while she talked to him before a fire of driftwood (that burned with red and blue lights because of sea-ghosts in it) and her voice was low and clear like a flute.

The wavering outline was still before his mind's eye as he trod the quiet road that led to the Embassy, entered its wide gate and slowly crossed the silent garden toward his bachelor cottage on the lawn. And there, suddenly, the vision had seized a vagrant melody and had spoken to him in song. Daunt thrust his cold pipe into his pocket and listened with head thrown back.

It was no brilliant display of technique that held him, for the player was touching simple chords, but these were singing old melodies that took him far to other scenes and other times. He smiled to himself. How long it had been since he had sung them—not since the old college days! That happy, irresponsible era of senior dignities came back vividly to [pg 82] him, the campus and the singing. For years he had not recollected it all so keenly! He had been glee-club soloist, pushed forward on all occasions and applauded to the echo. Praise of his singing he had accepted somewhat humorously—never but once had it touched him deeply, and that had been on commencement afternoon.

He had slipped away from the wavering cheers at the station, because he could not bear the farewells, and, far down one of the campus lanes, had come on pretty Mrs. Claybourne sitting on a rustic bench. Again he heard her speak, as plainly as if it were yesterday: "Why, if it isn't Mr. Daunt! I wonder how the university can open in the fall without you!" He had sat down beside her as she said: "This very insistent young person with me has been heartbroken because we could not get tickets for the Glee-Club Concert last night. She wanted to hear you sing."

He had looked up then to see a young girl, seated on the leaning trunk of a tulip-tree. Her neutral-tinted skirt lay against the dark bark; her face was almost hidden by a spray of the great, creamy-pink blossoms. Some quality in its delicate loveliness had made him wish to please her, and sitting there he had sung the song that was his favorite. Mrs. Claybourne had pulled a big branch of the tulip-tree to hand him like a bouquet over the footlights, but the [pg 83] girl's parted lips, her wide deep brown eyes, had thanked him in a better way!

The music, now floating over the garden, by such subconscious association, recalled this scene, overlaid, but never forgotten. Hark! A cascade of silver notes, and then an old air that had been revived in his time to become the madness of the music-halls and the pet of the pianolas—the one the crowded campus had been wont to demand with loudest voice when his tenor led the "Senior Singing." It brought back with a rush the familiar faces, the gray ivied dormitories with their slim iron balconies, the throbbing plaint of mandolins, and his own voice—

"Of all the girls that are so smart,
There's none like pretty Sally!
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives——"

He scarcely knew he sang, but the vibrant tenor, lifting across the scent of the wistaria, came clearly to the girl at the piano. For a moment Barbara's fingers played on, as she listened with a strained wonder. Then the music ceased with a discord and she came quickly through the opened window.

The song was smitten from Daunt's lips. In the instant that she stood outlined on the broad piazza, a fierce snarling yelp and a clatter came from within the house and there rang out a screamed Japanese [pg 84] warning. An outer door flew open and the huge figure of Doctor Bersonin ran out, pursued by a leaping white shadow, while the air thrilled to the savage cry of a hound, shaken with rage.

"Run, Barbara!" The Ambassador's voice came from the doorway. But the white, moonlit figure, in its gauzy evening gown, turned too late. Empty-handed, Daunt dashed for the piazza, as, with a crash, a heavy porch chair, hurled by a Japanese house-boy, penned the animal for an instant in a corner. He caught the white figure up in his arms, sprang into the shade of the wistaria arbor, and set her feet on its high railing. The voice from the doorway called again, sharply.

"This way, Doctor! Quick!"

The wolf-hound, trailing its broken chain, had leaped the barrier and was launched straight at the crouching expert. The latter had dragged something small and square from his pocket and he seemed now to hold this out before him. Daunt, wrenching a cleat from the arbor railing, felt a puff of cold wind strike his face, and something like an elfin note of music, high and thin as an insect's, drifted across the confusion. He rushed forward with his improvised weapon—then stopped short. The dog was no longer there.

The Ambassador made an exclamation. He stepped down and peered under the piazza; even in the dim light the long space was palpably empty. [pg 85] The head-boy spoke rapidly in Japanese and pointed toward the gate.

"He says he must have jumped down this side," explained Daunt, "and run out to the street. He's nowhere in the garden, at any rate. We can see every inch. How surprising!" He spoke to the boy in the vernacular. "He will have the gates closed at once and telephone a warning to the police station."

Bersonin had sat down on the edge of the piazza. He was crouched far over; his big frame was shaken with violent shudderings. Suddenly his head went back and he began to laugh—a jarring, grating, weird man-hysteria that seemed to burst suddenly beyond his control.

The Ambassador went to him hurriedly, but Bersonin shook off the hand on his shoulder and rising, still emitting his dreadful laughter, staggered across the lawn and out of the gate.

The appalling mirth reëchoed from far down the quiet road.

[pg 86]


Bersonin walked on, fighting desperately with his ghastly spasm of merriment.

It was a nervous affection which had haunted him for years. It dated from a time when, in South America, in an acute crisis of desperate personal hazard, he had laughed the first peal of that strange laughter of which he was to be ever after afraid. Since then it had seized him many times, unexpectedly and in moments of strong excitement, to shake him like a lath. It had given him a morbid hatred of laughter in others. Recently he had thought that he was overcoming the weakness—for in two years past he had had no such seizure—and the recurrence to-night shocked and disconcerted him. He, the man of brain and attainment, to be held captive by a ridiculous hysteria, like a nerve-racked anæmic girl! The cold sweat stood on his forehead.

Before long the paroxysms ceased and he grew calmer. The quiet road had merged into a busier thoroughfare. He walked on slowly till his command was regained. West of the outer moat of the [pg 87] Imperial Grounds, he turned up a pleasant lane-like street and presently entered his own gate. The house, into which he let himself with a latch-key, was a rambling, modern, two-story structure of yellow stucco. The lower floor was practically unused, since its tenant lived alone and did not entertain. The upper floor, besides the hall, contained a small bedroom, a bath and dressing-room and a large, barely-furnished laboratory. The latter was lined on two sides with glass-covered shelves which gave glimpses of rows of books, of steel shells, metal and crystal retorts and crucibles, the delicate paraphernalia of organic chemistry and complicated instruments whose use no one knew save himself—a fit setting for the great student, the peer of Offenbach in Munich and of Bayer in Vienna. Against the wall leaned a drafting-board, on which, pinned down by thumb-tacks, was a sketch-plan of a revolving turret. From a bracket in a corner—the single airy touch of delicacy in a chamber almost sordid in its appointments—swung a bamboo cage with a brown hiwa, or Japanese finch, a downy puff of feathers with its head under its wing.

In the upper hall Bersonin's Japanese head-boy had been sitting at a small desk writing. Bersonin entered the laboratory, opened a safe let into a wall, and put into it something which he took from his pocket. Then he donned a dressing-gown the boy brought, and threw himself into a huge leather chair.

[pg 88] "Make me some coffee, Ishida," he said.

The servant did so silently and deftly, using a small brass samovar which occupied a table of its own. With the coffee he brought his master a box of brown Havana cigars.

For an hour Bersonin sat smoking in the silent room—one cigar after another, deep in thought, his yellow eyes staring at nothing. Into his countenance deep lines had etched themselves, giving to his coldly repellant look an expression of malignant force and intention. With his pallid face, his stirless attitude, his great white fingers clutching the arms of the chair, he suggested some enormous, sprawling batrachian awaiting its more active prey.

All at once there came a chirp from the cage in the corner and its tiny occupant, waked by the electric-light, burst into song as clear and joyous as though before its free wing lay all the meads of Eden. A look more human, soft and almost companionable, came into its master's massive face. Bersonin rose and, whistling, opened the cage door and held out an enormous forefinger. The little creature stepped on it, and, held to his cheek, it rubbed its feathered head against it. For a moment he crooned and whistled to it, then held his finger to the cage and it obediently resumed its perch and its melody. The expert took a dark cloth from a hook and threw it over the cage and the song ceased.

Bersonin went to the door of the room and fastened [pg 89] it, then unlocked a desk and spread some papers on the table. One was a chart, drawn to the minutest scale, of the harbor of Yokohama. On it had been marked a group of projectile-shaped spots suggesting a flotilla of vessels at anchor. For a long time he worked absorbedly, setting down figures, measuring with infinite pains, computing angles—always with reference to a small square in the map's inner margin, marked in red. He covered many sheets of paper with his calculations. Finally he took another paper from the safe and compared the two. He lifted his head with a look of satisfaction.

Just then he thought he heard a slight noise from the hall. Swiftly and noiselessly as a great cat he crossed to the door and opened it.

Ishida sat in his place scratching laboriously with a foreign pen.

Bersonin's glance of suspicion altered. "What are you working at so industriously, Ishida?" he asked.

The Japanese boy displayed the sheet with pride.

It was an ode to the coming Squadron. Bersonin read it:

"Welcome, foreign men-of-war!
Young and age,
Man and woman,
None but you welcome!
And how our reaches know you but to satisfy,
Nor the Babylon nor the Parisian you to treat,

[pg 90]

Be it ever so humble,
Yet a tidbit with our heart!
What may not be accomplishment Rising-Sun?
"By H. Ishida, with best compliment."

Bersonin laid it down with a word of approbation. "Well done," he said. "You will be a famous English scholar before long." He went into the dressing-room, but an instant later recollected the papers on the table. The servant was in the laboratory when his master hastily reentered; he was methodically removing the coffee tray.

Alone once more, Ishida reseated himself at his small desk. He tore the poem carefully to small bits and put them into the waste-paper basket. Then, rubbing the cake of India-ink on its stone tablet, he drew a mass of Japanese writing toward him and, with brush held vertically between thumb and forefinger, began to trace long, delicate characters at the top of the first sheet, thus:

Ouryuu no fusetsusuirai ni oyobosu eikyou
hidarino toori kinji

In the Japanese phrase this might literally be translated as follows:

cross-current of, laying water thunder on,


left hand respectively

[pg 91] Which in conventional English is to say:




This finished, he sealed it in an envelope, took a book from the breast of his kimono and began to read. Its cover bore the words: "Second English Primer, in words of Two Syllables." Its inner pages, however, belied the legend. It was Mahan's Influence of Sea-Power on History.

Yet Lieutenant Ishida of the Japanese Imperial Navy, one time student in Monterey, California, now in Special Secret-Service, read abstractedly. He was wondering why Doctor Bersonin should have in his possession a technical naval chart and what was the meaning of certain curious markings he had made on it.

[pg 92]


In the garden the moon's faint light glimmered on the broad, satiny leaves of the camelias and the delicate traceries of red maple foliage. At its farther side, amid flowering bushes which cast long indigo shadows, stood a small pagoda, brought many years before from Korea, and toward this Daunt and the girl whom he had held for a breathless moment in his arms, strolled slowly along a winding, pebbled path tremulant with the flickering shadows of little leaves. The structure had a small platform, and here on a bench they sat down, the fragrant garden spread out before them.

He had remembered that a guest had been expected to arrive that day from America, and knew that this must be she. But, strangely enough, it did not seem as if they had never before met. Nor had he the least idea that, since that short sharp scene, they had exchanged scarcely a dozen words. In its curious sequel, as he stood listening to the echo of Bersonin's strange laughter, he had momentarily forgotten all about her. Then he had remembered [pg 93] with a shock that he had left her perched, in evening dress, on the high railing of the arbor.

"I wonder if you are in the habit," she had said with a little laugh, "of putting unchaperoned girls on the tops of fences, and going away and forgetting all about them."

Her laugh was deliciously uneven, but it did not seem so from fright. He had answered something inordinately foolish, and had lifted her down again—not holding her so closely this time. He remembered that on the first occasion he had held her very tightly indeed. He could still feel the touch of a wisp of her hair which, in his flying leap, had fallen against his cheek. It was red-bronze and it shone now in the moonlight like molten metal. Her eyes were deep blue, and when she smiled—

He wrenched his gaze away with a start. But it did not stray far—merely to the point of a white-beaded slipper peeping from the edge of a ruffle of gauze that had mysteriously imprisoned filmy sprays of lily-of-the-valley.

He looked up suddenly, conscious that she was laughing silently. "What is it?" he asked.

"We seem so tremendously acquainted," she said, "for people who—" She stopped an instant. "You don't even know who I am."

In the references to her coming he had heard her name spoken and now, by a sheer mental effort, he managed to recall it.

[pg 94] "You are Miss Fairfax," he said. "And my name, perhaps I ought to add, is Daunt. I am the Secretary of Embassy. I hope, after our little effort of to-night, you will not consider diplomacy only high-class vaudeville. Such comedy scarcely represents our daily bill."

"It came near enough to being tragedy," she answered.

"It was so uncommonly life-like, I was torn with a fear that you might not guess it was gotten up for your especial benefit."

"How well you treat your visitors!" she said with gentle irony. "Had you many rehearsals?"

"Very few," he said. "I was afraid the boy might misread the stage direction and slip the dog-chain too soon. But I am greatly pleased. I have always had an insatiable longing to be a hero—if only on the stage. I aspire to Grand Opera, also, as you have noticed." He laughed, a trifle shamefacedly, then added quickly: "I hope you liked the final disappearance act. It was rather effective, don't you think?"

She smiled unwillingly. "Ah, you make light of it! But don't think I didn't know how quickly you acted—what you risked in that one minute! And then to run back a second time!" She shuddered a little. "You could have done nothing with that piece of wood!"

"I assure you," he said, "you underrate my [pg 95] prowess! But it wasn't to be used—it was only the dog's cue."

"Poor brute!" she said. "I hope he will injure nobody."

"Luckily, the children are off the streets at this hour," he answered. "He'll not go far; the police are too numerous. I am afraid our very efficient performer is permanently retired from the company. But I haven't yet congratulated you. You didn't seem one bit afraid."

"I hadn't time to be frightened. I—was thinking of something else! The fright came afterward, when I saw you—when you left me on the railing." She spoke a little constrainedly, and went on quickly: "I really am a desperate coward about some things. I should never dare to go up on an aëroplane, for instance, as Patsy tells me you do almost every day. She says the Japanese call you the 'Honorable Fly-Man'."

"There's no foreign theater in Tokyo, and no winter Opera," he said lightly. "We have to amuse one another, and the Glider is by way of contributing my share of the entertainment. It is certainly an uplifting performance." He smiled, but she shook her head.

"Ah," she said, "I know! I was at Fort Logan last summer the day Lieutenant Whitney was killed. I saw it."

The smile had faded and her eyes had just the [pg 96] look he had so often fancied lay in those eyes he had been used to gaze at across the burning driftwood—his "Lady of the Many-Colored Fires." He caught himself longing to know that they would mist and soften if he too should some day come to grief in such sudden fashion. They were wholly wonderful eyes! He had noted them even in the instant when he had snatched her from the piazza—from the danger into which his cavalier singing had called her.

"How brazen you must have thought it!" he exclaimed. "My impromptu solo, I mean. I hardly know how I came to do it. I suppose it was the moonlight (it does make people idiotic sometimes, you know, in the tropics!) and then what you played—that dear old song! I used to sing it years ago. It reminded me—"


"Of the last evening at college. It was a night like this, though not so lovely. I sang it then—my last college solo."

"Your last?" She was leaning toward him, her lips parted, her eyes bright on his face.

"Yes," he said. "I left town the next day."

Her eyes fell. She turned half away, and put a hand to her cheek. "Oh," she said vaguely. "Of course."

"But it was brazen," he finished lamely. "I promise never to do it again."

[pg 97] The breath of the night was coolly sweet. It hovered about them, mingled of all the musky winds and flower-months of Eden. A dulled, weird sound from the street reached their ears—the monotonous hand-tapping of a small, shallow drum.

"Some Buddhist devotée," he said, "making a pious round of holy places. He is stalking along in a dingy, white cotton robe with red characters stamped all over it—one from each shrine he has visited—and here and there in a doorway he will stop to chant a prayer in return for a handful of rice."

"How strange! It doesn't seem to belong, somehow, with the telegraph wires and the trolley cars. Japan is full of such contrasts, isn't it? It seems to be packed with mystery and secrets. Listen!" The deep, resonant boom of a great bell at a distance had throbbed across the nearer strumming. "That must be in some old temple. Perhaps the man with the drum is going there to worship. Does any one live in the temples? The priests do, I suppose."

"Yes," he answered. "Sometimes other people do, too. I know of a foreigner who lives in one."

"What is he? European?"

"No one knows. He has lived there fifteen years. He calls himself Aloysius Thorn. I used to think he must be an American, for in the Chancery safe there is an envelope bearing his name and the direction that it be opened after his death. It has been [pg 98] there a long time, for the paper is yellow with age. No doubt it was put there by some former Chief-of-Mission at his request. He has nothing to do with other foreigners; as a rule he won't even speak to them. He is something of a curiosity. He knows some lost secret about gold-lacquer, they say."

"Is he young?"



"Oh, no! He lives quite alone. He has one of the loveliest private gardens in the city. Sometimes one doesn't see him for months, but he is here now."

She was silent, while he looked again at the white toe of the slipper peeping from a gauzy hem. The silence seemed to him an added bond between them. The moon, tilting its slim sickle along the solemn range of western hills, touched their jagged contour with a shimmering radiance and edged with silver the vast white apparition towering, filmily exquisite, above them, a solitary snowy cone, hovering wraith-like between earth and sky. The horizon opposite was deep violet, crowded with tiny stars, like green-gilt coals. In the quiet a drowsy crow croaked huskily from the hillside. Barbara looked through dreamy eyes.

"It can't always be so beautiful!" she said at length. "Nothing could, I am sure."

"No, indeed," he agreed cheerfully. "There are times when, as my number-one boy says, 'honorable [pg 99] weather are disgust.' In June the nubai, the rainy season, is due. It will pour buckets for three weeks without a stop and frogs will sing dulcet songs in the streets. In July your head feels as if a red-hot feather pillow had been stuffed into your skull and everybody moves to Chuzenji or Kamakura. If it weren't for that, and an occasional dust-storm in the winter, and the centillions of mosquitoes, and a weekly earthquake or two, we wouldn't half appreciate this!" He made a wide gesture.

"Yet now," she said softly, "it seems too lovely to be real! I shall wake presently to find myself in my berth on the Tenyo Maru with Japan two or three days off."

He fell into her mood. "We are both asleep. That was why the dog vanished so queerly. Dream-dogs always do. And I don't wonder at my singing, either. People do exactly what they shouldn't when they are asleep. But no! I really don't like the dream version at all. I want this to be true."


Her tone was low, but it made him tingle. A sudden mêlée of daring, delicious impulses swept over him. "Because I have dreamed too much," he said, in as low a voice. "Here in the East the habit grows on one; we dream of what all the beauty somehow misses—for us. But to-night, at least, is real. I shall have it to remember when you have gone, as I—I suppose you will be soon."

[pg 100] She leaned out and picked a slender maple-leaf from a branch that came in through the open side of the pagoda, and, holding it in her fingers, turned toward him. Her lips were parted, as if to speak. But suddenly she tossed it from her, rose and shook out her skirts with a laugh. Carriage-wheels were rolling up the drive from the lower gate.

"Thank you!" she cried gaily. "But no hint shall move me. I warn you that I intend to stay a long time!"

In the lighted doorway, as Patricia and her mother stepped from the carriage, she swept him a curtsey.

"Honorably deign to accept my thanks," she said, "for augustly saving my insignificant life! And now, perhaps, we can be properly introduced!"

[pg 101]


Under the frail moon that touched the Embassy garden to such beauty, Haru walked home to the house "so-o-o small, an' garden 'bout such big" in the Street-of-Prayer-to-the-Gods.

On Reinanzaka Hill the shadows were iris-hearted. From its high-walled gardens of the great came no glimpses of phantom-lighted shoji, no sound of vibrant strings from tea-houses nor gleams of painted lips and fingers of geisha.

Haru carried a paper-lantern tied to the end of a short wand, but it was not dark enough to need its light, and as she walked, she swung it in graceful circles. She heard a dove sobbing its low owas! owas! and once a crow flapped its sleepy way above her, uttering its harsh note, which, from some subtlety of suggestion hidden from the western mind, the Japanese liken to the accents of love. It startled her for a second; then she began to sing, under her breath, to the tune of her clacking géta, a ditty of her childhood:

[pg 102]

"Karasu, Karasu! "Crow, crow,
Kanzaburo! Kanzaburo!
Oya no on wo— Forget not the virtue
Wasurena yo!" Of your honorable parents."

On the crest of the hill, by the Street-of-Hollyhocks, a wall opened in a huge gate of heavy burnished beams studded with great iron rivet-heads. Here resided no less a personage than an Imperial Princess. Beside the gate stood a conical sentry-box, in which all day, while the gate was open, stood a soldier of the Household Guards. The box was empty now.

Opposite the gate, a hedged lane opened, into which she turned, and presently the song ceased. She had come to the newly built Chapel. Her father's name was on the household list of the temple across the way, but she herself walked each Sunday to Ts'kiji, to attend the bishop's Japanese service in the Cathedral. When, influenced by a school-mate, she had wished to become a Christian, the old samurai had interposed no objection. With the broad tolerance of the esoteric Buddhist, to whom all pure faiths are good, he had allowed her to choose for herself. She had grown to love the strangely new and beautiful worship with its singing, its service in a tongue that she could understand, its Bible filled with marvelous stories of old heroes, and with vivid imagery like that of the Kojiki, the "Record [pg 103] of Ancient Matters" or the Man-yoshu, the "Collection of a Myriad Leaves," over whose archaic characters her father was always poring. She had ceased to visit the temple, but otherwise the change had made little difference in her placid life. With the simplicity with which the Japanese of to-day kneels with equal faith before a plain Shinto shrine and a golden altar of Buddha, she had continued the daily home observances. Each morning she cleaned the butsu-dan—refilled its tiny lamp with vegetable oil, freshened its incense-cup and water bowl, and dusted its golden shrine of Kwan-on which held the scroll inscribed with the spirit names of a hundred ancestors, and the ihai, or mortuary tablet, of her dead mother. Though she no longer prayed before it, it still signified to her the invisible haunting of the dead—the continuing loving presence of that mother who waited for her in the Meidoland.

For many days Haru had watched the progress of the Chapel building. The Cathedral was a good two miles distant, but this was near her home; here she would be able to attend more than the weekly Sunday service. To-night, as she looked at the cross shining in the moonlight, she thought it very beautiful. A tiny symbol like it, made of white enamel, was hung on a little chain about her neck. It had been given her by the bishop the day of her confirmation. She drew this out and swung it about her finger as she walked on.

[pg 104] In the Street-of-Prayer-to-the-Gods were no huge and gloomy compounds. It was a roadway of humbler shops and homes, bordered with mazes of lantern fire, and lively with pedestrians. At a meager shop, pitifully small, whose shoji were wide open, Haru paused. A smoky oil lamp swung from the ceiling, and under its glow, a woman knelt on the worn tatamé. Beside her, on a pillow, lay a newborn baby, and she was soothing its slumber by softly beating a tiny drum close to its ear. She nodded and smiled to Haru's salutation.

"Hai! Ojo-San," she said. "Go kigen yo! Deign augustly to enter."

"Honorable thanks," responded Haru, "but my father awaits my unworthy return. Domo! Aka-San des'ka? So this is Miss Baby! Ishikichi will have a new comrade in this little sister."

"Poison not your serene mind with contemplation of my uncomely last-sent one!" said the woman, pridefully tilting the pillow so as to show the tiny, vacuous face. "Are not its hands degradedly well-formed?"

"Wonderfully beyond saying! The father is still exaltedly ill?"

"It is indeed so! I have not failed to sprinkle the holy water over Jizo, nor to present the straw sandals to the Guardians-of-the-Gate. Also I have rubbed each day the breast of the health-god; yet O-Binzuru does not harken. Doubtless it is because [pg 105] of some sin committed by my husband in a previous existence! I have not knowledge of your Christian God, or I would make my worthless sacrifices also to Him."

"He heals the sick," said Haru, "but He augustly loves not sacrifice—as He exaltedly did in olden time," she hastily supplemented, recalling certain readings from the Old Testament.

"The gods of Nippon divinely change not their habit," returned the woman. "Also my vile intellect can not comprehend why the foreigners' God should illustriously concern Himself with the things of another land."

"The Christian Divinity," said Haru, "is a God of all lands and all peoples."

The other mused. "It passes in my degraded mind that He, then, would lack a sublime all-sympathy for our Kingdom-of-Slender-Swords. You are transcendently young, Ojo-San, but I am thirty-two, and I hold by the gods of my ancestors."

"Honorably present my greetings to your husband," Haru said, as she bowed her adieu. "May his exalted person soon attain divine health! To-morrow I will send another book for him to read."

The woman watched her go, with a smile on her tired face—the Japanese smile that covers so many things. She looked at the baby's face on the pillow. "Praise Shaka," she said aloud, "there is millet yet for another week. Then we must give up the shop. [pg 106] Well—I can play the samisen, and the gods are not dead!"

Behind her a diminutive figure had lifted himself upright from a f'ton. He came forward from the gloom, his single sleeping-robe trailing comically and his great black eyes round and serious. "Why must we give up the shop, honorable mother?"

"Go to sleep, Ishikichi," said his mother. "Trouble me not so late with your rude prattle."

"But why, Okka-San?"

"Because rent-money exists not, small pigeon," she answered gently. "So long as we have ignobly lived here, we have paid the banto who brings his joy-giving presence on the first of each month. Now we have no more money and can not pay."

"Why have we no more money?"

"Because the honorable father is sick and you are too small to earn. But let it not trouble your heart, for the gods are good. See—we have almost waked the Aka-San!"

She bent over the pillow and began again the elfin drumming at the infant's ear. But Ishikichi lay open-eyed on his f'ton, his baby mind grappling with a new and painful wonder.

[pg 107]


Haru unlatched a gate across which twisted a plum-branch with tarnished, silver bark. It hid a garden so tiny that it was scarcely more than a rounded boulder set in moss, with a clump of golden icho shrubs. Across the path, high in air, were stretched giant webs in whose centers hung black spiders as big as Japanese sparrows. Beyond was a low doorway, shaded by a gnarled kiri tree. The thin, white rice-paper pasted behind the bars of its sliding grill shone goldenly with the candle-light within. She rang a bell which hung from a cord.

"Hai-ai-ai-ai-ee!" sounded a long-drawn voice from within, and in a moment a little maid slid back the shoji and bobbed over to the threshold.

Her mistress stepped from her géta into the small anteroom. Here the floor was covered with soft tatamé,—the thick, springy rice-straw mats which, in Japan, play the part of carpets—and a bronze vase on a low lacquer stool held a branch of dark ground-pine and a single white lily. A voice was [pg 108] audible, reciting in a droning monotone. It stopped suddenly and called Haru's name.

She answered instantly, and parting the panels, passed into the next room, where her father sat on his mat reading in the faint soft light of an andon. He was an old man, with white head strongly poised on gaunt shoulders. Broken in fortune and in health, the spirit of the samurai burned inextinguishably in the fire of his sunken eyes. He took her hand and drew her down beside him. She knew what was in his mind.

"Be no longer troubled," she said. "The American Ojo-San is as lovely as Ama-terasu, the Sun Goddess, and as kind as she is beautiful. I shall be happy to be each day with her."

"That is good," he said. "Yet I take no joy from it. You are the last of a family that for a thousand seasons has served none save its Emperor and its daimyo."

"I am no servant," she answered quickly. "Rather am I, in sort, a companion to the Ojo-San, to offer her my tasteless conversation and somewhat to go about with her in this unfamiliar city. It is an honorable way of acquiring gain, and thus I may unworthily pay my support, for which now from time to time you are brought to sell the priceless classics in which your soul exaltedly delights."

His face softened. "I have lived too long," he said. "My hand is palsied—I, a two-sword man [pg 109] of the old clan! I should have died in the war, fighting for Nippon and my Emperor. But even then was I too dishonorably old! Why did not the gods grant me a son?—me, who wearied them with my sacrifices?"

She did not answer for a moment. Nothing in her cried out at this reiterated complaint, for she was of the same blood. If she had been a son, that wound in her father's heart had been healed. Through her arm the family would have fought. Her glorious death-name might even now be written on an ihai on the Buddha-shelf, her glad soul swelling the numbers of that ghostly legion whose spiritual force was the true vitality of her nation.

"Perhaps that, too, might be," she said presently in a low voice. "Should I augustly marry one not of too exalted a station, he could receive adoption into our family."

He looked into her deeply flushing face. "You think of the Lieutenant Ishida Hétaro," he said. "It is true that the go-between has already deigned to sit on my hard mats. He is, I think, in every way worthy of our house. I would rather he were in the field, with a sword in his hand—I know not much of this 'Secret Service.' What are his present duties? Doubtless"—with a spark of mischief in his hollow, old eyes—"you are better informed than I."

"He is in the household of one named Bersonin, [pg 110] a man-mountain like our wrestlers, whose service Japan pays with a wage."

His seamed face clouded. "To cunningly watch the foreigner's incomings and his outgoings, and make august report to the Board of Extraordinary Information," he said, with a trace of bitterness. "To play the clod when one is all eyes and ears. Honorable it is, no doubt, yet to my old palate it savors too much of the actor strutting on the circular stage. But times change, and if, to live, we must ape the foreigners, why, we must borrow their ways till such time—the gods grant it be soon!—when we can throw them on the dust heap. And what am I to set my debased ignorance against my Princes and my Emperor!" He paused a moment and sighed. "Ishida is well esteemed," he continued presently. "He has dwelt in America and learned its tongue—a necessity, it seems, in these topsy-turvy times. Yet, as for marriage, waiting still must be. These are evil days for us, my child. From whence would come the gifts which must be sent before the bride, to the husband's house? Your mother"—he paused and bowed deeply toward the golden butsu-dan in its alcove—"may she rest on the lotos-terrace of Amida!—came to my poor house with a train of coolies bearing lacquer chests: silken f'ton, kimono as soft and filmy as mist, gowns of cloth and of cotton, cushions of gold and silver patternings, jeweled girdles, [pg 111] velvet sandals and all lovely garniture. Shall her daughter be sent to a husband with a chest of rags? No, no!"

She leaned her dark head against his blue-clad shoulder and drew the scroll from his trembling fingers.

"I wind your words about my heart," she said. "Waiting is best. Perhaps the evil times will withdraw. I have prayed to the Christian God concerning it. But your eyes are augustly wearied. Let me read to you a while."

He settled himself back on the mat, his gaunt hands buried in his sleeves, and, snuffing the wick in the andon, she began to read the archaic "grass-writing." It was the Shundai Zatsuwa of Kyuso Moro.

"Be not samurai through the wearing of two swords, but day and night have a care to bring no reproach on the name. When you cross your threshold and pass out through the gate, go as one who shall never return again. Thus shall you be ready for every adventure. The Buddhist is for ever to remember the five commandments and the samurai the laws of chivalry.

"All born as samurai, men and women, are taught from childhood that fidelity must never be forgotten. And woman is ever taught that this, with submission, is her chief duty. If in unexpected [pg 112] strait her weak heart forsakes fidelity, all her other virtues will not atone.

"Samurai, men and women, the young and the old, regulate their conduct according to the precepts of Bushido, and a samurai, without hesitation, sacrifices life and family for lord and country."

[pg 113]


For a long time in her blue and white room Barbara lay awake, listening to the incessant chorus that came on the deepening mystery of the dark: the rustle of the pine-needles outside her window, the kiri-kiri-kiri-kiri of a night-cricket on the sill, and the wavering chant of a toiling coolie keeping time to the thrust of his body as he hauled his heavy cart. The shadow of a twisted pine-branch crossed one of the windows, and in the infiltering moonlight she could see the yellow gleam of the gold-lacquer Buddha on the Sendai chest.

She could imagine it the same image she had found as a little girl in the garret, and had made her pet delight. For an instant she seemed to be once more a child seated on her low stool before it, her hands tight-clasped, looking up into its immobile countenance, half-hoping, half-fearing those carven lips would speak. On the wings of this sensation came a childish memory of a day when her aunt had found her thus and had thought her praying to it. She remembered the look of frozen horror on her aunt's face and her own helpless mortification. For she did not know how to explain. [pg 114] She had had to write a verse from the Bible fifty times in her copybook:

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

And she had had to do half of them over because she had forgotten the capital M. That day her treasure had disappeared, and she had never seen it again.

The glimmering figure in the dark made her think, too, of the man of whom Daunt had told her, who shunned his own race, hiding himself for years and years in a Japanese temple, with its painted dragon carvings, glowing candles and smoking censers. The incense from them seemed now to be filling all the night with odors rich and alluring, whispering of things mysterious and confined. Striking across the lesser sounds she could hear at intervals the flute of a blind masseur, and nearer, in the Embassy grounds, the recurrent signal of a patroling night watchman: three strokes of one hard, wooden stick upon another, like a high, mellow note of a xylophone.

This sounded a little like a ship's bell—striking on a white yacht, whose owner was visiting the ancient capital, Nara. He would appear before long, and she knew what he would say, and what he would want her to say to him. She felt somehow guilty, with a sorry though painless compunction. The man on the steamer that morning had spoken of a younger brother who was in Japan, "going the [pg 115] pace." Phil—she had often heard Austen Ware speak of him. Perhaps he had only come over to keep the other out of mischief. She told herself this a second time, because it gave her a drowsy satisfaction, though she knew it was not so. She had always pictured Phil as "fast," and she wondered sleepily what the word meant here in the orient, where there were no theater suppers, and where men probably played fan-tan—no, that was Chinese—or some other queer game instead of poker—unless they ... had aëroplanes.

The bell of the distant temple, which she had heard in the garden, boomed softly, and the amma's flute sounded again its piercing, plaintive double-note. The two sounds began to weave together with a sense of unreality, dreamy, occult, incommunicable. So at length Barbara slept, fitfully, the fragments of that lavish day falling into a bizarre mosaic, in which strange figures mingled uncannily.

She knew them for visions, and to avoid them climbed a grassy hill to a gray old temple in which she saw her father seated cross-legged on a huge lotos-flower. She knew him because his face was just like the face in the locket she wore. She called out and ran toward him, but it was only a great gold-lacquered Buddha with candles burning around it. She ran out of the temple, where a dog pursued her and a monstrous man with a pallid face, who sat in a tree full of cherry-blossoms, threw something [pg 116] at her which suddenly went off with a terrific explosion and blew both him and the dog into bits. It seemed terrible, but she could only laugh and laugh, because somebody held her tight in his arms and she knew that nothing could frighten her ever any more.

And on the tide of this shy comfort she drifted away at last upon a deep and dreamless sea.

Later, when the moon had set and only the faint starlight lay over the garden, the Ambassador still sat in his study, thoughtfully smoking a cigar. On the mantel, under a glass case, was a model of a battle-ship. Over it hung a traverse drawing of the Panama Canal cuttings, and maps and framed photographs looked from the walls between the dark-toned book-shelves. The floor was covered with a deep crimson rug of camel's-hair. The shaded reading-lamp on the desk threw a bright circle of light on an open volume of Treaties at his elbow.

At length he rose, took up the lamp, and approached the mantel. He stood a moment looking thoughtfully at the model under its rounded glass. It was built to scale, and complete in every exterior detail, from the pennant at its head to the tiny black muzzles that peeped from its open casemates. Two years ago America had sent a fleet of such vessels to circumnavigate the globe. An European Squadron [pg 117] of even deadlier type would cast anchor the next morning in those waters. Yet now Bersonin's phrase rang insistently through his mind: "Mere silly shreds of steel!" It recurred like a refrain, mixing itself with the expert's curious words in the study, with that extraordinary incident of the piazza—which had bred a stealthy mistrust that would not down.

With the lamp in his hand he opened the door into the hall and stood listening a moment. Save for the creaks and snappings that haunt frame structures in a land of rapid decay, the house was still. He entered the drawing-room, noiselessly undid the fastenings of a French window and stepped out on to the piazza.

There he threw the lamplight about him, mentally reconstructing the scene of two hours before. Here he himself had stood, yonder Bersonin, and in the corner the dog—ten feet from the edge of the porch. It had vanished in the same instant that he had seen it leaping straight at the expert. What was it Bersonin had taken from his pocket? A weapon? And where had the hound gone?

He stepped forward suddenly; the chair which had been thrown by the Japanese boy had been set upright, but beneath it, and on the piazza beyond, disposed in curious wreaths and whorls, like those made by steel filings above an electro-magnet, lay a thick sifting of what looked like reddish-yellow [pg 118] dust. He stooped and took up some in his fingers; it was dry and impalpable, of an extraordinary fineness.

He stood looking at it a full minute, intent with some absorbed and disquieting communing. Then he shook his broad shoulders, as though dismissing an incredible idea, returned the lamp to the study and went slowly up the stair to his room.

But he was not sleeping when dawn came, gray in the sky. It stole pink-fingered through the window and drew rosy lights on the blank wall across which strange fancies of his had linked themselves in a weird processional. It crept between the heavy curtains of the study below, and gilded the fittings of the little battle-ship on the mantel—as though to deck it in crimson bunting like its mammoth prototypes in the lower bay.

For at that moment the Yokohama Bund was throbbing with the salvos of great guns pealing a salute. The water's edge was lined with a watching crowd. Files of marines were drawn up beneath the green-trimmed arches and cutters flying the sun-flag lay at the wharf, where groups of officers stood in dress-uniform.

Over the ledge of the morning was spread a filmy curtain of damask rose, and beneath it, into the harbor, like a broad dotted arrow-head, was steaming a flock of black battle-ships, with inky smoke pouring from their stacks.

[pg 119]


When Barbara awoke next morning she lay for a moment staring open-eyed from her big pillow at the white wall above, where a hanging-shelf projected to guard the sleeper from falling plaster in earthquake. The room was filled with a soft light that filtered in through the split-bamboo blinds. Then she remembered: it was her first whole day in Japan.

She felt full of a gay insouciance, a glad lightness of joy that she had never felt before. Slipping a thin rose-colored robe over her nightgown, she threw open the window and leaned out. The air was as pure and clean as if it had been sieved through silk, and she breathed it with long inspirations. It made her think of the unredeemed dirt of other countries, the sooty air of crowded factories, hardly growing foliage and unlovely walls.

The Embassy was a pretentious frame structure in which frequent alterations had masked an original plan. With its tall porte-cochère, its long narrow L which served as Chancery, the smaller white cottage across the lawn occupied by the Secretary [pg 120] of Embassy, the rambling servants' quarters and stables, it suggested some fine old Virginia homestead, transported by Aladdin's genii to the heart of an oriental garden. For the tiny rock-knoll, with its single twisted pine-tree in front of the main door, the wistaria arbor and red dwarf maples, the great stone lanterns, the miniature lake and pebbled rivulet spanned by its arching bridge—all these were Japanese. In the early morning the eerie witchery of the night was gone, but the sky was as deep as space and the air languid with the perfume and warmth of a St. Martin's summer. A green-golden glow tinged the camelia hedges and above them the long cool expanse of weather-boarding and olive blinds—like a carving in jade and old ivory.

As she stood there bathed in the sunlight, her hands dividing the curtains, Barbara made a gracious part of the glimmering setting. Her thick, ruddy hair sprang curling from her strongly modeled forehead, and fell about her white shoulders, a warm reddish mass against the delicately tinted curtain. There was a thoroughbred straightness in the lines of the tall figure, in the curve of the cheek and the round directness of the chin; and her eyes, bent on the lucent green, were the color of brown sea-water under sapphire cloud-shadows.

From a circle of evergreens near the porte-cochère a white flag-pole rose high above the treetops. [pg 121] The stars-and-stripes floated from its halyards, for the day was the national holiday of an European power. In the hedges sparrows were twittering, and in a plum-tree a uguisu—the little Buddhist bird that calls the sacred name of the Sutras—was warbling his sweet, slow, solemn syllables: "Ho-kek-yo! Ho-kek-yo!" A gardener was sweeping the pink rain of cherry-petals from the paths with a twig broom, the long sleeves of his blue kimono fluttering in the yellow sunshine, and in front of the servants' quarters a little girl in flapping sandals was skipping rope with a chenille fascinator. Beyond the wall of the compound Barbara could see the street, a low row of open shops. In one, a number of men and girls, sitting on flat mats, were making bamboo fans. At the corner stood a round well, from which a group of women, barefooted and with tucked-up clothing, were drawing water in unpainted wooden buckets with polished brass hoops, and beside it, under a dark blue awning, a man and woman were grinding rice in a hand-mill made of two heavy stone disks. A blue-and-white figured towel was bound about the woman's head against the fine white rice-dust. Above them, on a tiny portico, an old man, with the calm, benevolent face of a porcelain mandarin, was watering an unbelievably-twisted dwarf plum on which was a single bunch of blossoming. At the side of the street grew a gnarled kiri tree, its shambling roots [pg 122] encroaching on the roadway. In their cleft was set a wooden Shinto shrine with small piles of pebbles before it. From a distance, high and clear, she heard a strain of bugles from some squad of soldiers going to barracks, or perhaps to the parade-ground, where, she remembered, an Imperial Review of Troops was to be held that morning.

Barbara started suddenly, to see on the lawn just below her window, a figure three feet high, with a round, cropped head, gazing at her from a solemn, inquiring countenance. He wore a much-worn but clean kimono, and his infantile toes clutched the thongs of clogs so large that his feet seemed to be set on spacious wooden platforms. The youngster bent double and staggeringly righted himself with a staccato "O-hayo!"

Barbara gave an inarticulate gasp; in face of his somber dignity she did not dare to laugh. "How do you do?" she said. "Do you live here?"

"No," he replied. "I lives in a other houses."

"Oh!" exclaimed Barbara, aghast at his command of English. "What is your name?"

"Ishikichi," he said succinctly.

"And will you tell me what you are doing, Ishikichi?"

A small hand from behind his back produced a tiny bamboo cage in which was a bell-cricket. As he held it out, the insect chirped like an elfin cymbal. "Find more one," he said laconically.

[pg 123] "And what shall you do with them, I wonder."

He took one foot from its clog and wriggled bare toes in the grass. "Give him to new little sister," he said.

"So you have a new little sister!" exclaimed Barbara. "How fine that must be!"

A glaze of something like disappointment spread over the diminutive face. "Small like," he said. "More better want a brother to play with me."

"Maybe you might exchange her for a brother," she hazarded, but the cropped head shook despondently:

"I think no can now," he said. "We have use her four days."

Barbara laughed outright, a peal of silvery sound that echoed across the garden—then suddenly drew back. A man on horseback was passing across the drive toward the main gate of the compound. It was Daunt, bareheaded, his handsome tanned face flushed with exercise, the breeze ruffling his moist, curling hair. She flashed him a smile as his riding-crop flew to his brow in salute. The sun glinted from its Damascene handle, wrought into the long, grotesque muzzle of a fox. Between the edges of the blue silk curtains she saw him turn in the saddle to look back before he disappeared.

She stood peering out a long time toward the low white cottage across the clipped lawn. The laughter had left her eyes, and gradually over her [pg 124] face grew a wave of rich color. She dropped the curtain and caught her hands to her cheeks. For an instant she had seemed to feel the pressure of strong arms, the touch of coarse tweed vividly reminiscent of a pipe.

What had come over her? The one day that had dawned at sea in golden fire and died in crimson and purple over a file of convicts—the dreaming night with its temple bell striking through silver mist and violet shadows—these had left her the same Barbara that she had always been. But somewhere, somehow, in the closed gulf between the then and now, something new and strange and sweet had waked in her—something that the sound of a voice in the garish sunlight had started into clamorous reverberations.

She sat down suddenly and hid her face.

[pg 125]


They rode to the parade-ground—Barbara and Patricia with the Ambassador, behind his pair of Kentucky grays—along wide streets grown festive overnight and buzzing with rick'sha and pedestrians. Every gateway held crossed flags bearing the blood-red rising-sun, and colored paper lanterns were swung in festoons along the gaudy blocks of shops, as wide open as tiers of cut honeycomb.

In their swift flight the city appeared a living sea of undulations, of immense green wastes alternating with humming sections of trade, of abrupt, cliff-like hills, of small parks that were masses of cherry-bloom and landscapes of weird Japanese beauty. Patricia quoted one of Haru's quaint sayings: "So-o-o many small village got such a lonesomeness an' come more closer together. Tha's the way Tokyo born." Occasionally the Ambassador pointed out the stately palace of some influential noble, or the amorphous, depressing front of the foreign-style stucco residence of some statesman, [pg 126] built in that different period when the empire took first steps in the path of world-powers, with its low, graceful Japanese portion beside it.

