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white men had entered Pahang for the purpose of quieting that troubled land that a new grief came to Mînah, tightening her heart-strings with an anxiety hitherto undreamed of. Men whispered in the villages that the strange pale-faced folk who now ruled the land had many laws unknown to the old râjas, unhallowed by custom, not beautified by age or tradition, and that one of these provided for the segregation of lepers. At first Mînah could not believe her ears when the village elders, mumbling their discontent concerning a thousand lying rumours, spoke also of this measure, which, so men said, was very shortly to become law in the State of Pahang. What? Separate her from her man? Tear him away from her, leaving her desolate and utterly alone, while he, having none to tend him, would die miserably, crying vainly for her in the tones that none but she could now interpret? An agony of consternation racked her at the picture which the words of the village elders conjured up. She was wellnigh distraught with fear, but in her heart there was also a wild desire to fight to the death to save her man from this bitter wrong, to fight as does the tigress in defence of her little ones.
left her own village, and to her the twenty odd miles of river that separated her home from the town were a road of wonder through an undiscovered country. The ordered streets of the town; the brick buildings, in which the Chinese traders had their shops; the lamp-posts; the native policemen standing at the corners of the road-shameless folk, who wore trousers but no protecting sarong; the vast block of Government offices, for to her this far-from-imposing pile seemed a stupendous piece of architecture; the made road, smooth and metalled,-the wonder and the strangeness of it all dazed and frightened her. What could the white men, who had so many marvellous things, want with her poor man, the leper, that they should desire to take him from her? Ah, it was cruel, cruel, more merciless and wanton than any of the deeds of the old râjas, concerning which men still told grisly tales with bated breath!
She asked for me, since I had bade her come to me in trouble, and presently she made her way along the unfamiliar roads to the big house on the river-bank, round which the forest clustered so closely in the beauty that no hand was suffered to destroy. She sat upon the matting on my study floor, awed at the strangeness of it all, looking at me plaintively out of those great eyes of hers, and weeping furtively. She had the simple faith of one who has lived all his days in the his days in the same spot, whither few strangers go, where each man knows his neighbour and his neighbour's affairs. It
Mînah managed with some difficulty to persuade and bribe an old crone to tend Mâmat for a day or two. Then she set off for Kuâla Lipis, the town at which the white men, she had heard men say, had their headquarters. Until she started upon this journey she had never
VOL. CLXV.-NO. M.
never occurred to her that her "Have no fear, sister," I words might need explanation said. "Thy man shall not be or preface of any kind, in order taken from thee if I can do that they might be rendered aught to prevent it. Who is intelligible, and as she looked it that seeks to separate thee at me, she sobbed out her prayer, from him?" "O suffer me to keep my man and my children, O suffer them not to be taken from me! Allah, Tuan, suffer me to keep my man and my children!"
"Men say that it is an order." To the Oriental an order is a kind of impersonal monster, invincible and impartial, a creature that respects no man and is cruel to all alike. "It
"Have no fear," I said. is true that I have bidden the headman of the villages report as to the number of those afflicted by the evil sickness, but in this land of Pahang the number is very small, the infection does not spread, and therefore, sister, have no fear, hearken to my words, the Government hath no desire to separate thee from thy man. Re
I knew, of course, that she spoke of her "man and her children" simply for the sake of decorum, since it is coarse and indecent, in the eyes of an upcountry woman, to speak of her husband alone, even though she be childless; but for the moment I supposed that she was the wife of some man accused of a crime, who had come to me seeking the aid I had not the power to give. "What has thy man done?" turn in peace to thy home, and I asked.
put all fear away, and if aught cometh to trouble thee, I am at hand to listen to thy plaint."
The lives of all of us, we men whom Fate has exiled to the uttermost ends of the earth, hold many days in which Discontent, born of an aching longing for all the things from which we are severed, and the Despair that the question Cui Bono? Cui Bono? brings to life, play at battledore and shuttlecock with our tired hearts. They are evil days, weary and dark, and we fight through them as best we can, we who are blessed with stamina, while they cram our churchyards with the bones of those amongst us who are fashioned too delicately for such rough handling. These dark hours of the exile are a trial which can never be appreciated
by any one who has not himself been subjected to the cruel strain. They crush the spirit from out the heart, and make life for the moment an empty thing and vain. At such times I like to seek comfort in the recollection of the few brown faces into which some word or action of mine has brought the light that otherwise had not been kindled, and it is then that Mînah's face rises before my mind's eye, her features transformed by an ecstasy of relief, her great soft eyes dewy with unshed tears, her lips trying vainly to speak the words of gratitude which the strength and violence of her emotions will not suffer her to utter. had done nothing for her? True, but to her it seemed as though I had given her back all the joy in life, had turned her world from sombre indigo to gorgeous rose-colour in the space of a moment. I had done nothing truly; but it is something to have been the means of bringing a look such as that to the face of a good woman. In the memory I find compensation
for much, nor care greatly if some there be to whom such a feeling may appear ridiculous.
