Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

IV.

witnesses of this scene, and now looked the little foreign community, had suffered intently towards Gilmore and Jervis. The seriously. Everybody felt that, and he attention of others, too, was roused by himself most of all, on appearing in the the incident, and suddenly deep silence club next evening. His former compan. reigned in the room which only a few sec- ions did not exactly avoid him, but it onds before had been full of merriment seemed as if he now moved in an atmoand laughter. All eyes were now turned sphere in which he was strange and soli. towards the two young men.

tary. Nobody had anything to say to “What ever is the matter with you?” him, and few came near him.". It was no. again inquired Gilmore.

ticeable that when he approached a group Jervis looked round, an expression of of merrymakers the laughter and the talk utier confusion and helplessness came would instantly stop, as if they had agreed over his face, which was presently lit up not to say anything in his presence. In for a moment by a painfully forced smile, fact he gradually became a rather unwel. and in a boarse voice he repeated, - come guest in the midst of the little con

“Wbat is the matter with me? That munity, which was composed, on the which will be the matter with most of you whole, of sympathizing and homogeneous to-morrow, Ashbourne's wine has been elements. He felt bimself, too, that he too much for me.” Then approaching was in the way. The young men seemed the door with an unsteady gait he disap- to have suddenly become conscious how peared.

it had come to pass that they had always been prevented from approaching him in

an open friendly way. They all knew The excuse given by Jervis for so sud- each other; but of Jervis nobody knew denly retiring from the society of his fes. anything, neither whence he came nor tive companions on the evening of the whither he went. He did not, in fact, besace-day might seem plausible enough; long to their "little world.” He was a but neither Ashbourne nor his friends stranger, and the only stranger, in this were satisfied with it. Gilmore himself, motley crowd, formed of men from all too, contributed not a little to stamp Jer parts of the globe. vis's answer as undeserving of credit. The burning summer came, and put a

“The man looked at me,” said Gilmore, stop to most social gatherings. Long as if he wanted to kill me with his eyes. excursions into the interior became fa. Never in my life have I seen such an evil tiguing; and the club-room evenings were expression in any human face. Good shortened, by most of the members retir. gracious! even now when I think of it a ing to bed early, in order to rise betimes chill comes over me. Had I accused the and enjoy the first fresh hours of the fellow of crime instead of asking him a day. perfectly harınless question, he could not The great race.day, too, being over, the possibly have eyed me with more savage youthful sporting men forsook the course, rage. He tipsy? I don't believe it! So and the turf was deserted. intensely wicked no drunken man Jervis had never pushed himself into yet looked. l'll lay a wager that he was the foreground, never even been sociable. the soberest of us all.”

Now, however, without any apparently “Well, then, what could have been the well-defined reason, he became still more matter with him?"

reserved, and after a little time disapPerhaps Gilmore's question made him peared almost entirely from public society. angry. He may have very good reasons It seemed, indeed, as if every one were for not wishing to speak of his past. I afraid to speak to him. As for him, he have really been affected by Ashbourne's never was the first to address any one. theory. I shall henceforth distrust a man Coldly bowing, he would pass his former of whom I know nothing."

companions in the street; and sometimes It was the cautious, or rather suspicious would not be seen at all for days. Scotsman, M.Bean, who made this last Jervis lived with his Japanese and Chiremark, and his youthful hearers gazed at nese servants in a sinall house on the each other in surprise. They were good. edge of a vast uncultivated tract called hearted fellows, they were. Some of “The Swamp,” which until the arrival of them, indeed, might have formed a not the foreigners had been under water, and very flattering opinion of Jervis, but every the exhalations from which generated maone was discreet enough to keep to him. larious fevers during the summer. But it self wbat he thought in this respect. had been drained, and was now covered

The reputation of Jervis, however, in with a beautiful soft carpet of grass. At

ever

66

"

the time of which we speak, it separated , From the Yankiro, too, across the vast the foreign settlement from an evil.famed deserted swamp, resounded the shrill notes Japanese quarter called “Yankiro,” filled of the samsin, the three-stringed Japanese with tea-houses and tap-rooms, generally guitar. crowded all night long with noisy natives “ Jervis's house is all lighted up,” said and drunken European and American some one. “ What on earth can that felsailors. Riots and fights were the rule of low be doing at this hour of the night, and the place; and the respectable members all alone too?" of the community were scarcely ever seen “ Studying Japanese,” replied M.Bean. in the neighborhood, unless, indeed, any “He gets on well with it, I hear. We of the older residents took an occasional have the same master." stroll out that way with some new.comer, " It seems to me he wants to make to show him the singular manners and himself a Japanese altogether," observed customs of the aborigines.