Everywhere Barbara was conscious of the flutter of children—of little girls whose dress and hair showed a pervasive sense of care and adornment; of faces neither gay nor sad looking from latticed windows that hung above open gutters of sluggish ooze; of frail balconies adorned with growing flowers or miniature gardens set in earthen trays; of doorways hung with soft-fringed, rice-straw ropes and dotted with paper charms—the talismanic o-fuda seen on every hand in Japan. In Yokohama what had struck her most had been the curious composite, the jumbled dissonance of East and West. Here was a new impression; this was real Japan, but a Japan that, if it had taken on western hues, had everywhere qualified them by subtle variations, themselves oriental. Past the carriage whirled landaus bearing Japanese grandes dames in native dress, with pomade-stiff coiffures against which their rice-powdered faces made a ghastly contrast; between the rear springs of each vehicle was fixed a round flat pommel on which a runner stood, balancing himself to the swift movement. A Japanese military officer in khaki, with a row of decorations on his breast, rode by on a horse too big for him, at a jingling trot. Two soldiers passing afoot, faced sidewise and their heavy cowhide heels came together [pg 127] with a thud, as they saluted. Their arms had the jerky precision of a mechanical toy.

Through all there seemed to Barbara to strike a sense of the tenacity of the old, of the stubborn persistence of type, as though eyes behind a mask looked grimly at the mirror's reflection of some outlandish and but half-accustomed masquerade. It was the shadow of the old Japan of castes and spies and censors, of homage and hara-kiri, of punctilio and porcelain. Trolley cars rumbled past; skeins of telegraph wire spun across the vision. Yet when stone wall gaped or green hedge opened, it was to reveal the curving tops of Buddhist torii in quaint vistas of straight-boled trees, gliding Tartar contours of roof between clumps of palm, or bamboo thickets with shadows as black as ink; while from the lazy scum of the wide, moat-like, stone gutters, open to the all-putrefying sun, rose thick, marshy odors suggesting the vast languor of a land more ancient than Egypt and Nineveh.

The carriage stopped abruptly at a cross street. A Shinto funeral cortège was passing. Twelve bearers, six on each side, clad in mourning houri of pure white, bore on their shoulders the hearse, like a shrine, built of clean unpainted wood, beautifully grained, and with carven roof and curtains of green and gold brocade. Priests in yellow robes, with curved gauze caps and stoles of scarlet and black, walked at the head, fanning themselves now and [pg 128] then with little fans drawn from their girdles. Coolies, dressed in white like the hearse bearers, carried stiff, conical bouquets, six feet long, made of flowers of staring colors, and clumps of lotos made of papier maché covered with gold and silver leaf. The chief mourner, a woman, rode smiling in a rick'sha. She wore a silver-gray kimono and a tall canopied cap of white brocade with wide floating strings like an old-fashioned bonnet.

"Well, of all things!" said Patricia, in an awe-struck whisper. "What do you think of that?" For the file of rick'sha following her carried a curious assemblage of mourners. In each sat a dog, some large, some small, with great bows of black or white crepe tied to their collars. Taka, the driver, turned his head and spoke:

"Dog-doctor die," he said. "All dog very sorry."

"It's the 'vet.,' father," Patricia cried. "He is dead, then—and all his old patients are attending the funeral! See, Barbara! They are lined up according to diplomatic precedence. That French poodle in front belongs to the Japanese senior prince. The Aberdeen is the British Ambassador's. And there's the Italian Embassy bull-terrier and the Spanish Chargé's 'chin.' The foreigners' dogs have black bows and the others white. Why is that, I wonder?"

"I presume," said the Ambassador, "because white is the Japanese mourning color."

[pg 129] "Of course. How stupid of me!" She sat suddenly upright. "Of all things! There's our 'Dandy'!" She pointed to a tiny Pomeranian on the seat of the last rick'sha. "I wondered why number-three boy was washing him so hard this morning! It's a mercy he didn't see us, or he'd have broken up the procession. Please take note that he's the tail-end—which shows my own unofficial insignificance."

"There's a tourist at the hotel," said the Ambassador, "who should have seen this. I was there the other day and I overheard her speaking to one of the Japanese clerks. She said she had seen everything but a funeral, and she wanted him to instruct her guide to take her to one. The clerk said: 'I am too sorry, Madam, but this is not the season for funerals.'"

The horses trotted on, to drop to a walk, presently, on a brisk incline. High, slanting retaining walls were on either side, and double rows of cherry-trees, whose interlacing branches wove a roof of soft pink bloom. Along the road were many people; inkyo—old men who no longer labored, and ba-San—old women whom age had relieved from household cares—bent and withered and walking with staves or leaning on the arms of their daughters, who bore babies of their own strapped to their backs; children clattering on loose wooden clogs; youths sauntering with kimono'd arms thrown, college-boy [pg 130] fashion, about each other's shoulders; a troop of young girls in student hakama—skirts of deep purple or garnet—laughing and chatting in low voices or airily swinging bundles tied in colored furoshiki. Midway the wall opened into a miniature park filled with trees, with a small lake and a Shinto monument.

"Why, there's little Ishikichi," said Patricia. "I never saw him so far from home before. Isn't that a queer-looking man with him!"

The solemn six-year-old, Barbara's window acquaintance of the morning, was trotting from the inclosure, his small fingers clutching the hand of a foreigner. The latter was of middle age. His coat was a heavy, double-breasted "reefer." His battered hat, wide-brimmed and soft-crowned, was a joke. But his linen was fresh and good and his clumsy shoes did not conceal the smallness and shapeliness of his feet. He was lithe and well built, and moved with an easy swing of shoulder and a step at once quick and graceful. His back was toward them, but Barbara could see his long, gray-black hair, a square brow above an aquiline profile at once bold and delicate, and a drooping mustache shot with gray. Many people seemed to regard him, but he spoke to no one save his small companion. His manner, as he bent down, had something caressing and confiding.

At the sound of wheels the man turned all at once [pg 131] toward them. As his gaze met Barbara's, she thought a startled look shot across it. At side view his face had seemed a dark olive, but now in the vivid sunlight it showed blanched. His eyes were deep in arched orbits. One, she noted, was curiously prominent and dilated. From a certain bird-like turn of the head, she had an impression that this one eye was nearly if not wholly sightless. All this passed through her mind in a flash, even while she wondered at his apparent agitation.

For as he gazed, he had dropped the child's hand. She saw his lips compress in an expression grim and forbidding. He made an involuntary movement, as though mastered by a quick impulse. Then, in a breath, his face changed. He shrank back, turned sharply into the park and was lost among the trees.

"What an odd man!" exclaimed Patricia. "I suppose he resented our staring at him. He's left the little chap all alone, too. Stop the horses a moment, Tucker," she directed, and as they pulled up she called to the child.

But there was no reply. Ishikichi looked at her a moment frowningly, then, without a word, turned and stalked somberly after his companion.

"What an infant thunder-cloud!" said Patricia as the carriage proceeded. "That must be where our precious prodigy gets his English. Poor mite!" she added. "He was the inseparable of the son of Toru, [pg 132] the flower-dealer opposite the Embassy, Barbara, and the dear little fellow was run over and killed last week by a foreign carriage. No doubt he's grieving over it, but in Japan even the babies are trained not to show what they feel. I wonder who this new friend is?"

"I've seen the man once before," said the Ambassador. "He was pointed out to me. His name is Thorn. His first name is Greek—Aloysius, isn't it?—yes, Aloysius. He is a kind of recluse: one of those bits of human flotsam, probably, that western civilization discards, and that drift eventually to the East. It would be interesting to know his history."

So this, thought Barbara, was the exile of whom Daunt had told her, who had chosen to bury himself—from what unguessed motive!—in an oriental land, sunk out of sight like a stone in a pool. When he looked at her she had felt almost an impulse to speak, so powerfully had the shadow in his eyes suggested the canker of solitariness, the dreary ache of bitterness prolonged. She felt a wave of pity surging over her.

But the carriage leaped forward, new sights sprang on them and the fleeting thought dropped away at length behind her, with the overhanging cherry-blooms, the little green park, and the strange face at its gateway.

[pg 133]


Gradually, as they proceeded, the throng became denser. Policemen in neat suits of white-duck and wearing long cavalry swords lined the road. They had smart military-looking caps and white cotton gloves, and stood, as had the officer before the file of convicts in Shimbashi Station, moveless and imperturbable. The crowds were massed now in close, locked lines on either side. In one place a school-master stood guard over a file of small boys in holiday kimono: a little paper Japanese flag was clutched in each chubby hand.

In all the ranks there was no jostling, or fighting for position, no loud-voiced jest or expostulation; a spell was in the air; the Imperial Presence who was to pass that way had cast His beneficent Shadow before.

Through a double row of saluting police they whirled into an immense brown field, as level as a floor, stretching before them seemingly empty, a dull, yellow-brown waste horizoned by feathery tree-tops. The carriage turned to the right, skirting a surging sea of brown faces held in check by [pg 134] a stretched rope; these gave place to a mass of officers standing in dress-uniform, with plumed caps and breasts ablaze with decorations; in another moment they descended before a canvas marquée where brilliant regimental uniforms from a dozen countries shifted and mingled with diplomatic costumes heavy with gold-braid, and with women's gay frocks and picture-hats.

The air was full of exhilaration; people were laughing and chatting. The British Ambassador displayed the plaid of a Colonel of Highlanders; he had fought in the Soudan. The Chinese Minister was in his own mandarin costume; from his round, jade-buttoned hat swept the much coveted peacock feathers and on his breast were the stars of the "Rising-Sun" and the "Double-Dragon." The American Ambassador alone, of all the foreign representatives, wore the plain frock-coat and silk hat of the civilian. From group to group strolled officials of the Japanese Foreign Office and Cabinet Ministers, their ceremonial coats crossed by white or crimson cordons. And through it all Barbara moved, responsive to all this lightness and color, bowing here and there to introductions that left her only the more conscious of the one tall figure that had met them and now walked at her side.

Daunt could not have told that the flowers in her hat were brown orchids: he only knew that they matched the color of her eyes. Last night the moonlight [pg 135] had lent her something of the fragile and ethereal, like itself. Now the sunlight painted in clear warm colors of cream and cardinal. It glinted from the perfect curve of her forehead, and tangled in the wide wave of her bronze hair, making it gleam like hot copper spun into silk-fine strands. His finger-tips tingled to touch it.

He started, as—"A penny for your thoughts," she said, with sudden mischief.

"Have you so much about you?" he countered.

"That's a subterfuge."

"You wouldn't be flattered to hear them, I'm afraid."

"The reflection is certainly a sad blow to my self-esteem!"

"Well," he said daringly, "I was thinking how I would like to pick you up in my arms before all these people and run right out in the center of that field—"

She flushed to the tips of her ears. "And then—"

"Just run, and run, and run away."

"What a heroic exploit!" she said with subtle mockery, but the flush deepened.

"You know to what lengths I can go in my longing to be a hero!" he muttered.

"Running off with girls under your arm seems to have become a mania. But isn't your idea rather prosaic in this age of flying-machines? To swoop down on one in an aëroplane would be so much [pg 136] more thrilling! This is the field where you practise, too, isn't it? Is that building away over there where you keep your Glider?"'

"Yes. At first I made the models in a Japanese house of mine near here. I keep it still, from sentiment."

"How fine to meet a man who admits to having sentiment! I'm tremendously interested in Japanese houses. You must show it to me."

"I will. And when will you let me take you for a 'fly?'"

"I'm relieved," she said, "to find you willing to ask permission."

Her eyes sparkled into his, and both laughed. Patricia was chatting animatedly with Count Voynich, the young diplomatist whom she had pointed out in the train, and whose monocle now looked absurdly contemplative and serene under a menacing helmet. The confusion of many colors, the pomp and panoply under the day's golden azure, was singing in Barbara's veins. She moved suddenly toward the front. "Come," she said, "I want you to tell me things!"

"I'm going to," he answered grimly. "I've known I should, ever since—"

"Look!" she cried. Several coaches had bowled up; behind each stood footmen in gold-lace and cocked hats, knee breeches and white silk stockings. Daunt named the occupants as they descended: the [pg 137] Premier, one of the "Elder Statesmen," the Minister of the Household.

"Who are the people there at the side, under the awning?"

"Tourists. Each Embassy and Legation is allowed a certain number of invitations."

"Why, yes," said Barbara. "I see some of my ship-mates." She smiled and nodded across as faces turned toward her. There was the gaunt, sallow woman who had distributed Christian Science tracts (till sea-sickness claimed her for its own) and little Miss Tippetts (the printed steamer-list, with unconscious wit, had made it "Tidbits"), who had flitted about the companion-ways like a shawled wraith, radiant now in a white lingerie gown and a hat covered with red hollyhocks. And there, too, was the familiar painted-muslin and the expansive white waistcoat of the train.

A hundred yards to the right was spread a wide silk canopy of royal purple, caught back with crimson tassels. "What is that?" Barbara asked, pointing.

"That is for the Emperor and his suite. The big sixteen-petaled chrysanthemum on its front is the Imperial Crest; no one else is allowed to use or carry it. The men on horseback are Princes of the Blood. Almost all the great generals of the late war are in that group behind them. The man smoking a cigarette is the Japanese Minister of War."

[pg 138] "But when do the troops come?" Barbara inquired. "I see only one little company out there in the center."

"That is a band," he said. "Look farther. Can you make out something like a wide, brown ribbon stretched all around the field?"

She looked. The far-away, moveless, dun-colored strip merged with the sere plain, but now, here and there, she saw minute needle points of sunlight twinkle across it. She made an exclamation. For the tiny flashes were sun-gleams from the bayonets of massed men, clad in neutral-tinted khaki, silent, motionless as a brown wall, a living river frozen to utter immobility by a word of command that had been spoken two long hours before.

A mounted aide galloped wildly past toward the purple canopy. As he flashed by, a thin bugle-note rang out and a band far back by the gate at which they had entered began playing a minor melody. Strange, slow, infinitely solemn and sad, the strain rolled around the hushed field—the Kimi-ga-yo, the "Hymn of the Sovereign," adapted by a German melodist a score of years ago, which in Japan is played only in the Imperial Presence or that of its outward and visible tokens. The counterpoint, with its muttering roll of snare-drums on the long chords, and sudden, sharp clashes of cymbals, gave the majestic air an effect weird and unforgetable. The strain sank to silence, but with the last note a second [pg 139] nearer band caught it up and repeated it; then, nearer still, another and another.

Barbara, leaning, saw a great state-coach of green and gold coming down the field. It was drawn by four of the most beautiful bay horses she had ever seen. Coachman, postilions and footmen wore red coats heavily frogged with gold, white cloth breeches and block enamel top-boots. As it came briskly along that animate wall of spectators, the vast concourse, save for the welling or ebbing minor of the bands, was silent, hushed as in a cathedral. But as it passed, the packed sea of brown faces—the mass of kimono next the gate and the ranks of splendid uniforms—bent forward as one man, in a great sighing rustle, like a field of tall grass when a sudden wind passes over it.

The plumed hats of the diplomatists came off; they bowed low. The ladies courtesied, and Barbara, as her gaze lifted, caught an instant's glimpse, through the coach's glass sides, of that kingly figure, heaven-descended and sacred, mysterious alike to his own subjects as to the outside world, through whom flows to the soul of modern Japan the manifest divinity and living guidance of cohorts of dead Emperors stretching backward into the night of Time!

The band stationed in the center of the immense field had begun to play—something with a martial [pg 140] swing; and now the far brown strip that had blent with brown earth began to shift and tremble like the quiver of air above heated metal. Its motes detached themselves, clustered anew; and the long, wide ribbon, like a huge serpent waked from rigid sleep in the sunshine, swept into view: regiments of men, armed and blanketed, by file and platoon. They moved with high, jerky "goose-step" and loosely swinging arm, line upon line, till the ground shook with the tread.

Before each regiment were borne strange flags, blackened and tattered by blood and shell. Some were mere flapping fringes. But they were more precious than human lives. One had been found on a Manchurian battlefield, wrapped about the body of a dead Japanese, beneath his clothing. Wounded, he had so concealed it, then killed himself, lest, captured alive, the standard he bore might fall into the hands of the enemy. As each new rank came opposite the coach before the purple canopy, an officer's sword flashed out in salute, and a "banzai!" tore across the martial music like the ragged yell of a fanatical Dervish.

Daunt, watching Barbara, saw the light leaping in her brown eyes, the excitement coming and going in her face. Again and again he fixed his gaze before him, as infantry, cavalry and artillery marched and pounded and rumbled past. In vain. Like a wilful drunkard it returned to intoxicate itself [pg 141] with the sight of her eager beauty, that made the scene for him only a splendid blur, an extraneous impression of masses of swaying bodies moving like marionettes, of glistening bayonets, horses, clattering ammunition wagons, and fluttering pennants.

In Barbara, however, every nerve was thrilling to the sight. For the moment she had forgotten even the man beside her. As she watched the audacious outpouring of drilled power, tempered and restrained, yet so terribly alive in its coiled virility, she was feeling a keen pang of sympathy that was almost pain. In this burning panorama she divined no shrinking, devious thing sinking with the fatigue of ages, aping the superficialities of a remote race: not merely a tidal wave of intense vitality, mobile and mercurial, hastening onward toward an inaudible unknown, but a splendid rebirth, a dazzling reincarnation of old spirit in new form, a symbol concrete and vital, like the blaze of a beacon flaming a racial réveille.

She turned toward Daunt, her hand outstretched, her fingers on his arm, her lips opened.

But she did not speak. Afterward she did not know what she had intended to say.

[pg 142]


Phil descended from his rick'sha at the Tokyo Club and paid the coolie.

The building faced an open square between the Imperial Hotel and the Parliament Buildings, along one of the smaller picturesque moats, which the fever for modernization was now filling in to make a conventional boulevard. A motor shed stood at the side of the plaza and an automobile or two was generally in evidence. The structure was small but comfortable enough, with reading- and card-rooms and a billiard-room of many tables. It was the clearing-house for the capital's news, the general exchange for Diet, Peers' Club and the Embassies. It was a place of tacit free-masonry and conversational dissections. From five to seven in the afternoon it was a polyglot babble of Japanese, English, French, German and Italian, punctuated with the tinkle of glasses and the cheerful click of billiard balls. Over its tables secretaries met to gossip of the newest entente or the latest social "affair," and protocols had been drafted on the big, deep, leather sofas adjoining the bar.

[pg 143] The door was opened by a servile bell-boy in buttons. Phil tossed his hat on to the hall-rack and entered. It was cool and pleasant inside, and a great bowl of China asters sat on the table beside the membership book. On the wall was a wire frame full of visitors' cards. He strode through the office and entered a large, glass-inclosed piazza where a number of Japanese, some in foreign, some in native costume, were watching a game of Go. Two younger Legation attachés were shaking dice at another table. It was but a little past noon and the place had an air of sober quiet, very different, Phil reflected, from the club on the Yokohama Bund, which was always buzzing, and where he was hail-fellow-well-met with everybody. Frowning, he passed into the next room.

Here his eye lightened. Sitting in a corner of one of the huge sofas which sank under his enormous weight, was Doctor Bersonin. A little round table was before him on which sat a tall glass frosted with cracked ice.

"Sit down," said the expert. "How do you come to be in Tokyo? The Review, I presume." He struck a call-bell on the table and gave an order to the waiter.

Phil lighted a cigarette. "No," he said, "I've come to stay for a while."

"You haven't given up your bungalow on the Bluff?" asked Bersonin quickly. There was an odd [pg 144] eagerness in his colorless face—a look of almost dread, which Phil, lighting his cigarette, did not see. It changed to relief as the other answered:

"No. Probably I shan't be here more than a few days."

The expert settled back in his seat. "You'll not find the hotel everything it should be, I'm afraid," he observed more casually.

"I'm not there," Phil answered. "I—I've got a little Japanese house."

"So! A ménage de garçon, eh?" The big man held up his clinking glass to the light, and under cover of it, his deep-set yellowish eyes darted a keen, detective look at Phil's averted face. "Well," he went on, "how are your affairs? Has the stern brother appeared yet?"

Phil shifted uneasily. "No," he replied. "I expect him pretty soon, though." He drained the glass the boy had filled. "You've been tremendously kind, Doctor," he went on hurriedly, "to lend me so much, without the least bit of security—"

"Pshaw!" said Bersonin. "Why shouldn't I?" He put his hand on the other's shoulder with a friendly gesture. "I only wish money could give me as much pleasure as it does you, my boy."

Two men had seated themselves in the next room. Through the open door came fragments of conversation, the gurgle of poured liquid and the bubbling hiss of Hirano mineral water. Bersonin lowered his [pg 145] voice: "Youth! What a great thing it is! Red-blood and imagination and zest to enjoy. All it needs is the wherewithal to gild its pleasures. After a time age catches us, and what are luxuries then? Only things to make tiresomeness a little less irksome!"

Phil moved his glass on the table top in sullen circles. "But suppose one hasn't the 'wherewithal' you talk of? What's the fun without money, even when you're young? I've never been able to discover it!"

"Find the money," said Bersonin.

"I wish some one would tell me how!"

Bersonin's head turned toward the door. He sat suddenly rigid. It came to Phil that he was listening intently to the talk between the two men in the next room.

"I needn't point out"—it was a measured voice, cold and incisive and deliberate—"that when the American fleet came, two years ago, conditions were quite different. The cruise was a national tour de force; the visit to Japan was incidental. Besides, there was really no feeling then between the two nations—that was all a creation of the yellow press. But the coming of this European Squadron to-day is a different thing. It is a season of general sensitiveness and distrust, and when the ships belong to a nation between which and Japan there is real and serious diplomatic tension—well, in my opinion the time is, at best, inopportune."

[pg 146] "Perhaps"—a younger voice was speaking now, less certain, less poised and a little hesitant—"perhaps the very danger makes for caution. People are particularly careful with matches when there's a lot of powder about."

"True, so far as intention goes. But there is the possibility of some contre-temps. You remember the case of the Ajax in the Eighties. It was blown up in a friendly harbor—clearly enough by accident, at least so far as the other nation was concerned. But it was during a time of strain and hot blood, and you know how narrowly a great clash was averted. If war had followed, regiments would have marched across the frontier, shouting: 'Remember the Ajax!' As it was, there was a panic in three bourses. Solid securities fell to the lowest point in their history. The yellow press pounded down the market, and a few speculators on the short side made gigantic fortunes."

A moment's pause ensued. Bersonin's fingers were rigid. There seemed suddenly to Phil to be some significance between his silence and the conversation—as if he wished it to sink into his, Phil's, mind. The voice continued:

"What has happened once may happen again. What if one of those Dreadnaughts by whatever accident should go down in this friendly harbor? It doesn't take a vivid imagination to picture the headlines next morning in the newspapers at home!"

[pg 147] The ice in the tumblers clinked; there was a sound of pushed-back chairs.

As their departing footsteps died in the hall, Bersonin's gaze lifted slowly to Phil's face. It had in it now the look it had held when he gazed from the roof of the bungalow on the Bluff across the anchorage beneath. Phil did not start or shrink. Instead, the slinking evil that ruled him met half-way the bolder evil in that glance, from whose sinister suggestion the veil was for a moment lifted, recognizing a tacit kinship. Neither spoke, but as the hard young eyes looked into the cavernous, topaz eyes of Doctor Bersonin, Phil knew that the thought that lay coiled there was a thing unholy and unafraid. His heart beat faster, but it warmed. He felt no longer awed by the other's greater age, standing and accomplishments. He was conscious of a new, half-insolent sense of easy comradeship.

"Suppose," said Bersonin slowly, "I should show you how to find the money."

A sharp eagerness darted across Phil's face. Money! How much he needed it, longed for it! It could put him on his feet, clear off his debts, square his bridge-balance, and—his brother notwithstanding!—enable him to begin another chapter of the careless life he loved! He looked steadily into the expert's face.

"Tell me!" he almost whispered.

[pg 148] Bersonin rose and held out his hand. He did not smile.

"Come with me to-night," he said. "I dine late, but we'll take a spin in my car and have some tea somewhere beforehand. Tell me where your house is and I'll send Ishida with the motor-car for you."

Phil gave him the address and he went out with no further word. A great, brass-fitted automobile, with a young, keen-eyed Japanese sitting beside the chauffeur, throbbed up from the shed. Bersonin climbed ponderously in. A gray-haired diplomatist, entering the Club with a stranger, pointed the big man out to the other as he was whirled away.

[pg 149]


What did Bersonin mean? Phil replenished his glass, feeling a tense, nervous excitement.

Why had he listened so intently—made him listen—to what the men in the next room were saying? He could recall it all—for some reason every word was engraven on his mind. The visit of the foreign Squadron. Speculators who had once made quick fortunes through an accident to a battle-ship. He thought of the look he had seen on Bersonin's face.

"What do you want me to do?" He muttered the words to himself. As he rose to go he glanced half-fearfully over his shoulder.

He walked along the street, his brain afire. He was passing a moat in whose muck bottom piling was being driven; the heavy plunger was lifted by a dozen ropes pulled by a ring of coolie women, dressed like men, with blue-cotton leggins and red cloths about their heads. As they dragged at the straw ropes, and the great weight rose and fell, they [pg 150] chanted a wailing refrain, with something minor and plaintive in its burden—

"Yó—eeya—kó—ra! Yó-eeya—kó—ra!"

What do you want me to do?... The words wove oddly with the refrain. Why should he say them over and over? Again and again it came—an echo of an echo—and again and again he seemed to see the look in the expert's hollow, cat-like eyes! It haunted him as he walked on toward Aoyama parade-ground, to the little house in Kasumigatani Cho, the "Street-of-the-Misty-Valley."

Then, as he walked, he saw some one that for the moment drove it from his mind. He had turned for a short-cut through a temple inclosure, and there he met her face to face—the girl of the matsuri, whom he had seen wading in the foam at Kamakura. Her slim neck, pale with rice-powder, rose from a soft white neckerchief flowered with gold, and a scarlet poppy was dreaming in her black hair. Phil's face sprang red, and a wave of warm color overran her own.

"O-Haru-San!" he cried.

"Konichi-wa," she answered with grave courtesy and made to pass him, but he turned and walked by her side. "Please, please!" he entreated. "If you only knew how often I have looked for you! Don't be unkind!"

[pg 151] "Why you talk with me?" said Haru, turning. "My Japanese girl—no all same your country."

"You wild, pretty thing!" he said. "Why are you so afraid of me? Foreigners don't eat butterflies."

"No," she answered, without hesitation, "they jus' break wings."

He laughed unevenly. Her quickness of retort delighted him, and her beauty was stinging his blood. He put out his hand and touched her sleeve, but she drew away hurriedly:

"See!" she said. "My know those people to come in gate. Talk—'bout my papa-San—please, so they will to think he have know you, ?"

Phil obeyed the hint, but Haru's cheeks, as she saluted her friends, were flushing painfully. It was her first subterfuge employed in a moment of embarrassment with the realization that her home was near and that she was violating the code of deportment that from babyhood hedges about the young Japanese girl with a complicated etiquette.

The women they had passed looked back curiously at the foreigner walking with her. One, a girl of Haru's own age, called smilingly after her:

"Komban Mukojima de sho?" Phil understood the query. Was she going to Mukojima—to the cherry festival—to-night! His eyes sparkled at the tossed-back, "Hai!" Well, he would be there, too! He had appreciated the quick wit of her subterfuge. [pg 152] The clever little baggage! She was not such a small, brown saint, after all!

"I think I did that rather well," he said, when they had passed out of earshot. "They'll think your honorable parent and I exchange New Year gifts at the very least."

A little smile of irrepressible fun was lurking under Haru's flush. "You have ask how is papa-San rhu-ma-tis-um," she said. "In our street he have some large fame, for because he so old and no have got."

Phil laughed aloud. "Look here, little Haru," he said, "you and I are going to be great friends, aren't we?" He looked down at the slim, nervous arm, so soft and firm of flesh, so deliciously turned and modeled. He knew a jade bracelet in Yokohama that would mightily become it—he would write to-night and have it sent up! "When can I see you again, eh?"

They had turned into a narrow deserted lane, bordered with bamboo fences, and opening, a little way beyond, into the wider Street-of-Prayer-to-the-Gods. She stopped as he spoke and shook her head. "My no can tell," she answered. "No come more far. My house very near now."

He caught her hand—it was almost as small as a child's, with its delicate wrist and slender fingers. "Give me a kiss and I will let you go," he said.

As she shrank back indignantly against the [pg 153] palings, her free hand flung up across her face, he threw his arms about her and strained her to him. She wrestled against him with little inarticulate sobs, but he lifted her face and kissed her again and again.

He released her, breathing hard, the veins in his temples throbbing, his lips burning hot. He stood a moment looking after her, as white-faced and breathless, she fled down the bamboo lane.

"There!" he muttered. "That's for you to remember me by—till next time!"

[pg 154]


Bishop Randolph lived in the quarter of Tokyo called Ts'kiji—a section of "made-ground" in the bay, composed, as the ancient vestry jest had it, of the proverbial tomato-cans. It was flat and low, and its inner canal in the old days had formed the boundary of the extraterritorial district given over by a reluctant government to the residence of foreigners.

It was a mile from the great, double-moated park of the Imperial Palace, from the Diet and the Foreign Office, whither, scarcely a generation ago, representatives of European powers had galloped on horse-back, with a mounted guard against swashbuckling "two-sword men." The streets, however, on which once an American Secretary of Legation, so spurring, had been cut in two by a single stroke of a thirsting samurai sword, were peaceful enough in this era of Meiji. The cathedral, the college, the low brown hospital and the lines of red-brick mission houses stood on grassy lawns behind green hedges which gave a suggestion of a quiet English village. [pg 155] A couple of the smaller Legations still clung to their ancient sites and the quarter boasted, besides, a score of ambitious European residences and a modern hotel.

In the rectory the bishop sat at tiffin with the archbishop of the Russian Cathedral, a man of seventy-eight, gray-bearded and patriarchal—another St. Francis Xavier. In this foreign field the pair had been friends during more than a score of years. Both were equally broad-minded, had long ago thrown down the sectarian barriers too apt to prevail in less restricted communities. To a large extent they were confidants. The archbishop spoke little English, and the bishop no Russian and but "inebriate" French (as he termed it), so that their talk was habitually in Japanese. When they had finished eating both men bowed their heads in a silent grace. The Russian, as he rose, made the sign of the cross.

As they entered the library a wrinkled house-servant sucked in his breath behind them.

"Will the thrice-eminent guest deign to partake of a little worthless tobacco?" he inquired, in the ceremonious honorifics of the vernacular.

The thrice-eminent shook his head, and the bishop answered: "Honorable thanks, Honda-San, our guest augustly does not smoke."

At the table they had been talking of the great dream of both—the Christianization of modern [pg 156] Japan. The archbishop continued the conversation now:

"As I was saying, the great stumbling-block is the language. It is all right for you and me, who have had twenty years at it, but our helpers haven't. His code of courtesy forbids a Japanese to seem to correct even when we are absurdly wrong. One of my boys"—so the bishop affectionately referred to his younger coadjutors—"was preaching the other day on 'The Spiritual Attributes of Mankind.' He meant to use the word ningen, man in the wide sense. He preached, he thought, with a good deal of success—the people seemed particularly grave and attentive. Afterward he asked an old Japanese what he thought of the subject. The man replied that he had felt much instructed to find there were so many things to be said about it. He added that he himself generally ate them boiled. My young man had used the word ninjin—carrots. 'The Spiritual Attributes of Carrots!' And a whole sermon on it. Imagine it!"

The archbishop threw back his head and laughed. Then the conversation drifted again into the serious. "Of course," said the bishop, "there is at bottom the oriental inability to separate racial traits, to realize that Christianity has made Christendom's glories, not her shames. The Japanese are essentially a spiritually-minded people. Some of the West's most common vices they are strangely without. And [pg 157] their code of every-day morals—well, we can throw very few stones at them there!"

The archbishop nodded.

"Few, indeed," he said. "No Japanese Don Juan ever could exist. A Japanese woman would be scandalized by a Greek statue. She would recoil at a French nude. She would fly with astonishment and shame from the sight of a western ballet. Our whole system strikes the Oriental as not only monstrous but disgustingly immoral. It seems to him, for instance, sheer barbarity for a man to love his wife even half as well as he does his own mother and father. A curious case in point happened not so long ago. A peasant had a mother who became blind. He consulted the village necromancer, who told him if his mother could eat a piece of human heart she would get her sight back. The peasant went home in tears and told his wife. She said, 'We have only one boy. You can very easily get another wife as good or better than me, but you might never have another son. Therefore, you must kill me and take my heart for your mother.' They embraced, and he killed her with his sword. The child awoke and screamed. Neighbors and the police came. In the police court the peasant's tale moved the judges to tears. They quite understood. They didn't condemn the man to death. Really the one who ought to have been killed was the necromancer."

"And this," said the bishop musingly, "only a [pg 158] few miles from where they were teaching integral calculus and Herbert Spencer!"

His visitor sat a while in thought. "By the way," he said presently, changing the subject, "I passed your new Chapel the other day. It is very handsome. Your niece, I think you told me, built it. May I ask—"

"Yes," said the host, "it is my dead sister's child, Barbara—John Fairfax's daughter."

A look passed between them, and the bishop rose and paced up and down, a habit when he was deeply moved. "She came back to Japan with me," he continued. "I am to take her to see the Chapel this afternoon. Yesterday she told me that she intends it to be dedicated to her father's memory."

For a moment there was no reply. Then the other said: "You have heard nothing of Fairfax all these years?"

"Not a word."

"She has never known?"

The bishop shook his head. "She believes he died before her mother left Japan." He paused before the window, his back to the other. "He was my friend!" he said; "and I loved him. I gave my sister to him, and she loved him, too!"

"I remember," said the archbishop slowly. "She went back to America from Nagasaki. How strange it was! She never told any one why she left him?"

[pg 159] "Never a word. She died before I went to America again. She left me a letter which hinted at something wholly unforgivable—almost Satanic, it must have seemed to her."

"And he?"

"Disappeared. He was thought to have gone to China. Perhaps he is alive there yet. I have always wondered. If so, how is he living—in what way?" The bishop turned abruptly. "In view of what we know, can I lend myself to the dedication of this house of our Lord to a memory that may be infamous? I ask you as a friend."

The older man was a long time silent.

"'His ways are past finding out,'" he said at length. "I am conscious, sometimes, of a hidden purpose in things. The daughter's memory of her father is a beautiful thing. Let us not destroy it!"

[pg 160]


The bishop, and the Ambassador, when the former's call was ended that afternoon, found Barbara with Haru in the garden pagoda. She sat on its wide ledge, Haru at her feet, in a dainty kimono of pale gray cotton-crepe with a woven pattern of plum-blossoms. The oval Japanese face showed no trace now of the passionate anger with which she had fled from Phil's kisses. If it had left a trace the trace was hidden under the racial mask that habitually glosses the surface of oriental feeling.

Barbara had fallen in love with Haru's piquant personality—with her fragile loveliness, her quaint phrasing, her utter desire to please. While Patricia deepened her engaging freckles on the tennis court, she had made the Japanese girl bring her samisen and play. At first the music had seemed uncouth and elfish—a queer, barbaric twanging, like an intoxicated banjo with no bass string, tricked with unmelodious chirpings, and woven with extraordinary runs and unfamiliar intervals. But slowly, after the first few moments, there had crept to her inner ear a [pg 161] strange, errant rhythm. She had felt her feet stealthily gliding, her arms bending, with those of the score of listening children who at the first twittering of the strings, had crept from stables and servants' quarters like infant toads in a shower. Afterward Haru, in her pretty broken English, had told her stories—old legends that are embalmed in the geisha dances, of the forty-seven Ronin, and of the great Shogun who slept by the huge stone lanterns in Uyeno Park.

When Barbara and her uncle started on their walk—he was to show her the Chapel—the Ambassador strolled with them as far as the main gate of the compound. A string of carriages from the Imperial stables—each with the golden chrysanthemum on its lacquered panel—was just passing. Their occupants, some of whom were Japanese and some foreign, were in naval uniform, their breasts covered with orders.

"The officers of the foreign Squadron, no doubt," said the Ambassador, "being shown the sights of the capital. Day after to-morrow the Minister of Marine begins the official entertainment with a ball in their honor. You will enjoy that, Barbara."

"I wish," said the bishop, "that the pessimists who are so fond of talking of diplomatic 'strain' could see a Japanese welcome. The stay of these officers will be one long festivity. Yet to read a [pg 162] Continental journal you would think every other Japanese was carrying a club for use if they ventured ashore."

The Ambassador watched the cavalcade thoughtfully. For weeks, the newspapers of European capitals had talked of conflicting interests and unreconciled differences between the two countries. He knew that there was little in this, in fact, save the journalistic necessity for "news" and a nervousness that seems periodically to oppress highly strung Chanceries as it does individuals. Beneath this surface current, diplomacy had gone its even, temperate way, undisturbed. But as a trained diplomatist he knew that the most baseless rumor, if too long persisted in, had grave danger, and he had welcomed the coming of the Squadron, for the sake of the effect on foreign public opinion, of the lavish and open-hearted hospitality which Japan would offer it. When the carriages had whirled past he bade the others good-by and went back to his books.

Walking up the sloping "Hill-of-the-Spirit" to the templed knoll behind it, Barbara felt in tune with the afternoon. All along flaunting camphor-trees and cryptomeria peered above the skirting walls and the scent of wistaria was as heavy as that of new-mown hay. The ground was white and dusty and here and there briskly moving handcarts were sprinkling water. Little girls, with their [pg 163] hair in pigtails tied with bright-colored yarn and ribbon, and in brilliant figured kimono of red and purple, ran hither and thither in some game, and on the gutter-edge a naked baby stared up at them with grave, mistrustful eyes, his shaven head bobbing in the sunshine. Half-way up the hill a group of coolies were resting beside their carts. Their faces had the look of lotos-eaters, languid and serene. As they walked Barbara told of the adventure of the evening before with the wolf-hound, and of the Review of the morning, and the bishop, shrewdly regarding her, thought he had never seen her so beautiful.

"What has happened—who has happened, Barbara?" he asked, for he suddenly guessed he knew what that look meant.

Her eyes dropped and her rising color confirmed his idea. "I don't know—do you?"

He took out his pocketbook and handed her a clipping from a morning newspaper. It chronicled the arrival of the yacht Barbara.

She looked at him out of eyes brimming with laughter:

"'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages——'"

"But not Ware?" he finished. "All right. He'll [pg 164] speak for himself, no doubt. The paper says he's at Nara; but then, he doesn't know you are here yet. We pushed our sailing date forward, you remember."

"I'm trying to curb my impatience," she said blithely. "Meanwhile, I can't tell you what a good time I'm having. I shall stay in Japan for ever: I can feel it in my bones! I shall have a Japanese house with a chaperon, two tailless cats and an amah, and study the three systems of flower-arrangement and the Tea-Ceremony."

They had reached the huge gate, with its little booth in which a sentry now stood. "He wears the uniform of the Imperial Guard," the bishop said. "That is the residence of one of the daughters of the Emperor."

He turned into the lane that opened opposite. It was hedged with some unfamiliar thorny shrub with woolly yellow blossoms, and a little way inside stood an old temple gate with a stone torii. She stopped with an exclamation.

"Yes," he said, "there is the Chapel."

Barbara was looking opposite the torii, where, amid the flowering green, a slanting roof lifted, holding a cross. It stood out, whitely cut against the blue, a silent witness. Facing the dragon-swarming gate, it made her think of pale martyrs in gorgeous pagan countries, of Paul standing before [pg 165] the Temple of Diana in Ephesus, and lonely Christian anchorites in profane lands of green and gold.

"What Christians some of these Japanese make!" the bishop said, as they finished their tour of the building. "I know of a carpenter in Sendai who became a convert. He used to visit the prison and one day he took a woman there to see her husband, a hardened and obdurate criminal. In the interview the man stabbed his wife. The chief-of-police, on account of the carpenter's reputation for justice and pure-living, left the punishment of the man to him. What do you think he did?"

She could not guess.

"He refused to punish him at all, on the simple ground that Christ would not. As a result the convict is now one of the best Christian teachers we have in Sendai. The month before this happened," he continued, smiling reflectively, "a thief broke into the rectory and stole my watch. I notified the police, and they brought it back to me in a few days. But where is my thief? You remember Jean Valjean and the silver candle-sticks? Maybe the Sendai carpenter was nearer right than I."

Barbara had paused in front of the black space for the stained-glass window.

"It will be here," the bishop said, answering her thought. "It is to be put in place in time for the dedication service to-morrow morning." He stepped [pg 166] to the door and peered into the interior. "You will want to look about a bit, no doubt. I have a call to make in the neighborhood—suppose I stop on my way back for you."

For a few moments after his departure Barbara stood listening to the dulled sound of the workmen's tools. The roof of the temple opposite had a curving, Tartar-like ridge, at either end of which was a huge fish, its head pointed inward, its wide forked tail twisted high in air. Under its scalloped eaves she saw the flash of a swallow, and far above a gaudy paper kite careened in the blue.

She crossed the lane and looked into the shady inclosure, where the bronze lanterns and the tombstones stood, as gray and lichened as the stone beneath her feet. Before many of the graves stood green bamboo vases holding bunches of fresh leaves. An old woman was moving noiselessly about, watering these with a long bamboo dipper and lighting incense-sticks as she went. In one place a young man knelt before an ancestral monument, softly clapping his hands in prayer. The whole place was drenched in a tone limpid and serene, the very infusion of peace. Only in the black temple interior she caught the dim glow of candles and somewhere a muffled baton was tapping on hollow wood.

"Min ... Min ... Min .. Min .. [pg 167] Min . Min . Min-Min-Min-Minminminminmin...." At first slowly, then faster and faster, till the notes merged and died away in a muttering roll, to begin once more with the slowness of a leisurely metronome.

The ornate front of the building on the right of the yard attracted her and she went nearer. Beyond the hedge she could see a portion of its garden. Reflecting that this was a temple property and hence, no doubt, open to the public, she unlatched its bamboo gate and entered.

Before her curved a line of flat stepping-stones set in clean, gray gravel. On one side was a low camelia hedge spotted with blossoms of deep crimson and on the other a miniature thicket of fern and striped ground-bamboo. Beyond this rose a mossy hillock up whose green sides clambered an irregular pathway, set with tall shinto lanterns and large stones, like gigantic, many-colored quartz pebbles. Here and there the flushed pink of cherry-trees made the sky a tapestry of blue-rose, and in the hollows grew a burnished, purple shrub that seemed to be powdering the ground with the velvet petals of pansies.

Barbara had seen many photographs of Japanese gardens, but they had either lacked color or been over-tinted. This lay chromatic, visualized, braided with precious hues and steeped in the tender, unshamed [pg 168] glories of a tropic spring. For a moment she shut her eyes to fix the picture for ever on her brain.

She opened them again to a flood of sunlight on the gilded carvings of the ancient structure. Its shoji had been noiselessly drawn open, and a man stood there looking fixedly at her.

[pg 169]


It was the man she had seen that morning at the entrance to the little park.

Barbara realized instantly and uneasily that she was an intruder. Yet she felt an intense interest, mixed of what she had heard and of what she had imagined. His outré street-costume had now been laid aside; he wore Japanese dress, with dark gray houri and white cleft sock. His iron-gray head was bare. The expression of his face was conscious and alert, with a sort of savage shyness.

"I am afraid I am intruding," she said. "I ought to have known the garden was private."

"Private gardens may sometimes be seen, I suppose."

The words were ungracious, though the timbre of the voice was musical and soft. "I beg your pardon," she said, and moved away.

He made a gesture, a quick timid movement of one hand, and stepped down toward her. "No," he said almost violently. "I don't want you to go. Can't you see I mean you to stay?"

Barbara saw clearly now the variation in his eyes; [pg 170] the larger one was clouded, as though a film covered the iris. It gave her a slight feeling of repugnance, which she instantly regretted, for, as though rendered conscious of it through a sensitiveness almost telepathic, he turned slightly, and put a hand to his brow to cover it.

"Oh," she said hastily, "I am glad. This is the most beautiful garden I have ever seen."

He looked at her quickly and keenly with his one bright eye. It held none of the swart, in-turned reflectiveness of the Japanese; it was sharp and restless. Its brilliance, under eyebrows that seemed on the verge of a frown, was almost fierce. The curved, gray mustache did not hide the strong, irregular, white teeth.

"You know Japanese gardens?"

"Not yet," she answered. "Japan is new to me. I needn't say how lovely I think this is—you must grow tired hearing strangers rhapsodize over it!"

"Strangers!" he laughed; the sound was not musical like his spoken voice, but harsh and grating. "I have one joy—no stranger ever dreams of coming to see me!"

"I should have said 'your friends,'" said Barbara.

"Friends would be more troublesome than my enemies," he said grimly, "who, at least, never ask me where I don't want to go."

