Read LETTER XIII of The Mirror of Kong Ho, free online book, by Ernest Bramah, on

Venerated sire, It is now more than three thousand years ago that the sublime moralist Tcheng How, on being condemned by a resentful official to a lengthy imprisonment in a very inadequate oil jar, imperturbably replied, “As the snail fits his impliant shell, so can the wise adapt themselves to any necessity,” and at once coiled himself up in the restricted space with unsuspected agility. In times of adversity this incomparable reply has often shone as a steadfast lantern before my feet, but recently it struck my senses with a heavier force, for upon presenting myself on the last occasion at the place of exchange frequented by those who hitherto have carried out your spoken promise with obliging exactitude, and at certain stated intervals freely granted to this person a sufficiency of pieces of gold, merely requiring in return an inscribed and signet-bearing record of the fact, I was received with no diminution of sympathetic urbanity, indeed, but with hands quite devoid of outstretched fulness.

In a small inner chamber, to which I was led upon uttering courteous protests, one of solitary authority explained how the deficiency had arisen, but owing to the skill with which he entwined the most intricate terms in unbroken fluency, the only impression left upon my superficial mind was, that the person before me was imputing the scheme for my despoilment less to any mercenary instinct on the part of his confederates, than to a want of timely precision maintained by one who seemed to bear an agreeable-sounding name somewhat similar to your own, and who, from the difficulty of reaching his immediate ear, might be regarded as dwelling in a distant land. Encouraged by this conciliatory profession (and seeing no likelihood of gaining my end otherwise), I thereupon declared my willingness that the difference lying between us should be submitted to the pronouncement of dispassionate omens, either passing birds, flat and round sticks, the seeds of two oranges, wood and fire, water poured out upon the ground or any equally reliable sign as he himself might decide. However, in spite of his honourable assurances, he was doubtless more deeply implicated in the adventure than he would admit, for at this scrupulous proposal the benignant mask of his expression receded abruptly, and, striking a hidden bell, he waved his hands and stood up to signify that further justice was denied me.

In this manner a state of destitution calling for the fullest acceptance of Tcheng How’s impassive philosophy was created, nor had many hours faded before the first insidious temptation to depart from his uncompromising acquiescence presented itself.

At that time there was no one in whom I reposed a larger-sized piece of confidence (in no way involving sums of money,) than one officially styled William Beveledge Greyson, although, profiting by our own custom, it is unusual for those really intimate with his society to address him fully, unless the occasion should be one of marked ceremony. Forming a resolution, I now approached this obliging person, and revealing to him the cause of the emergency, I prayed that he would advise me, as one abandoned on a strange Island, by what handicraft or exercise of skill I might the readiest secure for the time a frugal competence.

“Why, look here, aged man,” at once replied the lavish William Greyson, “don’t worry yourself about that. I can easily let you have a few pounds to tide you over. You will probably hear from the bank in the course of a few days or weeks, and it’s hardly worth while doing anything eccentric in the meantime.”

At this delicately-worded proposal I was about to shake hands with myself in agreement, when the memory of Tcheng How’s resolute submission again possessed me, and seeing that this would be an unworthy betrayal of destiny I turned aside the action, and replying evasively that the world was too small to hold himself and another equally magnanimous, I again sought his advice.

“Now what silly upside-down idea is it that you’ve got into that Chinese puzzle you call your head, Kong?” he replied; for this same William was one who habitually gilded unpalatable truths into the semblance of a flattering jest. “Whenever you turn off what you are saying into a willow-pattern compliment and bow seventeen times like an animated mandarin, I know that you are keeping something back. Be a man and a brother, and out with it,” and he struck me heavily upon the left shoulder, which among the barbarians is a proof of cordiality to be esteemed much above the mere wagging of each other’s hands.

“In the matter of guidance,” I replied, “this person is ready to sit unreservedly on your well-polished feet. But touching the borrowing of money, obligations to restore with an added sum after a certain period, initial-bearing papers of doubtful import, and the like, I have read too deeply the pointed records of your own printed sheets not to prefer an existence devoted to the scraping together of dust at the street corners, rather than a momentary affluence which in the end would betray me into the tiger-like voracity of a native money-lender.”

“Well, you do me proud, Kong,” said William Beveledge, after regarding me fixedly for a moment. “If I didn’t remember that you are a flat-faced, slant-eyed, top-side-under, pig-tailed old heathen, I should be really annoyed at your unwarrantable personalities. Do you take me for what you call a ’native money-lender’?”

“The pronouncements of destiny are written in iron,” I replied inoffensively, “and it is as truly said that one fated to end his life in a cave cannot live for ever on the top of a pagoda. Undoubtedly as one born and residing here you are native, and as inexorably it succeeds that if you lend me pieces of gold you become a money-lender. Therefore, though honourably inspired at the first, you would equally be drawn into the entanglement of circumstance, and the unevadible end must inevitably be that against which your printed papers consistently warn one.”

“And what is that?” asked Beveledge Greyson, still regarding me closely, as though I were a creature of another part.

“At first,” I replied, “there would be an alluring snare of graceful words, tea, and the consuming of paper-rolled herbs, and the matter would be lightly spoken of as capable of an easy adjustment; which, indeed, it cannot be denied, is how the detail stands at present. The next position would be that this person, finding himself unable to gather together the equivalent of return within the stated time, would greet you with a very supple neck and pray for a further extension, which would be permitted on the understanding that in the event of failure his garments and personal charms should be held in bondage. To escape so humiliating a necessity, as the time drew near I would address myself to another, one calling himself William, perchance, and dwelling in a northern province, to whom I would be compelled to assign my peach-orchard at Yuen-ping. Then by varying degrees of infamy I would in turn be driven to visit a certain Bevel of the Middle Lands, a person Edge carrying on his insatiable traffic on the southern coast, one Grey elsewhere, and a Mr. Son, of the west, who might make an honourable profession of lending money without any security whatever, but who in the end would possess himself of my ancestral tablets, wives, and inlaid coffin, and probably also obtain a lien upon my services and prosperity in the Upper Air. Then, when I had parted from all comfort in this life, and every hope of affluence in the Beyond, it would presently be disclosed that all these were in reality as one person who had unceasingly plotted to my destruction, and William Beveledge Greyson would stand revealed in the guise of a malevolent vampire. Truly that development has at this moment an appearance of unreality, and worthy even of pooh-pooh, but thus is the warning spread by your own printed papers and the records of your Halls of Justice, and it would be an unseemly presumption for one of my immature experience to ignore the outstretched and warning finger of authority.”

“Well, Kong,” he said at length, after considering my words attentively, “I always thought that your mental outlook was a hash of Black Art, paper lanterns, blank verse, twilight, and delirium tremens, but hang me if you aren’t sound on finance, and I only wish that you’d get some of my friends to look at the matter of borrowing in your own reasonable, broad-minded light. The question is, what next?”

I replied that I leaned heavily against his sagacious insight, adding, however, that even among a nation of barbarians one who could repeat the three hundred and eleven poems comprising the Book of Odes from beginning to end, and claim the degree “Assured Genius” would ever be certain of a place.

“Yes,” replied William Greyson, “in the workhouse. Put your degree in your inside pocket, Kong, and don’t mention it. You’ll have far more chance as a distressed mariner. The casual wards are full of B.A.’s, but the navy can’t get enough A.B.’s at any price. What do you say to an organ, by the way? Mysterious musicians generally go down well, and I dare say there’s room for a change from veiled ladies, persecuted captains and indigent earls. You ought to make a sensation.”

“Is it in the nature of melodious sounds upon winding a handle?” I asked, not at the moment grasping with certainty to what organ he referred.