Ashbourne. “In his own house I always The streets of Yokohama were not see him dressed in a pative fashion, and lighted in the year 1860, and as soon as he is taking fencing lessons from an old the sun set they became dark and de- broken-down nobleman who is hanging serted. Whoever, therefore, wanted to about here. The day before yesterday, go out at night, generally took with him on passing his door quite early in the two or three Japanese servants, with morning, I heard noise and shrieks prohandsome paper lanterns, whereon the ceeding from his garden; and entering, I arms of his native country were painted saw Jervis and a Japanese, with masks in gay colors. To this many added the and wooden swords, cutting at each other number of their houses; and thus from a like madmen. Jervis. advanced to meet distance one could easily recognize friends me, and politely inquired wliat it was that moving about in the street. One was had procured him the pleasure of a visit always very glad to meet an acquaintance from me. On my replying that curiosity for company's sake, for the streets were alone had induced me to enter, he exnot very safe. From any dark corner a plained that he delighted in all physical murderous samurai or lonin (armed noble-exercises, and for a change had taken fenman) might spring forth; and therefore no cing lessons from a native master. The European or American ventured abroad samurai, who evidently understood what in the evening without his revolver ready we were saying, -repeated several times for use.

that Mr. Jervis was very skilful and strong. Ashbourne and Jervis were neighbors, He would doubtless have liked to give an their dwellings being only separated by a exhibition of his pupil's ability, for be low wooden fence; and from the veranda proposed to Jervis to have a round in my of either house one could easily look into presence, but the latter declined. On the the windows of the other.

veranda was a pretty Japanese girl before Now one evening, as was frequently a chibach (brazero), on which she was the case, a merry crew of youthful spirits boiling water, and beside her an old womwere assembled in Ashbourne's rooms. Both were drinking tea and smoking It was very hot in the lighted chambers; and chatting. By her side, on a mat, mosquitoes entered in swarms; and the stood a koto (a Japanese musical instruguests had therefore retired to the dark ment). There were no chairs or lounges, and cool veranda, there to recline in and the whole conveyed the impression large bamboo.chairs, smoke, drink tea or rather of a Japanese than a European brandy-and-soda, and talk languidly on all household.” kinds of topics. Soon, however, they be. • I say there are some people coming came tired and worn out, for most of them across the swamp from the Yankiro,” in. had a hard day's work behind them. tetrupted M•Bean. Lanterns could indeed

It was late, and the night was dark, be seen in the distance, though the bearclose, and still. During pauses in the ers were invisible, and the lights moved conversation, one could hear the ceaseless to and fro in the dark like large luminous hollow murmur of the ocean; while from will-o'-the-wisps. the neighboring houses resounded the “ Let's see who it is,” said Ashbourne, short harsh noise made by the Japanese as entering his room he returned with watchmen by knocking two pieces of a large marine glass. Looking steadily bamboo against each other. One soon at the lanterns for some time he at length becomes accustomed to this signal, which remarked, ceases then to disturb sleep, while fright- "Oh, numbers 28 and 32 - West and ening thieves and other evil-doers. Dr. Wilkins. Let us call them in. Tbey

an.

66

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ought to tell us what they are doing out of "Any acquaintances?” doors at such a late hour."

“No; except that M.Bean has come So putting both hands to his mouth he back again. The rest are new people, shouted “West! Wilkins !” and repeated and among them a brother of Ashthe cry till a reply came back.

bourne's." “Yes, all right; we're coming!” "Good morning, captain.”

In a few minutes the nocturoal wayfar- “Good morning, Mr. Jervis.” ers were under the veranda, when Wil. Strange to say, on this very day Jervis kins, who was the medical man of the forgot to take his letters, though they community, related how he had been were lying ready for him on the table. called to the Yankiro to tend an English He went straight home, looking carefully sailor, who had been badly cut about in a before and behind him, as if to see if he fight with some Malay seamen; and were observed. As he was approaching West being with the doctor when sum- his house, two gentlemen came from the moned, had proposed to accompany him. other end of the street - Thomas Ash

“And with whom, then, were you bourne, and his brother Daniel who had speaking just now? We saw you stand just arrived. Being engaged in a lively still there for a few moments about a huo- conversation, they did not at first notice dred yards from the house."

Jervis; but presently the new-comer “We met Jervis, and bade him good caught sight of him as he was crossing evening. He was taking a constitutional the streets to enter his dwelling. At this alone in the darkness."

time the distance between Jervis and the “The fellow will be killed one of these two brothers was not more than a hun. days, I have often told him so."

dred yards. Daniel stopped short, and And that is just what I have been shading his eyes with his hands, inquired telling him also, though he merely thoughtfully, though more of himself than laughed, and replied, “Who would take of his brother, me in the dark for a todgin ?' (a Japanese " Who can that be?" nickname for foreigners). Indeed he " Where? looked a thorough native. Dressed in a “ The man who has just gone into that kimono, he had a broad-sword in his belt, house." with a dark cloth round his head, so that “Oh, that must have been Jervis ! I one could see nothing of him but his didn't see him, but he lives ihere, and piercing eyes. A queer fellow! He cer does not receive many visitors. I suptainly is not like one of us. I never could pose he has been to fetch his letters from make a friend of that man."