She looked at him wonderingly. She had never met any one in the least like him. His features [pg 171] were refined and unquestionably aristocratic but his whole expression was quiveringly sensitive, resentfully shy. It was the expression, she thought, of one whom a look might cut like a whiplash, a word sting like a searing acid.

"The only foreigners I know are those who write me letters: malicious busybodies, people who want subscriptions to all sorts of shams, or invite me to join respectable, humbug societies, or write merely to gratify a low curiosity. As for friends, I have none."

"Surely, I saw you with one this morning," she said, with a smile.

"Ah," he said, his look changing swiftly; "I don't count Ishikichi. Children understand me."

"And me," she said. "I made friends with Ishikichi this morning. He was catching crickets in the garden. I am visiting the American Embassy," she added.

"The garden there has been a famous playground for the child, no doubt," he returned. "His boon companion lived just opposite the compound."

"The little Toru, who was run over?"

"Yes. Ishikichi has been inconsolable. To-day, however, he has ceased to sorrow. The owner of the carriage has sent six hundred yen to the father, who is now able to pay his debts and enlarge his business. The tablet on the Buddha-shelf that bears the little boy's death-name will be henceforth the [pg 172] dearest possession of the family. To Ishikichi he is a glorious hero whose passing it would be a crime to grieve." He broke off, with the odd, timid gesture she had seen before. "But you came to see the garden," he said. "If you like, I will show it to you."

Without waiting for her answer, he led the way, moving quickly and agilely. The softness of his tread in the cloth tabi seemed almost feminine. A little farther on he turned abruptly:

"When you passed me in the carriage this morning you must have thought me unmannerly," he said. "I was, no doubt. My manners are only villainous notions of my own."

"Not at all," she answered. "I only thought—"


"That perhaps I reminded you of some one you had known."

He turned and walked on without reply. As they proceeded, from behind the flowering bush came the tintinnabulent tinkle and drip of running water. The stepping-stones meandered on in graceful curves and presently arrived at a little lake at whose edge grew pale water-hyacinths and whose surface was mottled with light green lotos-leaves, dotted here and there with pink half-opened buds. Now and then these stirred languidly at the flirt of a golden fin, while over them, in flashes of flame-yellow, darted hawking dragon-flies. Thickets of [pg 173] maroon-tinted maple glowed in the sunlight and clusters of yellow oranges hung on dwarf trees. On the lake's margin bright-hued pebbles were strewn between rounded stones whose edges were soft and green with moss. Barbara longed to feel those mossy boulders with her bare feet—to splash in that limpid water like a happy child.

"This is the best view," he said simply.

Looking on the endless symphonies of green, it came to her for the first time what fascination could be wrought of mere brown stone and foliage. The effect had a curious sense to her of the unsexual and unhuman. Again, with the odd impression of telepathy with which he had covered his myopic eye, he seemed to answer her thought:

"The Japanese," he said, "sees Nature as neuter. His very language possesses no gender. He does not subconsciously think of a young girl when he looks at a swaying palm, nor of the lines of a beautiful body when he sees the undulations of the hills. He notes much in nature, therefore, that western art—which is passional—doesn't observe at all."

"I see," she said. "We insist on looking through a tinted film that makes everything iridescent?"

"And deflects the lines of forms. The Japanese art is less artificial. Now—turn to the left."

In one spot the trees and shrubbery had been cut clean away, and through the vista she saw the distant mountains, clear and pure as though carved of [pg 174] tinted jade set in a plate of lapus lazuli. A faint curdle of cloud frayed from their jagged tops, and above it hung the dreamy snow-clad cone of Fuji, palely emerald as the tint of glaciers under an Alaskan sky. A single crow, a jet-black moving spot, flapped its way across the azure expanse.

"The one touch of blue," he said. "The color ethical, the color pantheistic, the color of the idea of the divine!"

His personality, so touched with mystery, interested Barbara intensely. The sense of strangeness and unfamiliarity had quite vanished. She sat down on one of the warm boulders. Thorn rested one foot on the bent trunk of a dwarf tree and leaned his elbow on his knee, his hand, in the gesture that seemed habitual, covering his eye. In the wide kimono sleeve the forearm was bare and suggested a peculiar physical cleanliness like that of a wild animal.

"How strange it is," she said, "that for centuries, the western world believed this wonderful land inhabited by a barbarous people—because it didn't possess western civilization!"

He made an exclamation. "Civilization! It is a hateful word! It stands in the West for all that is sordid and ugly. It has bred monstrous, thundering piles built up to heaven, eternally smoking the sky—places of architecture and mechanics gone mad, where one lives by machinery and moves by [pg 175] steam, and is perpetually tormented by absurd conventions. I have lived in its cities. I have walked their selfish streets, shy and shabby and hungry!"


"Yes—and worse. I've not spoken of those experiences for years. I don't know why I speak of them now to you. Does it surprise you to hear that I have known poverty?" For the first time he turned fully facing her. His supple hand had left his brow and moved in gestures at one time fierce and graceful. "When I was sixteen I learned what penury meant in London. Once I was driven to take refuge in a workhouse in some evil quarter of the Thames. My memory of it is a mixture of dreadful sights and sounds—of windows thrown violently open or shattered to pieces—of shrieks of murder—of heavy plunges in the river."

Barbara shuddered in the warm sunlight. Over the edge of the garden was a misty space where foliage and roofs sank out of sight, to rise again in long undulations of green trees and gray tiling, like a painted ocean. Far away lifted the leafy plateau of Aoyama, with its blur of terra-cotta barracks. At an immense distance a great temple roof jutted, and still farther away the spread-out, populous city curved up, like the rim of a basin, to a hazy horizon. Yet on this background of pleasantness and peace those other scenes of horror—such was the vehemence of his tone, the savage directness in his [pg 176] phrases—seemed to start up, blank and wretched apparitions, before her.

"At nineteen," he went on. "I found myself in New York, delicate, diffident, satanically proud, and without a friend—one of the billion ants crawling in the skeleton of the mastodon. I was threadbare and meals were scant and uncertain—a little, penniless, half-blind, eccentric wanderer! I lived in a carpenter-shop and slept on the shavings. One week I sold coral for a Neapolitan peddler. Oh, I learned my civilization well! The very memory now of walking down those roaring cañons of streets—all cut granite and iron fury, and hideous houses two hundred feet high—moos at me in the night! It is frightful, nightmarish, devilish! And when one can be here under a violet sky, in sight of blue peaks and an eternally lilac, luke-warm sea!"

His hand swept across the hewn vista—to the wild, bold background of indigo hills, with its slender phantom above them, swimming in the half-tropical blue. "It is better," he said, "to live in Japan in sack-cloth and ashes, than to own the half of any other country. I am as old as the three-legged crow that inhabits the sun. I can't read the comic papers or a French novel. I shouldn't go to the Paris opera if it were next door. I shouldn't like to visit the most beautiful lady and be received in evening dress. I shall pass my life in sandals and a kimono, and when it's over I shall be under the big trees in [pg 177] the old Buddhist cemetery there, beside the nunnery, among the fireflies and grasshoppers, with six laths above me, inscribed with prayers in an unknown tongue and a queerly carved monument typifying the five elements into which we melt away."

He shook his broad shoulders. Again his hand went to his brow and he half turned away.

"But now even Japan must adopt western civilization," he said bitterly. It is 'putting a lily in the mouth of hell!' Carpets, pianos, windows, brass-bands—to make Goths out of Greeks! Who would want them changed? Who would not love them as they are, better than the children of boasted western civilizations—industrious, pleasing, facing death with a smile, not because they are such fatalists as the Arabs, for instance, but because they have no fear of the hereafter. The old courtesy, the old faith, the old kindliness—will they weather it? Or vanish like snow in sun? The poetry, the legend, the lovely and touching observances are going fast. Modernism gives them foreign fireworks now, and forbids the ghost-boats of the Bon! I wish I could fly out of Meiji for ever, back against the stream of time, into tempo fourteen hundred years ago!"

"The Bon?" she said. "What is that?"

"I forgot," he said, "that Japan is all new to you," and told her of the Japanese All-Souls Day—the Feast of Lanterns, when the spirits of the dead return, to be fed with tea in tiny cups and with the [pg 178] odor of incense; how, when the dusk falls, on canal and river the little straw boats are launched with written messages and lighted paper lanterns, to bear back the blessed ghosts.

Returning, Barbara led the way. Once she stooped over a single, strange blossom on a long stalk, whose golden center shone cloudily through silky filaments like the leaves of immortelles. "What is that?" she asked.

"It is a wild flower I found on one of my inland rambles," he said. "Perhaps it has no name. I call it Yumé-no-hana—the 'Flower-of-Dream.' It will open almost any day now."

"Have you quite forgiven me for breaking in?" she asked, as they walked along the stepping-stones.

For the first time she surprised him in a smile. It lit his face with a sudden irradiation. "Will you do it again?"

"May I—some time?"

"Then you are not afraid? Remember I am a renegade, a follower of Buddha, and a most atrocious and damnable taboo!"

"Afraid!" For a moment they looked at each other, and she saw a little quiver touch his lips. "I shall come again to-morrow—to see the flower."

"Just one thing," he said. "I am a solitary. If you would not mention—to any one—"

"I understand," she answered.

He walked by her side to the bamboo gate. "I [pg 179] am glad," she said, "that I remind you of some one you liked."

"Perhaps it was some one I knew in a dream," he answered.

"Yes," she said. "Perhaps it was."

As she spoke she saw him start. She looked up. Across the temple yard, through the entrance torii, she saw the bishop coming up the lane. He was walking absorbed in thought, his eyes on the ground, his hands clasped behind him.

"Good-by," she said, and stepped through the gate.

But Thorn did not answer. At sight of the approaching figure he had drawn back abruptly. Now he turned sharply away into a path which led toward the temple. She saw him once glance swiftly back over his shoulder before he disappeared behind the hedges.

The man with whom Barbara had been talking went slowly up the temple steps. His face was haggard and drawn. There he paused and looked back across the yard.

"Credo in resurrectionem mortuorum," he muttered—"Yes, I believe in the resurrection of the dead!"

As he stood there the head priest pushed open the shoji. He bowed to the other on the threshold and came out.

[pg 180] "To-day my abashed thought has dwelt on your exalted work," he said. "Is our new image of Kwan-on peerlessly all but done, perhaps?"

Thorn shook his head. "It moves with exalted slowness. To-day I contemptibly have not worked."

The priest looked at him curiously, through his gold-rimmed spectacles.

"You are honorably unwell," he said. "It is better to lie down in the heat of the day. Presently I will say an insignificant prayer to the Hotoké-Sama—the Shining Ones—for your illustrious recovery."

"I am not ill," was the answer. "Be not augustly concerned."

He turned away slowly and crossed the little bridge to his own abode.

[pg 181]


The Ginza—the "Street-of-the-Silversmiths"—is the Broadway, the Piccadilly, the Boulevard des Italiens of modern Tokyo. Here old and new war daily in a combat in which the new is daily victor. Modern shop-fronts of stone and brick stand cheek by jowl with graceful, flimsy frame structures that are pure Japanese. Trolley-cars, built in the United States, fill the street with clangor and its pavements (for it has them) roar with trade.

In its flowing current one may see many types: Americans from the near-by Imperial Hotel, bristling with enthusiasm; earnest tourists with Murrays tucked in their armpits, doggedly "doing" the country; members of foreign Legations whirling in victorias; Chinamen, queued and decorously clad in flowered silk brocade; an occasional Korean with queerly shaped hat of woven horse-hair; over-dandified O-sharé-Sama—"high-collar" men, as the Tokyo phrase goes—in tweeds and yellow puttees; comfortable merchants and men of affairs in dull-colored kimono and clogs; blue-clad workmen with the [pg 182] marks of their trades stamped in great red or white characters on their backs; sallow, bare-footed students with caps of Waseda or the Imperial University; stolid and placid-faced Buddhist priests in rick'sha, en route to some temple funeral; soldiers in khaki with red- and yellow-striped trousers; coolies dragging carts; country people on excursions from thatched inland villages, clothed in common cloth and viewing the capital for the first time with indrawn breath and chattering exclamations; rich noblemen, beggars, idlers, guides—all are tributary to this river.

When evening falls women and children predominate: bent old women with brightly blackened teeth; patient-faced mothers with babies on their backs toddling on clacking wooden géta; white-faced vermilion-lipped geisha glimpsing by in rick'sha to some tea-house entertainment; coolie women dressed like men, trudging in the roadway; girl-students peering into jewelers' windows; children clad like gaudy moths and butterflies, clattering hand in hand, or pursuing one another with shrill cries.

Before the sun has well set lanterns begin to twinkle and glow above doorways—yellow electric bulbs in clusters, white acetylene globes, smoky oil lamps, and great red and white paper-lanterns lit by candles. As the violet of the dusk deepens to purple, these multiply till the vista is ablaze. Lines of colored lights in pink and lemon break out like [pg 183] air-flowers along upper stories of tea-houses, from whose interiors come the strumming of biwa and the twang of samisen. On frail balconies, pricked out with yellow lanterns, dwarf pines or jars of growing azalea hang their masses of soft green or pink down over the passers-by. From open shoji women lean, their kimono parted, their rounded breasts bared to the cool night.

On the curb peripatetic dealers squat in little stalls formed of movable screens with their wares spread before them; curio-merchants with a mélange of brass, crystal and bronze; dealers in suzumushi—musical insects in the tiniest cages of plaited straw; sellers of Buddhist texts and worm-eaten, painted scrolls; of ink-horns, shoe-sticks, eye-glasses and children's toys. At intervals grills of savory waka-fuji (salted fry-cakes) sizzle over charcoal braziers which throw a red glow on an intent row of children's faces. Here and there a shop-front emits the blatant bark of a foreign phonograph. On the corners men with arms full of vernacular evening newspapers call the names of the sheets in musical cadences, with a quaint, upward inflection. The air is filled with a heavy, rich odor, suggesting the pomade of women's head-dresses, saké, and sandalwood. In the roadway every vehicle contributes its bobbing lantern, till the traffic seems a celestial Saturnalia, staggering with drunken stars.

So it looked to Barbara as her two goriki—"strong-pull [pg 184] men"—whirled her rubber-tired rick'sha across the interminable city in her first bewildering view of Tokyo by night. Daunt, for her benefit, had arranged a trip to the Cherry-Viewing-Festival on the Sumida River, and a Japanese dinner at the Ogets'—the Cherry-Moon Tea-House—in the famous district of Asak'sa, where the great temple of Kwan-on the Merciful shines with its ever-burning candles. They had started from the Embassy: Baroness Stroloff, the wife of the Bulgarian Minister and Patricia's especial favorite, the twin sisters of the Danish Secretary, the Swiss Minister's daughter and two young army officers studying the language—all of whom Barbara had met at the Review—and the long procession (since police regulations in Tokyo forbid rick'sha to travel abreast) trailed "goose-fashion," threading in and out, a writhing, yellow-linked chain.

Daunt had traced their route with Barbara on a map of the city, and had translated for her the names of the streets through which they were now passing. By the Street-of-Big-Horses they skirted the District-of-Honorable-Tea-Water, threaded the Lane-where-Good-Luck-Dwells, and so, by Middle-Monkey-Music-Street, they came to the Sumida, a broader, slothful Thames, gleaming with ten thousand lanterns on sampan, houseboats and barges. The bridge of Ah-My-Wife brought them to the farther side. At the entrance of a long avenue of [pg 185] blooming cherry-trees a policeman halted them. Rick'sha were not permitted beyond this point and the sweating human horses were abandoned.

The road ran high along the river on a green embankment like a wide wall, between double rows of cherry-trees, whose branches interlocked overhead. It was densely crowded with people, each one of whom seemed to be carrying a colored paper-lantern or a cherry-branch drooped over the shoulder. In the hues of the loose, warm-weather kimono bloomed all the flowers of all the springs—golds and mauves and scarlets and magentas—and everywhere in the lantern-light fluttered radiant-winged children, like vivid little birds in a tropical forest. From tiny one-storied tea-houses along the way, with elevated mats covered with red flannel blankets, biwa and koto and samisen gurgled and fluted and tinkled. On the right the embankment descended steeply, giving a view of sunken roadways and tiled roofs; on the left lay the long reaches of the dreamy river murmuring with oars and voices and vibrating like a vast flood of gold and vermilion fireflies.

Barbara had never imagined such a welter of movement and color. The soft flute-like voices, the slow shuffling of sandals on the dry earth, the pensive smiling faces, the pink flowers on every hand, made this different from any holiday crowd she had ever seen. It suggested a carnival [pg 186] of Venice orientalized, painted over and set blazing with Japanese necromancy.

Here and there jugglers and top-spinners displayed their skill to staring spectators. A cluster of shaven-headed babies swarmed silently about a sweetmeat seller, and beside his push-cart a man clad like a gray-feathered hawk whistled discordantly on a bamboo reed and gyrated with a vacant grin on his pock-marked face. Where the crowd was less close men tricked out in girls' attire, with whitened, clown-like faces, turned somersaults, and through the thickest of the press a dejected, blaze-faced ox, whose nose and forehead were painted with spots of scarlet, slowly drew a two-storied scaffold on which was perched the god of spring—a plaster figure wreathed with flowers. The animal's ears were tickled by long tassels of bright green and red, and his look was one of patient boredom. The man who led him wore a short jerkin, and his bare legs, from thigh to knee, were tattooed in big, blue, graceful leaves.

The greatest numbers surged about a large tent, outside of which waddled here and there mountains of men, their faces round as full moons, naked save for gaily colored aprons. The fat hung on their breasts in great creased folds like an overfed baby's, and in the lantern-light their flesh looked an unhealthy, mottled pink. Each wore his hair wound in a short queue, bent forward and tied in a stiff [pg 187] loop on the crown. As one of the vast hulks lumbered by, cooling his moon-face with a tiny fan, Daunt pointed him out to Barbara.

"That is the famous Hitachiyama," he told her, "the champion wrestler of Japan."

"How big he is!"

"It runs in families," he said. "They diet and train, too, from babyhood. He weighs three hundred and forty-seven pounds."

A roar came from the lighted canvas and a man emerged and wrote something on a sign-board like a tally-sheet. Daunt stopped and perused it. "You may be interested, ladies and gentlemen," he said, "to learn that Mr. Terrible-Horse has knocked out Mr. Small-Willow-Tree, but that Mr. Tiger-Elephant has been allowed a foul over Mr. Frozen-Stork. I wish we could see a bout, but we must hurry or we'll miss the geisha dancing."

They came presently where the roadway overlooked a sunken temple yard encircled by moats of oozy slime dotted with pink and white lotos buds. The inclosure was set with giant cryptomeria centuries old, and was crowded with people. Stone steps led down between twisted pine-trees and Shinto lanterns, to a gate on whose either side was a great stone cow, rampant, like the figures in coats-of-arms. There was a droll contrast between the posture and the placid bovine countenances. In the center of the inclosure rose a wide platform with [pg 188] a tasseled curtain like the stage of a theater. Opposite was a pavilion in which sat rows of women in dark-colored dress, moveless as images and holding musical instruments. The whole flagged space between jostled with the iridescent, lantern-carrying throng. A priest led the party to seats at one side on mats reserved for foreign visitors.

"Look, Barbara," said Patricia. "There goes our friend the expert—across there. He looks bigger and pastier than ever."

Bersonin was dressed in white flannel which accentuated his enormous size. A younger man was with him, smoking a cigarette, and in their wake followed a Japanese servant.

The rest of the party had turned and were looking in that direction. "Why," said Baroness Stroloff, "that's Doctor Bersonin."

One of the young army men looked at her curiously. "Do you know him?" he asked.

"Why, of course. One meets him everywhere. I saw him at a dinner last week. Have you met him?"

"Oh, yes, we're supposed to know everybody," he said carelessly. His tone, however, held something which made her say:

"Most men don't like him, I find. I wonder why."

"Why don't people like lizards?" said Patsy. [pg 189] "Because they're cold and clammy and wicked-looking."

"They like them enough to eat them in Senagambia," said the young officer smiling. "Bersonin is a great man, no doubt, but there's something about him—I met a man once who had run across him in South America and—he was prejudiced. Who's the young fellow with him, Daunt?"

"His name is Ware—Philip Ware," was the answer. "I knew him at college."

Barbara felt the blood staining her cheeks. So that was "Phil," the brother of whom Austen Ware had told her! The name called up thoughts that had obtruded themselves in the moment she saw the white yacht lying at anchor, and which since then she had wilfully thrust from her mind. Her gaze studied the handsome, youthful form, noting the bold, restless glance, the dissipated lines of the comely face, with a sudden distaste. A twang from the orchestra recalled her, as the curtain was looped back for the Miyako Odori, the "Dance of the Capital."

It was Barbara's introduction to a native orchestra and at first its strummings and squealings, its lack of modes and of harmony, its odd barbaric phrasing, infected her with a mad desire to laugh. But gradually there came to her the hint of under-rhythm—as when she had listened to Haru's samisen in the garden—and with it an overpowering [pg 190] sense of suggestion. It was the remote cry of occult passions, a twittering of ghostly shadows, the wailing of an oriental Sphynx whom Time had abandoned to the eternal desert. It had in it melancholy and the enigma of the ages. It wiped away the ugly modern European buildings, the western costumes, the gloze of borrowed method, and left Barbara looking into the naked heart of the East, old, intent, and full of mystical meaning.

The ivory plectrons chirruped, the flutes squeaked and wailed, the little hour-glass drums thudded, and down the stage swept sixty geisha, in blue, cherry-painted kimono. A sly, thin thread of scarlet peeped from their woven sleeves. Their small tabi'd feet, cleft like the foot of a faun, moved in slow, hovering steps. When they wheeled, swaying like young bamboo, they stamped softly, and the white foot, raised from the boards, under the puffed kimono edge writhed and bent from the ankle like a pliant hand. Their faces, heavily powdered, and held without expression, looked like white, waxen masks in which lived sparkling black eyes. In the slow, languorous movement their obi of gold and fans of silver caught the cherry-shaded lights and tossed them back in gleams of mother-of-pearl.

Barbara fell to watching the Japanese spectators. All around her they stood and sat at ease, drinking in the play of color and motion of which they never tire. The dance had no passion, no sensuality, [pg 191] none of the savagery and abandon of the dances of Southern Asia, with whose reproductions the western stage is familiar. Beside a ballet of the West, it would have seemed almost ascetic. She knew that it was symbolic—that every posture was a sentence of a story they knew, as old and as sacred, perhaps, as the birth of the gods.

The parted curtain swung together and Daunt seated himself at Barbara's side. "Do you like it, ever so little?" he asked.

"Ever so much!"

"I wonder if you are going to like me, too," he said, so softly that no one else heard.

She felt her color coming as she answered: "Why, of course. How could I help it, when you plan things like this for me?"

"I have at last found my métier; give me more things to do."

"Very well. When will you take me to see your Japanese house?"

For a second Daunt hesitated. The little native house in the Street-of-the-Misty-Valley was a sentimental place to him. There he had worked out the models of his first Glider; there he had talked with his Princess of Dreams, his "Lady of the Many-Colored Fires." The glimpse of Phil had reminded him that it now had a tenant. When he showed it to Barbara, it should not be with Phil in possession.

[pg 192] She noted the hesitation, and, somewhat puzzled, and wondering if to oriental ethics the suggestion was a gaucherie, waved the matter lightly aside. "You are just going to say 'one of these days.' Please don't. When I was little, that always meant never. I withdraw the motion—but what is this coming?"

A boy was ascending the platform. He bowed and laid a box of thin unpainted wood at Daunt's feet. It contained a kakemono, or wall-painting, rolled and tied with a red-and-white cord of twisted rice-paper. Daunt read the accompanying card.

"'Miss Happy-for-a-Thousand-Years,'" he said, "'presents her compliments to the illustrious strangers.' She is the star. The gift is a pretty custom, isn't it, even if it is advertisement. Here comes the lady herself to present her thanks for our distinguished patronage."

She bowed low before them, smiling, her small piquant face powdered white as mistletoe-berries above her carmine-painted lips. Daunt unrolled the kakemono, revealing a delicately-painted cluster of butterflies. He chatted with her in the vernacular, and she replied with much drawing-in of breath and flute-like laughter.

"She says," he translated, "that this is a picture of her honorable ancestors." A little smile, a genuflection, a breath of perfume and the powdered face and gorgeous kimono were gone. The orchestra [pg 193] chirruped, the curtain parted and another figure began.

Miss Happy-for-a-Thousand-Years! As the party walked back to the waiting rick'sha, Barbara wondered what lay beneath that smiling surface. She had heard of the strenuous training that at five years began to teach the gauzy, fragile, child-butterfly to paint its wings, to flirt and sing and dance its dazzling moth-flame way. For the geisha nothing was too gorgeous, too transcendent. Her lovers might be statesmen and princes. But in return she must be always gay, always laughing, always young—all things to all men—to the end of the butterfly chapter! Butterfly hair, butterfly gown—and butterfly heart?

Barbara wondered.

[pg 194]


Doctor Bersonin, huge and white-flanneled, with Phil by his side, strolled away through the swarming crowd.

Not a word, not a glance of the younger man that evening, had escaped him—he had been studying him with all the minute attention of that great, overweening brain that, from an origin of which he never spoke, had made him one of the foremost experimenters in Europe. The swift gleam in Phil's eye as he watched the geisha, the eager drinking in of the girlish daintiness, the colors and perfumes to which he stretched himself like a cat—the watchful, impassive eyes took note of everything. All Bersonin's talk had held an evil lure. It had touched on the extravagant and sensual vagaries of luxury, the sybaritic pleasures of the social gourmet, subjects appealing to the imagination of the youth whom he was examining like a slide under the microscope. They had stopped once at a chaya for tea, but Phil had called for the hot native saké, and as its musty, sherry-like fumes crept into his blood he talked with increasing recklessness. Beneath their [pg 195] veiled contemptuousness, Bersonin's feline eyes began to harbor a stealthy satisfaction. He had guessed why Phil had suggested coming to Mukojima. The latter's restlessness, his anxious surveillance of the passers-by, might have enlightened a less observant spectator.

Phil's new passion had, in fact, a strong hold on him. That long-ago picture of Haru, barefooted in the surf, frequent recollection had stamped on his brain and the sight of her fresh beauty to-day had fanned the coal to a flame. Those stolen kisses in the bamboo lane had roused a lurking devil that counted nothing but his own desires. For this hour, while the saké ran in his pulses, the flame overshadowed even Bersonin.

"Well, my boy," said the latter at length quizzically, "when you find her, just give me the hint and I'll go."

Phil flushed, then laughed shortly. "So you are a mind-reader, too?" he said.

"It's written all over you," said Bersonin. "Why didn't you tell me? We could have postponed our dinner and left you free for the chase. It is a chase, eh?"

"Yes," said Phil. "I—I haven't had much luck with her yet. I just happened to know she was to be here to-night. She's a pretty little devil," he added, "the prettiest I've seen in Japan."

"The Japanese type is the rage in Paris now," [pg 196] said the other. "Take her there, dress her in jewels, and drive her through the Bois some afternoon and you'll be the most talked-of man in France next morning."

The red deepened in Phil's cheek. The prospect drew him. He looked at Bersonin. Paris and jewels!

He drank more saké at the next tea-house. It had begun to show in a shaking of the hand, a louder voice. Suddenly Phil sprang to his feet. "There she is!" he exclaimed.

Bersonin looked. "Lovely!" he said, "I congratulate you. I'll walk back to the motor-car—the sights amuse me. You can come along when you please. Dinner will wait. And, anyway, what's dinner to a pretty woman?"

Phil plunged into the crowd and the expert spoke quickly to the servant, who was staring after him. "Better keep him in sight," he said. "You can come when he does."

Bersonin was sauntering on, when a turmoil behind him made him turn. A woman's cry and an angry oath in English rang out, startlingly clear above the low murmur of the multitude. He caught a glimpse of a Japanese form leaping like a tiger—of Phil lying in the dust of the road—of a girl vanishing swiftly into the shadows.

As the expert hurried forward, Phil stumbled to his feet. Lights were dancing before his eyes and [pg 197] his neck felt as if he had been garroted. With his first breath he turned on Ishida, incoherent with rage and curses. The big man caught his arm.

"The honorable sir make mistake," said the Japanese smoothly. "Man have done that who have ranned away."

"He lies!" said Phil fiercely. "There was no one else near me but the girl. He did it himself! He tried to ju-jits' me!"

The fingers of the Japanese were clenched, but his face was impassive as he added: "I think he have been snik-thief."

"That's no doubt the way it was, Phil," said Bersonin. "Why on earth would Ishida touch you? That's an old thieves' trick. The fellow tried to get your watch, I suppose. But we must move on. The police will be here presently, and we don't want our names in the papers."

They went rapidly through the close ranks that had been watching with the decorous, inquisitive silence so typically oriental.

"I suppose you're right," said Phil sulkily. "I—I beg your pardon, Ishida."

The Japanese bowed gravely.

"Only a mistake," he said, "which honorable sir make."

[pg 198]


The three-storied front of the Cherry-Moon Tea-House, when Daunt's party arrived, was glowing with tiers of large round lanterns of oiled-paper bearing a conventionalized moon and cherry-blossoms. At the door sat rows of little velvet-lined sandals. Here shoes were discarded, and servants drew on the guests' feet loose slippers of cotton cloth, soft and yielding. One other guest was awaiting the party at the entrance. This was Captain Viscount Sakai, of the General Staff, spruce, fine-featured and in immaculate European evening dress. He had a clear, olive complexion, and, save for the narrow, Japanese eye, might have been a Spaniard.

The small second-story shokudo in which they dined was floored in soft tatamé edged with black and laid in close-fitting geometrical pattern. Save for a plain alcove at one end, holding a dwarf pine and a single nanten branch with clusters of bright red berries, it was empty. There was no drapery. The walls were sliding screens of gold-leaf on which were finely drawn etchings of pine-trees covered [pg 199] with snow, the effect suggested rather than finished. It was brilliant with electric light.

Tiny square tables of black lacquer were disposed along three sides of the room, one for each guest. They were but four inches high and on the floor behind each lay a thin, flat zabuton or cushion of brocade. The bowing geisha in wonderful rainbow kimono who awaited them might have stepped from the temple stage at Mukojima. These pointed to the tables with inviting smiles:

"Plee shee down!" they said in unison.

"I never could 'shee down' gracefully when any one is looking!" complained Patricia, as she tucked her small feet under her on the kneeling-cushion.

"Banzai!" commented Voynich, setting his monocle. "You have practised before a mirror!" He collapsed beside her with a groan. "I shall be reincarnated an accordion!"

"Count," said Patricia plaintively, "no bouquets, please. I know when you are stringing me."

He looked blank and the Japanese officer hastily produced a lavender note-book and a gold pencil. "That is a new one," he said. "I must—what is it?—ah yes! I must nail it. Excuse me. I write it in my swear-album."

"The Viscount is learning American slang," Patricia informed Barbara. "One of these days you must tell him some of the very latest."

He looked across with gravely twinkling eyes. "I [pg 200] shall be—ah—tickle to die!" he said. "It is my specialty. Nex' year I become Professor in Slang Literature at the Imperial University."

The meal began merrily. Barbara sat on Daunt's left, with one of the attachés next her. Baroness Stroloff was on Daunt's other hand. Barbara remembered it afterward as a meal of elfish daintiness—of warm, pungent, wine-like liquor in blue porcelain bottles, of food of strange look and cloying taste, highly colored and seasoned, in a hundred tiny red and black lacquer dishes that carried her back to her doll-days, with covers patterned in gold, served by prostrating geisha whose kimono were woven with violet Fujis, winged dragons and marvelous exotic blossoms.

Daunt pointed to a dish which had just been set before her. "You must try the hasu-no-renkon," he said. "That's cooked lotos-root. It's nearly as good as it looks."

"How do you ever remember the names!"

"Oh, it's quite easy to talk Japanese," he replied recklessly. "There are only fifty syllables in the language, and any way you string them together it means something or other. It doesn't matter whether it's the right thing or not, if you just bow and smile. There are seventeen ways of drawing in your breath which are a lot more important than what you say!"

[pg 201] "What disgraceful nonsense! What is that pink thing?"

"Raw bonito. The refuge of dyspeptics. Voynich, over there, eats nothing else at home, they say. The variegated compound is kuchitori. It's made of sugared chestnuts, leeks and pickled fish. May I compliment you on the way you handle your chopsticks? At my first Japanese dinner I bit one in two. Isn't Baroness Stroloff stunning, by the way!"

The latter was deep in discussion with Patricia, moving her hands in quick, vivacious gestures which clusters of opals made into flashes of blue fire. "But you must send to Hakodate for your furs," she was saying. "I will give you the address of my man there. You should get them now, not wait till fall, when the tourists have bought all the best."

"I'm dying for an ermine stole."

"Oh, my dear, not ermine! Get sables. One can be so insulting in sables!"

Barbara laughed with the rest. "What a nice lot you are," she said, "all knowing each other, all friendly. I thought diplomatists were always poring over international law books and drawing up musty treaties."

"It's not all cakes and ale," he asserted. "I worked till three this morning on a cipher telegram."

"After the melodrama?"

"Ah, it was opera!" he protested. "It has left [pg 202] me memories of only flowers, and scents and music!"

"You made most of the music, if I remember rightly."

"How unkind! I could no more help it than fly."

"On your Glider?"

He laughed again. "Don't forget what is to happen one day with that same machine."

"What is that?"

"I am to swoop down and carry you off. It was your own suggestion, you know."

"But it was to be at the Imperial Review. That doesn't happen again for a year."

"I won't wait that long!"

She turned her head; her eyes sparkled in the caught light. Her fingers were fluttering a square of red paper that had been rolled about her chopsticks. On it was a line of tiny characters. "What is that writing?"

"That is a love-poem," he answered. "You know a Japanese poem has only thirty-one syllables. You find them everywhere and on everything, from a screen to a fire-shovel. I've seen them printed on tooth-picks. Your huckster composes them as he brings the fish from market, and your amah writes them at night by a firefly lantern."

"Can you read it?"

He translated: "I thought my love's long hair [pg 203] drooped down from the gate of the sky. But it was only the shadow of evening."

"How delicately pretty!" she exclaimed. "It's written in kana, the sound-alphabet, isn't it?"

"Yes. How much you have learned already!"

"Haru has begun teaching me. Let me show you my proficiency." She took his pencil and wrote:


"There! who would guess that was Japanese for 'Daunt.' And what an impression you must have made on Haru for her to select your name as my first lesson!"

Across the soft shoo-shoo of spotless, tabi-clad feet, the flitting of bright-hued kimono, the gay badinage that flew about the low tables, Daunt felt her beauty thrill him from head to foot like a garment of mist and fire. As she dropped her hand to the cushion it had touched his, and for an instant their pulses had seemed to throb into one. The tiny, lacquered cup she took up trembled in her fingers.

She started when the young army officer nearest her said: "Speaking of sailing, give me a steam-yacht like the one that berthed yesterday at Yokohama. She belongs to a man named Ware—Austen Ware—a New Yorker, I understand. Perhaps you know him, Miss Fairfax."

[pg 204] "I have met him," she answered.

The young army officer looked up quickly—he was an enthusiastic yachtsman. "A beautiful vessel!" he said. "I noticed her to-day, but she was too far away to make out her name."

"It is the Barbara," said Voynich.

"Why—" exclaimed Patricia, "that's—" She bit her tongue, caught by something in Barbara's face. "Good gracious!" she ended. "My—my foot's asleep!"

Barbara had felt her flush fading to paleness. She felt a quick relief that none there, save Patricia and Daunt, knew her first name. In the diversion caused by Patricia's helpless efforts to stand up, she stole a glance at Daunt.

A shadow had fallen on his face. He did not look at her, but in his brain the yacht's name was ringing like a knell. She knew Phil's brother! Austen Ware's yacht had arrived in Yokohama on the same day as her ship. And it was named the Barbara. Yet to-night he had dreamed—what had he been dreaming? These thoughts mixed themselves weirdly with the gaiety and nonsense that he forced himself to render.

Barbara felt this with an aching sense of resentment. What was he thinking of her? And why should she care so fiercely? The courses passed, but the lightness and blitheness of the scene were somehow chilled. The decorative food: the numberless, [pg 205] tiny cups and trays; the taper, pink-tinted fingers that poured the warm drink; the kimono, the music and lights,—all palled.

She was glad when the Baroness decreed the dinner over by repeating Patricia's experiment of painful unfolding, and calling for her wraps.

[pg 206]


The street into which they trooped seemed an oriental opera-bouffe: swaying, chatting people in loose, light-colored kimono, some carrying crested paper lanterns tied to the ends of short rods: a thousand lights and hues flashing and weaving. But for two of the party the colors had lost their warmth and the movement its fascination.

"I simply can't coop up yet in a rick'sha!" pleaded Patricia, as they donned their discarded shoes. "Why not walk a little?" The proposal met with a chorus of approval. They set out together, and presently Barbara found Daunt beside her. Her resentment did not cool as she laughed and talked mechanically, acutely aware that he was answering in monosyllables or with silence.

Daunt was crying out upon himself for a fool. What right had he to feel that hot sting in his heart? Yesterday morning he had not known that she existed. If an hour ago the skies had been golden-sprinkled azure, and Tokyo the capital of an Empire of Romance, it was only because he was [pg 207] a boyish, silly dolt, sick with vanity and complacency. What had there been between them, after all, save a light camaraderie into which a man was an insufferable cad to read more? So he paced on, achingly cognizant of the lapses in his conversation, quite unconscious that her own was growing more forced and strained.

They were in the midst of a densely packed crowd where a native theater was pouring its audience into the street. They had fallen behind the rest, and there were about them only kimono'd shoulders and flowered, blue-black head-dresses. He made a way for her ruggedly toward a paling where there was a little space. Above it was hung a poster of a Japanese actress.

"That is the famous Sada Gozen," he told her. "She has just returned from a season in Paris and New York, and Tokyo is quite wild about her."

As he spoke numbers thrust him against her and the touch brought instantly to him that moment in the garden when he had held her in his arms to lift her to the arbor ledge. The picture of her that evening in the pagoda was stamped on his heart: the sweet, moon-lighted profile, the curling, brown hair, the faint perfume of her gown that mingled with the wistaria. It came before him there in the bustle and press with a sudden swift sadness. He knew that it would be always with him to remember.

A Japanese couple, hastening to their rick'sha, [pg 208] caromed against them, and, with an effort, he tried to turn it to a smile:

"Some say it's difficult for a foreigner to come into intimate contact with the Japanese," he said. "You have already pierced that illusion. One is always finding out that he has been mistaken in people."

Her quivering feeling grasped at a fancied innuendo. "It doesn't take long, then, you think?" Her tone held a dangerous lure, but he did not perceive it.

"Not where you are concerned, apparently," he answered lightly.

She turned her head swiftly toward him, and her eyes flashed. "Where I am concerned!" she repeated fiercely, and in his astonishment he almost wrecked the paling. "Oh, I hate double-meaning! Why not say it? Do you suppose I don't know what you are thinking?"

"I?" he said in bewilderment. "What I am thinking?"

"You mean you have found you are mistaken in me! You have no right—no earthly right, to draw conclusions."

"Ah!" he said, with a sharp breath. "I had no such meaning. You can't imagine—"

"Don't say you didn't," she interrupted. "That only makes it worse!" She scarcely understood her own resentment, and a hot consciousness that her [pg 209] behavior was quite childish and unreasonable mixed itself with her anger.

"What have I said?" he exclaimed, in contrition and distress. "I wouldn't hurt you for a million worlds! Whatever it was, I ought to do hara-kiri for it! I—I will perform the operation whenever you say!"

A ridiculous desire to cry had seized her—why, she could not have told—and she would rather have died than have him see her do so. "If you will go ahead," she said tremulously, "and make a path for me, I think we can get through now."

He turned instantly and his broad shoulders parted the crowd in a haste that was thoroughly un-Japanese. But she did not follow him. Instead, she drew back, and thinking only to hide momentarily her hurt and her pride, slipped through a narrow gateway.

She found herself in a crowded corridor of the emptying playhouse. The mass of Japanese faces confused her. A door opened at another angle and she passed through it hastily into the open air. The street she was now in was narrow, and she followed it, expecting it to turn into the larger thoroughfare. It did so presently, and at its corner she paused till the burning had left her eyes, and her breath came evenly. Then she walked back toward the theater, feeling an impatient irritation at her behavior.

Presently, however, she stopped, puzzled. The [pg 210] theater was not there. The street, too, had not the character of the one in which she had left Daunt. She must have taken the wrong turn. She walked rapidly in the opposite direction, until another street crossed at right angles. This she tried with no better result. In the maze of lantern-lighted vistas, she was completely lost.

She was not frightened, for she was aware that, so far as physical harm was concerned, Tokyo, of all great cities of the world, was perhaps the safest and most orderly. She knew that "Bei-koku Taish'-kan" meant "American Embassy." She had mastered the phrase that morning, and had only to step into a rick'sha and use it. Daunt, however, did not know this. Aware that she had been behind him, he would not go on, and she contritely pictured him anxiously searching the crowds for her. The thought overrode her anger and humiliation. She would not take the rick'sha till she despaired of finding him.

Just before her, at the side of the way, stood a small temple with a recumbent stone fox at its entrance. It made her think suddenly of the riding-crop she had seen Daunt carrying, with its Damascene fox-head handle. In the doorway burned a rack of little candles, and a chest, barred across the top, sat ready to receive the offerings of worshipers. Above this was suspended the mirror which is the invariable badge of a Shinto shrine. It was tilted at [pg 211] an angle and tossed back the glimmer of the candle-flame. With a whimsical smile she took a copper coin from her purse and leaned to toss it into the chest.

But her fingers closed on it and she drew back hastily, with a quick memory of one of the tales Haru had told her in the garden. She knew suddenly that she stood before a temple of Inari, the Fox-God, patron deity of her whose conquests brought shame to households and dishonor to wives. She remembered a song the Japanese girl had sung to the tinkle of her samisen:

"My weapons are a smile and a little fan—
Sayonara, Sayonara...."

It was the song of the "Fox-Woman." She slipped the purse hastily back into her pocket.

The Fox-Woman! As she walked on, for the first time the phrase came to Barbara with a sudden, sharp sense of actuality. There were fox-women of every race and clime, women who came, with painted smile, between true lovers! What if she herself—what if here, in this land, that baleful wisdom were to strike home to her? Like a keen blade the thought pierced through her, and something shy and sweet, newborn in her breast, shrank startled and fearful from it.

The street had narrowed curiously. It was paved [pg 212] now from side to side with flat stone flags. She realized all at once that there were no longer rick'sha to be seen, only people afoot. A blaze of light caught her eye, and she looked up to see, spanning the street, an arched gateway, at either side of which stood a policeman, quiet and imperturbable. Its curved top was decorated with colored electric bulbs, and from its keystone towered a great image molded in white plaster—the figure of a woman in ancient Japanese costume. One hand held a fan; the other lifted high above her head a circular globe of light. A huge weeping-willow drooped over one side of the archway, through which came glimpses of moving colors, crowds, hanging lanterns and elfish music.

Barbara hesitated. To what did that white, female figure beckon? She looked behind her—direction now meant nothing. Perhaps she had wandered in a circle and the theater lay beyond.

She stepped through the gate.

[pg 213]


Straight before her lay a wide pavement, humming with voices, lined with three-story houses that glowed with iron-hooped lanterns of red, yellow and green, and tinkled with the music of samisen. From their gaily lighted shoji swathes of warm, yellow light fell on the kimono'd figures of men strolling slowly up and down. A little way off rose a square tower, with a white clock-face, illumined by a circle of electric bulbs. Narrower streets, also innocent of roadway, crossed at right angles and at mathematical intervals. They were starry with lamps that hung in long projecting balconies ornamented with grill and carved work. From these came the shrieking sounds of music and an indescribable atmosphere of frivolity, of obvious dedication to some flippant cult.

In and out of these side streets flowed a multitude of boys and men, in unbelted summer robes of light colors, lazily vivacious, moving on naked, clogged feet, making the air a bluish haze of cigarette smoke. In the blazing dusk they suggested the populace of some crowded Spa strolling to the pools in flowing [pg 214] bath-robes and straw hats. On some of the far balconies Barbara could see women leaning, in ornate costumes, smoking tiny pipes. Here and there girls strolled past her, for the most part in couples, gaudily clad, their cheeks white with rice-powder, their lips carmined, their blue-black hair wonderfully coaxed and pomaded into shining wings and whorls, thrust through with many jeweled hair-pins, like slim daggers. They jested freely with the men they passed, laughing continually with low voices. In a doorway a slim girl, dressed in deep red, gleefully tickled with one bare foot the hide of a shaggy poodle vainly essaying slumber. As she went on, the crowd became more numerous; men's kimono brushed Barbara's skirts and eyes stared at her with contemplative boldness.