“Well, some call them that,” he admitted, “others don’t. I suppose, now, you wouldn’t care to walk to Brighton with your feet tied together, or your hair in curl papers, and then get on at a music hall? Or would there be any chance of your Legation kidnapping you if it was properly worked? ’Kong Ho, the great Chinese Reformer, tells the Story of his Life,’ there ought to be money in it. Are you a reformer or the leader of a secret society, Kong?”

“On the contrary,” I replied, “we of our Line have ever been unflinching in our loyalty to the dynasty of Tsing.”

“You ought to have known better, then. It’s a poor business being that in your country nowadays. Pity there are no bye-elections on the African Labour Question, or you’d be snapped up for a procession.”

To this I replied that although the idea of moving in a processional triumph would readily ensnare the minds of the light and fantastic, I should prefer some more literary occupation, submissively adding that in such a case I would not stiffen my joints against the most menial lot, even that of blending my voice in a laudatory chorus, or of carrying official pronouncements about the walls of the city, for it is said with justice, “The starving man does not peel his melon, nor do the parched first wipe round the edges of the proffered cup.”

“If you’ve set your mind on something literary,” said Beveledge confidently, “you have every chance of finishing up in a chorus or carrying printed placards about the streets, certainly. When it comes to that, look me up in Eastcheap.” With this encouraging assurance of my ultimate success he left me, and rejoicing that I had not fallen into the snare of opposing a written destiny, I sought the literary quarters of the city.

When this person has been able to write of any custom or facet of existence here in a strain of conscientious esteem, he has not hesitated to dip his brush deeply into the inkpot. Reverting backwards, this barbarian enactment of not permitting those who from any cause have decided upon spending the night in a philosophical abstraction to repose upon the public seats about the swards and open spaces is not conceived in a mood of affable toleration. Nevertheless there are deserted places beyond the furthest limits of the city where a more amiable full-face is shown. On the eleventh day of this one’s determination to sustain himself by the exercise of his literary style, he was journeying about sunset towards one of these spots, subduing the grosser instincts of mankind by reviewing the wisdom of the sublime Lao Ch’un, who decided that heat and cold, pain and fatigue, and mental distress, have no real existence, and are therefore amenable to logical disproof, while the cravings of hunger and thirst are merely the superfluous attributes of a former and lower state of existence, when a passer-by, who for some distance had been alternately advancing before and remaining behind, matched his footsteps into mine.

“Whichee way walk-go, John, eh?” said this unfortunate being, who appeared to be suffering from a laborious deformity of speech. “Allee samee load me. Chin-chin.”

Filled with compassion for one who evidently found himself alone in a strange land, in the absence of his more highly-accomplished companion, unable to indicate his wants and requirements to those about him, I regretfully admitted that I had not chanced to encounter that John whose wandering footsteps he sought; and to indicate, by not leaving him abruptly, that I maintained a sympathetic concern over his welfare, I pointed out to him the exceptional brilliance of the approaching night, adding that I myself was then directing a course towards a certain spacious Heath, a few li distant in the north.

“Sing-dance tomollow, then?” he said, with a condensed air of general disappointment. “Chop-chop in a pay look-see show on Ham Hamstl oh damme! on ’Ampstead ’Eath? Booked up, eh, John?”

Gradually convinced that it was becoming necessary to readjust the significance of the incident, I replied that I had no intention of partaking of chops or food of any variety in an erected tent, but merely of passing the night in an intellectual seclusion.

“Oh,” said the one who was walking by my side, regarding my garments with engaging attention, and at the same time appearing to regain an unruffled speech as though the other had been an assumed device, “I understand the Blue Sky Hotel. Well, I’ve stayed there once or twice myself. A bit down on your uppers, eh?”

“Assuredly this person may perchance lay his upper parts down for a short space of time,” I admitted, when I had traced out the symbolism of the words. “As it is humanely written in The Books, ’Sleep and suicide are the free refuges equally of the innocent and the guilty.’”