So Mînah returned to her home with joy in her heart and that glad look upon her face; and in that secluded up-country village, not twenty miles from the place where I sit writing these lines, she still toils unceasingly, tending the wrecked creature, that is still to her the man she loves, with unfailing tenderness and care. Men say that he can live but a few months longer, and it wrings my heart to think of what the loss will be to Mînah when, to use the Malayan idiom, "the order comes" to her man. In that hour of utter desolation and profound loneliness no human voice will have the power to bring that beautiful look of gladness back to Mînah's eyes; and of a Divine Voice this daughter of the Muhammadans, in spite of her pure soul and her brave heart, has no knowledge from which to seek consolation.
UNDER THE BEARD OF BUCHANAN.
"WHAT charm can soothe our melancholy, What art can wash our grief away?" is unquestionably the problem of the day, and happy will be the literary agent who can solve it.
Our writers have become grave as judges, and their occasional deviations into the sadly humorous are received with the lenient enthusiasm of a wearied court room. A live rabbit under the partially exhausted receiver of an air-pump exhibits a melancholy excitement that is almost equalled in pathos by the conduct of the general reader in the present rarefied atmosphere of humour. We are fain to laugh at the most unconsidered trifles. To such a pass have we come, that men have recently been seen to smile at Mr Frank Harris's Shakespearian criticism, and to laugh immoderately at Canon Rawnsley's daily sonnet. The only fear is that Mr Jerome and his merry men should again take advantage of our necessity. We want humour, it is true; but heaven protect us from a recrudescence of the late New Humour, which, after all, was never really "new," but only an Anglified and diluted form of the Transatlantic substitute for wit. Oh for an hour of Thackeray or Dickens! But Melancholy, it would seem, has marked us for her own.
We had fondly harboured the delusion that the problem novel had gone to its long home with the trunk-maker, and lo! it is with us again in a subtly dis
guised but no less baneful form. Having toyed with adultery, our lady novelists seem to have become enamoured of suicide. Mrs Humphry Ward made away with her latest heroine, and that none too soon. We contemplated the change with an equanimity which we cannot profess to feel for the new writer who has recently, in a work of great ability, put the justification of suicide forward as 'The Open Question.' The ability of the book, and, alas! its earnestness, are only too apparent; but neither of these can extenuate the offence of an author who, appealing to a popular audience, dares lightly to tamper with the very foundations of morality, and vitiates the public mind with a study in mental pathology, tricked out in the guise of fiction. We do not envy C. E. Raimond her responsibility. It is a fascinating subject, truly! the painfully minute record of two neurotic and decadent lovers who marry for mutual gratification, and resolve to die together before their hereditary curse can be bequeathed to another generation. A brave and inspiriting gospel this, which to the question whether life is worth living answers, Yes-provided that we realise clearly that the duration of life is in our own hands. A more pitiful shadow of a man than Ethan Gano never trod the stage of feminine fiction, and were it not for the insidious moral of his puling life, we should heartily applaud the
where much against his own will, be it said -he finally "steers for the Sunset." The only redeeming character in the book is brave old Mrs Gano, a mother worthy of a Gracchus, and all too tolerant of her own miserable brood. "You walk in darkness," said the old woman on her deathbed. "Not the fear of God-that's tonic-but in the fear of pain. Oh, I've watched this phase of modern life. It's been coming, coming for years. The world to-day is crushed and whining under a load of sentimentality. People presently will be afraid to move, lest they do or receive some hurt." The vigorous excellence shown in the drawing of this character leaves a loophole of escape for C. E. Raimond, in that it sometimes raises a doubt whether we are to read her contrariwise, and regard the book as a satire of decadence. But this is only a charitable and forlorn hope; and if it be correct, it but serves to show that she has handled deadly weapons which she cannot use without endangering the public safety. There is only one natural interpretation of her book, and it is fraught with the poisonous air of a hothouse philosophy.
Would you know how first he met her?
She was cutting bread-and-butter.
Charlotte was a married lady,
So he sighed and pined and ogled, And his passion boiled and bubbled, Till he blew his silly brains out, And no more was by it troubled.
Charlotte, having seen his body
We are bound to say, however, that recent fiction also offers us several excellent antidotes for this nauseating stuff, and we deemed ourselves fortunate when chance made us acquainted with the tenth edition of the story of 'Isabel Carnaby '—a most vivacious and entertaining book. It has all the charm, if all the faults, of youth, and we gladly forgive a conventional plot for so much sprightly dialogue. Miss Fowler- to use the latest Fleet Street jargon-has "arrived,” and "should go far"; but we would respectfully suggest that she would go still farther were she to cease to use "like" for "as," and were she to add to the many "excellencies" of her work the purely masculine virtue of correct spelling. Some of the same magic of youth which gives its perennial charm to 'Mona Maclean' has disappeared from Graham Travers's 'Windyhaugh'; but we are fully recompensed by an infinitely more matured skill, a more subtle humour, a profounder insight into life. There is perhaps enough and to spare of psychology in Dr Todd's