Dana."

Jervis ? - Jervis ?

Yes; do you know him?" MR. JERVIS seemed to be expecting im- “No, no; I don't know any one of portant news from China; for every time that name, but I thought I knew that a steamer arrived he was among the first man; or be must have a singular likeness who went down to the consignee to get to one I know, but I can't even say now his letters. He also carefully read through of whom he reminds me.” the list of passengers, and went away “Oh, never mind; you will soon make quietly afterwards. This, however, was a Jervis's acquaintance, for he is our nextgeneral habit with many of the foreign door neighbor. Here we are at home! inhabitants of Yokohama, and therefore Welcome, Dan, under roof!" did not attract much attention.

The two brothers had not very much One day in the month of June, the in common as far as their faces were “ Cadiz” had returned to Yokohama, and concerned. Daniel was the elder by Jervis, as usual, entered Mr. Dana's about five years, and had dark brown hair office to get his letters. There he found and dark eyes; while Thomas was of Captain M Gregor in charge of the vessel, light complexion, and had fair locks. But with whom he was personally acquainted, there was a distinct family likeness in having made his first passage to Japan on their build, being both tall, slim, and disboard that commander's ship.

tinguished by the same careless and easy “A pleasant voyage, captain ?"

carriage. Very good, indeed; five days and sev- “Here is your room, Dan, said Thomenteen hours."

as, showing his brother into a bright and “ Many passengers on board ?

cheerful apartment, furnished with “ About twenty Chinese and seven Eu- large handsome bed, a table, and a few ropeans."

chairs. “ And here is your bath. I have

[ocr errors]

my

[ocr errors]

a

| Japaielsea comeza nied bappeared omandis

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

[ocr errors]

you."

taken a servant for you who answers to the convenient name of To; but he does Japanese coolie, now appeared with his not understand a word of English. I master's baggage. He warmly shook the shall introduce hiin to you at once, and hand of the mariner who had shown him you must do your best to get on with him. the way, and saluting his master in mili. There is the stable,” he continued, lead-tary fashion, asked what he should do ing his brother out on to the veranda. with the luggage. Receiving the proper “In that little house yonder sleeps the directions, he proceeded without a word momban (porter). And now go and dress to carry in the trunks. yourself. It makes me quite hot to see “Well, now, do you think that Inish is you in your woollen suit. "To has a linen a man to pick quarrels ?” asked Daniel. one for you. I think my clothes will fit “ He looks a quiet fellow," replied

Thomas. To bad meanwhile entered the room “ You will hear and see very little of softly, and saluted his new master in the him. He works from morning till night, most respectful manner. Thomas Ash and is nowhere happy except in my room bourne told him what he would liave to or in his own little den." do, and then lest his brother to bathe and The two brothers had a good deal to dress himself. In half an hour he made talk about having been separated for his appearance in the parlor, refreshed years. They dined together at seven and dressed in one of Thomas's white o'clock, and towards nine went to the linen suits.

club, where Ashbourne introduced his “ To is a jewel of a servant,” said Dan. brother, who was most cordially received We get along splendidly; but I fear by all present. He seemed to win every Inish would be jealous if I allowed any heart at once by his amiable, unpretendone else to wait upon me."

ing manners. Later in the evening quite “Who is Inish?"

a discussion arose as to who should have My old Irish servant."

the pleasure of entertaining him first. “ Had you asked my advice, I should “It is my turn,” said M.Bean, “ for I have told you to leave the man in Limer- owe you all a dinner. Don't you remem. ick. Natives are by far the best servants ber my lost wager - The Little World'?”. here. Foreign domestics inevitably come Quite so," said Mr. Mitchell, the conto grief. I warn you that in a few months sul. So it was decided there and then Inish will leave you and open a public that those who dined on the evening of house. Europeans who follow their mas- the race day with Thomas Ashbourne ter to Japan are fated to become bar-keep- should reassemble at dinner the following ers."

day at M•Bean's rooms, and thus give “ I will be responsible for Inish that he Mr. Daniel Ashbourne an opportunity of does nothing of the kind,” replied Dan. becoming better acquainted with the most “He is devoted to me, body and soul. distinguished members of the community. He was the servant of a friend of mine, Thomas Ashbourne undertook, in poor Lieutenant O'Brien, who came to so M.Bean's name, to invite his neighbor terrible an end. Inish almost went out Jervis, who was not present, but who of his mind with grief at the death of his could not be left out. Jervis, however, master, and had to leave the regiment. I declined the invitation, which Ashbourne engaged him because O'Brien thought so sent him next morning, alleging that he much of him, and I took a great deal of was not well enough to come. trouble to get him all right again. I suc- The banquet passed off in the usual ceeded too; and ever since, Inish has pleasant fashion. The guests drank free. been so devoted to me, that it would have ly; and when port, sherry, and claret had been cruel to leave him."