She felt a hand pluck her sleeve. It was a young Japanese, in foreign dress, with a shining brown derby, shining aureated teeth, and shining silver-handled cane. "Madame wishes a guide?" he inquired. She recollected him instantly as the youth who had slipped into her hand the printed card when she had landed from the ship at Yokohama. She did not know the name of the theater she had left, however, so shook her head and hurried on.

Without warning she emerged into the nun-like quiet of a park with an acre of growing trees and an irregular little lake that lay dark and still under [pg 215] the moon. Beside it was a stretch of hard, beaten earth, seemingly a playground. Benches were set under the trees, and among them moved or sat other girls in costumes like those she had seen on the pavement. At sight of Barbara's foreign dress some of them giggled with amusement and called to one another in repressed, laughing voices. A bell struck somewhere, and, as though this had been a signal, they all rose and departed, passing out by the way Barbara had come.

She traversed the park—to come face to face with a high palisade. She took a new direction, only to come again on the same barrier. The park seemed only a part of a vast inclosure into which she had penetrated. Had this no outlet save the gate at which she had entered? Wondering, she retraced her steps to the lighted pavement. She was puzzled now, and turned into one of the cross streets. Its blaze of light, its movement and murmur of humanity bewildered her for a moment; then what she saw instantly arrested her.

The lower stories of most of the abutting buildings had for fronts only lattices of vertical wooden bars, set a few inches apart. Inside these bars, which made strange, human bird-cages, seated on mats of brocade, or flitting here and there, were galaxies of Japanese girls, marvelously habited in chameleon colors—even more brilliant than the geisha she had seen at Mukojima—like branches of iridescent [pg 216] humming-birds or banks of pulsing butterflies. Here and there, a foil to the fluttering cages, stretched a silent arcade brilliantly lighted and hung with women's photographs. Above each was fixed a placard with a name in Japanese characters.

What was this place into which she had strayed? She had heard of the famous "Street-of-the-Geisha," where the dancers live. Had she stumbled on this in the throes of some festival? Why were there no women on the pavements? She had seen none save those in the gaudy robes whom the bell had called away. What was the meaning of the high palisades?—the narrow gate with its stolid policemen?—the barred house fronts?

Projecting on to the pavement, at the side of each building, was a small, windowed kiosk like the box-office of a theater. In the one nearest Barbara a man was sitting. His arm was thrust through the window, and his hand, holding a half-opened fan, tapped carelessly on its side while he chanted in a coaxing voice. Inside a man with close-cropped gray hair strode along the seated rows, striking sharply together flint and steel, till a shower of gleaming sparks fell on each head-dress. This done, he emerged and paced three times up and down the pavement, making squeaking noises with his lips, and describing with his hands strange passes in the air. These reminded Barbara irresistibly of a child's cryptic gestures for luck. He then struck the flat of [pg 217] his hand six times smartly against the door-post and retired. She noticed that he paused at the entrance to snuff the row of candles that burned in a shrine beside it.

The whole street, with its rows of gilded cages was a gleaming vista of tableaux-vivants, drenched in prismatic hues. Each, Barbara noted, had its uniform scheme of costume: one showed the sweeping lines and deep, flowing sleeves of the pre-Meiji era; another the high, garnet skirt of the modern school-girl; in one the kimono were of rich mauve, shading at the bottom to pale pink set with languorous red peonies; in another, of gray crepe figured with craggy pine-trees; in a third, of scarlet and blue, woven with gold thread and embroidered in peacock feathers. Before each inmate's cushion sat a tiny brass hibachi, or fire-bowl, in whose ashes glowed a live coal for the lighting of pipes and cigarettes, and a miniature toilet-table, like a doll's-cabinet, topped by a small, round mirror. From tiny compartments now and then one would draw a little box of rouge, a powder-puff of down, or an ivory spicula, with which, in complete indifference to observation, she would heighten the vivid red of a lip, or smooth a refractory hair. The background against which they posed was of heavy and exquisitely intricate gold-lacquer carvings of stork, dragon and phoenix, of cunningly disposed mirrors, or of draped crimson and silver weaves. Before the [pg 218] bars men paused to chat a moment and pass on: behind them the gorgeous robes and tinted faces flitted hither and thither with a magpie chatter, with glimpses of ringed fingers clutching the lattice, and of naked feet, slim and brown against the flooring.

Barbara watched curiously. She was no longer conscious that passing men studied her furtively—that here and there, through the slender bars, a delicate hand waved daringly to her. In all the fairy-like gorgeousness she felt a subtle sense of repugnance that kept her feet in the middle of the pavement. She noted now that, however the costumes varied, they agreed in one particular: the obi of each inmate was tied, not at the back, but in front. It seemed a kind of badge. Somewhere she had read what it stood for. What was it?

A group of men passed her at the moment—foreigners, speaking an unfamiliar tongue. They talked loudly and pointed with their sticks. One of them observed her, and turning, said something to his companions. They looked back. One of them laughed coarsely.

At the sound, which echoed a patent vulgarity in the allusion, the blood flew to her cheeks. The tone had told her in a flash what the palisades, the barred inclosures, the gaudy finery and reversed obi had failed to suggest. A veil was wound about her hat and with nervous haste she drew down its folds over her face, feeling suddenly sick and hot. Driven now [pg 219] by an overpowering desire to find her way out, she doubled desperately back to the wider street.


She turned, with relief this time, to see "Mr. Y. Nakajima," the guide, of the gold fillings and silver-topped cane.

"You are lost," he said. "Come with me, and I will find you."

She bade him take her to the gate as quickly as possible and followed him rapidly, stung with an acute longing for the noisy roadway with its careening rick'sha. He was a thin, humorous-looking youth with a chocolate skin and long almond eyes, from which he shot at Barbara glances half obsequious, half impertinent and preternaturally sly, from time to time making some remark which she answered as shortly as she might.

By the arch with its lofty female figure, under the weeping willow, Barbara turned for an instant and looked back. The street seemed to her a maze of reeling lights—a blur of painted lips and drowsing eyes and ghostly sobbing of the samisen. Just outside the gate a pilgrim-priest, his coffin-like shrine strapped on his back, was mumbling a prayer.

The guide spoke complacently: "Japan Yoshiwara are very famed," he said. "I think other countries is very seldom to have got."

"Where do they all come from?" Barbara asked suddenly. "How do they come to be here?"

[pg 220] "From many village," he answered. He had raised his voice, for several passers-by had paused to listen inquisitively to the strange sounds, so uncouthly unlike their own liquid syllabary; and he loved to display his English. "A man have a shop. Business become bad; he owe so plenty money. He can not pay, but he have pretty daughter. Here they offer maybe two, three hundred yen, for one year. So she dutifully pay honorable father debt."

Barbara turned away. Again she felt the edge of mystery, bred of the unguessable divergence between the moral Shibboleths of West and East. It caught at her like the cool touch of dread that chills the strayer in haunted places. In a hundred ways this land drew her with an extraordinary attraction; now a feeling of baffled perplexity and pain mingled with the fascination. It was almost a sort of terror. If in two days Japan offered such passionate variety, such undreamed contrasts and subtleties, what would it eventually show to her? Could she ever really know it, understand it?

"There is a theater near here where Sada Gozen is playing," she said. "Can you take me there?"

He nodded. "The Raimon-za—the Play-House-of-the-Gate-of-Thunder. It is more five minutes of distant."

He conducted her through a maze of narrow streets and pointed to the building, which she saw with a breath of relief. Taking out her purse she [pg 221] put a bill into his hand. "Thank you," she said, "and good night."

"I shall go with Madame at her hotel."

She shook her head. "I can find my way now."

"But Madame—"

"No," she said decidedly.

He stood a moment swinging his cane, looking after her with impudent almond eyes. Then he lighted a cigarette, settled his derby at a jaunty angle and sauntered back toward the Yoshiwara.

Barbara came on Daunt in the middle of the block. He had stationed himself in the roadway, towering head and shoulders above the lesser stature of the native crowds. With him was a Japanese boy who, she noted with surprise, was Ito, one of the house-servants. Her heart jumped as she saw the relief spring to Daunt's anxious face.

"Mea culpa!" she cried, and with an impulsive gesture reached out her hand to him. "What a trouble I have been to you! I was actually lost. Isn't it absurd?"

Her slim, white fingers lay a moment in his. All his heart had leaped to meet them. In the moment of her anger he had not read its meaning, but since then it had been given him partly to understand. His thoughtless words—blunderer that he was!—had seemed to carp at her like a whining school-boy, with cheap, left-handed satire! Yet to his memory [pg 222] even her hot, indignant voice had been ringingly sweet, for the stars again were golden, and Tokyo once more fairy-land.

"What will the others say!" she said. "They will have missed us long ago."

"We will take extra push-men," he said, "and easily overtake them. We can get rick'sha at the next stand."

"What did you think," she asked, as they rounded the corner, "when you found I had vanished into thin air?"

"I imagined for a while you were punishing me. Then I guessed you had somehow turned into the side street. But I felt that you would find your way back, so—I waited."

"Thank you," she said softly. "I have not acted so badly since I was a child. Are you going to shrive me?"

"I am the one to ask that of you," he replied.

"No—no! It is I. I must do penance. What is it to be?"

He looked at her steadily; his eyes shone with dark fire. In the pause she felt her heart throb quickly, and she laughed with a sweet unsteadiness. "I am glad you are going to give me none," she said.

"But I do," he answered, "I shall. I—"

The boy Ito, behind them, spoke his name. Daunt started with a stab of recollection and drew from his pocket a folded pink paper, fastened with a blue seal.

[pg 223] "How stupid of me! My wits have gone wool-gathering to-night. Here is a telegram for you. It came soon after we left the Embassy, and Mrs. Dandridge, thinking it might be urgent, sent Ito after us to the tea-house. He missed us, but saw me here on his way back."

Barbara broke the seal and held the message to the candle-light that shone from a low temple entrance. She did not notice at the moment that it was the temple of the Fox-God whose alms she had that evening denied. She had guessed who was the sender and the knowledge fell like a cool, fateful hand on her mood.

And alas, on Daunt's also. For, as she turned the leaf, his gaze, wandering through the temple doorway, to the candle-starred mirror above the tithe-box, had unwittingly seen reflected there, in the painfully exact chirography of a Japanese telegraph-clerk, the signature

[pg 224]


On the other side of Tokyo that night Doctor Bersonin sat with Phil in his great laboratory. Dinner had been laid on a round table at one end of the room. This was now pushed into a corner; they sat in deep leather chairs with slim liqueur glasses of green crême de menthe on a stand between them, with a methyl lamp and cigars.

Phil had more than once refilled his glass from the straw-braided, long-necked vessel at his elbow. He was restless and ill at ease. The tense excitement that had followed his hour with Bersonin at the Club had been allayed by the lights and movement of the cherry-festival; but in that cool, bare room, under the continuous, slow scrutiny of the expert's pallid, mask-like face, the sense of half-fearful elation had returned, reinforced by a feverish expectation.

During the dinner, served at ten, conversation had been desultory, full of lapses broken only by the plaintive chirp of the hiwa from its corner. When the cigars and cordial had been brought by the silent-footed Ishida, Bersonin had risen to draw the curtain [pg 225] closely over the window and to lock the door. When he came back he stood before the mantelpiece, his arm laid along it, looking down from his towering height on the other's unquiet hand playing with the chain of the spirit-lamp. His face was very white. Phil drew a long, slow breath and looked up.

Bersonin spoke. His voice was cold and measured; the only sign of agitation was in the slow, spasmodic working of the great white fingers against the dark wood.

"I have brought you here to-night," he said, "to make you a proposition. I have need of help—of a kind—that you can give me. It will require certain qualities which I think you possess—which we possess in common. I have chosen you because you have daring and because you are not troubled by what the coward calls conscience—that fool's name for fear!"

Phil touched his dry lips with his tongue. "I have as little of that as the next man," he replied. "I never found I needed much."

Bersonin continued:

"What I have to say I can say without misgiving. For if you told it before the fact there is possibly but one man in Japan who would think you sane; and if you told it after—well, for your own safety, you will not tell it then! Your acceptance of my proposition will have a definite effect on your prospects, [pg 226] which, I believe, can scarcely be looked on as bright."

Phil muttered an oath. "You needn't remind me of that," he said with surly emphasis. "I've got about as much prospects as a coolie stevedore. Well, what of it?"

The cold voice went on, and now it had gathered a sneer:

"You are twenty-three, educated, good-looking, with the best of life before you—but dependent on the niggardly charity of a rich brother for the very bread you eat. Even here, on this skirt of the world where pleasures are cheap, it is only by dint of debt that you keep your head above water. Now your sedate relative has come to sit in judgment on your past year. What does he care for your private tastes? What will he do when he hears of the geisha suppers and the bar-chits at the Club and the roulette table at the bungalow? Increase that generous stipend of yours? I fancy not."

Phil lit a cigar with a hand that shook. The doctor's contemptuous words had roused a tingling anger that raced with the alcohol in his blood. He, with the tastes of a gentleman, as poor as a temple-rat, while his brother sailed around the globe in his steam-yacht! He saw his allowance cut off—saw himself driven to the cheap expedients of the Bund beach-comber, cringing for a yen from men who had won his hundreds at the Roost—or perhaps [pg 227] sitting on an under-clerk's stool in some Settlement counting-house, shabby-genteel, adding figures from eight in the morning to five at night. No more moon-light cherry-parties on the Sumida River, or plum-blossom picnics, or high jinks in the Inland Sea. No more pony-races at Omori, or cat-boat sailing at Kamakura, or philandering at the Maple-Leaf Tea-House. No more laughing Japanese faces and tinted fingers—no more stolen kisses in bamboo lanes—no more Haru!

He struck the stand with his fist. "And if—I agree?" he said thickly. "What then?"

Bersonin leaned forward, his hands on the stand. It rocked under his weight. "I have talked of money. I will show you a quick way to gain it—not by years, but by days!—wealth such as you have never dreamed, enough to make your brother poor beside you! Not only money, but power and place and honors. Is the stake big enough to play for?"

Phil stared at him, fascinated. It was not madness back of those dappled, yellowish eyes. They were full of a knowledge, cold and measured and implacable.

"What do you—want me to do?" He almost gasped the words.

The expert looked him in the eye a full moment in silence, his fingers crawling and twitching. Then, with a quick, leopard-like movement, he went to the wall-safe, opened it and took out what seemed a [pg 228] square metal box. In its top was set an indicator, like the range-finder of a camera. Its very touch seemed to melt his icy control. His paleness flushed; his hand trembled as he set it upon the desk.

"Wait!" he said. "Wait!"

He looked swiftly about the room. His eye rested on the bamboo cage and a quick gleam shot across his face. He opened the wire door and the little bird hopped to his finger. He moved a metal pen-rack to the very center of the desk and perched the tiny creature on it. It burst into song, warbling full-throated, packed with melody. Bersonin set the metal case a little distance away and adjusted it with minutest care.

"Sing, Dick!" he cried loudly; "sing! sing!—"

The song stopped. There had come a thrill in the air—a puff of icy wind on Phil's face—a thin chiming like a fairy cymbal. Phil sprang up with a cry. The fluffy ball, with its metal perch, had utterly disappeared; only in the center of the desk was a pinch of reddish-brown powder like the dust of an emery-wheel, laid in feathery whorls.

He stared transfixed. "What does it mean?" he asked hoarsely.

The doctor's voice was no longer toneless. It leaped now with an evil exultation. "It means that I—Bersonin—have found what physicists have dreamed of for fifty years! I have solved the secret of the love and hatred of atoms! That box is the [pg 229] harness of a force beside which the engines of modern war are children's toys."

He grasped Phil's arm with a force that made him wince. The amber eyes glittered.

"At first I planned to sell it to the highest bidder among the powers. I was a fool to think of that! The nation that buys it, to guard the secret for itself, must wall me in a fortress! That would be the reward of Bersonin—the great Bersonin, who had wrested from nature the most subtle of her secrets! But I am too clever for that! It must be II alone—who holds the key! It shall bring me many things, but the first of these is money. I must have funds—unlimited funds. The money I despise, except as a stepping-stone, but the money you love and must have! Well, I offer it to you!"

Phil's heart was beating hard. The tension of the room had increased; a hundred suffocating atmospheres seemed pressing on it. "How—how—" he stammered.

Bersonin took a paper from his pocket, unfolded it and laid it on the stand. It was a chart of Yokohama harbor. A red square was drawn in the margin, and from this a fine, needle-like ray pointed out across the anchorage. With his pencil the Doctor wrote two words on the red square—"The Roost."

Phil shrank trembling into his chair. He seemed to see the other looking at him over clinking glasses at the Club, while voices spoke from the next room. [pg 230] "What if one of those Dreadnaughts should go down in this friendly harbor!" It came from his lips in a thin whisper, almost without his volition—the answer to the question that had haunted him that day.

A gleam like the fire of unholy altars came in Bersonin's eyes.

"Not one—two! A bolt from a blue sky, that will echo over Europe! And what then? A fury of popular passion in one country; suspicion and alarm in all. Rumors of war, fanned by the yellow press. The bottom dropping out of the market! It means millions at a single coup, for, in spite of diplomatic quibbles, the market is like a cork. The Paris bourse is soaring. Wall Street will make a new record to-morrow. In London, Consols are at Ninety-two. My agents are awaiting my word. I have many, for that is safer. I shall spread selling orders over five countries—British bonds in Vienna and New York, and steel and American railroads in London. I risk all and you—nothing. Yet if you join hands with me in this we shall share alike—you and I! And with the winnings we get now we shall get more. Trust me to know the way! Money shall be dirt to you. The pleasure-cities of every continent shall be your playgrounds. You shall have your pretty little Japanese peri, and fifty more besides."

Phil's face had flushed and paled by turns. He [pg 231] looked at the expert with a shivering fascination: "But there are—there will be—men aboard those ships...." He shuddered and wrenched his gaze away.

Bersonin put out his great hand and laid it on the other's shoulder—its weight seemed to be pressing him down into the chair.

"Well?" he said, in a low intense voice. "What if there are?"

There was a long silence. Then slowly Phil lifted a face as white as paper. A look slinking and devilish lay in it now.

The doctor bent down and began to speak in a low tone. The sound passed around the room, sibilant, like the sound of a bat's wings in the dark.

It was an hour before midnight when Phil opened the gate of the expert's house and passed down the moon-lighted street. He walked stumblingly, cowering at the tree-shadows, peering nervously over his shoulder like one who feels the presence of a ghastly familiar.

In the great room he had left, Bersonin stood by the fireplace. The nervous strain and exaltation were still on him. He poured out a glass of the liqueur which he had not yet tasted and drank it off. The hot pungent mint sent a glow along his nerves. Behind him Ishida was methodically removing the dinner service. The doctor crossed the room and [pg 232] stood before the bamboo cage. He drew back the spring-door and whistling, held out his finger.

"Here, Dick!" he called. "Here, boy!"

There was no response.

He started. His face turned a gray-green. He drew back and stealthily turned his head.

But the Japanese did not seem to have noticed the silence. With the tray in his hands, he was looking fixedly at the feathery sprays of reddish-yellow dust on the polished top of the desk.

[pg 233]


Barbara pushed open the bamboo gate of the temple garden, then paused. The recluse with whom she had talked yesterday sat a little way inside, while before him, in an attitude of deepest attention, stood the diminutive figure on the huge clogs whose morning acquaintance she had made from her window. Thorn was looking at him earnestly with his great myopic eye, through a heavy glass mounted with a handle like a lorgnette.

"My son," he said. "Why will you persist in eating amé, when I have taught you the classics and the true divinity of the universe? It is too sweet for youthful teeth. One of these days you will be carried to a dentist, an esteemed person with horrible tools, prior to the removal of a small hell, containing several myriads of lost souls, from the left side of your lower jaw!"

Barbara's foot grated on a pebble and he rose with a startled quickness. The youngster bent double, his face preternaturally grave. Thorn thrust the glass into his sleeve and smiled.

"I am experimenting on this oriental raw material," [pg 234] he said, "to illustrate certain theories of my own. Ishikichi-San, though a slave to the sweetmeat dealer, is a learned infant. He can write forty Chinese characters and recite ten texts of Mencius. He also knows many damnable facts about figures which they teach in school. He has just propounded a question that Confucius was too wise to answer: 'Why is poverty?' Not being so wise as the Chinese sage, I attempted its elucidation. Thus endeth our lesson to-day, Ishikichi. Sayonara."

He bowed. The child ducked with a jerky suddenness that sent his round, battered hat rolling at Barbara's feet. She picked it up and set it on the shaven head.

"Oh!" she said humbly. "I beg your pardon, Ishikichi! I put the rim right in your eye!"

"Don't menshum it," he returned solemnly. "I got another." He stalked to the gate, faced about, bobbed over again and disappeared.

Barbara looked after him smilingly. "Is Ishikichi in straitened circumstances? Or is his bent political economy?"

"His father has been ill for a long time," Thorn replied. "He keeps a shop, and in some way the child has heard that they will have to give it up. It troubles him, for he can't imagine existence without it."

"What a pity! I would be so glad to—do you think I could give them something?"

[pg 235] He shook his head. "After you have been here a while, you will find that simple charity in Japan is not apt to be a welcome thing."

"I am beginning to understand already," she said, as they walked along the stepping-stones, "that these gentle-mannered people do not lack the sterner qualities. Yet how they grace them! The iron-hand is here, but it has the velvet glove. Courtesy and kindness seem almost a religion with them."

"More," he answered. "This is the only country I have seen in the world whose people, when I walk the street, do not seem to notice that I am disfigured!"

She made no pretense of misunderstanding. "Believe me," she said gently, "it is no disfigurement. But I understand. My father lived all his life in the dread of blindness."

A faint sound came from him. She was aware, without lifting her eyes to his, that he was staring at her strangely.

"All his life. Then your father is not ... living?"

"He died before I was born."

She glanced at him as she spoke, for his tone had been muffled and indistinct. There was a deep furrow in his forehead which she had not seen before.

"Do you look like him?"

"No, he was dark. I am like my mother."

Thorn was looking away from her, toward the [pg 236] lane, where, beyond the hedge, a man was passing, half-singing, half-chanting to himself in a repressed, sepulchral voice.

"My mother died, too, when I was a little girl," she added, "so I know really very little about him."

She had forgotten to look for the Flower-of-Dream. They had come to the little lake with its mossy stones and basking, orange carp. Through the gap in the shrubbery the white witchery of Fuji-San glowed in the sun with far-faint shudderings of lilac fire. She sat down on a sunny boulder. Thorn stooped over the water, looking into its cool, green depths, and she saw him pass his hand over his brow in that familiar, half-hesitant gesture of the day before.

"Will you tell me that little?" he asked. "I think I should like to hear."

"I very seldom talk about him," she said, looking dreamily out across the distance, "but not because I don't like to. You see, knowing so little, I used to dream out the rest, so that he came to seem quite real. Does that sound very childish and fanciful?"

"Tell me the dreams," he answered. "Mine are always more true than facts."

"He was born," she began, "in the Mediterranean—"

She turned her head. The stone on which Thorn's foot rested had crashed into the water. He staggered slightly in regaining his balance, and his face [pg 237] had the pale, startled look it wore when he had first seen her from the roadside. He drew back, and again his hand went up across his face.

"Yes," he said. "Go on."

"In the Mediterranean—just where, I don't know, but on an island—and his mother was Romaic. I have never seen Greece, but I like to know that some of it is in my blood. His father was American, of a family that had a tradition of Gipsy descent. Perhaps he was born with the 'thumb-print' on the palm that they call the Romany mark. As a child I used to wonder what it looked like."

She smiled up at him, but his face was turned away. He had taken his hand from his brow, and slipped it into his loose sleeve, and stood rigidly erect.

"I often used to try to imagine his mother. I am sure she had a dark and beautiful face, with large, brown eyes like a wild deer's, that used to bend above his cradle. Perhaps each night she crossed her fingers over him, and said—"

"En to onoma tou Patros," he repeated, "kai tou Ouiou kai tou Agiou Pneumatos!"

"Yes," she said, surprised. "In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. You know it?"

"It is the old Greek-orthodox fashion," he said in a low voice.

"I should not wonder," she continued, "if she made three little wounds on him, as a baby, as I [pg 238] have read Greek mothers do, to place him under the protection of the Trinity. She must have loved him—her first boy-baby! And I think the most of what he was came to him from her."

Thorn moved his position suddenly, and Barbara saw his shoulders rise in a deep-taken breath.

"Love of right and hatred of wrong," he said, "admiration for the beautiful and the true, faith in man and woman, sensitiveness to artistic things—ah, it is most often the mother who makes men what they are. Not our strength or power of calculation, but her heart and power to love! In the twilight of every home one sees the mother-souls glowing like fireflies. I never had a picture of my mother. I would rather have her portrait than a fortune!"

His voice was charged with feeling. She felt a strange flutter of the heart, a painful and yearning sympathy such as she had never felt before.

"I wonder what he saw from that Greek cradle," she resumed. "I could never fancy the room so well. I suppose it had pictures. Do you think so?"

He nodded. "And maybe—on one wall—a Greek ikon, protected by a silver case ... I've seen such ... that left exposed only the olive-brown faces and hands and feet of the figures. Perhaps ... when he was very little ... he used to think the brown Virgin represented his mother and the large-eyed child himself."

"Ah," she cried, and a deeper light came in her [pg 239] eyes. "You have been in Greece! You have seen what he saw!" But he made no reply, and after a moment she went on:

"He had never known what terror was till one day an accident, received in play, brought him the fear of blindness. It must have stayed with him all his life after that, wherever he went—for he lived in other countries. I have a few leaves of an old diary of his ... here and there I feel it in the lines."

She, too, fell silent. "And then—?" he said.

"There my dreams end. You see how little I know of him. I don't know why he came to Japan. But he met my mother here and here they were married. I should always love Japan, if only for that."

"He—died here?"

"In Nagasaki. My mother went back to America, and there I was born."

She was looking out across the wide space where the roofs sank out of sight—to the foliaged slope of Aoyama. Suddenly a thrill, a curiously complex motion, ran over her. Above those far tree-tops, sailing in slow, sweeping, concentric circles, she saw a great machine, like a gigantic vulture. She knew instantly what it was, and there flashed before her the memory of a day at Fort Logan when a brave young lieutenant had crashed to death before her eyes in a shattered aëroplane.

[pg 240] If Daunt were to fall ... what would it mean to her! In that instant the garden about her, Thorn, the blue sky above, faded, and she stared dismayed into a gulf in whose shadows lurked the disastrous, the terrifying, the irreparable. "I love him! I love him!"—it seemed to peal like a temple-bell through her brain. Even to herself she could never deny it again!

She became aware of music near at hand. It brought her back to the present, for it was the sound of the organ in the new Chapel across the way.

Looking up, she was struck by the expression on Thorn's face. He seemed, listening, to be held captive by some dire recollection. It brought to her mind that bitter cry:

"I can not but remember such things were,
That were most precious to me!"

She rose with a sudden swelling of the throat.

"I must go now," she said. "The Chapel is to be dedicated this morning. The organ is playing for the service now."

She led the way along the stepping-stones to the bamboo gate. As they approached, through the interstices of the farther hedge she could see the figure of the Ambassador, with Mrs. Dandridge, among the kimono entering the chapel door. In the temple across the yard the baton had begun its tapping and [pg 241] the dulled, monotonous tom-tom mingled weirdly with the soaring harmonies of the organ.

With her hand on the paling she spoke again:

"One thing I didn't tell you. It was I who built the Chapel. It is in the memory of my father. See, there is the memorial window. They were putting it in place when I came a little while ago."

She was not looking at Thorn, or she would have seen his face overspread with a whiteness like that of death. He stood as if frozen to marble. The morning sun on the Chapel's eastern side, striking through its open casements, lighted the iridescent rose-window with a tender radiance, gilding the dull yellow aureole about the head of the Master and giving life and glow to the face beside Him—dark, beardless, and passionately tender—at which Thorn was staring, with what seemed almost an agony of inquiry.

"St. John," she said softly, "'the disciple whom Jesus loved.'" She drew from the bosom of her dress the locket she always wore and opened it. "The face was painted from this—the only picture I have of my father."

His hand twitched as he took it. He looked at it long and earnestly—at the name carved on its lid. "Barbara—Barbara Fairfax!" he said. She thought his lips shook under the gray mustache.

"You—are a Buddhist, are you not?" she asked. "And Buddhists believe the spirits of the dead are [pg 242] always about us. Do you think—perhaps—he sees the Chapel?"

He put her locket into her hands hastily. "God!" he said, as if to himself. "He will see it through a hundred existences!"

Her eyes were moist and shining. "I am glad you think that," she said.

In the Chapel the bishop's gaze kindled as it went out over the kneeling people.

"We beseech Thee, that in this place now set apart to Thy service, Thy holy name may be worshiped in truth and purity through all generations."

The voice rang valiant and clear in the summer hush. It crossed the still lane and entered a window where, in a temple loft, a man sat still and gray and quiet, his hands clenched in his kimono sleeves:

"We humbly dedicate it to Thee, in the memory of one for the saving of whose soul Thou wert lifted upon the Cross."

The man in the loft threw himself on his face with a terrible cry.

"My child!" he cried in a breaking voice. "My little, little child, whom they have robbed me of—whom I have never known in all these weary years! You have grown away from me—I shall never have you now! Never ... never!"

[pg 243] Behind him the unfinished image of Kwan-on the All-Pitying, tossed the sunlight about the room in golden-lettered flashes, and beneath his closed and burning lids these seemed to blend and weave—to form bossed letters which had stared at him from the rim of the rose-window:


[pg 244]


The day had dawned sultry, with a promise of summer humidity, and Daunt was not surprised to find the barometer performing intemperate antics. "Confound it!" he muttered irritably, as he dressed. "If it was a month later, one would think there was a typhoon waltzing around somewhere in the China Sea."

That morning had seen his first trial of his new fan-propeller, and the Glider's action had surpassed his wildest expectation. The flight, of which Barbara had caught a glimpse from Thorn's garden, had been a longer one than usual—quite twelve miles against a sluggish upper current—but even that failed to bring its customary glow. Thereafter he had spent a long morning immersed in the work of the Chancery: the study of a disputed mining concession in Manchuria; a report on a contemplated issue of government bonds; a demand for a passport by a self-alleged national with a foreign accent and a paucity of naturalization papers; the daily budget of translations from vernacular newspapers, by which a home government gains a bird's-eye view [pg 245] of comment and public opinion in far-away capitals. The Chancery was a pleasant nest of rooms opening into one another. Through its windows stole the smell of the garden blossoms, and across the compound wall sounded the shrill ventriloquistic notes of peddlers, the brazen chorus of a marching squad of buglers, or the warning "Hek! Hek!" of a flying rick'sha. The main room was cool, furnished with plain desks and filing cabinets. Against one wall yawned a huge safe in which were kept the code-books and records, and framed pictures of former Chiefs of Mission hung on the walls. In the anteroom Japanese clerks and messengers sat at small tables. The place was pervaded by the click of type-writer keys, tinkling call-bells, and the various notes of a busy office, and floating down from a stairway came the buzzing monotone of a Student Interpreter in his mid-year oral examinations under the Japanese secretary.

But to-day Daunt could not exorcise with the mass of detail the leering imps that plagued him. They peered at him over the edge of the code-books and whispered from the margins of decorous despatches, chuckling satirically.

"Barbara!" they sneered. "Mere acquaintances often name steam-yachts for girls, don't they! Arrived the same day as her ship, eh? Rather singular coincidence! What a flush she had when Voynich spoke of Phil's brother last night at the tea-house. [pg 246] Angry? Of course she was! What engaged girl likes to have the fact paraded—especially when she's practising on another man? And how about the telegram? How long have you known her, by the way? Two days? Really, now!"

The weekly governmental pouch had closed at noon, and pouch-days were half-holidays, but Daunt did not go to the Embassy. An official letter had arrived from Washington which must be delivered in Kamakura. Daunt seized this excuse, plunged ferociously into tweeds and an hour afterward found himself in a railway carriage thudding gloomily toward the lower bay. In his heart he knew that he was trying to run away—from something that nevertheless traveled with him.

The sky was palely blue, without a cloud, but the bay, where the rails skirted it, was heaving in long swells of oily amethyst like a vast carpet shaken at a distance in irregular undulations, on which junk with flapping, windless sails, of the deep gold color of old straw, tumbled like ungainly sea-spiders. The western hills looked misty and uncertain, and Fuji was wrapped in a wraith-like mist into which its glimmering profile disappeared.

At a way-station a coolie with a huge tray piled with neat, flat, wooden boxes passed the window calling "Ben-to! Ben-to!" It reminded Daunt that he had had no luncheon, and he bought one. He had long ago accustomed himself to Japanese food [pg 247] and liked it, but to-day the two shallow sections inspired no appetite. The half which held the rice he viciously threw out of the window and unrolling the fresh-cut chop-sticks from their paper square, rummaged discontentedly among the contents of the other: dried cuttlefish, bean-curd, slices of boiled lily-bulb, cinnamon-sticks, lotos stems and a coil of edible seaweed, all wrapped in green leaves. In the end, the mélange followed the rice.

At Kamakura an immediate answer to the letter he brought was not forthcoming, and to kill the time he strolled far down the curved beach. The usual breeze was lacking. A haze as fine as gossamer had drawn itself over the sky, and through it gulls were calling plaintively. Here and there on the sea-wall women were spreading fish-nets, and along the causeway trudged blue-legged peasant-women, their backs bent beneath huge loads of brushwood. In one place a bronze-faced fisherman in a fantastic kimono on which was painted sea-monsters and hobgoblins in crimson and orange, seated on the gunwale of his sampan drawn above the shingle, watched a little girl who, with clothing clutched thigh-high, was skipping the frothy ripples as if they were ropes of foam. A mile from the town he met a regiment of small school-boys, in indigo-blue and white kimono, marching two and two like miniature soldiers, a teacher in European [pg 248] dress at either end of the line—future Oyamas, Togos and Kurokis in embryo.

They were coming from Enoshima, the hill-island that rises in the bay like an emerald St. Michael, where in a rocky cave, looking seaward, dwells holy Ben-ten, the Buddhist Goddess of Love. Daunt could see its masses of dark green foliage with their pink veinings of cherry-trees, and the crawling line of board-walk, perched on piling, which gave access from the mainland when the tide was in. On its height, if anywhere, would be coolness. He filled his pipe and set off toward it along the sultry sand. The hot dazzle of the sun was in his face. There was no movement in the crisp leaves of the bamboo trees and the damp heat beat up stiflingly from the gray glare. Somewhere in the air, stirless and humid, there rested a faint, weedy smell like a steaming sea-growth in a tidal ooze.

Daunt's pipe sputtered feebly, and, girding at the heat, he hurled it at a handful of blue ducks that plashed tiredly in the gray-green heave, and watched them dive, to reappear far away, like bobbing corks. He wished he could as easily scatter the blue-devils that dogged him.

He drew a sigh of relief as he reached the long elevated board-walk and shook the sand from his shoes. Underneath its shore-end a fisherman sat in the stern of a boat fishing with cormorants. A row of the solemn birds sat on a pole projecting over the [pg 249] water, each tethered by a string whose end was tied to the man's wrist. They seemed to be asleep, but now and then one would plunge like a diver, to reappear with a fish wriggling in its beak. Daunt watched them listlessly a moment, then, passing beneath a great bronze torii, he slowly climbed the single shaded street that staggered up the hill between the multitudes of gay little shops running over with colored sea-shells, with grotesque lanterns made of inflated fish-skins, with carved crystal and pink and white coral—up and up, by old, old flights of mossy steps, under more ancient trees, by green monuments and lichen-stippled Buddhas, till the sea below crawled like a wrinkled counterpane. Daunt knew a tea-house on the very lip of the cliff, the Kinki-ro—"Inn of the Golden Turtle"—and he bent his steps lazily in its direction.

In the heavy heat the low tile roof looked cool and inviting. Tall soft-eyed iris were standing in its garden overlooking the water, and against the green their velvety leaves made vivid splashes of golden blue. On a dead tree two black crows were quarreling and cherry-petals powdered the paths like pink hail. The haze, sifting from the sky, seemed to wrap everything in a vast, shimmering veil. At the hedge he paused an instant. Some one, somewhere, was humming, low-voiced, an air that he had once loved. He pushed open the gate and [pg 250] went on into the tremulous radiance. Then he stopped short.

Barbara was seated above him in the fork of a low camelia tree, one arm laid out along a branch, her green gown blending with a bamboo thicket behind her and her vivid face framed in the blossoms. She sat, chin in hand, looking dreamily out across the bay, and the hummed song had a rhythm that seemed to fit her thought—slow and infinitely tender.

"You!" he cried.

She turned with a startled movement that dissolved into low, delicious laughter.

"Fairly caught," she answered. "I don't often revert far enough to climb trees, but I thought no one but Haru and I was here. Will you come and help me down, Honorable Fly-man?"

"Wait—" he said. "What was the song you were humming?"

She looked at him with a quick intake of breath, then for answer began to sing, in a voice that presently became scarce more than a whisper:

"Forgotten you? Well, if forgetting
Be hearing all the day
Your voice through all the strange babble
Of voices grave, now gay—
If counting each moment with longing
Till the one when I see you again,
If this be forgetting, you're right, dear!
And I have forgotten you then!"

[pg 251] Daunt's hand fell to his side. A young girl's face nested in creamy, pink blossoms—a sweet, shy, flushed face under a mass of curling, gold-bronze hair. "I remember now!" he said in a low voice. "I ... sang it to you ... that day!"

"I am flattered!" she exclaimed. "The day before yesterday you had forgotten that you ever saw poor little me! It was Mrs. Claybourne, of course, that you sang to! Yet you were my idol for a long month and a day!"

"It was to you," he said unsteadily. "I didn't know your name. But I never forgot the song. I remembered it that night in the garden, when I first heard you playing!"

[pg 252]


They walked together around the curving road, leaving Haru with the tea-basket. "Patsy would have come," Barbara had said, "but she is in the clutches of her dressmaker." And Daunt had answered, "I have a distinct regard for that Chinaman!"

His black mood had vanished, and the leering imps had flown. In the brightness of her physical presence, how baseless and foolish seemed his sullen imaginings! What man who owned a steam yacht, knowing her, would not wish to name it the Barbara? Walking beside her, so near that he could feel the touch of her light skirt against his ankles, it seemed impossible that he should ever again be other than light-hearted. She was no acquaintance of hours, after all. He had known her for seven years. He was in wild spirits.

The sky was duller now. Its marvelous haze of blue and gold had turned pallid, and the sun glared with a pale, yellowish effrontery. A strange sighing was in the air, so faint, however, that it seemed only the stirring of innumerable leaves, the resinous [pg 253] rasping of pine-needles and the lisping fall of the flaming petals from the century-old camelia trees, that stained the ground with hot, bleeding red. Far below in the shallow pools, nut-brown, bare-legged girls were gathering seaweed in hand-nets, kimono tucked beneath their belts and scarlet petticoats falling to their knees, like a flock of brilliant flamingos. At a turn in the road stood a stone image of Jizo, with a red paper bib about its neck. Before it lay three small rice-cakes; somewhere in the neighborhood was a little sick child, three years old. At its base were heaps of tiny stones, piled by mothers whose little children had died.

They stopped at a tea-house open on all sides, and, sitting cross-legged on its tatamé, drank tea from earthenware pots that held only a small cupful, while they listened to a street minstrel beating on a tom-tom, and singing a mysterious song that seemed about to choke him. They fed a crisp rice-cake to a baby sagging from an urchin's shoulder. A doll was strapped to the baby's back. They peered into a Buddhist temple where a monotonous chant came from behind a blue-figured curtain. They went, laughing like two children, down the zigzag stone steps, past innumerable uomitei—crimson-benched "resting-houses," where grave Japanese pedestrians sat eating stewed eels and chipping hard-boiled eggs—to the rocky edge of the tide, which now rolled in with a measured, sullen booming. He [pg 254] pointed to a gloomy fissure which ran into the mountain, at a little distance.

"O Maiden, journeying to Holy Ben-ten," he said, "behold her shrine!"

"How disillusioning!"

"People find love so, sometimes."

She slowly shook her head. "Not all of them," she said softly. "I am old-fashioned enough not to believe that." Her brown eyes were wistful and a little troubled, and her voice was so adorable that he could have gone on his knees to her.

"We will ask Ben-ten about it," he said.

"Oh, but not 'we!'" she cried. "I must go alone. Don't you know the legend? People quarrel if they go together."

"I can't imagine quarreling with you. I'd rather quarrel with myself."

"That would be difficult, wouldn't it?"

"Not in some of my moods. Ask my head-boy. to-day, for instance—"

"Well?" For he had paused.

"I was meditating self-destruction when I met you."

"By what interesting method, I wonder?"

"I was about to search for a volcano to jump into."

"I thought the nearest active crater is a hundred miles away."

"So it is, but I'm an absent-minded beggar."

[pg 255] She laughed. "May I ask what inspired to-day's suicidal mood?"

"It was—a telegram."

"Oh!" She colored faintly. "I—I hope it held no bad news."

He looked into her eyes. "I hope not," he said. Something else was on his tongue, when "Look!" she exclaimed. "How strange the sea looks off there!"

A sinister, whitish bank, like a mad drift of smoke, lay far off on the water, and a tense, whistling hum came from the upper air. A drop of water splashed on Daunt's wrist. "There's going to be a blow," he said. "The seaweed gatherers are all coming in, too. Ben-ten will have to wait, I'm afraid. See—even her High Priest is forsaking her!"

From where they stood steps were roughly hewn into the rock, winding across the face of the cliff. Beside these, stone pillars were socketed, carrying an iron chain that hung in rusted festoons. Along this precarious pathway from the cavern an old man was hastily coming, followed by a boy with a sagging bundle tied in a white cloth. "That parcel, no doubt," said Daunt, "contains the day's offerings. Wait! You're not going?" For she had started down the steps.

She had turned to answer, when, with the suddenness of an explosion, a burst of wind fell on them like a flapping weight, spattering them with [pg 256] drops that struck the rock as if hurled from a sling-full of melted metal. Barbara had never in her life experienced anything like its ferocity. It both startled and angered her, like a personal affront.

Daunt had sprung to her side and was shouting something. But the words were indistinguishable; she shook her head and went on stubbornly, clinging to the chain, a whirl of blown garments. She felt him grasp her arm.

"Go back!" she shrieked. "It's—bad—luck!"

As he released her there came a second's menacing lull, and in it she sprang down the steps and ran swiftly out along the pathway. He was after her in an instant, overtaking her on a frail board trestle that spanned a pool, where the cliff was perpendicular. Here the wind, shaggy with spume, hurled them together. Daunt threw an arm about her, clinging with the other hand to the wooden railing. Her hair was a reddish swirl across his shoulder and her breath, panting against his throat, ridged his skin with a creeping delight. The rocks beneath them, through whose fissures tongues of water ran screaming, was the color of raspberries and tawny with seaweed. There was only a weird, yellow half-light, through which the gale howled and scuffled, like dragons fighting. A slather of wave licked the palsied framework.

He bent and shouted into her ear. All she caught was: "Must—cave—next lull—"

[pg 257] She nodded her head and her lips smiled at him through the confused obscurity. A thrill swept her like silver rain. Pulse on pulse, an emotion like fire and snow in one thrilled and chilled her. She closed her eyes with a wild longing that the wind might last for ever, that that moment, like the ecstasy of an opium dream, might draw itself out to infinite length. Slowly she felt the breath of the tempest ebb about them, then suddenly felt herself lifted from her feet, and her eyes opened into Daunt's. Her cheek lay against his breast, as it had done in that short moment in the Embassy garden. She could feel his heart bound under the rough tweed. Once more the wind caught them, but he staggered through it, and into the high, rock entrance of the cave.

Inside its dripping rim the sudden cessation of the wind seemed almost uncanny, and the boom of the surf was a dull thunderous roar. He set her on her feet on the damp rock and laughed wildly.

"Do you realize," she said, "that we have transgressed the most sacred tenet of Ben-ten by coming here together? We are doomed to misunderstanding!"

"Now that I recollect, that applies only to lovers," he answered. "Then we—"

"Are quite safe," she quickly finished for him. "Come, I want to see the shrine. We must find a candle."

[pg 258] He peered into the gloomy depths. "I think I see some burning," he said. "We will explore."

A little way inside they came to a small well, with a dipper and a rack of thin blue-and-white towels to cleanse the hands of worshipers. On a square pedestal stood a stone Buddha, curiously incrusted by drippings from the roof. Near it was a wooden booth, its front hung with pendents of twisted rice-straw and strips of white paper folded in diagonal notches. It held a number of tiny wooden torii strung with lighted candles, above each of which was nailed a paper prayer. A few copper coins lay scattered beneath them. Daunt thrust two of the candles into wooden holders and they slowly followed the narrowing fissure, guttered by the feet of centuries, between square posts bearing carven texts, and small images, coated with the spermy droppings from innumerable candles.

She held up her winking light toward his face. "What a desperate absorption!" she said laughingly. "You haven't said a thing for five minutes."

"I'm thinking we had better explain at once to Ben-ten that we're not lovers. Otherwise we may get the penalty. Perhaps we'd better just tell her it was an accident, and let it go at that? What do you think?"

"That might be the simplest."

"All right then, I'll say 'Ben-ten, dear, she wanted to come alone; she really did! We didn't intend it [pg 259] at all. So be a nice, gracious goddess and don't make her quarrel with me!'"

"What do you suppose she will answer?"

"She will say: 'Young man, in the same circumstances, I should have done exactly the same myself.'"

The passage had grown so low that they had to bend their heads, then all at once it widened into a concave chamber. The cannonading of the wind rumbled fainter and fainter. He took her hand and drew her forward. "There is Ben-ten," he said.

The Goddess of Love sat in a barred cleft of the rock, enshrined in a dull, gold silence. Beads of moisture spangled her robe, glistening like brilliants through the mossy darkness. "Poor deity!" said Barbara. "To have to live for ever in a sea-cavern! It's a clammy idea, isn't it?"

"That's—" He paused. "I could make a terrible pun, but I won't."

"One shouldn't joke about love," she said.

"Have you discovered that too?"

She gazed at him strangely, without answering. In the wan light his face looked pale. Her unresisting fingers still lay in his; he felt their touch like a breath of fire through all his veins. Her eyes sparkled back the eery witch-glow of the candle-flames. "You are a green-golden gnome-girl!" he said unsteadily. "And I am under a spell."

"Yes, yes," she said. "I am Rumptydudget's [pg 260] daughter! I have only to wave my candlestick—so!—to turn you into a stalagmite!"

She suited the action to the word—and dropped her candle, which was instantly extinguished on the damp floor. Bending forward to retrieve it, Daunt slipped. The arm he instinctively threw out to save himself struck the wall and his own candle flew from its socket. As he regained his footing, confused by the blank, enfolding darkness, he stumbled against Barbara, and his face brushed hers. In another instant the touch had thrilled into a kiss.

A moment she lay in his arms, passive, panting, her unkissed mouth stinging with the burn of his lips. The world was a dense blackness, shot with fire and full of pealing bells, and the beating of her heart was a great wave of sound that throbbed like the iron-shod fury of the seas.

"I love you, Barbara!" he said simply. "I love you!"

The stammering utterance pierced the swift, confused sweetness of that first kiss like a lance of desperate gladness. Through the tumbling passion of the words he poured into her heart, she could feel his hands touching her face, her throat, her loosened hair.

"Barbara! Listen, dear! I must say it! It's stronger than I am—no, don't push me away! Love me! You must love me!

With her arms on his breast, she had made a [pg 261] movement to release herself. "We are mad, I think!" she breathed.

"Then may we never be sane!"

"I—you have known me only two days! What—"

"Ah, no! I've known you all these years and have been loving you without really knowing it. I made a woman out of my own fancy, that I dreamed alive. In the long winter evenings when I worked at my models in the little house in Aoyama, I used to see her face in my driftwood blaze and talk to her. I called her my 'Lady of the Many-Colored Fires.' I never thought she really existed, but that first night in the Embassy garden I knew that my dream-woman was you!—you, Barbara!"

Her hands pushed him from her no more. They fell to trembling on his breast. In the dense, salty obscurity, she turned her head sharply, to feel again his lips on hers, her own molding to his kiss. She drooped, swaying, stunned, breathless.

"Barbara, I love you!"

"No—not again. Light—the candle."

"Just a moment longer—here in the dark, with Ben-ten. It's fate, darling! Why should I have been in Japan and not in Persia when you came? Why did I happen to be there in the garden that night, at that particular moment? Why, it was the purest accident that I came here to-day! No—not accident. It was kismet! Barbara!"

[pg 262] "Make—a light. I—beg you!"

His lips were murmuring against her cheek. "Say 'I love you,' too!"

"I—can not. You ... you would hold me cheap ... I would be—I am!... What? Yes, it was a tulip tree. I was sixteen.... Oh, you couldn't have—why, you'd forgotten the whole thing! You had, you had!... Don't hold me.... No, I don't care what you think!... Yes, I do care!... Yes, I—I ... This is perfectly shameless!... Dark? That makes it all the worse. What will you ... No, no! You must not kiss me again! We must go back!—I will go back...."

She freed herself, and he fumbled for his fallen candle. He struck a match. The sputtering blue flame lit her white, languorous face, her fallen hair, her heaving breast. It went out. He struck another and the wick blazed up.

"Look at me, dear!" he said. "Tell me in the light. Will you marry me?"

"I can not answer—now."

"Why? Don't you love me?"

"I—in so short a time, how could I? Let us go now. I don't know myself—nor—nor you!"

She was trembling, and he noted it with a pang of compunction.

"To-morrow, sweetheart? Will you give me my answer then?"

[pg 263]

"Yes!" It was almost inaudible.

"At the Foreign Minister's ball to-morrow night? I'll come to you there, dearest. I—"

He stopped. She had caught her hand to her throat with a wild gesture. "Ben-ten! She—she is frowning at us! There—look there!"

"My poor darling!" he said. "You are nervous. See, it was only the shadow! I ought not to have brought you into this dismal hole! You are positively shivering."

"Let us hurry," she said, and they went quickly into the warmer air and light of the entrance.

The squall had passed with the fateful swiftness of its coming. The waves still gurgled and tumbled, but the fury of the wind was over. The murk light had lifted, showing the wet sky a patchy drab, which again was beginning to show glimpses of golden hue.

They walked back to Haru at the tea-house, beneath the wild, poignant beauty of disheveled cryptomeria, echoing once more the eternal song of the semi—along paths strewn with drenched petals and sweet with the moist scents of sodden leaves—then together, down the steep, templed hill and across the planked walk to the mainland, where a trolley buzzed through the springing rice-fields, musical now with the mé kayuimé kayui of the frogs. Daunt accompanied them to the through line of the [pg 264] railway. From there he was to return to Kamakura for the answer to his letter.

The sun was setting when the Tokyo express pulled into the station. As Haru disappeared into the compartment, Daunt took Barbara's hand to help her to the platform. There had been no other first-class passengers to embark and the forward end of the asphalt was deserted. Her lovely, flushed face was turned toward him, and there in the dusk of the station, he bent swiftly and kissed her once more on the lips.

"Dearest, dearest!" he said behind his teeth, and turned quickly away.

In the car, as the train fled through the glory of the sunset, Barbara closed her eyes, the longer to keep the impression of that eager gaze: the lithe, muscular poise of the strong frame, the parted lips, the brown hair curling under the peak of the cloth cap. She tried to imagine him on his backward journey. Now the trolley had passed the rice-fields, now he was striding along the shore road toward Kamakura, where the great bronze Buddha was lifting its face of dreamless calm. Now, perhaps, he was turning back toward the deepening blur of the green island. She shivered a little as she remembered the frown that had seemed to rest on the stony countenance of Ben-ten in her cave.

Her thought drifted into to-morrow, when she was to give him her answer. Ah, she knew what [pg 265] that answer would be! She thought of the telegram of the night before, which she had read in the candle-lighted street! To-morrow Ware also was coming—for an answer! She knew what that would be, too. She felt a sudden pity for him. Yet she knew now—what wisdom she had gained in these two swift days!—that his was not the love that most deserved it. Daunt's parting kiss clung to her lips like a living flower. The hand he had clasped still burned to his touch; she lifted it and held it against her hot face, while the darkening carriage seemed to fill with the dank smell of salty wind and seaweed, mingled with his voice:

"Barbara, I love you!—Dearest! Dearest!"

She thought the gesture unseen, unguessed by any one. But in the forward car, beyond the glass vestibule door, which to her was only a trembling mirror, a man sat watching with burning eyes. He had been gazing through the window when the train stopped, had risen to his feet with instant recognition—to shrink back into his seat, his fingers clenched, his bitten lip indrawn, and a pallor on his face.

It was Austen Ware, and he had seen that kiss.

[pg 266]


Dusk purpled over the rice-fields as the train sped on. Still the man who had witnessed that farewell sat crouched in his seat in the forward car, stirless and pallid.

From boyhood Austen Ware had trod a calculate path. Judicious, masterful, possessed, he had gone through life with none of the temptations that had lain in wait for his younger brother Phil. These traits were linked to a certain incapacity for bad luck and an unwearying tenaciousness of purpose. Seldom had any one seen his face change color, had seldom seen his poise of glacial complacency shaken.

To-night, however, the oil lamps which glowed dully in the ceiling of the carriage threw their faint light on a face torn with passion. Barbara's beauty, whose perfect indifference no touch of sentimental passion had devitalized, had, from the first, aroused Ware's stubborn sense of conquest. He had been too wise to make missteps—had put ardor into the background, while surrounding her with tactful and graceful observances which unconsciously usurped a large place in her thought. In the end he had [pg 267] broken down an instinctive disinclination and converted it into liking.

But this was all. For the rest he had perforce been content to wait. Thus matters had stood when they parted a few months ago. He recalled the day he had sailed for Suez. Looking back across the widening water, he had conceived then no possibility of ultimate failure. "How beautiful she is!" he had said to himself. "She will marry me. She does not love me, but she cares for no other man. She will marry me in Japan." There had been nobody else then!

As he peered out into the glooming dusk all kinds of thoughts raced through his mind. Who was the man? Was this the resurrection of an old "affair" that he had never guessed? No, when he left her, Barbara had been fancy free! It was either a "steamer acquaintance," or one come to quick fruition on a romantic soil. He took out a cigar-case and struck a match with shaking fingers. Had it even come to clandestine rendezvous? She had gone one way, the man another! A whirl of rage seized him: the slender metal snapped short off in the fierce wrench of his fingers. He thrust the broken case into his pocket with a muttered curse that sat strangely on his fastidious tongue.

Gradually, out of the wrack emerged his dominant impulse, caution. He had many things to learn; he must find out how the land lay. He must [pg 268] move slowly, reëstablish the old, easy, informal footing. Above all he must lay himself open to no chance of a definite refusal. A plan began to take shape. His telegram had told her he would arrive in Tokyo next day. Meanwhile he would find out what Phil knew.

He left the train at Yokohama under cover of the crowd. In a half-hour he was aboard his yacht. Two hours later he sat down to order his dinner on the terrace of the hotel, cool, unruffled, immaculately groomed. The place was brightly barred with the light from the tall dining-room windows, and the small, round tables glowed with andons whose candle-light shone on men's conventional black-and-white, and women's fluttering gowns. There was no wind—only the long, slow breath of the bay that seemed sluggish with the scents of the tropical evening. A hundred yards from the hotel front great floating wharves had been built out into the water. They were gaily trimmed with bunting and electric lights in geometrical designs. A series of arches flanked them, and these were covered with twigs of ground pine. Ware had guessed these decorations were for the European Squadron of Dreadnaughts, of whose arrival to-day's newspapers had been full.

As he looked over the menu, a man sitting near-by rose and came to him with outstretched hand. He was Commander DeKay, a naval attaché whom Ware had known in Europe. They had met again, [pg 269] a few days since, at Kyoto. He hospitably insisted on the other's joining his own party of five.

Ware was not gregarious, and to-night was in a sullen mood. But, with his habitual policy, he thrust this beneath the surface and in another moment was bowing to the introductions: Baroness Stroloff, her sister, a chic young matron whose natural habitat seemed to be Paris; the ubiquitous and popular Count Voynich, and a statuesque American girl, whose name Ware recognized as that of a clever painter of Japanese children. He looked well in evening dress, and his dark beard, thick curling pompadour and handsome eyes added a something of distinction to a well-set figure.

"So you have just arrived, Mr. Ware?" the Baroness said. "I hope you're not one of those terrible two-days-in-Japan tourists who spoil all our prices for us."

"I expect to stay a month or more," he said. "And as for prices, I shall put up as good a battle as I can."

"You know," said the artist, with an air of imparting confidential information, "everybody is scheduled in Tokyo. If you belong to an Embassy you have to pay just so much more for everything. In the Embassies, 'number-one-man' pays more than 'number-two-man,' and so on down. You and I are lucky, Mr. Ware. We are not on the list, and can fight it out on its merits."

[pg 270] "Belonging to the rankless file has its advantages in Japan, then."

"Not at official dinners, I assure you," interposed the Baroness' sister with a shrug. "It means the bottom of the table, and sitting next below the same student-interpreter nine times in the season. I have discovered that I rank with, but not above, the dentist."

"You tempt me to enter the service—in the lowest grade," said Ware, and the Baroness laughed and shook her fan at him reprovingly.

The sky above their heads was pricked out with pale stars, like cat's-eye pins in a greenish-violet tapestry. Up and down the roadway went shimmering rick'sha, and Japanese couples in light kimono strolled along the bay's edge, under the bent pines, their low voices mingled with the soft lapping of the tide. Now and then a bicycle would pass swiftly, bare sandaled feet chasing its pedals, and kimono sleeves flapping like great bats'-wings from its handle-bars; or a flanneled English figure would stride along, with pipe and racquet, from late tennis at the recreation-ground. From the corner came the cries of romping children and the tapping staff and double flute-note of a blind masseur.

The talk flew briskly hither and thither, skimming the froth of the capital's causerie: recent additions to the official set, the splendid new ball-room at the German Embassy, and the increasing importance [pg 271] of Tokyo as a diplomatic center—the coming Imperial "Cherry-Viewing Garden-Party," and the annual Palace duck-hunt at the Shin-Hama preserve, where the game is caught, like butterflies, in scoop-nets—the new ceremonial for Imperial audiences—whether a stabbing affray between two Legation bettos would end fatally, and whether the Turkish Minister's gold dinner service was solid—and a little scandalous surmise regarding the newest continental widow whose stay in Japan had been long and her dinners anything but exclusive—a rumored engagement, and—at last!—the arrival of the new beauty at the American Embassy.

"A real one!" commented Voynich, screwing his eye-glass in more tightly. "And that means something in the tourist season."

Ware's fingers flattened on the stem of his glass of yellow chartreuse as the artist said: "We are in the throes of a new sensation at present, Mr. Ware; a case of love at first sight. It's really a lot rarer than the novelists make out, you know! We are all tremendously interested."

"But he knows her," said Voynich. "The other evening in Tokyo, Mr. Ware, Miss Fairfax mentioned having met you. She is from Virginia, I think."

Ware bowed. "She is very good to remember me," he said. "And so Miss Fairfax has met her fate in Japan?"

[pg 272] "Well, rather!" said the artist. "I hear betting is even that she'll accept him inside a fortnight."

Ware sipped his liqueur with a tinge of relief. Evidently the world of Tokyo had not yet discovered that the new arrival's first name was that of his yacht.

"Daunt doesn't play according to Hoyle," grumbled Voynich. "She's a guest of his own chief and he ought to give the others half a chance. He lives in the Embassy Compound, too, confound him! He monopolized her outrageously at the Review the other day! He's an American 'trust.' I shall challenge him."

The voice of DeKay broke in:

"Coppery hair and pansy-brown eyes, a skin like a snowdrift caught blushing, and a mouth like the smile of a red flower! A girl that Romney might have loved, slim and young and thoroughbred—there you have the capital sentence of the Secretary of the American Embassy!"

Down the middle of the street came running a boy, bare-legged, bareheaded and scantily clad. A bunch of jangling bells was tied to his girdle, and his hands were full of what looked like small blue hand-bills. DeKay got up quickly. "There's an evening extra," he said. "It's the Kokumin Shimbun." He bolted down the steps, stopped the runner and returned with one of the blue sheets.

He scanned it rapidly—he was a student of the [pg 273] vernacular. "Nothing especial," he informed them. "Prices in Wall Street are smashing the records. That looks like a clear political horizon, in spite of what the wiseacres have been saying. This visit of the Squadron will prove a useful poultice, no doubt, to reduce international inflammation—its officers being shown the sights of the capital, and the celebrations to come off as per schedule, including the Naval Minister's ball to-morrow night. By the way," he added, turning to Ware, "I arranged for an invitation for you. It's probably at the hotel in Tokyo now, awaiting your arrival."

A little gleam came to Ware's eyes. The threads were in his hands, and this suited his plan. "Thanks," he said; "you're very kind, Commander. I shall see the subject of your rhapsody, then, before the Judge puts on his black cap."

"Ah, but you'll have no chance," laughed the Baroness. "Trust a woman's eye."

"Unless his aëroplane takes a tumble," said the American girl reflectively. "There's always a chance for a tragedy there!"

They rose to depart. "We are actually going to the opera, Mr. Ware," said the Baroness; "the 'Popular Hardman Comic Opera Company,' if you please, 'with Miss Cissy Clifford.' Doesn't that sound like Broadway? It comes over every season from Shanghai, and it's our regular spring dissipation. You'd not be tempted to join us, I suppose?"

[pg 274] He bowed over her hand. "It is my misfortune to have an engagement here."

"Well, then—jusqu'au bal. Good night."

Ware drank his black coffee alone on the terrace. Daunt—a Secretary of Embassy! A rival less experienced than he, full of youth's enthusiasms—a young Romeo, wooing from the garden of officialdom! It had been a handful of days against his own round year; a few meetings, at most, to offset his long and constant plan! And, as a result, the thing he had seen through the car window. He shut his teeth. He would have taken bitter toll of that kiss!

As he lit his cigar, one of the hotel boys came to him. On his arrival Ware had sent him to Phil's bungalow on the Bluff with a note.

"Ware-San not at home," he said.

"Where is he?"

"No Yokohama now. He go Tokyo yesterday. Stay one week."

"Is he at the hotel there?"

"Boy say no hotel. House have got."

"What is the address?"

"Boy no must tell. He say letter send Tokyo Club."

Ware's composure had been fiercely shaken that night and this obstacle in his path pricked him to the point of exasperation. With impatience he threw [pg 275] away his cigar and walked out through the cool, brilliant evening.

But the glittering pageant of the prismatic streets inspired only a rising irritation. When a pedestrian jostled him, the elaborate bow of apology and ceremonial drawing-in of breath met with only a morose stare. He left the Bund and threaded the Honcho-dori—the "Main Street"—striving to curb his mood. Midway of its length was a jeweler's shop-window with a beautiful display of jewel-jade. In it was hung a sign which he read with a wry smile: "English Spoken: American Understood." Ware entered and handed the Japanese clerk his broken cigar-case.

The counter was spread with irregular pieces of the green and pink stone, wrought with all the laborious cunning of the oriental lapidary. At his elbow a clerk was packing a jade bracelet into a tiny box for delivery. He wrapped and addressed it painstakingly with a little brush—

Esquire Philp Weare,
Kasumiga-tani Cho, 36.

In the street Ware smiled grimly as he entered the address in his note-book. He had always believed in his luck. To-morrow he would find Phil, and gain further enlightenment—incidentally on the matter of jade bracelets! His mouth set in contemptuous lines as he walked back to the hotel.

[pg 276]


"And as to the foreigner named Philip Ware, that is all you know?"

"That is all, Ishida-San," Haru answered.

They stood in the cryptomeria shadows of Reinanzaka Hill, from which he had stepped to her side as she came from the Embassy gate. It was dark, for the moon was not yet risen, and the evening was very still. One sleepy semi bubbled in the foliage and in the narrow street at the foot of the hill, with its glimmering shoji, she could hear the fairy tinkle of wind bells in the eaves.

Such an ambush by her lover, unjustified, would have been a dire affront to the girl's rigid Japanese code of decorum. That he had seen Phil greet her at Mukojima the evening before had shamed her pride, and in speaking of it to-night he had seemed at first to lay a rude finger on her maiden dignity. But she had seen in an instant that his errand was inspired by neither anger nor jealousy. He had touched at once her instinct of the momentous.

Her quick, clever brain and finely attuned perception read what lay beneath his questions. The great [pg 277] European expert whom Japan herself employed, and the young foreigner who had pursued her—were they, then, objects of question to that wonderful, many-sided governmental machine which was lifting Japan into the front rank of modern nations? Although she had never shared the disfavor with which her father viewed her lover's duties, she had wondered at his present apparently menial position. To-night she was gaining a quick glimpse beneath the surface. He told her nothing of the details which, though he could not himself have built a tangible indictment from them, had one by one clung together into a sharp suspicion that embraced the two men. But the agitation she felt in his words had sent a quick thrill through her, had tapped that deep racial well of feeling, the Yamato Damashii, which is the Japanese birthright. She felt a sudden passionate wish that she, though a woman, might pour herself into the mighty stream of effort—though she be but a whirling cherry-petal in the great wind of her nation's destiny. He had come to her for any shred of information that might add to his knowledge of the youth who was now Bersonin's satellite. But she had been able to tell him nothing. She had often seen the huge expert—his automobile had clanged past her that morning—but till to-night she had not even known the other's name or where he lived. "That is all, Ishida-San." It hurt her to say these words.

[pg 278] She bowed to his ceremonious farewell, a slim, misty figure that stood listening to his rapid footsteps till they died in the darkness. She walked up the dim slope with lagging pace. The steep road, always deserted at night, had no sound of grating cart or whirring rick'sha, but her paper lantern was unlighted and no song greeted the crow that flapped his grating way above her head. She was thinking deeply.

At the top of the hill, opposite the huge, rivet-studded gate of the Princess' compound, lay the lane on which the Chapel stood. An evening service was in progress and the faint sound of the organ was borne to her. As she turned into the darker shade she was aware of two pedestrians coming toward her,—of a voice which she recognized with a shiver of apprehension. The sentry-box by the great gate stood close at hand. It was empty, and she stepped into it.

Doctor Bersonin and Phil paused at the turning, while the latter lit a cigar from a match which he struck on the sentry-box. Haru's heart was in her throat, but her dark kimono blent with the wood and the flash that showed her both faces blinded his eyes.

"See!" said the doctor. A mile away, from the low-lying darkness of Hibiya Park, a stream of fireworks shot to the zenith, to explode silently in clusters [pg 279] of colored balls. "The first rocket in honor of the Squadron!"

"To-morrow the Admiral has an Imperial audience," said Phil, "and the superior officers are to be decorated."

"So!" said the other in a low, malignant voice. "And I—who have designed Japan's turrets and cheapened her arsenal processes—I may not wear the Cordon and Star of the Rising-Sun!" In the darkness a smile of malice crossed his face. "We shall see if she will hold her head so high—then! Whether war follow or not, it will damn her in the eyes of the nations! She will not recover her prestige in twenty years!"

They passed on down the dark slope, out of sight and hearing of the girl crouched in a corner of the sentry-box. At the foot of the hill, Bersonin said:

"It will take some days longer to finish my work, but the ships will stay for a fortnight. To-morrow night I will mark the triangle on the roof of the bungalow, so that the angle of the tripod will be exact. There must be no bungling. You can go by an earlier train, so we shall not be seen together, and I shall return here in time for the ball."

There was a fire in Haru's bosom as she went on along the thorn-hedges. She had heard every word, and she said the English sentences over and over to herself to fix them in her mind. What they had been talking of was the secret that lay beneath [pg 280] Ishida's questions—for an instant she had almost touched it. A feeling of deep pride rose in her. Japan was not sleeping—it watched! And in the path of the plotting danger stood her lover.

These two men hated Japan! War? They had used the word. Japan did not fear war! Had not that been proven? Her heart swelled. But the thing they were planning was her country's enduring humiliation, "whether war follow or not!" She felt a sudden deep horror. Could such plots be and their God—her God now—not blast them with His thunder? And one of these men had spoken with her, touched her, kissed her! She struck herself repeatedly and hard on the lips.

All at once she shivered. Might it be that in spite of all, such a black design could succeed?

The Chapel was brilliantly lighted and the rose-window threw beautiful tints, like shawls of many-colored gauze, over the shrubbery. She entered and slipped into a seat near the door, burning with her thoughts. The first evening service had brought a curious crowd and the place was nearly filled. She rose for the singing and knelt for the prayer mechanically, her delicate fingers twisting the little white-enamel cross hanging from its thin gold chain on the bosom of her kimono. Painful imaginings were running through her mind. The lesson was being read: it was from the Old Testament, the modern, somewhat colloquial translation.

[pg 281]

This-after, Samson a Sorek Valley woman called Delilah did love.

Then the Princes of the Philistines the woman-to up-came, saying:

As for you, by sweet discourse prevail that where his great power is or by what means overcoming, to bind and torture him we may be able ...

It seemed to her suddenly that a great wind filled all the Chapel and that the words sat on it. Slowly her face whitened till it was the hue of death.

She might find out the secret!

And Delilah to Samson said: where your great power is or by what means overcoming to bind and torture you one may be able, this me tell.

She began to tremble in every limb. She, a samurai's daughter? She thought of her father, aged and broken, grieving that he had had no son in the war. She had been but a useless girl-child, left to plant paper prayers at the cross-roads for the brave men who longed to achieve a glorious death. If she did this thing—would it not be for Japan?

And he at last-to his mind completely opened.

The woman's knees-upon Samson did sleep and she called a man who of his head the seven locks cut off ... and the power of him was lost.

[pg 282] If she did, would it avail? She remembered Phil's eyes on her face the day on the sands at Kamakura—their smouldering, reckless glow. She remembered the bamboo lane! In those daredevil kisses her woman's instinct had divined the force of the attraction she exercised over him—had felt it with contempt and a self-humiliation that burned her like an acid. To use that for her purpose? But she was a Christian! From the Christian God's "Thou shalt not" there was no appeal.

She remembered suddenly her last service at the Buddhist temple across the lane, and how the old priest had bade her a gentle farewell, wishing her peace and joy in her new religion, and saying smilingly that all religions were augustly good, since they pointed the same way. She saw the nunnery, with its tall clumps of yellow dahlias and wild hydrangeas; above which hung gauzy robes that waved like gray ghosts escaping from the mold into the sunshine. She saw the cherry-trees touched by the golden summer light, the mossy monuments in the burying-ground, the pigeons fluttering about the lichened pavement.

The audience was singing now—the Japanese version of Jesus, Lover of My Soul:

Waga tamashii wo
Ai suru Yesu yo,
Nami wa sakamaki,
Kaze fuki-arete.

[pg 283] She could no longer be a Christian!

But the old gods of her people shining from their golden altars—the ancient divinities who looked for ever down above the sound of prayer—they would smile upon her!

[pg 284]


For all save one, sleep came early that evening to the house in the Street-of-Prayer-to-the-Gods. In her little room Haru lay as stirless as a sleeping flower. There was no sound save the hushed accents of the outer night that penetrated the wooden amado.

At length she rose, noiselessly slid the paper shoji, and with infinite care, inch by inch, pushed back the shutters. The moon had risen and a flood of moonlight came into the room. Stealthily she opened a wall-closet and selected her best and gayest robe—a holiday kimono of dim green, with lotos flowers, and an obi of cloth-of-gold, with chrysanthemums peeping from the weave. By the round mirror on her low dressing-cabinet, she redressed the coiled ebony butterfly of her hair, and set a red flower in it. She touched her face with the soft rice-powder, and added a tint of carmine to the set paleness of her cheeks. She wrapped in a furoshiki some soberer street clothing, toilet articles, and a mauve kimono woven with silver camelias, set the [pg 285] bundle by the opened amado and noiselessly passed into the next room.

It was the larger living-apartment. The tiny lamp which burned before the golden shrine of Kwan-on on the Buddha-shelf cast a wan glimmer over the spotless alcove, and threw a ghostly light on her finery. Through the thin paper shikiri she could hear her father's deep breathing, and in the room in which he slept a little clock chimed eleven. She opened the door of the shrine and stood looking at the tablet it held—the ihai of her mother. The kaimyo, or soul name, it bore signified "Moon-Dawn-of-the-Mountain-of-Light-Dwelling-in-the-Mansion-of-Luminous-Perfume." She rubbed her palms softly together before it and her lips moved silently. From the golden shadows she seemed suddenly to feel her mother's hand guiding her childish steps to that place of morning worship, to see that loving face, as she remembered it, looking down on her across the rim of years. She bent and passed her hand along the two swords, one long, one short, that rested on their lacquered rack beneath the shelf—it was her farewell to her father.

She had left no message. She could tell no one. If she succeeded, she would have done her part. If she failed—there was only a blank darkness in that thought. But she had no agitation now—only a dull ache.

In her own room she took a book from a drawer [pg 286] and slipped it into her sleeve, caught up the furoshiki, stepped noiselessly to the outer porch and carefully closed the amado behind her.

She walked swiftly back to the empty Chapel. The great glass window that had seemed so beautiful with the light behind it, was now dark and opaque and dead. Only the cross above the roof in the moonlight looked as white as snow. She drew the book from her sleeve. It was her Bible, with her name on the fly-leaf. She unhooked the gold chain about her neck and slipped off the little enamel cross. She put this between the leaves of the Bible and laid it on the doorstep.

A half-hour later she stood before a wistaria-roofed gate in Kasumiga-tani Cho—the "Street-of-the-Misty-Valley"—near Aoyama parade-ground. The glass lantern above it threw a dim light on a gravel path twisting through low shrubbery. Down the street she could hear a dozen students chanting the marching song of Hirosé Chusa, the young war hero:

"Though the body die, the spirit dies not.
He who wished to be reborn
Seven times into this world,
For the sake of serving his country,
For the sake of requiting the Imperial Favor—
Has he really died?"

Haru opened the gate. Cherry-petals were sifting [pg 287] down like rosy snowflakes over the scarlet trembling of nanten bushes. A little way inside was a graceful house entrance half-shaded by a trailing vine. The amado were not closed, the shoji were brilliantly lighted.

With a little sob she unfastened the golden obi, rewound and tied it with the knot in front.

[pg 288]


The room where Phil sat was softly bright with andon, through whose thin paper sides the candle-light filtered tranquilly.

It had been furnished in a plain, half-foreign fashion; a book-rack and a French mahogany desk sat in a corner, an ormolu clock ticked on its top, and beside it was a lounge piled with volumes from the shelves. On a bracket sat three small carvings in dark wood, replicas of the famous monkeys of the great Jingoro the Left-Handed, preserved in Iyeyasu temple at Nikko. With their paws one covered his eyes, another his ears, the third his mouth, representing the "I see not—I hear not—I tell not" of the ancient wisdom.

The place, however, to which these had given a suggestion of quaint and extraordinary art, was now touched with a certain tawdriness. It would have affected a Japanese almost to nausea. The severity of beauty of its etched and paneled walls, the plain elegance of its satinwood fittings, were cheapened with a veneer of vulgarity. A row of picture postcards in colors was pinned on the wall—the sort [pg 289] the tourist buys for ten sen on the Ginza, too highly tinted and with much meretricious gilding—and a photograph hung in a silver-gilt frame of interlocked dragons. It showed a girl in abbreviated skirts and exaggerated posture; on the mount was printed: "Miss Cissy Clifford in Gay Paree." The air was full of the sickly-sweetish smell of Turkish cigarettes. The desk was a confusion of pipes, ivory nets'ke, cigarette-boxes and what not, and a man's cloth cap and a gauntlet were tossed in a corner, beside an open gold-lacquer box heaped with gloves.

Phil, however, felt no qualm. The room fitted him as a scabbard fits its sword. He had discarded his heavier outer clothing and donned a loose, wide-sleeved robe of cool silk, tied with a crimson cord.

"Give me the whisky-and-soda," he said to the grizzled servant, in the vernacular, "and I shan't want you again to-night."

The bottle the Japanese left at his elbow was becoming Phil's constant comforter. Alone with his thoughts, he fled to it as the hashish eater to his drug, because it banished his dread and bolstered the courage that he longed for. To-night, as he sat with the intoxication creeping like dull fire in his blood, he was thinking of Haru, with her soft smooth skin, her perfect neck, her lithe, graceful limbs, her eyes that held caught laughter like moss in amber.

His thought broke off. He had heard a sound [pg 290] outside. It seemed to be a light tapping on the grill of the outer door. Could it be Bersonin? Had anything gone wrong? He went hastily into the anteroom and opened the grill.

For an instant he stared unbelievingly at the figure standing there, the gay kimono, the rouged cheeks, the sparkling eyes. He took a step forward.

"Haru! Is it really you, little girl?" he cried.

She laughed—a high, clear, flute-like note. "Such an astonish!" she said. "You not know my mus' come ... after ... after those kiss? Can I not to come in, Phil-lip?"

With a laugh that echoed her own—but one of ringing triumph—he caught her hand, drew her into the lighted room and closed the shoji. His look flamed over her.

"I couldn't believe my eyes!" he cried. "I don't half believe them yet! Why, your hands are as cold as ice. We'll have a drink, eh!"

He went into an outer room, came back with a bottle of champagne and knocked off its neck against the mantel.

"Yes, yes!" she said. "My mus' drink—so to be gay, Phil-lip!" She drank the bubbling liquor at a draft. "What are the use of to be good? Né?"

"You're right, little girl! The pious people are the dull ones!" He came to her unsteadily—he had noticed the reversed obi. "So you'll train with me, eh? Well, we'll show them a trick or two! How [pg 291] would you like to have plenty of money, Haru—as much as you can count on a soroban? Would you think a lot more of me if I got it for you?"

"You so—much clever!" she laughed. "No all same Japan man. He ve-ree stupid! My think you mos' bes' clever man in these whole worl', to goin' find so much money—né?"

With a savage elation he drew her close in his arms. The great spiral of her headdress drooped under his caresses, and the blue-black hair fell all about the white face.

[pg 292]


Riding with Patricia in the big victoria next day, its red-striped runner diving ahead, Barbara forgot her vague wonder at Haru's disappearance, as she felt the enchanted mystery of Tokyo creep further into her heart. They threaded the softly dreaming silence of the willow-bordered moat that clasps the Imperial grounds with a girdle of cloudy emerald, where the "Dragon Pines" of the great Shogun Iyemits fling their craggy masses of olive-green down over the leaning walls to kiss the mirroring water—past many-roofed, Tartar-like watch-towers, cream-white on the blue, and through little parks with forests of thin straight-boled trees and placid lotos ponds seething with the dagger-blue flashings of dragon-flies, all woven together into a tapestry, lovely, remote, fantastic—like the projection of some dream-legend whose people lived a fairy story in a picture-book world.

On this oriental background continually appeared quaint touches of the foreign and bizarre: a huge American straw hat, much befrilled and befeathered, on the head of a baby strapped to its mother's [pg 293] back, or a hideous boa of chenille like bunched caterpillars marring the delicate native neckwear of an exquisite kimono.

On the slope of a hill they came on a motley crowd, which included a sprinkling of foreigners, gathered before the entrance of a temple yard, where a rough, improvised amphitheater had been erected. Patricia called to the driver, and he pulled up.

"Fire-walk," said the betto. "Ontaké temple."

From their elevated seat they could see white-robed and barefooted priests waving long-handled fans and wands topped with shaggy paper tassels over an area of red-hot cinders. Presently some of them strode calmly across the smoking mass.

"They call that the 'Miracle of Kudan Hill,'" said Patricia. "They are making incantations to the god of water to come and drive out the god of fire. It's a Shinto rite."

A laugh rose from the spectators. The High Priest was inviting the foreigners to attempt the ordeal.

"Look!" said Patricia. "There is the man who got the free lecture out of your uncle on the train—the man with the white waistcoat and the red beard. And there's 'Martha,' too. I do believe she's going to try it!"

She was. Undeterred by the misgivings of the rest, the lady of the painted muslin calmly divested [pg 294] herself of shoes and stockings and marched across and back again. "There!" she said triumphantly. "I said I would, and I did! It may be a miracle, but my feet are simply frying!"

The carriage rolled on across a section of busy trade. From a side street came the brassy blare of a phonograph.

"What a baffling combination it is!" said Barbara. "Last night some of those people were at Mukojima, listening to dead little drums and squealing fifes, and to-night here is Damrosch and the Intermezzo."

"The other day when I passed," said Patricia, "it was Waltz Me Around Again, Willie, and forty children were prancing to it. Martha's husband is 'in' phonographs, by the way. She told me all about it at the Review. He's making a set of Japanese records—geisha songs and native orchestra pieces and even street-noises—to copyright at home."

Presently the horses stopped before a great gate of unpainted cedar, roofed with black and white tiles and bossed with nails of hammered copper. Above it two pine-trees writhed like a Doré print. "One of the Empress' ladies-in-waiting lives here," Patricia said. "I'll walk home and on the way I can leave some 'call-tickets'—Tucker's name for visiting-cards. Give my love to the bishop."

She looked wistfully after Barbara as the latter bowled away toward Ts'kiji and her uncle's. Under [pg 295] her flyaway spirits Patricia had the warmest little heart in the world, loyal to its last beat to those she liked. Daunt was decidedly in this category. Like the rest, she had been weaving a cheerful little romance for these two friends. Since the evening at the Cherry-Moon, however, when the newly arrived yacht had been talked of, she had had misgivings. Yesterday, too, Barbara, while confiding nothing, had told her of Austen Ware's coming. Patricia walked up the driveway slowly and with a puzzled frown.

But the girl driving on under cherry-stained sky and cherry-scented winds, knew, that one hour, no problems. She was full of the flame and pulse of youth, of a new nascent tenderness and a warm sense of loving all the world. She asked herself if she could really be the poised, self-contained girl who a few weeks ago sailed for the Orient. Some magic alchemy had transmuted all her elements. New emotions dominated her, and through the beauty before her gaze went flashing more beautiful thoughts that linked with the future.

In her pocket was a letter. It had been brought to her that morning when she woke and she had read it over and over, kneeling in the drift of pillows, her red-gold hair draping her white shoulders, thrilling, murmuring little inarticulate answers to its phrases, looking up now and then to peer through the bamboo sudaré to the white and green cottage [pg 296] across the lawn. He would not see her to-day—until evening. Then he would ask her....

As the carriage bore her on, she whispered again and again one of the sentences he had written: "There has never been another woman to me, Barbara. There never will be! My Lady of the Many-Colored Fires!"

[pg 297]


Mr. Y. Nakajima, the almond-eyed guide of gold-filled teeth, came to the end of his elaborate conversation. He turned from the old servant, leaning on his pruning knife, and spoke to the man who stood waiting outside the wistaria-gate in the Street-of-the-Misty-Valley.

"He say Mr. Philip Ware stay here," he announced, "but house is ownerships of his friend, Mr. Daunt, of America Embassy. He regret sadly that no one are not at home."

Ware reflected. Daunt's house? He lived in the Embassy compound—so they had said at dinner last night. Why should he maintain this native house in another quarter of Tokyo? There came to his mind that hackneyed phrase "the custom of the country," the foreigner's specious justification of the modern "Madame Butterfly." In this interminable city, with its labyrinthine mazes, who could tell what this or that gray roof might shelter? Was this a nook enisled, for pretty Japanese romances "under the rose"? He had loaned it to Phil—they were friends.

[pg 298] Ware struck his stick hard against the hedge. He scarcely knew what thought had entered his mind, so nebulous was it, so indefinable. If he had thought to use this discovery, he knew no way; if it was Daunt's covert, here was Phil in possession.

"Ask him if he has any idea where he is."

The guide translated. The servant was ignobly unacquainted, as yet, with the danna-San's illustrious habits. He arrogantly presumed to suggest that he might augustly be in any one of a hundred esteemed spots.

Ware thought a moment, frowningly. "Tell him I am Ware-San's brother," he said then, "and that I have just arrived in Tokyo. I shall wait in the house till he comes."

The old man bowed profoundly at the statement of the relationship. He spoke at some length to the guide. The latter looked at Ware questioningly but hesitated.

"Well?" asked the other tartly.

"He think better please you wait to the hotel."

Ware struck open the gate with a flare of irritation. "You can go now," he said to the guide, and disdaining the servant, strode along the gravel path to the house entrance.

The old man looked after him with an enigmatic Japanese smile. It was not his fault if the foreigners (the kappa devour them!) ate dead beasts and were all quite mad! He tucked up his kimono, [pg 299] stacked his gardening-tools neatly under the hedge, and betook himself across the street for a smoke and a game of Go with the neighbor's betto.

Under the trailing vine Ware slid back the shoji and entered the house.

As he stood looking at the interior his lip curled. He hated the cheapness and vulgarity to which Phil turned with instinctive liking, and he had long ago come thoroughly to despise his younger brother and to relish the whip-hand which the law, with its guardianship, gave him. The place fitted Phil, from the cigarette odor to the loud photograph in the dragon-frame and the partly open wall-closet with its significant array of bottles. It expressed his idea of "a good time!"

He slid open a shikiri. It showed a room, evidently unused, littered with tools, a dusty table with models of curious wing-like propellers, a small electric dynamo and a steel-lathe. He opened another, and stood looking at the room it disclosed with a faint smile. It was scrupulously clean and orderly, and, in contrast to the outer apartment, had an atmosphere of delicate refinement. On the wall hung a tiny gilt image of Kwan-on and below it on an improvised shelf an incense rod was burning with a clean, pungent odor. At one side was suspended a mosquito-bar of dark green gauze, and across a low stool was laid a kimono, with silver camelias on a mauve ground. He picked this up [pg 300] and looked at it curiously, half conscious of a faint perfume that clung to it.

He shut his teeth. The camelia had always been Barbara's favorite flower!

Meanwhile the girl thus incongruously in his thought had felt a gray shadow across her sunshine. She found her uncle greatly perplexed and troubled. Haru's Bible, found on the Chapel doorstep, had been brought to him that morning. He had sent at once to the Street-of-Prayer-to-the-Gods and the messenger had returned with news of her disappearance. The fact that she had taken clothing with her showed that the flight was a deliberate one.

It pained him to think what the return of the book and the little cross might mean. In his long residence in Japan the bishop had grown accustomed to strange dénouements, to flashing revelations of subtle deeps in oriental character. But save for one instance of many years ago—which the sight of Barbara must always recall to him—he had never been more saddened than by to-day's disclosure. What he told her had left Barbara with an uneasy apprehension. She drove away pondering. The anxious speculation blurred the glamour of the afternoon.

The homeward course took her through Aoyama, by unfrequented streets of pleasant, suburban-like gardens and small houses with roofs of fluted tile [pg 301] as softly gray as silk. Here and there a bean-curd peddler droned his cry of "To-o-fu! To-o-fu-u!" and under a spreading kiri tree a blind beggar squatted, playing a flute through his nostrils, while his wife, also blind and with a beady-eyed baby strapped to her back, twanged a samisen beside him. In the road groups of little girls were playing games with much clapping of hands and shouting in shrill voices.

In one of the cross-streets a dozen coolies strode, carrying flaming white banners painted in red idiographs. The last bore a huge papier-maché bottle—an advertisement of a popular brand of beer. A brass band of four pieces, discoursing hideously tuneless sounds, led them, and between band and banners stalked a grotesquely clad figure on stilts ten feet tall, the shafts pantalooned so that his legs seemed to have been drawn out like India-rubber. The spidery pedestrian was followed by a score of staring children of all ages and sizes.

Suddenly Barbara rose to her feet in the carriage. She had seen a girl emerge from a small temple and turn into a side street.

"Fast! Drive fast, Taka," she called quickly. "The street to the left!" He obeyed, but a soba-ya had halted his shining copper cart of steaming buckwheat, and momentarily delayed them.

The hastening figure was farther away when they rounded the turning. Barbara clasped her hands together. [pg 302] "It was Haru! It was Haru! I am sure!" she whispered.

The girl slipped through a gateway hung with wistaria. As Barbara sprang to the ground she was hurrying through the garden.

"Haru!" But the flying figure did not seem to hear the call.

Barbara ran quickly after her along the gravel path.

In the house, Austen Ware, standing with the kimono in his hand, had heard the rumble of carriage wheels. He had left the outer shoji open, and through the aperture he saw the slim form hastening toward the doorway. An exclamation broke from his lips. Behind her, just entering the gate, was Barbara!

For a breath he stared. A cool, thriving suspicion—one bred of his anger and humiliation, that shamed his manhood—ran through him. Barbara, there? Was it another rendezvous, then? The fierce, self-dishonoring doubt merged into the mad jealousy that already burned him like a brand.

He dropped the kimono, drew back the shikiri of the unused apartment, and stepped inside.

Swiftly and noiselessly the light partition slipped into place behind him.

[pg 303]


Through the thin paper pane, parted by his moistened finger, Ware's hot, hollow eyes saw the Japanese girl come into the room. She had not waited to shut the shoji behind her. She drew quick sobbing breaths and her eyes had the desperate look of a hunted animal. She ran into the sleeping apartment and closed its shikiri.

Barbara had halted at the doorway. As she stood looking in, her eyes fell on the mauve kimono with its silver camelias. It was the robe Haru had worn the first evening she came to her. If she had doubted, all doubt was now gone. An instant she hesitated, then, with sudden resolution, knocked on the grill and stepped across the threshold.

The man who watched could not solve the puzzle, but in that instant the sick suspicion he had harbored became a cold and lifeless thing in his breast. A sense of shame rushed through him as he saw her gaze wander about the interior with its veneer of the foreign: to the disordered desk—the lounge and its litter of books—the photograph on the wall—the open panel with its champagne bottles. In her [pg 304] glance distaste had grown to a quick question. The coarse suggestions of the place were welling over her. Whose house was this? Had Haru seen her and was she hiding from her?

Suddenly she saw the man's cap and gauntlet in the corner. Her cheeks rushed into flame. She seemed to see Haru's innocent face smiling at her over the throbbing samisen and through its tones to hear again the echo of a ribald laugh before the gilded cages of the Yoshiwara. Something in her cried out against the inference. All at once she took an abrupt step forward. She was looking at the round glass lantern just outside the doorway, painted with three characters:


She chilled as if ether had been poured in her veins. The name they stood for had been her first lesson in Japanese—which Haru had taught her! She snatched up one of the volumes from the chair. It was Lillienthal's Conquest of the Air. She opened it to the title page.

Ware, watching, saw with surprise that she was trembling violently. She had grown pale to the lips. The book slipped from her fingers and crashed on to the tatamé. It lay there, open as she had held it, and he saw what was written across the white leaf. It was Daunt's name.

[pg 305]

His thought leaped as if at the flick of a lash. Daunt's book! What was she thinking? The piteous pallor that swept her face like an icy wave answered him. Why she was there—her interest in this Japanese girl who fled from her—he could not guess. But it was clear that she had not known the house was Daunt's, and that with the knowledge, she was face to face with what must seem a damning complicity. Perhaps some hint of this retreat had come to her—he knew how gossip feathered its shafts!—some covert allusion, some laughing oui-dire, to which her coming had now given such verity. Phil was the deus ex machina of the situation. His Japanese amour she was now laying at Daunt's door! All this flashed through his mind in an instant. He watched her intently.

Over Barbara was sweeping a hideous chaos of mocking voices, bits of recollection barbed with agony. The little house near Aoyama parade-ground—the carriage had passed the great empty plaza a few moments ago—that he had kept from "sentiment"! The house she had asked him to show her, when he had evaded the request. And Haru! A feeling of physical anguish like that of death came to her; a dull pain was in her temples and the floor seemed to be rising up with her toward the ceiling. Daunt? He whose lips had lain on hers, whose letter was in her bosom—it burned her flesh now like a live coal! "There has never been [pg 306] another woman to me, Barbara. There never will be!" The words seemed to launch themselves from the air, stinging like fiery javelins.

Behind the shikiri, a weird, malevolent clamor was shouting through Ware's brain. He stood alone with his temptation. What had he to do with Daunt, or with her belief in him? She had accepted his own advances, beckoned him half around the world—for what? To discard him for this man whom she had known but a handful of days! Chance had arranged this mise en scène. Was he to tell her the truth—and lose her? The key to the situation was in his hand. He had only to keep silence!

At that moment he felt crumble down in some crude gulf within the fabric of his self-esteem—the high-built structure of years. Something colder, formless and malignant, came to sit on its riven foundations. A savage elation grew in him.

Suddenly a shikiri was flung aside. Haru stood there, her face deathly pale, her hands wrenching and tearing at her sleeves. She laughed, a high, gasping, unnatural treble.

"So-o-o, Ojo-San! You come make visiting—? The shrill voice rang through the silent room. "My new house now, an' mos' bes' master. No more Christian! My bad—oh, ve-ree bad Japan girl!" With another peal of laughter she pointed to the knot of her obi. It was tied in front.

[pg 307] Barbara ran down the garden path as if pursued. She stepped into the carriage blindly. The Fox-Woman! Votary of the Fox-God, at whose candle-lighted shrine she had refused tribute!

This, then, was the end. It came to her like the striking of a great bell. To-morrow the streets would lie as vivid in the sunlight, the buglers would march as blithely, the bent pines would wave, the lotos-pads in the moat glisten, the gorgeous geisha flash by: she alone would know that the sun had died in the blue heaven!

"Home, Taka," she said, and leaned back and closed her eyes.

Behind her Haru's laughter had broken suddenly. She rushed into the little sleeping-room and threw herself on the tatamé before the tiny image of Kwan-on, in a wild burst of sobbing.

Ware opened the shikiri softly, and with noiseless step, passed out of the house.

[pg 308]


The spacious residence of the Minister of Marine that night was a maze of light. All social Tokyo would be at the ball in honor of the Admiral and officers of the visiting Squadron.

It was late when Daunt turned his steps thither through the fragrant evening. The deciphering of a voluminous telegram had kept him at the Chancery till eleven.

All that day he had worked with a delicious exhilaration rioting in his pulses. He had not seen Barbara, but her face had seemed always before him—quiveringly passionate as he had seen it in Ben-ten's cave, hazed with daring softness as it had turned to his on the steps of the railway carriage. There had been moments when some aroma of the spring air made him catch his breath, mindful of the crisp, sweet scent of her hair or the maddening fragrance of her lips. He thought of "Big" Murray and his letter, at which he had bridled—how long ago? He understood now what the complacent old pirate had been talking about! He would have an epistle to write him to-morrow in return! To-night he [pg 309] was to see her! In fancy he could feel her slim hand on his sleeve as they danced—could see himself sitting with her in some dusky alcove sweet with plum-blossoms—could hear her say ...

A hoarse warning from a betto and he sprang aside for a carriage that dashed past through the gateway. He shook himself with a laugh and walked on through the shrubbery. By day it was a place of mossy shadows, of shrubberied red-lacquer bridges and glimmering cascades; now its polished dwarf-pines and twisted cypresses gleamed with red paper lanterns that hung like goblin fruit and quivered, monster misshapen gold-fish, in the miniature lake. Along the drives stood policemen, wearing white trousers and gloves. Each held a paper lantern painted with the Minister's mon or family crest. Farther on carriages became thicker, till the approach was a crawling stream of gleaming black enamel, sweating horses, crackling whips, and shouting bettos. Daunt picked his way among these to where a wide swath of electric light beneath the porte-cochère struck into high relief a strip of scarlet carpet.

The interior was dressed with that marvelous attention to minutiæ and artistic ensemble that is characteristically Japanese. The great hall was brilliant opera bouffe: a mingling crowd of gold-braided uniforms crossed by colored cordons and flashing with decorations, white necks and shoulders [pg 310] rising from dainty French gowns, gleaming lights, Japanese men in European costume, languorous black eyes under shining Japanese head-dresses, and silken kimono woven in tints as soft as dreams. In the large central room opposite was hung a painting of the Emperor. Japanese who passed it did so reverently. They did not turn their backs. Some of the older ones bowed low before it and withdrew backward. Through a doorway came glimpses of couples on a polished floor swaying to music that swelled and ebbed unceasingly, and down a long vista a pink dazzle of cherry-blooms under a cloth roof. Over all was the exotic perfume of flowers.

Daunt had seen many such affairs where the blending of colors and sounds, the scintillant shifting of forms, had been but a maze. To-night's, however, was wound in a glory. All these decorative people, this scented echo of laughter and music, existed only to form a kaleidoscopic setting for the one woman. He went to search for her with his handsome head erect, his shoulders square and a color in his face.

He passed through several rooms, revealing one oriental picture after another. In one a series of glass-cases reproduced a daimyo's procession in Old Japan: hundreds of dolls, six inches high, fashioned in elaborate detail—coolies with banners; chest-bearers; caparisoned horses; bullock-carts with huge, black lacquer wheels; samurai, visored and [pg 311] clad in armor, with glittering swords and lances. In another were cabinets spread with pieces of priceless gold-lacquer that had cost a lifetime of loving labor. A third the host denominated his "ghost-room," since it was lined with quaint pottery unearthed in ancient Korean tombs. These rooms were filled with the social world of the capital, a gay glimmer of urbanity set off against masses of all the blossoms of spring. In the last room the host stood with the visiting Admiral and several Ambassadors. He was a perfect type of the modern Japanese of affairs, a diplomatist as well as a seasoned Admiral. He had been at Annapolis in '75 and his wife was a graduate of Wellesley. He was one of the strongest of the powerful coterie which was shaping the destinies of new Japan. Daunt greeted him and paused to chat a while with his own chief and Mrs. Dandridge. Her gown was gray and silver, with soft old lace that accentuated the youthful contour of her face, and framed the graciousness and charm that made her marked in however charming and gracious an assembly. Barbara was not there.

He entered a veranda where people sat at little tables eating ices frozen in the shape of Fuji, under fairy lamps whose tiny bamboo and paper shades were delicately painted with sworls of water and swimming carp. From one group the Baroness Stroloff waved a hand to him, but Barbara was not [pg 312] there. Beyond, through a canopied doorway, hung the cherry-blooms. He paused on the threshold. It was a portion of the garden walled in with white cloth, and roofed with blue and gold. The space thus inclosed was set with cherry-trees from whose every gray twig depended the great pink pendants. It was floored with soft carpeting, in the center a fountain tinkled coolly, and the roof was dotted with incandescents. In this retreat the violins of the ball-room wove dreamily with the talk and laughter, tenuous and ghost-like, soft as the music of memory. She was not there. Daunt turned back, threaded the hall and entered the ball-room.

There, through the shifting crowd, over flashing uniforms and diamonded tiaras, he saw her. Beside her stood a little countess, one of the noted court beauties, lotos-pale, bamboo-slender, in a kimono of Danjiro blue, with woven lilies. In the clear radiance, Barbara stood almost surrounded. Her white satin gown shimmered in the light, which caught like globes of fire in the gold passion-flowers with which it was embroidered. A new sense of her beauty poured over him. She had always seemed lovely, but now her loveliness was touched with something removed and spiritual. In the blaze of light she looked as delicately pale as a moon-dahlia, but a spot of color was on either cheek and her eyes were very bright. Daunt stood still, feasting his gaze.

[pg 313] The Baroness Stroloff paused beside him, chatting with the Cabinet Minister and the representative of the Associated Press. They watched the forms flit past in the swinging rhythm of the deux-temps, kimono weaving with black coats and uniforms, varnished pumps gliding with milk-white tabi and velvet pattens. "Pretty tinted creatures," she said. "How do they ever keep on those little thonged sandals?"

"Ah, their toes were born to them," the journalist answered.

The statesman shrugged his shoulders. "Waltzing in kimono with men is very, very modern for our Japanese ladies," he said. "I myself never saw it until two years ago—when the American Fleet was here. That established it as a fashion. Some of us older ones may frown, but—shikata-ga-nai! 'Way out there is none,' as we say in our language. It's a part of the process of Westernization!"

Daunt started when Patricia's fan tapped his arm.

"You're frightfully late," she said, as her partner, the German Chargé, bowed himself away. "Father will give you a wigging if you don't look out."

"I saw him a few moments ago," he answered. "He didn't seem very fierce."

"Was he still looking at those spooky curios? I can't see what anybody wants such things for! I always feel like saying what Mark Twain's man said [pg 314] when they showed him the mummy: 'If you've got any nice fresh corpse, trot him out.'"

Daunt's smile was a mechanism. She knew that he had ceased to listen. As she looked at his side-face with her clear, kind eyes, a shadow came to her own. Her loyal heart was troubled. After her drive that afternoon, Barbara had kept her room on the plea of rest for the evening; she had not come down to dinner and had appeared only at the moment of starting. At the first glance, then, Patricia had noticed the change. The Barbara she had always known, of flashing impulses and girlish graces, was gone; the Barbara of the evening had seemed suddenly older, of even rarer beauty, perhaps, but with something of detachment, of unfamiliarity. Riding beside her to the ball, Patricia had felt, under the eager, brilliant gaiety, this chilly sense of estrangement, and it had puzzled her. Later she had come to connect it with the man of whose coming Barbara had told her, the man with handsome, bearded face who had seemed, since his greeting in the moment of their entrance, to take unobtrusive yet assured possession of such of her moments as were not given to the great. Withal, he had lent this an air of the natural and habitual which, nicely poised and completely conventional as it was, seemed to convey a subtle atmosphere of proprietorship. So now, as she saw Daunt's gaze, Patricia was a little sad. [pg 315] There had fallen a silence between them which he broke with a sudden exclamation.

"No wonder!" he said.

"No wonder what?"

"That she is a success."

"Success! I should think so. She's danced with three Ambassadors and Prince Hojo sat out two numbers with her. Just look at the men around her now!"

The music had drifted into a waltz and the group about Barbara was dissolving. A dark face was bending near. Its owner put his arm about her and they glided into the throng. Ware, like all heavy men, danced perfectly and the pair seemed to skim the mirroring floor as easily as swallows, her red-bronze hair, caught under a web of seed-pearls, glowing like a net of fire-flies. Heads turned back over white shoulders and on the edges of the room people whispered as they passed. Floating lightly as sea-foam, the shimmering gown drew near, passing so close that Daunt could have touched it. The lovely white face, over her partner's shoulder, met Daunt's. For a fraction of a second Barbara's eyes looked into his—then swept by as if he had been empty air. It was as if a clenched hand had struck him across the face.

He whitened. Patricia felt a sudden sting in her eyelids. She slipped her hand through his arm, and saying something about the heat (it was deliciously [pg 316] cool), drew him down the corridor. She chatted on airily, fighting a desire to cry. But when they came to the entrance of the cherry-blooms, he had not spoken a word.

"I see mother still in the spook room," she said. "I must go back to her—no, please don't come with me! Thank you so much for bringing me so far."

She left him with a nod and a bright smile that he did not see. He was in a painful quicksand of bewilderment. The cherry-garden was almost empty and the fountain tinkled in a perfumed quiet. He sat down on a bench in its farthest corner. What did it mean? Why, it had been like the cut direct! From her?—impossible! She had not seen him! He had been mistaken! He would go to her—now! He sprang up.

A page came into the garden. He was a part of the Minister's establishment; Daunt had often seen him in that house. He carried a tray with a letter on it.

"For you, sir," he said.

Puzzled, Daunt took it and the boy withdrew. It bore no address. He tore it open. It contained some folded sheets of paper. A tense whiteness sprang to his face as he unfolded them. It was his letter—the only love-letter he had ever written—torn across.

Now he knew! It had been true—what he had imagined of the yacht! The cherry-trees seemed to [pg 317] writhe about him, bizarre one-legged dancers waving pink draperies, and a tide of resentment and grief rose in his breast as hot as lava. Had she been only playing with him, then? When she had lain panting in his arms in Ben-ten's cave—when her lips had quivered to his kisses—had it all been acting? Was this what she really was, his "Lady of the Many-Colored Fires?" He, poor fool! had deemed it real, when it had been only a week's amusement. He had almost guessed the truth that night at the tea-house, and how cleverly she had fooled him! His jarring laugh rang out across the tinkle of the fountain. Then, Austen Ware's telegram! It was he who had danced with her to-night, no doubt—Phil's brother. For her the little play was over. The curtain had to be rung down, and this was how she did it.

Dim thoughts like these went flitting through the gap of his racked senses. He dropped on the bench and bowed his head between his hands. It had been real enough to him. Painted on his closed eyelids he seemed to see, with a chill, numb certainty, his future unrolling like a gray panorama, incoherent and unwhole, its colors lack-luster, its purpose denied, its meaning missed. Pain lifted its snake-head from the shadows and hissed in his ear, like the jubilant serpent that coiled its bright length by the gate of Eden when the flaming sword drove forth the first man to the desert of despair.

[pg 318] Daunt did not know that Patricia, pausing in the corridor, had seen the letter delivered and opened. She went back to her mother with a slow step.

"You look worn, dear," said Mrs. Dandridge, as they entered the ball-room. "Are you tired?"

"Yes," she said. "I think I won't dance any more, mother."

The host had entered before them and now stood at the end of the room with the Admiral of the Squadron and the Ambassador of the latter's nation. Suddenly a young man pushed hastily through the press. He handed his chief a telegram. The Ambassador scanned it, changed color, and held it out to the Admiral with shaking hand. The Secretary who had brought it said something to the Foreign Minister, who turned instantly to give a quick order to a servant. The orchestra stopped with a crash.

There was a dead hush over the brilliant room-full, broken only by the movement of the Squadron's officers as they came hurriedly forward beside their Admiral. All looked at the white-haired diplomatist who stood, his eyes full of tears, the pink telegram in his hand.

He addressed the grave group of naval men. "Gentlemen," he said, in a low voice, "I have the great grief to announce the sudden death to-day of His Majesty, the King."

He bowed to his host, and, followed by the Admiral and his officers, left the house. The Ambassadors [pg 319] and Ministers of the other powers, in order of their precedence, each with his glittering staff and their ladies about him, followed. The gaiety was over; it had ceased at the far-away echo of a nation's bells, tolling half a world away.

The great house was almost emptied of its guests when the solitary figure that had sat in the cherry-garden passed out along the deserted corridors. Daunt went utterly oblivious that its bright pageantry had departed. A feverish color was in his cheek and his eyes were dulled with a painful apathy.

Count Voynich was lighting a cigarette in the cloak room as he entered. "Sic transit!" he said. "This calls a quick halt on the plans of the Squadron's entertainment, doesn't it!"

There was no answer. Daunt was fumbling, from habit, for the lettered disk of wood in his pocket.

"If the King could have lived a few weeks longer," said Voynich, "we'd have heard no more talk of trouble with Japan. He was a great peacemaker. The new regent may be less circumspect. What do you think?"

No reply. He spoke again sharply.

"I say, Miss Fairfax seems to be making a tremendous walkover, eh?"

There was only silence. Daunt did not hear him. Voynich looked at his face, whistled softly under his breath, and went quietly away.

[pg 320]


The Ambassador, standing by the mantel, looked thoughtfully at his wife. She sat in a big wicker chair, in a soft dressing-gown, her hands clasped over one knee in a pose very pretty and girlish.

"Come!" he said good-humoredly. "You women are always imagining romances and broken hearts. Why, Barbara and Daunt haven't known each other long enough to fall in love."

She looked at him quizzically. "Do you remember how long we had known each other when you—"

"Pshaw!" he retorted. "That's just like a woman. She never can argue without coming to personalities. Besides, there never was another girl like you, my dear—I couldn't afford to take any chances."

"Away with your blarney, Ned! You know I'm right, though you won't admit it."

"Of course I won't. Daunt's not a woman's man. He never was. He's been getting along pretty well with Barbara, no doubt. But this man she's going [pg 321] to marry she's known for a year. The bishop told me about him the day after they landed. He thought she was practically engaged to him then."

"'Practically!'" she commented with gentle scorn. "Are girls who have been properly brought up ever 'practically' engaged, and not fully so? She may have expected to marry him, and yet if I ever saw a girl in love—and, oh, Ned, remember that I understand what that means!—she was in love with Daunt yesterday. We women see more than men and feel more. Patsy saw it too. She's feeling badly about it, poor child, I think."

"Nonsense!" the ambassador sniffed. "There isn't a shred of evidence. Barbara's not a flirt in the first place, and, if she were, Daunt can take care of himself."

"He came to your study, didn't he, after the ball? I thought I heard his voice in the hall."

"Yes," he answered.

"How did he look?"

"Well," he said hesitatingly, "he was a bit off color, I thought. I told him to take a few days off and run up to Chuzenji."

"Is he going?"

"Yes. He's leaving early in the morning. But don't get it into your sympathetic little head that it has the slightest thing to do with Barbara. The idea's quite absurd. He's never thought of such a thing as falling in love with her!"

[pg 322] "Don't you think a woman knows about these things?"

"When she's told. And Barbara has told you, hasn't she?"

"That she is going to marry Mr. Ware. Yes."

"Well, what more do you want?"

She shook her head. "Only for her to be happy!" she said tremulously. "I've never known a girl who has grown so into my heart, Ned. I feel almost as though she were Patsy's sister. She has no mother of her own—no one to advise her. And yet—I—somehow I couldn't talk about it to her. I tried. She doesn't want to. It seemed almost as if she were afraid."


"Of doing something else. As if she were going into this marriage as a refuge. I don't know just why I felt that, but I did. She was so very pale, so very quiet and contained. It didn't seem quite natural. It made me think of Pamela Langham. You remember her? She was in love with a man who—well, whom she found she couldn't marry. He wasn't the right sort. I suppose she was afraid she would marry him anyway if she waited. So she married another man at once—a man who had been in love with her for years. We were just the same age and she told me all about it at the time. To-night when Barbara told me she had promised to [pg 323] marry this Mr. Ware—and soon, Ned!—I seemed to see poor little dead Pamela looking at me with her pale face and big, deep eyes."

She turned her head and furtively wiped her eyes. "If I could only be sure!" she said. "But I think how I should feel—if it were Patsy, Ned!"

And while they talked, Barbara lay in her blue-and-white room, wide-eyed in the dark. The smiling, ball-room mask had slipped from her face and left it strained and white. She had drawn the curtain and shut out the misty glory of the garden—and the small white cottage across the scented lawn.

In those few agonized hours of the afternoon, while she had lain there thrilling with suffering, something deep within her had seemed to fail—as though a newly-lighted flame, white and pure, had fallen and died. Where it had gleamed remained only a painful twilight. It had been a different Barbara that had emerged. The fairest fabric of those Japanese days had crashed into the dust, and in the echo of its fall she stood anchorless, in terror of herself and of the future. The harbor of convention alone seemed to offer safety—and at the harbor entrance waited Austen Ware. At the ball the die had been cast.

Outside the window she could hear the rasp of the pine-branches and the sleepy "korup! korup!" of a [pg 324] pigeon. A tiny night-lamp was on the stand beside her. Its gleam lit vaguely the golden Buddha on the Sendai chest. Its face now seemed cold and blank and cruel, and in its dim light, on the shadowy wall, sharp detached pictures etched themselves. She saw herself looking at Austen Ware's yacht, set in that wonderful, warm, orient bay—a swift, white monitor, watching her! She saw a yellow rank of convicts filing into the yawning mouth of Shimbashi Station—like the long, drab years of savorless lives! She saw the great white plaster figure over the entrance-arch of the Yoshiwara—beckoning to hollow smiles that covered empty hearts!

Over the thronging pictures grew another—a misty, nightgowned little figure who stood by her, whispering her name. Patricia, after sleepless hours, crept from her bed to Barbara's room, longing for some assurance, she knew not what, some breath of the old girlish confidences to melt the ice that seemed to have congealed between them. And Barbara, with the first phantom of softened feeling she had known that night, took the other into her arms.

But it was she who comforted, whispering words that she knew were empty, caressing the younger girl with a touch that held no tremor, no hint of those anguished visions that had floated through the leaden silences of her soul.

Till at last, Patricia, half-reassured, smiled and [pg 325] fell asleep; while Barbara, her loose gold hair drifting across the pillow, her bare arm nestling the dark, braided head beside her, lay stirless, staring into the shadows, where the pale glimmer of the Buddha floated, a ghostly chiaroscuro.

[pg 326]


Nikko's thin street, with its gigantic isle of cryptomeria, was a shimmer of gold, a flicker of crimson and mandarin-blue. All the town was out of doors, for it was the matsuri, the local festival of Ieyasu, the great shogun deity, when the ancient furniture and treasures of the temple are carried in priestly processional through the streets. The path of the pageant was lined with spectators: old country-women with shaven eyebrows and burnished, blackened teeth, and with hair tightly plastered in old-fashioned wheels and pinions; children in kaleidoscopic dress, frantically dragged by older girls with pink paper flowers in their stiff black hair; men sitting sedately on sober-colored f'ton, bowing to pedestrian acquaintances with elaborate and stereotyped ceremony. In the moldy shade above a grim, wizened row of images of the god of justice, was nailed a sign-board: "Everybody are require not to broke the trees." Beside the moss-covered replicas a booth had been erected for foreign spectators. It was crowded [pg 327] with tourists—a bank of perspiring, fan-fluttering humanity. Up and down trudged post-card sellers, and saké bearers with trays of shallow, lacquer cups. The air shimmered with a fine white dust from the thousands of wooden clogs, and the trees were sibilant with the tumult of the semi.

The procession seemed interminable. Priests rode on horseback, clothed in black gauze robes with stoles of gold brocade and queer, winged hats. Acolytes marched afoot in green or yellow with stoles of black, like huge parti-colored beetles. Groups of bearers in white houri carried brass altar furniture, great drums fantastically painted, ancient chain-armor and tall banners of every tint. The center of interest was a sacred mikoshi, or palanquin, holding the divine symbols, elaborately carved and gold-lacquered, borne by sixty men in white, with cloths of like hue bound turban-wise about their foreheads. Around these circled drum-beaters and pipe-players, making an indescribable medley of sounds. The god entered into his devotees. The palanquin tossed like the waves of the sea. The bearers howled and chanted gutturally. Sweat poured from their faces. Some of them smiled and danced as they staggered on under the immense bearing-poles.

Austen Ware saw the strain on Barbara's face. "You are tired," he said. "Let us go back to the hotel."

"Where is Patsy?" she asked.

[pg 328] "She went with the bishop to see the priestesses dance at the temple. But we can skip that."

He drew her out of the crowd and they walked slowly down a side street to the road that skirts the brawling Alpine torrent, rushing between its steep stone banks. Here the spray filled the air with a cool mist and the westerning sun tied the seething water with silver tasseling. Caravans of panier-laden Chinese ponies passed them, led by women in tight blue breeches with sweat-bands about their heads, and squads of uncomfortable tourists bound to Chuzenji, the summer capital of the Corps Diplomatique, crumpled in sagging red-blanketed chairs hanging from the bearing-poles of lurching, bronze-muscled coolies. Young peasant girls trotted by swinging baskets of yellow asters and purple morning-glories. A rick'sha carried a baby with gay-colored dolls and painted cats of papier-mâché tied behind it, on its way to the family shrine where the toys could be blessed. The rick'sha man was smiling, but his cough rattled against Barbara's heart. A line of white-robed Buddhist pilgrims trudged along under mushroom hats, with rosaries crossed over their breasts and little bells tinkling at their girdles on their way to worship the Sun on the sacred mountain of Nantai-Zan. Now and then the cut-velvet of the hills rolled back to display clumps of dwellings—the wizard-gray of thatched roofs set in a rippling sea of leaves—and green flights of worn [pg 329] stone steps, staggering up to weird old temples where droning priests were ever at prayer. At the bottom of the road the stream narrowed to a gorge, spanned by the sacred red-lacquer bridge which no foot save the Emperor's may ever tread. On the farther side the wooded hills rose in fantastic, top-heavy shapes like a mad artist's dream. Everywhere they were split and seamed by landslide, gashed by torrents and typhoon, but covered with a wealth and splendor of color. Here and there century-old cryptomeria stood like gray-green bronze pillars, towering over younger forests as straight and symmetrical as Noah's-ark trees.

As they walked, Ware chatted of his trip up the China coast—an interesting recital that took Barbara insensibly out of herself. More than once he looked at her curiously. Since that fateful hour when he had stood behind the shikiri, he, like Barbara, had gone through much to look so unflurried. He had known moments of bitterness that were galling and stinging, and that left behind them a sense of degradation. But he held to his course. So short-lived a thing as her love for Daunt must wither! "It will pass," he had told himself, "and she will turn to me."

The trip to Nikko had encouraged him. It had been the time of the bishop's regular spring visit and Barbara had welcomed the opportunity to leave Tokyo, which was so full of painful memories. Patricia [pg 330] adored Japan's "Temple Town" and Ware had joined the party there with as little delay as was seemly. In the three days of the poignant mountain air Barbara had seemed to Patricia to be more like her old self. She could not guess the strength of the effort this had cost or the fierceness of the fight Barbara's pride was making.

It was sunset when they mounted the steep road to the hotel—a long, two-storied, modern structure, whose gardens and red balconies gave it a subtle Japanese flavor. On one side of the building the ground fell in a precipitous descent to the rocky bed of the river, whose rush made a restful monotone like wind sighing through linden trees. Behind it the height rose abruptly, and up its side clambered a twisting path, from which a light foot-bridge sprang to the upper piazzas. The path led to a shrine a hundred yards above, set beside an old wisteria tree, musical with the chirp of the "silver-eye," and fluttering with countless paper arrows of prayer. Before it were two wooden benches, and from this eyrie one could look down on the hotel with its graceful balconies, and far below the tumbling stream with its guarded red-lacquer arch.

Ware walked with Barbara up the path to the foot-bridge. Near its entrance a small stand had been placed and on it was a phonograph, its ungainly trumpet pointing down toward the stretch of lawn. A heavy red-bearded man, in a warm frock-coat, a [pg 331] white waistcoast and a silk hat pushed far back on his head, was laboring over this, and a plump lady stood near-by, fanning her beaming face with a pocket-handkerchief.

They greeted Barbara heartily.

"Good afternoon," said the husband. "You can't guess what me and Martha are up to, can you?"

"The samisen concert to-night?" she hazarded.

"Right!" he said. "First crack out of the box, too! I'm going to take a record of it." He tapped the cylinder. "This is a composition of my own. I leave it out here all night to harden, and then I give it a three days' acid bath that makes it as hard as steel. It'll last for ever. Now what do you suppose I'm going to do with the record? I'm going to give it to you."

The lady beside him nodded and smiled. "He's been planning it ever since he heard you say the other day that you liked samisen music," she said.

"You see," he went on with a laugh. "I haven't forgotten that line of talk your uncle gave me on the train, my first day in Japland. It did me a lot of good. I guess what he doesn't know about it isn't worth telling," he added with a glance at Ware.

"He is an authority, of course," said Ware.

"Well, I'm an authority, too—on phonographs. And if you'd accept this, Miss Fairfax—"

"I shall be delighted!" said Barbara warmly. "I shall value it very, very highly."

[pg 332] She smiled back at them over her shoulder. The frank, honest kindliness of the couple pleased her.

The piazza opened into a small sitting-room with cool bamboo chairs and portières of thin green silk stenciled with maple-leaves.

"Will you wait a moment, Barbara?" asked Ware. "I have something to show you."

She stopped, looking at him with a trace of confusion. "Certainly," she answered. "What is it?"

He put a folded paper into her hands. "To-day is the anniversary of our meeting," he said. "This is a memento."

She took it with a puzzled look and scrutinized it. Wonder filled her face. "You have made over your yacht to me!" she cried.

"My engagement gift," he said. "She is your namesake; I want her to be yours."

A flush crept over her cheek. She knew the yacht was his favorite possession and the action touched her. At the same time it brought swiftly home to her, in a concrete way, a numbing reminder of the imminence of her marriage.

"The deed has been recorded," he went on, "and the sailing-master and crew have signed articles under the new owner. Perhaps you will let me come aboard of her to hear that samisen record," he added whimsically. "There's a phonograph in her outfit."

She smiled, a little tremulously. "You are most [pg 333] kind, Austen," she said. "I—I don't know what to say."

"Then say nothing," he answered cheerfully. He stepped to the door and drew aside the portière. She was agitated, feeling unable to meet the situation in the conventional way. At the threshold she paused and held out her hand.

He bent and kissed it. She half-hesitated, but in the pause there was a laughing voice and a footstep in the hall.

"It's Patsy," she said, and passed quickly out.

As Ware walked back across the foot-bridge, the proprietor of the phonograph called to him.

"I clean forgot to ask the young lady where to send this record," he said. "Do you know her address?"

"It will be more or less uncertain, I fancy," said Ware. "But her yacht is in Yokohama harbor. It is named the Barbara. You might send it there."

[pg 334]


The sharp sense of imminence which had come to Barbara with Austen Ware's gift remained with her that evening. The dinner was none too merry. For the first time Patricia had failed to be enthused over the Nikko matsuri, and the bishop, since Haru's disappearance, had lacked his usual sallies. Barbara had told him nothing of her visit to the house in the Street-of-the-Misty-Valley; to speak of it would probe her own wound too deeply.

The after-dinner piazza exhaled the bouquet of evening cigars and the chatter of tourists. Far below, across the gorge, lights twinkled in native doorways and shoji glimmered like oblong yellow lanterns. The air was heavy with balsam odors, and beneath the trees, sparkling now with incandescents, tiny black moths had replaced the sunlight flashing dragon-flies. Sitting in a semicircle on straw mats the samisen players at length mingled their outré, twittering cadences with the soft thunder of the water.

As the musicians finished their last number and [pg 335] trooped away, Patricia yawned and rose. "Here," she observed, "is where little Patsy puts her face and hands to bed. This mountain air is perfectly demoralizing!" The two girls went up-stairs together.

At her own room Patsy put her arms around the other and kissed her. "Oh, I wonder if you're sure!" she said. Then she fled inside.

Barbara threw open the window of her room and drew a low stool to the balcony. "I wonder!" she said aloud. With elbows on the railing and chin in hands, she looked long and earnestly into the dark void. Why was she no longer able to warm to all this beauty and meaning? These cryptomeria shadows, dreaming of the faded splendors of a feudal past—the streets along which legions of pilgrims had walked muttering prayers to their gods—the marvelous lacquered temples of red and gold, wrought by patient love of long dead yesterdays, in handiwork to which time had given a softened glory such as those who dreamed them never saw—the heavenly soaring of pagoda doves against the Ambassadors sky—the shrines worn with their centuries of worship and dancing and booming bells! Forgetting—and remembering no more—would that be a soul-task too hard for her? Was all that had been instinct with wonder and joy to be henceforth but emptiness and desolation—because an ideal had gone from her for ever? She thought of the belled and rosaried pilgrims climbing Nantai-Zan. She seemed to see the [pg 336] faint, far glimmer of their lanterns. Beyond that pilgrimage over dark crags and grim precipices lay for them the sunrise of hope!

In the room behind her hung one of the famous prints of Hiroshige, the great Japanese master—a group of peasants crossing the long skeleton bridge of Enoshima. She thought of this now, and suddenly all the spot had meant to her welled over her. She saw again the enchanted Island—the long shaded stairways of gray stone, the brown-legged girls gathering seaweed, and beyond the old seawall the gulls calling to their mates. She saw the generations of lovers pass one by one before Ben-ten's altar, murmuring their hearts' desire. Daunt's arms seemed to be again around her. She felt his kisses, heard his voice as they walked under the singing trees—walked and dreamed and forgot that pain was ever born into the world.

She started. A horse was coming up the hill, his hoofs thudding softly in the loose shale. The rider dismounted at the porch. A moment later, crop in hand, he passed beneath her window. The light fell on his face. Barbara's heart bounded and then stood still, for she recognized him.

"There has never been another woman to me, Barbara!" Mocking voices seemed to shout it satirically from the emptiness, and against the dark Haru's face rose up before her.

[pg 337] She shivered. She went in and closed the window, drawing down the blind with a nervous haste.

But she could not shut out that face, and in spite of herself her thoughts had their will with her. What was Daunt doing there? Patsy had said that he was in Chuzenji. But that was only a handful of miles away. He looked worn and older—he had been suffering, too! She hugged this knowledge to her heart. He knew, of course, why she had ended it all—Haru would have told him!

She clenched her hands and began to pace up and down the room, now stopping to peer with bright miserable eyes into the mirror, now throwing herself into a chair. Once she put her hand into her bosom, groping for her father's picture—to withdraw it with an added pang. For she had forgotten; she had lost the locket the afternoon of her drive with Patricia.

A knock came at the door, and a bell-boy handed her a penciled note.

She read it wonderingly, then, hastily smoothing her hair, went quickly along the hall to the sitting-room.

In the dimly lighted room a figure came toward her from the shadow. It was Philip Ware.

[pg 338]


The youth who stood before her now, however, was not the Phil Barbara had seen at Mukojima. There was no hint of spruce grooming in his attire; it was overlaid with the dust and grime of the road. The jaunty, self-satisfied look was ravaged by something cringing, that suggested sleeplessness and undefined anxiety. Why should he come at such an hour—and to her? The distaste which her first view of him had inspired returned with added force as she felt the touch of his hand and heard herself say:

"So this is 'Phil.' I have often heard of you from your brother. Have you seen him?"

"No," he said. "I don't want him to know I'm here—yet. I—I came to see you." He paused, twisting his cloth cap in his fingers.

He was in a desperate strait. His brother's silence since his visit to the house in Aoyama (of which Phil had learned from the servant) had seemed to mean the worst. The place had contained sufficient documents in evidence as to his mode of living, and [pg 339] the reflection opened gloomy vistas of poverty from which he turned with abject fear and dread. There was one alternative, and this, a grisly shadow, had stalked beside him since an evening when he had dined with Bersonin. It had peopled his sleep with terrifying visions which even Haru and the brandy had been unable to banish, and his waking hours had been haunted by the expert's yellowish eyes. Between devil and deep sea, he had heard of his brother's engagement, and the wild thought of appealing to him through Barbara had come to him as a forlorn hope. Now, face to face with her, he found the words difficult to say.

"Won't you sit down?" she said, and took a chair opposite him, looking at him inquiringly.

"I ought to apologize for a rig like this," he went on, glancing at his sorry raiment, "but I came in a friend's motor, and I'm going back to-night. I thought you wouldn't mind, now—now that you are engaged to marry Austen. You are, aren't you?"

She inclined her head. "Yes," she said slowly, "I have promised to marry him."

"Then you know him pretty well, and you know that he—that he doesn't altogether approve of me."

"I have never heard him say that," she interrupted quickly.

"It's true, though," he rejoined bitterly. "He's always been down on me. I'm not staid enough for him. He made his money by grubbing, and he thinks [pg 340] everybody else ought to do the same. It's—it's the matter of money I want to speak to you about."

He paused again. "Yes?" she said.

"Since I left college," he went on, "Austen has always made me an allowance. But I've been out here a year now, and I—well, you know what the East is. I've had to live as other young fellows do, and I've spent more than he gives me. I've—played some, too, and then this spring I got hit hard at the races. It was just a run of bad luck, when I had expected to square myself."

He was eager and voluble now. She seemed to be considering—he was making an impression. He might come out all right after all! His volatile spirits rose.

"You see," he said, "Austen never overlooks anything. He's as likely as not to cut me off entirely and leave me high and dry. I—I thought perhaps you would—you might get him to do the decent thing and help me out of the hole. If I once got straight I'd stay so, but I want a fair allowance. It isn't as if he had to work for what I spend. He ought to give it to me. I can't go on as I am; I'm in debt—in deep. I can't take up my chits at the club. I'm living in Tokyo now—in a Japanese house in Aoyama that a friend has loaned me—because I haven't the face to show myself in Yokohama!"

He twirled his cap and looked up at her. "That reminds me," he said, with a sudden recollection. [pg 341] "Austen was there the other day when I was away, and afterward I found something of yours which he must have dropped. Here it is. It has your name on it." He handed her a small locket with a broken chain.

She took it with an exclamation. She was staring at him strangely. "This house you speak of—whose is it?"

"It belongs to Mr. Daunt."

"You mean—you say—that you have been living in it?"

"Yes. Why?"

She had risen slowly to her feet, her face hotly suffused. "Then—then Haru—" She spoke in a dry whisper.

He started, looking at her with quick, resentful suspicion. "What do you know about Haru?"

"Never mind! Never mind that! I want to know. Haru—she is—Mr. Daunt was not—"

"He never saw her in his life so far as I know," he answered sulkily. "What has that to do with it?"

For an instant she looked at him without a word, her fingers working. Then she began to laugh, in a low tone, wildly, chokingly. "Of course! Of course! What has that to do with it? What you want is more money, isn't it! That is all you came to tell me!"

He, too, was on his feet now, uncertain and mistrustful. Was she making game of him? He saw Barbara's gaze go past him—to fasten on something [pg 342] in the background. He turned. In the doorway with its maple-leaf portière stood Austen Ware.

Barbara's laugh had fallen in a shuddering breath that was like a sob. "Here is your brother now," she said. "Austen, Phil and I have been getting acquainted. And what do you think? He has found my lost locket." She held it up toward him.

He had come toward them. In the dim light his face looked very white, and his eyes glittered like quicksilver. He held out his hand.

"Why, Phil!" he exclaimed. "This is a great surprise. When did you arrive, and are you at this hotel?"

Phil had stood shamefaced. At the tone, however, which seemed an earnest of renewed favor, he flushed with relief. "I've just come," he answered—"in a friend's motor, and I must go back at once. But I'll come up again by train to-morrow, if you'd like me to."

"Very well," was Ware's reply. "We'll wait till then for our talk. I'll come and see you off." Neither of the others caught the tense repression in the tone or realized that his smile was forced and unnatural, as he added: "We must put a ban on late hours, Barbara, if you are to climb Nantai-Zan to-morrow."

She went to the door, her thoughts in a tumult, a wild exhilaration possessing her. She wanted to laugh and to cry. The black, cold mist that had enveloped [pg 343] her had broken, and the warm sunlight was looking again into her heart.

"Good night, Phil," she said. "Thank you so much for—for bringing me the locket. You can't guess how much it meant to me!"

As the silk drapery fell behind her, the self-control dropped from Austen Ware's face, and a hell of hatred sprang into it. Chance had given Phil the one card that spelled disaster, and chance had prompted him to play it. In Barbara's mind Daunt stood absolved! He saw the castle he had been building tottering to its fall. He turned on his brother a countenance convulsed with a fury of passion from which Phil shrank startled.

"Come," he said in a muffled voice. "We can't talk here." He led the way through the hall and across the foot-bridge to the hillside, gloomy now, for the incandescents in the trees had been extinguished.

Phil followed, his face gone white. A rack stood at the outer door, and his fingers, slipping along it as he passed, closed on a riding-crop.

On the shrubberied slope Ware turned. One twitching hand dropped on his brother's shoulder; the other pointed down the path.

"Go, damn you!" he said, "and never show your face to me again! Not one cent shall you have from me! Now nor hereafter—I have taken care of that!"

Phil lifted the crop and struck him across the head—two [pg 344] savage, heavy blows. Ware staggered and fell backward down the steep declivity, his weight crashing through the bushes with a dull, sickening sound.

There was a silence in which Phil did not breathe. The stars seemed suddenly very bright. From an open window came a woman's shrill, careless laugh, threading the hushed roar of the water below. The lighted shoji across the river seemed to be drifting nearer. He could see the glow of a forge in a native smithy, like an angry, red-lidded eye. The crop fell from his grasp. He leaned over, staring into the dark.

"Austen!" he whispered hoarsely. "Austen!"

There was no response. As he gazed fearfully into the shadow, the rising moon, peeping through a bank of cloud, deluged the landscape with a misty gossamer. The light fell on the phonograph. Phil recoiled, for its long metal trumpet seemed a rigid arm stretched to seize him. With a low cry he turned and fled.

He skirted the hill to the hotel stables, where Bersonin's huge motor-car stood silent. The Japanese chauffeur was curled up in the tonneau, fast asleep.

Five minutes later Barbara heard the throb of the great mechanism speeding down the shadowy cryptomeria road.

[pg 345]


Daunt had dined cheerlessly in the deserted dining-room. Afterward, shrinking from the gay piazzas, he had struck off for a long rambling walk. Only the frail moonlight, glimpsing through a cloudy sky, lay over the landscape, when, returning, worn but in no mood for sleep, he found himself at the hill shrine looking down on the white hotel with its long red balconies, brightened here and there by the lighted window of some late-retiring guest.

His few days at Chuzenji had passed in a kind of stifled fever. The report of Barbara's engagement had added its poisoned barb. That morning, however, a careless remark had torn across his mood as sheet-lightning tears the weaving dusk. Tokyo was talking of it—of him!—making a jest of that sweet, dead thing in his heart? The thought had stung his pride, and there had grown in him a sharp sense of humiliation at his own cowardice. The afternoon had found him riding down the mountain trail to Nikko. To-morrow he would go back to Tokyo—to [pg 346] the round of gaieties that would now be hateful, and to his work.

He put out his hand to one of the benches in the deep pine-shadow, but drew it back with a sharp breath. A sliver of the warped wood had pierced his knuckle to the bone.

Frowning, he wrapped the bleeding member in his handkerchief and sat down at the bench's other end, bitterly absorbed. The vagrant, intermittent moonlight touched the tumbling water below with creeping silver, and on the horizon, where the cloud-bank frayed away, one white constellation swung low, a cluster of lamps in golden chains. But Daunt's thought had no place for the delicate beauty of the night. His pipe was long since cold, and he knocked out the dead ashes against the bench, and did not relight it. He thought of Tokyo, that to-morrow would stretch so blank and irksome, of the humdrum tedium of the Chancery, in which a few days ago he had worked so blithely. Then all had been interest and beauty. Now the future stretched before him dull and savorless, an arid Desert of Gobi, through whose thirsty waste he must trudge on for ever to a comfortless goal.

