of my

under the weight

arms. I ter, quite as much, I hope, from dissbouted several times before my gust as craven cold. sweeper even stopped sweeping. He The still lower level of my arm-suplooked up, did not see me, and re- ports checked all further experiments newed his simple labors. This time I in this direction; and again commonwas determined that he should bear sense put in a plea and whispered, and understand; and he did both. Up “Give it up, and go down without more went his arms in dismay and he too fuss." I was conscious of a growing shouted. He did not move, but he heaviness. My clothes were thick, and shouted and shouted.

had already absorbed water to the very On

this footing the predicament skin. A small knapsack on my back rested for several important minutes. had also done its best in this direction,

Little by little my arms sank with lying loggily between the shoulderthe yielding ice. The cold was severe. blades. And,-really things could not I rejoiced in my buckskin gloves, go on thus much longer: there must be which did not slide from ice like rescue or catastrophe soon. A comforclemmed naked fingers. But really, table indifference to either crept into on precise reflection, I began to doubt me as insidiously as a perfume. if it were common sense to prolong a All this time I was entirely in the situation which had so little fair prom- hands of the idiot sweeper. It rested ise at the end of it.

with him; well, and so it might for all As a preliminary to the next stage I cared. And at this stage I saw myof the adventure, I endeavored to self in fancy serenely at the bottom touch the bottom of the Zuyder Zee. of the Zuyder Zee, face upwards, and You see, I still regarded this area of head pillowed on the knapsack which fourteen hundred miles of water be- had helped

me under

like a

brick tween Friesland and North Holland round a puppy's neck. The sight was as a mere flooded meadow.

We are

interesting; the literary temperament told that in the thirteenth century the is not a pure blessing to its possessor, German Ocean broke in and drowned but its ironic moods have their good a province, men, women, children, and side. For all I know to the contrary, villages innumerable. Some think the I may owe it thanks for being able Rhine helped the inundation by unset- thus to find a certain diversion in an tling the peaty surface of the land impersonal estimate of this cool and and then in full flood joining the huge worsening situation. A gulp or two, salted wave from the north. On the and then eternal rest in a weedy bed! whole, there may be something in this It did not seem at all disquieting. theory, for the Zuyder Zee's water is Why should not I share in that estate little worse than brackish; at all of "herrings, turbot and other marine events, it is not a primeval ocean, or indigenæ" which Horace Walpole de anything like it. The Dutchman's re- clared the Dutch people to have cent determination to get it drained usurped? and studded with cows and tulip-beds But to my idiot now came another doubtless encouraged me in my con- man, tall and broad, with a capable tempt for it.

look about the shoulders; even at a But of course I touched noth- distance, he had a rousingly practical ing, even at nearly full stretch, ex- air. The sight of him acted like a cept water. A church-steeple would tonic on my drowsing energies and have been welcome, but there was

again I shouted, for the minutes were nothing. And my teeth began to chat passing and my props were drooping

methodically. I knew pretty well that spoil their appearance though it I should have little power or finger- blurred them. grip left to grapple for fresh but- I gasped and gasped and, glancing tresses when the crack came right or to the right, realized that I was in left. of the two arms the right was

water to the shoulder. Well, so be it. the lower in the water; but I

And now the worst of all was at sodden to both elbows.

hand. A wisp of something brown They moved toward me with loud fluttered before my eyes, heralded talk and

gesticulationsat a walk, by hoarse cries from the two men. and not a fast one either. It was easy

Should I or should I not bother about guessing what was in their minds. it? That was the question which put They had no proper life-saving ma

itself to me. Upon the whole, I was terial, and their combined intellects quite as comfortable as in the circumwere baffled by their responsibility.

stances I had the right to expect to be. They had a broom apiece and that was Any further active resistance to doom all.

was hateful to think of. I perfectly At thirty paces from me they halted understood that I was bound for the and the second man encouraged me

bottom of the Zuyder Zee, but I saw with despairing shakes of the head no sufficient reason why I should and cries which I made no effort to hurry on that journey. When my arminterpret. The poor idiot's arms were rests were bent to the spapping-point, stuck up as if in appeal to the pale then I would go; but not before. blue sky.