gone round several times after dinner, “ Does Mr. Inish drink?"

the company was in that rose-colored “ As little as you could expect of an frame of mind which good fare, good Irishman and an old soldier."

wines, and a genial host ought always to “That is more than enough. Don't let create. him go out in the evening, or one of these " It seems to me,” exclaimed one of the days he will be brought home dead. The guests, "that we are even jollier to-day Japanese treat drunken Europeans with than last time.” barbarous want of consideration."

“Much obliged to you,” replied Thomas “Inish never goes out of the house. Ashbourne. He is afraid of strangers. Here he comes, West, who had committed this little the poor fellow.”

faux pas, tried to excuse himself. “I

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

me

expressed myself badly,” he stammered. He wished only to give the result of his " Excuse me, Ashbourne. I meant to theory. say that to-day we are all, without excep- “There is to-day room on the earth for tion, happy and cheerful; whereas last about fifteen hundred million people,” he time Jervis was bere, and sat like a ghost said, " but only on condition that everyamong us."

body retains that one single place assigned “By the by, what is the matter with him. If he leaves this, there is no room Jervis?” asked some one of Dr. Wilkins. for bim on earth or in human society."

Now Wilkins was what may be called “Well,” said Daniel Ashbourne, “what a “long-wioded" man.

becomes in your theory of the fugitive “I will tell you, gentlemen,” he be- criminal who has abandoned his place ?gan.

“The fugitive criminal?” replied Thom“Oh, no, we don't want to hear it," was as; "that is just the strongest proof of the interrupting cry; and being a good- the truth of my theory. The man who natured man, he contented himself with assumes a false name thereby resigns his explaining to liis patient neighbor on the individuality, exists no longer. He is left - Gilinore that Jervis was suffer- merely a fiction — the duplicate of an uning from nervous irritability, brought on justifiable existence. He may wander by too much bodily or mental exertion. about anywhere on the earth, but does

“ He nervous ?" called out Gilmore. not really belong to human society." “I can't believe that. Jervis rides as if “ That is all very well, and I can underhe didn't know what nerves meant." stand it perfectly; but as a lawyer, I tell You are mistaken, Gilmore; allow you that the law, when it once gets hold

of one of your so-called ' fictions,'treats it And now the doctor began a long and exactly like a tangible reality. Fugitive deeply scientific discourse, to which Gil. criminals when caught are put in prison, more only listened with half an ear, the or, if they deserve it, hanged by the neck conversation at the other end of the table until dead.” being much more interesting.

“ I don't believe at all in fugitive crim. As the most distinguished guest of the inals." evening, Daniel Ashbourne had a place “ That is another new theory. What on the right of the host; and M.Beart do you mean?” had just explained to him the way in which s. The world is too small. It is impossihe had lost the bet which had procured ble for any one to hide himself. Runaway for him the pleasure of being the first to ruffians are caught sooner or later, or they entertain the new-comer. On this occa- break their necks in trying to escape. sion, too, the conversation again had Then we find their bodies. Nobody is turned upon “The Little World," and lost in this world." Ashbourne, junior, had seized the oppor. “ And yet I could tell you the story of tunity to mount his hobby again. He an absconding villain who, whether dead spoke with animation, and with a kind of or alive now, has at any rate for many balf-comic pathos.

years eluded every attempt to find him.” “And this fine theory, gentlemen, this The company, which did not seem to highly philosophic theory of incalculable take much interest in Ashbourne's dry bearing, of which I flatter myself to be theories, was quite ready to listen to a the discoverer

story, and so from every side came the “What is he talking about ? ” inter- calls of “Let's hear it!” 66 Out with rupted Gilmore, who liad not heard the it!” “Go on!” Whereupon Daniel Ashbeginning of Ashbourne's remarks. bourne began as follows.

* Ashbourne maintains that nobody in this world can change his identity, and that he calls a philosophic theory. A very big name, surely, for a simple matter which nobody has ever doubted.”

From The Nineteenth Century. “You are an obstinate, short-sighted |THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE “CAMPAGNA

ROMANA." Scotsman, M.Bean ! You have never doubted the thing, because you have The amelioration of the Roman terri. Dever thought about it.”

tory is a question full of present interest “Well, let us hear your theory." in Italy, and many projects have been

But Ashbourne begged to be excused. formed for the purpose of rendering more He had spoken too much already, he said, salubrious that country, the most part of and was afraid of tiring the company. I which is feverish and nearly uninhabit

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »