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|One brown girl and --|
|Enter some other people, Ada Smith...|
|Mrs. Gyrton and the afflictions...|
|Slaying and eating of the last...|
|Between the jaws of the Meffal...|
|Pic-nicking on the Mountain-to...|
|Letter addressed by a lady|
|When a young woman knows her own...|
|A duel : Harold vs. Noel|
|Human fingerposts up and down|
|When bachelors are merry|
|In which everything depends on...|
|Yielding of weakness|
|Tells the beginning of a soul...|
|Tells how the Major handled Meffala,...|
|In which we leave the soul...|
|Gleaning in the wake of the...|
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|Table of Contents|
One brown girl and --
Enter some other people, Ada Smith and a casual Harold
Mrs. Gyrton and the afflictions of some other Mudfish
Slaying and eating of the last fowl
Between the jaws of the Meffalas
Pic-nicking on the Mountain-tops
Letter addressed by a lady
When a young woman knows her own mind
A duel : Harold vs. Noel
Human fingerposts up and down
When bachelors are merry
In which everything depends on Noel
Yielding of weakness
Tells the beginning of a soul hunt
Tells how the Major handled Meffala, Junior
In which we leave the soul hunters
Gleaning in the wake of the hunt
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
A JAMAICA STORY,
TOM REI)CAM. f
BECKA'S BA9(KRA BABY.
JAMAICA TIMES PRINTER,
Io King Street, Kingston.
To Sir Henry A. Blake, K.C.M.C., formerly Governor of Jamaica.
Years ago, when it was my purpose to publish a book of verses, I sought
and obtained your permission for the volume to be dedicated to you. You
gave that permission most kindly and helpfully and added some advice which
was doubly valued as being instinct with goodfeeling and as coming from one
whowas of experience as an author in the fields towards which my face was
The volume then planned was never published, so deeply and so darkly
has the tide of Circumstance flowed between my purpose and its achievement.
But after many days I bring to the issue this story, and now, without apply-
ingfot a transfer of that kindly permission from the one volume to the other,
I have taken the liberty of dedicating this book to you.
I do so because, in the first place I knno that an attempt of the sort to
portray life as it moves in its Jamaic variations, even an attempt with the
failings that attach to this will always, interest yourself and Lady Blake ;
and, secondly, because it is a pleasure and an inspiration to me to identify
my book with one whom we in Jamaica remember so well for his cheerful-
ness of thought, his optimism of purpose and for his grace and power in the
To you, therefore, Sir, I dedicate this volume knowing that
though its faults be thick as dust
In vacant chambers, I can trust
THE "UNUSUAL" PREFACE.
T is unusual to write a preface to a Novel. I admit it. But the unusual is sometimes
the necessary, and, then, to avoid it because it is unusual is as odd and irrational,
really, as to hob-nob with it on the streets of the daily commonplace. There are a
few things of which it is right and proper to remind the reader as one pushes out a
venture such as this to traverse the seas of local literature. Thus comes this preface.
In the face of much kind advice to the contrary, appreciated though not followed,
the writer has deliberately chosen to publish this story here, and to seek a Jamaican
audience rather than an audience abroad. The M.S. has not, so far, been submitted to
any publisher outside Jamaica. There are two reasons for this. One is that the chief
ambition of the present writer in matters literary is to produce among his fellow
Jamaicans, that which Jamaicans will care to read, and may find some small reason for
taking pride in as the work of a Son of the Island.
If this ambition is a reprehensible one, I still plead guilty to it, for I am guilty.
The second reason for local publication is that, to fit a local story for publication
abroad, as experience teaches one, there must be sacrificed much in local colour, de-
tail and dialect that seems to the unhampered judgement needed to render the picture
as conceived by the writer a faithful cne.
I clearly understand, of course, that the fullest possible success here, cannot
give the reward in money that would accompany even moderate success abroad. I
am not so unreasonable as to expect this. But I do expect that, if I have produced
something that merits success, Jamaicans can and will support it sufficiently to save its
author from loss. If, for once I may confess it, the desire to make as much money as
possible has long since lost for me'even the small degree of attractiveness it once had.
That my labour should return me a decent living wage, allowing enough for my
essential needs and permitting me, whet-occasion calls, to do something for a fellow-
being in need; that is what I desire.
The world's tide of eager money-seekers goes past my door, and I hear the sound
thereof, and, knowing full well whence these come and whither they go, I am content
to remain under my own vine and fig tree and let the tide sweep on. I desire to get
from this Novel a reasonable return in money, but to increase the chance of
swelling this, I have not thought it well to sacrifice conditions which seem to me to
allow best of the working out of the idea from which this story and other stories
spring. I say "other stories," for, if the public of Jamaica co-operate by the purchase
of this volume, there are other stories to follow along the same channel of publication.
Now I would make it very clear that I ask no one, on the sentimental grounds of
patronising a local writer, or supporting local literature, to pay a shilling for what he or
she does not want; but this I do ask, as the minimum of fairplay to this or to any local
independent publication, whether by myself or by another, that those who want to
read the book, and that those who read it and like it, buy it.
I emphasize this the more readily because it is of vital concern to all local writers.
Only by this minimum of fairplay can there ever be the slightest chance of fostering
the growth of an Island literature. All the fine talk in the world, and all the nice
expressions of enthusiasm and regard, will avail little, if the enthusiasts do not buy the
local publication that they declare so well deserves support.
THE UNUSUAL" PREFACE.
It costs not a little in money to produce a volume here; at best, one cannot expect
a very large sale; few local writers, (and I am not among the few) have leisure for
literary work, apart from the bread and butter routine. Such a story as this, therefore,
has to be written as occasion serves, in fragments of time rescued from that somewhat
trying routine. The writer has had to do the exacting work of passing these pages
through the Press without any relaxation of attention to the daily labour for a living
He is only too conscious, that, thus pressed and elbowed, shadowed also by ill-
health, he has worked at a disadvantage, and perhaps the kindly reader, bearing this
in mind, will treat him, not as that cold abstraction, "an author," but as an erring
man and a brother.
It is one thing to write in the golden leisure of a writer who can choose time
and place; there the pleasure is well-nigh unalloyed, to the author, whatever it may be
to the reader; but it is quite another thing to have to break away from a happy flow of
inspiration, to take up the day's routine, or, at the nod of Circumstance, while brain
and body are alike drooping with the burden of labour, to sit down and continue, as
one best can, the interrupted thr ad of description or narrative-to be, in fact, the
servant of Opportunity instead of the Master, entering at the wide-flung doors.
Without intruding these and other trials to any painful extent on the patience and
good nature of the public, it is but fair, not only to the present writer, but to all others
wha have trod this road before him, or who may follow in his footsteps, to recall the
facts. It is so easy to judge and condemn the local writer without pausing to realize
the peculiar difficulties that lie in his path.
I have referred to short-comings, and I assure you, gentle reader, that no one
realizes more deeply than I do that such there are in these pages; no one will welcome
more than will I criticism which shows it has stood for a little in the presence of the
difficulties to which I refer above, and has taken stock of them, ere making keen the
sword of condemnation or disparagement.
A few words are due to the reading public concerning the story as it stands. It
is complete in itself as here printed, but it is also the second part of "The Story of
Noel." The first part appeared in 1904, as No. I of THE ALL JAMAICA LIBRARY
under the title: "BECKA'S BACKRA BABY." Readers of this story will find it
interesting to look through that narrative, though I regret not to be able to say where
copies can now be obtained.
In producing "ONE BROWN GIRL AND- I have been guided by the desire
to give the public something that, in price, is well within the reach of almost all. The
story contains some 90,000 or 0o0,000 words, that is, it is the length of a tolerably long.
novel. It is priced at one shilling per copy. A smaller edition, on better paper, has
been prepared at two shillings per copy; and there is a very small edition at five
shillings. In this last the number is limited to less than half a hundred.
,It would argue ingratitude on my part did I not take this opportunity of express-
ing appreciation of the very kind manner in which "BECKA'S BACKRA BABY"
was received by the public generally, by the Press and by local writers of distinction.
While thanking critics generally, I wish specifically to acknowledge my indebted-
ness to The Gleaner" for ad appreciative notice; to Tie Jamaica Telegraph ?"
then under the editorship of Mr. R. C. Guy, for pointing out a rather silly remark in
reference to Kingston. (This was amended in the second edition.) The, now defunct,
"Leader," edited by Mr. W. P. Livingstone, also, in the course of a sympathetic and, as
I thought, particularly careful notice, very reasonably took exception to certain vaga-
ries in the use of capital letters into which I had strayed unconsciously imitating a
style in modern authorship, sometimes technically known as the Eastern."
71E UNUSUAL" PREFACE.
I may be allowed to do him the justice of saying that Mr. Livingatoanrl- I
Editor of the "Gleaner," has the grateful rememberance of many local writerl
sympathy that he showed and the interest he took in their literary efforts.
The kindly commendation of the talented L.A.K. will also remain a pleail
memory, along with similar expressions from Mr. Noel deMontagnac and Madat
deMontagnac. In mentioning these individually I must not be thoughtto forget othe
kindly and appreciative notices, especially would I now recall the attention pMalt
the little story by the Trinidad Press.
In dismissing the story of BECKA I here mention, since in such ventures it I
but courtesy to the public to give the fullest possible details, that the first edition, con-
sisting of 1,000 copies, sold out completely, leaving so marked a demand for more that
the Publishers issued another edition of the same number, and. subsequently a third of
500. The second edition was pretty well sold out. The third was entirely consumed
in the fire that followed the earthquake of 1907.
As regards the present story, I do not wish to even appear to stand between it
and the reader's opinion, but there are certain misunderstandings that pursue publica-
tions that see the light in small communities. I particularly ask that "ONE BROWN
GIRL AND---" should not be read with any idea that individuals have been selected
for representation in its pages. It does not fall within the purpose of the writer to
reveal how his work is done ; of course I have gone tolife for my materials; but if the
story is read with the idea that I have deliberately sketched any member of the com-
munity in its pages there will be a grave departure from what is really the case, and a
distinct offence will be committed against fairplay.
While studying human nature in its local variations, it has been my earnest ain
throughout to avoid, on the one hand, anything approaching the above, and on the
other the making of easy generalisations concerning sections of the community. The,
will be nearest the truth who regard the Story as based on life, as to the particular
individuals created for the purpose of this narrative ; but as not at all attempting t,
hold up the mirror to any living personage, nor yet to imply that any failings an(
faults betrayed in the characters introduced are necessarily inferred against his or he
class. I regard it as a distinct literary offence to so portray individual citizens in sue
publications as to cause pain.
One word more as to the publishers of this volume, TilH JAM.AICA TIMES PRINT
ERY. It should be noted that the work is one which is probably the longest thing c
its kind ever attempted in Jamaica. THE PRINIERY deserves praise for its courage i
attempting it and for carrying it to completion. When the reader notes faults in th
execution, he should remind himself of the difficulties encountered and overcome.
14 Penrith Road,
26. 6. 09.
One 5Brown girl and-
Liberta Passley and some of her ways and meanings. Old Peter as owned
by Liberta-His rebellious hair and clothes-What Liberta wrote on
her tablets-The arithmetic of humanity-Mrs. Cariton's understand-
ing of it.-Whence Liberta's name came-Liberta No. I-The Doctor's
Dictum-" The Princess and Waiting Time-" Hell in a House"-
How Aunt Henrietta's "Kingdom "fell.
I ?" said Liberta Passley, "am the most
unhappy woman in Kingston. She was
not speaking aloud, but was silently build-
ing up with unspoken words a tabernacle
former thoughts. She considered now the
very positive assertion in which she had
housed this thought, went again through
its very brief and emphatic terms, and
then deliberately added the further words:
"and in Jamaica." Thus she pushed a
statement, already extreme, towards the
precipice edge of the extravagant; but to
Liberta herself the statement was one of
simple level fact; it was in no wise ex-
Kingston has some 70,000 inhabitants;
in this goodly Island of Jamaica there are
some 700,000 human beings. The Regis-
trar-General will convince the enquirer
that, in this grand Army Corps of Human-
ity, the women considerably out-number
the men. Liberta was quite aware of this
and of other facts germane thereto. She
did not belong to the idle-minded of her
sex, whose simpers flap before vacancy
as flimsy curtains wave/through win-
dows, behind which are-fooms empty of
Liberta was all but twenty-five years of
age, and at that age in the Tropics a
woman has at her command all the men-
tal and moral resources she is destined to
know at thirty-two, or forty-two either,
for the matter of that. Liberta had in
fact been a woman, with a woman's
powers of insight and reflection, for many
a year, before the evening on which we
begin to follow her thoughts. after pow-
ers of mind were distinctive and strong;
and of those powers she made full use.
Her conclusions, therefore, on any given
subject were not the idle vapourings of a
silly girl whose proof of innocence is still
her flawless ignorance, and whose asser-
tions rush with the blind boldness of cav-
alry riding hard on a doom they fail to
Forty thousand women, more or less,
were alive that evening in Kingston : four
hundred thousand women, more or less,
were alive in all Jamaica. This Liberta
knew. She added to this very accurate
knowledge of how life was just then going
with not a few of her 399,999 sisters. Yet,
I repeat, the assertion of her own un-
happiness lay in a sincerity deeper than
the surface splash or dash of affectation,
or the rippling rush of mere irritation.
What she said rose from what she felt;
and her feeling drew its waters from a
deep source, her thoughts welling there, a
clear but bitter stream. To her this
unique unhappiness of hers was as much a
fact as was the white light of the electric
bulb glowing then above her head, and
etching the shadow of her profile like a
black stain on the floor.
Liberta knew Kingston, a city, which
like every other city has its palaces of
pain, and the residents that suffering has
made equals; suffering that finding its
way through the flesh and blood, through
the nerve and brain common to humanity,
makes us pitiful courtiers, all, in the courts
of the King whose shadow is Fear. Here
misery lies open to the light of day and
to the gaze of happier men; there is the
misery that burrows to be out of sight; or
that pitifully erects its slight fences, its
paltry screens, its thin, weak walls, to
fend off the glance that the world flings,
casually curious, and cruel, not of intent but
because, full-bellied and comfortable, it
must use its tyes on all within their range
as it passes by, well content; even on
those meek subjects of the Things That
Be, who, since it was clearly ordained
before all worlds that they should suffer,
ask only that they may be allowed to
suffer unobserved and unpitied, and ask
the impossible. Calmly and in its positive
style, the World takes it for granted that
the dislike to having one's joys and sor-
rows overlooked, lives only in the rich;
and it is in vain that the fact stares it in the
face that the poor also yearn for seclu-
sion. Woe to the sensitive poor; theirs
is a fate, cruel as that of unfenced, oft-
trodden commons lying between towns
that traffic much, the one with the nthrr
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
There Mother Earth's kindly impulse to
send up her yellow butter-cups and purple
vervain is beaten back forever, with
cru~ ed bud and singled leaf dinted into
herb-own and mother bosom. Few indeed
thd-"bladesr ofliving' green that survive
there fewer still theflowers that blow.
Liberta Paosey had a brain strong
enough' to dny her iefuge in those fast-
nesses that receive and protect tHe shriek-
ing sisters who cannot bear to know. She
wasone of the women who must know;
and haid there oome to her dow one stout-
het'td' enough' to'bid'her stand and de-
clar'ihkerel, and with skill equal to his
co*rkte, she cohi"eply could have p-l.i.-
picture, vivid ind accurate, of that which
women of* that island and of that city
were just then enduring, where in the rear
ranks of the great columns of Humanity,
the Cossacks of Misfortune harry the lag-
ging and :soufge the. footsore stragglers.
She. iew because she had seen.
RInd the left corner of the great
house' that waf her home, three blocks
awa, iin? lane, in a .dingy, house lay a
victim whoip Death drew to him with the
grapiels of-slow~ly'strengtheping disease.
SLiberta knew that sufferer, and tould have
goieidirectito her side ini less than five
minutes., In about the same time, along
another-street, she could have entered a
high, duilybare'house on which in.driv-
ingiclouds by day,and bynight, in almost
impipable peowderj the City dust fell un-
ceaingly;: iTheie livedirn this house, a
womanswhoybefore thesteady pressure of
Poty,warii- fallingback; step by step, to
the,~ririk-of ftbhei'precipice 'of Despair;
and-this womatlwas so bitterly intent on
the.atruggle with her enemy, on the daily
endeavour-to -provide enough food for
three' to eat, 'that, as she gave ground,
inch by'inch;i she 1failed- to notice how
beside herionewbomishedoved more than
lifeitselfw ra beii gAbtrayed to irretriev-
able shame ; bra eauti', hat gift of the
gods so dangotousm to the poorr' In the
waoahaken Statesr of uEast Europe the
mone beahtifulofithe; giidlsare protected
from theduit-of.the Turkish soldierss by
being branded other ace withithe sign
of theorosa. it destroy 'their 'loveliness.
Wherever the poor main's daughter is a
beauty, some auch protection is needed in
a greater o lessdegree..
Libetra doi Wftlive conjured up other
picture isid atd d as true. She knew
wheatwo fin lr thlwomian' who, ieared
amitthiogs vile, hidebis and sordid, had
had flung up within her, mysteriously, a
soul pure and aspiring, which pushed up-
ward seeking spiritual light with an im-
pulse like that which drives the tender
green of the young corn through the dark
earth. This woman could not, for lack of
knowledge, conceive definitely the things
that were better than the moral murk and
morass that lay around, her; yet she ear-
nestly sighed for things pure, sweet and
true. In vain, maimed, dwarfed, distorted,
the impulse, crushed back on itself,
availed only to support the life qf nega-
tion and repression. The things that were
not to be done she avoided, the things
that she would have done she could not
reach; the soul starved, virtuous but anae-
mic. Liberta knew that woman.
Face to face she had met other such
women, women of unhappiness and suf-
fering; and over the blood-marked trail of
many another whom she had never seen
personally, she had often paused. She
knew the sort of burrow to which the
blood trtil led, and how the wounded
animal owered there in its pain and
Yet, knowing all this, Liberta compared
herself with them all, these pain-harried
creatures, with th_2ir pathetic eyes, and
trembling hands, and said "I am more
unhappy than any." And she was sin-
cere to her heart's core when she
shaped that extreme, positive and in-
tensive assertion. For, reflect, sinceriy
depends, not on facts, but on our interpre-
tation of facts. Those who do not re-
alize this are ready to hurl the epithet
"hypocrite" like a javelin; those who
know the truth better, seldom if ever
use that term. They stand like a man
who has reached the summit and is
silent, because he sees what is not yet
visible to the noisy folk who are still
climbing the slope of the hill.
Liberta's was the emotional standpoint,
from.that her statement did the truth no
wrong. She said that she was the most
unhappy woman in Jamaica, and she felt
that to be as true as that she was Liberta
Passley. After all though we may by
analysis demonstrate that there exist for
our neighbour all the elements of happi-
ness; and may thereon argue and assure
him or her, that he or she must be, and
therefore is, happy; yet still the thing
itself, this happiness, is as elusive as the
principle of life; which a few bold men
have natfully attempted to define; which
many *ily men talk noisily aboit; but
ONE BROWN GIRL AND---
which escapes forever the surgeon's
scalpel and the'chemist's crucible.
Emotional, I have termed Liberta, and
I am aware that you. will begin on this to
think of her as a weakling. It is a truism
-that emotionalism is weakness; but in the
fair proportion of cases truisms are simply
assertions with swollen reputations. Some-
times a truism is as untrue as is a fact. A
truism has indeed embedded in it a vein
of truth. It contains metal as does the
quartz block; but a truism is no more truth
than quartz is metal. As regards emotion-
alism and strength, there is a rigid
strength that can never be made plastic;
it can only be broken to pieces; and there
is a plastic strength that can stiffen into
rigidity and endurance, and soften again
into pliability. This I know, you will
with difficulty find the West Indian who
is not emotional; but, if you understand
where and how to- look, you will easily
find West Indians who:e strength .will
give a good account of itself in the stress
and strain of the years and in the hour of
battle. Ultimately you will, I think,
agree with me that Liberta Passley was
not a weakling though she was emotional.
The faculty to decide rapidly and de-
finitely and on that decision to act promptly
and piercingly; the will and power to en-
dure; the capacity for self-restraint;
these are, severally and collectively, evi-.
dcnces of strength and not of weakness.
If as we proceed we find them-irrLiberta,
we must acknowledge that she was a
strong character not a weak one. To be
intensely emotional and yet to be resolute
and enduring is one of those wonderful
things of which the West Indian tempera-
ment is capable. Here stands a finger-
post to help you to understand and inter-
pret that character; or to send you far on
a wrong road.
But we descend from these heights, and
once again alight on Liberta's hard saying.
If indeed happiness is but a matter of the
presence of this thing and of that thing, then
this girl seemed unquestionably happy. In
moments the most morose and mean,
when most sullen and most suspicious,
the, world, turning its eye on Liberta,
could.not but hold that here stood a plea-
sant sight. Graceful, well-framed and
finely featured; lithe, erect, and with a
poise of manner completely at her com-
mand; in turn charming, impressive and
tender, it would truly have been difficult
to find anything to complain of in a per-
son so elegant, and in a face that showed
intelligence so little shadowed by ill-
Her life, watched steadily from without
and day by day with the closest scrutiny,
gave little that could reasonably be taken
to imply unhappiness. Her home was a
mansion, with a mansion's spacious rooms.
Built of white stone, solidly and well, and
not with dingy brick and in modern
hideousness, slightness and economy,
the house, large and lofty, stood in
its wide yard. In front a fountain
flung up tinkling jets of water amid
the green of ferns, mosses and broad-
leafed calladiums. The centre of every-
thing, glowing like a core of many
coloured jewels, the roses took their
place. Valiant-hearted and distinguished,
these were the famous folk of the garden.
At respectful, distances stood the lesser
flowers. A great and high screen of
broad-leafed creepers, growing thick, and
dense, repelled the dust that rose from
the street and in some small degree
mastered and muffled the street noises.
Waved aside from all this, to the, left,
many steps in the rear came the- whole
range of courtyard, with surrounding
stables, kitchens, servants' quarters and
all the manifold outrooms of a well-
equipped mansion. All were built as to
the order of one who had not to cramp
and save, to eke out means or to coddle
space; and all were kept in that.,solid,
clean and thorough state of repair that
bespoke an ownership which possessed
many things besides this house and this
yard. Among those many possessions
was money. Old Peter Passley owned
the house and the money; and, with very
little exaggeration, Liberta might have
been said to own Old Peter Passley who
was her father. Now money, as we
ought all of us to know by this time, is
held to be synonymous with happiness
Yet Liberta who had so much of it at
her command declared that she was ,the
most unhappy girl in Jamaica and wa!
perfectly sincere in the assertion.
If, rendered curious by so baffling
fact, we passed from the outside to .thi
inside of the house and continued ou
inventory of her possessions ,there,, w.
could!but find our first impression, con
firmed. For, through these fine rooms
Comfort had passed with light but firn
footstep, her cheery hand-maidens follow
ing in her train, and fitting all thing
there for human life, unhampered by th
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
petty restrictions, imposed by a slender
purse. And after her, Luxury, taking
counsel with Common Sense, had trod-
den, adding to comfort grace and to grace
beauty. The taste that had adorned this
mansion, if here and there slightly ex-
uberant, was at no point seriously in-
dictable as ostentatious, that is as vulgar,
for the essence of vulgarity is ostenta-
Still standing before Liberta's assertion
as before a dead wall right across our
way, puzzled, we ask, must not all this
mean happiness to one capable of ap-
preciating it ? Liberta appreciated it all
thoroughly; amid it all she was a match-
less hostess; but still Liberta insisted that
she was unhappy. .She was sincere, not
merely petulant Now of course, one
can be very sincere and very wrong, for
we can be very sincere in stating and
believing as fact what is not fact, and
most of the statements which with the
World's delightful fluency, are generally
termed "lies," belong to this class. For
to believe that what you say is true is so,
does not make it so; and, amid the. com-
plexities of modern life, one has to learn
how to tell the truth, as well as to pre-
serve the wish to tell it. But in Liberta
Passley's case, the statement was both
sincere and true. She was an unhappy
girl. As to the degree of her unhappi-
ness, let us not discuss what is so much a
matter of controversy. Kind is fact;
degree is theory.
We have our fact; Liberta was un-
happy, and now, failing to find reason
therefore in the surroundings just passed
in review, we, prying seekers after ex-
planations, if not-after truth, might be
inclined to cry Eureka," when for the
first time and on the sudden we came
face to face with old Peter standing be-
side his daughter. The striking differ-
ence here was surely a hostile difference.
There is neither sense nor manners in des-
pising the dray horse, but it is only too
patent a fact that the racer, all mettle,
training and spirit, will chafe if put to
plough in a yoke with the honest beast.
To many an observer the one link be-
tween this sird and daughter was the- fact
that they were both brown and, wealthy.
Then camesthe divergences and they
were prodigous. No insult meant to
the dray horse.; but he is a thing
'Very different from the racer. No in-
sult meant to the dray horse, but small
wonder if the racer frets and fumes and
eats its heart out, compelled if it be to
time its steps to those of plodding
patience. The divergences, I repeat,
were prodigious between this father and
daughter. Liberta suggested education,
refinement, culture. Of these valuable
things, Old Peter's form and face gave
few hints; so few that even the many who
delivered panegyrics on him in after din-
ner speeches intended to precipitate loans,
or in newspaper articles intended to re-
pay them, always looked nervously round
when they lauded his "love of the learned
arts," to see if any unregenerate wretch
was allowing a smile to soak through.
Kindness of heart was suggested by both
faces; but the sire had none of the
daughter's beauty of face and form.
Placed beside her smooth youth, his rough
old physiognomy showed oddly. It was
like a hurricane-shaken hill over-looking
a pasture beautiful with the growth of
young grass. His hair was a rebellious,
untidy lot of stiff, obstreperous curls,
which had little ambition to grow longer,
and nqne at all to grow straight. Its
imperfect submission to the brush and
comb was ever and anon being disturbed
by Peter's habit of rubbing it about
north, south, east, and west, and then,
round and round, with his big, broad hand.
Liberta had inherited from her mother
splendid long, black, Indian-like hair
and she managed it to perfection.
On the young face there showed not a
line or a furrow. For her the campaign
of life was just begun; but Time had at-
tacked the old man ferociously and per-
sistently, and had pushed the attack home
again and again. Though the sturdy soul
had fought a good fight and still stood
stoutly at bay, body and brain carried the
scars of battle, scars honourable but not
beautiful. The old face was deeply seam-
ed and roughly carved. The foot-marks
of many sorrows showed there. Anxiety
had pushed its silent but deadly sapping
round mouth and eye and whence, in bye-
gone years the final assaults had flung
themselves home, the wrinkles and fur-
rows still showed, like grass-grown
trenches on an old battle-field. Dead
spaces on the skin surface spoke of the
relaxation of nerve power following on
the dissolution of long cherished hopes,
of defeated faith. To win what he now
possessed, Peter Passley had endured
much. And if at the last he owned that
for which men envied him, penns, stores,
mansions, wide commercial influence an4
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
a daughter like Liberta, he had lost that
which men always lose by unflinching
diligence in business; and he had lost
other things less easily forgotten. A wife,
dearly loved and faithful, the long time
companion of a varied career, two sons
and a daughter, he had seen them all go
down into the grave. The old face at the
end of it all showed gnarled, bruised and
battered, like the strong trunk of a sound-
hearted tree, that has lived through a
thousand raging storms, unconquered but
Shrewdness, honesty, sagacity and kind-
ness are very good things in their way;
but we are assured are not good enough
to compensate for the lack of grammar
and drawing room manners; and had Old
Peter Passley possessed only 0oo in-
stead of, as folks said he did, close on
5o00ooo, he would very speedily have
been made to know his place among the
superior people, as a common and unedu-
cated old brown man. As it was hisde-
flciencies were termed peculiarities, his
lapses frotn grammar were treated as
quotations, and his company was sought
after with zeal.
Of Peter's face, Captain Burns, whose
acquaintance we will be making in the
course of this story, and who was not
distinguished for ability to say good
things, once said this good thing: "His
face suggests good kindly Mother Earth;
brown, common-place, not lovely, but full
of life-making secrets and the wonders of
"Full of money" grunted hiscompanion,
a fish that rose to no fancy flies.
Damn the money," Burns replied.
"The old man is a marvel. I stick to my
simile." Thus Burns, from the summit of
one of his better moments, and in the
after-glow of a financial service of an
important kind done him by Peter.
But to our fancy Liberta's unhappiness
has changed to an elusive form fleeing
from us down distant avenues. Our
bloodhounds are on its track. Let us
pursue our contracts. Peter, rich enough
to wear just what clothes he liked and
generally preferring homely stuffs, went
about the despair of his tailors; because,
on the first feeling of restriction and dis-
comfort, he sent for number Two, to give
him ease by altering the work of Number
One. Hence no tailor lived who dared
use his patronage for advertising purpo-
ses. Identification with the hang of this
man's clothes would have been enough to
ruin any decent tradesman's reputation.
The saving grace with Peter was that he
always paid cash down and, though he
never gave fancy prices, he was a gener-
ous employer. Here, as in every other
department, he was no higgler, no cutter
down of the workman's reward, a fact
that, taken in conjunction with the fact
that he had become enormously rich,
must surely arrest the attention of the
reader who happens to know anything
about the gentle art of money-making.
But we must choose another opening
to discuss the character of Peter, if ais-
cuss it we will, for the present it is of his
clothes that we speak. Sloven, callous to
all bagginess in his raiment, no matter
where bagginess came, or how, in coat or
trousers, jacket or vest, a hater of dress
suits and stiff shirts, careless of how the
leather covered his large feet, so stood
Peter Passley, and beside him Liberta.
She had been educated in England, and
the people there who taught her innmy
things well, had taught her also how to
dress well; dress well she did. always.
She had not been taught simply the pretty,
paltry tricks that are held for a day or a
year to be the exemplification of grace
and beauty; but she had been taken to the
principles of adornment that explain, jus-
tify or condemn the fashionsof the day.
Liberta knew how to stand aside from
the prevailing fashion which was also
atrocious, and to do so with sufficient tact
and adaptation of some of its features to
escape ostentatious distinctiveness. But
she had learnt, too, and this she never for-
got, that each woman is the embodiment
of an individuality, and must dress ac-
cordingly, and not by the fact that wo-
men entirely different are dressing in a
Men do not deny that Kitchener is a
tall man, even when they challenge his
generalship; they do not say that Buller
was not brave, whatever their opinion of
Vaal Krants. So those who, like Aunt
Henrietta, hated Liberia and said so
without prevarication or subterfuge;
those who hated her but masked their
hatred with care and behind the smile and
the kiss which women give women whom
they fear or suspect; and those who, with
or without reservation, admired her, were
all at one in agreeing that Liberta dress-
ed to perfection.
"She has the money, "said one. The
instinct," said another. "I don't know
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
how she does it, confessed a third, but
she does it well, always. She never has
an off time with dress." Which last if
not literally true conveyed what the
speaker meant to say sufficiently well for
It was quite a mistake to conclude that
Old Peter's superfluity of naughtiness in
dress tried his daughter's nerves in
the slightest degree; or that he distressed
her by his deficiencies in grammar.
Again, it was quite a mistake to imagine
that, Liberta with her refinements of
manner and perception, felt stress or
strain in the near and intimate relation-
ship with an old man who, as he himself
was wont to declare, was not "educated
worth a banana." Liberta felt nothing of
thi sort, arid they wasted their time and
sympathy, a)I that tribe of busy bodies,
who circulated the'r pity for the poor,
dear girl, with that father of hers."
Not a single tremor of unhappiness im-
pinged on Liberta's life from the direc-
tion of her father, save that which is in-
separable from all love, the recurring
whisper that warns us of the final
Starting. So far as her old Dad went, she
would have stood up with him before
any.company in the world, from Royalty
ro:ind to a street-preaching crowd, con-
tent to be there and to have him with her,
speaking in his clumsy, ungrammatical
way, and setting forth his thoughts slowly
and in his curiously commonplace an-d
unemphasized sentences; or silent, the
old brown face roughened and wrinkled,
giving little token of the strength of will
that had from that citadel mastered so
many hard circumstances.
This man had begun life as an illiterate
boy, in a small out-of-the-way Trelawny
village. Now he had wealth and the
fame whichh is worthy fame, of owing no
man and of cheating no man; of being
kind, but no fool; resolute, but not hard ;
wise, but nut cra'ty. Little stood in his
face to indicate the riches and the true
beaaty.which his life had put forth, just
as between harvest and harvest, the brown
bosom of Mother Earth, to which Burns
compared this man, shows .small proof
that.she can send violets up and fields of
The'lifeof Peter would, I think, by
itself reward us, were we able to tarry.
to consider it in detail. But we are
about merely to skirt it as we proceed
to our destinations in other directions.
This was not a man, to travel close
beside through life, could render a girl
like Ljberta unhappy. Had there been
no blood link, she would still have seen
that in him which would have 'made her
disregard entirely all that which, in the
eyes of the People of the Drawing Room,
seemed so huge and monstrous. As his
daughter, her content with him was so
perfect that it was seldom self-conscious.
Not even to herself, still less to other
folks, did she find herself called on to
defend her father or to offer excuses for
him. Only one of the People of the
Drawing Room, Mrs. Richard Cariton,
had something to remember as a personal
experience under this head. Mrs. Richard,
ascending from nonentity in England to
be wife in Jamaica of the head of an
Official Department, was thus made
familiar with King's House balls and
Society in all its Colonial glory, and in
her empty little head was a memory of
something like a collision with Liberta
on this subject, of her father.
In the gushing coo of talk to "her dear
Liberta," Mrs. Richard Cariton one day
touched on Peter in a new strain:
; Your dear, good, honest, well-meaning
father," she said, "sometimes I cannot
help pitying you, just a little, tiny bit'"
Why ?" Liberta said nothing but the
Incontinently, Mrs. Richard Cariton
tumbled down from the mound of false
sentimentality which she had ascended to
launch her remark. She began now
to pile up words incoherently and un-
connectedly, to shield her wretched little
pate from impending danger; for she
thought that Liberta was about to say
something very dreadful indeed, and that
even the best excuses she could put up
would fare as badly as a summer sun-
shade gets along in an October downpour.
Mrs. Cariton always had felt that some
day her dear Liberta" would say terrible
things to her, and now she felt the
shadow of trouble fall round her as if
the gigantic head of the sphinx had
suddenly been thrust between herself and
Mrs. Cariton was, like several other
persons, afraid of Liberta, for the reason
that, beneath a .manner of smooth and
easy grace, and words that only occasion-
ally pointed away from those much trodden
roadways that the People consider safe,
this girl seldom failed to leave on her
intimates the impression that her con-
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
formity and style were outward only,
and that there was an inner and hidden
Liber" Passley, a soul of storm, a flash
reserved for emergency, keen as the
lighi6ing and swift as death. The Revo-
lutioniary was in that soul, and the People
felt i, as the mouse feels the presence of
a cat nt yet iii sight.
Had Liberta really lived shut up with
the daily mortificafion on account of her
fatief's' shortcomings for which Mrs.
Cariton and her friends gave her credit,
adding the rider that "she hid it well,"
had'tjiis been true, I say, then indeed
this' por Mis. Caiton, by that unlucky
speech might have called fire from
heaven t6odestroy her; since a copper
wire, the thinnest of things and insigni-
ficant, will aid a cloud laden with clouds
of doom. 9 discharge a bolt of destruc-
tion earthward. But as we have said,
Likhefa -was credited with suffering
which. sle did not endure. She knew
now; what ilhS.s remark. pointed to, and
realrieiteuJIctually what Mrs. Cariton,
and other mInpre sensible or less sensible
than Mis,' C4ftn,' bore about in their
mindsconerning her and her father, but
not in the slightest degree did it touch
her. emotionally. Had anyone indeed
made such a remark to her with the in-
tention of being pasty, she would at once
have transfixed the offender for the sake
of his or her evil intention; being of that
kind ,who meet war with war, and drive
straiglt'at the' heart; but save that she
woifd' tiot'permit it for decency's sake,
the whole coenctenation of Mrs. Caritons
and' tleir planetary systems might have
met and talked:on this matter, according
to their liigts and in' sincerity, till they
all wearied,without stirring her to anger,
to contempt,'or even to a smile.
It was'a case in which she was abso-
lutely 'arid entirely indifferent to the
opinions of other people. And therein
wai'a Uctribus thing, for, being an emo-
tional girl, the opinions of other people,
although never allowed by her to drag
her to the crucifixion of open mortifica-
tioi', undoubtedly pierced and wounded,
as with minute pickles of venom, that inner
and intense life, that soul of unrest,
that was the very Liberta.
If Liberta now selected a remark or
two suitable to scourge the silliness be-
fore heri she did it for the woman's own
sake,.to teach her well that she must not
again intrude where her stupidity ceased
to be toleebl, "ind might bring upon her
empty pate the punishment which such
a head was ill able to endure, and which
Liberta thought it a waste of her time to
inflict on an object so insignificant. It
was not at all Decause Liberta felt in the
least vindictive. She had the desire to save
herself in the future from similar intru-
sions. We nail the mongoose, the would-
be stealers of eggs and chickens, wide-
spread on the boards, and other mon-
goose take the hint and leave our nests
alone, for those of other people.
"Would you expect me," Liberta now
said to Mrs. Cariton, would you like me
to tell you what I think of your husband,
my opinion about your husband ?"
"No, dear Liberta," The reply was
tremulous. Why, all social Kingston
could at once have said.
Or about his young friend- "
No, Liberta, Oh, no," it was an inter-
ruption this time, and it came hurriedly,
to carry off the oncoming name from the
speaker's calm lips; for all the world like
a hand suddenly snatching and bearing
away, unseen, the ball that a player is
Wel," said Liberta, I will not. Why
should people be worried with opinions
about which they are not even curious ?"
"Thank you, dear Liberta, thank you,
thank you very much." Mrs. Cariton
prayed, far more sincerely than she ever
prayed in church, that this ended the
Liberta let a minute or two pass in
silence, then just as Mrs. Cariton was
weakly feeling round for a subject far
enough from the point of danger, the
girl reached over and drew her tablets to
Liberta wrote on her tablets with great
deliberation, and Mrs. Richard Cariton
hung on the action with a strained anxiety
that would have been comic to a third
This was what Liberta wrote down so
She handed the tablets to Mrs. Cariton.
Add those columns up."
Mrs.'Cariton's brain was curdling roiud
drops of fear of an unknown evil that
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
kept trickling into her mind like drops of
limejuice soaking into milk. She made
the total 19.
"Add it again said Liberta.
Mrs..Cariton made the total 22.
"Twenty-one" said the lamentable arith-
It is twenty," said Liberta, "try again,
take the columns one at a time." As if
poor Mrs. Cariton had been trying to do
Mrs. Cariton on a third attempt, made
the first column 20.
"Now the second column, add that."
"It makes twenty too,.Liberta."
"The totals are the same."
Just the same."
"Just the same repeated Mrs. Cariton,
like a school-girl, trying to convey the
idea that the words brought a new mean-
ing into the discussion.
There is not a single figure the same
in the two columns," pursued Liberta,
taking the tablets, leaning forward and
pointing to the figures one by one. Mrs.
Cariton, looking more than ever like a
school-girl, followed the pointing pencil
with ingratiating' eagerness.
"'See?" said Liberta presently.
"'Yes, Liberta, I see."
Every figure indifferent, and yet the-"
"Every figure is different," interrupted
Mrs. Cariton, dutifully anxious to show
that she was treading close behind Li-
"And yet the totals are the same."
"And yet the totals are the same,"
echoed Mrs. Cariton.
Which things," said dear Liberta, re-
covering her tablets, and slowly erasing
the figures, carefully, as if that and not
what'she was about:to say was the chief
business in hand, "which things are a
parable. That is how I do my arithmetic
"Yes Liberta," came the humble re-
frain while Mrs. Cariton, misled by the
word "arithipetic," wandered dimly
through vague ideas that "humanity"
must be a kind of Vulgar Fractions or
new Rule ofThfee, and racked her brain
to remminber if it came after or before
"Two men," resumed Liberta, "may
seemvtery: different in detail, and yet be
of the' same value-the answer to each
may be the same twenty. Eh ?"
"Yes," said Mrs. Cariton doubtfully,
not because she disagreed or doubted,
but because she did not understand. Then
"Yes," she said with suddenness and
great.decision, fearing lest Liberta should
suspect dissent from her views, whatever
they were, and be vexed.
"One man may have an Oxford educa-
tion, eh ? and the other none at all; and
yet the one may be as good as the other,
eh ? You comprehend ? "
Liberta was quite aware that she was
not being understood there and then; but
she considered it probable that enough of
her meaning would ultimately glimmer
its way into Mrs. Cariton's mind, or at any
rate the little woman would certainly re-
peat what was now said, and someone
would interpret its meaning for her.
"But of course, do not think that the
second column of my figures represents
your husband, that is, if you think of the
first as my father. I would not think of
putting the Dad in comparison with any
man you can think of in five minutes or
in five years for the matter of that. You
understand do you not ?"
"Yes, Liberta. Oh, yes. I beg your
"Granted," returned Liberta, with the
quiet, rapid unconcern that was often
characteristic of her style of speech.
MIrs. Cariton resolved to think all this
out very carefully. She felt it would be
like sitting down to unravel a very tan-
gled ball of thread. For the present it
was enough for her to realise that her
dear Liberta had very nearly unleashed
against her terrible sayings. She believed
and trembled and resolved not to let a
worse thing come upon her. So from
' that day to her the subject of Liberta's
father was taboo and taboo and again
taboo. When in the circle she orna-
mented Old Peter was mentioned and the
oil of pity for poor dear Liberta was sent
round, Mrs. Cariton held her peace; so
great over certain minds is the power of
the uncomprehended. For, after all, Li-
berta, on an occasion when she might
very well have said a good deal, had
actually said very little; only poor Mrs.
Caiiton cannot to this day understand
what the "Arithmetic of Humanity"
meant, and she fears the unknown.
In those natures that are endued with
the. capacity for great patience there is
also a capacity for -deep and faithful love.
Peter, who was phenomenally patient,
iwas i not~le .ler. His life only .had
peace lhed if had a centre ft which he
could 16.e and' be loved. The blood link
is ~' strong lioi'lliik, and in' any case
Pdeef njii have loved' Liberta as his
datighi e d Bt there ere details' in his life-
st~ry thtf e.kplakied his exceptional devo-
tion to her This man, who, as we have
heard, had built up his fortunes from very
smarll'eginnings, was quite a young man,
vhei'he married and but a little way
arse ded on the slope of toil. The mar-
riage itself was' a bit of a romance. A
Jamalcah slave and her daughter were
sold to an American before Emancipation.
They were taken to the States and thus,
when' h our Island their relatives and
friends stood free, these two remained in
boiidge. It happened as it were by
chance that Peter saw the girl and loved
her. He spent almost all that he then
owned in buying the freedom of the two,
not ofthe gir alone, and brought them to
Jamaica. When he stood up to be mar-
ried he desired that his wife should be
baptised and that a new name should be
given to her.
The young Minister, fresh from College
sprinklings of Latin, and enthusiastic in
the sunny light of those morning years of
freedom, gave to the graceful, timid girl
before hia, the great name of Liberta, and
spoke fervently thereafter of the freedom
wherewith Christ makes us free.
A quiet, slim, little brown girl, was this
Liberta, with long Indian-like hair and
that iinatte grace and sinuosity of figure
that were afterwards to be the inheritance
of her youngest child. True, faithful,
and a help-mate most useful she had
proved to Peter as he breasted the rising
road of effort, and as dear and necessary
to him when they reached the rolling
table-lands of Prosperity. In those days
she was mistress in their mansion, if she
but chose to command it, of more money
than could have been directed by any
other woman in Jamaica; but she was
still the quiet, retiring, little body to
whom in her more private moments ad-
hered' patches of habits which had be-
longed to the older and humbler .life.
She never quite.lost the liking for tying her
head: with a bright colored kerchief,
'tlotigh .it was in the very recesses of
her grind house,and when her oily com-
panii wsl her husband, or her most
tutd ad sabeloved relativesG that the old
habit ws allowed to re-appear. From the
indignant and scornful eyes of Aunt Hen
rietta it shrivelled out of existence, as :
shy. and delicate mountain fldwe- fade
and dies when plucked aid exposed for
few minutes in the lowland nooris: Th
old-tinie ''Sir" and" Ma'am" slipped a
times into her speech, not because she-ha
a servile soul, but because that had bee'
her manner of speech when habit wa
forming in the plasticdays of youth.
She bore Peter three daughters and on
son, each and all fine children to look at
yet one after the other they all'died. i
early childhood, all save the youngest
who was Liberta.
Concerning her, an old Scotch docto
Peter's life-long friend, gave them th
hard saying; If you have courage for i
take my word. Send her to Englan
Send her early and keep.her long. The
she will live and not die like the rest."
On the face of it the thing seemed moi
strous. and absurd, or next door to !
What had this pretty little daughter .
the Tropics,filled with their sunny softne,
langour and dreamy lightness to ga
from Mother England, rough nurse
strong souls. What .but death could' t'
harsh northern climate offer to the liti
alien maid. And yet, because in t
West Indian of every colour and degr
the personal element is to greatin infl
ence, the doctor being the friend of t
father and mother, had' his way. The
two had grace to believe his true sayir
for it was true.
So. one warm. summer. Liberta '
handed over to Mother England, to grn
and t' be trained among her sturdy sc
and strong-limbed, health-glowing daug
ters,. and so to pass into young woman
hood. When she returned to Jamiica,.
was nineteen years, old ; so long .1
Peter's patience endured.
His friend,,the doctor, did not witn
the return, he was dead long ere th
The little mother, quietly waiting
passing of the years, day by day persist
ly presenting the pious prayer that
should be allowed to.live on till Libe
cane' back, and with the bright eyes
faith seeing in the distance of the ye:
shining there like a star in the night,
day of' the home-coming, the li
mother, I say, had fallen also in the ye
of separation She died three years,
fore Liberia returned. Thus, ere Libe
came once more to her -father's hoi
pet"r had been left alone.
10 ONE BROWN GIRL AND
Aunt Henrietta had come to him then,
and he had learnt that even an empty
home had its advantages.
Aunt Henrietta was Peter's sister-in-
law; but she was fearfully unlike his
wife. The one a small woman bad been
quiet, unaggressive, good-tempered and
kind. The other was large, loud, self-
assertive and quarrelsome, a feminine
tyrant. If veins of kindness ran through
her anger-scarred heart they were like
streaks of metal in a country of earth-
quakes and active volcanoes. They were
dangerous to quarry.
This stout, terrible woman had often
been a visitor to Peter's house, to stay for
months; but Peter had never in those days
known what Henrietta really was, because,
mild and peaceable as was his wife she
stood like a Spartan against anything
-that threatened to disturb Peter's com-
fort, and Henrietta soon learnt that she
must keep away from certain lines of con-
duct if she wished to continue to enjoy
the Passley hospitality. She, therefore,
reserved her talent for being disagreeable
for exercise abroad, and gave Peter the
benefit of-her negative virtues.
But, as we say in Jamaica," to come see
me is one thing, to come live with me is
another."' Yet even if Peter had known
what Henrietta was, could he have de-
clined her services? She who came, as
she herself said, to fulfil a sacred trust,
built on a promise to my poor dead
sister." So she said, and there was none
to contradict her.
So Peter, a man whose homely soul re-
quired to absorb 'love, and who needed
absolutely that centre in his life that is
called home, entered into an experience
with Aunt Henrietta that shook even his
deep sense and quiet patience. He had
no counsellor on such matters, and no con-
fidant. The man able to beat his way
through all difficulties in the hard world
of trade and business, and to be resolute
and effective among men, was no match
for the situation. He was no match for
Good thing he said to himself once
or twice that I have never held with
drinking, or I might get to like it too
much now, as a kind of ease up."
"The Old 'Man looks sick and dis-
couraged,'' men-said of him in those days.
"Mayb'e he is breaking up. Maybe he
has been hit in some -money plunge, that
took him beyond even his depth."
One hope glimmered on -him through
the years ahead. Liberta was coming
back; she might deliver him. How he
longed for her coming none realized; but
long as he did, he would not shorten her
stay in England by a single month. It had
been planned that she should remain till
she was nineteen, and remain she should,
Shrewd always, Peter realized fully
that there was much to make the trust he
was reposing in Liberta an uncertain
factor. To pit a girl of nineteen just out
of school against a woman like Aunt
Henrietta was to invite a contest as likely
to end one way as the other. Then
would Liberta even care to battle for her
old Dad's peace of mind? From these
doubts the old man took refuge in the
simple memory that her name was that of
his dead wife. Wife, son, daughters, they
had all left him. They had all gone
down into the grave. This daughter that
the years were slowly and steadily bring-
ing towards him could not he said, fail
him; but if she did what then? A few
more stumbling journeys in the gloom, the
gloom that Time only made darker; and
then good-night to Peter.
Mf anytime Aunt Henrietta established
herself in the Passley mansion, -more and
more firmly, and flourished exceedingly.
The misery that a woman of her kind can
inflict is tremendous, when she has to
operate on a simple human heart like that
of Peter's. Peter endured it all dully.
In business he felt like a general operating
from a base which was more uncomfort-
abl ad e and unsafe than the battle-field. For
the rest he tersely described conditions to
himself as hell in a house." And so he
waited, wondering more and more if
Liberta could break this terrible yoke; if
she would try to; and doubting some-
But from the day on which, on ship-
board, where he had gone to meet her be-
yond Port Royal, he took his girl into his
arms, his soul had rest. He received a
girl who had already learned her life's
lesson. His wife was with him again,
but it was his wife with a statelier, abler,
firmer, soul, [behind I the :same,[absolute
loyalty and love.
Aunt Henrietta, embraced Liberta, too,
but her impressions were vastly different
from those of Peter. I fear it was hate
at first sightlhere. Still the home-coming
passedloff smoothly,..and- for a Iweek or
two things went on as usual in the Pass-
ONE BROW14 GIRL AlD-- I
ley's house. Then Liberta, who had sur-
veyed the ground, began the battle.
I am ready to take over the house-
keeping" she said, without preliminary
or preparation of any kind that Aunt
Henrietta had noticed. "As soon as you
are ready to give it up, I am ready to
"On that point, I think you had better
consult your Papa, Liberta," was Aunt
Henrietta's stiff reply.
"Very well," said Liberta.
At dinner Liberta consulted her Papa.
"Whatever you like, Liberta; what-
ever Liberta likes, Henrietta," was Peter's
response, as he dodged Henrietta's in-
That night a servant of the Passley's
said to his fellows:
"I wish to king dat dis Miss Henrietta
mek haste bruk him neck, so finish.
Woman so cross I nebber yet encounter
wid. Woman so cross nebber yet make
since dem mix up dough and bake de first
crosscow." He had been a baker ere
starting on his career as a butler. "If
she could only but tek a short step on
dat big stairs so pitchdown, she must
dead; him neck mus' pop, him so big and
Watch dis young lady just cone from
over water," said the Cook, older and
sager. "Miss Henrietta kingdom going
fall. Watch and pray, me brother."
The kingdom fell in this wise. There
had been introduced into the house, as
Liberta's own particular maid, a charm-
ingly pretty little thing named Ada
Pearl Smith. Aunt Henrietta, hating her
on sight, took the liberty, and gave her-
self the pleasure, of trying to make Ada's
"Obey me and leave Miss Henrietta
alone," was Liberta's direction. Now it
was in Ada to obey Liberta, but to leave
Aunt Henrietta alone was beyond her
ability. A person with a bad temper,
accustomed to outbursts, is at the mercy
of any cool-witted foe who chooses to
apply the torture, and who is not too
much in earnest about the matter Ada
Smith was just suited to such mischief,
and the misery that Aunt Henrietta had
intended to impose on her enemy was
pretty largely thrown back on her own
hands. Ada was too adroit to give any-
thing tangible on which Miss Henrietta
could complain to Liberta, but scarcely
for a single half-day did she leave the
luckless lady alone. She drew her pro-
vocations across Aunt Henrietta's feelings
as cleverly as the Cowitch Vine makes
the passer-by pay for coming too near it.
Only a touch, a venomous little dagger-
prickle stuck in, the veriest splinter of
poison, so minute, that it can hardly be
discerned at all, but round it spreads in-
flammation, and it smarts and stings.
The crisis between Henrietta and
Liberta was precipitated by two events.
In one Ada was concerned. She had
started very properly by bidding Aunt
Henrietta ceremonious and apparently
most respectful "Good Mornings." These
were never replied to, and Ada ceased
from good works. The furious Henrietta
demanded an explanation of this insult.
"You never replied when I spoke to
you, Ma'am," said Ada, reproachfully,
" and I thought you did not wish me to
speak to you."
If I did not answer," thundered Aunt
Henrietta, carefully avoiding, admitting,
that she had not replied, "I did not hear
you. Remember your manners in the
future when you see me, that is what you
have to do."
Ada resumed her ceremonious saluta-
tions making them even more ceremoni-
ous than they had been at first; but after
a day or two, Aunt Henrietta ceased to
respond by outward sign or sound. On
this Ada again became silent, and was
careful to emphasize her silence by
staring full at the almost apoplectic face
of Miss Henrietta as they passed one
another. Down upon Ada then, like a
panther on a fat sucking pig, came Aunt
Henrietta demanding explanations.
You did not reply, Miss Henrietta."
"Did I not tell you that you were to
speak to me ? That I so demanded and
commanded. That I so wished it."
"But, Miss Henrietta," returned a
perfectly calm and composed Ada, I
thought you had changed your mind,
as you did not answer."
Simple words truly, but kindling a
very great fire.
That is a lie," shouted Aunt Henri-
etta. "A confounded lie, a beastly lie,
an abominable lie, a damn lie."
"Please Miss Henrietta; I never tell
lies, and I will thank you not to damn
"I'll teach you," cried the angry
woman, losing control of herself. I'll
teach you, you dirty bundle of imperti-
nence-" and.she boxed Ada's ears once,
twice and would have done so again had
12 ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
Ada not got out of her way; I'll teach
you," repeated Miss Henrietta who was
too enraged to shape another sentence
Justl'eji. but .whether she meant she
woutl .tech Ada by the force of her
blowi totell.liesor to refrain from tell-
ing thWemi e failed to make clear.
Now thi..boxing. of servants' ears, or
the striking of servants iii any part of
their cqrpor4being is decidedly a danger-
ous pastimein the West Ihdies of to-day,
where the rilis .enjoyed by British
citizepnsare fully appreciated, the sufferer
is as likely as.not to return the gift with
interest. A Colonial Governor in these
latitudes is said on one occasion, to have
kicked an offending butler for an act of
stupidity. The butler, so runs the story,
turned, the key:in the door and then with'
much zest kicked His Excellency round ,
the room, aftetrwhich he said If Your
Excellency does not tell, I won't." And he
did not, till that Governor had moved on.
Sometimes a case of the sort is moved
on to the Courts, being hailed as revenue-
yielder, and' proceedings become costly
and annoying, to the other side. Ada
was in fact surprised that Aunt Henrietta
had dared to lift her hand against the
sacred person of one of Her Majesty's
lieges, and for a minute or two she was
really wildly indignant; but she soon got
over that, and set herself to make capital
out of the incident in the direction where
she was anxious to score. Here,"
thought this sagacious girl, is just what
I wanted to.take to Miss Liberta." She
sank slowly to the ground, weeping copi-
ously and holding.her ear so desperately
that Miss' Henrietta was assailed by a
horrible fear that the girl was seriously
injured; for .he well knew that her hand
was no light weight She was therefore
really much panic-stricken when she
Go and tell your Miss Liberta then I
am not afraid of a hundred Miss Libertas."
With that she swept from the room.
Left alone, Ada Smith dried her tears,
went across to the glass, examined her
ear with much curibiy, and then with-
out 'losing any moie .tie sought Miss
Liberta's presence, not forgetting to re-
sume her piteous weepihg' as she .entered
"Leave it to me,"-said Liberta, "you
shan't be treated like that in this house,"
and. Ada. recognized. that vengeance
breathed through her words, quietly. as
they were spoken.
She said she didn't care for a hundred
like you Miss Liberta," she added to raise
the vengeance a degree higher.
"Did she ?" said Liberta. Go and
wash your ear with something cool."
This was the first incident. The second
incident from which the final crisis
sprang happened in this wise. Aunt
Henrietta declined to have breakfast an
hour earlier to suit Peter who had to
go out early, he had in consequence to
face breakfast away from home, a thing
Liberta went down to the kitchen,
countermanded Aunt Henrietta's orders,
and gave her own to a Cook only too
pleased to receive them.
That evening Aunt and Niece met for
the final duel. Liberta sought the occa-
sion. Her casus belli was the .boxing of
Ada. Aunt Henrietta responded with the
countermanding of her orders. Her de-
nunciation flowed like a river into which
several large and particularly muddy
gulleys had emptied all their contents.
Unfortunately for her she used this rhe-
torical flourish; "We must decide who is
mistress here once and for all."
"We must," said Ada.
"You will come to'no good," said Aunt
Henrietta, in solemn digression, making
so to speak a flank march and falling on
the enemy from the side. You and your
Ada, Smith and your friend in the kit-
chen. She paused to give her words full
effect then added; You are a disgrace to
We will not quarrel about that," said
Liberta very quietly, for she was very
angry. Aunt Henrietta, who in a situa-
tion like this understood nothing but a
quarrel and a violent quarrel, too, burst
into loud invective. She desired that all
might hear her, upstairs and downstairs
and in my lady's chamber. She meant
that they should hear. Liberta rose, shut
and locked the door. She meant they
should not hear.
Losing in this way her opportunity of
filling the house, with clamour, and the
echoing tale of her woes, Aunt Henrietta
.suddenly dropped her loud tirade and
began to sob. Liberta, though her soul
raged within her, made no interruption,
at length the storm of tears and gurgling
sobs abated somewhat. Then Liberta
"Crying generally does one in your
state good. I am sure that you feel better
ONE RiROZWNIGIRL AND- IS
Au t-H nritta.heaved with a terrible
sob, are t Liberta, buriedher head in
a haIjkerchief, and bowed it as far as a
fat ^qk. and abnormally ample bosom
woul0, llow.heritdo dit. She hoped that
she was .bringing 'home to Liberta the
enolqity of her wickedness in thus rend-
ing aiuman heart.
"When will you care to leave-to-day
or tp-morrow ?" asked Liberta mildly,
but very frnily.
Aunt Henrietta rose to her feet, she as
nearly as possible sprang to her feet. Her
look spoke of unplumbed depths of
tragedy. She said with savage solemnity:
Liberta, you are a wicked girl. What
do you think your dead mother would say
to you ? What will your father say when
I tell him, and I am going to tell him at
"What mamma would say," calmly
replied Liberta, if she takes any interest
in such small things now, I do not know,
and I don't remember her well enough to
guess. I know what the Dad will say.
Will you go to him at once ?"
The challenge was too direct to be
evaded, and poor Aunt Henrietta, who
was far indeed from feeling sure of Peter,
set out with embittered soul and the cry
on her lips: So I am to be turned out
now like a dog into the street."
The flood of Henrietta's speech, thick
and heavy with her woes, deluged Old
Peter in a thrice. It buried him, so to
speak, and swept round and over him, so
that for a few seconds the old fellow felt
as a pebble may be thought to feel that
an angry mountain stream is rolling ra-
pidly along after the rains. But presently
he recovered his wits, and on the first
opportunity, he struck in with his few
"I say what Liberta says. Same as
Liberia says. You listen to my girl."
But you don't know what it is all about.
You dbti't know what she has said and
done'," 'aspqd Aunt Henrietta, and then
was smitten into silence by the man's
black iquty; for she had up to then
been speaking at large, only, of Liberta's
wickedness of. her disrespect for her
elders and ler spite towards Aunt Hen-
rietta ep.ciWly. She had not opened her
specialcsa .cat ll, Yet here was her
court ofapDe handing down a judgment
on that spal case.
It.doe't matter," said the incorrigible
old sinner before her. "It don'tmatter, at
all. I say what Liberta says. You listen
to my girl."
"Peter, said the victim of injustice
in a new voice, and rising from the
wreck of her hopes in terrific majesty,
" be careful. I am a rude woman, Peter
Passley. When I am provoked I tell you
I am a rude woman. Don't let me talk to
you, Peter. Don't let me tell you what
your father was and what your Uncle
Joseph was. I am a very rude woman
when I am vexed;" as if that were a con-
dition into which she had not yet entered.
"1 beg you don't let me talk to you, Peter.
Don't let me forget that I am your sister-
Henrietta," said Peter, "listen to
Liberta and you get your 'lowance, same
as ever," the old man's business acumen
and instinct took him straight to the
vital spot in the heart of all this storm of
hysterical emotion and this foam of rhe-
Henrietta stopped in mid career. She
had been forgetting that allowance alto-
gether, yet it was a very vital factor in
her affairs. So she paused and did a
little thinking while old Peter murmured
soothingly: "Same old 'lowance, Hen-
rietta; same old 'lowance. "
"I leave you to your Maker, Peter
Passley," at length Henrietta resumed,
"and to the last judgmentday, and if He is
the person I take Him for, you will hear
more about your treatment of me then-
me, your poor dead wife's only sister. "
"But you will send for the 'lowance,
Henrietta," said Peter. "Same old 'low-
ance; send same as usual, Henrietta." He
was anxious that there should be peace as
far as that went. There was not an ounce
of malice in Peter.
"That," said Aunt Henrietta grandly "I
must think about, Peter Passley. After
what has happened here to-day, I must
think about it. It is true that I would not
like to trouble my poor dead sister by not
taking the money that she made me pro-
mise her so solemnly I would always take,
but I must think it over-" but, she burst
out "I tell you plain, and I tell you straight,
that if you think that you and your allow-
ance will prevent me talking about you'and
your Liberta, and telling people the kind
of girl she is, no, I say no. I will'not
let you or she saw up my mouth.. :I
am going to talk, I tell you plain; and I
am a rude woman,, Peter Passley.!' With
that she made.h-r.exit.
4 ONE-BROWN GIRL AND--
Peter rose suddenly and followed her;
"Henrietta," he called. He spoke em-
phatically, loudly, and in a new tone of
voice, and Henrietta thought that at last
she had brought him to his bearings.
Her swift, imaginative West Indian mind
was :already shaping the phrases and
termsby which she would fetter anew her
chains .on the Passley household, never
again to be thrown off; Peter should be
her slave and:Liberta like unto him.
But it was not victory that she found on
"Henrietta," said Peter in that loud,
new tone, and it struck Henrietta now
that it suggested both cruelty and harsh-
ness. "Now listen to me, and mind what I
say. So help me God, I mean it. You
can go and talk me, you sister's husband,
all you like. You can talk truth. You
can talk lies. I don't care; you get the
'lowance all the same, same old 'low-
ance, Henrietta, but, Henrietta, the day
that I hear that you talk my girl, talk her
true or talk her false, I will stop your
'lowance, Henrietta, I will stop it all
You will never get a sixpence more from
me, not a copper, not for your life : not to
save your life. Now take it in well, and
understand it well. So help me God, I
will do what I say. Just as I say it;" and
Henrietta, who knew that he would, wept
Peter continued, the fountains of speech
broken up by emotion:
"And I will be the devil to you Hen-
rietta. I will be the very devil, Hen-
rietta, if you talk Liberta; not only will I
stop the 'lowance, but I will be the devil
to you, the very devil. So now you know;
and so help me God, I mean it."
There was no mistaking that he did
mean it. Truly miserable, Henrietta
went forth. Pity the woman who hates,
but dares not stab. So fell the kingdom
of Aunt Henrietta at the Passley's house;
and the land had rest from war.
Enter some other people, Ada Smith and a casual Harold-"The Unfair
Treatment of some Jamaicans "-Captai4 Burn's words and Liberta's
thoughts-Liberta's disease "-The Rda er who did not comprehend-
And the Listener who did-Ada explains why-Noel as Referee.
Liberta .was unhappy. That fact flees
before us a black speck on the staring
white roadways of theory and surmize;
and after it we go, intent on having
answer to our query: why and how this
unhappiness ?" But, if any reader ex-
pects sooner or later an answer exact and
definite, after the manner of those given
in Cambridge examinations of blessed me-
mory, or that, like the policemen armed
with.' his warrant and overtaking the
thief, we shall at length put hand on the
shoulder of a palpable, producible, un-
deniabil conclusion, let him forthwith turn
him 'ou1nd .about and forsake this pur-
suit. "No's scl reply do I'promise. The
answr lies' aIeducible from a study of
temperament, and that study is of many
thing the most elusive.
You are reminded of the- query behind
which we:are at present advancing into
this story, lest as the roads grow crowded
we should either of us lose sight of what
is in a way one of the issues of the narra-
tive; but as to the answer, when we have
regarded the fleeing fact long enough, and
pursued it far enough, the conclusions will
be in your hands very much as in the
hands of the chemist there is a wine-glass
full of clear liquid in which certain matter
is held in solution. Be yours then the
final task of producing a precipitate in
any way that you please. I will have my
own. opinion, but if yours differs there-
from, by al means enjoy and employ your
There was no trith in the assumption
that Liberta Passley chafed against the
ways and manners of the father that
heaven had given her. It may even be
said with confidence that if an angel, spe-
cially commissioned, had come down and
offered her a new thing in fathers, some-
thing very different from Peter Passley,
the daughter would have replied in her
quick, careless manner:
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
"Not at all. Leave the old Dad, I want
no one else." Here again she would
have said little, when she might have
said a great deal; but that was Li-
berta's way; an intensely emotional per-
son, whom reason had convinced that
emotionalism should be ridden roughly
with bit and bridle, and whom nature
would only succour in this matter with
the gift of a strong will, being in no
wise ready to transmute the emotion na-
tive to this woman's soul so as to make
the outward calm and self-command an
exact reflection of the inner being
Liberta's central self was storm, not that
calm which her manner suggested.
As for the old Dad, he praised Liberta
to her face and to friend and foe without
veil or pretence, and with or without
"I am only sorry," he sometimes said,
for one thing, my girl. That I have not
another sixty years, so as to have them
with you. Ah, if I was only a young
man again, Liberta, like when I married
'your mother, with strength to do every-
thing for you, and with all those years
ahead. You should have seen your old
Dad then, Daughter. Like a long a great
road, Life was before us two going far on
up-hill and down-hill, over green pastures
and beside roaring rivers. But what is
left of me now ? In this old trunk, this
old tree trunk, my Sweetheart. What is
left ? Five years, perhaps, or even if it is
ten, what are they but the last leaves on
the tree. The last sprouts from the root
that cannot come to anything."
And, then she would come to him in all
her grace and sinuous beauty, her exqui-
sitely finished dress in contrast with his
baggy clothes, and the smooth, fine fea-
tures of her youth and strength showing
against the father's time-seamed, years
roughened face; and her words would rise
from her caresses.
A strong old man like you, for shame
to talk so, for shame, you wicked old man.
Why, old men like you forget how to die.
They have learnt the habit of living so
well that they cannot drop it. Every
year theylive, they spread out and get
more roots, and get stronger. It is young
people like me that topple over; they
have not got into the habit of living,
when by comes a wind and over they go,
like the trees down at the penn in a
storm. The old ones lose a limb or two
*at the most, it is the young ones that go
over pl together. We htve no roots.
We young people, we are the weak o
The ages of Life are past. Things di
last now. It is the twilight of *
world. We young people go over eas
Dad, I will die first."
"God forbid, my girl," the old r
would say earnestly, "God forbid,
give us many years together yet;
make death keep his distance." And
did it seem likely to be; for truly, P(
was still a sturdy old fellow, now as
yore the brain thinking straight and ti
the body, for the most part, still as re:
and pretty much as able as it ever 1
been, to obey the mind. As for Libe
death seemed far enough from that 1
sound in all appearance through its ev
After Liberta had charmed every do
from his mind and each fear, she wo
go from his arms to the piano and play:
sing. She always began with the sim
touching melodies he had known ;
loved all his life. Home Sweet Hon
"Auld Lang Syne," Way Down ul
The Swanee River." Then she would t:
his soul with hers and lead him away i
the wonder music of the Masters, M
delssohn, Mozart, Chopin, or into
magic mazes of Wagner.
Yes, father and daughter might h;
gone together to the world's lent
through life's bitterest blasts and h:
found no point at which they would h;
chafed each other into unhappiness. '
was Liberta unhappy. None knew
but Liberta herself, the old Dad least
all;' and none perhaps of those round :
could have understood the unhappin,
In far away England, were two wor
as different the one from the other
night from day; could they have come
Jamaica, and there have studied
growth of Liberta's soul they might hi
understood and helped. These had watcl
her grow up through school-days. Tl
had helped her then, the imperious lil
girl whom her companions called T
Princess." They had learnt how to w<
out half of the problem ; in Jamaica, tl
might have solved the.other half; besic
these two and Liberta herself, no c
else held the key to her temperame
and Liberta, for reasons that seen
good to her, formed a resolve that !
would admit no one to her inmost ci
fidence. She went forward, a .gallb
figure, though slight and alone,: unt
skies that to her eye over-arched I
destiny with threats of darkness, i
doom. The two women in England soon
faded into the background. Both had
their work to engross their attention;
and the girl herself, who was much at
leisure, soon felt how true it was that a
friendship must from the beginning be
entrusted wholly to written corres-
iondence, or wholly to spoken. Her old
teachers loved her still, and she loved
them, but they no longer grew into
understanding, full and more full, the one
of the other.
In Liberta herself we must find, if
find we do, the explanation of her un-
happiness. After all, this dissertation,
therefore, let us return to read some of
her thoughts, as she sits in the drawing
room of her father's house, where, here
and there, the electric bulbs heavily
shaded, fling their light in warm strong
gushes amid the semi-shadow that floods
the rest of the room.
Liberta's thoughts ran thus:-
"Do I show the plague mark anywhere?
Is there place or spot with the fatal sign ?
Tush, my disease is too deep for show,
and it is incurable. As long as life, and
as deep as breath. What worse insult
than to be treated as an exception" to
your class. Why ? Money. Great indeed
is Diana of the Ephesians. Truly the
jingle of the guinea helps the hurt that
honoufeels. And such honour; money-
the blanket that covers a vast assortment
of bedfellows and mixed facts-certainly-
even the terrible fact that I am-"
The curtains at the doorway trembled
juqt. then and. parted. A maid appeared
and announced: "Mr. Harold, Miss
"Mr. Harold" had already entered the
room. He was a young Jamaican of
about' twenty-eight, a shade darker than
was Liberta. Though somewhat slight,
he was well set up, and carried his erect
figure well, with an air of ready manli-
ness and gallant spirit that bespoke one
who could hold his own. His clothes
wpre noticeably well chosen and they
fitted to perfection. On his face one
aid evidences of high intelligence and
shrewdness, but these were rather in re-
serve, latent powers found when sought
for, but masked by carelessness and an
occasional air of something approaching
weariness, oftener by. a light, not ill-
natured, air of mockery. This face
you. copluded belonged to a man
who tJoed with life, using idly, though
perhaps this was ip the rmarltine only,
a strength and ability that could: have
taken him far and high.
Liberta and this young man greeted
each other with that indefinable air of
comradeship,, that ellss of' a friendship,
strong and mitimate, but :iot tefid.
A handful of small talk was offered on
the altars of Convention, ending with
Harold's remark about one of his sisters:
She is haggling with Providenie for
one last dance before Lent'" They iso-
lated this remark by a mohtiet of silence,
and then Liberta asked with new interest
in her tone:
"Have you finished it ?"
"I have finished it," he replied.
And sent it in ?"
"And sent it in, Miss Liberta."
"And now," she said with sl'den pleas-
ure in her eyes, and sometliihgto pride
in her voice.
"And now," he answered catch g the
word from her, ips and beginning Jn the
same full, eager tone, and' then dropping
ridiculously to bathos. "Now its. slumbers
are deep, full many a fathom down, at
the bottom of the Governor's waste paper
basket, or it travels on in slow marches,
while the muffled drums of official.memo-
ra4da beat funeral marches, to that re-
rcqte pigeonhole, where the dust of de-
partmental ages will cover it The
bourne from which no such adventurous
traveller ever returns, dust to dust; dry-
ness to dryness."
"I fancy," said Liberta, disregarding
his humour, "that I know pretty well
wHat you put into it."
"You do. It is largely yours, but in
any case I have brought you the original,
and with the permission of Your Royal
Highness, I will read it to you."
"That permission," replied Liberta,
with a smile of fun and pleasure, "you
have, and with it our Royal thanks. Our,
Royal self will take a comfortable chair
and seek that shadow which chimes in with
our complexion. And see that your chair is
also comfy,' and that the light is good;
I am pleased that you thought of this."
"And I," he returned gravely, "am
rewarded by your pleasure. Thus some-
thing attempted, something done has
earned a night's repose that is whkt is
left of a night after 'a man has been to
Lodge, for I am bound for that haven
when I leave you. M' brothers expect
every member to ddo 's banquet spech,
16 Oft ftoww am AND-rE~-
ONE BR6WN GIRL AND-
no matter what a bore it is to him,, and tp
them. I will read you asleep, and then
fold my sheets (of foolscap,) like the Arab,
and as silently steal away,"
The document he opened was entitled;
"THE UNFAIR TREATMENT OF JAMAICANS
IN JAMAICA," and was addressed to -the
"There are four pages," he resumed.
"At the first you will yawn; at the second,
nod'; you will sleep at the third, and I
will-depart .with the fourth unread. Here
then I pitch my moving tones. To His
EXCELLENCY-" The maid, putting the
curtain aside, made a second announce-
Without hesitation, Liberta signed that
he was to be admitted; equally without
hesitation, Harold began to pack away
"You will stay," suggested Liberta.
"'Probably he won't belong. Stay him
"No? my Lodge expects me to bore
it, and Burns does not. Besides I woqld
tire him only a degree less than he would
tireme.' .Absence makes the heart grow
fonder, when it is a case of Burns. If
I may, I will pass through your sitting
room, and so avoid the man of war. A
burnt childdrtads the fire. I wish you
"One needsit-with men," she answered,
In .the, sitting room Harold searched
swiftly with his eye, and finding the per-
son he expected to see, accosted her
"Well; Ada, is that all right ? "
."Yes I am quite decided now. I mean,
to tell her to-night."
What time you. have -been finding
your inidd, arid making it up.
."Yes," she answered meekly enough,
"I have kept you waiting."
'"A regular slow coach" he continued,
in coming to a. decision."
"Well, [ had to think about it."
"And:you actually succeeded in think-
"I think a great deal, let me tell you,"
she replied' with' a serious air which had
its charm for this young man.
'" Ah, well," he said, "I will see more of
;'Perhaps," -she answered with some
degree of sauciness, putting her book up
to her.face and looking at him over it
with' merry'eyes .
In any case," he responded non-
chalantly, .'it will be a livelier life for
you.; and better suited to that pretty
"But," she said with sudden gravity
though it was gravity of a somewhat
whimsical kind, I may be doing wrong."
She watched him a minute as if curious
to hear what he had.to say to that; but he
only smiled very little. "There is my soul
to think of," she ended.
"Think of the salary," he responded
Ah, no, you must not talk like that, I
mean what I say."
"Ditto," he said tersely.
She lowered her book and attacked him
as one with a grievance over which some
thought had been wasted.
"You talk to me of my face, and 'my
lips, and my figure and my eyes and my
voice-but there is my soul, you never
say a word about that. You must know
that that is the most important part, of
me. I am afraid they have not taught
you much about your soul-in the right
way. You can lose it you .know, and
that is terrible."
I fear," he acknowledged, that they
did not teach me much about my soul-
in the right way. But what wrong is
there in seeing you oftener? Do I look
so bad ?"
"No, no," she said, with a pretty and
half shy laugh, "you are very nice to
see. I like to see you. You are not
"Good," was his reply. "Look at me
at close quarters now," He brought his
face down to hers, then without further
ado kissed her on .the lips. "I won't
hurt your soul, Beauty. Ta ta;" and,
carelessly erect, he went on his way. '
The girl in theisitting room was Ada
Pearl Smith, one of the heroines of
battle with Aunt Henrietta. She was now
a young woman of twenty-two or there-
abouts, a small' but extremely pleasant-
looking person, with ;a round, pretty face,
that was childish in its softness, while an
interesting, unreasonable wistfulness came
and went in her eyes, 'and -suggested' more
of seriousness and thought than the little
woman ever really 'had at'heri command..
Serious and sad she was indeed at times'
for a brief space, but the shaddio was that'
flung'by passing ;circumstances, as oht, a
June landscape the shadow is cast' by an
over-driftiiig cloud that speeds on and' is'
forgotten in. minute. .Ada was a being
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
of pretty shallowness. She possessed
little4ticks of manner that, for a time at
least, were all but irresistibly attractive. A
man felt 'as much inclined to waste spare
mnomnats in trifling-idly with this girl as a
child feels inclined to'play with a light-
hearted, frisky kitten, with a quaint way
Of breaking into oddly solemn gambols.
Ada'b- anxiety. about her soul was her
oddly incongruous gambol
In the meantime, while Ada was tete-
a-tetewidtlrHarold, Captain Burns had en-
tered thedrawing-room and wasentertain-
ing Liberta, or being entertained by that
young lady. The Captain was an Eng-
lish man.of a type that hardly merits very
close description. His head was poor-
looking, with a forehead narrow and
sloping. His .chin was an insignificant
chin, but hiseyes were true and clear to
look at and'never flinched from an en-
coMnter. 'He. was 'at all points well-
grootied and was at home in a drawing
room.-.i n-ahny things he was a better
fellow-than he looked, for if not a wise
man -he'was not a fool, and while in
some respects a thoroughly honest man,
in no respect was he a coward.
'LibertYireceived him without anything
to.hiht at the fact that her habitual, in-
differiec .to:Ahis presence was just then
valued by'-anndyance at his interrupting
something in which she was. really inter-
ested. She' mentioned, with an apology
for hisebsence, thatVher father was tem-
poiarily detained upstairs, he would pro-
bably be down in a few minutes; but she
was: nit Amkind enough to actually send
up to distlub her sire where, in his study
ch'air;%he slumbered:peacefully.: Had she
sent; shiknew well that, under whatever
tod. of aleepiness-his old head lay, he
would hb come down-.promptly; but
tid*h iJberts was well enough i aware
tg thep e7veaing~ttee'a-ttest with 'the
BdishuCapt~a were likely one day to
eld-in, aadihougishe had a strong:dis-
lows t-Rt1 euappr oah -,o this crisis, she
ftke4aldie at uae l .tl the occasion .of
dealiang ith Captail Burns, or .with any
othl amsarhatevsk under: any circum-
stances a water rand abhewas notiof the
kinl who cpmceivit- to betheir duty-to
ardas thanat.'scheart -As: well, as Atheir
oMamireod datakeiand;injury.' Liberta,
tb.afa di *a aent.ethan.tmention -her
u oaem. baMWrf.,tlyathmt e and she re-
c ,Iu a,4ti c- is lA guess,, andlthen
h sMB i*asitwr chatted, on lightly yand
easily, saying nothing worth remember-
ing, still less recording, but keeping the
ball of small talk speeding to and fro,
now gracefully and elegantly flung, and
then exchanged with more rapidity and
Liberta was thinking far afield, and she
pursued her own mental way while she
talked readily to her guest. She .was
used to this bifurcation of attention. Her
inmost line of thought just now led
through this country:
"Yes, I am a Jamaica brown girl.
What a terrible thing for this poor man,
who is making up his mind to ask me to
marry him-to ask my money, I mean.
Persuading himself first, and his people in
England afterwards, that I am an except
tion to other Jamaica brown girls. Poor
man; I fancy how it goes between him
and his fond, but pauperized mother and
sisters in England. He dare not spring
such a surprise upon them too suddenly;
and so he dare not marry his rich brown
girl out of hand and take her home to
the ancestral ruins of the Burns. So he
has been sounding them, depend'on it, as
to how they would regard Liberta
Passley as a daughter and sister. He
hastens to smooth the first shock,by as-
surance that she has any amount of
money. Her father is one of the richest
old fellows here, quite the uncrowned
king of an entire parish. She will get.all
his money, for, most fortunately, he'has
not a chick or child besides her, and 'she
is the apple of his eye, the brown apple
of course." Here Liberta asked Cap-
tain Burns about a tennis tournament;
while he replied, her busy mind pursued
its silent course:
"Is she quite black?" asks Sister
Is her hair very woolly, dear Her-
bert ?" asks Number Two.
"Nonsense; Caroline," he answers, "her
hair is not woolly at all, only a little wavy.
Really very elegant, quite distinctive.
She is not black, Eliza, how silly you are ;
and I can tell you she is as well educated
as you are, and indeed a great deal better
for she started with the natural' advantage
of having some brain. She playsdivinely."
He add splaintively. "We have to make
some sacrifices of our pride in this world,
. and really Liberta Ais-not half bad. I
know, Mother, that you and the girls
would. have chosen a different sortvof girl
for. me ; but Liberta behaves quite -like a
lady,. apart from hencoolur, You could
not really tell the difference, if you shut
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
your eyes. And am I expected puts in
Mamma "to shut my eyes when I meet
her always. 'Her darling smiles and pro-
odeds giving wit for wit. "She is the best
imitation 'of the British family twig, done
inrnial~gany, lhat'you could get. The
mahogany has gold 'mounting."
captain n Burns all thistime -was telling
her a long story, about tennis, and to all
appearances she was listening carefully,
replying tersely when he. made a point,
and smiling; meantime she thought.
"And suppose I 'married him, what
wotild-le children be like? If we had
any children," she shuddered at the
thought, hd he noticed it.
*" A&draught," 'she explained. I will
takd another chair. "
"Will you give me some music ?" he
Very well; let us select."
"The children," she continued to her-
silf, "would barely show colour; for after
all 'am-a light brown girl." She glanced
at the mirror on the other side of the
room as if to'recall just what her degree
of brownness was. "Their hair would be
hardly even wavy." She laughed at the
thought and to explain this told a clever
fib about a mistake a stupid legislator had
made"-in talking to her at a King's House
B1ll' about Wagner. It had just then
tildied her memory. Then she sat down
and playingdivinely, deluged Burns with
delicious'melody, sped a perfumed sun-
lighted stream of sound through the very
sobl'of him, so that for a time he actually
forgot all about debts and money and
colour; ard all about the player too.
While- upstairs, in his sleep, Old Peter
dreamt that he was walking into Paradise
and the choirs of cherubs were singing to
welcome him and Liberta.
When the Captain left, Liberta went
into the sitting room.
"Read to me Ada, will you ?"
"What, Miss Liberta ?"
"Choose, said laconic Miss Liberta,
arranging a screen to beat back the light
from her eyes, and taking her place on a
Ada selected a volume from a small
book case, ind after a minute or two,
began Tracy Robinson's poem on The
Palm It was not in any individual or
personal sense her own choice, for, in
*truth she cared little for any book and
very little indeed for poetry, but she felt
that it'was this poem that would best suit
The reader's voice adapted itself natu-
rally and effectively to the measured lan-
guage, and, as she interpreted the'-theme
it was pleasant to listen to her:tones, for
they fell like a well-fitting robe .round
the curves of the author's -thoughts "and
emotions, though in Ada herself there was
little appreciation of what she'r ad.
The poem was one which she had' read
many a time to Liberta and'she had learnt
perfectly how to interpret it -SHid- so
now instinctively and so. to speaklneuchan-
ically. She- herself ':was thinking of
something very different from the Sea's
Miserere;" something much- smaller, but
to Ada much more important.
It has fine verses, has Robinson's Song
Of The Palm, and the sotind-of some ol
the surging lines swept through Liberta's
soul with a thrill.
Ada read on and on.
"Wild in its nature, as it were a token
Bomr 'of the sunshine and the stars anc
Grand asa passion, felt but never spoken
Lonely and proud and free.
For when the Maker set its crown of
And for its home ordained, the torrid
Assigning unto each its place and
He made the Palm a king.
So when in reverie I look' and listen,
Half dream-like floats withinmy
Why in the sun its branches gleam an,
And harp-wise beat the wind;
Why when the sea waves heralding
Come roaring on the shore with crest
In grave acceptance of their sad coo-
It bows its stately crown;
Why, in the death-like calms of night
Its quivering spears of green are neve
But ever tremble as in solemn warning
A human heart may thrill;
And also why it stands in lonely place
By the red desert and the sad sea-shor
Or haunts the jungle, or the mountain
Where eagles proudly soar;
It is a sense of kingly isolation,
Of royal beauty and enchanting grac
Proclaiming from the earliest create(
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
The power and pride of race,
That has almost imbued it with a spirit,
And made it sentient although still a
With dim perception that it might
The lines of kingship thus so near con-
It is not strange, Oh heart of mine,
Whiile:stars were shining and old ocean
Should intercept a sigh.
It fell sighing when the faint wind
Had kissed the tropic night a fond
The Starry Cross on her warm bosom
Within the southern view.
And when the crescent moon the west
Drew o'er her face the curtain of the
In the wrapt silence, eager senses
Lo came the sigh to me.
When Ada ended the poem, Liberta
took the book, and turning the pages read
again some of the lines that moved her
The waves of ocean catch the miserere,
Far.wafted seaward from the wintry
They roll it on o'er reaches vast and
With infinite refrain.
The Sea-grape hears it and the lush
In the sweet indolence of their repose;
The Frangipanni, like the crowned
The Passion Flower and Rose.
Then she turned back and back till
she: read the name "NOEL MAUD BRON-
VOLA." Liberta knew the name was
there and read it idly without aim or mo-
tire; but an impulse came as she read,
.and in little things as in big, Liberta was
given to acting on impulse.
Ada," she said, "return this book to
Miss Bronvola to-morrow. I have had it
When Liberia put" the book down, Ada
S"i want to speak to you."
Liberta resumed her seat and, as this
slsojwed that she was prepared to listen,
she made no further response.
"Please, Miss Liberta," began Ada
awkwardly, her clumsy manner now and
her ill-fitting tone contrasting strikingly
with her recent elegant and well modulat-
ed reading. "I want to give you notice to
Very well," said Miss Liberta, "give
"I would like to thank you.very much
for all your kindness."
"Very well," said Liberta with grace-
ful quickness, thank me."
"I do, Miss Liberta very much indeed.
You have been very kind to me and I will
never forget you." Ada managed to say
this with real feeling.
Liberta smiled and replied;
There are kinder people in the world
and you may meet them if you go far
enough; and look near enough."
I hope you won't think me ungrateful,"
continued poor Ada Smith."
"I won't," said Liberta. Her West
Indian intuition told. her the girl expected
to encounter argument and persuasion
and her West Indian vein of waywardness
made her resolve to employ neither.
Ada's plan of campaign, so far as there
had been a plan at all, presupposed op-
position, meeting none, it became at. once
confused as well as amorphous. She
thrust excuses and explanations in a dis-
orderly pile before the silent Liberta.
"It is a good place here, Miss Liberta,
and you are very good to me."
*" But you wish to leave it," said Liberta,
imparting as she so well could, a light
touch of ridicule to the words.
This increased Ada's confusion.
It is not that I want to leave you, Miss
Liberta' she began, "but--" she could
not' hink out the rest of that sentence and
so stumbled back to the beginning of
another, while Liberta watched and listen-
ed without a sign or word.
I don't think I altogether suit--that
is that the work.altogether suits me-my
constitution -I don't feel quite well,--
You know, Miss Liberta, I suffer from in-
"I know that you think that you do,"
said Liberta with just enough emphasis on
the 'think' to leave the listener in doubt
as to whether there was any emphasis at
Then for a minute or two Ada Smith
continued to drag up and deposit half-
finished sentences, like a workman dili-
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
ently bringing up planks for a structure
the plan.of which he has forgotten, so
that every new bit of material only made
confusion worse confounded. She was
laboring under the difficulty of meeting
the unexpected,and of having much to
conceal as well as something to reveal.
When her assertions, maimed and marred,
lay in a tumbled pile of confusion, like the
debris of a.fallen liouse, she was inspired to
.come nearer to truth and into coherency
I want a change, Miss Liberta," she
said and became silent.
"You would like to go--when?" en-
.quired Liberta without comment on the
"I must give you the two weeks' notice,
Miss Liberta; if it were not for that--"
"'You have a place you can get?"
"Then you can go at once." Liberta
spoke quietly and without stress of tone.
She was not annoyed in the slightest de-
.gree, but to be decided and prompt was
Ada, on the, spur of the moment,
genuinely concerned at the idea of incon-
veniencing her employer, burst out with:
put, how will you manage ?"
"I can do without most people," said
Liberta, quietly. "I will manage."
Ada felt now for her own self-impor-
tance thus wounded, far more acutely
than a second before she had felt over the*
idea of inconveniencing Liberta; her morti-
fication mingled with discouragement, and
both clouded her face while tears of anger
came into her eyes. We all like to think
that we are at least next door to being
Liberta who was far from unkind, sooth-
ed Ada's distress with the truth:
You have done very well indeed, here,
and I am satisfied with you, quite. But,
'if you wish to go, of course, go."
"Thank you, thank you, Miss Liberta,"
said pretty, emotional Ada, I would like
I have tried to please you. I would like to
stay but M-" She paused just in time to
prevent the entire truth passing her lips,
and Liberta, wondering for a moment
what it was that trembled behind that
1 mean just as I have explained to you,
Miss Liberta. That is why I want to go."
Then Liberta smiled, for as a matter of
fact, Ada had not explained at all.
"You can go to-morrow or next week,
just as you like."
"I will wait, Miss Liberta," said Ada
suddenly shrinking from a course she had
herself planned out.
"Think the matter over" said Liberta
rising to leave the room. Then as she
saw that Ada was again on the verge of
tears, the rain-cloud before the confi-
dence, she applied the coldly prosaic to
disperse the attack.
"Remember to take that book back to
Miss Bronvola in the morning."
Liberta, herself as emotional as Ada,
though in a different way, felt that pecu-
liar dislike to a collision with the emotion-
al that so often accompanies emotionalism.
Ada went to her room and had a good
cry, why it would be hard to say. Thep
she fell asleep and had a most wonderful
dream in which she was dancing with
Harold while she saw her soul in the
shape of a kitten that trotted across. the
room and then sat on a table to watch
with much gravity the two dancers. Ada
could not take her eyes away from the
kitten and she noticed that sometimes this
curious, animal grew bigger and bigger
still; then it shrank and dwindled till il
became almost a speck. Ada was just
thinking that at last it had vanished al-
together, when with terrible rapidity it
grew to a monstrous size. Then it sprang
right at the dancers. Harold stepped
aside with his mocking smile, and the
savage kitten seized Ada with large sharp
teeth and bore her away.
That dream travelled round and round
in the silly, little head where it was born
till morning dawned, by which time Ada
was quite sure that it meant something
very bad indeed. Something awful hung
over her, that was evident. She was more
irresolute now than ever, and vastly inclin-
ed to sit and shed tears. And then as she
wandered about in this state ofdesolatiov
and distress, full of the dream, the name oj
Miss Bronvola shone for her like a magic
beacon, first of hope and then of assurance
It rose on the horizon of her thoughts
if anything as confused as Ada's mind-
wanderings could he called thoughts at all
it mounted, it swelled, it glowed, it posi-
tively streamed with brilliance on thi,
Noel, it may remembered, taught a
Sunday School class. Each of the: eight
scholars in that class radiated from the
centre, as the spokes of a wheel radiate
from the hub of a wheel. And thus tc
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
points very divergent and to directions
vatly different passed abroad the fame
and powers of Miss Noel; for at the end of
eadhrpoke steod'an enthused scholar who
detlated to-all and sundry the wonders of
her wonderful "teacher," her readiness to
help all in trouble and her absolute abi-
lity'to do the impossible. -Naturally this
in a: wbrld full as i-sthis of grievances and
worries,fdrew-not a few to this invaluable
personage. Thus it-was that-Noel'sname
and highrepute wereknown to a great
All that Ada had ever heard of this
-wonderful tead~er from her pupils came
now slootidgup inher mind, each memo-
-rWyttrogllhd tevi1t4ilae'a blade of green
ptlshiMngits wayiupfriom a seed that had
laitt hidden "for long, quite forgotten till
theiMayrainsg fell. Ada fairly quivered
with: conviction that Noel was the being,
the'only being, able'and willing, and as it
was now very plain, specially appointed
by heaven, to guide h-r steps aright in this
matr important 'mutter. She set off,
therefore, next morning to return the
bdbk Liberta'had given her orders about
with excitementE fermenting in her mind.
She trembled-at the door and asked quiv-
erigly if Miss Noel was at home. Had
she happened to -'b ojt, sudden dretid
would.-tave'deluged this paor Ada. Fin.1-
ingsMiss Noel'at hone impressed her on
the>'otier'hand at another sure sign that
heaven was.-taking her to a worthy
-adviser. The- matter of the book was
quiitkty disposed of, and Ada opened up
her great business. She concentrated
her-t thoudghts;'-oh this one thing, with
theresult not of putting it before herself
and her-listener in-the clearest an most
balanced way,- but of so putting it as
towiseEdr the decision desired. Many
weak-'persons seek advice in this way.
They. fish not. for truth, but for the
opinion 'after their own -desire, and re-
'liefrom the sense.of responsibility. They
se'ethepotition of being able to say
:with an' appearance of truth; "I did
-its~lw-yur advice They unconscious-
. ly -deceive those whom they question by
-roeting'ouat from their story everything
tbat~;would lead to a conclusion other
than that:hich they wish to reach.
Miss Noeli- I want to ask your help."
Noel nodded very slightly, and suppress-
ed dn:inctiiatioh to ask a question, which
as sheusoon saw,-would have led in quite
:awrong -direction. It: was by resisting
a*ebtqmptations -that she made herself a
ready help in time of trouble to the garru-
lously anxious, and was s;egtrded as a
model confidant.- They inteiltreted
her silent following of theii--'chatter
from the very first '" as --evidice
that she realized 'the story," "that
they had to tell, its meaning and aith.
Silence is like darkness, 'and soothes- the
aching heart with the same soft-toueh as
darkness; but a sense of' sympathy behind
it may add' to it'this "further of 'charm
that it makes the darknessthitt- transpar-
ent shadow that covers the eartH, when
the sky is clear and crowded with stars.
Such translucent darkness a'.l-dwellerain
the Tropics know. Noel's silence at this
stage had its charm fbrp:ooi',muddle-
headed little Ada who talked away'iirher
pudding-stone style, for inany minutes,
looking all the while into- -the serious
lucent and sympathetic eyet'before her.
In that time she conveyed the outlines
at least of her troubles to her listener.
Noel began to ask essential :questions.
Have you another place to go to '? "
"Yesi replied Ada, with the mild re-
proachfulness of one who has told her
story at great length but has left out
a main feature without being conscious
of the o-nission. The feeling is that not
on 's self but one's listener is to 'blame.
Will you earn as much ?'
"Mar.," said Ala, pleased to be able
to play one of her best cards.
And what is the work ?"
Ada's talk spread out -just as a little
stream spreads out and soaks- and sops dn
a bit of grassy level.
-All her words amounted to this, that
she was offered the position of cashier
in a store down-town. "Cashier" "is
a big term for very simple duties.
It seems to me," said Noel after hear-
ing all about it, that the matter is very
simple. You will have a little more work
to do in the store, but it will be more
lively and you willevidently like it better."
"And," put in Ada,. remembering that
she had- not mentioned it before, I suffer
from indigestion. She felt quite sure that
this bore in an .important way on the
matter, somewhere and somehow, and
took Noel's slight smile as one of ac-
quiescence in the enumeration of a vital
"Your change of work is a matter for
yourself to decide," said Noel.
"But," said Ada, disappointed, not to
say dismayed at seeing the -burden of re-
sponsibility oti her own shoulders once
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
again, and that just as she thought that
the load was safely. settled elsewhere.
"You don't think me ungrateful for leav-
"Ungrateful"' echoed Noel, ..surprised
as she:always instinctively was when she
found merely conventional ideas being ac-
cepted so seriously. "Where can in-
gratitude come in? You agreed to do
certain work and Miss Passley agreed to
pay,you certain sums, in return. If you
left.her.,without proper notice that would
be dishonest, but if you have given her
notice, goJto the place that you like best."
.!',The other place would suit me best,"
contnued.Ada, ,returning.to the subject
with upnleded pertinacity.
"Tlep take the other place," said Noel.
Thankyou, Miss Noel," said Ada now
she had heard the exact words she had
held before-her minds as a goal when she
soaghtithe interview. She could now
alwaysrecall the fact that Noel had actu-
ally aaid. Take the other place." So
this: matter was. settled for Ada Pearl
Smith as she:wished it to be settled, and
she rwas persuaded that it all rested on
4But 'the'.mantle of -mental satisfaction
falling so, smoothly and: quietly over her
mind; ws~uddenly disarranged. It came
to heps-with- a ahock, that .all through
this, interview.-she had ,said nothing,
absolutely nothing,:of.her soul, she, a girl
who thoughtso: much -about her soul, had.
bees guilty of this omission, and that
when coe~tm- about that soul had given
herasucwbdream and had positively been
the-oiupelling cause making her a refuge
Late as it was, Ada felt she must
remedy her sad omission.
SA~ndi" she began as if what she said
was ein close-connection with a former
remark; which as we know it was not. '* I
am a'girl that think a great deal about
my soul Miss Noel. I have always done
se,' She had said this a great
aany timests and to a great many
different 'tinds :of people and all
of' them,,except Haroldi had applauded
hereven:those who acknowledged that
they-did not themselves do much in that
line,. To her deep surprise this young
lady said':: *
Don't dp that; -it is unhealthy."
"Unhealthy," gasped Ada.
'She sKmociated' the word exclusively
with small-pox and measles or diseases of
a similar kind, and the incongruity of its
present use fairly bewildered her. "Un-
healthy," she repeated as if the word
must be a mistake.
Noel realized that it-would be a. difficult
task to make the matter plain to Ada
Smith, so much was shock surprise and
even consternation visible on.:her face,
indicating how far she was from the view
which to the other seemed so natural and
plain. She was conscious that she,had
not done anything to help on Ada's com-
prehension when she said:
"You irun the risk of being carried
away by wrong ideas.".:
Ada immediately thought of the kitten
in her dream, how that carried her off.
"But," she said "I thought it was a
good thing to think of your soul. You
should think of it every moment of -the
day. It is only because we are wicked
that we do not. We can't think too much
of our souls."
Do you think a great deal about your
eyes; they are very pretty ones ?"
Noel had a way .of galvanizing. her lis-
teners into truthfulness, and though ,A4a
felt that it would be more self-respecting
to make no such admission, she was.con-
strained to reply: ,,Yes, a.great,?4)."
.Noel,.tit must be confessed-was slightlyy
taken aback by the unqualifie4,aqknow-
ledgement, nevertheless she resumeq-;.,.
SBut you feel that it isnot good.for
you .to think a. great deal about your
pretty eyes, do you not ?", ..,
Oh, yes .' said Ada,. glad to be back
on safe ground; it .helps.to make' me
vain, and it is very sinful, to be vain.'- She
had been told that over and -over again
and though it had., no, effect-. ai -her
practice, she was scrupulously careful to
make it her profession.
"Well," continued Noel, the eyes.and
your soul are both parts of you.. God
who gave you the soul gave you the eyes,
too. The same laws govern yourwife
through all its parts. You -feed another
kind of-vanity by thinking too much about
Ada was so much puzzled that .shq-de-
cided this could not really have the mean-
ing it seemed to carry, but at any rate-she
comforted herself that she had obtained
from Miss Noel what she wanted, -she had
shifted the bu-den of responsibility-for an
action. to the shoulders of another. So at
least she was convinced.
ONE BROWN GIRL AND---
Mrs. Gyrton and the afflictions of some other Mudfish-The Father .pho was
Resurrected- Theories of Taxes-7The Prince of Wales and the Secret
ofiRaphael White.-Governors and Collectors-"Coughing up Taxes"-
Marriage and Moneyi-Mr. Grant's Proposal and His Views on i Wife.
SMrs. Gyrton sat 'on the steps of her
house, with the gloom in her heart deeper
even than the gloom which on-coming
night was at that moment spreading round
her. Time had been using her hardly.
All had gone. badly with her since the
death of her little daughter. It is mar-
vellous how the displacement of even an
atom 6flife .may affect the bigger exis-
tences with'which it stood related. Mrs.
Gyrton would have scouted the idea with
some heat, the-idea that her fortunes
were dependent: to any appreciable extent
on the continued existence in this mundane
sphere of her 'small daughter. Yet such
was undoubtedly the case. Her fortunes,
while Becka 'lived, might have been com-
pared to a large rock that had slipped
some distance down an incline, and then
been brought to a stand by sticking
against a much smaller rock, but yet one
flrly enough embedded in the earth to
sl y further descent.. Becka's death had
removed the small but firm rock, and now
the'bigger rock was slipping, slowly but
surely downward. Below the sad slope
of poverty waited the still drearier flat
of degradation and destitution. The loss
of Becka made the woman feel suddenly
lonely and forsaken, mainly it must be
confessed because.she had not. now any-
one who was bound as a matter of course
totreceive: her orders, abuse and directions
on all.subjects, and at all times.
Buht besides this, finances had taken a
distinctly 'downward' turn. Mrs. Gyrton
had lost some of her washing, because it
waa;not-delivered in time, there being no
Becka to take. it out, yet, even with the
shortened list the day did not seem long
enough to get through the residue. In
thef.washing scheme, as a water-carrier,
BeckA had been of very great use indeed,
there was not a doubt of that. Mrs
Gyrton tried)the plan of adopting a girl
to take Becka's place. It failed dismally.
There was, -it is true, no difficulty in get-
tmg.a girl, there are many in Kingston,
waifs and strays, so made by their own
choice or by hard.necessity. The child
that Mrs. Gyrton selected offered her
evyry proof of her.parents' death, except.
the production of their dead bodies, but
this did not prevent -the damsel summon-
ing a very much alive father when she
thought the circumstances demanded a
parent's support. From the first she got
along badly with Mrs. Gyrton, for her
tendency was to eat a great deal; and
then to slumber long and deep. Work
shedid languorously or not at all. The
thunder of the washer-woman's anger,
which at first cowed her, ultimately broke
idly against her bullet head and then
in an evil hour, Mrs. Gyrton chas-
tised this child, and that with great
sekrerity. It was immediately after this
that the father who had been guaran-
teed dead, appeared on the scene. The
torrent of blasphemy and abuse which
then eddied through the Gyrton's yard
was such as to win the unstinted ad-
miration of the most renowned exponent
of the .ungentle art. Through all this
tempest of indignation, the small creature
who had evoked, it sat meekly down on a
log in the yard and steadily displayed the
dress that had been badly torn while Mrs.
Gyrton held her wriggling form to apply
the strokes of vengeance aright. She was
also skilfully smeared and daubed with
blood coaxed to flow from a scratch or
two received from the washerwoman's
nails. In the end, .Mrs..Gyrton, driven
from her last ditch, compromised by
paying five shillings.
"Which," said the one-time deceased
father, "you ought never to finish render
thanks to you Master in heaven and to
you sweet Saviour that you meet with a
man as me to-day, for another man, a
cruel man, would not only broke every
bone in you,you ever count,or loss to count,
in a you body, but. would a put de -law
on you, and you would a eat dis Christ-
mas Day dinner in a Queen's lock-up.
For I needs not to tell you what white
gentlemen law does a female dat mas-
sacree a poor little galU such as dis; look
how him clothes all tear up, look how the
chile bleed; look how him poor little yeye
all full up wid yeye water and sand, an'
him mout' kind of a look as if it rip open
by de holler dat force and shove its way
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
troo. You is a lucky woman, I tell you,
to get off so well and so easy; and a'
night time when you say you prayers,
if you don't pray fe me, you is a most
ungrateful female; and next time such a
ting happen you will meet not a gentle-
man like me, who is a kind-hearted man,
sake a which I nebber yet able to get
rich, and you yourself see how I only
tek five mac' and no more from you dis
day; but next time you will encounter
wid me brudder Thomas. a man dat will
peel offde berry skin, and done wid dat,
would 'a tek iron skewer, wid a hook, and
feel in a' you flesh, try find you bone dem.
Dis is a very fortunate and happy day for
you. If it had been me brudder Thomas,
by dis time you would a' been coughing up
you back teet dem and sending you
farmbly to pick up the hair him pull out
a' youhead. Him is a very different man
to me, a meek and mild somebody. I hear
dat when dem is dah try him a circuit
court dem send special message from de
Penitentiary to tell de judge if it can
possibly done, to let him off and don"
send him a' prison, causen dem actually
fraid to hab de man in de prison. Such
a man, is me brudder Thomas, and it
might a' been fe him chile you beat and
murder up. A blessed and a fortunate
day is dis fe you, and you must be thank-
ful." This man had once had considerable
vogue as a street preacher, and was
warming up to the old tricks of style as
he continued. "It is a vale of tears here
below, and a mountain of tribulation,
also a desert and a howling lion seeking
whom he may devour, and a fiery fur-
nace; and we must take comfort and go
To all of which Mrs. Gyrton answered
only: "You got de five shilling, me dear
sah, I beg you take it and goes you way
out a' me yard."
"Get up, gall," said the father, "and
mek a courtesy to dis lady, for, me dear
female, creature, I must tell you, dat I
bring up ebbry one a' me pickney strict
and particular to pay dem respect to the
old somebody dem. And, look yah
ma'm," he continued, affable now that
the five shillings were safely in hand,
"ef dis chile ebber meet you any ways
and talk disrespectful to you, just come
a'No. 23 Bamboo Grass Lane and call
for me, and I will mek the little brute
. know who she dah fool wid; and it will
really please you to see de way I walk
round him wid me piece a wild coffee
But, when, in face of this handsome
offer, Mrs. Gyrton was as glum as ever,
and as sullen, the good man was filled
with a disgust that he did not conceal,
and said with a jocular sneer:
"Well, old creature, don't kill yourself,
fret and pine over five maccaroni."
That was unbearable, and the dying
embers of Mrs. Gyrton's anger blazed up.
"What old creature I for you? And
who you call old? You head stan like
a' when dem take dem half dirty piece
a' white cloth and stop up window pane.
You better go tek looking-glass and see
how you hair white, before you come call
me old creature; and how you face rough
worse dan rlem cane-field when dem just
finish dig cane-hole. You old till you very
flesh wash out from under you yeye. It
just left fe you to broke up and lose; and
you nebber know. Come out a' mc yard."
Well," he flung back as he departed,
"To see how dat poor woman lose him
temper and pull down him jaw, which
tremble as if him going cry, and all fe
five so-so shillings. I shame fe see me
colour stan' so. It is solid meanness and
not a ting else. I hab a mind to chuck
de little money in a' de yard." With
that he put his hand into his pocket and
rattled the coins. Then he went his
After that Mrs. Gyrton adopted no more
In those days Aunt Henrietta was
creating a brisk tide in the local market
by the rapidity with which she discharged
Peter Passley's servants.
Mrs. Gyrton decided to abandon wash-
ing, for domestic service, and was in-
stalled as the Passley cook. It was not an
arrangement that endured. It parted with
the vehemence of a hempen rope torn
asunder by the surging forward of a
steamer from a pier. The record was a
short and lurid one, a page in a chapter
of violence. When Mrs. Gyrton resum-
ed washing she found that some of
her old patrons had fallen into other
hands; so things went from bad to worse.
The idea depressed her soul, either that
some very strong Obeahman was over-
shadowing her with his baleful eye, or
that the Almighty himself had not her
case properly before Him and so was
making a horrible mistake in dealing with
her. The Past stretched from her to-night
in long review, and its events glared at
ONE. BROWN GIRL AND-
her, ghastly and uncannily like white
gravestones that shine through the dusk
of early night, weirdly distinct. Becka, her
daughter, had died, killed in the street by
a car, without so much as a dream or a
dog's howl by night to forewarn her
mother; there was the washing, week by
week growing less and less; there was
the discharge from the Passley kitchen,
which had left a chronic irritation born
'of uncertainty as to whether or not she
'had really given Miss Henrietta as good
as she had brought to the cook in those
tempestuous days. Then there was the
'bad luck that had attended her attempt
'to adopt a girl, and finally there were the
'taxes, knocking loudly and more loudly at
her rickety door.
She flew to pious cries to heaven, "I
trust to my sweet Saviour, to my blessed
Jesus," she said again and again, but little
was the real comfort that she drew from
these well-meant repetitions. They were
in fact less evidences of faith than props
thrown out with a forlorn hope that they
would support a trust that had begun to
totter visibly. Fairly staggered by her
growing misfortunes, she reminded herself
ofttimes that Big Massa could do nothing
that was wrong, but, like a lean and
hungry dog creeping back to the kitchen,
after being dozen times kicked'out, the
doubt returned that Big Massa was for-
getting that He was here dealing with a
respectable married woman.
She sat on the dirty step in her untidy
yard, and tears splashed down into her
lap. Round her the deepening darkness
thickened like inundating waters flowing
heavily into the pockets of a marsh.
The single hen that remained to her
:had gone noisily to roost, and continued
at intervals to make an outcry as if it felt
'timorous in its loneliness, and, like a man
of fearful heart, was trying by a great
hullabalo. to,put new courage into its
bosom. Outside a passing woman loudly
invited purchasers to take th last of her
mangoes "at a farden fe four." A dray
was moving, creaking and'straining. As
it swayed and joggled down the roadway,
the light front the 1 ntern which swung
beneath, gave it a grotesque appearance.
It looked like a mishapen and oddly
The wind was beginning to move down
to'the plains from the far off hills that
rose an imposing line on the northern
horizoni but as yet the sun-baked city,
radiating heat after its day of suffering,
could not feel the breath of coohiess,the
air was tainted by stale and lieavy'mells,
shot through and through with the odour
of fried fish or frizzling steiks, aii ii vi-
brated with the dull noise of'distant tram-
cars rumbling along their iron lines. The
sound of this was like a pathetic groaning
from the town's tortured bosom.
The fact that her taxes were in'arrears
rose like a spectre in the gloom and. shook
a threatening hand before her. She had
reason to fear the very worst. She saw
the hand of the bailiff, like a great patch
of evil black shadow, reaching into: her
home to seize her furniture. Though
that was scanty, she took immense pride
in the fact that she had kept till now all
that with which she had started 'her
married life, battered though some of it
Another spectre grinned maliciously
into her face. A year previously, she
had stood sorely in need of twenty shill-
,iigs. Ore of those money-lenders who
hide in the lower social depths like darnger-
ous reptiles of prey lurking 'in muddy
pools, had then drawn her to him. She
obtained a loan of the twenty shillings
and undertook, till it was repaid, to pay
the lender one shilling weekly for its use.
That was more than a year ago. She
had failed to pay the interest for ten
weeks altogether, and the total debt had
been increased by that amount. So that
after repaying more than twice the sum
she had borrowed originally, she still
owed that amount plus half as much
again; and she saw the last prospect of
getting quit of the debt vanishing from
view. They would sell her house and
her land; they would take her furniture
and, wurst of all, they might end by put-
ing her into prison.
It was about the taxes that she fretted
chiefly and against which she most angri-
ly rebelled. The scheme which to educa-
ted folks explains, if it does not recom-
mend, the collecting of taxes was entirely
unappreciated in the circle of this woeful
woman and her friends. To her and her
kind the hand of the Collector came
arbitrarily down, unreasonably as a bolt
from the blue, that destroys 'and explains
not. What became of the taxes? That
was a much debated point, gradually
forming a nucleus for remarkable stories.
It was realized, and candidly admitted,
that a man must do something for a living,
rid hence it was understood that the
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
Governor and all his army of inspectors
and.Collectors had devised this system of
government to give themselves work to
do and salaries to draw. Taxes were
raised to provide the salaries.
NQ reasonable person grumbled at that,
savy, in his unreasonable moods. Of
course, as Mrs. Gyrton often said, "We
all ban see dat ebbry ting would go 'long
just' as good, Gubbernor or not; Collec-
Itor(0 not. For after all said an' done, I
Ineber meet de man can tell me dat him
'see Day sit do wn a roadside dah wait fe
Gubbernor or Mr. Anybody to tek candle
go look .fe it. I nebber see dat any ob
dem got 'casion to climb top a hill so
holler tell sun or moon dat him sleep too
long, and it ripe time fe him get up and
go 'bout him business. I nebber see dat,
wid'all them blustification, dem ebber
mek noon come when it is dark night,
whi 'is just de time, when you come to
think' 'bout it, dat we want moonlight.
Wlio ebber see, 'causin Gubbernor dah
cofieDeath stand one side to give him
pass, him hat.in a' him hand, waiting
patient till Gubbernor and de rest seh dem
is reddy to tek road and follow, and to
trabbel. And, surely, if dem was all de
use dem want to seh dem is, and was dat
familiar wid Big Massa dat dem pre-
tence to,. Him would certain gib dem
soie latitude more than Him'gib udder
white people; but it is not so a piece; for,
while it is true dat white people as white
people does get Him faber, as Collector
and all dat dem don't.. Time come to
dead, dem dead, dat is all about it. I see
some berry bad ting happen to dem same
Collector when dem wring poor people
Me Fader, when you stan up sometimes
and hear de way dese Gubbernor and
Collector and Minister does talk, well you
will swear to you King dat a dem dah
manage all dis land and all dis sky and all
de moon and dam stars and de berry sun
self,, and dat God would know better dan
to drop one a dem outside sake a de mix-
up and pop-me-down dat would come in
if Him lose eben one a' dem self. Just
like when you see man hab servant who
kno. him business too well and deh wid
him~too long, so dat de poor gentleman
half "nd half fraid fe use him own horse,
and' 4t de same time fraid fe fire de
serv*at out'a' road, sake a' him don't
know how to run de place widdout him.
A so mni talk would a mek you think dem
baclr stan' to Big Massa, But what an
astonishment to see de way Him pitch
dem way like old shoe when dem day
come, and what I notice is ebbry deaf ting
go 'long all de same.
"And road dem been yah since de
beginning, and it will stop yah, Gubbernor
or not; ground will grow breadkind and
corn, Gubbernor or no; likewise ribber
will run water, hen will lay egg, and
horse will carry tail. But dem gentlemen
must all get work to do, so dem mek
employment for demselves, and I don't
blame dem, for, if not, what de debbil
dem would do; dem gots to feed dem-
self and dem pickney same as we useful
people. Dem white people is not usual to
work dat is useful like black people."
This was all very fair-minded and just ;
but, behind it, peering eyes saw further
mysteries and out of those mysteries like
insects to the light crept the stories that
accounted for increases in the severity
with which the taxes were collected from
year to year. It was told that the hus-
band of the Queen was not dead at all,
as people generally said he was; but that
he was a very bad man and had been paid a
large sum to go away and live by himself,
letting it be announced that he was dead,
and promising that while he got his
money regularly he would not trouble the
poor lady,. Necessary to secure money to
pay him 1l; cute on his part to every
now and then demand an increase in the
sum given to him; when he.did this, all
over the Empire went the mandate to
take more money. Hence camejrises in
taxes, and increase of money due to the
But another authority rather slighted
this story, and spoke instead of the dark
doings of the Prince of Wales : "What,
a young gentleman wicked asdat; asI hear.
Spend money, spend money ebbry day
like when gardener man tek flowers pot
and water roses. Call me a liard if you
like, but I hear say dat him gib away
ebbry day dat him lib one thousand solid
pound and dat no furder dan him door
mout. All you gots to do as I understand
the ting, is to be at de spot time come fe
him to discatter de money; you can tek
all you can grabbel up and carry go, only
dem tell me dat it is not lowable for you
to tek jack-ass to seh you will load it up.,
dat is against dem rule and you must
careful to mind it. Talk 'bout spend money,
I hear say it is against law for dis young,
man 'to spend, less dan one pound at a
time. De berry nail ina' hiin bots is
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
pure and.sizae gold. As fe buggy, I is
made to nrdertand dat him got more dan
would cubber de whole a dis Kingston
from one beginning to the next. And as
fe. headstrong and rude, him mudder self,
Queen and al, don't fit f say A" to him.
Whenebber dat 'man c8ie to de trone,
you gwine see something To-day it is
bad enough, but wait, only wait, you will
see dat dere is ting hotter dan fire and
hebby more dan lead."
In this glittering talk of gold and vice,
and what not, the sagacious mind of old
Ebenezer Raphael White fixed itself on
one fact, namely, that daily the Prince
"discattered," at his "door mout" one
thousand solid pounds." Could White but
.get to the Prince's door, then the role
of giving would be exchanged for taking
which if less blessed, is more pleasant to
the ordinary sinful man. Once reach that
door, and instead of the sorrow of paying
taxes, or the trouble of telling lies to es-
cape them, there would be the inexpress-
ible joy of receiving gifts in gold. Ebe-
nezer planted this thought deep in his
mind, and cherished it there, as in his
younger days he had cherished his planta-
tions set far-away in remote mountain re-
cesses, where the chances of their being
visited by the praedial thief, or the pro-
prietor of the land which he was using
without rent, agitated his soul even while
he. was soothed by the moral certainty of
the cultivation escaping the attention of
the tax-collector. Round his secret he
erected his silence like a fence. Old, ex-
perienced, wary, he waited, opening and
opportunity to get away to England, to
the region of the Prince's gifts.
"Once get me deh," he said musingly,
once get me deh, at dat said door mout
when de.discatterment is dab go on, and
if I don't get enough to feed ife till I dead,
tek any piece a wood you like eben to
piece a barrel stave self, or dat whity.
whity saltfish box kiwer, and box off me
head." But many things hampered
White sorely. He was old and was get-
ting older; .his foot was heavy and sore,
and the sore got no better as the years
went by. He had very little money. He
needed help, yet, from his companions, he
felt it necessary to guard his scheme with
"I know dem," he cogitated, I know
dem nigger people. Dere is not a scale
on dem outside I don't acquaint wid,
same as if dem was fish and Idid scrape
dem; aqd demn head don't got place far
enough back fe dem to crawl in and get
out a' me sight. If I ebber say "B" to
one a' dem 'bout dis fe me business, dem
will bruck dem neck to get dare fust, turn-
ing dem back, if you please, on dis dem
own born country; and run go fbnder,
like hog run -when dem smell ripe guava,
else dem well ripe rotten mango. And
which a dem gwine help me ober. Ebbery
one only too jam glad to go tek me
money and to see I can't go. Eben dat
long side son a' me yeller sister, doh him
know all I do fe him Mudder, eben to gib
him recommend to me old employer as a
berry good man to tek him pickney dem
as day labour, eben him I know would
only too glad to knock me down because
me foot sore, and I is not a man of proper-
ty andsubstance nowadays."
To the "Backra dem" he confided a
little more. He even made a point to go
down one day and see the Superintendent
of the R.M.S., a jovial being who heard
him through not only patiently but genial-
ly, and promised that when the time came
he would save for Ebenezer a berth on
one of the best steamers. The Superin-
tendent even gave a shilling to help on
the kreat scheme, and though the shilling
was actually spent on. buying tobacco,
it always remained in Ebenezer's mind as
a shilling in being, awaiting the application
originally intended for it. He always
spoke of it\to himself as "dat shilling,
which Superintend gie me; an' which I
hab in a' me box." Ebenezer told his
story to other white people, and they all
seemed to think it very interesting and
they all promised faithfully not to say.
one word to any black person on the
But we wander far afield. Mrs. Gyrton
and her neighbours were just then feeling
the severity of the Thx Collector. To
explain this, they referred to the well-
known fact that the new Governor was
about to be married.
When a man is to marry, said White
"de one ting him needen to hab more dan
anything else is money, money me son, money.
Lord, sah, de day you hear say female is
gwine married to you, tek de longest stick
you can get and get you forth and pick
money where-ebber you can glimpse it.
Get it, brudder, get it. Get it, get it; a me
dah tell you; ef you no got money, no
'casion you bodder wid wife. It is as a
mill-stone hanged round you neck and
drowned in de uttermost part of de sea.
Widouten money, matrimony is like
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
when man start to cross dis harbour out
yah widouten a boat; or when bird set
out to fly widouten wing dem. Money is
de stick to pick wife wid: and money is de
basket to carry wife in 'a. Me dear sah,
you know what woman is de day dem
shut yon up wid him in a house, husband
and wife. Him may seem feeble and
ketty-ketty at a distance, and picky-picky,
like a dem not too strong young chicken
and so him scarcely can talk loud
enoughh fe you to hear him; but when you
married to him it is a different ting alto-
gedder, oh yes, it is transcendentalism
den. De way dat little ting can bawl and
holler, it shake you ear's hole as when ras-
kill boy shake a man guava tree. Get
him money, sah; gib him money, sah, and
if you don't got it, beg Big Master look
after you close, close and put one parti-
cular angel for to be wid you when Him-
self gots business elsewhere; fbr you will
need it, you will need it when dat woman
raise pon you. De Gubbernor hab to
sabe up ebbery maccaroni him can crook
him fibe finger on fe him marriage.
White people in particular do so, and I
nor no intelligent and educated man, don't
blame him; but it is because a' so Gub-
bernor want money bad, bad, mek dese
Collector dem dah sabbidge fe taxes an
likewise rage like de roaring Nubian Lion,
and de glittering eye ob de vulture. Dem
jus' left fe chaw off you foot and you two
hand dem. Dem got nex to nutting left
but to come when poor man is asleep and
gnaw and bite off you nose level wid you
face; and scrape out you eye-brow, just
like ratta come and nibble you new boots,
if you don't wrap dem up, and same as
dem nasty little cockroach chaw, -haw on
you finger top dem: or mind gravel and
scrape off all y)oo pretty picture dat you
paste up on-you house wall to artify de
place and mek it look luxuriant.
I like to see man married, more so all
Gubbernor and Minister, and all dutiful
Pastor and Master; for Sin no bwoy ; a
me tell you; and me and him is acquaint,
me and Sin, all times quarrel and mek it
up; all time bust out and sew it up again;
a me tell you; Sin is no bwoy. But me
master, de tax hard, sah; and you can see
dat dem tell de Collector, "mek no fun to
tek it" by de way dem insist 'pon it, and
insist 'pon it, and- insist 'pon it, like a
gimlet mekking hole in a board, and dem
won't hear .you gib reason or excuse.
When a man gots to talk to you dat him
don't want to hear anything, but all him
want is to see you money, as dis Collector
man is talking now, what you tink it
mean ? Why, me dear sah, it can't hide
from an intelligent man, such as me. I
want de tax, I want de tax, I want de tax,
all him can say just like you hear dem
sing sing de same ting ober and ober in
some church; and den dat Collector jam
you and blast you, and mek steep straight
road fe you go a hell; meanwhile him dah
push and push you deh. But I can well
and see dat Collector fraid fe de Gubbern-
or, well as if I did stan' up and hear it.
I know how de Gubbernor, say to him
and dem udder Collector "Jam and blarst
you, sah; blarst and jam you eyes; and
jigger you libber and libber you lights,"
for a so dem biggest Backra is habituate
to swear, so as to tangle up de debbil and
confuse him in de account him keep in a'
him big book against dem fe all de swear
dem swear, and de cuss dem cuss and de
bad ways dem go on wid pore naygur
people, till de day come when Big Massa
hold GrandCourt so say: "Debbil,what you
got againstt dis man? dat dem did call
Gubbernor, else Busha else Keeper" as it
may be. Den ole man Debbil catch up
him spectacle quick, quick and seh, One
minute, Big Massa, one minute, sah," and
him rum him finger down de book, like
you see dem men do in a' store, when dem
dah.look up to tell you dat you owe' dem
.money dat you pay dem long ago; and
bime-bime ole man Debbil say:" Yes, you
Honour, dis man did swear fe true, causen
him coachman bring de buggy at ten
'stead nine or causen de butler smash up
him bes' glass mug." By which said time
you see de Gubbernor widder up, and try
all him know to catch Big Massa yeye,
and smile sickly and shaky, as if him kind
a dah seh, out a' de side of him mout
"You know me, you know I is not a bwo3
to do all dat," when all de time ob course(
him well and did do it.
"But all dat isbime-by, now Gubberno:
is big man: "Jam and blarst you," says hi
to de poor Collector, "you is not getting
in dose taxes proper; you is lazy, else yoi
is a tief man; else you is an incapacit:
man; and if you tink seh I will fraid fe fir
you out a' dutty, you keep on wid yoi
foolishness, and you will see; you wil
soon smell dutty right under you nos
when I kick you slap out a' street and don'
look place fe you fall neider. You i
massa fe you runner dem, and fe children
and I is massa fe you; so you wait; and be
fore inango done fe ripen, and before
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
Squire Morton finish fe find butcher man
fool"nough to buy off dem half dead old
steer dat him done fatten up, after dem
beat dem to leather and bone ina' him
cattle'catt,'you will see something dat dem
udder one will'turn to laugh after." Lord,
sah,'l: it'1"i a time when you yourself is
finia'hfe Oky' buown share a dem damn
taxes, it is pleasing ting to stand study
and'see dat Collector frighten fe de Gub-
bernor wus' din female frighten fe duppy
and cross cow. 'To see him squeeze dem
tax payer by de neck back, till dem cough
up de money, ak-kasham-ak-kasham, eb-
bery maccaroni a' de. money; him can't
hear, 'uttiiin till you knock you money
down' befbir ''him. Granmudder dead;
farr' i6ea'; house mash up, trade bad;
sicliness ketdh you and all de family;
cough'da h'hunt after you like dem bad
dog dah bark after cow dem; doctor let
down' sounder in a' you chist and' tell
you"'de condition is serious, me fren," you
sabc you mout-blowing. 'Collector not
going hear :one deaf ting' while you
don't bring' de money. Pay him de
tax, dat.islill and only what him want.
De' *ay''de' man fraid fe Gubbernor
soa slapin a' him berry bone dem, me
son, and gib him sort of an ague; because
him" 'seh': '"All berry well fc you men
whdvi I'lt' you off you tax dem, you gone
home' arid you wife and pickney dem sit
down round you, talk pleasant and hab
you' little quarrel and udder enjoyment
dem, or you gone sleep; or you dah nyam
you dinner ; when dis brute ob a Gubber-
nor,'like as'a raging tiger, else like a big
ole tiffty 'git, lub buck somebody don't
trouble 'hiimr got me dah cuss arid buse me
and'blu$tificate me shameful to see; and
dah t ll'me him gwine tun me out, anddat
if hinipaint a'bamboo self white and put
it up'itwoiuld look better dan me and do
more work; and dat him dah going broke
me to de. debbil and all dem profanious
and sepulcheral' exclamations Gubbernor
dem is'habitual to use."
The circles tippn which were shed the
light of White's shrewdness and the
radiance ofElias Broggins' sagacity touch-
ed bit slightly on regions where toil those
devoted but ill-paid servants of the State,
the elementary school teachers of Jamaica.
But'sonie'ihter-communication there was.
A] little 'daughter of Broggins, hearing
the wonderfull and veracious stories con-
cerning the 'Queen, 'the Prince and the
Governor,; elated them at- school where
they' reated'some sensation, and in due
time, through the medium of the scholars'
anxiety to make 'their "comporftiloii in-
teresting, reached the Teacher. That:
worthy man, as he subsequently wrote to
the Manager, seized the opportunity to
disabuse the mind of these mistaken
people of their absurd notions';" and the
children in due time carried his* state-
ments back to their homes. Now," said
White, "dis is what I all times saying.
You see dis man, a man same as you
and I, not a white man but a yeller skin
man, and not too yeller eider; you might
a seh him is black wid a few washouts
dat sort a' bleach him out little bit. Now
you see how dat man change side be-
causen him get place wid white people;
you see how him tek up wid white people
talk. We is a race, we black people, dat
can nebber get on, and a dis mek so; by de
time white man so much as hold utp him
han', black man pick' up him book, split it
wide open, slit up him mouth and begin
sing and bawl "Amen, good Lord." We is
a wutless set a people. Young, young boy
like a dis teacher, what him can know
more dan you or me, eh me dear sah ?
But him must talk and talk as him hear
white an mout go. Why dis bwoy
wasn't let begin to bruck egg-shell to
come out and see daylight when you and
me was already tired fe eat corn. I don't
belief a wud a what him say. And I seh
it is a shame dat dis man should bamboozle
up dem poor pickney dem. What poor
pickney 'in school can do but swallow wha
dem teacher gib dem; it is same like
young nightengale shut up in a' dem nest,
all dem can do is to open dem big mout
all day, and whatensoebber dem mudder
put in, go down dem mout; causen if dem
don't eat dat, dem don't getnutting dat is'
de way wid pickney and dem teacher. It
is a matter dat de Gubberment should
"Really, sah, really;' 'said Broggins, who
agreed with the sentiment but, being en-
gaged with his own thoughts, had not
followed the oration in detail.
"All de Gubberment will look into is
how to tek money as taxes," said Mrs.
Gyrton, whom tax difficulties were at that
moment hag-riding. It'was the struggle
with this tax ogre which most depressed
her mind and heart as she sat where we
found her at the beginning of this chapter,
on the steps of her door in the deepening
darkness. A knock beat with sudden ii'm-'
perativeness on the gate of the" yarid;l
Someone stood in the street and' tiicl-'
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
19udly and sharply on the weather-beaten
,bords so tht the rickety frame shook
Sa even rattled. Loud as .was the sum-
posR 'Mrs. Gyrton made no response
whatever, though she stayed her tears.
It s.ihe elementall impulse of the animal
Sbene th the. shock of fear or surprise, to
seqA cpicealment. That dates back to
those simple days of woodland life when
pretty everything new and surprising was
also dangerous. Instinctively, as the
knock on the gate sounded in her car,
Mrs. Gyrton's thoughts clamoured that
this.had to do with overdue taxes and
water rates, and that there stood without,
behind that imperative rapping, some
messenger of power, or as she had it, of
oppression. "Miss. Noel" she reflected,
"might come as.late as dis, but she
w'oqdn't 'knock and bombard me gate
rlke"dat." 'She waited in silence, not
imaging that silence could protect her,
but resolved in any case not to give help
to a possible enemy.
1 The knock was. not repeated. The
visitor was one of Nature's logical minds.
A ki.ok like his must have been heard
all over the yard and through the house.
If it remained unanswered, either there.
wa' no 'one to answer it, or no one intend-
ed to do so. He' pushed the gate open,
and sitping into the yard, demanded:
"Aiyone at home?"
Mrs. ,Gyrton, peering through the gloom,
'distinguished the man by his figure, and
answered, as iti so often the case in Jama-
ica, by asking another question: "You
want me, Mr. Grant?"
She offered no explanation or excnse
for' her silence and Grant asked for none.
'If this woxtan had remained silent when
'h' knocked, he presumed she had her rea-
sons forthat course. Even if he had been
curious about those reasons, as he was not,
he knew' that, if a woman wished to con-
cal 'her'ie'ason, she would do so, though
she answered all your questions. Certain-
ly'Mrs' Gyrton had heard his knock, and
certainly her silence had not prevented
his 'fTlnhpg her. These were essentials,
and Grant, uneducated as he was, had
sbne ,of that gift of centring his mind on
essentials which, in a higher degree, went
far to a make Napoleon the conqueror
Ybs,I, want to see you," he answered
as he'seated himself on a log, and, produc-
ting a' wooden pipe, began to load it with
tobacco. He was a short, stodgy fellow,
bearing all over' his face the footprints uf
a bad attack of small-pox. In son
places the pock-marks showed dark
than the dark surrounding skin. In other
they were a shade lighter; the effect w
not beautiful. A few black, curly hai
pushed out above, his lips, wh~c~ -thou.
thick were rather noticeably respliute.
very strong chin was also ornarept
with a few straggling hairs. The rm
evidently allowed these to remain .by i
tention, but there was no sign of his other
wise caring for them, for some were loo
and some were very short, some curl(
some stuck out like bristles; they gre
anyhow. One eyelid had a peculiar dro(
and between the brows there was. an
regular shape of very dark skin. T]
was a scar left where a bottle had bn
been broken full in his face. That fa,
considered by itself, suggested a min
somewhat advanced 'age and decayi
physical power, but a glance at Gian
arms and trunk dispelled that delusi<
Still in the prime of life, he was reputed
the strongest man in Kingston.
"Yes," he continued, I come purp(
to see you. I got a thing to tell you :"
struck a match to light his pipe, guard
it from the wind, lighted the pipe and pi
ceeded ; and I also got a thing to ask y,
I know seh this house belongs to you. Y
don't pay rent for it."
"But I pay taxes," said Mrs. Gyrt
dolorously, "Taxes and water rates. 1
enough and more than enough." ;
paused a second and then said: It is,l
two hamper, and one full wid iron and
udder wid led and we is de jack-ass stc
down between and mus' carry dem."
"Well," said Grant, "taxes is. a .h
thing. I don't contradict you, andii
like some a dem thing dat de fqrdet,)
go wid them, it is the heavier denmrgetis
not the lighter; like when you take u
load of sand, and as you travel wid it, r
fall and wet you properly. But bet
taxes 'lonely than taxes wid rent on
as well. The house belongs to you ?"
"It belongs to Mr. Gyrton." :
"Gyrton dead longtime," replied G'ir
decisively, else you would heai'firim l
You ever hear from him' all 'the'sd"hl
years. You never hear from him not'(
"No," assented Mrs. Gyrton. I 'nel
hear from him not eben once..' I:neb
hear him whisper to me in a message
anyone come back here, let alone
jetter from him."
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
"Dead man can't write letter," com-
mented the man, "any more than sun
which set yesterday can come back and
warm you to-day. De house is fe you."
"Till dem tek it from me fe taxes and
water rates," moaned the woman.
"Well them don't take it yet," said
"Not yet," was the refrain.
"How much you owe? taxes and all?"
Grant had chosen the time well for the
proposal he was making. Under accum-
ulating trouble. Mrs. Gyrton's mind, gen-
erally so quick to resent interference, re-
sembled some muscular body which has for
the time being lost the power of reaction.
Prod it you might; it was as nerveless as
a wet blanket. It was as dead to, all in-
tents and purposes as sodden leather. In
fact, the outworks of temper having been
thrown down, the ramparts of morality
were revealed as a defence paltry indeed.
The woman now obediently detailed
the position of her affairs.
"And ebbery day you live," said Grant
directly and decidedly, "you will be worse
The woman, womanlike, unwilling to
face disagreeable truth,darted passionate-
ly aside down the paths of vehement
"Why all dese Gubbernor and Collector
must so jam craben for taxes. Duck
pickney dem don't want water a piece
more. Drunken man, it is de same him
want rum. Why dem mus' so rage and
raven and claw people fe money; hungry
wdrse dan hungry dog; run wilder dan
crazy ants. Dig in a' you head as
woman wid fine teet comb search you out
for lice. Gravel round you house like man
dah get out sweet potato in a'you garden.
Lord to see de big house dem all got, wid
garden and coach-house and big dinner
and all, and berry hose to water dem roses
garden, and somting to cut de berry grass
in a' dem yard, and man to clean dem
boots and all. And to see what we poor
ting got fe we part, so-so yard,so-so house
and so-so bittle and little a' dat; and yet
dem nebber 'top for one single year to
come and rake and grab money from
poor people. My God, but you don't see
it nuh? You big house must 'a hab
wooden jalousie and you must 'a keep
dem shut, for if it was glass windows
you must see how dem use poor people
"Well" said Grant, quite unmoved,
" taxes was before you time and' mine,
and dey will be going when both you and
me is dutty again. Don't bodder to fret.
What I want to tell you, you must think
over very careful, and if you tek it in the
right way it will fetch you out of all these
you troubles. I is man work me twenty
shillings, thirty shillings and even to forty
shillings a week but I don't have no house
in this Kingston. Now I will come here
an live wid you, if you agree. What you
owe now I will pay it; you will have to
bittle me and wash me clothes, and at the
same time I will give you ten shilling
certain every week. You can have you
little washing and what else you can get
to do, same as now. What you say ?"
For some time Mrs. Gyrton made no
reply whatever. Shamefacedly she at
length muttered: "Mr. Grant, why we
couldn't married an done. It would be
"No," said the, man bluntly," it is a
d-- d different thing If I married
you I take up the whole of the load and I
tie it on me back wid rope and chain and
not wid twine-twine you can break, but
rop you can't break, nor can you cut
clan. This way I tek up only what I
wa t to carry and the day I tired I put it
down same place."
"You needn't pay but ten shillings same
as you say. But, you know,:Mr. Grant, I
is a married woman, and from de begin-
ning I always stand up for married and
moralment. I is a woman gots church con-
nection." In that last phrase she em-
bodied the fact of a casual attendance at
a church where her name stood on the
membership roll with the supposition that
she paid church dues, anchored to some
unredeemed promise sunk deep in the
"All dat," replied Grant with no hesit-
ancy, "is your business. You can tek
what I say or leave it; I won't married.
I want a strong woman like you, not a
young or a foolish woman and not a
woman wid a face going draw udder man
to come here as ripe fruit draw wasp-
wasp. I want such a woman to tend me
clothes and my food and I will willing to
do what you hear me say. But married
He looked round the yard. Here was
room for a little garden. Some fowls and
perhaps even a goat could find living
room, and in such things Grant took a
never-failing delight. He had been born
in a far-away country district, and, though
snatched thence by the intruding hand of
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
Circumstarce, he had travelled into dis-
tances remote from the quiet out-of-the-
way mountain village, and through scenes
very different from the still mornings
there that 'fell with broad shadows and
sparkling belts of light across the green
leaves of the banana and the dew-
diamonded leaves of the Cocoa, or the
odorous evenings when the fire-flies
streaked the dark of the night-time's gar-
ments and the fragrance of the Sweet-
wood passed like a refreshing hand over
the hill-side ; old tastes were still verdant
in his heart. Men who knew him in cap-
acities neither peaceful nor simple would
have been surprised to find in his heart,
this yearning affection; but there it
was verdant and persistent. Old likings
still lingered there like patches of grass,
fresh and green, in the midst of a weary
land. It was an unexpected oasis in the
desert of a hard disposition. '
He threw in a few more words now to
remove any feeling the woman might have
of being despised on individual grounds.
He did not wish her self-love to be injur-
ed for he did not wish to have her, on that
ground, set against his plan. His objection
to a wife was a general principle and not
a particular instance. It was to woman
that he objected in that capacity not to a
woman. Therefore after a short silence
"I did married once--to a pretty
yaller-skin gal. My good woman it was
de debbil. It was de very door-step of
hell. I tell you so. She did get tired and
I did get tired. and then it was worse for
we both get vexed. I almost get meself
into serious trouble over that said girl at
dat said time. You see this sort of crook-
ed mark almost night and betwixt me
eyes, like as if you take the corner of a
hoe mouth and drive down deh? She do it;
dat same girl do it. She lick me slap down
wid a bottle. Blood blind me dat day or
I would 'a swing fe it sure. I would a' kill
her stiff dead but blood chock up me eye,
and she get away. And you tink say I
wasn't glad say I didn't lick her back. It
wasn't good six months after dat when God
remember me and she dead; dead sweet
and sudden as when you swing a sharp
cutlass and chop right through a fat
"Oh she dead ?" said Mrs. Gyrton. Her
interest centred on the fact that there had
once been a Mrs. Grant; since the contin-
ued existence of that personage would
have made impossible the fulfilment of her
own ambition; but Mrs. Grant was dead
and- Any hope that she harboured
was destroyed by Grant's next words:
I will ncbber married again, not while
I know this hand from that, or night from
day or rum from sweet kola. You can
catch mongoose in a iron trap one time,
if you set it skilful; but you must kill
him den. If him get away no trap you
-can set will ever catch him again; and man
married once and get out a' it wont
married a second time, not while him got
sense enoughh to full a salt-cellar."
Well, ma'm," he continued I make
you my offer and you can consider it. I
am going to Port Antonio dis two week
coming. When I come back you can tell
me. I gone now."
"Walk good, sah," responded Mrs.
The Slaying and Eating of the Last Fowl -TIh Pourig Forth e/ Debate-
Into Theological Mazes-Praver--The Devil an the Carpenter-A
On the wings of the wind to Mrs.
Gyrton's friends flew news of Grant's
proposal. Manifestly this was a subject
.for discussion and advice, and Rosabella,
old'White, Broggin and others were ready
for the dayof debate and counsel. It was
White, as usual, who amid the unsubstan-
tialities of opinion aimlessly wandering
hither and thither, and through the froth
of mere talk, seized on hard fact and held
it up in a suggestion which was endorsed
"You is hab now a serious thing to con-
sider'on; and to debate and drasticatq
ONE BROWN GtRL ANlD--
about, and de fust ting you should do is to
mek good road to tek you to w6h you
dah go. Watch white person; it is de
first ting dem do--to make good road.
Now Mrs. Gyrton, you still hab one fowl
left." This was a definite, undeniable fact
and there was none to contradict him as
he continued 'suavely:
'It would be best for we all to meet
and talk 'bout dig business which you now
bring before us. Now I propose you in-
vite us all to your yard, and dis one fowl
you got left, you can tek-and kill it and
cook it;" he added the last words in an in-
cidental tone of voice as if taking the
fowl was all and killing and cooking it of
no significance whatever. He continued:
"And I, for fe me'part, will gib you a yam,
if it is eben to piece of one; and dent
udder one will bring fe dem something, if it
is eben a red' pepper. It is pleasant so,
and, besides if you keep dat fowl much
more dem will likely steal it same as dem
stealsome of de rest; and 'siden dat, when
you lib wid Mr. Grant you will not need
dis one fowl. Him will gib you many
more. I tink dis is a good plan."
So thought they all, and Mrs. Gyrton
quieted her scruples by the argument that
if she did tek Mr. Grant'" this one fowl
would not be missed. A day was therefore
fixed for the slaying of the fowl, for
meeting and feasting at Mrs. Gyrton's yard
and for the pouring forth of advice.
"First to eat," said White on that great
day. When de stomach is full de brain
is wise and den de tongue trabbil a right
road. It is a ting I all times notice; talk
when you finish dinner; don't talk before
you eat. Watch white people; it is so dein
The majority favoured this view and
therefore the feast preceded the debate.
The latter was opened by Rosabella, Mrs.
"Take," she said "de best chance you
ebber yet hab since you come into de
world a homely pickney, and dada say "it
ngly no sin;".and de best chance you will
ebber hab till de day come when dem pjut
you in white. clothes and tie up you jaw
and clap saucer on eye to shut it down,
and nail you upin a you coffin and left
you ina' churchyard. Tek it and don't
But," objected Mrs. Gyrton, though
she showed very little spirit, "I belong to
church and you don't; you know dat,
Fosabella. I use to pray and you don't"
7"Pray," said Rosabella angrily, "and
why I can't pray as good as you ? And
who de debbil tell you I don't pray ? And
I can't pray ? I tell you dis,I will pray
you blind if you want try."
Still you is not a married woman," in-
sisted Mrs. Gyrton, though it was a half-
hearted protest. Her spirit was not what it
had once been, or red battle would have
closed round Rosabella's words.
"And what de deb'bil married do fe
you ?" asked Rosalella contemptuously.
"Well," said White, judicially anxious
to recognize a fact, it gib her dis house
anyways; and it gib herdis fowl,de last
fnwl we just finish eat; and I want say,
Miss Rose, it eat nice."
Rosabella's advance having thus re-
ceived a rebuff, old Broggin took the
floor. His bent was much more towards
the general than to the particular and
specific. The question immediately be-
fore them was whether or not a carpen-
ter's wife, or widow, should live in con-
cubinage; but this was too narrow a
matter to confine Broggin's thoughts and
speech. The word "pray" called him
forth to wide regions, and his reflections
swept like blundering bat wings to the
verge of Time and Eternity.
''Now, 'bout praying, Mrs. Gyrton,
don't'you mek dem frighten you out a'
praying; pray is a good ting; it is an
amphibious habit. Miss Rosabella is a
smart young lady, and him know a grea
deal, and what him tink him know. but
don't, would fill a barrel and a half; but
dere is a ting you call too smart. You
follow go a church, me dear female; you
well and need all Minister and Church
dem can do fe you."
"Djn't frighten fe kneel down and pull
prayer out a' you mout like dem poopa in
de store in Kingston pull dem twine out a'
little round box hang up over de counter
in de shop. Kneel down, me daughter,
kneel down low. Knock dutty wid you
knee pan, and when de debbil come pass,
like a roaring wind or a bellowing lion,
wid him Inout wide open and him white
teet dah say, gie me, gie me something to
chaw," him won't find you head to catch
and carry way; him will tek dem mind
stan' up tall and look boastful and proud,
like Miss Rosic."
Rosabella did not make this casus belli.
Indeed she did not feel offended at the
charge of pride. In her opinion she had
something to be proud of. Her pickneys
were all white." Sile merely made a rg-
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
mark to this effect, and Mr. Broggins, who
had by no means exhausted his theme,
continued with zest.
"Dem read in de Bible seh de debbil is
a rolling lion, and trabbel round to see
what him can catch; and what him catch
him eat, bones and flesh and yeye-ball;
but it can't mean lion, for lion you nebber
see out here in Jamaica; but, as we all
know, debbil is in Jamaica. It is wind
dat roll here, and dat is what de Bible
mean; you tek me word fe it, de wind
roll and rumble all ober de tree tops and
dat tree dat stan' up too high is a dead
tree, for the wind will knock him down,
"You kneel down me daughter, and,
follow go a' church. You is full of lust
and pomposity and pride; prayer will
pull you down; like a when come middle
a' mango season, and sake a' craben after
mango and eat too much ob dem, boy
get feber and headache and dem gib him
a good wholesome piece a' blue pill, also
a proper swallow a' castor oil; it clean
him out; it pull him down; it mek him
feel better. A' same so wid prayer."
This was all very well; but, in express-
ing his views thus freely on what the devil
might be Broggin had crossed the track
of another guest who was also given to
theological ruminations. Mr. White felt
it to be his duty to bring home to this
audience the extreme difficulty of reach-
ing a conclusion on a question concerning
which his friend Broggins had spoken
with such unhesitating temerity. More-
over, he had the memory of a personal
grievance, a festering wound that re-
quired every now and then to be relieved
by the discharge of words.
"It is a berry difficult ting," he now
interjected, to understand what dis deb-
bil is, and how exactly him favour. I ask
Minister all times 'bout it, but dem don't
got dat acquaintance wid de ting which
you would expect dem to hab. Dem is'nt
quite satisfactory. You would tink since
it is fe dem business to fight dis same
debbil, dem would know him, to describe
him form and shape from de first hair in
him crown-piece to the last corner ina'
him foot bottom; but if you ask dem
"Debbil hab tail Minister ?" else him got
foot split like a goat, dem seem doubtful
'bout it. De most remarkable one I ebber
meet tell me dat de debbil was ina' me ;
now, me daughter, look' at you Poopa,
look how me poor little body meagre and
shrivel wid hard time, and sake a pay
Buckra taxes, and strive to walk ina' de
straight gate lead go a' hebben, like
needle go troo camel's eye; I mean
Camel go troo needle eye. What place
I got inside me to make house fe big, big
debbil. Something big till him mek old
time Elijah and David and Moses shake
and frighten, and Massa Jesus himself tek
forty solid day to. bruck de brute down.
"More and sumebber, why him should
look to lib wid me ? Why him don't choose
some a dem ripe rich old backra; rich till
dem berry skin begin to turn yellow like
gold; and wicked till dem hair self, stop
fe grow, and drop off. as good as seh
"No, me son, me gone ; dis place too hot
fe me. It is going a Debbil oven and not
a place else." But I done wid dat Minis-
ter from dat day. I nebber go a him church;
or if I does let me foot wander troo the
door, I mek sure to tek me big copper
and put ina' de plate to pay for it, so him
can't say yea nor nay to me ; I go and sit
me down, and I pay for me seat. I don't
under no obligation to him church. Him
gib me him sermon, and I gib him me big
copper; and me cut it off and finish. And
if him ebber speak to me in de street, I
am quite short and severe and don't hab
any argumentation wid him. I hold de
man insult me grievous, widdouten any
"Not because you hab a little theologi-
cal talk, a man is to tell you de debbil got
house inside me. I did feel almost to tell
him dat debbil lib inside him, and since he
was man hab red hair and walk a quarter
and a half lame, it did really look quite
suspicious; but, sake of respect, I did not
tell him so. But I notice dat since dat
time one a' him pickney dead, and him
wife most dead, which, if him tek it in
the right way, should show him how him
run risk to insult man like a me, whom
Big Massa know is a honest, hard-working
nigger, always hab respect for man in
This exhausted what White had to say
for the present on this intricate problem
Mr. Broggins then, without any reference
to what had transpired in the interim, re-
sumed his remarks on prayer.
"Pray, me pickney?" he now said,
"don't mek fun fe rub you knee pan dem
on de ground, dig dem deep in, so you can
get something you can hold on to, like tree
hold on to roots or ship to anchor. Pray,
till you mek Big Massa dat tired fe hear
you, and bex wid you mout walking round
and round him and knock pon him ears,
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
dis side and dat side, dat side and dis side,
dat him sell, "tek it, tek it, tek it, Oh
Lord, tek all you want. I tired fe hear
you mout, you is monotonous worse dan
when ribber dah run down cascade."
"Pray, me gal, pray; don't neglectful
fe pray. And I tell you what, Mrs.
Gyrton, I find it is a good ting fe pray
time when de mudder one don't tink fe do
it. When ebberyonedah pray to him same
time, Big Massa got so much fe do mind
listen dem and answer dem, at..l wvahlal
some of dem so fretful and cry-cry, and
don't know well what dem want; and
when him gib dem what dem cry for, be-
fore dem can proper get out a door, dem
come back say, "Lord, Lord, it is a mistake
you mek. It is not dis I desires. It is
dat udder ting dat dis man dah carry
away. Stop him, good Lord stop him.
Don't gie me cow when I want horse; and
don't gie me.umbrella 'causen I gots one.
It is hat I want. Mek haste, Big Massa,
mek haste, I well and want it."
"Saking and 'casion of which whiny-
whiny and cry-cry person, dere is dat con-
fusion in heaven, dat it is chance if Big
Massa hear what you say good and can
attend to you all at once. But you pick
and choose you times when most people
don't tink to pray, den Big Massa can spare
to listen to you, When I usen to follow
praying heavy, being a young man and
wanting all kind of tings, I did pray early
in the morning before day clean, when
the rest of them sleep; and I pray middle
day, and I pray middle night, I did pray
All well, fe talk," put in Rosabella
surlily, "but what good you know pray
ebber do you ? Doh if it come to pray, I
can pray meself, I don't say I can't and
I don't say I don't."
"What good pray do ?" said White in a
state of righteous indignation verging on
heat. "Don't you know all dem story 'bout
'Lijah and de ravens, and Jonah and
de Whale, and Daniel in den of lions, and
Joseph and him coat and him breddrens ?
You don't know all dat ? Den you don't
"And 'bout de new wine and de old
bottles," said Mr. Broggins contributing
what he could recall on the spur of the
moment, "and Balaam and his jack-ass ?"
And de fiery serpent and de ten fool-
ish virgins ?" said Denton, following suit.
Of course I know," said Rosabella re-
sentfully, forfewthings.offend a Jamaican
more than an .imputation of ignorance of
the Bible. Of course we all know dem
story; but dem is like fruit hang on top
of a tall tree and you can't reach it. Tell
me some story happen to-day yah, like
fruit hang a low limb where you can pick
it. Tell me, fe yourself what good prayer
ebber do you ?"
"I will tell yon," said White vehemently,
and was on the point of blurting out what
he expected to accomplish when at last
he succeeded in getting to England and
picking up money at the Prince of Wales'
"door-mout." That was a matter of
frequent prayer with him, and so real did
his anticipated success seem to his fervent:
imagination that it stood before him as
an actual and accomplished fact. Caution,
however, laid her grip upon his impulse
in time and he swiftly switched off into
the following edifying narrative:
"When I was a sizable boy, when me
hair did kind a' begin to hold back and
hold back, and yet to grow, on me top-
most lip, and me voice did squeeze up and
open out peculiar,as inde prognostication
of dat ephrv-iral of life, where I did lib,
dem did hab prayer meeting ebbery Mon-
day night punctual and I nebber miss go
to it. Well, once I and anodder young
fellow did walk troo Running River pen,
and light at de place which I remember
to Ids day, where a big Cedar and five
Cocoanut tree dah grow, we did tek two
or tree cocoanut; not to say we did want
dem, but sake a de way de cocoanut seem
next door to talk and say pick we, pick
we, you is fool if you pass we."
Someone go tell lie 'pon we, and wid
dat de Busha send Police after we. Now
it was a Monday night when dem come fe
we, and dem come trait a me house. Peter
dem find, but me did deh a' prayer meet-
ing, and, before dem could find out dat
and come fe me, someone run and tell me
'bout it. I fire meself troo de door and
tek road same time fe trabbll go a' me
aunt a' Clarendon. In due time all did
blow ober, for you know sake of a few
cocoanut, Policeman don't carry malice
too long. You ax me what pray ebber
do fe me and I tell you dat story, which
is a true story."
Rosabella felt it was full time to bring
the discussion back to the matter im-
mediately in hand. Me dear creature,"
she said to her sister, "better do as'cord-
ing as de man propose to you. A' you
want him, a' no him want you. Man can
get woman easy as kiss me hand, more so
when him got money. Woman is like
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
star-apple hang 'pon tree. It must stay
deh till dem pick it. Man stan a ground
pick what him want. It is woman when
him get ageable, and is homely like you,
and is poor, dat find man hard fe get.
Now dis man him promise you ten "mac"
a week, and dat fe little more dan wash
him clothes and boil him food. If you
don't tek it you is a fool. You mek one
mistake when you married to dat carpen-
ter, don't mek any more now. Land crab
down a Panama Isthmus eat you husband
long time since, and pick him bone clean
and white; same as dem eat all udder
dead man buried dere. So what you got
to frighten for?
"Besiden, even supposin' him don't dead,
and him come back, what him can do
you ? White people got something dem
call bigannimy, purpose to interfere wid
what don't concern dem, as is dem way,
and trouble poor black people wid; but
for dat you must really married again,
while you husband is libe. Now you
not going to married to dis. man, you
don't run a piece a risk, save and
except when Gyrton come, if him do
come, and I say him won't come, him will
raise de debbil of a row, and will cuss
and jam and blast sickening to hear; but
don't care what you do or what you don't
do, Gyrton would mek a row when him
come; so all will be same fashion. Tek
de man; get you ten 'mac' a week and
"You talk berrypositive, Rosie, but you
forget say I is a woman got church con-
"Church," said Rosabella, "don't I go
a church? Don't I sing hymn? Don't I
can use prayer book and Bible? Does dem
ebber turn me out a' church when I go
dere, and yet don't all of dem know I got
Backra for me sweet-heart and got
pickney one, twice, tree times, and nebber
can and nebber will married ? Church I
look yah, if a church dah trouble you, go
a you Minister and ask him flat to tek up
collection fe you ebbery month Tell him
if him will do so you will do what dem
say and tell dis man Mr. Grant you can't
lib wid him. You tink any minister will
do dat for you ?"
"I is married woman," said the Car-
penter's wife almost plaintively. Backra
dem all know me, dat I set me face
against sin. I can go a sacrament any
time. Rosabella, you know you can't tek
"-Set you face against sin," said Rosa-
bella contemptuously, ignoring the point
about sacrament which she could.not
meet. "How much a week Backra will
pay you to set you face against sin?
When Backra want Black-man to mek
Constable, don't him pay dem two-and
tuppence a day ? Him want black woman
to clean out church, else wash clothes, or
even say pick common jigger out a him
foot wid needle, don't him pay dem, if it
is little or much? But when it come to
set you face against sin which a dem you
see pay you wages. And dat is why I
say dem is all an hypocrisy and sham."
Unhappy Mrs. Gyrton answered weakly.
or not at all. Rosabella pushed her ad-
"Ask dem out and out," she said.
"Ask dem plain and simple to gib you ten
mac, or even seven, or even five self, to
pay you to set you face against sin as you
call it, and see if you will get one big
copper from any one of dem. Minister
oh, class-leader oh, elder oh, or deacon."
"Rosabella," said Mrs. Gyrton after a
pause, "you is a sensible woman. I did
not tink on all dese tings."
It was the sign of surrender. The Car-
penter's wife, or widow, had hauled down
the flag of respectability.
Again night was falling, and again,
amid the gathering darkness, Mrs. Gyrton
sat on the step of her house. Tonight
there was no fowl to disturb the stillness
of the yard, but it was shaken by a steady,
jarring sound as the woman turned the
handle of a small rackety coffee mill that
reposed in her lap. She had before her
mind a change in life, which wasto neutral-
ize all her previous laborious respectability;
yet it must be confessed that her thoughts
were brighter than they had been for
many a week. Mr. Grant was due within
a day or two and the answer that she had
ready for him would, she foresaw, lift a
great burden from her shoulders. It
would take her out of that dismal morass
of debt which threatened to engulf all
her possessions. True, she was about 'to
place herself in a position from which she
could never again address Rosabella
effectively on marriage and respectability!
Rosabella could in the future take advan-
tage of the change and say to her things
hard and bitter ; but after all words could
be forgotten; unpaid taxes stick to one
like one's shadow. Miss Noel would cer-
tainly be vexed when she understood
what had happened; but as Mrs. Gyrton sajd
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
to herself "young lady like dat, what she
know 'bout such tings. I will tell her I
is tekking lodger same as white lady tek
in lodger. Any fashion it will tek long
enough time before she understand it."
Moreover, in her heart, the woman could
not believe that, whatever happened Noel
Bronvola would ever "throw her away."
So the answer was ready for Grant; and
Mrs. Gyrton, sitting there in the rapidly
deepening twilight, twisted the handle of
her mill, and was fairly content with the
future she saw rising for her beyond the
. Someone stepped up the street and
stopped at the gate. There, without
knock or summons, he laid a hand on the
latch, pushed the gate back and entered
the yard.. Looking up in anger, Mrs.
Gyrton saw the new-comer had a right to
do.all this and more.
"*My God," she exclaimed, dropping the
mill as she sprang to her feet, and, she
made an instinctive clutch as at some
form, pear her that could help. "My
God," and she stared with wide open
eyes. The Carpenter had returned to his
Apparently Gyrton took it as the most
natural thing in the world that his wife
should spend some time in exclamation,
and while she was thus employed, he
turned a mildly interested eye on the
yard, to see perchance if some well re-
membered features remained.
His-silence, gave Mrs. Gyrton a thrill
of superstitious alarm. "It is a dead.
Him come back from the grave, she
muttered uneasily, shrinking away from
the apparition. "It is his duppy," and
an accusing conscience reminded her
that she stood on the eve of handing over
the Carpenter's house to Mr. Grant.
"It is warning" she murmured.
"Him come to call me. It is a dead
man. It is so they always come. Him
got a message for me. "
'At that the Carpenter spoke gruffly
"Don't talk chupidness; don't you see I
am somebody same as you.' It gave
him a. weird feeling to be regarded as a
spirit. You ebber see duppy carry
pipe?" he added. He produced the
pipte, then tobacco, and began to fill the
latter in rather an ostentatious manner;
as if bent on proving to himself and his
wife that he was ordinary flesh and blood,
"But all,these years; you nebher come
back," stama.ered Mrs Gyrtoq
"The world," said the carpenter easily
and largely, is a big place ;and it is like a
down hill; "when you start to roll on it
you may roll berry far."
"But Rosabella said Panama crab eat
you and dat dem pick you bones white,"
persisted Mrs. Gyrton, who had been im-
pressed by that picturesque statement and
not at all by the fact that the assertion
was based on no proof whatever.
"Rosabella is a damned fool, "said
Gyrton warmly. "How de debbil," with
yearnings towards a logical demonstra-
tion, how de debbil Panama crab could
eat me, when it is not Panama I just come
from; it is Mexico. Tell me dat now."
To this poser Mrs Gyrton attempted
"Where is Becka" said the man by
Car kill him in Orange Street dis some
years gone," replied Becka's mother, and
for the present that was the only memo-
rial raised in their conversation to their
Gyrton looked round the yard again
and asked a few questions; then in his
own style he told his wife as much of his
history during the last few years as he
thought she ought to know. She for her
part, detailed her troubles past, present
and [future, with the Collectors of taxes
and water rates. To her great pleasure
the carpenter seemed very little put out
at the prospect of wiping out these ar-
rears that loomed above her so fatefully
formidable. He signified that he had
come back with some money in his
pocket, and he said "I hear say carpen-
ter work is very good here now; I will
soon make more money."
Mrs. Gyrton said that she had heard the
contrary. But her husband took no notice
of that remark.
One ting," he said, "I must have is a
partner. I want a strong man, wid a
strong heart and a man wid a quick head
and a stiff tongue; one a dem tongue dat
don't move easy on its hinge. Not like fe
you. Somebody dat will learn it quick as
I did," he added almost musingly.
"You mean the carpenter business?"
asked his wife, "Don't you better get a
man know it already?"
"Carpenter business be damned," said
her husband emphatically much to the
bewilderment of his wife. She, however,
received no encouragement, to continue
asking questions. The Carpenter gave
ONf BROWN GIRL AND--
her money:to buy a good supper, while he
went off to bring in his trunk.
Mrs. Gyrton found herself in the street
in a condition of mind somewhat dazed.
The rapid movements of events had pro-
duced in her a feeling akin to the dizziness
caused in persons of weak or sluggish
brain when they watch a too quickly re-
volving- object. That sense of righteous-
ness and respectability which she had so
lately thrown down and regarded as for-
ever dismissed, began slowly to return to
ascend its old throne. She was a married
woman; she was still a respectable female,
who during long years of absence had
lived as wife, or widow, should. She felt
more and more a sort of redawning of
virtuous heroism. As this moral glow
flowed through her heart, she insensibly
felt that it would assist the process of re-
habilitation to gaze at something that
was identified in her mind with her re-
ligious respectability. She thought of
church, of Sunday School children, of the
deceased Becka, once a Sunday School
scholar, and then she thought of Noel,
Becka's Sunday School teacher. A few
minutes later Mrs. Gyrton stood in front
of the church school-house, alive just
then with a meeting of a girls' Guild.
Becka had often talked of this meeting.
From the lighted school-room now a
subdued sound of voices spread out in-
to the night. The Guild murmured like
a hive of bees.
Mrs. Gyrton looked in through one of
the jaloustes; a girl sitting near at hand
caught sight of the ill-natured eyes and
shrank back. The woman muttered a
curse at the idea of anyone being afraid
of her, just as, under other circumstances,
she would have cursed because no one
seemed afraid. Then the angry eyes
sought up and down the room for 'Miss
Noel, but in vain, Noel as it happened
was temporarily absent from the hall,
Still, having come to seek her somehow
assisted Mrs. Gyrtoe to realize more fully
that she had not after all lost her foot-
hold on the rock of respectability, and
she turned away now to buy supper, re-
possessed of her old time self-approba-
tion and self-assurance.
About half an hour later the lighted
schoolroom drew to it two other persons
from the surrounding darkness. They
also sought Noel. One was a tall black
girl, who was marked out by an air of
distinction for notice wherever she went.
The other was a diminutive black girl,
feature and figure made thin and sharp
by poor food, by poisoned city air, by the
continual friction with the acute though
shallow wits of the city folk of her class.
This child could make a bargain as well
as her mother. It was a tough job to de-
ceive her by any untruth, however well
planned. She was mistress of ceremonies
tonight, for she, and not her tall cousin
knew Noel. The cousin was there to be
shown this wonderful Sunday School
teacher of Charlotte Wedmore, and she
gave herself up passively to the direc-
tion of the said Charlotte as anyone of us
will do when we are anxious to satisfy
Charlotte was in daily combat with the
real and with matters of hard fact.
Nevertheless there lurked in crannies of
her being a good deal of imagination,
mystification and fancy. Mrs. Gyrton
had walked straight to the window and
looked in 'through the jalousies, without
hesitancy. She had blasted the eye that
she met with a scowl, had searched the
room round and round and then, without
further delay or manoeuvre, had walked
away. Charlotte could have come to the
window in the same direct fashion ; but
her manner of approach was vastly differ-
ent. She halted her cousin some distance
away; then manoeuvred elaborately to
reach the window, as if she knew that
deadly danger waited her in that vicinity.
Low she stooped, carefully and silently
she crept from point to point, always
going where the shadow lay deepest.
Arrived at the house, she pressed close, to
its walls, as close as she could possibly go,
and moving along thus stealthily she at
length found herself under the window.
She paused now and listened intently for
a full minute. Then very gradually she
stood erect and looked into the room; at
once stooping again she sank to the very
ground, for she saw, or pretended she saw,
someone watching the window.
Charlotte tried again, and once again
she ducked her head incontinently. Her
big cousin watching from the other side
of the road must be impressed with the
danger of this mission. When, for the
third time the little girl looked into the
room it was evident that previous rapid
appearances and disappearances had at
last attracted attention, for now a girl
near the window whispered loudly:
"Charlotte, I bet you I report you."
Charlotte's reply was a terrible
grimace ending with a red tongue thrust
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
jik'as'fat as' it wohld go between her
white teeth. However the encounter did
not develop, for at that moment every
child. in the room stood up to sing the
doxology. The Guild was about to close
Charlotte faded from the window and
rejoined her cousin.
"Miss Noel" she said, will soon come
but, but me mustn't go night the win-
dow for she tell me all times never to
come to the window, unless I could come
Noel issued from the door, preceded
and surrounded by a troop of girls.
"Watch me," said Charlotte. "Lend
me your basket; you will see how she
will speak to me. I tell you she respect
Charlotte crossed the street to Noel.
She was acting the part of a dutiful little
girl returning home with purchases for
her mother, carried in a somewhat heavy
basket. The inference was plain; duty
had kept her from the Guild.
As she foretold, Noel spoke to her at
once, and Charlotte beckoned vigorously
to her cousin, but the tall girl rather
shrank back than came forward,
Charlotte returned presently, after watch-
ing Noel enter a car. The young woman
who had given herself up to.the guidance of
*the little busy-body so long as she wished
to'satisfy her curiosity, now resumed her
natural place of command.
"So that is Miss Noel," she said.
"Give me my basket, and let us go home."
"Why you did not come when I call
you? I would a make her speak to you."
There was no reply, and Charlotte con-
"One ting you take and lock ina' you
head, Delia, where you know how to find
it. If ebber you got trouble, she is the
young lady to help you. She is wringing
down wet up wid kindness; and she is
like a umbrella when trouble dah rain
'"Perhaps," said the other quietly," but I
don't beg anyone to help me, even when I
am in trouble. The world is there for me
as well as anyone'.else."
"So you say. now,' said Charlotte
shrewdly, "but trouble don't ketch you
t. Wait till it come' out a bush on you."
"I -can. remember her without wanting
her help," was the reply.
Meantime Mrs. Gyrton, supported by
that sense of temptation overcome, which
we have noticed as gradually suffusing
her soul, and laden with materials for sup-
per, were retracing her steps to the yard.
Thert chased through her mind as she
care in sight of the well-known gate, a
grateful reflection that Grant's visit was
not due till a day later. Tremendous
woulo have been the row had Gyrton
returned to find Grant as good as in-
installed in his shoes. Now the latter
would hear in good time of the new arri-
val, and he was not the man to thrust his
head into the lion's mouth for no sound
But the surprises of that memorable
day were not yet exhausted. At her gate,
Mrs. Gyrton became conscious that two
persons were conversing in the yard be-
hind. She listened. One voice belonged to
The woman opened the gate fairly dazed
Still more surprising was it to find both
men chatting amicably. Grant- bade her
good evening in the most ordinary manner,
and soon after her husband announced
that he proposed to take Mr. Grant as a
partner in his carpenter's business. Now
Grant had not hitherto been known to
fame as a carpenter, so this arrangement
was a further surprise for Mrs Gyrton.
She, however, was wise enough to be
silent, and the next thing her husband
told her was that Grant would come to
board with them.
The fact was that Gyrton had returned
to his native island extensively equipped
for business much more remunerative, and
sonie hat more obtrusive and less monoto-
nous, than carpentry. He had felt that he
would need a companion, and the stronger
minded Grant who, by the merest chance,
had come to see Mrs. Gyrton twenty-four
hours earlier than was at first planned,
had speedily possessed himself of the
other's will, and guided it safely to con-
fidence in himself and to the proposal of
partnership which so astonished Mrs.
In the following weeks remarkable
changes were made in the Gyrton pre-
mises, and when these were concluded,
anyone who had known that unkempt
place before would have glowed with
pleasure. The carpenter's bench, fitted
.with a tidy grindstone for sharpening
tools, a prominent and capacious tool-
chest and wooden "dogs" for holding in
position the boards that were being sawn,
a plentiful supply of shavings and saw-
dust all proclaimed that the carpenter
SONE BROWN GIRL AND-- 41
was no drone; and indeed not a few re-
marked what a change for the better
there was in Gyrtcn as far as work went.
He was more prosperous even than he
was industrious; a visitor too with a previ-
ous knowledge of the place, would have
experienced a sort of feeling of mystifica-
tion. The kitchen certainly seemed small-
er, and yet, otherwise, it looked exactly
as it had always done. A brick wall
closed either end with the same old,
black,-dirty look. Not a pin was there
to choose between one wall and the other,
yet somehow the walls seemed closer to-
Now, one of these walls was only a
sham affair; though a sham so cleverly
constructed as to almost certainly escape
detection unless the observer had some
reason for examining the place very
minutely; and except when-the-skilfully
fitted door through it stood open, or
with the key in the lock. Behind that
partition was a small room which was
said to contain carpenters' tools; but the
implements found there would have lain
strangely in the hands of most carpenters.
This was the background of the picture.
In the foreground that Gyrton presented
to the world, wrought the industrious
Carpenter and his strong assistant Mr.
Grant. In the background behind that
clever sham wall, work was done by
lamp-light which it was essential should
not be exposed to the light of day. The
photographer has his dark room, as we
know, but the business in which Grant
and Gyrton were partners was not photo-
Between the jaws of the Meffalas-Fidelia, the Coromazncre-The smnitingr
of John Meffala on the mouth-The Sot at Midnight-- he Order of the
supple-jack-TlIe tragic work-seekerr-Through wine to truth-A mis-
The retail establishment of Meffala anI
Co..layagsinst Haven Street, Kingston,
like a wide-mouthed sea monster to whose
extended jaws the sweeping currents
bring with.them small fish and animalcu-
lae, the creature's food. The Mtinger,
clerks, and accountants were the filaments
of the yawning mouth, through which the
purchasers were strained, Meffala's re-
taining their coin, and casting their per-
sons and purses into the street.
On a certain fore-noon the jaws, other-
wise'the doors, were open and the fila-
ments, otherwise the Manager, clerks and
accountants, were all at work. Sales
were being effected at the various count-
ers, but business was not brisk, and as
Meffala Senior, paced the length of the
shop floor he timed his steps to thoughts
of reducing expenses. He could discharge
one or more of the clerks. This salary
could be pruned; that could lose a leg;
this an arm. Times were dull; there
were few.demands for clerks and account-
ants, and these of his would stand a lot
ere they cut the painter. It did not follow
that any clerk would actually be dis-
charged, or even that any salary would be
at once reduced, for Meffala was much
given to pursuing a similar line of thought.
It was pleasant to him to reflect that all
these men ani women stood at his mercy,
and it interested him to calculate how
much he might save by getting rid of one
or two of them. It pleased him also to
note how his gaze sent quaking apprehen-
sion through these men and women; how
they would grow pale when he brought
up the subject of dismissal. To see this
one and that one dragged forward by his
word like a criminal being indicted for
some shameful offence; to watch the
tense anxiety, the clumsily hidden fear,
while h. held up dism ssal as possible;
and the pitiable gr.titu le when he an-
nounced acquittal. It amused Meffala;
it male him think better of himself, for
it gave him the sense of power.
As the clerks took money from the
customers they put it an'1 memorandum
of their sales into little tin cars which ras
on wires overhead. The wires converged
above a raised platform. There, behind
a railing, sat the Cashier. She opened
6NE AROW14 dikt ANb -.
each pan as it arrived, counted the money,
and sent the car back, empty or with the
required change. Then she "tilled" the
cash, and filed the memorandums to be
handed on later to the book clerk. It
was the Cashier's business to see that the
money tallied throughout the day with
the memorandums. Meffala's Cashier
was our little friend, Ada Smith. Juit
now Ada was moderately busy because al-
though there were few buyers, they. all
happened to want change.
Among the buyers there was a black
girl plainly but neatly dressed in brown
linen and wearing a sailor bat. Her
height marked her out to attract attention
wherever she stood, whether by herself
or in a crowd, and her face held that at-
tention. It contradicted the opinion that
every black face has the same broad
features, the flattened nose, the low fore-
head, the thick lips.
This girl, in whose veins there ran no
drop of European blood, had a forehead
high and broad. The nose was well model-
led; the lips, full but not thick, were firm
and pleasant to contemplate. The chin
suggested a character decided and reso-
lute, a disposition hewn out in lines of
strength. Here, one thought instinctively,
isa.strongnature, native principle and
strong native intelligence, a bedrock of
Standing near her, was a woman of a very
different kind. The little of good that
she had inherited from the ages had been
devastated and desolated by the years.
Her aspect bespoke a heart in which the
milk of human kindness had long since
curdled. The black, blunt features were
coarsened. The eyes, a sullen light, glared
like a mist-blurred sun, looking out over
a country which a hurricane had torn ani
bruised. Here, in fact, was an existence
that continued because Nature implants
the desire to live so deeply in human
beings that it remains after happiness has
fallen above it into irretrievable ruin.
Rage looked out here like a chained and
These are.the people who live on, not
because life is dear or pleasant; but be-
cause they see beyond a greater dark-
ness and possibly a more terrible burden.
They endure the intolerable because they
have no proof that they are right in think-
ing that it is the worse thing possible.
They are like a man on a path above a
precipice who goes on because he can
pe their turn back nor stand still. Mrs.
Gyrton's happiness had not increased since
we saw her last.
: She had now handed over a two-
shillirg piece and was waiting for the
chadge. As she stood there, her eye
rested on the girl beside her with that air
of hostile contempt at times observable
in women of this class and temperament
towards other black women who show
superiority in dress and deportment.
While Mrs. Gyrton waited, the tall girl
had finished her purchase of a pair of
boots which she had chosen with. much
care and right in the teeth of the counter
There entered the store another wo-
onman on whom we should bestow some
attention, since we will meet her again
in this story. This was an English girl of
some four and twenty. Her pale face
wore a look of refinement and her ex-
treme fairness contrasted with the dark
blue uniform which marked her as rank-
ing in the Salvation Army. It was a thin
face; but it bore no line suggestive of
pain or privation, though of both these
she had had her share. Nor had sorrow
passed her over unvisited. She went for-
ward through the years, following a great
idea which, to her, appeared like a mighty
pillar of fire moving and burning as it
led the way across life's desert and
through life's night to a distant.dawn and
a far-away day of perfected 'peace. Her
face, lifted to the sky, was flushed by the
rays that streamed from that guide of
flames Hers were not beautiful features,
an! yet they won in that irradiation a
mysterious transfiguration; just as at
night the gush of light from a passing
lantern will change, strangely and beauti-
fully, the look of the dust-draggled road-
side which by daylight seems so common-
The Army lassie was no buyer in this
warehouse of Vanity Fair; what to her
were the gay dresses and smart ribbons
here displayed. She was present to say a
word to a girl behind the counter, and
with that word to leave a bunch of violets
which someone had allowed her to pick
that morning. She knew a little of the
girl's story and was trying to help her
along a steep path.
Now Meffala, Senior, had a weakness
for the little lassie, with her pale face, neat
uniform and cheery manner. He came
across the floor and said :
Well, Captain, not tired of the Army
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
"Praise God, no," said the girl smiling.
She was a Major, not a Captain, but
Meffala called every Army officer Captain,
and thought there was a subtle joke in
"Ah well," he said, when you are too
tired to go on with the Army any more,
you come to me and you shall have a
decent place here. It will be easier than
the Army and perhaps we will find you a
"When I am too tired to go on," said
the.girl, "I will go home."
"Ah, "said Meffala with an odd touch
of respect, "to England ?"
"To heaven," said the Major, heaven
is ipy home-and yours," she added.
Meffala hung out a rather sickly smile,
and looked round at his store. It would
have seemed strange certainly to turn a
corner in the heavenly city and to come
upon the well-known large and brazen
sign-board of the Meffalas. Clearly his
gold would have been out of environ-
ment amid the celestial gold that is clear
as crystal. Meffala felt this as he return-
ed a lame "Thank you," to the Major's
hearty "God bless you."
The Oashier, looking out between the
bars of her railed-in space just as that
"God bless you" was uttered, had the voice
and face stamped deep into her memory.
She had seen the Major before without
noting her in any particular manner ; but
this afternoon her memory was in some
way more open to the impression that is
indelible. 'For one thing, the Major's
last words to Meffala seemed odd and
out of place. Meffala was the very last
person among Ada's acquaintance to
whom she would have said ".God bless
you." She detested the man, and really
would have thought no better of heaven
for wasting its blessings on him. At the
same time, however, she feared her em-
ployer and this fear made her very re-
spectful outwardly, so that Meffala had a
good opinion of his Cashier.
As Meffala turned back into the store,
he. passed close beside the tall black girl,
but on her he.did not bestow a second
glance. What, was a black girl to such
as Meffala, Senior? Besides this parti-
cular girl he saw almost daily.
Fidelia went out into the street, and
Meffala came striding back, reviewing his
counters. He paused to fling a few
harsh words at a clerk who, he suspected
had overheard the Major say that heaven
was their home, HIe thought he detected
on that clerk's face the eddy of a sunken
smile, and he wished to impress the fact
there and then, that, however Meffala,
Senior, stood as regarded the heaven-
ly country, in that store he would remain
No wonder, he said, business rots
here, when you stand gaping like, like-
a clucking hen, Smellie. To your work,
sir, while you are here," he repeated
that. "God knows how long that will be;
but I have my suspicions."
There met that afternoon and parted
unknown to each other, personally, or all
but unknown, a number of people destined
ad it transpired in after days to affect one
another's lives to a considerable extent.
Ada remembered the day because in
the evening a bad two shilling piece was
found in the till. It was not the first
time that this had happened and Meffala
said now that on the next occasion the
Cashier would have the pleasure of re-
funding the amount to the business.
That drove the matter home into Miss
Ada's mind, and though, in telling Harold
of the affair, she pecked at Meffala in the
fashion of a spiteful sparrow, she began
from that day to keep a vigilant eye on
all coins that passed through her hands.
As to Harold, when she grew eloquent
on the unfairness, unreason and it justice
displayed by Meffala, he said mockingly.
" The only just way to manage worien is
to be unjust to them; and as for reason, it
is quite out of the question in dealing
with your sex. You are never just, only
fair. Angels fly they do not tread the
paths of reason." He knew that Meffala
who had.business reasons for keeping in
his good books, would not dismiss his
present Cashier, but, within that limit, it
was in Harold's opinion not at all a bad
thing for the young lady to be. made to
feel that she was at her employer's mercy.
When, however, Ada fretted, in his good-
natured way he told her Meffala.would
not discharge her, though he might fine
her. To cure her doleful dumps com-
pletely he took her for a long evening
drive into the country, listening with a-
musement to her prattle about the store
aud its occupants, and to her feminine
invective against Meffala. Thus 'began
Ada's dragonlike watch for bad coin in
the house of Meffala.
In the afternoon of that day, Fidelia
Stanton sat in the large, rather ostenta-
tiously furnished but well-kept, home of
the Meffalas, where she was employed to
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
sew. In black humanity a European eye
is apt to find nothing more than a mono-
tony of colour. It is an unobservant eye
in such matters, when all is said. But
even to such an eye this girl broke the
level of monotony.
She was tall and erect, with a well-
shaped and well-proportioned body, that
in motion suggested strength rather than
gracefulness; strength and resolution.
The unadulterated blond I of ihr tribe ran
in her veins and she was a Coromantee,
daughter, that is, ot the bravest of all the
tribes that were brought to our shores
during the 18th century, from the West
Coast of Africa. They "came as slaves;
but the Coromantees, brave, enduring,
haughty and resolute, made bad bonds-
men. Men whom nature had made free
in soul, their fellow men found it no easy
task to fetter. Through their brief
periods of quiet submission they worked
wonderfully well, inspired by their pride
of race to show their powers; but they
sprang into rebellion as surely as the
rays of the midday sun, passed through
the burning glass, kindle fire; and those
rebellions in which the Coramantees led
were always the best planned, the best di-
rected and the most desperate. On the
feld where the Coromantee was beaten.
He died weapon in hand, scorning surren-
der. And as he asked no quarter where
he failed, so he gave no mercy where ho
Succeeded. The duel with him was to
When the great Easter rebellion of
I1760 failed, Tacky and his Coromantees
phut themselves in a cave and slaughtered
each the other, rather than surrender to
the hated conqueror.
The white man came to see ultimately
that it did not pay to have these fierce
free men as slaves, and in Jamaica their
further importation was prohibited by
Fidelia Stanton was a full-blooded
Coromantee .though she knew nothing of
the history of her tribe. None had ever
told her of the valiant deeds of her grand-
fathers and of their sires; but the pure
tribal blood flowing in her veins was a
conducting chain along which thrilled
mighty but invisible forces that connect-
ed her in moments of emergency with
that race and that past in Africa to
which she' belonged. In that tribal past
lay buried sudden and bloody raids on
enemies, hate of whom was as old as the
Coromantee name, and as the tribal faith;
desperate fighting in -the blackness of
night rent and gashed by the fierce, red
fire of the torch thrust into the thatched
roof of the temple or the hut; the struggle
of mnn who knew not fear and feared not
death to beat the enemy from their vil.
lage Ihomes, while the tumult of battle
echoing through forests old as the crea-
tion and the glare flung out from the
maelstrom of heroism and destruction,
lighted up the dark foliage overhead 'ind
marked out the white boles of forest
giants, as if it sought and showed there
the skeleton of the land.
To Fidelia that blood, pure as it ran
in her veins, gave instincts of irresistible
strength and gave to her, also, an assur-
ance that wasentirely without uncertainty.
This helped her in great crises, but;
perhaps, it made her appear in the prosaic
surroundings of everyday life a little
tragic. She had that indefinable air of
distinction which is such an offence to
the many incapable of analysing its origin;
and who first distrust and then hate what
they do nut understand.
Long ago, when her great grandfather
had stepped on shore from the slave ship
at Port Royal, the Planters, who were
there to find the best of the newly arrived
slaves were all of them struck by the
man's appearance. Slave he might be
and was by man's mandate, but by Nature
he was less a slave than any man there,
white or black. He was a Chief by.birth,
It had happened by grace of circum,
stand, that this man, and his sons; after
him, fhad found women of their own proud
race to bear them children in the land of
bondage; and so their blood had poured
through the veins of three generations;
unadulterated by tribal or racial inter+
mixture, bearing in its pure current in-
spirations and vital thrillings born' far,
far away from the scenes amid whichthe
blue Caribbean smiles bright besides, Ja-"
maica's wooded mountains. Fidelia Stan-
ton, a girl who in her time had to go down
on her knees and clean the floor with
cocoanut brush, rag, and tub of' dirty
orange water, that she might earn the
wherewithal to stay her hunger, was as
proud a being in her way as that ancestor
of hers had been, who answered the sum-
mons to surrender after a day's battle and
defeat by driving his dagger, with one
strong, deep thrust through his jugular
vein, and so spilling his life,
ONE BROWN GIRL AND- 45
It is the conventional idea that the
black men brought to the West Indies as
slaves came from a life wholly savage and
barbarous; through which there ran not
a-single veih of coherent organisation;
a life unredeemed by a single spark of
nobility and unsustained by aught of or-
ganised government, law or order. The
truth, however, is that in some cases these
men and women came from tribes which
maintained a system and code of unwrit-
ten law that embodied, for the tribe at
least, more thoroughly and efficiently than
Christianity has yet succeeded in doing
for the whole race in the West Indies,
a great number of those moral obligations
that are elemental and are vital to the
well-being of a people. There are tribes
at home in Africa, there are still such
tribes, which amid all the appearance of
mere barbarous existence, have so well
learnt the lesson of purity, and loyalty,
that to be branded among them thief,
adulterer, traitor, meant, and still means,
irretrievable disgrace, and in some cases
even death. Happy would the mentors
of West Indian morals be, if they could
say that such offences meant generally in
the West Indies even social ostracism.
TO this day tribes of the Upper Creek
River, where the backwash of European
/advance has not corrupted the simple but
vital virtues, take rigid precautions to
preserve their girls' chastity. In some
cases so rigid is the tribal conception of
this virtue that a girl is held to be unchaste
if a man, other than her nearest blood
relations, has even touched her person.
Neat, clean, grave-looking Fidelia Stan-
ton, with blood in her veins drawn from
a source such. as we have indicated, sat
in the work-room of Mr. Meffala's house,
sewing. The room was seldom invaded
by the male members of the household;
but this afternoon it happened that John
Meffala wanted to see his mother and
came to seek her.
"Fidelia," he enquired "Where is your
"I don't know, Master John, I think she
is out down town."
'* When will she be back ?"
I don't know, sir."
On this the young man did not depart,
but coming further into the room, took a
step or two about it, till he was in a posi-
tion to watch, unobserved, the face and
figure'of the girl. It was not the first
time he had watched her with an evilly
significant interest and appreciation. He
was a big, burly fellow, this eldest born of
the Meffalas, with a face not unpleasant,
though it had unpleasant features. The
lips were sensual, the eye, when it watch-
ed a woman, too bold; the nose was a
trifle too broad. But he was young, hale
and fresh-coloured. The beginnings of
evil that lurked in his face like thieves
well hidden in a leafy garden, were not
readily seen. It needed, not only several
enquiring looks, but also some experience
to discover the secrets hidden behind the
rather full-moon appearance of Mr. John
Meffala. The thieves were there, but the
garden leafage was heavy and the depre-
dators for the present hid well. John was
not in his father's business, he was an
employee of Peter Passley, and one may
say here was a good employee one who
did his work carefully and systematically.
He was trusted and he well deserved the
trust. He did not live with his father and
mother but kept bachelor's quarters in
another part of the town, finding this, for
various reasons, more convenient for all
Fidelia, intent on her sewing and on her
own thoughts of her mother far away in
the country, was barely conscious that
John Meffala had not left the room. So
a few minutes sped by.
What parish do you come from, Fide-
"St. Ann, Mr. John."
"Ah, I know St. Ann a little. Do"Yod
I like it well enough; but it is hard to
live here. I cannot earn very much
"Do you know you area very superior
girl? I never saw a black girl who
pleased me better. Are you educated? "
"I went to school and I learnt what I
could. I am not educated."
"You are much above this sort of
"I don't think so," said Fidelia simply.
"What does my mother pay you ?"
Four shillings a week and ,she feeds
me, in part air. ; .
D---d little," said John. '"Jus; like
the Mater," he added. She spends :as
much as that on scent in a day, I bet.
She pays her as a servant and gets dress-
making work out of her." As Fidelia
made no reply to his remark in that
form, he gave it an interrogative flavour.
"That is yery little? "
There are others who would take less."
"Is my mother kind to you ?"
46 ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
She is not unkind, Sir. "
Well, I. hope you will stay here."
He crossed the room and for a minute or
so. stared through the open window.
Then he returned and resumed the con-
versation. For here was a spark he
thought he would blow into a flame.
"Wouldn't you like to get more
"Yes, very much, Sir. I need it at
"Oh, you have a home; and a mother ?"
She added at a venture,
"Yes, she is not strong and can't earn
Where is your father?"
S"You- don't sleep here do you ?
"No, Mr. John."
And where is your home ?
"In St. Ann, replied the girl shortly.
"But you don't go to St. Ann every
night ? he said with a laugh.
She did not answer.
"Come" said John "don't be shy.
Where do. you live when you are not in
this house, or in St. Ann "
In Kingston, was the brief reply.
Virginal instinct suddenly sprang forth
in Fidelia's consciousness crying "to
arms;" she saw at length behind these
questions the outline of a sinister motive.
"But where in Kingston ?"
Excuse me, I don't see why you should
"Oh," he said in a tone more careless
than he had hitherto employed, and light-
ing a cigarette as he spoke, "I can easily'
find out from one of the other servants.,
It'is small odds whether you tell me or
"But why should yon want to know ?'"
The girl flung the words at him bluntly
almost harshly. Her inner sense was more
informed of ,danger every minute by the
instinct which tells the wild animal when
its enemy is approaching, and which still
at times comes armed ard insistent to the
aid of humanity also. It was her duty to
remain in that, room sewing; it was out
of her power'to send John Meffala away;
but n6w a certain fierce resentment
against him began to rise in her heart; all
the fiercer because she had at first mis-
understood the drift of his questions, and
did not yet realise just why she should fear
him; only within her heart the inner voice
cried loudly and more loudly: Beware."
"Why," said John Meffala, smiling,
"why do I ask these questions ? Because
I take an interest in you."
The girl met this with absolute silence;
but her blood began to boil as with heat
begotten deep in her very soul. So little,
however, did the man appreciate the situ-
atibr), that he thought her silence was to
tempt him on. He proceeded:
Yes, I like you better than any black
girl I ever saw; do you see, my.dear ?"
Don't speak to me like that," she burst
out with a touch of wild energy; then as
the established habit of restraint and re-
spect for a social superior re-asserted it-
self, she ended lamely: "I don't like it."
John laughed, still quite blind to her
real feeling. He looked her tver appre-
ciatively, marking the strength and sound-
ness of limb, and the even play of muscle
as her bosom rose' and fell. Her eyes re-
mained fixed on the work in her hands.
"Don't you want money ? Well; I will
see that you get plenty of it, and plenty of
fun. You will go to dances with the best
of them and have all you want to wear."
He came across to her.
I don't understand you," said the girl
angrily, "and you have no right at al to
talk to me like this."
"Oh, yes, you understand me," he re-
sponded coolly, thrusting his hands into
his trousers pockets. You are not a fool,
All you girls understand. I will be a good
friend to you."
Even amidst the suspicion closing round
'her, black as darkness, and in the midst of
her deepening resentment at an oncoming
insult, which was now. all but foreseen,
that fine word "friend" flashed like a
jewel on a dung-hill, and held her for a
Shb did long for a friend; she who, ex-
cepting her mother, had no friend in all
the wide world with. its crowded mul-
titudes, though she possessed qualities
that would have grappled a friend to her
heart with links of steel; her truthfulness,
her loyalty, her faithfulness, these would
have made her a notable friend.
The soothing wrought by the word was
momentary only; but it barred the return
reply to his remark and again her silence
misled him; and this time the result was
fatal. He was so near the brink of mis-
take that he cast himself finally over the
"It is quite easy to understand," he
said; and then he stripped his meaning
naked before her. He had felt a certain
)ONP ,MOWN GIkL. ANb
amount of restraint and shown some small
degree of refinement while he felt his way
to this point; but, once launched on his
open declaration bf passion; he was on
familiar ground. His natural coarseness
came fairly out of cover. His desire and
purpose, nude and unashamed, thrust
themselves full on her sight.
He was stooping slightly towards her;
he whispered. He was very near to her
and he came still nearer, put out his
hand and touched her bosom. All her
strength and all the intensity of her being
sprang to arms about her insulted virgin-
ity. Fidelia felt as if a hand, dirty and
filthy, brutal as the kick of a mule's hoof,
had been suddenly thrust right into the
most sacred recesses of her life. For a
moment the source of thought and action
within her was paralyzed.
Then the inner rage burst through the
habitual repose of mnner into outward
violence. Her fresh, unblemished,unwasted
youth, and health made her pretty nearly
as strong as the man himself. In the in-
stant of his touch on her breast she was
erect before him. Then came the second
of poise; and then she struck him with a
full, fierce blow, straight on the lips
whence had come the insult. With the
force of the blow, his teeth shook in his
head, one was knocked back, lose into his
mouth, and against the ragged stump the
lips and tongue were cruelly cut. The
cigarette fell to the .ground, crushed and
blood-smeared, and glowed there for a
minute ere its tiny spark of fire failed.
John stumbled back with a curse.
Just in time to see the furious blow de-
livered, Mrs. Meffala entered the room.
For a full half minute she could neither
speak nor move, so much did the scene
daze her. Then her words leapt to battle:
"You abominable black wretch. You
miserable black brute,what do you mean ?"
Fidelia had not a word to give her in
reply; she barely saw the white woman
was there; she barely heard that she
spoke. Her own glare w.as driven home
towards John Meffala like a keen, short,
straight spear smitten into a foe.
"Speak," shouted Mrs. Meffala in shrill
peacock rage. "You shall and must
He insulted me," cried the girl not
looking towards the woman, but with her
glandes beating against the man before
her. She was almost choking with a rage
she was struggling to control, for the
moment that the equipoise of her anger
was upset she felt in its full force how wild
was the passion roused within her.
She was terrified herself, not at what she
had done, but at what she found it in her
heart to do further, and at the desire
which she felt that her enemy should
again approach her and give her an op-
portunity to close with him in a life and
death struggle. She had shrunk from'
insult and aggression a minute ago; now
she longed, she hungered, to have him
affront and insult her again. She yearned
for an excuse to close with 'him. She/-
clenched her fists hard, and stretched the
muscles of her arm like one holding back
an enraged beast.
Dimly she realized then, clearly she saw
it afterwards, that her desire to close with
the man meant the desire to slay or to be
slain. The insult was mortal. Life on the
one side or the other was the true forfeit.
Red, warm blood must be the toll; she
lusted to exact that forfeit or to pay down
her life, did her strength fail, and so,
choked with her own blood, to be done
with existence there and then. It was
one of those minutes when life shuts in on
us, and we have no horizon. One action,
one figure, fills our view. We ask only
to fall on and end there. Fidelia held
murder back with her straining muscles
and tense nerves.
John Meffala, under the sharp pain of
the blow, had made a movement towards
her, uttering an oath; but this was the un-
conscious reaction to severe and unexpect-
ed physical suffering.
He checked himself directly and on his
mother's outburst interposed for, though
he had his faults, he was still a manly
enough fellow at heart. The thieves
hidden in the garden had by no means
pillaged it all as yet.
Mother, he called as forcibly as he
could with a mouth full of bloody saliva
and a broken tooth, leave her alone. It
is not her fault; it is mine. I insult.d her."
But how ?" cried Mrs. Meffala in her
loud excited tone. I would like to have
been here. Anger threw the natural
coarseness and vulgarity of her nature to
the surface as a volcanic eruption in a
swamp throws up the mud. "Insult a
servant! You could not; not if you took
her broad, nigger nose and rubbed it over
your boots. Brutes, beasts, insult them I
How could you I "
It must not be thought that Mrs. Meffa-
la's ordinary manner of referring to her
black fellow-beings was in this style. On
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
the contrary, she rather prided herself on
getting on well with them; for though she
despised them all, not as individuals mere-
ly but as-a body of beings, she hid that
fact:under well assumed good nature and
ostentatious kindness. The objects of
her contempt and the beneficiaries of her
tgod nature, with the impassive philoso-
phy of. their race safe hid under
smiles, knewthat she despised them; but
were quite satisfied that she should pre-
tend not to.
There were moments of friction, but the
indignation expressed then by the black
objects of Mrs. Meffala's wrath was largely
manufactured from motives of policy; as a
fact they were indifferent.to.her contempt.
The world was large enough for' rs.
Meffala 'and for. themselves; and, as for
themselves, with Providence, and the Bri-
tish Government, on their side, they were
Content to tread all roadways and meet all
"Better leave it so," said John, getting
the tooth out and looking round for water.
"Better ask no questions. I said some-
thing to her I should not."
"But fora black girl like that to strike
you-and here in our own house and
under my own eyes. Good God I what is
thiscountry coming to! I wish the British
Government that set all these'wretches
free could stand here to-day, in this room,
and see this picture. I would like to
have them here to see for themselves," and
the irate lady made a gesture as if she
would have ranged in a row there all the
British Ministers, dead or alive, who were
in any way responsible for the events of
1838, and pointing to each asked them to
note Fidelia and repent. If this did not
convince them nothing would. It is
abominable. What are these black devils
coming to next, I wonder. How could
:.you insult her. What was it? You tell
me then, girl, or I will have the Police in
at once and march you off'to gaol."
."It is not a thing for me to tell you,"
answered Fidelia, her frame erect, well-
nigh rigid; "and if there is a law to punish
me for doing what I did to your son, it is
not God's law."
"Canting wretch," replied Mrs. Meffala.
"Who are you to name God to me ? But,"
she sneered, it would not be a nigger
not to talk religion, and that when you
have done a wicked, abominable action.
John, will you tell me I demand that you
shall tell me."
"Look here, Mother," replied John
petulantly, you shut-T'p. I said what I
should not have said. I took her for
another sort of a girl. Don't bother me
any more about it."
He was beginning to feel that he was
being made ridiculous, as a man always
doe feel under a woman's championship,
of him in his presence.
"You mean-" began his mother, then
stopped, for at last she saw what he did
mean. "Even so," she cried after a pause,
"it was an honour for such as you-though,
of course, it was very wrong," she stam-
mered realizing just what she was saying,
or implying. "It was very wrong, indeed,
but for such as you to dare to strike my
." I am a woman," said the girl with pas-
sion. I am not different to you or your
daughter. I am flesh and blood, too. Is
not my blood red like yours? Is not my
flesh tender too ? I am a woman, I tell
you, like you, like your daughter. What
is shame for you is shame for me. If a
man had spoken so to your daughter or to
you, my God, would you not strike him ?
I-"she closed her white, strong teeth
Wild words danced on the tip of the
raging passion that she was controlling
as foam, shown by the glare of the light-
ning, gleams on the waves when a storm
runs high. Again her muscles strained
and quivered, her nerves tingled and the
throbbing of her heart beat like an iron
gauntleted hand flung against a locked
door. Her physical form seemed magni-
fied by the indignation to which it res-
ponded, and she was so commanding 'and
so threatening that, angry as was Mrs.
Meffala, she shrank away, overawed. But
that was for a second only. Then she
"How dare you ? What insolence to put
yourself on a level with me and the young
ladies-you dirty, black nigger. You have
been laying traps for my son and plotting
to bring this on-it is all pretence now, I,
am sure of that, you hypocrite. Perhaps,
he would not give you money, or not
You lie," said Fidelia, too furious to
impose any check on her words. "You
lie; I did nothing. I would die rather than
be such a thing as you think. Because I
am black, do you thing I must be like
that ?-My God," she said in a tone sud-
denly shaken with a pathetic sorrow,
" what a world this is. Yes, I am black,
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
butjnX God:you .know me,; you see my
hidrtthut there isnot'this filth in: it."
Mdthflui. -intfetJcted John Meffala
algrIy., 'dOtift'E ake 'a fool of yourself,
leave I ti klie." What she says is the
truth. It ~Wlt *fli t alone. As to the
premnce, yo- should 'have had her hand
onyowu outth as' did; then you would
havew tewg whether 'or not it was pre-
tetce', l et', it Was only shamindigna-
tion. It battered'lbitb'h e like a'beam of
wood T?'f trll'you. Thi'mnouth of mine
is real eddd.t i nothing 'will give me
HWt 1f1t forth. Leave off raging her, I
took herfer adbther sort of a girl."
"So dl I," ald: Mrs. Meffala .grimly
with a 'ifertce utmeaning. "You cJn
nevemre ff le lotaed qdite decent, and she
could( ra1sew well.' At any 'rate, she
cannot te miH'ie, '16ta day 16figer, not
an hour (no Torll "the sewing in the
world.1 tigusted by all this talk by ex-
citd, women, her S'h at'this stage walk-
efd opt :ttfe' t ooi, 'vith what sounded
Ileian'if; 'H '~~iceeded upstairs to
bate hiR face-and meantime in the work-
room his mother continued:
"Xou go at once.you worthless wretch.
Here 9t ypur money to' the end of this
we l It ll you can get, and I give
yBLn rcnl r .nti.r jnd f .you have
anyt lM r Wy'4ii tell every one that
yu ott Uifwt )y, sono;'you ought to be
glad I dont W end for the Police. Prose-
cute me'i y like. Get' all you have in
this house 'and to.'. I regard you as I
would Uemer a nike, a--a zebra."
iaertOtat. storyal ng at this point,
she pull te money fim her purse and
flung the coins on the floor.
Fidedia looked their for a second, then
at themjoney. er.look. gave Mrs. Mef-
faA. l chilly feeling, remembering
a4peJL.tt t she was alone with the
girl. But ifeia did .nothing more now
than tElup the coQnq slowly, and one by
ongopg t0o the, table she composedly
gathered hi r sissors, needle, thread and
Mrs. Meffala, reassured, hurled .angry
remarks at her, but .the girl said nothing
fuatIes., Having put her things together,
she took her hat, and left the room and the
h.Oun without agai-.glancig .at, her mad-
dened employer. She. walked .out of the
t 1 lt hes a. in.zpoud silence,, but it
wquld ha pleased.Mrs. Meffala to know
just o*w. discouraged the girl felt that
nightwhen she looked into the future.
Noneknew better, than did Fidelia her-
self how, uncertain was her chance .of get-
ting .another place as good' as the, one
from.which she had been driven. She.re-
membered .her, bitter experience when
she..first came to Kingston. : She shud-
dered, to recall the months when. she was
forced to do casual, jobs, very.badly paid,.
in house-cleaning,nursing,, and washing.
Compared with that, the position at the
Meffalas had been comfort. : i
There she had,been able to send money
to her mother, weekly, and to save a.few
shillings towards the time to which ;she
looked, forward when it would be possible,
to bring that mother to live in Kingston.
There.were now in the bank two pounds
to her credit; But unless another- place
was obtained, quickly .the small hoard
would melt like snow in the desert, for
Fidelia was resolved while she could,
to continue the weekly remittance to her
mother; .first because she knew it was
needed at home; and second because she
would not let her mother know that she
was not getting. along as well as she had
been. Her letters told little of her real
sufferings and privations. Days of hunger
and mortification, shabby clothes, torn
boots,' hats rusty with age, and nights
haunted by fear of absolute starvation
were smoothed over as "Some difficulties"
when she mentioned these matters at all to
Till a few years before, Fidelia had
lived in a village in St. Ann where her
mother owned a small house and a piece
of land. The mother made a scanty liveli-
hood by sewing ardiby writing;letters for
the villagers.; by helping the village shop-
keeper with his accounts and by-teaching
the elements of education to a few, of the
most. ambitious, who for one reason, and
another, would not attend the day school.
The daughter, after her school days,
were over, was received at a neighboring
Great House, where she learnt domestic
service. When.her training was complete,
she found that the chance of ever earning
more than a casual shilling or two was
slender. The mother was now in failing
health, and her income dwindled with her
strength, Fidelia turned her face towards
Kingston, with the country girl's simple
hope of finding there abounding good for-
tune. ,, .., ,
Facttore,heithope to rags. For weeks
she obtained nothing, but odd jobs, rough
work badly paid. She would have gone
under and starved possibly, but for the
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
fact that with an Aunt she found sleeping
room and in the morning a slice of bread
and a little sugar and water. On this she
could depend, but there were days when
she ate nothing besides that slice of bread.
It was all that could be spared by a poor
woman struggling to bring up five child-
.ren by her wash-tub and higgler's bowl.
For Fidelia the task of feeding herself,
of keeping moderately decent clothes on
her back and boots on her feet, and of put-
ting by something each week to send to
her mother often verged from the difficult
to the impossible.. On some weeks :h : re-
mittance to her mother amounted to a
few pence only, sent in postage stamps.
There were weeks when nothing at all
was sent, but those were weeks when Fi-
delia earned only the right to food, or not
even that. She never earned money but
some of it, however small, found its way
to the village of Mountain Piece.
After these initial experiences of toil
degrading in its uncertainty, Fidelia
reached a haven of rest. One night at
the Cross Roads Station, she noticed that
she was observed by a man of somewhat
advanced age. Presently he asked: "May
I enquire if you are wanting work ?"
"I want it very badly, gentleman."
"Then we meet happily. I want to en-
gage a servant." He was in weak health
and had need of a decent, reliable woman
to cook and to attend to the house. He
offered Fidelia her food and five shillings
a week. Tears of gladness filled her eyes
as she agreed to begin work next day.
Her letter to her mother that week ran
over with joy. For the first time during
many weeks she had enough to eat and
was able'to send to her far-away mother
three shillings at one time.
There was much work to do at her new
post, for on many days her employer re-
quired almost minute attention. A sorry,
battered body, in truth, was his, haunted
by the ghosts of troops of byegone illness-
es and diseases. Some familiar of Death
seemed to have passed over that pale skin,
seeking a resting: place'for his master; and
to have set the mark of his lord's signet
ring on this 'wretched being. The tremb-
ling hand proclaimed it, the bleary eyes,
the loose skin and uncertain gait spoke of
it. In this world his course was all but
run, nor did he seem one who would find
much ground for-satisfaction with himself
beyond the grave. Vices of the flesh
crowded in his mind as coarse, rank weeds
stamp each other down in a swamp. When
he drank, the foul impurity, an inky pool
in his wicked old heart, oozed from his
lips in vile and abominable language. The
girl soon realized how contemptible he
was; but he paid her wages regularly, she
was well clothed and well housed. It was,
too, only when he drank that he became
foul-mouthed. Otherwise his language
was chosen with much care, and was even
refineg; but drink opened in that heart a
sluice gate of moral filth.
In the dead hour between twelve and
one, on a night some weeks later, Fidelia
was roused from sleep. Some one was
fumbling at the handle of the door. The
latch held a second, and the girl, springing
across the floor, turned the key in the lock.
The drink-sodden voice of her employer
demanded admission. Fidelia stood be-
side her bed and made no reply. The de-
mand was repeated again and again. Oaths
and words reeking with the gutter mud of
lust were pelted at her. Then the man
flung himself against the door and tried
with all his frail strength to force the lock
in. The girl barricaded the entrance with
a chest of drawers. Presently her assail-
ant withdrew, cursing.
Next morning he remembered that his
real attitude towards the girl had been re-
vealed, and he tore the rest of the screen
to tatters. "Do what better girls than you
have done" was the gist of his argument.
I feed you well; you are well housed and
well paid. If you want a little present
now and then, ask me. It is for you to
decide whether you are fool enough to'
throw all this away. I tell you that there
are women a thousand times better than
you who have been only too glad to live
on my money in their time."
So strong, so healthy, so clean-minded
did sh stand beside the miserable creature
who tried to tempt her, that what he said
failed even to move her anger. It was
not by such as he that she could be insult-
ed. She simply went to her room, gathered
the few garments that hung on the wall,
packed them in the small and battered tin
case that had once been her mother's.
Then she put on her straw hat, and went
down-stairs to her employer.
"Give me an answer," he called at sight
"I am leaving at once," she replied.
"That is my answer."
"Oh, that is your answer," he sneered.
"Damn you; that is how you treat me
after my kindness to you. Just like a
nigger. Why, curse you; it was nearly
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
.starvation for you when I found you at
"Never mind that," she said without
anger, "I was glad enough to get the work
and I have done it well. .Give me my
money for this half week. That is what
you owe me."
"Money," shouted the man. "May your
black soul be sunk in the deepest pit if you
get any money out of me now. I have not
told.you to go."
"You.must pay me my money," she an-
swered quietly enough.
"I tell you what I will do," he cried. I
will prosecute you for leaving your work
without due notice to me. The law is on
"The law," she said, "no law can be on
your side-you are worse than a hog in
the gutter. You know why I have to leave
you, you dirty beast."
"And whose word will they take in
court," he sneered in reply. "Mine or
yours? You tell that story and I 'vill tell
another. Go on, I tell you; go on."
Fidelia was one of those beings in whom
the elemental instincts are very strong.
Whether or not the law condoned the injury
which this man had attempted to do her,
whether or not it was possible to mislead
the law, the right and wrong of the matter
stood d:lear before her eye, and by that and
that alone she would act at all costs. She
had worked half a week and was resolved
to have her money. She looked round
the room. In one corner lay a supple-
jack and in the lock of the door stood the
key. Fidelia picked up the supple-jack
and crossing to the door locked it.
"Now," she said "I want my money, and
if you don't give it to me I will thrash you
till you do. If it is wrong they can punish
me for it afterwards. But I will mate
you pay me my money before I go out of
this room. And you will never live long
enough to forget the beating. If you like
to tell why I beat you I don't care." She
drove him back from the window into the
corner and cried "Now."
"You shall go- to prison for this,"
snarled the man..
"Afterwards, perhaps" she replied I
am not afraid but-now."
"Take care," he cried. "Take care,
Will you pay ?" she demanded relent-
.Then suddenly he stooped and ran at
her, reaching handgrips; but she was at
least three times as strong as this human
wreck, and she hung him~ back all along
the ground, laughing as she did so. She
stood over him and laid the supple-jack
smartly across his legs once, twice, thrice.
As he winced and tried to crawl away
like an injured reptile, he presented a piti-
able sight. After the third of those cutting
blows he gave in.
He flung down the money. "Take it
and get out of my house, you she-devil.
I will send for the Police." But that he
did not do.
This was one of the episodes of Fidelia's
search for work, and it was with a sinking
heart that she hied her out from the
Meffala's to sail those dreary seas that
she remembered so well. She belonged
to a class which in Jamaica rarely
if ever reads the papers, but a week or so,
after leaving the Meffala's, she heard
through a friend at her aunt's of a vacant
place. She applied at once and was soon
taking part in the following dialogue:
Who did you work for before ?"
For how long ?"
Nearly a year, lady."
"Let me see the character she gave
"She gave me none."
Why not ?"
I did not think of asking her; I forgot."
"I left suddenly, lady."
"How was that ?"
I offended her."
But how ? I must know all I can about
I struck her son in the face."
"Struck him I Strucc her son in the
face?" The lady in her excitement and
surprise sprang to her feet. She was
more than surprised. She was alarmed.
" This," she th iught on the sudden, is a
lunatic." Rea isured by the girl's calm-
ness, she continued : No wonder you
left suddenly -and you are looking for
another place -and here." She stared at
the girl as one may look at a curious in-
sect of a rare, stinging kind.
Then other thoughts came into her
mind. She moved in the Meffala circle
and had not failed to hear of Master
John's proclivities. She was curious for
"Nothing can excuse you," she said
safe-guarding the following question, but
tell me how it happened. I suppose you
were very angry ?"
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
"I was very angry," replied the girl;
'"but I have been more angry without
striking anyone. I struck him because he
insulted me' as a woman/' '
Insulted ybu-as a! w6nan-but how ?"
As :a'a manri lati., He said some-
thing to mi that it was a shame 'fokrhim to
say to. any woman." .... '
"Ah/' said Mrs.'.Nugetbeginning to under-
stand, "but you shouldd not have struck
him.i-'Ifl- took-'you, you 'night-ima'ine
that you were ipsulted.and strie6 sokh6e
h t. You evidently"; haliv14. Y~ r' bad
tehi.aid'cannto' dritr'd it. I aii:frald
Ircatnnot take you.i" '"he girl l6oloed so
tragic, however,' that lie addedd; to ofi6en
the Ablow: I- 'am sure you see yourself
thatlyou were very wrong and are 'sorry
now,'only of course it'is too late. You
must let-it be a warning to you."
'*ladly,'Fidelia 'answered, "I was
right 1' was not wrong, and I am not
"That is very sad. Did you strike him
more than once ?"
"If I had," replied Fidelia, I would
have killed him."
!'You hadbetter go," said the lady.
"Good morning, Ma'm," said Fidelia
and departed. It .was not in 'her yet to
beg for work as a favour. But when she
had: for week :.after week tried .vainly for
a situation, new feelings crept into her
heart. Sometimes' it' was alarm that "she
found there; sometimes' it was despair.
At other times her heart thrilled with
One of the most heart-breaking of her
disappointments took place in this wise.
She. was taken on for a day or two
to fill the place of a sick servant. The
servant'continued sick for several weeks
and Fidelia remained in her place.. The
mistress of this house was of a tyne very
different' from Mrs. Meffala. She was
not lly kind-hearted but she really tried
in'her daily life tp live by the religion of
airplay justice and truth. Her h,,use-
hold had the peace' of firm, humane and
almost affectionate governance.
The sick servant died after a month's ill-
ness and it'becarie a'question of replacing,
her. Fideliahad done so well as her substi-
tute that' it seemed. the most natural thing
to give her :the place. Mrs. Grafton 'was
greatly prepossessed by her manitest
intelligence, her fine-looking face and
speciallyby; the :faithfulness with which
she had. worked.' But Mrs. Grafton con-
sidered it her duty to discover more
about the girl ere admitting her perman-
ently into the house; so .she sat ilon' to
ask some questions. Tt deoturird o her
then that she liad 'senr thisr'gifl :if .
," Fidelia, I art surd I HlitVi ~bet' yod"be-
fore you came hbre."
"And I have seen you before, in'm."
here was it?"
t'Mrs. Meffala's house."
"~4, now I remember. I'came.into the
room where you were sewing on._:day.
Mrs.'Meffala waritb-'tih' to.'s.e a 'particu-
lar, kind of cloth.". '
"Yes; ma'nl." Fi -elia voluntered .',no-
thing' furthi'" 'and after a 'moeiieit' irs,
"Why did you leave ?"
"She discharged me, lady."
I struck her son ori the mouth."
"But she has no little children?"
Her son is not a little child, rIa'm ; he
is a man. I struck'hirmn n'thd ipouth and
broke one of his teeth."
"What said Mrs' Grafton, literally
jumping with surprise. Thet she 'saw a
"You did it accidentally, I 'uppboe."
No, lady, 'I did it on purpose.'
"But, how I what! I never heard of such
a thing" and you seem such I decent girl.
Why did you ?"
"He insulted me."
"But how ?"
"He insulted me as a woman, ma'm."
",But-" she paused and the significance
of the phrase came home Igt' 'p' fpra
simple expression will, conevy, .wh}e
situation of this sort to. a niituh.has
retained thd snsitiveess rof Urit hile
to one more impure, nb.tlhnk blt .wo~ds
raw with reality will do; Mrs, Graton
had npn- of the coarse curiosity' fpF et. is
that Iha led some other employers to.seek
for ful details. She sympat ized '#. the
girl; none.the less she was depy qked
at the picture painted by their i.e' ti Ords.
"What a dreadful'thing for you to.d4,
she said at length,
"And what he did, lady ?"
"Oh, don't misunderstand me; that was
wrong, very wrong. It was abominable."
But the prejudices of her up-bringiig led
her to a conclusion and she could not re-
frain from expressing it., It is .chiaidter-
istically feminine to think that under'such
circumstances the.woman must be to blame.
"Surely," she said, ".you must have. ei-
couraged him to take liberties with you.
ONE BROWN GIRL ANb--
You may have been inexperienced and
done it intentionallyy'
"', lidaot iaid Fidelia in deep tones.
q''hereo mst- have. been something,"
persastdl MrrisGrafton, "to lead him to
thfiktlhtyot would not resent it."
I'IIPhert waamy-.colour, lady," replied
Fidelia'going straight to the tragic centre
of man"ract "'I am a black girl, -and
he thoUght tiat all black girls are alike."
Mrs GraOftowhad not moral courage
:en ugl4o4sce the idea tliat the girl had
not btn at all. to- blame ; it would, have
.nece-tattid a. reconstruction of many
pat 4f lire world of thought. She fol-
lo:ed still on ,th'heels of her prejudices.
'*Ate youndre that you did. not encour-
ag 'hie in any way.!.
"Lady," answered Fidelia, and there
was-a deepening, in her tone that told of
rising temper. I have told you already.
Ask him .He; is a bad man.; but he will
tell you the truth about this. He told his
mother the- truth."
,'Mrs Grafton mused. Reason and jus-
tice doossed;swords with her prejudices.
The'lesult-was..nominally a drawn battle,
'-Well, you'see, it 'is only fair that I
shouldheatrfrom Mrs.Meffala before do-
ing.anything... Isit not ?'
"A''sou.say it, lady."
"And 1 will let you know if I want you.
Weare going-out of town for a few weeks
so that there will be a break in any case."
The hatter;ended there.
.Thh daybyd~ay passed, weeks length-
enedt intb months, and.still Fidelia's for;
tunesiflated.ion: a bloak ocean of disap-
pointed:hopes, like a ship earnestly seek-
ing, and esen approaching, the harbour en-
trance, but only then to be driven out and
away, to wander.once again.before fierce
winds, over dark waters. on the open sea.
She obtained temporary j bs, but as soon
as it came..o permanent employment, the
absehoe of a, written character, or the
narration of the smiting of John. Meffala
on th n mouthi decided; the matter against
hei And still, whenever asked therefore,
Fidelia repeated the story of that smiting
with" absolute truthfulness She slurred
nothing over; she ..extenuated nothing;
first, because she .was by nature truthful
a .she was. chaste; and, second, because
her self-respect and pride were bound up
.with-:that incident. .She was convinced
that she.had been..right.and wholly right.
She would yieldnot an iota on that point
to anytae'sopinion, come what might.
Monday after Monday she took her
place in the army of girls and women who
on that day go from house to house in
Kingston with the monotonous enquiry:
"Want anybody to work ?" She',was
thrown on from one job to another;-with
gaps of non-employment yawning between;
her body was ill-fed; her. mind grew, em-
bittered and demoralised.
It was during this period that the
lady whom she was just then serving:gave
her a message to a washerwoman, andIafter
the manner of certain employers,.suggest-
ed the errand couldbe done onr hei way
home. She did not stop to hear that the
washerwoman lived, at. one end, of t the'
town and her servant at the other.
At the time when Fidelia was receiv-
ing this direction, the Gyrton household
was having a rather exciting experience.
Gyrton himself was out. Grant, after a
hard night's work at the business, that
was more profitable than carpentering,
was asleep. To Mrs. Gyrton had -been
entrusted the task of cleaning the. secret
room beside the kitchen.
Without further ceremony than a hand
on the gate latch and a shoulder shove,
there staggered into the yard a white% man,
old, thin and unwholesome-looking. At
this moment he was very drunk.. Strong
liquor affected him in different, ways -at
different times. Atone time it made-him
sullen and despondent, so that he had been
known after a heavy debauch, to-iattempt
suicide. At another time, it .filled, 'him
with unresting inquisitiveness whilh sent
him. poking his nose into. the mrstvsait-
of-the-way corners, and tacking 'is
crazy course along the most extraordinary
thoroughfares. If he found liquor, any-
where he drank it on sight, even 'if it
containe-- preserved spiders. If ho found
no liqu r, he satisfied himself with. peep-
ing anu prying into everything that.he
could get under his eyes.
On one of his voyages of discover:.he
had now pushed his way into the Gyrton's
yard. ,., :... ,
"A blooming carpenter's bench,"' he
muttered, alter taking a lengthy-,and
solemn survey of his surroundings; "aud
a pipe to give us water; ani a ugly. pigeon
coop Next he focused his inventoriyi-
" A nigger yard-and here is the nigger,"
he continued as Mrs. Gyrton, allbuncons-
cious of his -presence came to: rinse.'her
dirty house cloth under the water.tpipe.
She glared at the drunkard, and he, in
what he. intended to be jocular and ien-
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
daring tones, invited, her with obscene
embellishments of speech, to come to his
A drunkard in his cups has some of the
liberty allowed to the imbecile, and Mrs.
Gyrton said nothing worse than that this
man was more beastly than a white pig;
with that she took her cloth to the pipe.
She had hardly noticed the man move,
when she was startled to hear his voice
in the kitchen; ere she could reach him,
he had entered the secret chamber, the
d6or of which stood open.
"My God I" was all the woman could
exclaim, and she flew into the house,
driving Grant's slumbers like chaff before
"Lord, Mr. Grant," she shrieked in his
ear, "someone is in the yard."
"All right," said Grant calmly. "No-
thing to see in the yard but carpenter's
My God, but him gone in de room by
"What cried the man in a voice that
made Mrs. Gyrton, frightened as she was
already, turn cold with fear. Hell.
Who is it ? And who opened the door to
let him in ?"
The woman was too dazed to answer
"Open you beak and speak, woman-"
He bludgeoned her with threats. At last
It is an old white man and him drunk."
Grant ran into the yard.
"Well," he said, "if he has gone out
already, our chance isn't worth a curse.
If he is still in the room, it is a little
The man was still in the room.
"Perhaps," said Grant to himself in
comfort," he is too drunk to understand,
and it is dark in there and all." He hitch-
ed up his trousers, a trick he had learrt
at sea, tightened his belt a hole or so, and,
selecting a tough piece of guava wood
from the carpenter's bench, passed into
Grant slipped through the door in the
sham wall, closed it and grappled at once
with the man against whom he stumbled.
"You drunken beast," he hissed, "what
the debbil you doing in here ? in my car-
penter shop ?"
"Drunk?" hiccoughed the Sot, "Drunk ?
praps so and then praps not, but not too
drunk to see that this a rum sort of car-
penter's shop, old man. Seen this kind of
thing before; not in Jamaica, oh no, in
parts nearer hell. Oh much nearer-you
can stay there and fling your slipper clean
in-right into hell, seen it in Limon and
Panama. I know, I know. I will talk,
too, I will talk. Tongue is an unruly
member, you know. Scripture says so.
That is fact. Very unruly. And money
is the root of it, no I mean the root of all
evi4 same thing though, old man."
Grant held him firmly, but made no
reply. He could see the man very in-
distinctly. The other, who had been
longer in the darkness, had a much
clearer view of his opponent. He did
not quite like the grip on his arm and
still less the eyes looking into his. He
was very drunk, it is true, but he couldisee
through his drunkenness the looming shape
of a big danger.
That danger was for a minute or two
greater even than he suspected. A rather
ugly assault, perhaps a broken arm
was what he thought. of; but the
black man who peered at him in
silence was thinking of death, and was
rapidly discussing with himself what
chance there was of killing this enemy and
of so disposing of the body as to escape
detection; whether the situation was so
desperate as to leave room for nothing but
revenge which he felt a strong inclination
to wreak on the meddlesome fool who had
come blundering into his plans. Should
he kill him, make a dash for life, and take
On these thoughts he wasted time
for a minute only. It was not in him
in his cooler moments to murder a man
when there was no object to be gained by
so doing; and to successfully conceal the
murder was a task that was too danger-
ouslto attempt, unless he knew more than
he Jdid about the circumstances under
which this man had lived.
"Well," he said. "We will talk busi-
ness, but let me tell you plain from the
first, I got here what pay me well and
what please me well; and if you want a
bite I will give it to you; but if you try to
tek it all, or to give me up to these police,
dat day I think you going do it I will kill
you. So help me God, I will. I'have
killed men before this as, well as pig. I
kill both kinds."
"Let us talk business," said the Sot.
"Why should I tell the police-damn them.
What are they to me ? What I want is a
little money-a little money to buy a few
drinks. I have a little money; but it don't
last," he continued as if announcing an
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-F
extraordinary discovery. "And I was
robbed this week; a b- y girl in the
house cleaned me out. Sucked two pounds
five shillings and a quattie as if you had
sucked an orange. Let us bargain; I will
not be hard on you-a little money every
quarter-keep it regular and I will be all
right. Oh, I am not a bad sort, only I must
have a little money. Give me a little
Why indeed should such a being help the
Police, or any force representing law,
order and decency ?.To get a little money
to buy drink, he would have taken the
white, innocent soul of a. child and burnt
it to cinders over the fire of vice; he would
have taken the honour of his sister, his
wife, his daughter, and sold it to the first
libertine who would pay; for to this be-
ing truth, honour, loyalty and good faith,
had become mere names, the mention of
which did' not even make him think of
the realities themselves. A little money
to buy drink; that was in fact, all that he
asked of life now and all that he got.
Everything else lay buried in the dead
When the Sot came out into the yard,
Grant remained in the secret room. The
disturber of his peace made a few ramb-
ling remarks to Mrs. Gyrton, then stamb-
led to the pipe to wash his face. Before
doing this he extracted from his pistol-
pocket a white-handled revolver. He laid
this on the carpenter's bench and forgot
it there. Mrs. Gyrton drew Grant's atten-
tion to it.
"Leave it same place," said that logical
man. "He may come back for it orhe
may forget it clean; in which case it will
come to me." If the man did not return
it would support the hope that he was too
drunk to remember. Grant remained in
the yard to keep watch with a lurking fear
that the Sot would go straight to the
There did come a knock at the gate
when it was dark and the gas lamps had
been lighted. However, it was neither
the Police nor the drunkard, but merely
Fidelia Stanton to deliver her employer's
message. Grant went to call Mrs Gyrton
and as he did so the girl's eye rested on
the revolver. Somehow its curved white
handle impressed itself on her memory as
something she had seen before. Mrs.
Gyrton when she had dismissed Fidelia,
noted that the revolver was gone; but she
did ,not. venture on questioning Mr. Grant,
J uf outside the Gyrton gate Fidelia
r et Noel Bronvola face to face. She
stopped short, staring at the white girl as
if entranced; she had been thinking of
Noel persistently, recurring to her-little
cousin's idea that in time of trouble here
was a ready helper. The thought had be-
come a sort of fo:us for her hopes, the
single spot of enduring light in a darken-
ing field. The girl by constantly brood-
ing over her situation, and also in conse-
quence of the poorness of her food was
in a highly nervous state. In fact she stood
in the outer courts of hysteria.
Once or twice she had made her way to
the very steps of Noel's house ; but it was
difficult for Fidelia to ask help or to give
her confidence to anyone, and she had on
each occasion turned away at the last
moment, overcome by the idea that she
would be received with indifference, or
with pity worse to her than indifference.
Essentially independent and proud, she
would prefer to starve rather than take
a false step or ask a favour and to he met
with a rebuff. By her own courage, reso-
lution and endurance to make her way
through the world without seeking the
patronage or assistance of anyone; that
was her ideal of life. She drew back in
open rebellion at the idea that the poor
must be suitors in humble guise at the
door of the rich. The approaches to the
heart of tl.is girl, poor as she was, were
guarded by a hundred feelings of reserve
and restraint, planted there by nature. She
turned back from Noel's door because she
felt it would be wronging herself to ask
This abrupt, dramatic, unexpected meet-
ing outside Mrs. Gyrton's yard found her
in a different frame of mind; and, as she
gazed into the other's face and deep into
her eyes, she stood ready to drop every
barrier that shut in the pain and trouble
of her heart, and to conduct the other
mind, like an angel of deliverance, through
and through the dungeons of her own
being, full as these were of starved hopes
and ominous with the shadow of fear.
Her attitude was unconsciously one of
high tragedy. Noel appeared as a messen-
ger might have seemed who had been sent
to her by a great and divine power, sent
with the direct and express purpose of
receiving her confidence and rendering her
aid in her hour of bitter need. Had Noel
spoken words such as angels used when
of old they visited men on earth; had she
told in thrilling language that the Creator.
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
Father' had seen ,this girl's desperate
plight andsent her His message of com-
fortthius Fidelia would have found it all
itn harmony with what she read into that
Noel, on herside; had been on her way
toesee Mrs. Gyrton whom she occasionally
looked qprin-memory.of her dead Sunday
School Scholar, Becka. She saw this
tall, striking-looking black girl pause be-
forerherih the street and she asked quietly:
Didcybut.want me ? Can I help you ?"
Kind iords, and most natural; but Fi-
delia's mind.waraset just then to respond
tosore tragic vibrationsof feeling. The
wodls wete to-her a repulse. She had
not been sought out bythis beautiful and
kindly.face. Their meeting was merely
one of chance; ;she was addressed as any
other person would have been addressed.
It was death to her opportunity.
Ifishe had been mistaken in interpreting
thda reason, of ,their meeting, then, qhe
argued, she might be equally mistaken in
thinking thatzNoel was interested in her.
There was- probably in- the. white girl's
heat noinore:than the ordinary politeness
andteasy-kindness that to Fidelia just then
would have-been as useless as dew-drops
to one dying of thirst. after a long journey
across .a desert. -Up flew 'the barriers
that guarded'this'heart as stoutly against
pity as against scorn. To Noel she an-
swered.4tersely: "Nb, lady," and stood
asided- But the change inher face was so
Pa'ked that Noel spoke again:
(;Are youiquite sure that I cannot help
"I am sure, lady," and Fidelia went
her.way-iwith a curious feeling that if
she 'topped to think the circle of darkness
would;close.in. on her completely. She
stroderapidly along, hardly seeing whi-
ther:she,went.: A string of cars filled
with,children returning from a fete pass-
ing. ia front, of her forced her to stand
stl. ', As she stood waiting, a hateful and
wellremrmbered voice smote on her ear.
*"ideliaf' it was her old employer.
The next moment he was at her side,
reeking with liquor.
-fVbou black: harlot," he said leering
nastily ard stretching a hand across her
',Fidelig half closed her fist and, swing-
ing':itrwide, fetched, him a buffet that
knocked him off his .shaking legs. A de-
testive laid a prompt hand on the girl,
bmut. irEnglish Inspector had heard and
"No," he said. "Let her be. ,Fair
play is a jewel, even in the Tropics. iThat
girl is no harlot. He troubled,.her and,
by George, she bowled him' clean out.
Took his centre stump in fine, sf; e."
The man on the.ground screaqmd out
oaths and demands for the' girl's' arrest;
",Cme," said the Inspector, giving him
a ha'd up, if we arrest her we ihust take
you too. You are drunk and incapable if
we come to look closely into the matter."
Drunk," said the sorry human speci-
men trying to wipe away. some of 'the
street mud that stuck to his'face, "drunk
I may be, but by the holy Mqses, incap-
able I am not. I can shoot; my revolver-"
but' revolver where he sought it in his
pistol-pocket there was none.
Well, well," said the Inspector good-
naturedly, "here is a bus. Get into it
and I will send you home. You are quite
capable, I know, of giving me more 'than
a sixpence worth of trouble. Here, Rogers,
see they take him safe."
A, few days after this the current of
events was again disturbed at the Gyrtoii's
yard by the re-appearance of the Sot. He
had got to the weather side of his debauch
but remained in his sober senses in' 'ome
respects a much bigger fodl :'thntafly
than he was in his cups. He had forgot-
ten everything about his revolver except
that it was lost, but he dimly recalled the
fact that he had chanced oi' a nest of
mystery and profit, during hi last bibu-
lous wanderings. Staggerig.far,h h ad
dived deep into the lanes'of Kingstoi, ihd
to retrace his, steps in his sober mobiWits
with anything like ebxctness ww"s a task
quite beyond his powers. It was as match
by chance as anything else that he found
himself in front of the Gyrton's' 'gate,
possessed by a dim consciousness that he
had seen its curious latch recently.
Gyiton, Mrs. Gyrton and Grant were all
at home. The woman was at once placed
in the back-ground, as the Sot had seen a
good- deal of her on the former visit.
Grant, who had met the intruder only in
the shadow of the inner room, reasoned
that his face must have' made a very
slight impression on the man's memory.
As it happened, however, the Sot retained
a much more distinct remembrance of
the man than of the woman, because for a
few minutes his attention had been so
painfully focused while Grant seemed
about to strike him down.
It would have been wiser for masterful
Mr, Grant to have left the visitor in the
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
hands of his weaker partner, whom the
Sot had not previously seen at all; but this
man bad the fault that cleaves to strong
minds, that of doing too much himself.
He thus really.helped the Sot to recon-
struct.the formerscene and events.
He pade a second mistake by handling
his enemy harshly and abruptly, with the
idea of dismissing him quickly. That be-
ing, under this,rough treatment found his
hitherto dim memories standing out in
greater distinctness, just a scar on the face,
which under ordinary circumstances is
hardly noticeable, marks itself out in
angry red when the brain behind is roused
by passion. As Grant plied the luckless
drunkard with words of opprobrium and
abuse, he helped to deepen, instead of to
erase what had been at first rather faint
"Drunk or not, I remember some
things, my man. You dare take me into
that kitchen and I will convince you."
"No," cried Gyrton, springing up. But
Grant had at last realized his mistake. He
waved Gyrton aside and assented.
The Sut entered confidently; but gradu-
ally his look changed to one of bewilder-
ment. The sham wall was so good, when
the door was closed and properly con-
cealed, that it baffled him completely. At
length he drew quietly back as if accept-
ing defeat, and Grant felt that wisdom was
justified of her children.
But next day the Sot was back, and this
time he was. drunk. He walked straight
to the sham wall and shook the door.
Drink had lighted up his memories. Grant
sawthat he must keep his part of the bar-
As he came to know the Sot better he
realized that the danger was far less than
he at first thought. It was the simple
truth that in this wretched being there
was nothing left but the desire to drink;
and as long as he got a little money every
now and then to aid him in his debauches
he was content. He never threatened, or,
hinted at disclosure; and the remnant of an
old sense of honour showed itself in the
fact that he never from the day on which
he bargained to receive so much asked for
more. His money went faster now than
it once did, because he was less able to
guard it against the human beasts of prey
that surrounded and robbed him merciless-
ly the moment that his drunkenness made
him a safe victim.
Grant found that so long as his pittance
was paid regularly he gave not the slight-
est trouble, and the sum thus absorbed
was after all a very small tax on the in-
dustry that was being conducted so pros-
perously at the Gyrton's.
Later on, and at a period that does not
belong to our immediate story but to the
tale of "The Dead Man Who Lived," a new
fear crept into Grant's heart. The Sot
might have the very best intentions, but it
was clear that his brain was going to
pieces. Lock after lock smashed; restraint
kept a loose and ever looser hold on
tongue and limb; inch by inch the inmost
chambers of being were forced wide and
left open to the hoof of the world. The
man approachedthe condition when though
even sober he could no longer command
what he said or did. He was like a vessel
with many holes which it was impossible to
prevent leaking. In this state, without in-
tending it, he might reveal their common
secret. Perhaps, Grant thought as time
went on, he had already revealed the
secret in broken hints, only fortunately
not to any who could grasp the signifi-
cance of what he said. But any day he
might speak of it to some one who could
understand, and would act.