I was being told that I The brown thing lay under my nose. ought not to have gone from the track, In a flash I felt prompted to give it and that they did not know what to a trial. Loosing both supports, I do to get me out. This was magnifi- grabbed the thing with leaden hands, cent! I knew it all myself and made first one and then the other. At the no comment; my jaws were too ear- same instant I caught myself wondernestly chattering about the cold for ing how any fellow, though ever so further attempts at coberent speech. impecunious, could think it worth his

It seemed odd that I should have to while to wear such a moth-eaten old go down in the very moment when scarf as this. Yells of rejoicing or hope was almost near enough to shake

endeavor followed. There was a jerk hands with; but I accepted my fate and a snap and I was in again, to the now less hesitantly than ever. Though

neck this time. Of their own accord my teeth rattled and I breathed a hun- my

sprang out to their old dred to the minute, I felt far from friendly barriers. Crack went one and miserable,

it was by mere instinct that both But suddenly my man was visited hands clutched the ice in front just as with an inspiration. Oft went his I sank in, jacket. He had something round his This shock, after such peaceful and waist and he tore it from him; some- resigned waiting in the vestibule of thing round his neck also, and that the grand mansion of my Lord Death, too was removed. Lastly, something was really terrible. My breathing in his pockets and this, being discop- increased about fifty per cent, in speed. ered, was with fierce quickness joined I felt as if a world had tumbled about to the other things. What it all was my head. The ruins had not yet settled I could not at this stage exactly see;

down to annihilate me, but they were matters generally were visible only bound to do it in a moment or two. through a pearly mist, which did not Well, it behooved still to tarry in pa



tience. One way or the other, it could A long pause followed. My men not now be long.

spoke in tired whispers,—at least they Again that brown thing dropped be- sounded tired. What they were doing fore my eyes, and the shouts from be- I cared little. Conscious of a creeping yond intensified in tone. They seemed chill which nothing could resist much rather more remote than before, as if longer, and of heaviness which they scarcely concerned me; the cold dragged at my feet like hundredtrickling down my spine of the fresh weights, I faintly wondered why the douche was a much more personal ice in front did not break up like that detail. The brown thing wriggled; at the sides. they were fishing for me as one lures It was a tedious business; not paina trout. I took it gingerly this time, ful, but tiresome exceedingly. The boteyeing its defects at very close quar- tom of the Zuyder Zee seemed a conters. Inch by inch, I went up it, hand summation devoutly to be desired. The over hand. There was a cord above whispers continued. The whisperers, such as might have been taken from a I believed, stood in the attitude of window-sash. Could I reach that? I well-disposed spectators at a deathdid, and with all the strength left in bed. They were impotent, and in the muscles of my frozen fingers fas- standing quietly by to see the end tened on it. Then came the tug. A cry they were doing all that was humanly of furious exhilaration sounded quite in their power. But in truth my good near, over my head almost. But Heay. stalwart friend was not resigned down ens! who was trying to cut me in two to that point. He had in fact been at the waist? This was

more than

rapidly knotting afresh, and now, even frozen flesh and blood could bear. when all seemed over save the last It ended suddenly. The cord broke slip, the cord by itself swished to my this time; and again my gloves saved face, me, as I slid back, in giving me a grip It was the last attempt; they and which no naked fingers such as mine I both knew that. On their part, even then were could have found.

as it was, they accounted it useless, Very odd to recall at ease is the re- but there was still the chance. And I crudescence of vitality which seemed too believed it useless, but went feebly to follow this second disaster. I caught for that poor pale last chance. My myself studying keenly the movements fingers were well nigh dead; they of my red-faced hero a few yards sun- could rest idly on a rim of ice, but they wards. Gasping like a half-dead dog, could not clutch, and they could hold despairing too, I could yet nod ap- nothing. That was soon shown, for proval of the revised system of knots the rope was drawn through them like which were to give me another chance. a glove from a hand. But again it It was .not that I felt as if I cared was before me, and now I put my over much to get landed, but it did teeth to it and with my teeth slowly seem a pity that success should not wound it round the right wrist again, crown the toils of so primitive a life- again and again. With the dregs of saving apparatus. A third time, how- instinct still in me, I swayed my heels ever, black failure hit like a thunder- backwards; the psychological moment bolt. This was too much and keeping was seized when the chest was at an out of the water again, I know not how, easier angle to the barrier in front and the baze thickened before my eyes, I rose from the water. A shout of tri. and, though I felt notbing in particu- umph told me that hope still lived, and lar, I wished all was over.

then out I came, swiftly along the sur

face of the ice, and so to the hard wooden shoes of my rescuer.


I have made a long story of this half-hour or so of struggle, suspense, despair and other emotions to point a fine old moral. There is no need to mention the moral itself.

About the sequel I could say much, if only to testify to the kindness of the Good Samaritans of Volendam who by and by wrapped me in hot blankets and fought my chills with rum and water and congratulations.