“Oh, come now, don’t,” exclaimed the energetic person, striking himself together by means of his two hands. “It’s sinful to talk about suicide the day before bank holiday. Why, my only Somali warrior has vamoosed with his full make-up, and the Magnetic Girl too, and I never thought of suicide only whether to turn my old woman into a Veiled Beauty of the Harem or a Hairy Lama from Tibet.”

Not absolutely grasping the emergency, yet in a spirit of inoffensive cordiality I remarked that the alternative was insufferably perplexing, while he continued.

“Then I spotted you, and in a flash I got an idea that ought to take and turn out really great if you’ll come in. Now follow this: Missionary’s tent in the wilds of Pekin. Domestic interior by lamp-light. Missionary (me) reading evening paper; missionary’s wife (the missus) making tea, and between times singing to keep the small pet goat quiet (small goat, a pillow, horsecloth, and pocket-handkerchief). Breaks down singing, sobs, and says she feels a strange all-over presentiment. Missionary admits being a bit fluffed himself, and lets out about a notice signed in blood that he’s seen in the city.”

“Carried upon a pole?” this person demanded, feeling that something of a literary nature might yet be wrested into the incident.

“On a flagstaff if you like,” conceded the other one magnanimously. “A notice to the effect that it is the duty of every jack mother’s son of them to douse the foreign devils, man, woman, and child, and especially the talk-book pass-hat-round men. Also that he has had several brick-ends heaved at him on his way back. Then stops suddenly, hits his upper crust, and says that it’s like his blamed fat-headedness to frighten her; while she clutches at herself three times and faints away.”

“Amid the voluminous burning of blue lights?” suggested this person resourcefully.

“By rights there should be,” admitted the one who was devising the representation; “but it will hardly run to it. Anyway, it costs nothing to turn the lamp down saves a bit in fact, and gives an effect. Then outside, in the distance at first you understand, you begin to work up the sound of the advancing mob rattles, shouts, tum-tums, groans, tin plates and all that one mortal man can do with hands, feet and mouth.”

“With the interspersal of an occasional cracker and the stirring notes produced by striking a hollow wooden fish repeatedly?” I cried; for let it be confessed that amid the portrayal of the scene my imagination had taken an allotted part.

“If you like to provide them, and don’t set the bally show on fire,” he replied. “Anyhow, these two aren’t supposed to notice anything even when the row gets louder. Then it drops and you are heard outside talking in whispers to the others words of command and telling them to keep back half-a-mo, and so on. See?”

“Doubtless introducing a spoken charm and repeating the words of an incantation against omens, treachery, and other matters.”

“Next a flap of the tent down on the floor is raised, and you reconnoitre, looking your very worst and holding a knife between your teeth and another in each hand. Wave a hand to your followers to keep back or come on: it makes no difference. Then you crawl in on your stomach, give a terrific howl, and stab me in the back. That rolls me under the curtain, and so lets me out. The missus ups with the wood-chopper and stands before the cradle, while you yell and dance round with the knives. That ought to be made ‘the moment’ of the whole piece. The great thing is to make enough noise. If you can yell louder than the talking-machine outfit on the next pitch we ought to turn money away. While you are at it I start a fresh row outside shouts, cheers, groans, words of command and a paper bag or two. Seeing that the game is up you make a rush at the old woman; she downs you with the chopper, turns the lamp up full, shakes out a Union Jack over the sleeping infant, and finally stands in her finest attitude with one hand pointing impressively upwards and the other contemptuously downwards just as Rule Britannia is played on the cornet outside and I appear at the door in a general’s full uniform and let down the curtain.”

For acting in the manner designated as touching the noises both inside and out, the set dance with upraised knives, the casting to earth of himself, and being myself in turn vanquished by the aged female, with an added compact that from time to time I should be led by a chain and shown to the people from a raised platform we agreed upon a daily reward of two pieces of silver, an adequacy of food, and a certain ambiguously-referred-to share of the gain. It need not be denied that with so favourable an opportunity of introducing passages from the Classics a much less sum would have been accepted, but having obtained this without a struggle, the one now recounting the facts raised the opportune suggestion of an inscribed placard, in order to fulfil the portent foreshadowed by William Greyson.

“Oh, we’ll star you, never fear,” assented the accommodating personage, and having by this time reached that spot upon the Heath where his Domestic Altar had been raised, we entered.

“All the most distinguished actors in this country take another name,” he said reflectively, when he had drawn forth a parchment of praiseworthy dimensions and ink of three colours, “and though I have nothing to say against Kong Ho Tsin Cheng Quank Paik T’chun Li Yuen Nung for quiet unostentatious dignity, it doesn’t have just the grip and shudder that we want. Now how does ‘Fang’ strike you?” and upon my courteous acquiescence that this indeed united within it those qualities which he required, he traced its characters in red ink upon a lavish scale.

“‘Fang Hung Sin’ about fits the idea of snap and bloodthirstiness, I should say,” he continued, and using the brush and all the colours with an expert proficiency which would infallibly gain him an early recognition at any of our competitive examinations, he presently laid before me the following gracefully-composed notice, which was suspended from a conspicuous pole about the door of the tent on the following day.

Fang hung Sin
The Captured Boxer Chieftain.

Under a strong guard, and by arrangement with the British and
Chinese authorities concerned,

Fang Hung Sin

Will positively re-enact the Gory scenes of carnage in which
he took a leading and sanguinary part during the late rising.

Alone in Pekin
Or, What a Woman can do.

Panel I. Peace: The Missionary’s Tent by Night Alls Well
The Dread Warning “I am by your side, Beloved.”

Panel II. Alarm: The Signal The Spy The Mob Outside
Treachery “Save Yourself, my Darling” “And Leave
You? Never!”

Panel III. Revenge: The Attack The Blow Falls Who Can Save
Her Now? “Back, Renegade Viper!” The English Guns
“Rule Britannia!”

Fang hung Sin, The Desperado.
There is only one Fang, and he must be seen.
Fang! Fang!! Fang!!!

I will not upon this occasion, esteemed one, delay myself with an account of this barbarian Festival of Lanterns; or, as their language would convey it, Feast of Cocoa-nuts, beyond admitting that with the possible exception of an important provincial capital during the triennial examinations I doubt whether our own unapproachable Empire could show a more impressively-extended gathering, either in the diverse and ornamental efflorescence of head garb, in the affectionate display openly lavished by persons of one sex towards those of the other, or even one more successful in our own pre-eminent art of producing the multitudinous harmony of conflicting sounds.

At the appointed hour this person submitted himself to be heavily shackled, and being led out before the assembled crowd, endeavoured by a smiling benignity of manner and by reassuring signs of welcome, to produce a favourable impression upon their sympathies and to allure them within. This pacific face was undoubtedly successful, however offensively the ill-conditioned one who stood by was inspired to express himself behind his teeth, for the space of the tent was very quickly occupied and the actions of simulation were to begin.

Without doubt it might have been better if this person had first made himself more fully acquainted with the barbarian manner of acting. The fact that this imagined play, which even in one of our inferior theatres would have filled the time pleasantly for two or three months, was to be compressed into the narrow limits of seven minutes and a half, should reasonably have warned him that amid the ensuing rapidity of word and action, most of the leisurely courtesies and all the subtle range of concealed emotion which embellish our own wood pavement must be ignored. But it is well and suggestively written, “The person who deliberates sufficiently before taking every step will spend his life standing upon one leg.” In the past this one had not found himself to be grossly inadequate on any arising emergency, and he now drew aside the hanging drapery and prepared to carry out a preconcerted part with intrepid self-reliance.