Pic-nicking on the Mountain-tops-And on the Plain-Dragons of the
Past-In the Tropical Moonlight-The Reader and her Audience of
one-Miss Vera and her Story.
For most days of the year, the rich field, valley and defile, that close round
depths of air above Kingston, the smiling it, northward, are all merely so many
bluqe L.aters that stretch away from the prison bars to the immense majority of
city-front, southward, and the pleasant its 7o,o00 citizens. Pent up behind those
spaces of pasture and hill-land, of grove, bars, in street, warehouse, hall and resj-
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
dence, they are guarded where they toil
by'the sentinels, Care and Circumstance.
A public holiday withdraws the sentinels,
unbars the iron shutters, flings wide the
formidable doors. Then it is like the
discovery of a new country for the town
folk to stream into the outer spaces where
the green trees whisper back the wind's
love messages; where blue seas as they,
bound are touched with white foam;
and where the mountain air is light and
cool as a gentle hand. laid on a fevered
It was a holiday; and Kingston awoke
in the morning coolness, under dawn-pink
skies, happily conscious that the next
twenty-four hours were for pleasure. The
early hoursesmiled with the promise of
one of those bright, windy, loitering,
cloudless days that show nature in the
Tropics in her most alluring, most cap-
It was June; the May rains had been
laggart, and straggling showers still
sparkled as they flew over the country-
side. But the fear that shower or cloud-
gloom would mar this holiday passed with
sunrise. The sky was an open ocean of
blue and the clouds that did appear floated,
light, beautiful, snow-white, far away,
sprays and fragments of foam drifting
from mystic lines of breakers fleecing
themselves in unseen regions, where
ivory-limbed gods bathe under cascades
of radiance, and fairies throng the plains
"The great Liguanea plain, bearing in
its.sands records of the events that emerge
first from the night of Time in the Island's
history, lay that day in full leaf. Buried
in its brown earth, are the relics and re-
minders of the Arrowak, when he
clustered his villages on this level, or,
from the overlooking Long Mountain,
watched the sky-line fearfully for the on-
set of the dreaded Carib. Here the
Spanish Don and the Portuguese Jew
reared pleasant halls long before the
thunder of British guns disturbed their
Over all the Past, the Present flowed
with itsday of light and song and blossom,
like a perfumed and fire-sprayed tide
glancing over hard, grey rocks.
The rains had revived the heart of the
plain country. The hills that stand about
Liguanea, through their flower-set, bee-
haunted valleys, glowed with loveliness.
On the heavily-laden Mango the ripening
fruit was being touched by the earliest
tinge of 'red and yellow, Baby pears
with glistening green necks and swelling
bases were hidden in the mother foliage.
Akees, crimson and yellow, with their
glossy black seeds, handsomely ostenta-
tious, hung in clusters amid strong green
leaves. Such colour, as theirs no leaves
could 1 6ectively hide.
Tempted by passing zephyrs, the silky
down from the great Ceibas flew wide
and far.' Like flaunting standards borne
in the procession of Emperors, the great
Poincianas spread their crimson blossoms
in great patches against the green of
their exquisitely fine leafage.
On such holidays the Law, entering the
City, comes to first-class establishments
such as Meffala's and closes their doors un-
conditionally against buying and selling.
Their army of jaded workers is released
from duty. in these stores no employer,
however mighty his sense of his own
power, dared to detain, without his or her
consent the humblest of his employes.
More license was given on this day to
the smaller shops to continue their service
of Mammon. They remained open through
the morning hours; but as the day grew
old they too closed.
The Government Offices did no work.
The Post Office itself, that nerve ganglion
of the modern City, was open for two hours
only, instead of for all the weary nine. No
printing office did a stroke of work, except
by grace of its employes. The markets
shut their gates after ten. Every gang of
labourers struck work. The very bread-
carts had an air of hurry and preoccupa-
tion, as if bread delivery were only an
incidental fact to be got out of the way as
rapidly as might be, so as to make room
'for the day's main event, which was
Even the domestic servants, that chain
of service which has no end, had the ten-
sion of labour relaxed. Those who did
not get leave as a free gift, obtained per-
mission to find a substitute for that day,
while they themselves sallied forth to
picnic, excursion or dance.
To Fidelia, still the wandering, diligent
and, for the most part, unrequited seeker
after work, this day brought the welcome
opportunity to fill the place of a holiday-
making cook. It was her holiday to work,
just as it was the cook's holiday to rest.
Liberta Passley gathered her friends and
enemies to entertain them in one of the
unique picnics for which her name was
famous, and which justified Harold's de-
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
scription of her "as the Lady who has given
picnics a new meaning."
Some of the hills that close their ranks
round Liguanea, stand in rugged wood-
land, through which dash streams which
in their upper courses are as little known
as they are the reverse when once they
reach the lowland. It was Liberta's pic-
nic idea on this occasion to close with one
of these streams just where it sallied out
into acquaintanceship with man and his
water-wheels and water-pots, and to trace
the current back through wood and tangle,
up gully and glen, beside palm-decked
cliff, by rock and root, through shadow
and shine, to its source far above the plain.
The hours of morning were still cool
and fresh with dew and the song of birds,
when Liberta's company gathered at a
rendezvous near where the stream left the
shelter of its mother mountain. Here the
picnic began with a morning meal; steam-
ing coffee, crisp, bread, fresh butter, fruit
of many kinds, from the yellow banana to
the ruddy mango, milk taken from the
cow at dawn that day, ,ggs not twenty-
four hours old. If Liberta had no lack of
ideas in planning her picnics, she had also
ample means at her disposal for carrying
them through. Peter Passley placed penns,
buggies, horses, money, men and boys at
her word of command without stint of
stay. A small army of uniformed boys
and girls swarmed to wait and carry for
Late coffee or early breakfast over, for
it deserved either term, the party set for-
ward in twos and threes, or as single units,
to make a brave attempt to follow to its
source the brawling mountain, brook that
rushed plainward with such joyous clamour.
Each picnicker aimed to reach the goal
first, and to gain the right to wear the tiny
silver medal that was Liberta's token of
victory. But, first or last, all were to
gather on th, hill-top; for luncheon, for a
siesta, and then, while the afternoon grew
shadowy, for some hours of song and
music, tale-telling anl witty improvisation.
Rough, wood-beset and steep, as this
hill was where it faced the plain, it was
approachable with-comparative ease on
its northern side. The summit, too, was
clear and grass-grown. The point of
honour, however, was to climb the difi-
cult south side, leaving the supplies of
.food, rugs, awnings and musical instru-
ments to travel by the less glorious road
on the north.
Liberta and her guests plunged merril
into the tangle of vines, bushes, trees an
rocks, to win the summit by hard climt
ing. Many there were ill-trained for sue
adventure, but there was a retinue c
neatly clad and handy youngsters arme,
with sharp cutlasses and skilled in busl
craft. When a party was in difficulties
one.of its number whistled and almost E
once a boy was at hand to point out an
clear the way. Thus the feeble children
of the town had the credit of mountaineer
ing with a minimum of its fatigue.
Liberta had, without being particularly
conscious of it, the gift of attracting me
to her side, and now as always was we
attended. In Noel, on the other hani
there dwelt that which, if not exactly re
pellent, tended decidedly to spread roun
this beautiful girl an isolating powe
Rambles with her father had made he
an adept at climbing and at puzzling he
way through intricate woodland way
The young man, a City-bred youth, wlt
set out now to accompany her, asan escor
soon found himself a victim to difficultii
which failed entirely to stay Noel. f
length he covered failure by turning asic
to secure an orchid, and was merciless
left behind. Noel mounted alone.
After half an hour's brisk effort sl
stood on the top of a jutting cliff, ar
rested for a few minutes. Doves we
cooing in the woods; the shrill, plainti'
cry of the Hopping Dick sounded near ht
and there was the murmur of rushir
water. The voices of the climbers ro
from various parts of the woodland belo
and, satisfied that she was winning easil
she resumed the ascent in a more leisur
At length she bathed her face in t
bubblin, spring-head, where the wat
thrilled with the whispers and secrets
earth's inmost recesses. A minute lat
she emerged from the last outpost of t
wood, anl stood on the hill-top clearii
Large stone boulders, mottled with gr
an. black lichens, were strewn on t
green ssvard. Noel stood beside one
these an I gazed silently away at the see
below. She had removed her hat a
stood bare-headed, her dark, luxurid
hair, rumpled and rebellious, framing t
glowing face. Far away, as she look,
there was the sea, its deep, fresh bl
flecked with white foam and fading sol'
and vaguely into the sky-line; like thoui
passing into emotion. The land show
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
first its strip of white, gleaming sand, and
then a dark green belt where the Man-
groves throttled the tides in their net-work
of roots. The noble harbour of Kingston
lay full in view from end to end, with Port
Royal fastened like a brooth to the very
tip of the long arm of land that circles and
shelters it from deep sea rages.
Like the lifted hand the fighter
Curves to stay the threatened blow,
See the far-stretched Palisadoe i
ChecK the inrushing ocean's flow.
Before her, on the hitherward side of
the harbour, lay Kingston itself. After
that came the dusty, white roaJs leading
inland; green pastures; white and grey-
coloured residences with here and there a
red roof, nestling amid trees or looking
out from the slopes and the clefts of
In the woods that crowded to her feet
the Dogwood had shed its pink and white
blossoms and stood now crowded with
the yellowish green masses of its curious-
ly winged seeds.
The cloudless sky was blue, but with a
blueness paler than the ocean. The sun
shone brilliantly. A wind came, pleasant-
ly borne over field and hill, and stirring
gently, in the woods about her
The air had tender vibrations, as of a
garment of delicate fabric through which
the slightest of fairy movements are being
sped. The. wealth of light indiscrimi-
nately scattered suggested the gifts of
some Lord of the Earth who gave with
magnificence because he is mighty and
kind, and entirely without regard to the
merit of those who receive his benefits.
The voices of the outdistanced party
sounded faint and far below. Near at
hand, with a splash and musical murmur,
the stream rushed out from beneath a
huge rocu only a few yards within the
woodland. The water slipped melodious-
ly across the green grass and straight-way
plunged into a cascaJe, filling' the air
with the msund of its leap. Noel smiled,
for she loved to succeed.
A good first," she said aloud.
"A first-class second only, if I may
correct you," replied a man's voice. I
am the good first."
She turned and found him standing near
at hand. He had risen from behind a
boulder which had concealed his presence.
She saw now a man of about 29. clad in
khaki and wearing a Panama hat rather
negligently. The dominating fact about
his face was the concentration of resolu-
tion and intelligence. Purpose ruled
there, and it struck the observer. that
here was purpose not only strong and
definite, but purpose which slept so to
speak tnder arms, ready at a 'moment's
notice to be flu ig here or there on exact
and vital work. Behind that face was a
brain ever ready for battle.
The eye-bro s were a trifle'heavyj for
such intelligence The eyes were-sodarkly
brown that deep excitement made them
appear black. They had a noticeabletrick
of not shifting for a moment after focus-
sing the object in which the man was just
then interested. They watched without
even a wink. Tht nose was slightly too
big to be in just proportion to the rest of
the features. The chin was strong, almost
to harshness; but the lips, rebelling occa-
sionally against a look of severity habitual
to their disposition gave unexpected evi-
dences of tenderness and mirthfulness.
The greatest surprise came with the man's
hair. The sum total of these features
made one look for black or very brown
hair. Instead it was almost golden, of a
shade very rarely seen on a man's head.
In one instant Noel thought that his
face was wholly unknown to her; in the
next she seemed to remember it dimly.
He showed well-bred anxiety to obviate
embarrassment on her part.
"You will, I hope, pardon my intro-
ducing Howard Lawley to you. At this
height we may perhaps look down on the
conventions. He is .like yourself one of
Miss Passley's picnickers."
I am Noel Bronvola,".she replied read-
ily. Being Mr. Lawley, you are our
new Cblonial Secretary," She remem-
bered the name better tm n the face.
"Guilty," he returned, "but the Colonial
Secretary in his unofficial moments." In
Jamaica, where Colonial Secretaries are
men of much importance, even to others,
they are not often seen arrayed in khaki
and lurking under Panama hats at moun-
Noel wondered whether he ever became
unofficial enough to lay aside that tense
readiness and watchfulness. His face was
like a camp that a single bugle call would
fling at once into order of battle.
"I was late for the muster below ;" he
saw fit to continue explanation.
"Last there and first here; you must be
a good climber."
1 climb well," he said lightly, or I
would not be Colonial Secretary at 30; but
ONE-BROWN GIRL AND-
irdthis caseI 'kiew the way up by the north
side of this hilk and I rode'"
'" Since we rrte cotlfesing,' she respond-
edf'aIiknowJthis hill too, and the way up
throu 'glthiswood. It was not quite a fair
race with' the' folk below." She thought
then, for the first time since losing sight
of hin, bf the young man who had gone
to obtain orchids for her.
Lawley. expected some sign of embar-
raishnent, at least some trace of constraint
at a encounter so unique. She looked
m're'ly'a girl, and she was very beauti-
ful. He was himself mildly amused at the
repeci-slibwn to the Colonial Secretary of
the Island, but he was quite aware of its
existence, and it was to be presumed that
the'fa'ct'of his being that functionary, and
of the introduction to him being so very
much out of the common, would not be
without its effect on the girl's composure.
He could not suspect that she shared his
*view of such matters, half easy-going, half
cynical. He had already learnt enough of
local Society to be aware that an encounter
of this sort between this beautiful child
and a bachelor Colonial Secretary, with-
out previous introduction and where, if
neither broke away by some extraordinary
method, the tete-tete must last for half an
hour at least, would be more than enough
to start a fusillade of lively gossip.
Noel re-seated herself on a boulder an:l
he flung himselfton the grass, suddenly in-
terested to see how this meeting would
develop. She looked away across the
plain; and he studied her face, his angle
of view allowing him to do that undetect-
ed. He expected to find there at least
sign of the art by which embarrassment is
held at bay; some proof of the recognition
of the fact that his presence had made a
change; some evidence that she could not
tnjoy her view exactly as she had intend-
ed doing when she thought she was quite
alone. He waited for some artfully art-
lesi suggestion that she must go back to
meet the rest of the party. But she made
n ) remark whatever. He had decided
tciat the initiative lay with her, but by and
by, to smooth her way he remarked :
"Miss. Passley and her friends are still
some way down."
"Judging by their voices, half an hour
below," she answered. She accepted his
sudden appearance and their unconven-
tional meeting with the same repose andl
calm with which she accepted the land-
scape before her. She had inherited her
father's gift of putting embarrassment off
her own shoulders, leaving it to others to
assume it if they saw no way of escape.
Presently, as she paid no further atten-
tion to him, Lawley also resumed his
study of the plains.
His eye wandered from sea to land and
from plain to mountains, but it rested at
length on the City-a patch of gray and
red roofing, of white walls and dark ware-
houses, a tower or two, and a steeple that
won some distinctiveness by its height;
there a fringe of masts, here white roads,
teries that poured the country's life into
the town's eager heart. Next his eye swept
round the City and beyond, going from
sky to plain, from plain to sky and then
back and out across the sea.
In that view, as is always the case
where height and distance are present, all
that man had made looked insignificant
and small. It was noticeable ; ot at all
impressive. What were impressive were
the mighty arch of sky, like an ocean of
deity full just then of glorious sunshine
the distant sweep of deep blue sea; the
curve of wood-dim mountains, bending
round to right and left of the fertile fields,
green and still, held within their embrace,
dominated by their eminence.
By and by he offered his field glasses to
the girl. She fixed them on a black object
crawling slowly across a far away
pasture beside the white ruins of old
masonwork. It was a buggy. It stopped,
turned and was lost to sight behind the
Lawley began to be conscious that al-
though so little had been said, perhaps'
because of that, his opinion of this girl
had undergone a change. If he had been
surprised at her composure, he was more
so at the unaffected absorption that she
showed in the view before her. Evident-
ly, for the time being, lie counted no more
than the grey rock boulders round her.
It surprised him to be drawn more and
more out of the mood in which he gene-
rally met the world. Except when he
answered the call to battle, that moodwas
only half serious, a careful avoidance of
statements that might provoke thought.
Just now, however, he found that he was
going deeper and deeper into those feel-
ings and musings that were intimately his
dwV; into the life that he had trained him-
&tlf to live in concealment, as it were,
giving the world only its results and never
unveiling its processes. At length he
spoke out.of thisfhange.
ONEIBROWN GIRL AND-4--
"What do you see there? below the
Noel looked again over the scene,
thqightfully and slowly, and replied: "The
pirit of Life sleeps; and in her slumber
"And behold," he responded, his tone
dropping sarcasm, into the words as when
2kome strong tincture is dropped into
Swatr, and, after clouding its transparency
an instant, dies into its clearness, Be-
ild everything is very gooi."
"All is well," she answered with a
calm that prevented the words being
a contradiction or a challenge.
"You know Kingston?" he said present-
ly, The hovels in the West End as well
as the drawing-rooms; bare-ribbed starva-
tion as well as the skipping simper to
sweet music. I see you know. But does
it ever strike you how idiotic it all is ?
How unreasonable? how stupid? It is
actually irrational. If you saw a house on
fire, a well beside it, and a bucket there,
would you not draw water and attack the
fire? You would bring well, bucket, water
and fire together; it would be your first
thought. But there is hunger, here ar,
empty lands; these hills flow with streams
of water; there in Kingston are the hands
that could make these lands grow food
enough to feed the population of three
such cities. Nature means the one for
the other, and the others for the one, and
the end is rational and sensible. She
would drive hunger from the land and
abolish poverty and want. What separ-
ates the man who needs food from the
land which means food; a prejudice wor-
shipped as law."
Suddenly he checked his opening confi-
dence. Was he misjudging this girl's
fibre ? Ha had no mind to lay bare the
pulse of his thought to a fool. All is
not thought that is silence, and often
times nothing is so deceptive as atten-
She turned her eyes on him and he read
there thought, interest and comprehen-
sion. Reason shone at the lattice of those
windows into th- mind. Re-assured, he
"Shall I tell you what I see there ?"
She inclined her head gravely.
"The smiling, sun-kissed plain is the
Present. It is beautiful; it is happy-
peaceful, joyful-what you will-Loo'c at
the long hill line on this side and on that;
see, they are like lengths of great dragons,
asleep,-tut alive. The dragons wake and
devour the plain. The Past falls on the
Present and picks the very bones clean."
Her eyes turned from him to the plain.
They rested on the old mason work below
as he continued. The white stones shone
out amid the green, and a tiny spot of red-
dibh brown strayed on the grass. That
swas a horse grazing as it moved.
The Past sits down and devours its
meal beside the great ocean of oblivion.
See, down there it is the sea. In the end
it washes down and engulfs Past and Pre-
sent, the Dragons and their prey; the
beast that eats and the skeleton whose
bonesit has picked."
And yet-" she began, then she check-
ed herself and looked away again to the
"I see the same truth in another figure,"
he resumed. A great giant is this Past,
and mighty, and he has flunghimself down
here. This hill where we stand is the
sleeper's head, and those long, circling
ranges are his arms, flung carelessly out.
The Present is a happy child, with its
light and music and beauty-to be crushed
in those arms when the sleeper wakens -
Poor giant, also," said Noel, "since
the sea of oblivion is his fate, too, I
"But the child's agony comes first. The
Present dies first. The Past has lived
long and wrought his desire. The Present
has only planned and .purposed, and real-
ized its helplessness and hopelessness.
There never has been a day that was not
tie slave of yesterday, since the first day
Noel turned to him and then paused on
tlie brink of speech. as if uncertain that
'hhr thought was sufficient.
He did not break the silence which fol-
lowed. A consciousness that seldom was
clearly revealed even to himself rose
to the surface of his mind. He realized
that the Past had left him in a cer-
tain attitude of mind towards women-
the attitude of appreciation mingled with
distrust. The appreciation he could vary;
the distrust he could not. It was part of
his very self, a thread of his being. Mem-
ory after memory passed, all flashing
the same light to remind him of this.
Suddenly now it dawned on him that
there must be somewhere in the past, an
explanation of'this attitude. What was
that explanation-the secret of thedomin-
ance of the byegone ? He was not curious
and he bestowed on the matter now no
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
more than a thought; but he put this aside
as one among other problems into which
he must look when occasion served.
The first group of the climbers broke
through the wood into the sunshine of the
open, and Liberta challenged at once.
"A deserter from the rear to the front.
I submit that Generals treat these with a
soft touch. Temper Justice with for-
"Generals have been court-martialled
and shot before this for winning battles
without orders. But, if this is the front,
where is the enemy ? Have you been at-
tacking Miss Bronvola? Or has she been
attacking you ? and who is victor ?"
"Shall we say honours even."
At anyrate, the unfortunate cavalier
who attempted to escort her, was left
lamenting. We overtook him on the hill-
side, tangled with vines, with, I believe,
his heart on his sleeve, if not in his mouth,
and, certainly, an orchid in his hand.
Well we will leave the court-martial till
later; but don't think it is forgotten.
Mr. Howard Lawley, will you ohby orders
"Your orders," he assented. "I must do
something to mitigate sentence."
To bribe justice. You doubtless are
aware how these things are done officially,
better than most of us."
But Miss Bronvola ? I consider she is
quite as guilty as I. What is she to do ?"
"They also serve who only stand and
Swait," replied Liberta, and led him away.
Noel's out-distanced escort appeared
with his orchids. She took the brown and
gold flowers with a manifest pleasure that
was reflected in his face till she said: I
am to see a sick friend this afternoon, she
will be delighted with these."
The young man would have been better
pleased to have been left to imagine thaf
the-flowers remained with herself. She,
for her part, was unconscious of inflicting
a wound. No sympathy reached out from
her heart towards him, seeking intimacy
or union, as had once begun to be the
case. All possibility of that was so dead,
that she hardly remembered now a day
some years before, when this young man
had stood with her on a Kingston street,
and a child had died before them, while
his hand on her arm restrained her from
the danger she sought to dare, from the
sacrifice of her all that she yearned to
make.- He saved her.life possibly, but he
struck their mutual sympathy dead,
On his side it was otherwise. A hope,
a yearning, a fatal impulse to love her, a
desire to be loved by her, was ever and
anon reaching out from his heart and then
withering, like the tender tip of a vine
seeking new support and striking against
hard metal. They met almost daily, and
yet spiritually they would never meet
again. When he was most reasonable he
saw that clearly; but he was often less
On the hill-top. luncheon over and the
siesta finished, Liberta's party woke to
new life. A harp, some flutes and violins
and a guitar gave the music. Songs echo-
ed away through the woodland; there
was glad talk. The tellers of tales, of short
stories, thrilling narratives of adventure
in the days of buccaneer and pirate, of
the quaint stories of A'nnancy, took the
field. The sun was low in the west ere
the company began to descend to the low-
The day's enjoyment ended amid other
scenes. Peter Passley owned a magnifi-
cently kept property on the plains. There
the water from the hills was collected in
a large artificial lake. Into this ran the
clear, crystal streams, thrilling still with
their rush from the fern-haunted ravines.
that scored the mountain side above; and
from the lake's other end the water es-
caped, running seaward. Thus the lake
was ever fresh and sweet. Round its
calm expanse stood gracefully drooping
trees, and fairy-like fern shelters. Boats
floated near at hand to bear guests among
the water lilies or to the rocky islet in
the centrewhere there was an aquarium.
By night the scene was lit with electricity
when such light was needed. To-night,
however, there was brilliant moonlight,
and the guests as they boated, promenaded,
or rested on the garden seats and listened
to the softened Band music that crept
like a bewitchment through the light and
shadow, had the radiance round them
that is matchless in its beauty and mystery.
"You," said Lawley to Liberta as their
boat glided on the quiet water, while the
music seemed to fall round them like a
shower of perfume, You are a magici-
an. You have taught me what a holiday
"If it has not been too strenuous," she
replied. "In our country the holiday
secret for men like you is, rest. I hope
you have rested." she added significantly.
"Ah," he returned, "you are my best
friend; you know what I need most."
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
"And get least of."
"You must let me remind you," she con-
tinued in the low, soft, soothing tone that
sounded almost like a caress, that here
in this climate you need to be cautious.
Energy, yes; but sheathe it. Rest is not a
luxury; it is a necessity. Every hour is a
robber; every day is: a bandit."
"By the way," he said presently, "I
have discovered a rather curious thing
about myself-quite accidentally."
"What," she smiled, thatt you have a
heart-or perhaps that you have lost it?
I have always called you 'Achilles,' you
know, from the first day I met you in Eng-
land, because you are invulnerable: but
even Achilles had his weak spot."
"'My heart," he smiled, "is in safe-keep-
ingf--She looked full at him, rather sud-
denly. "It is guarded by my head," he
concluded. "But this discovery of mine
is that my father wis a West Indian by
birth. He. had a property here in ramaica
and he actuaHy worked here for some
years. Then he suld the property and
went in for banking in England."
"All this-you discovered at one time,"
she said quizzically.
".Yes, it- was all new to me, when I
chanced on it last week. The fact is, I
know very little about our family history.
Strange that my father who was hardly
ever without me at his side, told me so
little of his own life or of my people Be-
sides my aunt, who is coming out to keep
house for me next month and whom you
saw once in England, I know no one of
Expect a surprise," she said.
"I knew that your father came from
Jamaica-I will tell you something fur-
ev-r-you yourself were born.out here.
wonder, however, you don't remember
tlati foriyou were taken to England when
you. were onlythree months old."
'",I said rightly that you were Queen of
Magic; but. I fancy there must be a
number of persons whoi know more about
nmyrather.than do I. I at least know
practically nothing of his story before I
came on the scene. I know that he was
onteof-the ablest and noblest men who
eve 'lived. The relationship between us
was curious in its way. He kept me so
near him in the present of his life; but I
never remember his referring even once to
.obl -.was not present at the last part of
rIertr.a's picnic. She had parted com-
pany with the holiday-makers to spend
the rest of the day elsewhere.
Across the face of the plain of Liguanea,
there slants the ruin of an ancient aqueduct,
and by this, those who know the neigh-
bourhood well, can secure a short cut into
Percival Road.. The mortar-lined gutter
is still for the most part sound and clean.
It isl pleasantly hungionboth sides with
ferns and is broad enough for two to walk
abreast. When exactlythis aqueduct was
built, I cannot tell. This Liguanea Plain
was under cane cultivation, they say,
while Diego Columbus still survived to
carry on his struggle with the grasping
Spanish Court for a due share of his
This aqueduct at any rate was built
long before the price of sugar had sunk
from 30 to 1o; it was probably con-
structed by a master who owned 500 or 600
slaves, and it was constructed by men who
were not shaken by the modern irressist-
ible impulse to hurry on to completion.
These men wrought into their work their
ideals of permanence and endurance. It
was not the restless hand of doubt that
handled the trowel here; no vibrations of
uncertainty were cast into this mortar.
This was not labour on which the:. fatal
touch of negation had fallen. They built;
and their work has remained, strong even
in its ruins; resisting the flood of rapid
change that tropical nature and the pass-
ing toils of man have poured around.it.
Canes have long since failed from these
plains. Their purple feathers no longer
greet the dawn of Christmas as they once
did for mile upon mile of these levels.
The last vestiges of row and trench and
broad interval have been smoothed away.
Spices once open and free have grown
crdwied with woodland; been cleared for
grass growing; billowed for years under the
wind-swaying flood of light green Guinea
Grass; and then again grown shaggy with
bush and tree. The fortunes of owner
have waxed here and waned; prosperity
has come, smiling; and dark-browedruin
has trampled by; times have changed and
systems been over-thrown; where the
slave worked, the free man has taken up
his burden; descendants of those who were
the slaves of the man at whose word the
aqueduct was built, have come to wealth,
while his posterity have descended. to
poverty, and still time has not been able
to annihilate the aqueduct.
Here and there it has been broken, pro-
bably by earthquake, and so it can no
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-- 65
longer serve its purpose, but its skeleton
is there. .The Wild Fig has planted itself
on its sides and, casting its terrible roots
into its heart,.clasped and clawed at its
mortar and stones, rending the solid struc-
ture cruelly; vines and shrubs, grasses,
ferns, lichens and mosses, have made it
their foot-hold, but the skeleton remains
stout still; its finely built curves, its rock-.
firm mason work, arch after arch, it still
spans the pasture-land, practically as
sound and strong as when it was built. It
defies the attacks of tropical nature,
swarming to the assault with all her luxu-
riance of vegetation.
Noel was making the old water-channel
a short-cut to Percival Road, for there
were few of these by-paths and nooks that
she had not long ago traversed with her
father. The evening coolness was begin-
ning to steal over the face of the country;
the lengthening shadows stretched lazily
out on the grass; the sunshine seemed only
the more beautiful as it lost the fiercer
heat and glare of the noon. The wind
lingered in a loitering mood. Soft clouds
were moving slowly westward, as if called
by some mysterious summons to be bathed
there in the splendid dyes of sunset.
On the east, trees crowding well-nigh up
to the aqueduct, all but shut out the land-
scape; here and there came openings. Be-
fore one of these Noel paused to gaze at the
well-known scene; the swelling level of
bahama grass, tree-studded and length-
ened out towards far-away hills. Cows
were grazing or lay at their ease chewing
the cud. Nearer at hand her eye lighted
on a picture no less pretty than the rest
of the quiet evening landscape.
Two persons, a man and a woman, both
young, had, on this bright holiday, chosen
to make each other their only company,
and so had driven out together to this out-
of-the-way nook of the common where
interruption could hardly intrude. Their
buggy stood under the deep shade of a
Mango. The horse, with harness tucked
up, cropped the grass hard by. The two
picnickers were down on the clean, sweet,
green sward beneath a large Guango.
She sat on the trunk of a fallen tree, read-
ing aloud. She had bared her head to the
balmy coolness and her pink blouse, in
contrast with her black skirt, lent a soli-
tary bit of bright colour to the scene,
Stretched at her feet, and dressed in flan-
nels, the young man listened to her read-
ing. A pretty sight, truly, two young
persons caring so much for each other as
to wish to be alone, sufficient the one for
But Noel watched the scene with the
feeling with which one sees a child put a
pebble into a 'thin wine-glass and stir it
round, trying to dissolve the fragment.
The impossible is so apparent to the on-
looker; the shattering of the glass so cer-
tain. The girl was Ada Smith; her com-
panion was Harold. Future disaster
stared through the quiet and beauty of the
*scene like an adder's head thrust out from
a green bank.
Harold would probably have met the
accuser with a denial of the statement that
he was making love to Ada. She reads-
I listen-where does Cupid come in ?"
One could imagine him answering. He
really was not stopping to think.
The reader paused. Some word or
phrase needed explanation, or so Ada pre-
tended. Harold rose and, going across,
leant over her shoulder looking at the
book. He answered her question, but he
did not resume his former position. In-
stead he stood toying with her hair: She
recommended reading, but did not con-
tinue very long to attend to the printed
page. Bye and bye she turned her soft,
childish eyes to his face, looking up. His
hand fell caressingly on her cheek and
eye-brows. She held up her lips and he
bent over and kissed her. He did it grace-
fully, tenderly even, and yet clearly he
was not much stirred; that was evident,
for directly after he flung both arms out
and up in a mighty yawn and stretch,
Then he looked at his watch, threw him-
self once again on the grass and bade her
go on with her reading. Ada meekly
Noel was stirred by the humorous side
of the situation as she stood looking down
on the two sinners whom her severe gaze
transfixed, quite unknown to them, but
whom she could not reach. Her impulse,
always towards the most direct course,'
was to go right into their presence, throw-
ing on them any awkwardness or embar-
rassment that attended the encounter.
She wasa young woman who fully realized
where the moral advantage lay in a situa-
tion, and who was well able to use what
fortune placed in her hands.
But, however fervent her will, she
could not on. the present occasion jump
down fifteen feet of abrupt masonwork;
nor could she glide through the air like
some avenging goddess of. old. To reach
the delinquents, she must go to the end of
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
the aqueduct and return, probably to find
the sinners gone. She smiled as she pic-
tured the scene should she make her
presence known where she stood; she
could see Harold with quiet sarcasm bow-
ing before her, fifteen feet below, and
pleading elaborately like a prisoner at the
bar, or pretending that he could not hear
She went on her way and in due time
arrived in Percival Road; but she hi-l
postpdned.action, not abandoned it. She
recalled Ada's visit to seek her advice.
She liked Harold; besides, now as ever,
she responded to the impulse to aid others
which was as deep-rooted as her very life.
Myrtle Cottage, Percival Road, was a
small house which Time had very notice-
ably frayed and shaken, but there was
about it and the surrounding yard scrupu-
lous neatness and cleanliness.
The little garden in front was kept in
the m6st careful order. The beds were
marked out, some with conch shells, a bit
time-worn now, and others with black
bottles sunk upside down in the earth.
The flowers themselves were cheerful-
looking, but not rare. Here were sun-
flowers, Martinique roses, verbenas, a few
geraniums and some chrysanthemums. The
slender income of the cottage folk was
augmented by the sale of cut flowers, as a
notice on the gate proclaimed to passers
At Noel's knock, the door was opened
by a little spectacled lady in brown linen
dress, protected in front by a blue apron.
Her face was marked with lines of
mental pain and anxiety, but the features
were delicate-looking and refined. The
gray hair was somewhat primly arranged,
aidrthe plain dress looked stiff.
"My dear," said Miss Elsie, "how
gdid of you to give us a bit of your holi-
day. 'I saw you pass this morning in
'a i'jaggonette of gay young folks, some as
p' etty as'y6urself and some only as young.
e tt rietake your hat, for surely now you
are here. you mean to give us at least an
hour; that is right. Always get rid of a
hat when you can, especially when you
have such a head of hair under it. Now
we will going and see Vera for a few
minutes, then you must come and give me
. som of your company in the pantry and
. 'ilt how you the last lot of preserves.
I am making some more now. I have
beien'at it'all day. After that you can sit
with Vera as long as you like. Poor Vera,
*he has had a lot of pain lately."
"Will she like my orchids? I brought
them for her."
"Beautiful, she will just love them."
Where did you get them, my dear ?"
"A young man gave them to me at the
I, 'And I will be bound, he would'have
liked to have given himself in the bunch.
I will go surety there is a heart some-
where in the flowers." Speeches of this
kin-l were a part of Miss Elsie's very self,
Noel accepted them as such, and answered
"Well, he did not offer himself, you
know, and I have not found any heart
here. Miss Vera must search carefully, I
hope it did not drop out on the way.".
"Ah, well, my dear," responded Miss
Elsie, with mild severity, "the day will
come when you will not talk like that
about the right man and the right heart."
"Till he comes and brings the heart, we
will give the orchids to Miss Vera."
Miss Vera lay on the spotlessly white
sheets in her neatly kept room, as like
Miss Elsie, her sister, as a plump and juicy
orange can be like one shrunken and
withered by time.
You traced in each little woman out-
lines of the same model; the same eyes,
the same hair with its tendency to crinkle
and reveal "colour." It was on both
heads ruthlessly disciplined for this of-
fence by combing and brushing, as it had
been disciplined for all the years since
girlhood, when these twin sisters had
heard their mother lament that it was her
hard lot to bear children who insisted on
taking the bad hair" of her husband's
farpily, instead of the superior article .
that she held up to their view. Her
daughters entered then into a life-long
battle with that rebellious and shameless
hair, trying gallantly to force their pretty
curls into tame imitation of the prosaic
straight hair that proclaims the pure-
A curious ambition as some may think;
but great is the prejudice of the Ages,
and these two little women who would
have bitterly resented being discriminated
against, because they were coloured, as in-
erior to the whitest of the white, showed
a disparaging discrimination without stint
or pause towards any who were more
deeply coloured than themselves. Their
never-ending struggle with this hair of
theirs was a mute acknowledgement that
in their heart of hearts they also surrend-
ered to the tyrant, Prejudice,
ONE BROWN GIRL ANt)-- 67
Miss Vera was to all appearance Miss
Elsie made plump and healthy-looking.
She was not exposed to the "harrassments,"
to use her own term, that beset her sister.
In fact, the latter was the break-water
behind which the other life lay sheltered.
It was the break-water that showed the
effects of the long continued battering by
the surging seas of trouble. But Miss
Vera had this to endure which her sister
had not; she was bed-ridden. She could
not walk a step; she could not even stand
Her disease had come on her gradually,
and doctors were powerless before its
slow and certain advance.
"It always happens in our family," Miss
Elsie explained to Noel. "It happened to
my Aunt Lucy just when she was thirty,
and my mother told me it began with her
mother at forty, after she had about
brought up her family. Vera woke one
morning and she could not stand. The
doctor came and after a few days she was
quite better. We had almost forgotten;
but a month after the same thing happened
again. It stayed longer and came back
quicker. Then it did not go away at all.
The doctor can do nothing; no one can.
It is in the family; in the blood; it will go
on forever, while there are any of us left.
It will come back and back while the
blood runs. Thank God, there are none
from Vera and me. For, my dear, we
never married as you know; there were
those who asked me, I can tell you, though
I am not one to boast of these things. I
seemed to have something whispering in
my heart from the. very first, that Vera
would be taken as you see her now. I
did not actually make up my mind that I
would never marry, you see, my dear; but
while I was hesitating and thinking he got
tired of 'waiting and married some one
else. Well, it was just as well.
But though we have no one to come
after us, there is my brother Charles with
five children. He is strong and healthy,
never been sick for a week in all his life,
and the children are little dears. But one
of the girls is bound to go like Vera, my
dear. It is only a matter of time. It is
in the family, and they are all that are
left now for it-to choose from. I tell you
a strange thing, it is always the girls that
it takes, never the men. So one of Charles'
little girls it must be, and when they come
here tosee me, I. find myself wondering
which it will be, and I have the curious
feeling that something near by is watch-
ing the three little things with bright,
greedy eyes, deciding' which it will seize.
Vera, as long as she lives, can onlyget
worse. Poor dear; may God reward her
on the other side."
Noel gave Miss |Vera the orchids and
Miss Elsie told her they had come from a
young man. On this both little women
had their joke at Noel's expense; and in
that surrounding it lost all suspicion of
vulgarity or offensiveness.
Noel went then to the pantry, tasted
Miss Elsie's new guava jelly, and watched
her make other preserves. On the sale of
those preserves depended the main part
of the income of the home.
"Oh, my dear," said Miss Elsie. We
have had such a misfortune to-day. This
morning a gentleman who was driving
along this road with a lady stopped when
he saw our newly lettered sign "Preserves
Sold Here." The one you did for us, my
dear; I said it would give us good luck
And it has not ?" put in Noel.
Listen,lI am telling you. He sent in a
boy and bought four shillings worth; but
I am sure now that both of the two shil-
ling pieces are bad. Look'at them."g
"I am afraid you are right," said Noel.
"That is bad coin."
"It is such a loss," wailed Miss Elsie.
"Such a terrible loss to poor people like
us. If the Police can't find out the men
who are making this bad money then the
least the Government can do is to make
it up to us poor people who get it given to
us for good money. It is a shame."
Miss Elsie was an inveterate gossip, and
they had talked long and widely ere Noel
returned to Miss Vera, to conversation and
reading there. Noel sketched for the
invalid, making a series of comic cartoons
to illustrate the humorous side of the
Then she flooded the little room with
song. The last notes rose amid the fall-
ing darkness and after that was over there
was silence for quite a time. At length
Miss Vera said with a sob: Sing it again,
I must enter where 'tis darkness
-In the unknown land;
Friend Divine, Thy hand shall lead me;
True Thy pledge shall stand.
Master, when the shades of darkness
Deepen over sea and land,
And the light of Life is passing,
Reach to me Thy hand.
68 ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
Deeper still shall be the darkness,
For the long, long night is here,
Life is ending, death receives me ;
Saviour, be Thou near.
"My dear," said Miss Vera, "I want
you to promise me something."
"What it is?" The girl bent over her.
There was silence again and the dark-
ness was deeper ere the answer came.
"Promise me when they know that I am
going, if they have time to let you know,
that you will come to me. I would like
to see your face then, my dear. It is so
young and so sweet and pure and lovely,
I would like to see it, just before I go into
the dark, I would like to have it to remem-
ber in the darkness if I have to wait long
tlefe. I would like to hear your voice at
the last-to hear you sing what you sang
"It is a promise," said Noel bringing her
presence down to the very lips of the sick
"Sing to me again, now, while it is dark
Noel sat on the bed beside her and sang
quietly, holding the sick woman's hand
till her grasp unclasped itself and Miss
Vera slept peacefully.
The Letter addressed by a Lady-Harold Entertains Ada- The Beauty and
Her Beast-" I do Love You "-Two Interpretations-When One Re-
ceives and Gives a Shock.
On the very top of the pile of letters on
Harold's Office desk lay a square envelope
addressed in a lady's handwriting. The
paper was finely webbed and breathed
that delicate fragrance that makes the
very receipt of such communications a
bit of romance.
That this letter lay thus prominently
displayed was due partly to the curiosity
of the Office Boy This young being,
who knew many things for which he ask-
ed no credit, had duly noted that here was
the handwriting of none of the ladies who
corresponded regularly with Harold.
After studying it diligently, he gave up
the problem as a bad job, and left the
letter in a prominent position that his
employer might be plagued by it at once,
Harold, strolling into his Office on the
day after the picnic, saw this letter at
once; and he too was curious as to the
sender. But Harold was a perverse
being; because he was curious, was pre-
cisely his reason for not opening the
letter. Instead, he put it aside till all the
rest of his correspondence had been dealt
with, and until he had done all the busi-
ness that he felt moved to get through
Harold was the son of a man, who,
handicapped it must be acknowledged by
a very small weight of principle, had
made money keenly.-and largely. He had
done very little else, except bring up a
family of two girls and one boy. He
passed on to the boy (a great deal of his
money, some of his ability and a very
little of his keenness.
In business, as in some other things,
Harold remained to a great extent an un-
known factor. Most of those who met
him as a friend or acquaintance declared
with no hesitation that he was neglectful
and incapable in business. Neglectful he
was; the fact was patent. That he was
incapable, also, was more problematical.
! is father had bequeathed to him, along
with the business, an invaluable Chief
Clerk, and to him Harold turned over the
Office. Harold might come down for a
month regularly, day by day, or he might
stay away for the month and come regu-
larly for a week. Only one thing was
certain about his movements, so the Chief
Clerk grumbled, and that was their uncer-
But the Chief Clerk did not agree that
his employer was a fool. He knew that
business affairs of great importance sel-
dom found Harold out of touch with the
essential particulars. A crisis called him
to his post at bnce, just as a storm called
a captain on deck, and crisis or no crisis,
when he .was on the spot he both saw and
The first time Harold crossed the Chief
Clerk with an order to drop a speculation,
that worthy remonstrated warmly. The
ONEIBROWNIGIRL AND-- 69
point in question involved the buying of a
run of land known as Tremeaven. Now
the Government had informally commit-
ted itself to running the new railway
through that land, and the investment
seemed a sure thing. But Harold said:
"Land there will dip abruptly at this
time next year and will not rise again after
going over the precipice. Drop it, my
So it turned out.
The explanation was that the new Rail-
way was not after all to pass through
Tremeaven. How Harold knew that
twelve months in advance of the business
world, he never took the trouble to
But he was not to be reckoned on. He
would come to the Office and work the
whole staff tired and cross, staying on
himself till nine or ten at night, and con-
tinue this for a week. Then the tune
would change altogether, and he would
not be seen at the Office for many weeks,
or if he did appear, it was merely for an
hour or so.
Systematic ambition had no place in
this young man's character. He had more
money than he needed. There was no
master feeling in his life. He loved
many persons lightly, airily, pleasantly,
but no one person deeply or thrillingly.
His outlook on life was for the most part
that of a kind-hearted, able, but slightly
cynical loiterer. How small life really
is he saw, and how worthless are its
trinkets and gew-gaws; but he saw no
pearl of great price amid it all.
Really penetrated by good and honest
principle, he laboured hard to conceal
this fact. The foundations of his charac-
ter were sound, another fact that he toil-
ed to hide; but on that foundation he
busied himself with erecting and demolish-
ing elegant sheds, rather than an enduring
temple. It is not an unheard of thing
that foundations thus tampered with
should be at length invaded by the rot
and damp of deterioration.
"I am casual," Harold said at times of
himself; and the quaint idiom was really
an excellent description.
As to business, he once put it thus to
Liberta: I have a Chief Clerk, of whose
knowledge all that I can ever scrape
together on this side of the grave will only
be a moderate percentage. He could no
more be dishonest than a tree could grow
upside down. Supposing we don't make
any more money, but just hold our ground,
we have more than we could spend, even
if I gave my sisters their head. Why then
should I worry to do badly what the Chief
Clerk cannot help doing well ?"
"I can't tell you," was Liberta's answer,
"if you can't tell yourself."
To-day when he had done all the busi-
ness he considered proper, Harold opened
the mysterious letter and read:
"Will you come to see me this evening
at 6 p.m.; or let me know where and when
I can see you to-morrow."
"And what may this mean ?" cogitated
Harold. His conclusion was: "It must
be a bazaar and she wants to bleed me at
close quarters; still I will go." The invi-
tation mildly stimulated his vanity.
Harold had reached his house that after-
noon ere he remembered that Ada had an
invitation to take tea with him at five.
She arrived promptly. It was her first
visit to his house and she crept in through
the imposing entrance, timorous and ill at
ease. Harold received her with a charm
of easy courtesy that at once made her
They had tea in the garden on the lawn
of green, close-cut Bahama grass. (-Above
them trees whispered. Round them flow-
ers shone like rich jewels; great roses dis.
played their deep pink bosoms; there was
the starry jasmine; here were masses o:
white and yellow chrysanthemums. In the
evening hour the mignonette breathed it!
perfume abroad; against the green hedgi
showed the red and salmon hibiscus. Nov
was the hour, too, when the evening
shadow softened the glare that had laih
all day like an invading force over thi
city. Amid thee surrouings they take
the prettiest nonsense and he fed her wit]
They rose at last and went into thi
house to see the pictures in the great
drawing-room of which he had told hei
Harold looked at his watch surreptitiously
Six was approaching
"By the way," he said, "Beauty, wha
about a drive next Wednesday ?"
To his surprise she hesitated.
"Well, is that an unlucky day?"
"Then am I an unwelcome companion
She looked up suddenly and said: "I ai
"'Of what ?"
"I don't know."
"Afraid of me, Beauty ?", His tone sof
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
ened; he was touched by an unexpected
answer evidently so sincere.
A faltering look at him now was all her
"Well, what is the trouble ?"
They both regained their natural tone.
"You don't mean to marry me ?"
No," he said without any hesitation,
I do not mean to marry you. I don't
mean to marry anyone at present. What-
everput the idea into your head ?"
"Then I am afraid of you."
"In that case, give me up. Snuff me
out, Beauty. Bow your cavalier to the
door. Dismiss your Beast."
"I know someone else who will marry
"He says so."
"Yes," she said' failing completely to
interpret what was meant by the emphasis.
"Are you going to tell me who he is?"
"Mr. Meffala's son," she replied, look-
ing at him sideways.
"John Meffala?" he said sharply and in
a new tone. Then he looked hard at her,
thrust both hands into his trousers pockets
and, walked to the window. There he
stood looking out, smoking.
When he turned he had relapsed into
his usual ease of manner. He half sat,
half stood against the window-sill and
fixed his eyes on her face once more.
She bore the scrutiny with ill-grace.
"Look here, Ada;" she noted the "Ada"
instead of the half endearing 'Beauty.'
"If you are afraid of me, give it up. I
don't see any real harm in what we are
doing; going for drives, chatting some
sense and more nonsense; nowand again
a kiss and a dinner together; or the fre-
quent and chilly ice-cream; but if you
want to stop it, say so. It is in your
hands entirely. Don't go on if you are
afraid. Has the soul been giving you
trouble ?" he added whimsically. "What
is it; a touch of spiritual rheumatism ?"
She took no notice of his little jibe, but
said tremulously: You-You won't miss
"Bless me," he replied his.heart touched
by her plaintive tone, "of course I will
miss you, Beauty. Would I miss the
Evening Star if it fell plump into the sea
and we could not fish it out? Or the
moonlight, if it faded gradually into
white-wash? I will miss you very much-
for a time," he added.' He had a freakish
but irresistible turn for exact truthful-
ness the moment that his conscience was
"Only for a time ?" she said piteously,
drooping under his last words, just as she
had revived under the first part of what
"I don't tell lies, Beauty." He felt
savage at having to say things that she
found so cruel; but his wayward virtue
was notv aroused, and, once put on his
guard, he avoided a lie like a precipice.
Then, seeing she was taking his words to
heart, he continued playfully;
"Of course, you want me to say that I
will never forget you-never, never, and
forever; nothing shall our love divide,
etcetera. Try and stretch that little
brain of yours to the meaning of 'never;'
why it is a continent of years, Beauty,
with several oceans thrown in. How
could I vow to travel all through it and
not to change ? Ah me," he went on pen-
sively "nine years ago I would have
said all that and more, and meant
it. I would have thought I was truthful;
but you learn how long 'Never' is as you
grow older, Beauty, like me. If I promised
never to forget you, it would only be put-
ting a sugar-plum into your mouth to melt
behind those little pearl teeth of yours. A
sugar-plum with a lie in the middle of the
"You can do without me ?"
"True," he responded tersely.
"I should never have left Miss Liberta,"
she cried woefully. My soul is in a dan-
ger; I feel it now; I see it all."
"I told you to do just what you liked,
that alone; remember," he made answer
with a shade of irritation.
"Yes," then not bothering further about
the point, "you do not love me." It was
"Oh, yes, I do," he said his heart melt-
ing tow rds her, and with the smile that
made his such a winning presence. "I do
love you." And that was true, for he
loved all beautiful and graceful things, ard
he loved pretty, empty-headed, little Ada
as he loved a shady nook made rich with
the mauve flowers of the Wild Petunia,
where they touch with colour the dew-
tipped green of fern and grass. He loved
her as he loved the golden sunset, or sight
of one of our woodland crowded moun-
tain defiles with the austere blue of distant
peaks crossed by the gleaming whiteness
of the hill-born mists, while the pure, cold
breath of the mountain wind fans the
cheek and renerves the brain.
It was the first time he had ever said in
so many words to Ada "I love you;"
ONE'BROWN GIRL AND-
though, as a matter of fact, he would
never have denied it, had he been
challenged. He loved her in the
sense we have indicated. In that
love there was no doubt latent
vice; but as yet it had not taken to itself
the body of passion. It was a pity, how-
ever, that he had not explained to Ada
just what he meant when he said 'I do
love'you.' Beauty gave the words a very
:different meaning from that which he at-
tached to them and this fault affected
after events: Indeed, from those words so
lightly spoken were to ensue results of
very grave significance in the story of
There was silence for a minute or two.
Harold was wondering if it would occur
to Ada to go now. Ada was resting in
the sense of delight that followed that con-
fession of love, which she took in tragic
earnestness. Harold looked at his watch:
"Beauty, I am desolated; but I must
leave you. I have business at six, and
Time won't stand still even for pretty
little girls. As your soul has rheumatism,
we will drop that drive on W6dnesday.
Night air is not good for rheumatism."
"What it is you must go to at six ?"
"Ah, I see it is curiosity and not
rheumatism after all."
"Is it important ?"
"You must go?"
I must go."
"All right," she said doubtfully and
"Make yourself at home here as long,
as you like, and if you want a servant,
press that bell button. It is pleasant in
the garden and you will find a piano
He had reached the door when a soft
touch fell on his shoulder.
"Come on Wednesday," said Ada. "I
am not afraid."
"We will see how the soul is," he
smiled, "and you may change before that."
"I change I" she replied. "It is men who
can change, not women. Come. I cannot
do without you." All this brimmed out
from Ada's over-charged heart. Her eyes
were filled with tears and her eye-lids
Harold wiped away the tears, and left
her." She stood watching him. Then he
"Beauty," he said in a constrained voice,
"I give you a bit ofadvice; have as little
as you can to do with John Meffala."
was evident that he hated to say it. B
wondered at himself for doing anything
so distasteful, but there was something
that impelled him with the strength of tl
irresistible. Unconsciously he was payin
toll to an accusing conscience. Was
not he who had brought Ada into tt
Meffala orbit ?
"It is not true," sighed Ada.
"What is not true ?"
"That he said he would marry me."
"So," said Harold in his ordinary ton
"it was a fib, was it ? No wonder th;
soul has rheumatism-hut when do yo
see the gentleman and talk to him ?"
He tended towards severity again.
"Hardly ever," she confessed. "He see
me at the Store and looks at me a lot, bt
I have only spoken to him once."
"Yes--and said then ?"
"Good-morning, Mr. Meffala."
"Well, well, well," he said, "your sot
seems to digest fibs pretty freely."
But mention of her soul gave Beauty
relapse into the doleful dumps.
After he had left her, she went up to th
drawing-room and for some time stoo
timidly surveying the pictures and th
furniture. An open door led into an ac
joining apartment and through this sh
A jacket carelessly tossed to a chai
had only partially reached its goal, an
as it hung there, half on and half off th
chair, a letter had falletter n from the pocket
The letter addressed to Harold in a we
man's handwriting, drew Ada like
magnet. She snatched it up and read it
contents. It was Noel's letter to Harolc
"My God," said Ada tragically, "h
has left me for her." She read all sort
of terrible truths into the brief, common
place note. "She has stolen him fron
There lay huddled in the big drawin,
room a miserably disconsolate Beauty
bitterly weeping. It was an hour or twi
later that she crept out of the house,
into the darkness. As she descended th.
steps into the street a bus passed and it:
passenger looked at her. He was .Johl
Meffala. She was" too distracted t(
notice him, and he for his part merely
changed his cigar from one side' of hi:
mouth to the other, and muttered apnex
clamation of surprise.
72 ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
Ada made her way to Noel's house and matter of fact Harold had completed his
took up a furtive watch there to see how business and departed long before the
long it would be ere Harold left. As a girl reached the house.
When a Young Woman Knows Her
Not-The Figure Beside The
Just about the time when Ada was
reading Noel's note, Harold was being
ushered into the Bronvolas' house. He
found Noel at the piano and stood entranc-
ed. His finest self, artistic and eclectic, ex-
panded and luxuriated in the shower of
beautiful sound. He was mute and
motionless till she paused, then, as she rose,
he said, smiling:-
I beg you feed me still with that same
She re-seated herself without demur,
and a.great storm of music went up from
a martial march. When it was over, she
closed the instrument decisively and said :
"We will go into the study. I do not
wish to be disturbed, not even by mother,"
"Upon my word," said Harold to him-
self, what a girl 1 Is she going to pro-
pose to me I" He still had the music in
his mind, and for a minute or two they
talked of that. Then Noel said:
"I did not ask you here to talk about
"I am at your service, and your mercy,
what ever it is." And here, he thought,
beginneth the Church Bazaar.
You are making love to Ada Smith."
She planted the next blow at once, with
the same directness.
"You do not mean to marry her."
There was a second of silence, a poise;
then she added.
"You are acting dishonourably, and
you know it."
It was seldom that Harold lost his self-
command. He did so now. For a minute
he felt completely dazed. Not a word
trickled into his mind by way of a reply.
The confusionthat showed in his face
was painful to see. Without uttering a
syllable he sprang to his feet and crossing
to the window stood looking out. He
was struggling to reconquer himself; to
recover his mental balance and sang-
Own Mind-And a Young Man Does
Carnations-Ada Meets a Colonial
froid; but for a time the effort was in
vain. Surprise at being thus chal-
lenged by this young and beautiful
girl; shame at having let an affair
begun with no thought of evil take on this
sinister aspect, met in a furious rush, and
produced such a mental eddy as to uufit
him for either thought or speech.
Noel, for her part, waited in silence.
At length Harold turned, and his first
words showed his innate politeness.
"Pardon my abruptness; I was very
"I will tell you she said now, just
what I have seen," and she did so.
Still he was silent, no longer because
he could frame no words, but because he
could see everything that he shaped
mercilessly destroyed by a girl prepared
to attack him as Noel had just done.
Everything that suggested itself seemed
jejune or clumsy, and he detested being
either clumsy or ineffective. He felt the
unmanliness of leaving her to continue,
but he was helpless.
The silence became a torture chamber
to Harold ere Noel broke it.
'IDo you then mean to marry Ada
Miss Bronvola," he cried involuntari-
ly, then paused like a man who saw no
road open before him. His gaze held her,
and she gave him glance for glance with
a perfectly composed serenity. He knew
that he appeared an awkward fool, and
writhed in the knowledge. Surprise still
thumped the brain centres of control with
He thought of one thing to say, but it
seemed petulant; of another but that
seemed rude; of a third which seemed
colourless; a fourth sounded smug. Some-
thing else that he thought of implied more
penitence than he felt, and his quaint
fidelity to truthfulness was now astir,
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
The fact was, that he was deprived for the
time"being' of the ability to judge the
value of his thoughts, and that to a man
of his temperament was a severe punish-
NNoef, for her part, convinced that the
burden of speech lay now with him, did
not speak till the silence had again grown
painful 'to Harold. Then she asked
How long has this been going on ?"
She looked still straight into his eyes,
andlie found it difficult to recall his gaze
and prevent its passing into space beyond
her. It needed a decided effort to meet
her eye. This last question, however,
helped him; for it was undoubtedly a
mistep2 He answered:
, "That is a question, you will excuse
my saying it, you must not ask me-that
I cannot answer," he added with charac-
teristic courtesy, "supposing you press it.
I must refuse to answer."
She had made a mistake and her face
showed that she accepted the check in
good bart; that he had risen, not fallen,
in her estimation.
This much of more of good resulted
from the passage. Harold began to real-
ize that the way to understand this girl
was to accept her as something unique,
and apart; as a living force, with the sur-
prizes of life thrilling in her words and
deeds, fresh, true, elemental, in a way like
a mountain stream, a strong wind, a full,
tide-tossed sea. She must be studied for
what she actually was, and so met and
understood. The foot-rule of the Con-
ventions must be laid aside.
Again her silence threw the burden of
speech on, him, and this time he lifted it.
"Will you tell me why you come into
this ,matter.? Why should you ?"
'"~Why should I not ?" she questioned
without hesitation, and forced him back
into 'silence, behind which many inner
voices clamoured. He expressed none of
that crowd of thoughts. If there was an
advantage in finding her unconventional,
he felt 'now .the corresponding disadvant-
age: in dealing with one; not afraid of
creating her own precedents. He saw that
she -would put aside one thing and another
which would have served to stay and con-
fuse other girls of her age.
If he said: "You are young for such a
talk as this ?" she might reply: Youth is
strong; it is the time for action. Difficul-
ty should not daunt it, nor yet danger."
If his word was: "People m'aygmisun-
derstand yohr motive and probably will;"
hers would be: "That does not change
the motive." If he descended to the banal-
ity of asking: "Is it proper ?" he expect-
ed the response from the steadily severe,
yet beautiful, face: "It is proper to do
"Is it right?" he might insist. He
imagined her reply: "Right is the crystal
stream deep in the heart's well; what hand
can draw from it but one's own ?"
The more he thought of his possible
comments and of her replies, the more he
saw the latter as rare and distinctive, and
his own as common-place and trite. He
stumbled at length into the poor sentence.
"There are reasons, I think, for you to
keep out of this."
"I help where Ican; this girl needs
Miss Bronvola," said Harold, suddenly
reaching the determination to be himself
unconventional, and ceasing to shrink
from putting the matter in any way that
might wound her sensitiveness of feeling,
" I ask you to think of this without pre-
judice, reasonably and naturally. What
harm have I done that girl ? What harm
can it do to give her some pleasure, to
-take her for a drive now and then, to talk
to her, to give her a pretty present or
two ? Hers is an isolated kind of a life.
She is poor yet fairly educated. Hei
people are clowns, washerwomen anc
street nomads. She can never marry
except below her standard of taste ant
feeling, and that would be chaining a birch
to a stone."
Noel's reply was simply:-
"This is the beginning-of what?"
Conscience, reaching over for thr
words, and flinging them like a scourge
smote Harold cruelly.
The situation was not the simple pic
ture he had painted. No such thing. Hi
had been trifling with passion in himself
and.as he watched the fine face of thi
girl before him, and her splendidly mould
ed form, he realized that there stirred
within his nature something that was lik.
the savage head of a venomous reptile
thrust through a mask: of flowers. Ai
appetite was. waking which not onl
craved but demanded more. He had n
doubt-but that he could still control it
but that the effort to do so was needec
annoyed and mortified him.
And then Ada; he had reasort to knot
that her feelings were straining her powe
74 ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
of control dangerously. They had
reached out and intertwined with his; he
had tempted them so to do To tear
them apart would be to rend, to bruise, to
rob. It was no simple task. Memory
handed to him, fresh, stamped and dis-
tinct, every detail of that evening's in-
Unaccustomed to be scourged by con-
science, the discomfort made him im-
patient, and like a desperate anim-l 1.is
impatience rushed forward. He would
pass through all half-way houses to the
ugly conclusion of the whole matter. He
was too fine a gentleman to say it in
so many words, but he was practically
resolved to make the truth enter her mind
now in its unadorned ugliness. You are
young, pure, beautiful and modest; but
you have chosen to' act to me so that
these considerations should no longer
avail you; they shall not. You have
pushed aside the curtains of the Conven-
tions. Good, we will look together on
what is revealed. It is not a pretty sight;
but since you demand the real, the actual,
very fact, let us have them, with all the
mud sticking to their boots. Grant the
extreme consequence, and that this girl
becomes the mother of my children, my
paramour, whom I will care for but never
marry. I ask you what would really be
so bad in her position. She being what
she is, and I being the man I am?" He
thought his way through all this and then
"But supposing," he was speaking de-
liberately and watching her boldly and
mercilessly, "the end should come as
you think; if one takes it without preju-
dice and without convention, how can it
be shown to be such a bad thing for a girl
of her class and fortunes. It would give
her a friend, someone to care for her. It
would give her comfort and ease. Her
life would be really as decent as any one's,
putting aside a convention ? You have
spoken. frankly, so have I; I ask you to
use your, reason not prejudice. Do not
bw down to what the world says merely
because the world says it."
Noel looked at him with direct frank-
"Now, think of her as your sister; and
accept the same argument from another
man. Or apply what you have said of
r to me. Tell me if it satisfies you."
"Again his confusion became painful, he
rose and began, without noticing his own
action, to pace restlessly to and fro. The
unexpected had.unbalanced him. His
was not a base mind, but he had yielded
to a base impulse, and fruitlessly.. He
had meant to push her to confusion; to
make her realize that it was not for a girl
to discuss subjects of the sort with a
young man-That she might start bravely
enough but dared not continue to the end.
He had meant to show her her place;
and the tables were now completely turn-
cc. She sat calm and composed, the
only signs of excitement in her were spots
of faintly glowing red on her cheeks. It
was he that was ashamed, confused, ner-
vous and unready, hardly daring to meet
Suddenly as his restless glance fell on
her face, like a sharp blade cutting keen
and swift, it was borne in on him, through
all his confusion and mortification that
she was the most beautiful girl he had
ever seen. It came with a force that
could never be forgotten, making an im-
pression never to be removed. Curious,
that he had never thought of it before,
though he had seen this girl so often.
How could he have missed such beauty?
or failed to see how peerless it was? He
wondered dully. Now her loveliness seem-
ed brilliant as the sun; a blind beggar
must realize it, were his blindness three-fold.
An impulse entered his mind and grew
rapidly to strength in the midst of the
chaosthere. It was the insane inclination
to kneel before her and cry:
"You are more beautiful than ever
woman was before, or than woman ever
can be again. Love me; and together we
will make worlds; call forth life and death.
Destroy and re-create Time. Defy the
millions of men and women who crowd
the earth. Love me, Noel."
He stood rigidly still, afraid to move at
all, lest he should come to this madness.
By and by Reason swayed him again.
He came back to his seat and began
"I will acknowledge indiscretion; and
ask you to acquit me of worse, and
yet, if it were proper and right for me to
tell you the story, or if I could even ap-
pear to try to excuse myself, you might
see that through it all I have never passed
a fixed line."
"The point that matters is that she
loves you now."
"You created that love in her."
"Then you are responsible."
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
"Miss Bronvola, will you tell me just
what you want ?"
Your promise," she replied unhesitant-
ly, "to leave this girl alone."
Believe me," he said, I will play the
game fairly, I persuade her to nothing. I
told her only this evening tha I would
not marry her. I told her to stop at once,
if she thought our friendship wrong."
"It is not a game," answered Noel,
"and you cannot be fair if you continue
it all. All the strength is on your side.
All the weakness with her. You see far;
she does not see at all."
You are right," he said at length,
"You have my promise."
He reached the street with a sense of
mental comfort to which he had been a
stranger for the last hour. or so. He had
hardly taken a step, however, when his
emotional nature rebounded. A suspicion
leapt into his mind, fully armed and
raging. It mastered the mob of his feel-
ings in a second. At once he turned and
re-entered the Bronvolas' house.
Noel was arranging flowers at a window,
glowing red and pink carnations and white
Excuse me," he said bluntly, you had
spoken of this matter to Ada Smith be fore
you spoke to me just now, and you," he
added to himself, "put her up to asking
me to marry her." He was certain she
had; and.that he had detected her con-
piracy to humiliate him.
She placed her hands behind her back,
like a child facing a stern taskmaster, and
"Are you really in earnest? Must I
plead to that indictment ? A prosecutor
should.believe in his case-he, at least.
Shall I plead ?"
No," he said, suspicion leaping into
the outer void, even more swiftly than it
had come into his mind. I was a dolt.
Forget I ever asked you."
Or shall I hang it up in my memory
that you'were not in earnest ?"
She smiled, and her beauty and grace
swam before him like a single great star
in an evening sky of pink grey. Never, he
thought, had earth seen a face as beautiful
as that. Not in her thousand million
daughters was there one whom a man
could more desire, or better worship. His
brain felt the exhilaration of intoxication.
As he passed for the second time into the
street, he even said aloud: "Am I sane ?
Am I really Harold? What has happened?
What has touched my brain ? What fol-
And memory answered with the picture
of Noel's face, as he had just left it, glow-
ing with life and beauty, a human jewel,
gleaming richly beside the superb flowers.
Once again he saw her smile, place her
hands behind her back, and, looking up at
him with the touch of childishness, which
was in such piquant contrast with her
severity of a few minutes before, ask:
"Shall I plead? Does the prosecutor
believe the charge ?"
The new feeling in Harold's heart
struck, sure, swift and strong to the very
centre of his being and captured the cita-
del there; but it was rather with the rush
of a band bent on a foray, than with the
measured advance of an army carrying
out conquest. It was love, certainly, but
love cast into a medium that had been
deteriorated by the insiduous saturation
He was chained down to the sensuous.
Her beauty made his memory drunken,
and it could do nothing but paint him
pictures of a skin without blemish; of
,red lips curved like Cupid's bow; of dark
hair overshadowing eyes which melted
fron' severity to the look of kind com-
radeship he had won from them at the
very last. Her finely proportioned figure,
her pulsing bosom, on these his imagina-
tion feasted and his blood was on fire to
be master of this splendid being.
He had been conquered, as after events
were to show, by her personality, by the
woman she was in the inmost hall of
being, in the soul behind all these courts
of physical beauty; but in his present
mood it was that beauty that dominated
him. He was the slave in the procession
of her loveliness. In his veins, like fire,
went the desire to possess her, to crush
her to his heart and to hold her there
against all comers.
As regarded Ada, his decision was
terse, simple, direct. He would end
once and for all that trifling. His eyes
were opened now. He was being en-
tangled; she was being injured. It should
all end that night in his mind, and in hers
the morrow. should see it perish, to be as
if it never had been.
Such, was his resolution. A scene he
detested, and as a formal announcement
to Ada might precipitate a scene, he
would next day leave the island for a
season. Where he went to mattered very
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
little; the thing was to get away at
once, and to be no longer where there
was the possibility of straying daily to
trifle, with the .pretty chit. He would
take an.outward-bound steamer to-mor-
row: and by: a note of two lines Ada
should knbw that he was off. In two
months her fancies about him would
have. withered;'and he would see to it
that there was no renewal of these dan-
gerous fooleries. Dangerous, was a word
that he:interjected as he recalled Ada's
appearance during one 'part!of their last
interview. He really meant-the girl no
hai i. :the :worli. A fancy he might
have for her; he had a fapcy, he admitted
it now;. of passion he had none.
Here! then .was a programme very
simple, compact and definite; Harold
could not be truthfully said to feel any
difficulty about dropping poor Ada thus
suddenly by the way. Yet he felt strange-
ly upset, and excited; strangely sad, even,
at the idea of this abrupt departure. Some-
how the balance of his mental and moral
nature which -he thought a few steps in
the' oQlI night air, and a little thought,
would'restore, was hot to be so easily re-
covqed. .He went down one street and
along, another, and in a short time had
each detail of his departure ready for
action; still' he felt no more composed.
At length he called a 'bus and jumped in-
Anywhere out of Kingston on na quiet
road," was all he troubled himself to say.
"What sort a backra dis now," grum-
bled th', driver.
They,were soon on a road which the
drive' Aked if this suited.
Harpe odid ndt even hear the question
Engaged' in retracking every detail and
each entnt of the evening's second inter-
view', his will was fbi the present none of
his. .Noel's every look, every gesture,
each w6rd of hers he recalled again aai nd
again, as if, chained to a post in the centre,
he wai condemned tb travel round it at an
equal distance all the time.-
At length he ordered the man to go
back 'to 'the town. While that worthy
was resolving to raise a row about the
sum:due him, or which he would claim,
Harold threw down so much money, that
the 'bus disappeared as rapidly as the
horse could take it, its owner dreading to
be recalled and told it was in a mistake.
Dat's de kind of backra for me," he said
emphatically when at-last at a safe dis-
tdnce he moderated his pace, and re-count.
ed the coin.
Meantime Harold plunged into the pre-
liminaries of his trip abroad. Late. as it
was he rang up his Chief Clerk on the
telephone and desired his presence at once.
It was I a.m. before they parted. "
At a little before 12 on the same night'
Howrd Lawley, riding slowly home from
an evening party, drew rein at sound of
hysterical moaning. The sound came from
a young woman who lay huddled and.all
disconsolate at the root of a Mango tree.
Ada was by this time in' such a state of
hysteria and weariness that she could give
no coherent account of herself. i Two sen-
tences recurred on her lips: .' He is mine;
he said he loved me," and She has taken
him away from me; stolen him."
Lawley felt neither desire nor special
ability to administer comfort or help to a
young woman in such straits, but he in-
tended to get her back to her home, and,
therefore, the first thing he needed to
know was, where that home was to be
You are mistaken," he said brusquely.
"No one has taken away your lover. You
The words and his manner acted like
magic. Ada stopped moaning, and sat up
at once. "Oh," she said, "I am a liar,
am I?-and what are you ?"
"Oh, I ?" he answered, "I daresay I
come in somewhere under the same ban-
ner, but at present it is you we are talking
about. I say you lie. You have lost no
"That is all you know about it. Her
letter to him is here at this very moment,
-in my bosom. Written and signed, telling
him to come to her."
"Nonsense, what you have in you is
hysteria. Perhaps though, you have been
drinking a little. One wine-glass would
upset a brain like yours I should say.
Come, get up and go home."
She held a letter up. "There'is her
name; Noel Bronvola, the beautiful white
girl, with the long hair. A stealer of
lovers she is; of my lover, Harold."
"Bah," said Lawley harshly, for the
present at least hardly conscious that he
had noted the names used, so disgusted
was he with the position, and with having
the details thrust on him in this way. "Lis-
ten, girl, do you know me? I am the
Colonial Secretary ?"
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
But Ada was of the class that knows
nothing of Colonial Secretaries. "Who
is he ?" she asked wonderingly.
Lawley smiled in the midst of his vexa-
ion. ",Xp ohawe beard-of the Inspector
of Police ?
"Thel'tlonial Secretary is above the
Inspector; I am the Secretary. You
know the Police ?"
"Well they will have you directly, if
you, stay here. Do you know it is near
"What," she cried in alarm, "is it so
HIt loked at his watch.
"It is midnight."
At that moment there came up from
the City the sound of the public clocks
striking, the hour, while all the smaller
timepiegs hastened in a thousand and
one houses, large or small, to hurry after
their bigger brothers with their toll of
"Where do you live?"
She told him; it was buried in the City's
"What folly ?" he muttered irritably.
Ada whimpered; fear was beginning to
lay hold of her.
"Here,".he said, "stay where you are,
and I will send a 'bus up from the Corner
Roads. Give no trouble now, or you may
suffer for it. A pretty place and plight
for a.decent girl to be found in. Sit quite
still till the 'bus comes."
But on.the contrary she scrambled to
her feet and began to follow him.
We take our inmost and most sincere
convictions and beliefs for better or worse;
and Lawley's opinions and beliefs left
him no choice but to render aid to human-
ity when he saw it suffering, and could
help. We all have intuitions of duty that
we disregard only at mortal peril to that
moral self-respect without which we can-
not live as souls. Ready though we may
be to trample over what others think for
us, frequently as we disregard the voice
of our own conscience in its less impera-
tive moods, there is that in us which,
when it speaks, we obey, feeling that to
do less would be to tear ragged a wound
in our humanity.
We speak of irreligious men, but, as a
fact, every man has a religion which he
obeys. It is that sum total which remains
behind everything, giving the impulse to
life, exacting obedience, a power, which
is no more successfully resisted than the
central power in the steam engine is re-
sisted while the engine works at all. As
Lawley had learnt life, it was his deepest
sense of duty to aid distressed fellow
beings. Sometimes, as now, he obeyed the
inner voice with a chafing sense that con-
victions impose a hards lavery on a
man. Still he obeyed.
Ada, instead of sitting down and wait-
ing as she was told to do, was pressing up
to his side. As he paused, uncertain how
to compel obedience, a woman's figure
stood out in the road across which there
lay now bands of brilliant moonlight and
the dark shadows falling eastward from
the trees that stood in the flood of light
pouring from the moonrise.
What is the matter, Gentleman ?"
Lawley glanced appreciatively at the
tall, erect figure and the intelligent face,
and answered tersely :
Here is a fool at large; and it is mid-
"You want to get her home ?"
"Shall I see to it ?"
"If you will."
You know me ?"
You are Mr. Lawley. I was butlering
at the house you were at this evening. '
"Well, I assure you that I am much
obliged to you. I will send a 'bus from
the Corner Roads. Pay expenses out of
"And the change, where shall I send
it ?" she enquired holding up the half-
I would wish you to get something."
I am not doing it for pay, gentleman."
Next day at the Colonial Secretary's
Office, Lawley received a packet of change
addressed in round unformed writing.
On a slip of paper along with it was writ-
ten: "I took her home, gentleman."'
SONE BROWN GtRL AND-
A Duel: Harold vs. Noel-Love, Creator and Creature-Responsibilities-
What Percival Road Held in the Starlight-The Cross Roads' Pause
in Life-What Noel Remembered: and 1What She Forgot-Calling a
Beautiful Body to the Bar of Judgment. I
Harold could hardly be said to have
waked up next morning; he had slept very
little, if at all. The new day changed his
resolve. That afternoon, at about the
time When the steamer which was to have
taken him on his travels was leaving her
berth, he strolled into the Office, and told
the Chief Clerk casually that the excur-
sion was off.
That evening he received a letter from
Ada. It was long and confused. Some
of it he read, then, irritably, he threw it
aside. Next day there was another letter.
' Dear Beauty," he wrote, without read-
ing a line of it, "You won't see me just
now. 3e happy and good. Doctor your
soul. HAROLD." Then he bundled Ada
out of his mind.
It was Noel that he could not. forget.
Fret and chafe as he might at his slavery
to that evening interview he never wan-
dered far from it. Still there stood be-
fore him the picture of her upright,
glowing figure, standing at the window
and turning to him with a smile almost
mischievous. After a time he despised him-
self for this servitude of emotion. He
rated himself for his folly, but he could
not shake off the infatuation. Strung to
high'tension, he could get no relief, no
slackening of the strain. Vainly he
paused to take stock of the situation,
and to ask himself if it could be
his old easy-going self, who was thus
hand-cuffed wrist to wrist with this excited
and unbalanced mind. He had treated
Love and Passion with careless gaiety;
now, like living creatures with strangely
awakened powers of magnetically binding
all that touched them to their tentacles,
they closed on him with an unrelenting
embrace. Harold was for main intents
and purposes another being.
The question recurred: "How was it,
that after knowing Noel all these years,
he should thus suddenly and completely
fall before her?" It seemed a sort of
witchcraft. In view of what had already
happened, he grew afraid of himself, un-
certain, since this strange-thing had come
out of the unknown, what else there
might be in his path of which he had not
dreamt his personality capable.
Time might have been his physician had
he at once left the island, but, as it was,
weeks passed and still Harold, though ap-
pearing much the same to the outside
world, was shut up within his own con-
sciousness, to companionship with the
new strange being that had been created
Letters came fluttering to him from
Ada. They were hardly looked at. Some-
times he was told in the house that a girl
had been there asking for him. "Ada,
perhaps;" he said to himself and dismissed
His own house seldom saw him. Rest-
lessness gave him her hand and away he
danced with her, as he roved about to
join shooting and fishing parties and to
seize on whatever promised to distract his
thoughts. He was feverish, and in a state
of subdued anger.
Weeks of this new experience had
passed over Harold's head, when one
night Noel stepped.out into the darkness
from Miss Elsie's house on Percival Road.
At the garden gate Miss Elsie herself
remonstrated with mild forcefulness
against the risk that beautiful young
ladies ran in travelling about at night by
themspl res. Noel turned the remonstran-
ces on the shield of laughter.
Dark it was at first, truly, but one's eye
soon got used to that. As for danger, it
was late in the day, or the night, to try to
daunt her with that, she, the veteran of so
many night walks. Tropical Nature had
made the day to be looked at; the night,
with its cool; shadow and clearstar-shine,
to be used. So she bade a cheery good-
Noel had gone but a little distance when
a man's figure rose from the bank beside
the road and came towards her.
Good evening, Miss Bronvola."
The voice told her nothing. It was
strained and strange beyond recognition;
but presently in the starlight sha discern-
ed who addressed her.. She held out her
hand to Harold.
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
"And what brings you here ? Is this out-
of-the-way road a favourite of yours ?"
"I have not been here twice in my life.
I am going your way now ; may I ac-
company you ?"
"Certainly," she said cordially, "and
what a relief it would have been to the
little lady I have just left had she known
so trusty an escort was near. She is shud-
dering now, I fancy, ass he thinks of me
alone with the night and its ogres."
They walked on together between an
avenue of trees. The dark mass of fol-
iage was outlined against the clear sky
where the large stars shone brilliantly.
Harold was deeply pre-occupied. To
a casual remark he made no reply. Noel
repeated the question with which she had
greeted his appearance:
"What brought you here to-night."
"You," he answered abruptly. "I fol-
lowed you when you came; and waited
under that tree while you were in the
You wish to see me, specially ?"
There was a pause.
"Miss Bronvola, if a person creates a
thing, a thing that will not die, is not the
creator bound to give it some care and
"That seems reasonable."
I am glad you think so."
"Have I then a personal interest in the
"As the creature ?"
No, as the creator."
And the creature?"
'He touched his breast. "It is here. It
was nowhere in my being before that
evening. You looked into my eyes; it was
in my life, after you spoke to me that
night. It was full-grown at once. What
magic have you to change a man as I am
changed? Till I hardly know myself; till
at times I hate, I despise myself. And
yet I am powerless. I cannot change back
to the old self which was at peace. The
spirit here has passed through death and
the tomb and can no more come back
to the flesh. The past is there like the
corpse of my life. It is dead, cold, a mass
of clay; I am not there in that past. I am
not that. It is a shell, a frame-work.
Here is a new man."
"And I have done this ?"
"You? yes. You have destroyed and
re-created. You spoke to me and changed
me; you looked at me and made this new
being. I cannot hide it now. It is us,
to try to destroy it. Believe me, I I
tried. It is by no good will of mine
I have changed like this, in five s
weeks. I am a different man altogei
I cannot rest; I cannot pause. I
slave; a fanatic; a devotee. There
life inside my life beyond my powei
am a slave."
Well," she said, and he saw her e
est eyes fixed steadily on him, "i
would you have me do ?"
"As I sat waiting for you here in
darkness, do you know how I mac
heaven for myself? I kept repea
again and again to myself, 'Noel, N
It was as if each time that I said
name I loosed bursts of music, swe
rarer, stranger in their melody than e
ever heard. It fell from somewhere
the sky, above these dark tree-sh;
down from the stars, falling, falling,
scented mists. It rose and again it
tered through the night, that beau
music. It burst and showered melody
a peal of bells dying far away in pei
Instinctively they stood still, as if
the body resigned every function
movement that could be laid aside, so
undistracted, save by the functions wit
which life must cease; the heart throat
tide in the vein and artery, the coming
going of the breath; the senses n
crowd about the meeting place of
souls. The passion of the moment see
to hold the attention of Night hei
Suddenly the stillness seemed more
found, as if the darkness listened
watched. The noise of the insects ii
grass sank and sounded faraway and i
as if hushed by some one's gesture.
man's breathing was audible, indi
with painful intensity, in that prof,
silence as if lightly rippling the wavw
the air ocean.
Each of these two felt,though indi
ent ways, that Life was pausing on
ancient and solemn highway of Time,
that-after this pause, in the going on
would follow, each soul would bear
it a difference from the influence of
hour never again to be erased.
Harold had come in despair, ne
hope; but it ran through him now lik
thrill of fire that there was hope.
beautiful face, radiant in the star
with a subdued, mystic illumination, s,
ed dearer and nearer than it had
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
been before. Her eyes poured spiritual
balm on his heart.
"Noel," he cried. "I bring you the
16ve: you 'created. It is happiness, or
'1hiseiry,'as ydd 'decide." He had spoken
1i deep; intense tones, through' which had
-crept "sme of the glow of exultation, bIut
his hope sank at the end and he halted
with the words:" You are responsible."
"Yes, I am responsible," she answered
And'what have you to say to me?"
An icy chill followed the wave of flame
that seemed but a moment before to be
sweeping through every vein of his being.
"What is your question ?" she asked
My God," he cried to himself, she
is stone she is ice. Love for me ? It is
hopeless; such beings never love."
Ah, what is the good," he said aloud.
S"It is useless; useless;" and he pressed
his hand to his eyes, unconscious of what
he did. The violence of his emotion
Come," said her quiet voice, and her
land rested softly on his arm; Sit down
hereoon the bank beside me and say what
Her touch and her words calmed him.
He sat down beside her as if in a dream.
What is the question to me ? What
am I to do ?" she repeated.
He sprang to his feet again, trembling.
It came home to him that the strength
was with her, the weakness with him; but
it failed to renerve his manhood. .
His agitation was the reflex of her calm.
Had she been moved and unbalanced, it
would have been possible for him to re-
gain mastery of himself and the situation.
As it was, her complete serenity drove
Shim well-nigh to madness.
S"I love you," he burst out hardly know-
ing where his words sped. Then suddenly
: he flung himself on his knees before her
where she'sat on the grassy bank, and,
Seizing her hands, looked up at her face.
'It showed under the shadow of her hair,
White and still in the starlight. He smote
in the interruption with passionate words
"Do you love me ? That is the question
for you, Noel. Will you:marry me? That
is the question-the only question. It
carries life or it strikes at me with death."
Then he paused and resumed more at the
Forgive me, I am completely un-
manned. I am not myself. Love has been
burning in my veins all these weeks, night
and day, and it has destroyed 'everything
but itself.' Nothing else matters, now.
The flame burns life to dust. The flame
burns the flame. Love me. That is the
question for you, Love'me';marry me."
! h'e made no' attempt .to withdraw her
ha ds, nor did she hesitate to meet his
eye. Her answer was in quiet, vibrant
tones. I never could marry you,"
"You hate me."
You do not love me-it is hate."
"I like you."
In time you would love me."
In time after years."
"I am sure not."
You are so young."
I am sure of myself-quite sure."
He dropped her hand almost roughly
and rose to his feet.
S"You love someone else," he cried im-
pulsively. The stress on.the accentuation
of the words showing pain, .explained the
impertinence to her but did not excuse it.
She remained silent.
"You do," he repeated. "You love
some one else. Some one has mastered
She smote him with a glance that made
him feel his degradation.
"That you have no right to know.
do not answer your question, at all, since
you demand an answer. Did I: feel I
should answer, I would do so-I would
say yes or no, whichever were true. I
would not be afraid."
He was silent for a few seconds, then
he said in more natural tones:
I You are right. I am a fool and.that
question was an impertinence. Forgive
"I will answer your question to show
you that I do. There is no one I love as
you mean it in asking like that."
"No one?" he .said, in quite a new
tone; then suddenly as if'he saw the
solution of a problem on which he had
been pondering in despair, as if;he saw a
light where there had been hitherto im-
penetrable darkness, he burst out in
strong, positive, joyful adcents:
"You do love me; you must, you must.
You shall; and you do. You do not
know it fully yet, but it is there in your
heart. Love creates love. I understand
it at last. You created love' 'in me be-
cause you first loved. God understands
world-making; he makes love, and love
creates love, and then the creature as
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
turns to the creator. I love you; it is
God's gift and you will love me."
: She was silent, perplexed by the per-
versity of events, and he misinterpreted
her silence. He began to tell her, in low
soft tones, of his love; of how in a mo-
ment it had entered his heart and filled it;
of how her face was unforgettable through
every minute of time, memory of her
voice unescapable. It was memory of
*you that called me out of a world where
love is a name, a fancy, a casual orna-
ment, to a world where love is life. You
must love me; you do, you do. You are
too young to know yet in full, but love is
in that heart. You could not create love
like mine unless you loved. It is im-
Still she was silent. He watched her
with a feeling of triumphant assurance
filling his heart as with a white light.
Passion was bounding to the summits of
existence in a thrilling rush. Like the
rosy light of morning, sweeping up over a
commonplace landscape with a transfigur-
ing illumination, the confidence that at
last the problem was solved spread
through his mind.
Everything else in the world seemed
lost to view. Existence closed in, pre-
senting to him a single face, a single fig-
ure. The conviction was almost sublime
that Ndel was worth the world to him,
that allwithout and within himself was
well lost to win her. That here he found
the great, the priceless pearl of life, for
which a man will sell all that he has glad-
ly, if he may but gain the treasure.
She fed his madness by simple, and al-
most unconscious, gesture. It was her
habit to remove her hat as she walked in
the balmy coolness of the tropical night.
She did so now. The clear starlight illu-
mined her superb beauty. Shadowed by
Sthe abundance of her dark hair, it glowed
with a touch of rareness, even of mystery.
Suddenly Harold encircled her with his
arm and drew her to him with a force
that was well nigh violence, till her bosom
was crushed against his and the heart-
beat of the one life echoed in and vibrated
with the heart-beat of the other, the while
he kissed her again and again, his kisses
falling fast and warm on her chin, her
cheeks, her lips.
For a second, thr second of complete
and entire surprise, she lay passive in his
embrace, and his joy rose to rapture. It
surged through and through him as a cer-
%tinty that she yielded, that all his agony
of doubt and fear ai
forever; that love hac
had answered love in t.
More swiftly than ever
the lightning, time rolled
the girl's figure central still,
in the foreground of long
years that lay glorified like
landscapes. He had penetrate. th
inmost meaning of existence. "iie pea
of price, won from the water of the ver
fount of life, lay gleaming in his hant
He had conquered; and his blood was ;
flame through his veins; his brain exulte
as with strong wine: his thoughts wei
as the thoughts of a god.
Then sudden hideous ruin fell on a
this beauty and triumph.
Through the form that he crushed I
him with such devouring force, there cre]
an involuntary shudder, deep, convulsiv
repellent. It delivered her far moi
effectively than struggle or outcry cou.
have done, for it struck to the man
heart a paralyzing dread he knew ni
clearly of what. Was it that he feared 1
see Death -appear like a ghastly specti
and snatch this splendid life from h
arms. Was the tremor, the mortal chi
and convulsion of a spirit leaving i
earthly tenement; the vibration tremblir
through the flesh as the cord of li
snapped suddenly. His passion shrar
into miserable smallness before his ov
eyes. He opened that mad embrace at
left her to stand free. She was erec
Sudden Death was not the terror. Wh
then? Who was the guest that entered i
to the very citadel of life in this girl, ai
caused the horror that showed itself ou
wardly in that deadly shudder. Perha
it was'the collision between the cryst
pure soul and the passion-soiled mood
one whose selfishness was for the tin
being akin to madness.
He drew back and stood in silent stup
faction. Noel leaned for a minute agair
a tree trunk, then she picked up her h;
and, without a word, set off again towar
the car-line. Her pace was no whit a
celebrated. Almost mechanically Hare
"Speak to me," he said at length in
tone so demoralized that he would ha
been surprised to hear it was his oa
could he have listened to it from outsic
"I am a cad, a beast, a scoundrel."
Then he cried with more spirit: "Y
don't know how beautiful you are. Y
82 ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
don't dream how beautiful your face is."
"You are contemptible," she said with
an inflection of bitterness and anger that
threatened self-restraint dangerously.
My God," he groaned.
They. were nearly at the crossing before
he spoke again: His tone was quiet and
"Shall Ileave you ?"
"Why?" she answered, and he noticed,
how remarkably her voice had changed
its tone, recovering its calm and peac;.
"I thought you might wish me to," he
"Do you think I am afraid of you ?"
she asked calmly but not unkindly. The
fury of his passionate kisses had made the
blood Same in her cheeks; the colour sank
reluctantly; with its slow recession she
regained control of herself.
They stood 'waiting now for the down
car. A buggy passed, and Harold saw
that it contained Lawley.
.From the car, rushing on its down grade
lines, the night outside the narrow limits
lit by the electric bulbs seemed dark as the
pit., One .after the other, each electric
centre of .brilliance balanced itself on the
rim of the, dark in front, rose slowly, and
then rushed faster and faster towards the
car, till it passed-from view over its roof,
So it seemed as one looked out ahead.
"Did you think that that could bring us
nearer ?" said Noel in a low, clear tone.
"My God," said Harold, "I am a fool."
"Areyounot more than a fool, or less?"
She looked at him with a gush of doubt
flooding her eyes, that doubt terrible to
any man who is more honest- than dis-
honest Will you boast of this to your
friends.?" she asked coldly.
"Boast," he responded. "I feel more
like cutting my own throat to get out of
the whole wretched tangle of life once and
for all. Lam a fool-and worse.' I
"And death ?" she said,, "do you think i
that isnot.a.tangle too, out there in the
: ,When they. alighted, from the car and
stood together, Harold said nervously-:
"Am I to leave you here ?"
"Do.you wish to ?"
"It is not that," he replied in some con-
fusion, "I thought you might object to my
company. I am a beast."
S"I am not afraid 6f you," said Noel, and
her tone now. was almost kindly.
' i"Butyeu' despise me. You think me
contemptible lama scoundrel-a beastly
dI, feel it," .
She looked at him with a calmness that
was almost reflective; then, without the
slightest emphasis to suggest the extra-
ordinary, she said quietly but distinctly:
"You are my friend."
In the sudden relief and joy coming to
him from those surprising words, he could
have fallen at her feet. It was some
seconds ere he could trust himself to re-
spond, then he simply said:
"Thank you;" but he burst out bitterly
by and by: "I -deserve the whip; you
can never forget what I did."
"I will remember," she answered, that
you were ashamed of it." Perhaps the
phrase like one she had employed at their
memorable interview weeks previously,
slipped in naturally; perhaps she employ-
ed it now on purpose, with the subtle inten-
tion of marking that he stood again with
her just where they had parted on that
day; that all that had happened in the in-
terim had been annihilated.
When they separated now he ventured
only to raise. his hat. It was she who
held out her hand frankly and naturally.
As he grasped it he knew that he could
not make this beautiful creature his, his
alone. He could seize her, crush her to
his heart; he could not master or annex
her life. But, if he would, he could be
man and play a man's part; a man and not
a beast; a gentleman and no cad. She
was his friend, looking past that in him
which was poor and base and mean and
vile, to that in him which embodied the
noble and the enduring.
At Noel's home nothing passed between
mother and daughter but question and
answer as to Miss Vera. Later on when
they sat on the verandah, and her mother
asked for music, the girl hesitated.
"I am not calm enough to-night, Mam-
ma. It would have trouble in the heart
of it." After a pause she added, "Shall
I play in spite of that ?"
i "Yes; if you will."
i "Come in and sit beside me. I will
turn the light low; it will be soft for your
eyes." She looked calm and composed
enough, but a faint colour lingered still in
her cheek. The mother's eye did not fail
to note this, but she asked no question.
Her love did -not demand tribute in the
spoken word as under some system of
Noel took her seat at the piano and be-
gan to play from memory. At first it was
a slow movement, a quiet filing; forward
of deep notes like the pouring onward iq
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
pent columns of an army great in number
but silent, save for its tread.
Then-on the sudden the music changed.
It spread out like an armed line that de-
ploys ad: catches as it moves the sparkle
of sun-beams smiting on gleaming steel.
Broad plains billowed into the distance,
and the. shadow of woodlands was a dark
rim on. a far horizon. Winds passed
fresh and free.
Without sign of changing emotion on
the musician's fine face, there came
another change in the music. The heart
lay a pool, clear but deep, and it stirred
with a swirl of dark waters.
On and on went the music repeating it-
self, and at each repetition making the pic-
ture of the troubled pool more distinct.
The listener came again and again to that
pool, with its depth, its stir, its darkness.
There seemed no stopping for Noel, as
she sat grave and composed to all appear-
ance, her fingers sweeping the key-board
with trained rapidity; but at length she
"Is the trouble drowned ?" asked her
"Ah, you saw the pool, I always do;"
but she did not answer further.