The walk of a mile and a half on the arms of my two helpers to Volendam was a hard experience. It seemed to that I shivered vigorously enough to shake all the north of Europe. Sense was almost gone from me, but I trotted on, with secret groans and others which I fear were not secret. The kindly idiot patted the purple hand that hung limply through his arm. His companion urged me forward with sound arguments—"You must not stop, mynbeer"_"We shall Soon

be there”-and other simple speeches which stood out plain to me against nebulous background of semi-unconsciousness, colored at intervals crimson, yellow, and green. But how I did shiver! What meteoric coruscations were before my eyes! And what an unending labor it seemed, with the water freezing all over me and each footstep more clogged than its predecessor? A sledge was trundled out to meet us when Volendam's masts were near. Down I dropped on it like a carcase; and in this forlorn plight I

reached the little town jubilant of so many memories of distinguished knights and barons of the pencil. I saw nothing of the crowds through which they finally led me, drooping like a broken-headed poppy, to the hotel of Heer Spaander, a man who would resuscitate the dead if that were a talent to be acquired.

It was interesting to be told by and by that the sponge alone in my knapsack weighed more than eight pounds avoirdupois in Volendam; interesting also to scan an Admiralty Chart of the Zuyder Zee and mark its average shallowness (ranging from sixty feet near the Helder to nine or ten feet in my part and one foot only by the island of Urk); most interesting of all to see the joy of my host and his amiable family round me and the stove when they heard the tale told by my good friends and guides across that desert of ice: they clinked glasses, though there was nothing in the glasses but sugar and water.

Ere they got me to bed, a solemn gray mist crept over land and sea. Such a mist would have baffled my poor idiot sweeper had I called to him from it. This also, coming when it did, was a subject for fresh rejoicing. And so I lay under nine heavy new blankets in luxurious weakness and laughed again at things in general. On the wall by my bed there was a German print of a dog saving a child from a stream; and anon some one played The Lost Chord in a room below. I thought of the last fling of our particular cord and went to sleep.

Charles Edwardes.


Macmillan's Magusto.


I am not personally responsible for soldiers are expensive, and their ofthe above rendering into English ficers cannot risk allowing them to the name of a famous French Corps take their chance of heat-apoplexy La Légion Etrangère—which is the only with Europeans of the common run. really efficient piece of machinery at But even the two hours before the the disposal of that ubiquitous Admin- sun goes out with the suddenness of istration, whose feverish desire to an extinguished candle bring but poor “govern” makes existence almost im- relief from the appalling boredom of possible to the unofficial population of the soldier's life. He may put on his Indo-China.

forage-cap and walk down to the baThe phrase belongs to my friend zaar, or he may play cricket or footGunner Stevenson of the Royal Regi- ball, but the time for recreation is all ment of Artillery, and as I cannot at- too short, and at 9.20 P. M. the bugle tempt to reproduce the rest of his sounds “Lights out," and the dreary story in his own words, I think that day ends, to be followed by another it is only fair to give it a title in which which is its exact image. Try in imI can quote him literally. He told me agination to spend year or two comthe tale of his experiences as I lay posed wholly of days such as this, and sick on my cot in the hospital in an you will begin to understand why it eastern city, while he clawed my cig- is that the more intelligent and activearette-papers to tatters in his large, minded of our soldiers in the East are unaccustomed fingers. He was a nice- occasionally possessed by a devil of looking young fellow, smart, alert and madness, which drives them to perpeupstanding in his khaki uniform, and trate apparently inexplicable follies. since he had eyes that could see, and Gunner Stevenson endured barrack a mind capable of assimilating his im- life for some two years: then, as he pressions, he had much to say that himself described it, he acted like a was worth listening to.

fool. He had late leave one night, at In the beginning, he explained, he a period when his simmering mental had been a fool. The life of the Brit- irritation had nearly reached the boilish soldier in a garrison town of the ing-point, and in a bar in the town he tropics is dull to a degree that cannot foregathered with three Scotch engiadequately be expressed in set terms. neers from steam-tramps then lying in Reveille at five, parade while the short the roads. These men, who spent most hours of coolness last, breakfast, or- of their lives in the stoke-hold of Chiderly-room later for the unfortunate, nese-owned crafts about as sea worthy and then the long, empty, panting day as an eight-day clock and as evil-smel. during which men can only lie on their ling as a sago-factory, sweating at cots, kicking their heels and cursing every pore 'twixt grilling climate and their luck, or bickering aimlessly; and blazing furnaces, saw it to pity and in which meals and a few uninterest- deride the soldier on account of the ing inspections and fatigues supply misery of his lot. In unendurable the only breaks in the interminable fashion they contrasted his servitude monotony. The white man's enemy, with their freedom-save the mark! the sun, holds the men close prisoners They chaffed him about the "leave" until the afternoon brings coolness, for he was forced to ask ere he could even

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