It has already been expressed, that the reason and incentive urging me to a ready agreement lay in the opportunities by which suitable passages from the high Classics could be discreetly woven into the fabric of the plot, and the occupation thereby permeated with an honourable literary flavour. In accordance with this resolve I blended together many imperishable sayings of the wisest philosophers to present the cries and turmoil of the approaching mob, but it was not until I protruded my head beneath the hanging canopy in the guise of one observing that an opportunity arose of a really well-sustained effort. In this position I recited Yung Ki’s stimulating address to his troops when in sight of an overwhelming foe, and, in spite of the continually back-thrust foot of the undiscriminating one before me, I successfully accomplished the seventy-five lines of the poem without a stumble. Then entering fully, with many deprecatory bows and expressions of self-abasement at taking part in so seemingly detestable an action, I treacherously, yet with inoffensive tact, struck the one wearing an all-round collar delicately upon the back. Not recognising the movement, or being in some other way obtuse, the person in question instead of sinking to the ground turned hastily to me in the form of an inquiry, leaving me no other reasonable course than to display the knife openly to him, and to assure him that the fatal blow had already been inflicted. Undoubtedly his immoderate retorts were inept at such a moment, nor was his ensuing strategy of turning completely round three times, striking himself about the head and body, and uttering ceremonious curses before he fell devoid of life as though the earlier remarks had been part of the ordained scheme to any degree convincing, and the cries of disapproval from the onlookers proved that they also regarded this one as the victim of an unworthy rebuke.

“Not if the benches were filled at half a guinea a head would I take on another performance like that,” exclaimed the one with whom I was associated, when it was over. “Besides the dead loss of lasting three quarters of an hour it’s tempting providence when the seats are movable. I suppose it isn’t your fault, Kong, you poor creature, but you haven’t got no glare and glitter. There’s only one thing for it: you must be the Rev. Mr. Walker and I’ll take Fang.” He then robed himself in my attire, guided me among the intricacies of the all-round collar and outer garments in exchange, hung a slender rope about his back, and after completing the artifice by a skilful device of massing coloured inks upon our faces, he commanded me to lead him out by a chain and observe intelligently how a captive Boxer chief should disport himself.

No sooner had we reached the platform than the one whom I controlled leapt high into the air, dragged me to the edge of the erection, showed his teeth towards the assembly and waved his arms menacingly at them; then turning upon this person, he inflamed his face with passion, rattled his chain furiously, and uttered such vengeance-laden cries that, unable to subdue the emotion of fear, I abandoned all pretence, and dropping the chain, fled to the furthest recess of the tent, followed by the still threatening Fang.

There is an expression among us, “Cheng-hu was too considerate: he tried to drive nails with a cucumber.” Cheng-hu would certainly have quickly found the necessity of a weapon of three-times hardened steel if he had lived among these barbarians, who are insensible to the higher forms of politeness, in addition to acting in a contrary and illogical manner on all occasions. Instead of being repelled and discouraged by Fang’s outrageous behaviour, they clamoured to be admitted into the tent more vehemently than before, and so successfully established the venture that the one to whom I must now allude throughout as Fang signified to me his covetous intention of reducing the performance by a further two and a half minutes in order to reap an added profit and to garner all his rice before the Hoang Ho rose.

As for myself, revered, it would be immature to hold the gauze screen of prevarication between your all-discerning mind and my own trepidation. From the moment when I first saw the expression of utterly depraved malignity and deep-seared hate which he had cunningly engraved upon his face by means of the coloured inks, I was far from being comfortably settled within myself. Even the society of the not inelegant being of the inner chamber, whom it was now my part to console with alluring words and movements, could not for some time retain my face from a back-way instinct at every sound; but when the detail was reached that she sank into my grasp bereft of all energy, and for the first time I was just succeeding in forgetting the unpropitious surroundings, the one Fang, who had entered with unseemly stealth, suddenly hurled his soul-freezing battle-cry upon my ear and leapt forward with uplifted knife. Perceiving the action from an angle of my eye even as he propelled himself through the air, I could not restrain an ignoble wail of despair, and not scrupling to forsake the maiden, I would have taken refuge beneath a couch had he not seized my outer robe and hurled me to the ground. From this point to the close of the entertainment the vigorous person in question did not cease from raising cries and challenges in an unfaltering and many-fathomed stream, while at the same time he continued to spring from one extremity of the stage to the other surrounded by every external attribute of an insatiable tiger-like rage. It is circumstantially related that the one near at hand, who has been referred to as possessing a voiced machine, became demented, and bearing the contrivance to a certain tent erected by the charitable, entreated them to remove the impediment from its speech so that it might be heard again and his livelihood restored. When the action of brandishing a profusion of knives before the lesser one’s eyes was reached, so nerve-shattering was the impression which Fang created that the back of the tent had to be removed in order to let out those who no longer had possession of themselves, and to let in those to a ten-fold degree who strove for admission on the rumour spreading that something exceptionally repellent was progressing within.