How long he sat there with bowed head he could not have told, but at length he rose heavily to his feet As he did so he became aware of a sound below him—a footfall, coming toward him. It crossed a bar of the moonlight.

[pg 347] He shrank, and a tremor ran over him, for it was Barbara.

She had thrown over her a loose cloak, and a bit of soft, clinging lace showed between its dark edges. Her brilliant hair was loosely gathered in a single braid, and in the moonlight it shone like beaten copper against the vivid pallor of her face. He sat stirless, smitten with confusion, conscious that a movement must betray him. A painful embarrassment enveloped him, a fastidious sense of shrinking from her sight of him. He felt a dull wave of resentment that an antic irony of circumstance should have brought them beneath the same roof—to make him seem the moody pursuer, the unwelcome trespasser on her reserve—and that now thrust him into a position which at any hazard he would have shunned. But all thought of himself, all feeling save one vanished, when, with sudden piteous abandon, she threw herself on her knees by the bench and broke into slow sobs, shuddering and tearless.

In that outbreak of emotion, were not alone the pent-up pain and humiliation she had suffered, or the desperate joy of that evening's knowledge. There were in it, too, grief and compunction, dismay and doubt of the future. She was engaged to Austen Ware. Would Daunt ever forgive? Would he want her—now? In the first realization of her error, wound with the knowledge that he was so near her, she had felt only joy; but in the silence of her room, [pg 348] shock on shock had come the incredulous question, the burning revulsion. A while she had lain wide-eyed, but at length, sleepless, she had stolen out to the balmy, fragrant night, craving its peace, longing passionately for its soft shadows and the hovering touch of the mountain's breath on her hair. And in its friendly shadows the gust of feeling had swept her from her feet.

The action took Daunt wholly by surprise. The sound tore his heart like a ruthless talon, and drew a hoarse word from his lips:

"Barbara!" It was little more than a whisper, but she sprang erect with a gasp, her breath labored and terror-stricken.

"I—I beg pardon," he said, with a dry catch in his throat. "Don't be frightened. I will go at once. I should not have stayed. But you came so suddenly, and I did not dream—I—"

"How strange that you should have been here!" She thought he must hear the loud drumming of her pulse.

He laughed—a hard, colorless little laugh. "Yes," he answered, "it seems so."

A mist blinded her eyes, for his tone carried to her, even more sharply than had the look she had seen from the balcony, a sense of the pain he had undergone. In what words could she tell him?

"You have been suffering," she said in a low voice. "I see that. And it was my fault."

[pg 349] He gathered himself together with an effort of will, to still the tingle that flashed along his nerves. "It was quite sane and right, no doubt," he said. "When I have learned to be honest enough with myself, I shall see it so. My mistake was in ever dreaming that I was worth one of your thoughts or a single second's memory."

She turned her head abruptly. "Do you hear some one talking? I thought I heard it as I came up the path—like some one muttering to himself."

He listened, but there was no sound.

"I must have imagined it," she said. There was a moment's pause, and presently she went on:

"You have been thinking hard things of me. It is natural that you should. And yet I—whatever you think—whatever you do—that day in the cave, I was not—was not—"

"You were nothing you should not have been," he replied rapidly. Her voice had sent a tremor over him—he felt it with a new wave of the morning's contempt. "I understand. There is nothing for you to justify, nothing to regret."

She shook her head. "We have left undone those things which we ought to have done," she quoted in a low voice, "and have done those things which we ought not to have done, and there is no health in us. We all recite that every Sunday. I have something now to confess to you. Won't you stand there in the light? I—I want to see your face."

[pg 350] He stepped slowly into a bar of moonlight.

"Why," she said, "you have hurt your hand!" She made a quick step toward him, her eyes on the stained bandage.

"It is nothing," he said hastily. "I struck it a little while ago. What—"

He turned, suddenly alert. A sharp whistle had sounded below them, and bright points here and there pricked the gloom. "They have turned on the tree-lights," he said. There was a sound of voices on the path. Some one ran across the foot-bridge.

"Something has happened," she said. "What can it be?"

He made no reply. There had flashed to him a quick realization of the position in which, unwittingly, they had placed themselves. She must not be seen at such an hour, in that lonely spot with him! He knew the canons of the world he lived in! With a hushed word he drew her back into the shadow.

The voices were speaking in Japanese, and now he heard them clearly. "Some one is injured," he told her. "He fell down the hillside, they think." A hurried step crossed the bridge, and a voice, sharp and peremptory, asked a question in nervous English. Daunt chilled at the answer, turning to her, every unselfish instinct alive to spare her.

But she had heard a name. "It is Mr. Ware who is hurt!"

He grasped her wrist. "Wait!" he said hurriedly. [pg 351] "I beg you to go by the upper path to the side door." But she caught away her arm and ran quickly down the path.

Daunt sprang up the hill, skirted the building, gained its upper corridor, now simmering with excitement, and crossed the bridge. Near its farther end a small group stood about a figure, prostrate beside the phonograph whose cylinder gleamed in the lantern-light. By it Barbara was kneeling.

But something came between her gaze and the pallid face—something which she saw with the distinctness of a black paper silhouette on a white ground: a glimmering object, unnoted by the rest, which had lain half-concealed by a bush—something that one day, a thousand years ago, had glittered against Daunt's brown hair as he saluted her from his horse! It was a riding-crop, whose Damascene handle bore the device of a fox's head.

Two hours later the corridors were silent and the bishop and Daunt sat together in the darkened office, saying few words, both thinking of a man lying straight and alone—and of a girl in an upper room whose promise he had taken with him out of the world. Daunt was to leave for Tokyo on the early morning train. Half the night through he sat there listening to the moan of the rising weather.

But a little while before the sky whitened to a rainy dawn, a gray wraith glided along the upper [pg 352] piazza of the hotel. It crossed the foot-bridge to the hillside.

Barbara groped and found the crop. Across the night she seemed to see an endless procession of stolid, sulphur-colored figures, linked with thin, rattling chains, filing into the humid, black mouth of a mine. Shuddering, she swung the stick with all her strength, and threw it from her down the steep, into the water that roared and tumbled far below.

[pg 353]


Doctor Bersonin lunched at the Tokyo Club.

For three days the rain had fallen steadily, in one of those seasons of torrential downpour which in Japan are generally confined to the typhoon season and which flood its low-lands, turn its creeks into raging rivers and play havoc with its bridges. For three days the sky had been a dull expanse of pearl-gray, and the city a waste of drenched green foliage and gleaming tile, whose roadways were lines of brown mud with a surface of thin glue, dotted with glistening umbrellas of oil-paper and bamboo. Under their trickling eaves the shop-fronts, dark and hollow and comfortless, had held the red glow of hibachi; teamsters had shown bristling tunics of rice-straw and loads covered with saffron tarpaulin; rick'sha had reeled past with rubber fronts tightly buttoned against the slanting spears of rain, and the foreign carriages that dragged by had borne coachmen swathed to the ears. This morning, however, the rain had ceased and wind had supervened.

[pg 354] The Club was cheerful, with a sprinkling of the younger diplomatic set, Japanese business men and journalists, all men of note. The up-stairs dining-room was full of talk as the expert arrived and chose a small table by himself.

While he waited, the boy brought him one of the English-printed newspapers, and he cast his eyes over the head-lines. He read:


To Leave To-morrow Morning. An

Answer to the Alarmists.

All Differences Between the Two Governments

to Yield to


On the other side was the caption in smaller type:


Mysterious Selling Movement

Causes Uneasiness.

He read the latter despatch—an Associated Press wire, under a New York date-line:

"At noon to-day the bear movement, heretofore regarded as a natural reaction following an over-advancement, and hence of purely academic interest, suddenly assumed [pg 355] such proportions as to make the outlook one of anxiety. It seems significant that before the Wall Street opening this morning the London market responded to an attack of the same nature. In an era of industrial prosperity and general peace such a phenomenon is alarming, and a serious decline is anticipated in some quarters. The short sales which were such a factor in to-day's market were so distributed that it seems impossible to trace them to any single interest."

Bersonin's face expressed nothing. He folded the crackling sheet and laid it to one side.

Most of the comment about him turned on the departure of the Squadron. Since the royal death, whose announcement had so abruptly ended the festivities, the black battle-ships had lain motionless in the bay. The appointment of a regent of confessedly more positive policy had given rise to many speculations, and the apostles of calamity had seized the opportunity to sow the seeds of disquiet. The great world, however, had as yet given little thought to their prognostications. The bourses had gone higher and higher. Only in diplomatic circles, where the mercury is habitually unquiet, had there been perceptible effect. To-day the comment showed a sub-tone of relief.

The doctor ate little. He left the petit verre with [pg 356] his coffee untouched, signed his chit and went down to his automobile.

"Bersonin must be under the weather," one of the men at another table observed, as he passed them. "He looks like a putty image."

"Curious chap," remarked the other. "Got a lot in his head, no doubt. Some queer stories afloat about him, but I don't suppose there's anything in them."

The other lit his cigar reflectively. "I can't somehow 'go' him, myself," he said.

Bersonin was whirled to his house, and presently was in his laboratory with its glass shelves, its books and its wall-safe. A cheerful fire burned in the grate against the dampness.

He began to walk restlessly up and down the floor. To-day his government contract expired and Japan had not asked its renewal. He thought of this with a sudden recrudescence of the hatred he had nurtured for the Empire. This had been based on fancied slights, on his failure to receive a decoration, on the surveillance he had lately imagined had been kept on his movements. Well, to-morrow would repay all with interest! There was no hitch in the plan which chance had aided so well. The Roost was the one house on the Yokohama Bluff that could have served his purpose, planted on the cliff-edge and in line with the anchorage. And it [pg 357] had happened to be in the hands of this weak fool for his cat's-paw!

His great, cunning brain turned to the future—to that vast career which his stupendous egotism had painted for himself. His discovery was so epoch-making, so terrifying in its possibilities to civilization, that it had nonplussed him. It was too big to handle. He had made the greatest dynamic engine the world had seen—possibly the greatest it would ever see—and yet he knew that the Ambassador had laid his finger on the truth when he had said: "Humanity would revolt! The man who knew the secret would be too dangerous to be at large!"

But with wealth—wealth enough to buy men and privilege—what might he not do? It would take time, and scheming, and secrecy, but he had them all. And the great secret was always his, and his alone! It would make him more powerful than Emperors, for he who possessed it, with the means to use it, could laugh at fleets and fortifications. Before the machines that he should build the greatest steel-clad that was ever floated would vanish like smoke! He clenched his great hands and his massive frame quivered.

"The future, the future!" he said in a low, tense voice. "I shall be greater than Caesar, greater than Napoleon, for I shall hold the force that can make and unmake kings! So surely as force rules the world, so surely shall I, Bersonin, rule the world!"

[pg 358] A knock came at the door and Phil entered. He was as pale as the doctor and his clothing was soaked with the rain. Without a word Bersonin locked the door, wheeled an arm-chair before the blaze, pushed him into it and mixed him a glass of spirits. Then he stood looking at him.

"It's all right," said Phil. "The tripod fitted to a hair. It can't be seen from either side, and I've sent the boy away and locked the house."

"Good," said Bersonin. "All is ready, then. The mechanism is set for the moment of daybreak. Our gains will be enormous, for in spite of the selling the market is up. There has been a little distrust of the situation here and there, though the optimists have had their way. And this latent distrust will add to the débâcle when it comes. We are just in time, for the Squadron has its sailing-orders for to-morrow. Strange how near we were to failure! Who could have foreseen the death of the King? And the rains, too. They say it is doubtful if the trains will run to-morrow."

Phil's hand, holding the drink, shook and wavered.

"The damned clock-work in the thing!" he said. "I could hear it all the way—I thought every one would hear it. I can't get the ticking out of my brain!" He set down the glass and turned a glittering gaze on the other.

"It's worth all that comes from it," he said. "You [pg 359] play me fair! Do you understand? You'll play me fair, or I'll settle with you!"

The doctor smiled, a smile of horrible cunning.

"As you settled with your brother?" he said.

Phil shrank into the chair speechless, looking at him with trepidation in his eyes. The shot had gone home.

"Pshaw!" said Bersonin. "Do you take me for a fool not to guess? Come, we needn't quarrel. Our interests are the same. Go home, now, to your Japanese butterfly—and wait!"

[pg 360]


The Chapel was but sparsely filled. From where she sat, Barbara, through the open door, could see the willows along the disconsolate roadway whipping in the fleering dashes of wind. A woman trudged by, bare-legged, her kimono tucked knee-high, the inevitable, swaddled baby on her back. The hot, fibrous song of the semi had died to a thin humming, like bees in an old orchard. Across the bishop's voice she heard the plaintive call of a huckster, swinging by in slow dogtrot with panier-pole on shoulder, and the chirr of a singing-frog under the hedge.

The service was in the vernacular, and though she tried to follow it in her Romaji prayer-book—whose words were printed in Roman letters instead of the Japanese ideograph—the lines were meaningless, and she could not fasten her mind on them.

She had reached a point in these few tragical days where her mind, overwrought with its own pain, had acquired a kind of benumbing lassitude that was not apathy and yet was far removed from spontaneous feeling. Daunt's presence that dreadful night on [pg 361] the hillside—his confusion—his bleeding hand—his round-about return to the hotel—all this, at the sight of the Damascene crop in the bushes, had flashed to her mind in damnable sequence. And yet something deep and unfathomed within her had driven her to the obliteration of that mute evidence. Austen Ware had slipped and fallen—such was the universal verdict. The truth was sealed for ever in the urn now bound over-seas to its last resting-place. She alone, she thought, knew the secret of that Nikko tragedy.

With the next daylight the storm had broken and the ensuing gloomy weather had formed a dismal setting for gloomier scenes, through which she had moved dully and mechanically. When all was over, to Patricia's sorrow, she had not returned to the Embassy, but had gone immediately to her uncle's. The pity offered her—though not openly expressed, since her engagement had not been formally announced—hurt her like physical blows, and the quiet of the Ts'kiji rectory was some solace. To-night, an unwelcome task lay before her. She was to visit the yacht—now, by a satiric freak of chance, legally her own!—to seal the private papers of the man whose deed of gift might not now be recalled.

As she sat listening to the meaningless reading and the sighing of the wind above the Chapel roof, Barbara's eyes on the stained-glass figure in the rose-window were full of a wistful loneliness. If her [pg 362] father were only alive—if he could be near her now! Unconsciously her gaze strayed across the hedges, to the gray roof of the old temple where lived the eccentric solitary to whom her thought insistently recurred. In her trouble she longed to go to him, with a longing the greater because it seemed fantastic and illogical. She recalled suddenly the quaint six-year-old of the huge clogs and patched kimono—Ishikichi, troubled over the giving up of the family establishment, puzzling his baby brain over the hard things of life.

She was startled by a sound outside—the single, shrill, high scream of a horse in some stable near at hand. It cut through a pause in the service, sharp, curdling, like a cry of mortal fear. A baby, near Barbara, awoke and began to cry and the mother soothed it with whispered murmurings.

Suddenly there arose a strange rattling, a groaning of timbers. The bishop ceased reading. People were rising to their feet. The building was shifting, swaying, with a sickening upward vibration, as though it were being trotted on some Brobdingnagian knee. Barbara felt a qualm like the first touch of mal de mer. "Ji-shin! Ji-shin!" rose the cry, and there was a rush for the open air. In another moment she found herself out of doors with the frightened crowd.

It was her first experience of earthquake, and the [pg 363] terror had gripped her bodily. The wet trees were waving to and fro like gigantic fans, and a dull moan like an echo in a subterranean cavern seemed to issue from the very ground. A section of tiling slid from the Chapel roof with a crash. "Rather severe that, for Tokyo," said the bishop at her elbow, where he stood calmly, watch in hand. "Almost two minutes and vertical movement."

"Two minutes!" she gasped. She had thought it twenty.

The nauseating swing had ceased, but in an instant, with a vicious wrench, it began again. "The secondary oscillations," he said. "It will all be over in a ..."

As he spoke, the air swelled with a horrible, crunching, grinding roar, like the complaint of a million riven timbers. Across the lane a sinister dust-cloud sprang into the air like a monstrous hand with spread fingers. "It is one of the temples!" said the bishop, and hurried with the rest, Barbara following him.

The paved yard was filling with a throng. Agitated priests and acolytes ran hither and thither and slate-colored nuns, with shaven heads and pale, frightened faces, peered through the bamboo-lattices of the nunnery. The newer temple faced the open space as usual, but across the hedged garden no ornate roof now thrust up its Tartar gables. Instead [pg 364] was a huddle of wreckage, upon which lay the huge roof, crumpled and shattered, like the fragments of a gigantic mushroom. From the tangle projected beam ends, coiled about with painted monsters, and here and there in the cluttered débris lay great images of unfamiliar deities. Over all hung a fine yellow dust, choking and penetrating.

What was under those ruins? Barbara shivered. She was quite unconscious of the mud and the pelting rain. The bishop drew her under the temple porch, and they stood together watching the men now working with mattocks, saws and with loose beams for levers, prying up a corner of the fallen roof. It seemed an hour they had stood there, when a priest, bareheaded, his robes caked with mud, came from the clustering crowd. The bishop questioned him in Japanese. Barbara guessed from his face what the priest had answered! She waited quiveringly.

Through the bishop's mind swift thoughts were passing. He knew by hearsay of the recluse—knew that he was not an Oriental. He had often seen the placard on the little gate: "Maker of Buddhas." He had never passed it without a pang. It seemed a satirical derision of the holiest ideal of the West—a type and sign of reversion, a sardonic mockery of the Creed of Christ. He was a priest holding the torch of the true light to this alien people, and here, [pg 365] a dark shadow across its brightness, had stood this derisive denial. Yet now, perhaps, this man stood on the threshold of the hereafter—and he was a man of his own race!

He turned to Barbara. "Wait here for me," he said. "I am going in. I will come back to you as soon as I can."

[pg 366]


The bishop went quickly through the crowd to a gap under the great gables, where the beams had been sawed through and the rubbish shoveled to one side, making a difficult way into the interior. The enormous span of the roof had sunk sidewise, splitting its supporting beams and bending the walls outward, but its great ridge had remained intact and it now stretched, a squat, ungainly lean-to, over what had been the altar. The space was strewn with brasses, fragments of fretted and carven doors, and splintered beneath a mass of tiling lay a great image of Kwan-on. The daylight came dimly in through the chinks in the ruin. The air was warm and close and had a smell of pulverized plaster, of stale incense and rotting wood. A group of priests stood on the altar platform beside a huddle of wadded mats and brocaded draperies, on which a man was lying, his open eyes upturned to the painted monsters on the twisted tangle of rafters.

The bishop hesitated, then came close.

The man's head turned toward him—for an instant he seemed to shrink into the cushions; then in [pg 367] his eyes, dark with the last shadow, came a swift yearning. He spoke to the priests and they drew back.

"Arthur," he said, "don't you know me?"

A gasping sound came from the leaning bishop. "John! John Fairfax!" he cried, composure dropping from him, and fell on his knees. "After these years!"

The other lifted his hand and touched the bishop's pale, smooth-shaven face.

"I am going, Arthur," he said. "I never intended to speak, though I've seen you often.... I thought it was best. Did she—did my wife never tell you?"

"Never a word, John! I have never known!" cried the bishop, in a shaken voice.

"It was my fault. All mine! I—never believed as she did, Arthur, and here in the East what was breath and bread to her, to me came to seem all mumbo-jumbo. I had had a hard life, and I wanted comfort—for her. Then I found out about the gold-lacquer."

He paused to gather the strength that was fast ebbing.

"I got the formula from a crazy priest, and I began in a small way—the idol-making, I mean. I had a shop at Saga. At first it was only for the mandarins in the China trade, and ... no one knew. But the lacquer grew famous, and within a [pg 368] year I was shipping to Rangoon and Thibet. I made all sorts of praying-tackle. Then—then I quarreled with my agent, and—he told my wife. She didn't believe it, but one day ... he brought her to where I was at work. I was modeling an Amida for a temple in Nagasaki!"

He threw an arm across his face and moaned.

"She left me that night. A ship was in the harbor. I ... never saw her again. I never knew I had a daughter till a week ago!... I never knew!"

There was a silence.

"I have seen her. She must never guess, Arthur! She thinks I ... died in Nagasaki. It's better so. Promise me!"

"I promise, John," said the bishop. "I promise."

The bell of the temple across the inclosure began to strike. "It sounds ... like the bell of the old Greek church," the failing voice said. "When I left home the priest said I would do nothing good. But—" the grim ghost of a smile touched his lips—"I made ... good idols, Arthur!" The smile flickered out. "My little girl! My own, own daughter! Don't you ... think it was cruel, Arthur?"

"Would you like to see her?" asked the bishop. "She is just outside."

The wan face was illumined. "Yes, yes," he said. "God bless you, Arthur! Bring her—but quickly!"

[pg 369] For a few moments there was stillness. The priests whispered together, but approached no nearer. In the other temple, the Bioki-Fuji, the Buddhist ceremony of Sick-Healing, had begun for the injured man, and the muffled pounding of the mok'gyo came dully into the propped ruins. The dying man's eyes were closed when Barbara knelt down and took his chilling hand between hers.

"It is I," she said softly.

His gaze was dimming, but he knew her. "I can't see your face much longer," he said, "but I can feel your hands. How long ago it seems ... our Flower-of-Dream. It bloomed to-day, my dear."

She was weeping silently. There was a pause, in which the wind droned through the shattered timbers. The dying man's free hand wandered feebly at his side, found a gold-lacquer crucifix, and drew it closer.

"The white cross on the roof. It ... called me back!" He tried to lift the golden crucifix. "I've been ... making this for a long time. I was outside when the shock came, but I ... went back to save it.... I should like it to be ... in your Chapel, Barbara."

She laid her young cheek against his hand; she could not speak.

Across the silence the bishop's low and broken voice rose in the Prayer for the Sick:

"O most merciful God, who, according to the [pg 370] multitude of Thy mercies, dost so put away the sins of those who truly repent, that Thou rememberest them no more: Open Thine eye of mercy.... Renew in him, most loving Father.... Impute not unto him his former sins...."

"Are you still there, Barbara?"


"A little longer." Death was heavy on his tongue. "Namu Amida Butsu!" he muttered. "But at the end—the old things—the old faith—"

The tears ran down the bishop's face.

"They are all dead now," came the broken whisper through the closing darkness. "There is no one to forgive me, except—"

"God will forgive you!" said the bishop, with a sob.

But the idol-maker did not hear.

[pg 371]


The sailing-master of the yacht Barbara, with his mate and crony, sat in the main saloon, whiling away a tedious hour.

The room bore all the earmarks of "a rich man's plaything." It was tastefully and luxuriously furnished. The upholstery was of dark green brocade, thin Persian prayer-rugs were on the hardwood floor, and electric bulbs in clusters were set in silver sconces, which swung with a long, slow motion as the yacht rocked to the deepening respiration of the sea. At one side a small square table held the remains of a comfortable refection, and by it, on a stand, sat a phonograph with which the two men had been gloomily diverting themselves.

But though the repertoire of the instrument was extended, it had brought little satisfaction to-night. The last irksome fortnight of inactivity had made each selection trite and familiar. Moreover, the captain's spirits were not of the best. The abrupt change of ownership, followed hard by the death of the yacht's former master, was a bouleversement that had confused his automatic temperament, and [pg 372] the sight of the double-locked cabin-door in the saloon was a daily depressant. He had never seen the yacht's new owner, though she had written him that he might expect her at any time, and the enigma of a future under a woman's orders troubled his sturdy and unimaginative mind.

"Wish to the Lord she'd come, if she's ever coming!" he muttered, as the phonograph ran down with a wheeze. "This is two days I've kept the dinghy lying at the hatoba."

The mate nodded. It was not the first time the remark had been made. "I wonder why she ordered his cabin door kept locked?" he said.

"Papers," returned the captain sapiently. "Wants to seal 'em up for the executor. New owner must be rich, I guess. I'd like to know what she paid for the outfit. First time I ever signed under a new skipper sight unseen!"

"Miss Barbara Fairfax," mused the mate. "Nice name. Curious only one piece of mail should come for her—and second class, too." He picked up a thin package from the table, folded in dark paper. This had been made sodden by the rain; now it parted and a flat, black disk of hard rubber slipped from it and rolled across the floor.

"Blamed if it isn't a phonograph record," he said, as he picked it up. "It's out of the wrapper now—let's try it." He set it in place and rewound the spring, and the saloon filled with a chorus of chirps [pg 373] and tinklings from quivering catgut smitten by ivory plectrons.

"Samisen!" said the captain. "I've heard 'em in the tea-houses. Give me a fiddle for mine, any day."

The yacht's cabin-boy entered. "The dinghy's coming, sir," he said. "Lady and gentleman aboard of her."

The captain got up hastily, put out a hand and stopped the machine. "Take away those dishes, and be quick about it," he ordered. "Mr. Rogers, pipe up the men."

He hurried on deck and watched the bobbing craft approach. Under the rising wind the sea was lifting rapidly and the dinghy buried its nose in the spray. Presently he was giving a helping hand to the visitors at the break in the rail, looking into a pair of brown eyes that he thought were the saddest he had ever seen, and replying to a voice that was saying:

"I am Miss Fairfax, Captain Hart, and this is my uncle, Bishop Randolph."

The train which brought Barbara and the bishop from Tokyo had crawled for miles along what seemed a narrow ribbon laid on a yellow floor. The steady, continuous downpour had flooded the rice-fields and the landscape was a waste of turbid freshet, the rivers deep and swollen torrents. At one bridge a small army of workmen were dumping [pg 374] loads of stone about a pier-head and shoring-up the track with heavy timbers. The train crossed this at a snail's pace, that inspired anxiety.

"I'm not an engineer," the bishop had said, "but I prophesy this bridge won't be safe to-morrow unless the water falls."

The early daylight dinner at the hotel had been well nigh a silent ceremonial. That day, with the temple solitary, Barbara had gone down into a deeper Valley of Shadow. Just as her longing to go to him in her trouble had seemed to her overwrought, so now her grief was strangely poignant. When she thought of him her mind was a confusion of tremulous half-thoughts and new emotions. She could not know that the voice she dimly heard was the call of blood—that she was in the grip of that mighty instinct of filiation which strengthens the life-currents of the world. Her grief—mysterious because its springs were haunting and unknown—added its aching pang now to the misery that had encompassed her. She had felt the fierce bounding of the stout little boat, the gusts of windy spray that flew over them, with a tinge of relief, since the buffeting made the inner pain less keen.

As she stood at length, with her task, in the cabin whose door had been so long locked, she remembered the white-robed priests of Kudan Hill, stalking barefooted across the hot coals. Her soul, she thought, must tread a fiery path on which rested no [pg 375] miracle of painlessness, and which had no end. Above her she could hear the irregular footfalls of the bishop on the tilting deck, and the shrill humming of the wind in the ventilators. It seemed to be mocking her. Before the world she was living a painful pretense. Even her uncle believed her to be grieving for the man whose life had gone out that night at Nikko!

When all had been done and the papers sealed in a portmanteau for delivery to the Consul-General, Barbara came into the brilliant saloon. The yacht was pitching heavily and she could stand with difficulty. Steadying herself against the table, she saw the empty wrapper addressed to herself. It bore a Nikko postmark. Who could have sent it here? As she stood holding the paper in her hand, the bishop entered.

"Captain Hart thinks we would better stay aboard to-night, Barbara," he said. "There is a nasty sea and we should be sure of a drenching in the dinghy. We have no change of clothing, you know."

"You will be quite comfortable, Miss Fairfax," the captain's voice spoke deferentially from the doorway. "The guest-rooms are always kept ready."

"Very well," she said, a little wearily. "That will be best, no doubt." She held up the torn wrapper. "What was in this, I wonder?"

The captain confessed his indiscretion with embarrassment, and she absolved him with a smile that [pg 376] covered a sharper pang than she had yet felt that evening. For that thin disk had been on the hillside that Nikko night—perhaps had heard that quarrel, had seen that blow, had watched a man crawling, staggering foot by foot, till he collapsed against the frame that held it! By what strange chance had it been sent to her here?

Her uncle bade her good night presently, being an indifferent sailor, and betook himself to bed. The room that had been prepared for her opened into the saloon. She was too restless to retire, and after a time she climbed up the companion-way to the windy deck.

The vaulted sapphire of the sky had been swept clean of cloud and the stars sparkled whitely. Off at one side, a flock of sinister shadows, she could make out the Squadron of battle-ships, and beyond, in a curving line, the twinkling lights of the Bund. Could it ever again be to her that magical shore she had first seen from a ship's deck, with hills which the cherry-trees made fairy tapestries of green-rose, and mountains creased of purple velvet and veined with gold? The great white phantom lifting above them—would it henceforth be but a bulk of ice and stone, no longer the shrine of the Goddess-of-Radiant-Flower-Bloom? The sky—would it ever again seem the same violet arch that had bent over a Tokyo garden of musk flowers and moonlight? Would the world never seem beautiful to her again?

[pg 377] All about her the foam-stippled water glowed with points of phosphorescence, as though a thousand ghostly lanterns were afloat. It made her think of the festival of the Bon, of which Thorn had told her, when the Shoryo-buné—the boats of the departed spirits—in lambent flotillas, go glimpsing down to the sea. How unbelievable that she should never see him again! She felt a sudden envy of the placid millions encircling her to whose faith no life was ever lost, whose loved ones were ever coming back in the perennial cherry-blooms, the maple-leaves, the whispering pines.

Her love would come back to her only in bitter memories, in painful thoughts that would shame and burn. All else beside, she had been Austen Ware's promised wife. How could she still feel love for the man who had caused his death? Yet—if she must—if she could never tear that image from her breast!

Like the reflection of a camera-obscura, memory painted a sudden picture on the void; she saw herself sitting amid the branches of a tulip-tree, while some one sang—a song the wind was humming in the cordage:

"Forgotten you? Well, if forgetting
Be yearning with all my heart,
With a longing, half pain and half rapture,
For the time when we never shall part;

[pg 378]

If the wild wish to see you and hear you,
To be held in your arms again—
If this be forgetting, you're right, dear,
And I have forgotten you then."

Great, slow tears gathered in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks.

[pg 379]


Daunt accompanied his chief that evening to a dinner at the Nobles' Club—a "stag," for conventional functions had been discontinued since the royal death had cast a pall over the stay of the Squadron. As they drove thither a nearer shadow was over the Ambassador's spirits. His thoughts would stray to Barbara and her misfortune, which seemed so deep and irreparable. He had eventually accepted his wife's diagnosis as to Daunt's tendresse, but he had a confidence that his Secretary of Embassy, though hard-hit, would bear no scars. He could not guess all that lay beneath the brave domino Daunt was wearing.

The affair was a late one, with various native divertisements: top-spinners, painters whose exquisite brush-etchings, done in a few seconds, were given as mementoes to the guests, and jugglers who, utterly without paraphernalia, caused live fowl to appear in impossible places. Toward the close the Ambassador found himself seated beside the Minister of Marine.

"Very clever," he said, as a Chinese pheasant flew [pg 380] out of an inverted opera-hat. "I almost believe he could produce my missing dog if he were properly urged."

"Have you lost one?" asked the Admiral. "I'm sorry."

The Ambassador laughed. "It was really something of a relief," he said, and told the story of the Russian wolf-hound which had so curiously disappeared on the evening of Doctor Bersonin's call. "The oddest thing about it," he ended, "is that, though the name of the Embassy was on his collar, nothing has been heard of him."

The two men chatted for some time on things in general, the conversation veering to the Squadron. The Ambassador thought the other seemed somewhat distrait. At two the affair ended and the carriages drew up to the windy porte-cochère. There was a confidential matter which the Ambassador wished to speak of with his host. He had mentioned it, but no fitting opportunity had occurred. At the door the Admiral recalled it, suggesting with a quizzical reference to the other's American fondness for late hours that, as his house was on the way, the Ambassador stop there, while they had their talk over a cigar. The latter, therefore, departed in the Admiral's carriage, and Daunt drove alone to the Embassy, directing the coachman to go in a half-hour for his chief.

In the past three days Daunt had fought a constant [pg 381] battle. Every feature of that night at Nikko was stamped indelibly on his mind. The passionate resentment, the agony of protest that had come to him at the ball, when he had received the torn fragments of his letter to Barbara, returned in double force, opposing a strange, new sense of shame that his thought should follow her even into the tragic shadow where she now dwelt. Yet—for fancy will not be denied—his brain would again and again circle the same somber treadmill:

We have done those things which we ought not to have done! He seemed to hear her say it on the dark hillside. Her voice had had that in it which, against his will, had thrilled him. What had she done that she regretted? She had spoken of the day in the cave at Enoshima—had seemed to wish him to believe that she had not then been acting a part. Could anything have happened in that one day's interval so utterly to change her? She had been unhappy, for he had surprised her weeping. What was it she had wished to "confess?" So to-night his gloomy reflections ran—to their submerging wave of self-reproach.

He let himself into the Chancery with his latch-key, to get his evening's mail. A telegram had been laid on his desk. It was a cipher from Washington, and he opened the safe at once and from the inner drawer took out the official code books. He sat down at one of the desks and began the decoding of [pg 382] the text. For a time he worked mechanically—as it were, with but one-half of his brain—tracing each group of figures in the bulky volume, transposing by the secret key, dragging, in the complicated process, sense and coherency from the meaningless digits. Then he sat staring at the result:

"Large short selling to-day in European bourses and in New York (comma) unexplainable on usual grounds (comma) is creating anxiety (period) Can scarcely be explained except on hypothesis that secret group of dealers have suddenly come into possession of information which leads them to consider the international situation ominous (period) Newspapers in ignorance of anything extraordinary (period) London and Paris evidently puzzled (period) Has situation developed new phases and in your opinion does it contain possible element of danger (period) Hasten reply."

A full five minutes Daunt sat motionless, revolving the matter in all its bearings. An answer must be sent without delay. A part of that answer might be found in the departure of the Squadron. The newspapers had announced its receipt of sailing-orders, but the news had yet to be verified. The Naval Minister could give this verification.

He went at once to the stables, where the carriage was about to start for the Ambassador. He sprang in. A little later he was at the Admiral's official [pg 383] residence and his chief was perusing the message. After a moment's thought the Ambassador read it aloud.

Daunt had made a move to retire, but the Admiral stopped him.

"Pray don't go yet," he said. "There is something I should like to say on this matter, and I count on your discretion, Mr. Daunt, as on His Excellency's. Since the American Government attaches significance to that peculiar incident, I think no harm can come from an exchange of opinion. It may help us both." He paused a moment, his foot tapping the floor.

"The news contained in that telegram," he continued presently, "for the past two days has caused my Government great concern. Your Excellency will understand when I say that the particular objects of this attack (if I may so call it) are precisely those securities which would suffer most were Japan's peace or prosperity threatened. There has seemed to be a concurrence in it not purely fortuitous. Back of this selling is no mere opinion—it is too assured for that. Some interest or individual abroad is apparently banking heavily on a belief that Japan is about to enter a period of stress!"

The Ambassador spoke for the first time. "Abroad?" he said shrewdly.

The Admiral looked at him an instant without speaking. His expression changed swiftly. He [pg 384] rose and went quickly to the telephone in the next room.

"He is talking with the Secret Service," said Daunt, in a low tone.

In a few moments their host returned. There was something in his face that made the Ambassador's keen eye kindle. "The suggestion was most pertinent," he said. "There is one man in Japan who, exclusive of the commercial codes, has sent in the past two days cipher telegrams to New York, London and Berlin."

He took a short turn about the room in some agitation. "Your Excellency," he said, stopping short, "I make a confident of you. That man is Doctor Bersonin."

The Ambassador started.

"Pray absolve me," said the Admiral quickly, "from an apparent indiscretion. Doctor Bersonin is no longer in the Japanese service. His contract expired at noon to-day. It will not be renewed. As one of my Government I speak to you, as the representative of your Government, concerning a private individual whose acts are in the purview of us both. The circumstances are extraordinary, but I think the occasion justifies this conversation."

He rang a bell sharply and his private secretary entered. "Bring me," he said in Japanese, "report number eleven of Lieutenant Ishida Hetaro."

When it was brought, he turned to a leaf underscored [pg 385] scored with red. "Your Excellency," he said, "interested me profoundly this evening by the account of the disappearance of your dog. I am going to ask Mr. Daunt—who reads Japanese so fluently—to give a running translation of this."

Daunt took the manuscript—as perfectly executed as an inscription in Uncial Greek—and began to read. As he translated, his breath came more quickly, and the Ambassador leaned forward across the table. Yet the words chronicled nothing more than the curious disappearance from the laboratory of a tiny song-bird—and a steel pen-rest. The close of the narrative drew an exclamation from the Ambassador's lips. For it told of feathery sprays of reddish-brown powder on the expert's desk, and he seemed to see himself, his study lamp in his hand, bending over curious whorls of dust on his own piazza.

"May I ask," said the Admiral, "whether the episode of the dog suggested to Your Excellency the possibility that your caller might himself be able to solve the mystery of the animal's disappearance?"

The Ambassador's reply came slowly, but with deliberate emphasis:

"It did. The more so, from our previous conversation. In my study I have the model of a Dreadnaught. We were discussing this, and the doctor described the fighting machine of the future—an atomic engine which should utilize some newly discovered [pg 386] law of molecular action, a machine that might be carried in a single hand, to which a battle-ship would be, as he expressed it, 'mere silly shreds of steel.' He spoke, I thought, with a strange confidence that seemed almost unbalanced. In connection with the conversation, the later incident, I confess, left a deep impression. Yet the idea it suggested was so incredible that I have never spoken of it to any one before."

"Suppose," said the Admiral, "that the man we are discussing has actually constructed such a machine. What possible connection can there be between that and a confidence in some near event which will lower Japan's credit in the eyes of the world?"

Before the Ambassador replied there was the sound of voices outside—a sudden commotion and a woman's agitated protestations. The secretary came in hurriedly and whispered to the Admiral. A door slammed in the hall, there was the sound of a short struggle, and a girl burst into the room. She threw herself at the Admiral's feet, panting broken sentences. Her kimono was torn and muddied, her blue-black hair was loosened, and her face white and pitifully working.

A man had darted after her—he was the Admiral's aide. He grasped her arm. "She has been at the Department," he said in English, with a glance at the visitors. "They detained her there, [pg 387] but she got away. They have telephoned a warning that she might attempt to see you."

She struggled against him, her eyes sweeping the circle about her with a passionate entreaty. Suddenly she saw the Ambassador. She lifted her face, swollen with crying, to him:

"You—nod know me—Haru?" she faltered, "? Say so!"

"Haru!" he exclaimed. Then, turning to the Admiral, "I know the child," he said. "She was companion to one of our house-guests till a week ago, when she disappeared from her home."

His host made an exclamation of pity. "It is no-byo, no doubt," he said, using the word for the strange Japanese brain-fever which is akin to madness. "She must be cared for at once." He leaned and spoke soothingly to her.

A spasm seized Haru. She tore herself from the aide's grasp and, falling prone, beat her small fists on the floor. "They will none of them listen! They will none of them listen!" she screamed, in Japanese. "They call it the fever, and they will not hear! And to-morrow it will be too late!" A peal of hysteric laughter shook her, mixed with strangling sobs. "Are all the gods with Bersonin-San?"

At that name the Admiral's face changed swiftly. "Leave her with me," he said, "and wait in the anteroom."

"But, Excellency—"

[pg 388] The other lifted his hand, and the aide withdrew with the secretary. His two callers had risen, but he stayed them. "We have gone far along the road of confidence to-night," he said in a low tone. "If you are willing, we will go to the end."

He bent and drew the girl to a sitting posture.

"Tell us," he said gently, "what brought you here."

[pg 389]


As the three men listened to the swift, broken story, there was no sound save the rustle of the wind outside, the clack of a night-watchman, and the ticking of the clock on the marble mantel. The crouching form, the sodden garments, the passionate intensity of the slim, clutched hands, the fire in the dark eyes—all lent effect to a narrative instinct with terrible truth. The Ambassador's knowledge of the colloquial was limited, but he knew enough to grasp the story's main features. It capped the edifice of suspicion and furnished a direful solution to what had been mysterious. Once the Admiral's eyes met his, and each knew that the other believed. Terrible as its meaning was—pointing to what black depths of abysmal wickedness—it was true!

The Admiral listened with a countenance that might have been carved of metal, but the faces of the others were gray-white. Later was to come to both the pathos and meaning of the sacrifice this frail girl had laid on the knees of her country's gods, [pg 390] but for the hour, all else was swallowed up in the horrifying knowledge, struck through with the sharp fact that one of the partners in this devilish enterprise, however expatriate, was of their own nation. To Daunt this was intensified by his own acquaintance with Phil. Memories swept him of that worthless, ribald career—the evil intimacy with Bersonin—the gradual dominance of the bottle, which in the end had betrayed him!

With a singular separateness of vision, he seemed, in lightning-like flashes, to see that betrayal: the blind infatuation, the slow enticements, the reckless, intoxicated triumph, the final surrender. He seemed to see Haru, her secret won, running panting through the wind. He saw Phil waking at last from his drunken slumber—to what shame and penalty? He shuddered.

When the secretary entered at the crisp sound of the Admiral's bell, he started at the pallid countenances in the room. The Japanese girl stood trembling, half-supported by the Admiral's arm. The latter spoke—in a voice that held no sign of feeling. It was to present the young man to the girl in the most formal and elaborate courtesy.

"The Ojo-San deigns to be for but an hour the guest of my mean abode," he said. "Instruct my karei that in that unworthy interval he may offer her august refreshment and afterward prepare her [pg 391] proper escort and conveyance. Meantime, send my aide to me."

The secretary's gleam of astonishment veiled itself under oriental lashes, and a tinge of color warmed the whiteness of Haru's cheek. He bowed to her profoundly. As he deferentially opened the door, she turned back, swayed, and sank suddenly prone in a deep, sweeping obeisance.

An instant the Admiral stood looking after her. "The petal of a plum-blossom," he said, "under the hoof of the swine!"

His manner changed abruptly as the aide entered. He spoke in quick, curt Japanese, in a tone sharp and exact as steel shears snipping through zinc:

"Something has transpired of great moment. There is no time to deal with it by the ordinary channels. It is of the first importance—the first importance!—that I reach Yokohama within the hour. You will call up Shimbashi and order a special train with right of way. This admits of no delay! Send for my carriage at once. You will accompany me. We leave in ten minutes." The aide went out quickly while he seated himself at his desk and began to write rapidly.

"Two battle-ships!" he said suddenly, wheeling in his seat. "With the human lives on them! Perhaps even war between two or more nations! Gods of my ancestors! All this to hang on the loyalty of a mere girl!"

[pg 392] The Ambassador, pacing the floor, snapped the lid of his watch. "It must still be close to two hours of sunrise," he said in an agitated voice. "Surely there is time!"

The Admiral was consulting an almanac when the aide reëntered. "Here is a telegram," he said. "Put it on the wire at once. It must arrive before us."

"Excellency," said the aide, "the train is not possible. The service to Yokohama ceased at six o'clock. The rains—there is a washout."

His chief pondered swiftly. "It must be left to others, then. Call up the emergency long-distance for Yokohama and give me a clear wire at once to the Governor's residence. I must make the telegraphic instructions fuller." He bent over the desk.

Trepidation was on the aide's face when he returned this time.

"Excellency the accident to the line was the failure of the bridge over the Rokuga-gawa. It carried both the telegraph and telephone conduits. No wire will be working before noon to-morrow."

The Admiral half-rose. He stretched out his hand, then drew it back.

"The wireless!" exclaimed the Ambassador.

The aide's troubled voice replied. Whatever the necessity he knew that it was a crucial one.

"The mast was displaced by to-day's earthquake," he said. "The system is temporarily useless."

[pg 393] There was a moment of blank silence. The Admiral sat staring straight before him. The only sign of agitation was his labored breathing.

"Can a horse get through?"

The other shook his head. "Not under three hours. It would have to be by détour—and there are no relays."

"A motor car?"

"Impossible!" exclaimed the Ambassador. "By the long road and in better weather my Mercedes can not do it under eighty minutes."

The Admiral lifted himself from his chair. His eyes were bloodshot and on his forehead tiny veins had sprung out in branching clusters of purple.