They returned to the verandah and Noel
asked a question, a curious question for
one so little moved by self-consciousness.
"Mamma, am I very beautiful ?"
The mother took the young face be-
tween her hands and looked at it, as if
bent on studying it anew and carefully,
ere she replied. She looked deep into the
frank eyes, pushed back the overhanging
hair that hung intrusively over the shape-
ly forehead. Almost solemnly she kissed
the broad, jrow and answered. "Yes,
Noel, you are very beautiful."
The deep, clear eyes met her own as
free from many trace of vanity as the star-
space a6ove the house was at that moment
free from cloud or mist. It was not vanity
that had prompted this question apparent-
ly vain, The mother divined that for
some reason the girl desired information
as to how she appeared in the eyes of
others. Stroking the dark hair, she said :
"You are the most beautiful girl, Noel,
that I have ever seen." The trouble
haunting the eyes into which the mother
looked,did not leave them. It deepened.
Noel looked away and presently said:
"Is it a dangerous thing-beauty?"
To oneself or to others "'
No answer was forthcoming. Noel
could not make her thought definite
enough to respond. The mother under-
stood her silence, and her mind sped ahead
to meet the younger spirit at another turn
of the long road of thinking.
"Mother," said Noel at length, "I am
thinking of the earth. There are the pas-
tures and the hills and the sea and the sky,
there is so much beauty, and it all seems
so good, so peace-giving. It helps to joy
and life and strength. It does no harm.
Why should a woman's beauty bring
"Ah, why indeed," said the mother, and
attempted no further answer; for at such
questions, Life turns to Age and Experi-
ence a face as inscrutable as that which
she directs towards Youth and Emotion.
It is only in our folly and conceit that we
conclude that we know, because we have
"Should one wish not to have beauty ?"
But if you have beauty already, how
make roomfor the wish ?"
"You mean one should not give it room?"
Naturally;: a wish is out of place when
it is useless."
Suddenly Noel smiled. "Mamma,"
she said with a touch of merriment, "Don't
fancy I have that wish; I have not; I am
The smile added to the beauty of the
face as a band of sunshine suddenly
showing adds to the loveliness of an aus-
tere landscape. The mother noted that
the colour in the girl's cheek was now
failing to persist.
And what is the next thought, about
beauty, Noel ?-about women's beauty ?"
Instead of fostering self-consciousness
the conversation was relieving Noel of it,
by checking the dominance that some-
thing still unknown in detail to the mother
was imposing on the daughter's mind
"This is the thought. Would it be
right to destroy your beauty for the
An imperative pulse of alarm beat in
the mother's heart, and she looked search-
ingly at the girl. Such an idea, pushed
from a certain angle on a mind such as
Noel's might conquer it for acts of exalt-
ed fanaticism. But the look that she met
was reassuring. The idea was receiving
intellectual entertainment only, not emo-
"Was th:re not a saint who destroyed
her beauty ?"
"Saintship did not always mean sanity."
It is quite possible, though," was
Noel's answer "to have a saintship that lies
84 ONE BROWN GIRL ANb-
outside the accepted circle of sanity,
enclosing it and making it apart of itself."
Before going to her room, Noel search-
ed the book-shelves for a volume which
told the old world tale of a saint who for
the sake of the kingdom of heaven had
destroyed her exquisite beauty by brand-
ing her face with a searing iron.
Robed at last in her long white night
dress, her dark.hair loosened and falling
free and full, far down.towards her knees,
Noel stood before the large mirror and re-
garded the face and-figure reflected there
with a grave and careful scrutiny. There
was something of reproachfulness, some-
thing even of sadness. She looked with
painful and minute attention at another
self,: as it were, and that not with complete
approval. It was as if she had called this
beautiful body of hers .to the bar of her
judgment to be tried; and this with no in-
clination to show mercy.
Human Fingerposts Up and Down--TU, Sinner by the Wayside-" God's
Best Dog" smells Sin-Into the Silence-After Church With Meffala
and Ada-A Minute in Oblivion.
"We are bound for the land of the
pure and the holy,
The home of the blessed, the kingdom
Ye wanderers'from God on the broad
road of folly,
Oh, say, will you* go to the Eden
The tambourines rattled and rang, form-
ing a lively level, and amid this, like a bluff
hil shoved up, blunt and massive, in the
centre of a' plain, came the deep loudness
of the notes fiom a drum, beaten some-
what too heavily.
It was chiefly on the treble notes of
women's voices that the hymn rose. Of
the many men in the crowd, but few sang,
and the. detachment of Salvationists which
was responsible for the meeting were all
women, except the boy who bore the flag
and who could not sing, the cornet player,
and a Captain who was so hoarse from
continual speaking, that he could now
speak only in a whisper. The hymn was
the finale of the Sunday evening's "open-
air," which was a preparation for the march
to the special service at the Town Hall.
The singers formed a centre to a crowd
of gaily dressed women and men in their
Sunday best, who, after the manner of
City folk, were abroad on Sunday after-
noon to take the air and to display their
finery. Incidentally they attended service.
On its fringes, this crowd was engaged
for the most part in chatting and in obser-
vationsof its own.. Itgaid littleif any at-
tention to the singers. Many even had
their backs turned to the flag and the
group round it. There was more atten-
tiveness among the inner circles of the
In the great world of Nature, under
whose mighty arch of sky singers and
audience were an insignificant cluster of
dots, it was an hour of rare and mystic
beauty, the brief season when the softness
of the fading daylight meets and mingles
with the tenderness of the moonlight-the
hour when the spiritual seems no longer
to be a thing to be thought of painfully
and laboriously, to be realized but dimly
and vaguely, after infinite endeavour, but
a presence that one does not seek or in-
vite, but which flows in at the open doors
and wide-flung windows of the soul.
The larger Stars were beginning to
shine in a sky touched, yet by sunset col-
ours. Snow-white bergs of cloud drifted
slowly up from the west; moved by a cur-
rent of air which had its own course in
those lofty regions, in a' direction quite
different from the gentle sigh of the rising
land breeze, that shook the fine foliage of
the, oinciana, played lightly over the
cluittrs of its crimson bloom, and stirred
the leaves of the Palms to make them
glint and gleam in the moon's'rays.
"Will you go? Will you go?"
Very near them in the quiet hour seem-
ed the entrance to a life other than that
of earth and of the things seen and visible.
It was as if a great sea of invisible
waters was flooding with, a full tide,
through that hour; as if in some mysteri-
ONE BROWN GIIL AND-- 5
ous way even sound was seized and wo-
ven into the silence; the pealing of the
church bells calling to evening worship;
the occasional jar and crash as a vehicle
sped by- along the. stony street, these
sounds seemed no more an interruption of
earth's brooding mood of stillness than
ripples and the splash of raindrops on the
great bosom of a broad river interrupt
its slow, onward flow.
A tide of Church-goers swept along the
street, some travelling in buggiesor 'busses,
but most of them on foot.
The Officer in charge of the Salvation-
ists, darting a look over the crowd, saw a
gentleman on horse-back draw rein. His
eyes fixed itself on the Army Flag with
the quiet attentiveness of one who studies
the phenomena put before him.
"God bless you," said the Officer to a
soldier; "that gentleman on horse-back
will give us something; and the collection
is only fourshillings and seven-pence half-
The next minute the tambourine was
close under Lawley's eye and the soldier
"God bless you, sir, will you give some*
Lawley dropped a shilling into the tam-
bourine, noting casually as he did so, how
the newly minted coin shone in the moon-
light. Again he fixed his eye on the Flag,
and apparently listened to the hymn. In
reality he was think ing that it was curious
how people whose belief was so narrow,
and, to his mind, so illogical and crude,
could be so comprehensively useful; and
he speculated when the impulse would run
itself dry in the deserts of Time, as so.
many similar impulses have done in the
"God bless you, sir," said the soldier
re-appearing, "don't you think this shilling
is badt?" '
"So it is," acknowledged Lawley, and
he gave her another. The bad coin he
put carefully away in a breast pocket,
resolving to take an early opportunity
of waking up the Inspector-Gene-
ral and his Police. This little in-
cident wasa reminder that there were
quite a number of complaints filed in the
Colonial Secretary's Office about the bad
coin in circulation. The hymn ended, the
Officer began to give out notices and
Lawley, his interest in the scene exhaust-
ed, went on his way.
Half aahour later, beside a neighbour-
ing. street, a young woman sat dis-
consolately on a step. She was accom-
panied by a child, little more than a baby.
The woman was gaudily arrayed in flashy
jewellery of the most aggressive type.
She wore a pink blouse, a black skirt and
a straw hat, heavily trimmed with enor-
mous coloured flowers, set off in hard
The child stood obediently enough at
the mother's side, but it was beginning to
whimper. The Mother was worn out by
the task of getting the small creature
along, partly by carrying it and partly by
dragging it. Pain as well as weariness
showed in her face. Tears stood in her
eyes. Her small stock of endurance was
exhausted. She sat there a bundle of
human discouragement, wrapped in pink
and black cloth.
Her class was obvious. She was one of
'the empty-headed unfortunates who enter
light-heartedly on the paths of vice. She
was still very near the beginning of her
journey. The banks were not yet strip-
ped of flowers, but she had already found
the thorns. The child was of course il-
legitimate. The Mother was half proud,
half ashamed of the fact. With these
mixed feelings she had sallied out that
morning on an excursion by train.
After providing for the finery she de-
sired, and purchasing her ticket, she had
only a few shillings left over. The
purse containing these had been taken
from her by a boy from whom she attempt-
ed to buy oranges. One shilling escaped,
and this she tried to employ in buying
something to eat and drink on board the
train. But still misfortune dogged her
steps, for the shilling was a bad coin, and
the bar-maid, who happened to be of
rigid morals, in returning it made some
stinging comments and declined also to
supply even a drink of water without
money. Hungry and parched with thirst,
she completed the list of disasters by slip-
ping and straining one foot when she
alighted at Kingston.
Without a penny to pay for a car drive,
she was making her way home on foot,
when, endurance failing, she sank by the
way-side and crouched there.
All the details of her bankrupt holiday
might not be patent to the stream of
passers-by, but it was clear at a glance
that she was a sinner and was in trouble.
"Ah, sin burn her now; she feel it,"
said one of a pair of respectable matrons-
Yes," responded the other, "she is get
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
ting the wages; she is getting the wages."
They passed on.
"Mother, look at that poor woman, she
is sick,"' said a child.
"She is a bad woman," was the reply,
and they passed on.
A young man, escorting some ladies,
looked, recognized the face, wondered
whose was the child, and passed on.
"That woman is suffering," said a young
lady to her. sister.
"We .can't stop now; the bell has al-
most finished ringing. Come on, we will
be late for Church. She must have friends
Ebenezer Raphael White was on his
way to church when his eye lighted on the
girl at the side of the street. He detach-
ed himself from the church-going tide at
once. He wore his Sunday black coat,
aged but still presentable, especially when
placed, as it now was, in contrast with his
snowy-white trousers. He was Sunday-
hatted, also, and while, in the one hand,
he bore a conspicuously large Bible and a
hymn-book whose edges were stained an'
aggressive red, in the other he carried a
Slowly and impressively did Raphael
approach the object of his attention.
He pronounced the one word as he
came to a standstill.
He sniffed the air and said again "Sin."
Then selecting a step near at hand he
seated himself there, brought his stick to
the front, placed one hand upon it and
then the other hand upon that. Upon top
of all, he rested his chin. So he sat, gaz-
ing steadily for a minute or two at the
sorry pair before him. His books had
been carefully placed beside him, a white
handkerchief being spread to prevent them
from being soiled by contact with the
Sin," ejaculated Raphael again. There
was another paupe then he said:
Who for de pickney, Missis?"
"Ha," said. Raphael, "you shut your
mouth now but it will open wide enough
daya ju4iglent. It will open wide 'nough-
to bawl.. ,
"Sin,WI'smell it at once. Dog which
follow ir.,awoodland place where mon-
goose and wild hog pass, and know all
'bout it by de so-so smell, doh-him nebber
see hog or mongoose; dat is one; and me
is anudder. Where sin hide in a bush me
is Big Massa best dog to scent it out.
Who de pickney for, Missis?
"Can't answer, noh. Good. I is de dog
to head you up for Big Massa to throw
rope wid running noose and catch you,
same as Cattlemen swing dem rope and
cast young cow while dog bark 'bow
wow' and stop dem. I is de dog fe Sin,
Bow wow, wow. Lord you servant is
here, you best dog is right here; and him
"Lord, lick him. Lick sin. Tek ap
your biggest stick and lick hard; and
here is me, you servant Raphael, you
Penn dog, to run and bark and bite and
head off dp sinner dem, so deh can't run
away none stall and mus' stan up and
tek you chastisement.
"Same as, dog run and bark at cow
nose hole and stop him and tun him and
penn him up till cattleman fire rope 'cross
him head and him catch. Same so is I,
Lord. Same so is you. You is the head
cattleman, and I is de dog, and de sinner
is de cow, Dis sinner is de cow. Lick,
good Lord, lick him. Fire de rope wid
de running noose and catch him tight.
Now choke him round de troat, choke
"Who de pickariiny is for, Missis?
Lock up you mout, eh ? Wait, one day
dem will force it open, same as dem tek
handle of spoon and dislocate a child teet
when him shut it up tight a because him
won't swallow physic. De child want
favour Marse John. Dat is a wild young
gentleman now ? first cousin to the devil
couldn't be worse."
The bells stopped; then, faintly heard
from the churches round the Parade came
the sound of music and singing. Only a
straggling church-goer or two were left
on the street as Howard Lawley, riding
down the street, turned his eye on the
woman and thinking here was an accident
Are you sick ?"
"I believe so," was the despondent re-:
lThe sto y of the day's adventures
rambled frosn her lips.
"You are hungry and thirsty," he sum-
marized," and your feet is sore. My good
man, can you get her a drink of water ?"
White regarded the speaker attentively
for a minute. Then he said:
"When parson take him little bowl and
sprinkle over me, to give me name, it was
not 'My Good Man him call me. It was
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
Raphael Ebenezer White, and de world
sake, a respect call me Mrs.
With that Raphael got upon his legs
and stalked solemnly away, saying as he
did so. Pity man like you don't got
manners It was your business to say
'Good Morning' or 'Good Evening' to
Ple before you ask me 'bout water. Not
-'ausen I is black you must'nt show you
manners out side you pocket. Fe my
part I gone a church now." And he
The Passley carriage came down the
street at this moment and Liberta caught
sight first of Lawley, and then of the pic-
ture that held his attention. She solved
the: difficulty by taking the woman and
child into :the carriage with the promise
to. see them home.
Half an hour later the inhabitants of a
certain mean street in Kingston, with no
reputation worth losing, were agreeably
fluttered by the arrival of a large carriage.
Out of it stepped the Sinner and her child.
XI the Uame time they.had a vision -fa
lady who leaned from the carriage and
Goodbye, I hope you will soon be all
right: again. Get something to eat and
drink right off."
"Now dat's a lady," said one of the
Sinner's neighbours, also a sinner, "and
dat's true Christian."
"If you ask me," said another neigh-
bour, "I say dat white people dese days is
beginning to get confused and tie up in de
work of sin and salvation; looks to me as
if dem begin to buck and miss de way
lead go a heaven. If you going to treat
sinner kind and good as decent somebody,
dribe them ina' buggy and all, tell me dis,
why sinner should want to lebe sin.'
What dem; should do if dem wants to
drive sin out of de country is to put nail
and tacks through shingle, and spread
these where sinner gots to walk and so
pitch them back ina' heaven."
"A no, lie," admitted her neighbour.
"Ebbery subject gots front-stairs and
back-stairs into it, same as house, and
yours is back-stairs here.
As Liberta drove back, still with some
vague idea of going to church, late as it
was, the sound of lively music and some-
what vociferous singing drew her atten-
tion to the Town Hall.
"Salvation Army, Miss 'Berta," said
her coachman explanatively.
I would like to see what these people
do," said Liberta.
"Dem don't go on same fashion
we church, you know Miss," said Rc
"You pull'up in Duke Street and
Inside the hall, Liberta saw one of 1
crowds that suggest to the eye a poi
lake on which the winds; blowing
different points, have produced confi
and clashing of waves. All is rough
The brilliant Zouave uniform of a
West Indian soldiers attracted the e,
once. They were touches of colour-f
amid the drab of neutral tints. T
were other soldiers in brown khaki,
one or two policemen in blue serge f
with red. Here and there was to be
a woman dressed in the quiet, unobtru:
ness of a more educated mind; but
women generally were arrayed in ci
material of the most glaring colour
wore hats, much over-trimmed and
senting a gladiatorial combat of coni
ing hues. Shallowness of purse and pc
ty of tast. were at one and the same
Intermingling with the rest of the a
!nce, without let or hindrance, were
Women of the Street, sordid as they
from those lower depths of shame w
they inhabited, repulsive in their c
gowns and torn blouses, the very d
left in the cup of vice when all the be:
and sweetness have been quaffed.
street boys, too, were dirty, ragged
unkempt, but because youth has its ,
magic power, not so repulsive, even ii
that dirt and vice,, as their elders. C
bench by themselves lounged five or
tipsy white sailors who had strolled
from the darkness and monotony of
streets where the liquor shops were cl
during the hours of evening worship,
who cast into the boiling stir-of n.
occasional loud guffaws, and hoar:
hummed tune snatches.
No one here seemed put out or offen
whoever happened to be one's r
All this mixture of humanity before I
appeared to Libcrta to be thrown toget
there without plan or idea. There w
no underlying threads of system.' It
\chaos, slightly modified, that was
and for a few minutes, standing by
entrance she saw nothing which she co
use to interpret the scene. Then'her
rested on the platform. There was
clue she sought,
88 ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
On the right side were the female The man of experiences had paused a
officers and on the other the male. In the second to take breath ere continuing. In
middle sat a woman, the leader highest that moment of pause an officer sprang to
in rank. For the most part the officers his feet close behind the first speaker and
were Europeans and their pale faces truck up:
showed in effective contrast with the "The Lion of Judah will break every
dark uniform. almost black. relieved with chain
crimson ribbons and seams. The con- And give us the victory again and
rast was madestill more effective by the again."
few black faces that mingled with the
others. The chorus, repeated once, twice, three
The calm, sweet, grave features of the times, filled the room and the man of ex-
women drew Liberta with the power of perience subsided; he had had his innings.
a strange attractiveness and inspired her Shrilly and suddenly, a whistle was
with confidence. The odd, incongruous, bl wn. The singing stopped like a horse
restless mass of humanity heaving with town back on its haunches by the curb.
Sin that hall was not without a controll- Another man rose and related his ex-
ing centre, a power that was capable and perience, and this was again followed by
intelligent and that could command the a thicket of shouts and exclamations.
situation in its own way and by its own Then four voices raised in prayer, were
methods. On the platform, she found all struggling like tigers in a jungle for
the explanation of the scene. There was predominance. Two voices died by the
the centre, where what seemed so dis- wayjand the battle continued between a
jointed and so incongruous gathered deep bass and a male voice of shriller
meaning and coherency, power. It was weight against edge. By
Liberta no longer.hesitated. She went and by, the bass, pouring his words, like
forward and took the empty chair, a stream in full volume, triumphed and
On the platform a man began to relate survived.
his experience. Instinctively at the idea of prayer,
"I" he said speaking in a loud unmodu- Liberta had fallen on her knees, but her
lated tone of voice, as of one who had soul recoiled from the noise and labour of
said whathe was now about to say many this loud voice. Its uncouth pronuncia-
times, "I got salvation as I stooped tion bruised and lacerated her .offended
down to tie my boot. I said God damn ear. She retained her kneeling position
-my soul' as I stooped. Just then a Sal- but she ceased to abstract her thoughts,
ovation Army Officer was passing and and she let her glance wander round her.
said,' No, not God damn you, but God Near by they rested on women devoutly
bless you; and don't you get up till you following the prayer, word by word. The
have found salvation. Judgment is at sight was a rebuke and Liberta made
hand.' I tried to get up and could not. another attempt to fix her attention on
I knelt down with him; praise the Lord I what was the petition which was being
surrendered right there. He gave me the carried to the gates of heaven on the
victory." wings of such a storm of sound. It was
"Amen, Hallelujah, Praise the Lord. in vain.
Victory." Exclamations burst out from Again a chorus came thundering through
scores of voices, man's bass mingling with the hall:
the treble of women and children. At c w a m
thicket of sound was suddenly raised and What can wash away my sins ?
tangled itself, dense and close, right across Nothing but the blood of Jesus."
the hall. It came as by magic and seemed Once more the whistle blew, shrill, im-
in permanent possession. serious; and silence came like a drop
To Liberta's trained ear it seemed very curtain.
disorderly, a bursting up of the primal "The Major will pray."
lawlessness and desire for confusion that The Major stood up, her pale, refined
lurks in man's heart. But she kept her face under its stiff dark, bonnet showing
eye on the platform with the inner sense like a blade of wrought steel in -a handle
that ere she left that hall she would find of ebony. She lifted her hand, and stood
there the nobler meaning of 6pjrit behind ~' perfectly still, until among those noisy
ll1 this outcry. btndreds there was utter silence. Not a
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
whisper, not a movement broke the still-
ness. Then she said:
Let us go into Gbd's presence." She
paused. "'''"Lt-ui leave this room and go
befbr the 'Etirnal. Let every head be
bowed and'each l eye' be closed while ve
ad5e' :Him." Liberta had instinctively
resumed her attitude of devout prayer and
now Atirotrghdut the hall there was a
znmvement and stii as the audience gene-
rIlly, lMetlPdi'eaint forward.
'Wlkei tHlii-: Was complete stillness
.a h woman'U quiet 'voice was heard,
distin&t*id:~lear to the last syllable.
as s;3'l Lord and Father, silence
-lileniC 'of the heart. Make still our
nbi"L ffe6t 'os, stay the restless moods,
calm 'the'quive'ring longing-in the perfect
sillhc;'cFather. In that silencelet us rest,
l'itj brodd''over us as the shadow at
nihday'dWell 'on the tired land. Let
Thy silence rest over these tired hearts of
ours. These' troubled hearts that ache,
-that pain,.that so much confuse and mis-
l~a'usi.' Our hearts stand confused amid
so nmny voices 'of the world; voices of
tli .treet, 6f the loud market place. Still
our trenors; receive Thou into Thine
ear our. whispered fears 'and :hopes; let
Ba diii Voices be heard calling to the
c1ltIou unfeeliig world. Keep us in Thy
'The large room, filled with people,
w., as .till as so much space crowd-
ith i 'human beings could be.
till atht"at woman's stifled sob was
heard through its length and breadth
Witih, ai iost painful distinctness. There
waGs adiblA the rustle of garments as a
deeply ~loved woman or girl here and
thernebtiriedl her face away from the view
ofher fellows.. A man said "So be it,"
deeply and solemnly.
"'mpty p.ur: hearts Oh Father; an'd
intorl s silent room come Thou, Oh
Christ, Lord, Master, Friend, Redeemer,
God." The prayer was ended ,
Silene-closed over, the last: words then
there rosee a hymn, not ..sung with the
loud emphasis of those which preceded
itpbutiin pleading sub-tones.
"Jesus, lover of my soul,
Lit rie to Thy bosom fly;
While the nearer waters roll,
-While.the:tempest still is high,
Hide me, Oh my Saviour, hide,
Till the storm of life: be. past,
SSafe into,the haven guide,
Ohri;ceive my soul at last.
Again silence, like the lapping water
of a sea, closed over the words; anm
again from the silence rose 'a hymn; bu
now it was sung in louder' and' mrir
"There is a fountain filled will
Drawn from Emanuel's veins,
And.sinners plunged beneath thai
Lose all their guilty stains"'
When Liberta:raised'her head mosi
of the officers had left the platform
They were here and there among the
audience, speaking individually to 'per-
sons there. .
As Liberta had listened to the Major,
she had changed from the mere attitude
of prayer to the very spirit of appeal "and
yearning after the strength and counsel of
the Almighty and Unseen that is really
Many an officer passed her by now,
noting her costly dress and her graceful
figure, so much in contrast with those
around her. One stupid woman said to
her bluntly: "Sister, are you saved?"
Liberta smiled but said nothing, and the
officer passed on, .looking uncomfortably
round her to see if her failure :was. being
noticed. ; .
But presently Liberta was conscious
that someone sat softly down beside her.
"I amso glad to 'see you here," said
the Major. :" I hope it has .helped-.you6'."
Your prayer did." ... -i .,
"Bless God; your face was the last
thing I noticed as I shut my eyes. You
reminded me so much of my only sister,
so graceful and so' finely dressed. My
heart went out to you; I have not seen
that dear aigirl for six years." '
"Is she not in the Army ?"
"8he'lives at home with Father and
"And you," asked Liberta, "did they
wish you to join the Army ?"
Nod.Oh,no. 'They tried their'hardest
to prevent it. But His voice was stronger."
She looked into Liberta's eyes. "I have
never regretted it" : ;
You were well-to-dol"
SI am richer now."
"And happy ?"
"Now; -not then."'
I am -most unhappy," said Liberta,
yielding to a sudden impulse.
"'Do you ,know I neve,,fouiidhappiness
till I gave dn searching for it."
90 ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
. "That is a new idea to me," said
Li berta musingly.
"I stood still and was quiet, and it
closed in round me. God bless you; I see
a dear woman over there whom I must go
to. I hope you will come again."
Liberta had become intensely interest-
ed in all that was happening in the hall.
It was novel and piquant to her present
mood. She stayed till the meeting ended.
As she was about tb step into her car-
riage, she caught the words "Poor iJ.Jc;
I wonder what she will do to-night. The
last car has .gone and she lives so far."
"d suppose?" reflected Liberta, "she
can't afford a bus." She turned to the
Salvationist who had spoken and said:
"Will you ask the Major if she would
like me to drive her home ?"
John Meffala stood talking to Ada in
a somewhat lonely road in one of the
smaller suburbs of Kingston. He had
Brought her there after meeting her by ap-
pointment at a church door, now he urged
her to answer a question which had been
put some time before.
"Well what?" she replied petulantly.
Are you going to have a snug time ?"
She turned from him angrily.
"Harold is playing with you: that you
must know. A bat with one eye could
see it, in daylight even."
"I don't know anything of the kind,"
she answered sharply. You don't sup-
pose I believe you, do you ?"
"But it is true all the same, he an-
swered placidly. Has he written to you
since he left the Island ? "
She was stubbornly silent.
"If he had," he smiled, "you would tell
me at once." "
"He has written me," she burst out.
"That is-a-lie-" Meffala answered
lazily. '*He, has uot written you once."
"He has"' she insisted.
Bah,' he said, that sort of lie would
be of no use in business. Women's lies
are blank cartridge; they kill nothing. I
have heard Harold say that," he
added with the dull man's uncertainty as
to the value of a mot. "Harold has not
written you, and he cares no more for
you than he does for a dozen other girls."
"That is not your business," she cried
Youare my business just now.
Why do you not leave me alone ?"
"Ask me something easier; or ask
heaven why it made you to obey me."
The devil is more likely to have to do
"Perhaps," he said with imperturbable
good-nature. "Then ask him. The point.
is that you must obey me; you can't help
it. The world is not large enough for you
to escape me. Better give in first as last.
I will treat you better now than later."
"Leave me alone; leave me alone. I
am working for my bread and butter.
Why can't a poor girl be left to go her
own way. You want me to lose my soul."
"Such as you are born to go on the
sand banks, if sand banks you call them.
You, a#e bound to fall into the hands of
Well," he persisted after a long pause.
"Are we to be friends ?"
"I hate you. I detest you. Your very
name is like a blow in my face."
"And how does my face strike you ?" he
returned, not at all irritated, and looking
at her mercilessly.
"Your face," she replied, looking to-
wards him for a second and then snatch-
ing her eyes away, as if tearing them from
a whirlpool of danger, "I think of poison
and the devil when I see you."
"Look at me, and say that again, if you
dare," he said in a provokingly careless
For an instant she seemed about to do
so. Her eyes moved in his direction; then
with an effort she looked. carefully and
decidedly away from him and said passion-
"Can't you leave me alone. I'am only
a poor, miserable girl. There are lots like
me. Can't you leave me alone."
Worse luck, no. You are so confound-
"Why don't you go away ?"
I am waiting for your answer."
"I pray I may never see your face
"And yet you meet me tonight, for
"Ty tell you once and for all that I am
done ith you."
"As you have told me before-three
This time I mean it."
So you said-three times before."
A less'brutal man wouldihave pitied
her. She was well-nigh weeping now.
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
"Why don't you go away ?" she began
"Because I am waiting for your an-
"No, then, no, no, no. I have said so
before; I want to have nothing to do with
you. I wish you were dead; do you
"And yet," he sneered easily, you ar-
ranged to meet me to-night after service,
'"'You know why."
Why ? Not because you wanted to, of
course. 'Oh, no, not that.'
To tell you once and for all, I hate, I
detest, you. To tell you not to speak to
me again, not to send me flowers or let-
ters. To stop it. If you send me letters,
I will burn them. If you send flowers I
will trample them on the streets. Do you
"Since this is the third time you have
told me all that, finally, I ought to," he
"I tell you now ; and I take God to
bear me witness. Stop it."
"Very well," he said "but there is one
thing that I can't stop."
"Loving you," he returned with a laugh.
At that moment the light from the lan-
tern of a passing carriage fell across the
two. Ada looked up, caught sight of
Liberta, and, imagining that she was seen
also, shrank back. Liberta, however, had
noticed nothing. The Major's eye was
quicker. It mastered the bit of human
drama framed here in the darkness-the
girl's troubled face with its look of some-
thing like fear, but the man's face was
turned away from the carriage. He was
not recognized. The light flashed past
and Ada spoke once more to John Meffala:
"Go. You have heard I hate yon. I
hate. I don't want you at all. I never
"Good-bye," was the answer. "I am
going," and he sauntered away, but, a man
who knew something of the heart of
women, he nevertheless lurked still, wait-
ing for his prey.
"What next ?" said Meffala to himself.
"Is it too late for a game of billiards?"
He looked at his watch. It was one
minute to eleven. He drew out a cigar-
ette; lighted it and flung away the match.
* S *
.Meffala found himself sitting up in the
road, and the next second was wondering
what could have happened. He struggled
baqk to full cognition of his "whereabouts
like a man reclimbing a rock from which
he has suddenly plunged into deep water.
Thus suddenly had the man fallen into
complete, though passing, oblivion.
A dim recollection came presently of
the last thing felt and registered by con-
sciousness; the abrupt sense that some-
thing, sudden, swift, irresistible had press-
ed him earthward with a weight that was
overwhelming. So might one imagine
comes the sudden end when, with a swing-
ing stroke, the head of an unsuspecting
*man is shorn sheer off at one blow, when
the bright, sharp steel cuts, blood and
bone, nerve and muscle, all, but as cleanly,
as swiftly, as if it clove no more than the
.Meffala scrambled to his feet and look-
ed round for an explanation. Not a
living being was in sight. Carefully he
felt for his purse, his watch, his pocket-
book. Then he looked at his ring. It was
no robbery then.
Next he sought over his person for
trace of a blow. There was no bruise, no
pain or smart anywhere.
By slow degrees he mastered and ac-
cepted the idea that this astonishing ex-
perience came from within himself,
He drove into the mystery, determined
to make his way to some solution of it.
He went feeling along the sides of Time
and Space for some clue. How long had
this all taken to happen? He drew out
his watch. The hand was just leaving
eleven. Incredulous he held the watch to
his ear. It ticked steadily, and at that
moment a laggard clock entombed in a
house on the other side of the street be.
gan to strike the hour. One minute cov-
ered it all. The well recollected lighting
of the cigarette; the drop into the abyss
of oblivion; the return to cogitation.
Again he groped among the tangible
things that his hand and eye knew. A
spark of fire still lingered in the newly
lighted cigarette. The watch told truth
then; it was a minute, not an hour.
What did this thing mean? He leapi
forward to the resolve to see a doctor-
when ? now, at once. The lateness of the
hour impressed him, and his resolve slack-
ened. He walked without let or stay, as
well as he had ever known himself to be.
The common-place reasserted itself. Was
there any mystery after all? The first
deeply stamped idea began to fade away
What had happened? Possibly he had
slipped without being aware of it. He
ONE BROWN GrkL ANtl--
was--not hurt,; noti.inany'way. He had
rqq pain,. But.how,did the mind.work. It
mightbe the brain, :..H tested it by several
proeeasess. as 'ri onusiness proposition.
Thai 'wasall ight. TThen he recalled
Stteoevents of the preceding evening. All
rgt. T hl.machtine toiled true to corn-
T4e suggestion of aislip' and the sudden
fall, rootedritselfin his mind. He was not
at all imaginative. The ordinary was to
him .not the probable, only, but also pretty
nearly the only open solution of events.
At any rate, instead of going to,knock up
a doctor now, and getting laughed at.for
his fears, he would wait the' morrow and
see how he felt them.
.Next morning he had clean forgotte,all
about it, but he recalled the accident in the
afternoon when discussing th, business
point he had used to test is'an.
Now, in the broad daylight of theievery-
day and ordinary, how absurd seemed his
idea of doctoring being needed.
"A pretty yarn to go knocking a doctor
with up at eleven at night."
When Bachelors are, Merry-High Jinks,I musical and Otherwise--Some-
thing That "Stank. Of Lawley "-George announces an Interruption,
and a Lady-What Harold Expected on one side of a Door-And
What He Found on The Other Side.. .
Harold entertained: a choice dozen of
hTs fiYiends, i'thehoise, where Ada, hud-
dled on- a ofa, had onck 'wept long and
b'lrtWr. b er *loel's letter. That scene
lay bWftid months deep' in* the past.
Harold was,btit newly back from a trip
toSouth nAmerica,' a certain maddening
h'art disturbance of which he and but one
,other knew anything, curbed and master-
ed.':. Once 'again he was";his old self, held
wiJl Iin' hand, iiiily kind-hearted, light-
'h.rtedly 'good-natured, and as of yore a
loiterer still. True,a certain crisis a half
yari or so ago had 'cast its seed into his
lifed.; ,.' .: .
I'Noel drblvtvla' was enshrined in that
recess of hi'sheart whichh one woman, and
no'6ther," evdr racheds; 'but he no longer
expected' that' she wold love him in re-
turn. She'trusted him'and he meant that
she'should .hae reason to trust him to the
end. He had persuided'himself that he
was content with thip.
.He had been'tf6 'e Noel, and had also
rolled into Mieali's 'and shaken hands
wilh' Ada as 'i(ithaid.ot been a day since
they'met, except tihithe brought her back
froni his .travels a bracelet :of coral ob-
tained frrom :,V.nezuelan Indians.
'Ada s*eirei. perfectly well and quite
happy. Harold's eye could not detect a
single tendril of the affection that had
beccn so. luxiuriant only a few months
He himself was merely, pleasantly inter-
ested at sightlof the pretty child-face where
trouble had left not a single:'foot-print.
Ada shone under his eye, a' a' fl6wer
glows responsive to its sun. Their mutual
relationship was now on a happy footing
and, said Harold, a safe one.
Pretty, empty-headed Ada. Had there
ever been danger for her in that relation-
"Oh, Love Oh fire once he drew
With one long kiss my whole soul through
My lips, as sunshine drinketh dew."
Harold mentally completed the quota-
tion between puffs of his cigar and
smiled to think of the abyss of difference
which opened between love like that and
Ada's; between the deep glowing fire
burning in such kisses and those which
from his lips to hers fell soft as a spray
of:rain on a rose leaf. "As much of
passion there" he thought, as of wine in
moonlight. Her sleekness is finished 'to
the last pin's head. Noel Bronvola need
not have been so mightily alarmed for .qy
It was evidence of the good fi' re of his
man e up that he felt nothing like pique at
Ada's having learnt to co without him.so
Tonight dinner was over, and, there
being no ladies to protest, Harold had
brought his friends into the drawing-room
to smoke. Here, amid easy chairs and
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
comfortable lounges, they wooed and won
a, ,leisu enjoyment. They smoked
heavily, ibt, they drank very little wine,
fot: 4u 8 nt an drinking set.
'Through the crowding talk a remark
sh9t up that.brught th. pause which fol-
lows a successful claim on general atten-
tion...," Bythe,way, Harold, do you know
the ne-firoms Peter Passley's dovecote ?"
"If St younger than two months-no.
My letters and: papers kept following me
from port to port, always arriving there,
I belie. the day, after I.left. What is
SLiberta" Paisley, is engaged to Burns."
thingare possible," began Harold.
.. ost Ithings improbable," inter-
j 0cJoe Qf the listeners, like a mischiev-
ous boywho interferes with the smooth
working 9f a machine by inserting a
pebble into the wheels.
S"No reflection on your veracity," Harold
continued addressing the first speaker;
"But I don't believe this."
"The fellow is at liberty to believe
what he likes or can," said Smelton.
"Where hurts in your headpiece, Smel-
toqi'" said the .man next him, with exag-
gErated concern. "You must be in pain
when you afflict us with such a pun."
"I tell ou who does believe in the
forthcoming marriage though, Harold;
that is old'Josiah Naphthali. He is giving
Burns money at only eight percent. That
old and wary vulture must have his glit-
tering-eye on Peter's coin at short range,
you bet, or much of loans from him Burns
"Still even Naphthali can let the wish
father the thought."
"I wonder what old Passley would cut
Anything above 400oo,ooo and below
600,ooo," said Harold carelessly. But
Liberta won't marry Burns. All things
are possible ; but some are not."
Burns is certainly a fool," someone
,"All here agreed on that, I fancy,"
replied Harold. ."But I say, to turn to
fairer fields, has Mrs. Tempus and her
little pack of sisters pulled down anything
"They, gave Masters a long stern chase,
but he got away after all. Lost a few
tail feathers though, Masters, did'nt you?"
"Speak with more caution and respect
of your superiors," responded the person
addressed. Tempus and I are still the
best of friends."
"So near and yet so far," gibed hi
"Oh they may pull him down yet,'
said Harold, "they are a persevering
brood; but, tell me, what has the Governo:
been doing ?"
"Drawing 5,ooo a year, damn him,'
said Masters savagely.
"And not giving poor Masters a job,'
Who did he stick in as R.M. at West
.over then ?"
"A confounded noodle," snapped
"Fitz-Roy de-Vincent, and dragging de
agrees after him as a slavedrags his chains
He knows so much law that he has ne
room left for common sense."
"Well," said the Mocker, "that is
variation on our poor dear Masters, wh(
has loads of common sense, according t(
himself; but, as his friends and client:
know too well, no room for law."
"You be damned," was Masters' reply.
"Little doubt about that," grunted fa
"Well," said Harold languidly, "I don'
want to go to extremes, and I don'
stretch it to say I would like to be triec
by Masters-bad enough to be defended
by you, old man (Masters was Harold':
lawyer) but in my opinion, it is time we
Jamaicans backed our man every time foi
public posts.. Why should this fellow
Fitz Looloo Roozle Noozle, hoof it ovei
poor old Masters. We all know the rea
reason he got the job. He could not but-
ter his toast with his merit. It is pull"
with the Colonial Office. Probably hi.
dad has a thirty-second cousin in the Cabi-
net; or a spinster aunt gave the Secretar)
for the Colonies a green parrot from Ja-
maica which led him to learn for the first
time where the island was, and he wat
therefore so grateful that on demand he
handed over the R.M.-ship."
"Swopped an owl'of Law for a parrot,
The subject was warmly taken up.
Presently the stories told to illustrate
Colonial Office iniquity strayed sufficient-
ly far from the truth to gather picturesque-
ness. Smelton narrated:
"That new man over the Department of
Sanitation, how did he get shoved in ? A
doctor certainly, with the usual learned
stuffing of L.R.C.S., etc., etc.; but small
physic or -surgery took him into harbour
of his fair desire. He might have been
ONE BROWN GIRL AND-
the ablest man going, had hot fortune
favoured him. Was in a jam with the
Secretary of State's second cousin's third
son's piccaniny, and blacked his boots one
morning when his nigger was too sick to
take on the job. Further, wiped his eye-
glasses for him daily, and once lent him a
rubber collar; also in a crisis blew the
dear infant's nose and cleaned his teeth,
that is, his false teeth."
Little seeds of gratitude
Fur his blackened boots,
Watered by reminders,
See the golden fruits;
Now he draws his lucre,
Happy in Jamaica,
To Jamaica's grief."
"Rotten weak line, the last," sneered
Sorrow has blighted your taste, dear
boy," responded the proud author.
And it never was much to boast of,
Masters," wasanother stnehurled at him.
Masters answered not to the last insult;
but, sirblling to the piano, threw the
cover back and sat down to play. He
improvised music and words and sang:
"There's a corpulent fellow named
He fancies himself quite a bit;
And he worries his friends and ac-
With rotten and versified wit.
The best of his friends they are sorry
For him, when he opens his mouth,
'Tis the grave-yard of victuals and
Where knowledge has perished in
The viper named Envy is gnawing
His fat heart as he gazes on me,
We're sick of his un-ending jawing;
And that is the end of my glee. '
"Now," said a third poet, without hesi-
tation, rising, striking an attitude and de-
claiming in mock heroics:
"Let M.L.C.'s and M.P.B.'s
Fight, as they always do;
And let the Parsons growl and scratch,
For 'tis their nature to;
But, Fatty Smelton, do not let
Your angry passions rise,
Those chubby nands were never made
TO blacken Master's eyes."
"Oh, hang it, Harold, I did not know
that this was a prayer meeting," broke in
Alten, the scornful.
"He is such a pagan," grumbled Smel-
ton, "that he takes poetry for prayer."
"It is the whine in both that misleads
me," lisped Alten.
"To.say nothing of the wine in your
head," suggested a friend.
"But I say, Harold, do you know that
the Old Man printed that letter you sent
him about Jamaicans being ill-treated, and
printed his answer to it ?"
"No, I did not."
"But surely he sent you the answer and
told you he proposed to turn the news-
papers on to the job?"
"Probably. I noticed a bulky envelope
marked O.H.M.S. waiting among those
travelled letters, but I have not opened
many of the batch yet."
"Well, the Governor played the devil
with you, old man," put in Masters cheer-
fully and it should be a warning to all of
you fellows not to go writing letters to
Governors without taking your lawyers'
"And paying for it," suggested Alten.
"Much Governor in that letter to
Harold," objected Smelton. "It stank of
Lawley from beginning to end. Do you
remember what you put into your letter,
"Not I," said Harold imperturbably.
Well the only thing in it that was
more untrue than the alleged facts were
the alleged figures; that is, according to
Lawley and the Governor."
"Trained liars who ought to know how
to size up lies," commented Harold I
remember now a lady thought highly of
that letter. I should have suspected it
"It was the facts and figures, old man.
The arguments were all right and the
phrasing was consumedly clever. You
got home several times and drew the old
Governor's most treasured heart's blood.
But what did that beast Lawley do ? Why
pull out every single fact that was wrong
and each figure that was astray; it was
like taking out the nails. Then he calmly
assumed to the gaping multitude that,
having shown these facts were wrong and
your figures worse, it followed that he
would be a lunatic to waste time over
your arguments and conclusions. You
were butchered to make a Colonial Sec-
ONE BROWN GIRL AND--
"And what did the people say of me,
Sarson?" said Harold to the sub-editor
of the Kingston "Rambler."
"The profane summed it up that the
Governor had played h-I with you."
"And the saints ?"
That you chose a good text and then
wrecked it by your sermon."
"Well, let it lie at that," echoed
Masters with slow and evil emphasis.
"Harold," said Alten, "are you going
to race your mare, Ella, in August ?"
If Two-bits is:not too drunk to ride
her," was the nonchalant answer.
"Then I have something to beat her."
The conversation, sinking again from
general interest, lurked and eddied among
little groups. The room was filled with
talk and laughter, above the main level of
which, nothing rose into distinctness.
Masters remained at the piano and con-
tinued to shed tinkling accompaniments
and occasionally a snatch of song, comic
or sentimental, on the audience. At
length he dashed off into some lively
dance music, waltz, polka, hornpipe, and
when it reached the hornpipe, a gay
youngster stood up and began to step it.
General and genial uproar wrapped his
effort round and criticismsmote him thick
In the midst of this Harold's factotum,
George, appeared at the door seeking his
master with a merry eye and only half
hiding a smile.
Harold did not see him for some time,
George regarded with much apprehension
the prospect of navigating the floor where
two other dancers were now attempting
the horn-pipe. Smelton after bantering
George unmercifully and trying his best to
egg him on to risk entering the room,
stood up and shouted in stentorian tones:
Then he continued, "Marse Harold,
George dah look fe you, sah."
"Well, you scamp?" called Harold
across the lull this announcement pro-
"Please, Marse Harold, some one come
to you, sah."
"Then let him go away again."
"I tell him,-sah."
"Say I am busy."
I tell him so already, sah."
"Tell him to go to hell," advised
Masters, and say your master is coming
close behind him."
"Attended by his lawyer," added Smel-
"An old acquaintance," finished Alten.
George grinned and waited.
Well, George," said Harold, "why did
you not tell the fool I was out. Say I am
in the country, and won't be back till to-
"I did say so, Marse Harold," replied
George and his look reproached his mas-
ter for not giving him credit for some
Was that before you told him he was
busy upstairs ?" enquired Alten with curi-
Before, Sah, of course. I tell him dat
him gone a country yesterday in him.
single seat buggy and don't expect back
till next Tuesday. I even tell him he
would send me letter on Monday to say
certain if him was coming. And seeing
him would'nt believe me, I tell him dat
him was upstairs and busy; sake a de
noise you gentlemens did dah make him
would'nt believe 'bout de country."
"Well," said Smelton, "go back,
George, and tell him that your master has
suddenly gone mad and that the noise is
caused by his devoted friends, who, at
great risk to their own valuable lives, are
trying to soothe and control the maniac
with bad poetry and piano music, hoping
to restrain him from smashing the furni-
ture. Did you tell him all that, George ?"
"No sah, I did not tink of it."
"Well," chimed in another wit, "if he
will not swallow that, George, tell him
that your mastpris just dead of the small-
pox which he contracted in South Ameri-
ca, and that he better cut and run for fear
of infection and stop fooling here. "
"Toolmuch noise for him to believe dat,
sah," said George sagaciously.
Harold, lounging in a chair and talking
to Alten about racing, was by this time
taking only a casual interest in George
and his dilemma. One thing was certain,
and that was that Harold was not going
down-stairs for any man alive, not the
Chief Clerk himself, and it was George's
trouble to get rid of the inopportune visi-
tor. Such was Harold's view of it.
Tell the man, George," he called now
"what you like, but get rid of him. I will
see him to-morrow."
"But it is not no man, sah."
"What I" shrieked Masters, and he
banged notes of melodious exclamation
from the piano.
A boy I" said Harold, and you come
bothering me; George, I am ashamed of
you. Drop him through the window; or