With what attenuated organs of repose this person would have reached the end of so strenuous an occupation had he been compelled to twelve enactments each hour throughout the gong-strokes of the day without any literary relief, it is not enticing to dwell upon. This evil was averted by a timely intervention, for upon proceeding to the outer air for the third time I at once perceived among the foremost throng the engaging full-face of William Beveledge Greyson. This really painstaking individual had learned, as he afterwards explained, that the chiefs of exchange (those who in the first case had opposed me resolutely,) had received a written omen, and now in contrition were expressing their willingness to hold out a full restitution. With this assurance he had set forth in an unremitting search, and guided by street-watchers, removers of superfluous earth, families propelling themselves forward upon one foot, astrologers, two-wheeled charioteers, and others who move early and secretly by night, he had traced my description to this same Heath. Here he had been attracted by the displayed placard (remembering my honourable boast), and approaching nearer, he had plainly recognised my voice within. But in spite of this the successful disentanglement was by no means yet accomplished.

Not expecting so involved a reversal of things, and being short-eyed by nature, William Greyson did not wait for a fuller assurance than to be satisfied that the one before him wore my robes and conformed in a general outline, before he addressed him.

“Kong Ho,” he said pleasantly, “what the Chief Evil Spirit are you doing up there?” adding persuasively, “Come down, there’s a good fellow. I have something important to tell you.”

Thus appealed to, the one Fang hesitated in doubt, seeing on the one hand a certain loss of face if he declined the conversation, and on the other hand having no clear perception of what was required from him. Therefore he entered upon a course of evasion and somewhat incapably replied, “Chow Chop Wei Hai Wei Lung Tung Togo Kuroki Jim Jam Beri Beri.”

“Don’t act the horned sheep,” said Beveledge, who was both resolute and one easily set into violent motion by an opposing stream. “Come down, or I’ll come up and fetch you.” And not being satisfied with Fang’s ill-advised attempt to express himself equivocally, those around took up the apt similitude of a self-opinionated animal, and began to suggest a comparison to other creatures no less degraded.

“Rats yourselves!” exclaimed the easily-inflamed person at my side, losing the inefficient cords of his prudence beneath the sting. “Who’s a rabbit? For two guinea-pigs I’d mow all the grass between here and the Spaniards with your own left ears,” and not permitting me sufficient preparation to withhold the chain more firmly, he abruptly cast himself down among them, amid a scene of the most untamed confusion.

“Oh, affectionately-disposed brethren,” I exclaimed, moving forward and raising my hand in refined disapproval, “the sublime Confucius, in the twenty-third chapter of the book called ‘The Great Learning,’ warns us against ” but before I could formulate the allusion Beveledge Greyson, who at the sound of my conciliatory words had gazed first in astonishment and then in a self-convulsed position, drew himself up to my side, and taking a firm grasp upon the all-round collar, projected me without a pause through the tent, and only halting for a moment to point significantly back to the varied and animated scene behind, where, amid a very profuse display of contending passions, the erected stage was already being dragged to the ground, and a band of the official watch was in the act of converging from every side, he led me through more deserted paths to the scene of a final extrication.

With a well-gratified sense of having held an unswerving course along the convoluted outline of Destiny’s decree, to whatever tending.

Kong Ho.