"In the name of Shaka! Yokohama harbor but a handful of miles away, and cut off utterly? It must be reached, I tell you! It must be reached!" His voice was low-pitched, but terrible in its intensity. "Drive to the Naval College and ask for twenty cadets—its swiftest runners—to be sent after you to Shimbashi. A locomotive can take them as far as the river. If there are no sampan, they can swim. Make demand in my authority. Not a minute is to be lost!" He put what he had been writing into the aide's hand. "Read this in the carriage. It will serve as instruction."

The aide thrust the paper into his breast and vanished. The Admiral looked about him through stiffened, [pg 394] half-closed eyelids. Then, under the stress, it seemed, of a mighty shudder—the very soul of that overwhelming certainty of the peril awaiting the red dawn on that bungalow roof above the Yokohama anchorage—the racial impassivity, the restraint and repression of emotion that long generations of ingrain habit have made second nature to the Japanese, suddenly crumbled. He struck his hand hard against the desk.

"Has not Japan toiled and borne enough, that this shame must come to her?" His deep voice shook. "Your Excellency—Mr. Daunt—in all this land where heroism is hackneyed and sacrifice a fetish, there is no prince or coolie who, to turn aside this peril, would not give his body to the torture. Yet must we sit here helpless as Darumas! If man but had wings!"

Daunt stiffened. He felt his heart beat to his temples. He started to his feet with an exclamation.

"But man has wings!" he cried.

What of the long hours of toil and experiment, the gray mornings on Aoyama parade-ground when his Glider had carried him circling above the tree-tops? Could he do it? With no other word he darted to the hall. They heard his flying feet on the gravel and a quick command to a betto. The wind tossed back the word into the strained quiet.

[pg 395] "Aoyama!" exclaimed the Ambassador, as the hoof-beats, lashed to an anguish of speed, died into silence. "His Glider!"

A sudden hope flashed into the Admiral's face.

"The gods of Nippon aid him!" he said.

[pg 396]


There was one whose guilty eyes were closed to the red danger so near. In the house in the Street-of-the-Misty-Valley, under the green mosquito netting, Phil lay in a log-like slumber. The soft light of the paper andon flowed over the gay wadded f'ton, the handsome besotted face with its mark of the satyr and, at one side, a little wooden pillow of black lacquer. There was no sound save the sweep of the wind outside and the heavy breathing of the unconscious man.

For three nights past, since his wild motor-ride from Nikko, he had not slept, save in illusory snatches, from which he had waked with the sweat breaking on his forehead. Short as were these, they had held horrid visions, broken fragments of scenes that waved and clustered about the lilied altar in the Ts'kiji cathedral, echoing to the solemn service of the dead. Again and again there had started before him the stolid ring of blue-clad coolie women, swaying as they had swayed to the straw-ropes of the pile-driver in the moat-bottom with their weird chant—

[pg 397]


And now they chanted a terrible refrain:


To-night, however, deeper potations had done their work. He was dreaming—yellow dreams like the blackguard fancyings of the half-world—visions in which he moved, a Prince of Largesse, through unending pleasures of self-indulgence. He was on an European Boulevard, riding with Haru by his side in silk and pearls, and people turned to gaze as he went by.

But now, with sinister topsyturvydom, the dream changed. The cocher drove faster and faster, into a mad gallop. He turned his head and Phil saw that the face under the glazed hat was the face of his dead brother. The staring pedestrians began to pursue the carriage. They showered blow after blow on it, till the sound reverberated like thunder.

Not the ghosts of his dream, but a hand of flesh and blood was knocking. It was on the outer shoji and the frail dwelling shook beneath it. The servant, sunk in bovine sleep, heard no sound, but the chauffeur in the automobile that throbbed outside the wistaria gate, rose from his seat, and across a bamboo wattle a dog barked and scrambled venomously.

Phil's eyes opened and he sat up giddily. He [pg 398] went unsteadily to the door and unfastened the shoji, blinking at the great form that strode past him into the inner apartment.

Bersonin's gaze swept the room. "The girl!" he said hoarsely. "Where is she?"

Phil looked about him dazedly—at the tumbled f'ton, the deserted wooden pillow. Haru gone? His senses, clouded by intoxication, took in the fact dully, as a thing of no meaning.

The expert grasped him by his shoulder and shook him till the thin silk of the kimono tore under the enormous white fingers. The violence had its effect. The daze fell away. Phil broke into loud imprecations.

"Did you tell her anything?"

Phil's tongue clove to the roof of his mouth. "What is—what makes you think—" he stammered.

Bersonin's face was a greenish hue. His great hands shook.

"To-night," he said, in a whisper, "to-night—an hour ago—I saw her on the street. I wasn't sure at first, but I know now it was she! A naval officer was with her. He took her into the house of the Minister of Marine!"

The other gave a low cry. A chalky pallor overspread his features. "Haru?—no, Bersonin! You're crazy, I say. She—she would never tell!"

Fury and terror blazed out on the big man's countenance. A sharp moan came from his lips.

[pg 399] "So she did know! You told her then! O, incredible fool!"

For an instant the demon of murder looked from the doctor's eyes. Phil quailed before him. A frenzy of fear twisted his features; he felt the passion that had been his undoing shrivel and fade like a parchment in a flame. His voice rose in a kind of scream:

"Don't look at me like that!" he raved. "I was a fool to trust her, but it's done now. It's done, I tell you, and you can't undo it! What can they do to us? They may find the machine, but what can they prove? We're foreigners! They can't touch us without proof!"

He had no thought now of the millions that were to have been his. All the grandiloquent pictures he had painted of the future faded in panic. He trembled excessively.

"Proof!" sneered Bersonin savagely. "There would have been none if—it happened! I had arranged that! In its operation the machine destroys itself! And neither of us is in Yokohama to-night."

Phil's ashen face set; his tongue curled round his parched lips. "What is to be done? Can we still—"

"Listen," said the doctor. "A single hour more, even with your cursed folly, and all would have been well, for no trains are running and all wires are down. I heard this afternoon, too, that the wireless is out of order."

[pg 400] "Then—then—they can not—" Phil's voice shook with a nauseous eagerness.

"Wait! When I saw the girl there, I was suspicious. I watched. In a little while your friend Daunt came from the gate. In some way he happened to be there. The betto was flogging the horses like a crazy man. He came in this direction!—Can't you understand? His aëroplane! He is going to use it as a last chance. If he succeeds, we may spend our lives in the copper mines. If he can be stopped, we may win yet! There will be nothing but the tale of a Japanese drab—that and nothing else!"

Phil flung on his clothing in a madness of haste. The desperate dread that had raged in him was become now a single fixed idea, frosted over by a cold, demented fury. Unhealthy spots of red sprang in his white cheeks; his eyes dilated to the mania of the paranoiac.

Hatless, he rushed through the little garden, cleared the rear hedge at a bound, and fled, like a runaway from hell, toward the darkness of the vast parade-ground.

[pg 401]


As Bersonin stood by the wistaria gate beside the pulsing motor, confused thoughts rushed through his mind into an eddying phantasmagoria. The fear and agitation which he had kept under only by an immense self-control returned with double weight.

All was known—thanks to the brainless fool in whom he had relied! The Government knew. The wild tale the Japanese girl had told had been believed! Had there been suspicions before? He thought of the espionage he had fancied had been kept of late on his movements, of the silent, saturnine faces he had imagined dogged his footsteps. Even his servants, even Ishida, with his blank visage and fantastic English, might be—

He looked sharply at the chauffeur. He was lighting a cigarette in the hollow of his hands; the ruddy flare of the match lit the brown placid face, the narrow, secret-keeping eyes.

He tried to force his mind to a measure of control, to look the situation in the face.

If Phil failed. If the aëroplane won against darkness [pg 402] and wind—if the bungalow was reached in time, and the machine made harmless. Nothing would happen. Who, then, would believe the girl's wild story? Who could show that he had made it? He had worked at night, alone in his locked laboratory. Besides, it would tell nothing. It would yield its secret only to the master mind. And if its presence on the roof damned anybody, it would not be him! He had not put it there. He had not been in Yokohama in three days!

If the aëroplane did not start—he remembered the look on Phil's face when he rushed away!—or if it failed. With its own deadly ray, the very machine would vanish. Phil had not known this—could not have told. The searchers would find nothing! The news would have flashed along the cables that must roll up for him vast sums in the panic of markets. And there would be nothing to bring the deed home to him!

Nothing? The warning had been given before the fact. The Government had taken alarm. Bureaus were buzzing already. Sooner or later the accusation would be running through the street, swiftly and stealthily, from noble to merchant, from coolie to beggar, from end to end of this seething oriental city—wherein he was a marked man! What mattered it whether there were evidence on which a court would condemn him? The story of his huge coup in the bourses would be told—would rise up [pg 403] against him. He remembered suddenly a tale he had heard—of a traitor to Japan cut to pieces in a tea-house. An icy sweat broke out on his limbs.

Where was there any refuge? On a foreign ship? There were many in the bay. He longed with a desperate longing for the touch of a deck beneath his feet, a bulwark of blue water between him and possible vengeance. At Kisaraz' on the Chiba Road, a dozen miles to the north in the curve of the bay, was his summer villa, his frequent resort for week-end. His naphtha launch lay there, always ready for use. He could reach it in an hour.

"Get into the tonneau," he said to the chauffeur. "I'll drive, myself."

He took the wheel the other resigned, threw on the clutch, and the clamorous monster moved off down the quiet lane. Past ranks of darkened shoji, with here and there a barred yellow square; by lanterned tea-houses, alight and tinkling, past stolid, pacing watchmen in white duck clothing, and sauntering groups of night-hawk students chanting lugubrious songs—faster and faster, till the chauffeur clutched the seat with uneasiness.

The fever of flight was on his master now. He began to imagine voices were calling after him. From a police-box ahead a man stepped into the roadway waving a hand. It was no more than a warning against over-speed, but the gesture sent a thrill of terror through the big man at the wheel. He [pg 404] swerved sharply around a corner, skidding on two wheels.

Bersonin muttered a curse as he peered before him, for the stretch was brilliantly illuminated. He was on the Street-of-Prayer-to-the-Gods, which to-night seemed strangely alive with hubbub.

That afternoon, with the passing of the rain, there had been held a neighborhood hanami, a "flower-viewing-excursion." A score of families, with picnic paraphernalia, had trooped to the wistaria arbors of far-distant Kameido, to return in the small hours laden with empty baskets and somnolent babies. To-morrow, like to-day, would be holiday, when school and work alike should be forgotten. The cavalcade had just returned—afoot, since the trams had ceased running at midnight—the men merry with saké, the women chattering. A few children, still wakeful, scampered here and there.

The chauffeur leaned forward with an exclamation—they had all but run down a hobbling figure.

"Keep your hands off!" snarled Bersonin. "Let them get out of the way!" The automobile dashed on, the people scattering before it.

There was a small figure in the roadway, however, of whom no one took account—a six year old. Ishikichi had not gone to the hanami that day. For many hours that long afternoon, while his mother cared for the sick father, he had beat the tiny drum that soothed a baby's fret, comforted by the promise [pg 405] that he should be waked in the great hour when the crowd came home. Stretched on his worn f'ton that night, he had puzzled over the situation—the hard, blank fact that because they had no money, they must give up the shop, which was the only home he knew. When they took his father away to the byo-in, the sick-house, what would he and his mother and the baby-San do? Would they stand, like the kadots'ke, playing a samisen at people's doors? It was not honorably pleasant to be a kadots'ke! Only men could earn money, and it would be so long before he became a man. So he had been pondering when he went to sleep. Now, standing in the road, he heard the hum of the rushing motor, and a quick thought,—born of that instinct of sacrifice for the parent, that is woven, a golden thread, in the woof of the Japanese soul—darted into his baby brain. One of the big fire-wagons of the seiyo-jin was coming! When the carriage killed Toru, his playmate, the foreigner had sent much money to Toru's house. He was not sorry any more, because the white-faced man whom he liked, who lived in the temple, had told him what a fine thing it had been. For Toru's honorable father had been fighting with the Gaki, the no-rice-devils—it was almost like a war—and Toru had died just as the brave soldiers did in battle. A great purpose flooded the little soul. Was he not brave, too?

So, as Bersonin, with a snarl, shook off the hand [pg 406] of the chauffeur and threw the throttle wide open, Ishikichi did not scamper with the rest. With his hands tightly clenched in his patched kimono, his huge clogs clattering on the roadway, he ran straight into the path of the hurtling mass of steel.

There was a sudden, sickening jolt. The car leaped forward, dragging something beneath it that made no sound. The chauffeur hurled himself across the seat on the gear, and the automobile stopped with a grinding discord of screeching pistons. A surge of people came around it—a wave without outcry, but holding a hushed murmur like the sea. Shoji were opening, doorways filling the street with light. A man bent and drew something gently from between the wheels.

With a writhing oath the expert wrenched at the clutch.

"Go on!" he said savagely. "How dare you stop without my orders?"

The Japanese made no reply, but the arms that braced the wheel were rigid as steel.

Bersonin sank back in his seat, his massive frame quivering, his eyes glittering like flakes of mica. But for this, in ten minutes he would have been clear of the city, flying along the Chiba Road! What if he were detained? He felt strange, chilly tendrils plucking at his flesh, and a hundred fiery needles seemed pricking through his brain.

Peering over his shoulder, with his horrible fear [pg 407] on him, he saw the crowd part to admit a woman who, quite silently, but with haste, came forward and knelt on the ground. There was no movement from the crowd.

In a hush like that of death, the mother rose with Ishikichi in her arms. The white, still face looked pitifully small. One clog swayed from its thong between the bare toes. The faded kimono was stained with red. She spoke no word. There was no tear on her face. But in the dreadful silence, she turned slowly with her burden and looked steadily at the twitching face in the car—looked and looked. The chauffeur swung himself from the seat into the crowd.

An insane desire had been creeping stealthily on Bersonin. He had felt it coming when he faced the truth in Phil's cringing admission. The horrible compulsion to laughter was on him. The damnable man-hysteria had him by the throat. He fought it desperately, as one fights a wild beast in the dark.

In vain.

His jaws opened. He laughed—a dreadful peal of merriment that echoed up and down the latticed street. And as he laughed, he knew that he raised a peril nearer, more fearful even than that from which he had been flying.

There was an instant's shocked calm, like the silence which follows the distant spurt of blue flame from the muzzle of a Krupp gun. Then, like its answering [pg 408] detonation—in such a menacing roar as might arise from the brink of an Inferno—the silence of the quiet street burst into awful sound.

Ten minutes later but a single lighted shoji glimmered on the darkened thoroughfare. The roadway was deserted save for a soldierly figure in policeman's uniform who stood thoughtfully looking at a huddle in the dim roadway—a mixture of wrenched and battered iron and glass, in the midst of which lay an inert, shapeless something that might have been a bundle of old clothes fallen from a scavenger's cart.

[pg 409]


Barbara rested ill in her cabin bed that night. Confused dreams troubled her, mingling familiar thoughts in kaleidoscopic confusion, dragging her from one tangle to another in a wearying rapidity against which she struggled in vain. One thing ran through them all—the gold-lacquer Buddha that had stood on the Sendai chest in her bedroom at the Embassy; only it seemed to be also that lost image before which she had used to sit as a child.

She had no feeling of awakening, but all at once the visions were gone and she lay open-eyed, swinging to the movement of the sea, feeling the night to be very long. There came over her a creeping oppression—a sense of terror of the night, of its hidden mysteries and occult forces. The darkness seemed to be holding some dreadful, stolid, lethargic thing that sprawled from horizon to horizon.

A small, noiseless clock was hung beside the bed. She could see its pale face in the light of the thick ground-glass bulb that served as night-lamp. It was nearly four o'clock.

[pg 410] She twisted back the tawny-brown surge of her hair, rose, and dressed as hastily as she could in the lurching space. Then she opened the door and passed into the saloon. A roll of the yacht slammed to the cabin door and left her in darkness. She felt for the electric switch, but before she could find it, another movement sent her reeling against a stand. She threw out her arm to stay her fall and struck something.

There was a clicking sound, a soft whir, and then the music of samisen filled the dark room. She realized that she had staggered against the phonograph in the corner and that the shock had started its mechanism. Wincing, she groped her way to a chair and sat down trembling.

The music died away. There was a pause, a sharp click, a curious confusion of sounds, and then husky and filmy, a human voice:


She caught her hands to her throat, her blood chilling to ice. It was the voice of Austen Ware, speaking, it seemed to her, from the world beyond. She crouched back, breathing fast and hard, while the voice went on, in strange broken periods, threaded by a whir and clamor that seemed the noise of the wind outside.

"What is that I knocked over? It's buzzing and wheels are turning in it—or is it the pain? Can't you stop it, Barbara? No, I know you aren't here, [pg 411] really. I'm all alone ... I must be light-headed. How stupid!"

The strange truth came to her in a stab of realization. What she heard was no supernatural voice. In its fall that night the phonograph's spring had been released and the samisen record had registered also the delirious muttering of the dying man. She felt herself shuddering violently.

"I can't go any farther.... You—you've done it for me, Phil. It ... was the second blow. It seemed to crash right through...."

Barbara's heart was beating to bursting. "Austen, Austen," she whispered to herself, in an agony. "Tell me! Was it Phil? You can't know what you're saying!"

"No one must know it. The law would ... no, no! What good would it do now? He's a bad egg, but I ... I was always proud of the family name. Barbara! Remember, it wasn't Phil! It wasn't Phil!"

She fell on her knees, her hands clasping the arms of the chair, thrilling to the truth beneath that pitiful denial. Phil, not Daunt! The man she had loved had no stain of blood on his soul! She sobbed aloud. With the whir of the machinery there mixed a grating, scratching discord, as though an automaton had attempted to laugh.

"How ridiculous it seems to die like this! Only this morning I was so near ... so near to [pg 412] what I wanted most. It was your losing the locket that checkmated me. Why couldn't I have found it instead of Phil?... Did I tell you I was there that day, Barbara—behind the shikiri, when you followed the Japanese girl into the house? I could see just what you were thinking ... I would never have told you the truth ... never."

With a faint cry Barbara dragged herself backward. In the illusion, everything about her for the instant vanished. The yacht's walls had rolled away. She was on a gloomy hillside, and a stricken man was speaking—confessing.

Again the ghastly attempt to laugh.

"A contemptible thing, wasn't it! I knew that. I've ... I've felt it.... I never seemed contemptible to myself before. But I should have had you, and that ... would have repaid. It was all coming my ... way. Then, just the dropping of a locket, and ... Phil ... and now, it's all over!"

Barbara felt herself engulfed in a wave of complex emotions. She was torn with a great repugnance, a greater joy, and a sense of acute pity that overmastered them both. Then there rolled over all the recollection that what she now listened to was but a mechanical echo. The hillside faded, the walls of the yacht came back.

"I never believed in much, and I'm going without whining. Are you near, Barbara? Sometimes there [pg 413] are many people around me ... and then only you. I ... I think I'm beginning to wander!"

She was weeping now, unrestrained.

There was a long pause, in which the whir of the wheels rasped on. Then—

"Is it your ... arms I feel, Barbara? Or ... is it...."

That was all. The wheels whirred on a little longer, a click and—silence. Only the rush of the wind outside and the passionate sobbing of the girl who knelt in the dark room, her face buried in her hand, her heart tossed on the cross-tides of anguish and of joy.

A long time she knelt there. She was recalled by a confusion on the deck above her—shouts and a hastening of feet. She lifted her face. The dawn had come—its pale, faint radiance sifted through the heavy glass ports and dimly lit the room. The shouts and running multiplied.

She sprang to her feet, opened the door and hurried up the companion-way.

[pg 414]


In that furious pace toward Aoyama, Daunt had been consumed by one thought: that upon his single effort hung the saving of human lives—the covering of a shame to his own nation—the turning away of a foul allegation from the repute of a friendly Empire. He knew that minutes were valuable.

On the long, dimly-lighted roadways where the flying hoofs beat their furious tattoo, few carts were astir, and the trolleys had not yet appeared on the wider thoroughfares. The rain had washed the air clean, the wind was dustless and sweet, and the stars were palely bright. Once a policeman signaled and the driver momentarily slackened speed—then on as before. The horses were white with foam when they reached the parade-ground. Here Daunt leaped down and wrenched both lamps from the carriage. "Go home," he said to the betto, and running through a clump of trees, struck across the waste.

The Japanese stared after him mystified, then [pg 415] with a philosophic objurgation, turned and drove the sweating horses home at a walk.

Daunt ran to a low door in the long garage. The key was on a ring in his pocket. He went in, locking the door behind him. There were no electric lights—he had been there heretofore only by day—and the carriage lamps made only a subdued glimmer that was reflected from the polished metal of the great winged thing resting on its carrier. He threw off his evening coat and set feverishly to work. After its single trial the new fan-propeller had been unshipped for a slight alteration, and the flanges had not yet been reassembled. There were delicate adjustments to be made, wire rigging to be tautened, a score of minute tests before all could be safe and sure. He worked swiftly and with concentration, feeling his mind answering to the stress with an absolute coolness.

At length the last attachment was in place, the final bolt sent home and one of the lamps lashed close in the angle of the wind screen. He took his place and the engine started its familiar double rhythm: pst-pst—pst-pst—pst-pst, as the explosive drop fell faster and faster. He leaned and broke the clutch which held the big double doors of the building. They swung open and he threw on the gear.

And suddenly, as the propeller began to spin, in the instant the Glider started in its rush down the guides, Daunt was aware that some one had darted [pg 416] through the doors. He had a flashing view of a white, disheveled face, heard a cry behind him—then the prow of the Glider tilted abruptly, the air whistled past the screens, the great flat field sank away, and he was throbbing steeply upward, against the sweep of the wind.

Daunt threw himself forward—the bubble in the spirit-level clung to the top of its tube. Rapidly he warped down the elevation-vanes till slowly, slowly, the telltale bubble crept to the middle of the level. What was the matter? The engine was working well, yet there was a sense of heaviness, of sluggishness that was unaccountable. He looked to either side, before him, behind him.

His fingers tightened on the clutches. Just forward of the whirling propeller he made out the figure of a man, lying flat along the ribs of the Glider's body, clutching the steel guys of the planes, looking at him.

For a moment he stared motionless. It was this extra weight that had sent the Glider reeling prow-up—had made it unresponsive to control. The man who clung there had aimed to prevent the flight! Daunt leaned to let the full beam of the flaring lamp go past him. A quick intuition had told him whose were the eyes that had glittered across the throbbing fabric; but the face he saw now was infuriate with a new look that made him shiver. It was incarnate with the daredevil of terror. Phil had been [pg 417] a drunkard; he was drunk now with the calculate madness of overmastering fear. As he gazed, a flitting, irrelevant memory crossed Daunt's mind, of a day at college, years before, when by a personal appeal, he had saved Phil from the disgrace of expulsion. And now it was Phil—Phil!—clinging there, with desperate, hooked fingers, struggling to consummate a crime that must sink him for ever!

Pst-pst—pst-pst—pst-pst; on the Glider drove. With a fierce effort, Daunt crushed down the sense of unreality and swiftly weighed his position.

The other was directly in front of the propeller, a perilous place. Only the guy-wire was in his reach. Between them was a shuddering space. To land in the darkness to rid the aëroplane of that incubus, was impossible. He must go on. Could he win with such a terrible handicap? He set his teeth. Tilting the lateral vanes, he soared in a wide serpentine, peering into the deep, resounding dark below.

Tokyo lay a vast network of tiny pin-pricks of fire. He had never been so high before, had been content to sweep the tree-tops. To the left a bearded scimitar of light, merged by blackness, marked the bay. Daunt swung parallel with this. Pst-pst—pst-pst—pst-pst. The wind tore in gusts through the structure, the planes vibrating, the guys humming like the strings of a gigantic harp. His clothing dragged at his body. He was too high; he leaned over the mass of levers and the Glider slid [pg 418] down a long, steep descent, till in the starlight he could see the blue-gray blur of roofs, the massed shadows of little parks of trees. Now he was passing the edge of the city—now below him was the gloom of the rice-fields. A low sobbing sound came in the wind; it was the bubbling chorus of the frogs, and across it he heard the bark of a peasant's dog.

To the right a dark hill loomed without warning, with a dim congeries of red tea-houses. It was the famous Ikegami, the shrine of the Buddhist saint Ichiren, famed for its plum-gardens. It fell away behind, and now, far off, a score of miles ahead, grew up on the horizon a misty blotch of radiance. Yokohama! He swerved, heading out across the lagoon, straight as the bee flies for the shimmering spot. Pst-pst—pst-pst—faster and faster spat the tiny explosions. The Glider throbbed and sang like a thing alive, and the hum of the propeller shrilled into a scream.

Tokyo was far behind now, the pale glow ahead rising and spreading. To the right he could see the clumped lights of the villages along the railroad, Kamata—Kawasaki—Tsurumi. He dropped still lower, out of the lash of the wind.

Suddenly a flying missile struck the forward plane, which resounded like a great drum. A drop of something red fell on his bare hand and a feathered body fell like a stone between his feet. A dark carpet, dotted with foam, seemed to spring up [pg 419] out of the gulf. Daunt threw himself at the levers and rammed them back. The Glider had almost touched the sea—for a heartbreaking instant he thought it could never rise. He heard the curl of the waves, and a cry from behind him. Then, slowly, slowly, breasting the blast, it came staggering up the hill of air to safety.

The sky was perceptibly lightening now. Daunt realized it with a tightening of all his muscles. It was the first tentative withdrawal of the forces of the dark. Should he be in time? With his free hand he loosened the coil of the grapnel. Suddenly the chances seemed all against success. A feeling of hopelessness caught him. He thought of the two men he had left behind, waiting—waiting. What message would come to them that morning?

The engine was doing its best, every fiber of tested steel and canvas ringing and throbbing. But the creeping pallor of the night grew apace. Kanagawa:—the Glider swooped above it, left it behind. The misty glow was all around now, lights pricked up through the shadow. Yokohama was under his feet, and ahead—the darker mass toward which he was hurtling—was the Bluff.

Slowly, with painful anxiety, he swung the huge float in to skirt the cliff's seaward edge. There was the naval hospital with its flag-staff. There beyond, was the familiar break in the rampart of foliage—and there, flapping in the wind, was the [pg 420] awning on the flat roof of the Roost. In the dawning twilight, it seemed a monstrous, leprous lichen, shuddering at the unholy thing it hid. Daunt threw out the grapnel.

He curved sharply in, aslant to the wind, flung down his prow and swooped upon it. There was a tearing, splintering complaint of canvas and bamboo; the Glider seemed to stop, to tremble, then leaped on. Turning his head, Daunt saw the awning disappear like a collapsed kite. He caught a glimpse, on the steep, ascending roadway of a handful of naked men running staggeringly, one straggler far behind. The thought flashed through his mind that these were the cadets from the Naval College. But they would be too late! The sun was coming too swiftly. The sky was a tide of amethyst—the dawn was very near! He came about in a wide loop that took him out over the bay, making the turn with the wind. For a fraction of a second he looked down—on the Squadron of battle-ships, a geometrical cluster of black blots from which straight wisps of dark smoke spun like raveled yarn into the formless obscurity. A shrill, mad laugh came from behind him.

Daunt was essaying a gigantic figure-of-light whose waist was the flat bungalow roof. It was a difficult evolution in still sunlight and over a level ground. He had now the semi-darkness, and the sucking down-drafts of the wind that made his [pg 421] flight, with its driving falls and recoveries, seem the careless fury of a suicide. Yet never once did his hand waver, never did that strange, tense coolness desert him.

As he swept back, like a stone in the sling of the wind, he saw the thing he had come to destroy. It had the appearance of a large camera, set on a spidery tripod near the edge of the flat roof, its lens pointing out over the anchorage. Landing was out of the question; to slacken speed meant to fall. He must strike the machine with the body of the Glider or with the grapnel. To strike the roof instead meant to be hurled headlong, mangled or dead, his errand unaccomplished, down somewhere in that medley of roofs and foliage. The chances that he could do this seemed suddenly to fade to the vanishing point. A wave of profound hopelessness chilled his heart.

With Phil's mad, derisive laughter ringing in his ears, he dropped the Glider's stem and drove it obliquely across. The grapnel bounded and clanged along the tiling, missing the tripod by three feet. On, in an upward staggering lunge, then round once more, wearing into the wind.

There was no peal of laughter now from the man clinging to the steel rib. With the clarity of the lunatic Phil saw how close the swoop had been. The scourge of the wind and the rapid flight through the rarefied air had exalted him to a cunning [pg 422] frenzy. He had no terror of the moment—all his fear centered in the to-morrow. To his deranged imagination the black square on the tripod represented his safety. He had forgotten why. But Bersonin had made him see it clearly. It must not be touched! Daunt was the devil—he was trying to send him to the copper-mines, to work underground, with chains on his feet, as long as he lived!

The Glider heeled suddenly and slid steeply downward. Daunt gripped the levers and with all his strength warped up the forward plane. He felt a pang of sharpened agony. He, too, would fail! The crash was almost upon him. But the Glider hung a moment and righted. Farther and farther he twisted the laterals, till she swam up, oscillating. A jerk ran through her after framework; he turned his head. Clinging with foot and hand, his hair streaming back from his forehead, his lips wide, Phil was drawing himself, inch by inch, along the sagging guy-wire toward him.

For a rigid second Daunt could not move a muscle. Then, caught by the upper wind, the perilous tilting of the planes awoke him. He swung head on, wavered, and swooped a last time for the roof.

Pst-pst—pst-pst—Crash! The curved irons of the grapnel tore away the coping—slid, screaming. A jolt all but threw him from his seat. There were running feet somewhere far below him—a battering [pg 423] and shattering of glass in the piazza. He felt a sudden clearance and the big aëroplane plunged sidewise out over the bay, with a black, unwieldy weight, that spun swiftly, hanging on its grapnel.

A shout tore its way from his lips. Heedless of direction, he wrenched with his fingers to unship the grapnel chain. At the same instant the first sunbeam slid across the waves and turned the misty gloom to the golden-blue glory of morning.

And with it, as though the voice of the day itself, there went out over the water, above the sweep of the wind, a single piercing-sweet note of music, like the cry of a great, splendid bird calling to the sunrise. Fishermen in tossing sampan, and sailors on heaving junk heard it, and whispered that it was the cry of the kaminari, the thunder-animal, or of the kappa that lures the swimmer to his death. An icy blast seemed to shoot past the Glider into the zenith. Staring, Daunt realized that one of the great planes, the propeller, the after-framework, with the man who had clung to it, were utterly gone—that the Glider, like a dead bird caught by the thudding twinge of a bullet, was lunging by its own momentum—to its fall! Had Phil fallen, or was it—

Suddenly he felt himself flung backward, then forward on his face. The spreading vanes, crumpled edgewise, like squares of cardboard, were sliding down. He saw the shipping of the bay spread beneath him—the twin lighthouses, one red, one [pg 424] white, on the ends of the breakwater—the black Dreadnaughts—a steamer with bright red funnels—a fleet of fishing sampan putting out. All were swelling larger and larger. The wind, blowing upward around him, stole his breath, and he felt the blood beating in his temples. He heard ships' bells striking, and across the sound a temple-bell boomed clearly. A mist was coming before his eyes. Just below him was a white yacht; it seemed to be rushing up to meet him like a swan.

Thoughts darted through his brain like live arrows. The battle-ships were saved! No shameful suspicion should touch Japan's name in the highways of the world! What matter that he lost the game? What did one—any one—count against so much?

He thought of Barbara. He would never know now what she had been about to tell him that night at the Nikko shrine! He would never see her again! But she would know ... she would know!

The sound of the sea—a great roaring in his ears.

[pg 425]


On the deck of the white yacht the captain rose to his feet. The battle fought on that huddle of blankets for the life of the man so hardly snatched from the sea had been a close one, but it had been won. His smile of satisfaction overran the group of observant faces at one side, the bishop watching with strained anxiety, and the girl, who pillowed in her arms that unconscious head with its drenched, brown curls.

"Don't you be afraid, Miss Fairfax," he said, with bluff heartiness. "He'll be all right now!"

The assurance came to Barbara's heart with an infinite relief that he could not guess. At the first sight of the huge bird-like thing slipping down the sky she had known the man clinging to its framework was Daunt. The stricken moments while the wreck of the great vanes lay outspread on the water—the launch of the yacht's boat, and the lifting of the limp form over its gunwale—the cruelly kind ministrations that had brought breath back to the inert body—these had seemed to her to consume dragging hours of agony. A thunder of guns [pg 426] roared across the water, but she scarcely heard. Her eyes were fixed on the face to which the tide of life was returning.

Again the roar, and now the sound pierced the saturating darkness. It called the numbed senses back to the sphere of feeling—to a consciousness of an immense weariness and a gentle motion. It seemed to Daunt as though his head rested on a pillow which rose and fell to an irregular rhythm. He stirred. His eyes opened.

Memory dawned across them. Haru's story—the windy flight on the Glider—the sick sense of failure—the plunge down, and down, and the water leaping toward him! Had he failed? A third time the detonation rang out. He started, made an effort to rise. His gaze swept the sea. There, flags flying, bands playing, a line of Dreadnaughts was steaming down the harbor.

"The battle-ships!" he said, and there was triumph in his eyes.

He turned his head and saw the bishop, the silent crew, the relieved countenance of the captain. Realization came to him. Soft arms were about him; the pillow that rose and fell was a woman's heaving breast! His gaze lifted, and Barbara's eyes flowed into his. He put out a hand weakly and whispered her name.

She did not speak, but in that look a glory enfolded him. It was not womanly pity in her face—it [pg 427] was far, far more, something wordless, but eloquent, veiled, yet passionately tender. He knew suddenly that after the long night had come the morning, after the pain and the misunderstanding all would be well.

For an instant he closed his eyes, smiling. The darkness was gone for ever. His head was on her heart, and it was her dear arms that were lifting him up, into the sunlight, the sunlight, the sunlight!

[pg 428]


Long, windless, golden days of spring and falling cherry-petals, with cloud-piles like fleecy pillars, with fringing palm-plumes and bamboo foliage turning from yellow cadmium to tawny green.

Drowsy, lotos-eating days of summer among purple hills wound in a luminous elfin haze. Days of typhoon and straight-falling rain. Sunsets of smouldering crimson and nights under a blue-black vault palpitating with star-swarms or a waste of turquoise, liquid with tropic moonlight.

Languorous days of autumn by the Inland Sea, when the dying summer's breath lingers like the perfume of incense, and the mirroring lilac water deepens to bishop's-purple.

So the mild Japanese winter comes—slowly, under a high, keen sky, bringing at last its scourging of dust and wind, its chill, opaque nights with their spectral fog veiling the trembling flames of the constellations, and its few, rare days when the evergreen earth is covered with a blanket of snow.

There came one such day when Daunt stood with [pg 429] Barbara by the huge stone torii at the gateway of the Mon-to temple on the Hill-of-the-Spirit. The air was softly radiant but not cold, the translucent heavens tinted with a fairy mauve, which on the horizon merged into dying hyacinth. The camelia hedges stood like blanched rows of crystalled beryl, the stalwart mochi trees were cased in argent armor, and the curving porch of the temple, the roof of the near-by nunnery, the forest of bronze lanterns and the square stone tablets in the graveyard were capped with soft rounded mounds of snow. It lay thickly over the paved space save where a wide way had been cleared to the temple steps, for the day was a saijits', a holy day, when the people gather to worship.

Across the lane they could see the Chapel lifting its white cross into the clear blue. From its chancel arch was hung a crucifix of gold-lacquer, where the declining sun, shining through the stained glass of the rose-window, each evening touched it to shimmering color. The altar to-day was fragrant with the first plum-blossoms; two hours ago the bishop, standing before it, had read the sacred office which had made them man and wife. The carriage which was to take them to Shimbashi Station waited now at the end of the lane while Barbara brought a branch of the early blooms to lay on a Buddhist grave in a tenantless garden.

In one of the farther groups before the temple [pg 430] steps was a miniature rick-sha drawn by a servant. It held a child who had not walked since a night when, with clenched hands and brave little heart, he had run into the path of a speeding motor-car. On the breast of his wadded kimono was a knot of ribbon at which the other children gazed in awe and wonder. It had been pinned one night to a small hospital shirt when the wandering eyes were hot with fever and the baby face pinched and white, by a lady whom Ishikichi had thought must be the Sun Goddess at very least, and before whom the attendants of that room of pain had bowed to the very mats. He knew that in some dim way, without quite knowing how, he had helped that great, mysterious something that meant the Government of Japan, and that he should be very proud of it. But Ishikichi was far prouder of the fine foreign front that had displaced the poor little shop in the Street-of-prayer-to-the-Gods.

Nearer the gateway, on the edge of the gathering, stood an old man, his face seamed and lined, but with eye clear and young and a smile on his face. The crest on his sleeve was the mon of an ancient and honored samurai family. He leaned on the arm of his adopted son—a Commander of the Imperial Navy whose name had once been Ishida Hetaro. They stood apart, regarding not the Temple, but the low building across the hedge, behind whose bamboo lattice dim forms passed and repassed.

[pg 431] "Look," said Barbara suddenly, and touched Daunt's arm. A woman's figure had paused at the lattice of the nunnery. She was dressed in slate-color and her delicate features and close-shaven head gave her a singularly unearthly appearance, like an ethereal and angelic boy. The little two-wheeled carriage drew up at the lattice and a slender hand reached out and patted the round cropped head of its occupant. As the vehicle was drawn away, the nun looked up and across the yard—toward the old samurai and the young naval officer. The wraith of a flush crept into her cheek. She smiled, and they smiled in return, the placid Japanese smile which is the rainbow of forbidden tears. A second they stood thus, then the slate-colored figure drew back and was gone, and the old man, supported by the younger arm, passed slowly out of the yard.

Barbara's eyes were still on the lattice as Daunt spoke. "What is it?" he asked.

"The face of the nun there," she said, with vague wistfulness. "It reminds me of some one I have known. Who can it be, I wonder!"

They crossed the yard, and entered the deserted garden. The great ruin at its side was covered with friendly shrubs and the all-transfiguring snow. The line of stepping-stones had been swept clean and beside the frost-fretted lake an irregular segment of rock, closely carved with ideographs, had been planted upright. It stood in mystic peace, looking [pg 432] between the snow-buried, birdless trees toward the horizon where Fuji-San towered into the infinite calm—a magical mountain woven of a world of gems, on which the sun's heart beat in a tumult. At the base of the stone slab were Buddhist vases filled with green leaves in fresh water, and in one of these Barbara placed the branch of plum-blossoms. Its pink petals lay against the brown rock like the kiss of spring on a wintry heart.

As she arranged the sprays, Daunt stood looking down on her bent head, where, under her fur hat, the sun was etching gold-hued lines on the soft copper of her hair. He had taken a yellowed envelope from his pocket.

"Do you remember, dearest," he said, "that I once told you of an old envelope in the Chancery safe bearing the name of Aloysius Thorn?"

"Yes," she answered wonderingly.

"It was opened, after his death, while you were away. It contained his will. I turned it into Japanese, as best I could, for the temple priests. It is carved there on the stone. The Ambassador gave the original to the bishop, and he handed it to me to-day for you. He thought you would like to keep it." He drew the paper from the discolored envelope and handed it to her.

She sat down on a boulder and unfolding the faded sheets, began to read aloud, in a voice that became more and more unsteady:

[pg 433] "Know All Men by These Presents, that I, Aloysius Thorn, of the city of Tokyo, in Tokyo-fu, Empire of Japan, being in health and of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make and publish this my last will and testament, devising, bequeathing and disposing in the manner following, to wit:

"Item: I give, devise and bequeath to Japanese children, inclusively, for and through the term of their childhood, the woods of cryptomeria, with their green silences, and the hillsides with the chirpings of bell-crickets in the sa-sa grass and the fairy quiverings of golden butterflies. I give them the husky crow and the darting swallow under the eaves. And I devise to them all lotos-pools on which to sail their straw sampan, the golden carp and the lilac-flashing dragon-fly in and above them, and the dodan thickets where the semi chime their silver cymbals. I also give to them all temple yards, wheresoever situate, and all moats, and the green banks thereunto appertaining, for their playgrounds, providing, however, that they break no tree or shrub, remembering that trees, like children, have souls. And I devise to them the golden fire of the morning and all long, white clouds, to have and to hold the same, without let or hindrance. These the above I bequeath to them, possessing no little child of my own with whom to share my interest in the world.

"To boys especially I give and bequeath all holidays [pg 434] to be glad in, and the blue sky for their paper kites. To girls I give and bestow the rainbow kimono, the flower in the hair and the battledore. And I bequeath them all kinds of dolls, reminding them that these, if loved enough, may some time come alive.

"Item: To young men, jointly, I devise and bequeath the rough sports of kenjuts' and of ju-jits', the shinai-play and all manly games. I give them the knowledge of all brave legends of the samurai, and especially do I leave them the care and respect for the aged. I give them all far places to travel in and all manner of strange and delectable adventures therein. And I apportion to them the high noon, with its appurtenances, to wit: the heat and burden of the day, its commotions, its absorbing occupations and its fiercer rivalries. I give to them, moreover, the cherry-blossom, the flower of bushido, which, falling in the April of its bloom, may ever be for them the symbol of a life smilingly yielded in its prime.

"To young women, I give and devise the glow of the afternoon, the soft blue witchery of pine shadows, the delicate traceries of the bamboo and the thin, low laughter of waterfalls. I devise to them all manner of perfumes, and tender spring blossoms (save in the one exception provided hereinbefore), such as the plum-blossom and the wistaria, with the red maple-leaves and the gorgeous glories of the [pg 435] chrysanthemum. And I give to them all games of flower-cards, and all divertisements of music, as the biwa, the flute and the samisen, and of dances whatsoever they may choose.

"Item: To the aged I bequeath snowy hair, the long memories of the past and the golden ihai on the Buddha-Shelf. I give them the echo of tiny bare feet on the tatamé, and the grave bowing of small shaven heads. I devise to them the evening's blaze of crimson glory and the amber clouds above the sunset, the pale andon and the indigo shadows, the dusk dance of the yellow lanterns, the gathering of friends at the moon-viewing place and the liquid psalmody of the nightingale. I give to them also the winter, the benediction of snow-bent boughs and the waterways gliding with their silver smiles. I give to them sufficient space to lie down within a temple ground that echoes the play of little children. And finally I bequeath to them the love and blessing of succeeding generations for the blossoming of a hundred lives.

"In testimony whereof, I, the said Aloysius Thorn—"

Barbara's voice broke off. Her eyes were wet as she folded the paper. Daunt drew her to her feet, and with his arm about her, they stood looking out across the white city lying in all its ghostly glamour—the many-gabled watch-towers above the castle walls, the glistening plateau of Aoyama with its dull [pg 436] red barracks, the rolling sea of wan roofs, and far beyond, the creeping olive of the bay. In the clear distance they could see the lift of Kudan Hill, and the gray pile of the Russian Cathedral. Standing in its candle-lighted nave, they had listened to Japanese choir-boys hymning the Birth in Bethlehem. The next Christmas they two would be together—but in another land!

"Minister to Persia!" she said. "I am glad of your appointment, for it means so much to your career. And yet—and yet—"

In the temple yard behind them an acolyte, wading knee-deep in the snow, swung the cedar beam of the bell-tower and the deep-voiced boom rolled out across the cradling hush. Again and yet again it struck, the waves of sound throbbing into volume through the still air. It came to them like a firm and beautiful voice, the articulate echo of the Soul of Japan.

The whinny of restive horses stole over the hedges. Silently Daunt held out his hand to her. She bent and picked a single plum-blossom from the branch and slipped it into the yellow envelope. For a last time she looked out across the distance.

"The beautiful country!" she said.


Transcriber Notes:

Throughout the dialogues, there were words used to mimic accents of the speakers. Those words were retained as-is.

In the table of contents, "BANZAI NIPPON" was replaced with "BANZAI NIPPON!"

The illustrations have been moved so that they do not break up paragraphs and so that they are next to the text they illustrate.

Errors in punctuation, inconsistent hyphenation, and idiosyncratic spellings were not corrected unless otherwise noted.

On page 1, "Rosicrusian" was replaced with "Rosicrucian".

On page 12, "tauntness" was replaced with "tautness".

On page 30, "exhiliration" was replaced with "exhilaration".

On page 36, "cockaboo" was replaced with "cockatoo".

On page 40, "pastelles" was replaced with "pastels".

On page 114, "xilophone" was replaced with "xylophone".

On page 193, "rich'sha" was replaced with "rick'sha".

On page 206, "rich'sha" was replaced with "rick'sha".

On page 213, "oramented" was replaced with "ornamented".

On page 417, "scimetar" was replaced with "scimitar".

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