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again; but it was no use trying, the last of her feeble strength had gone with the light: it was better to sit down, and die quietly in the dark.
Texts forsook her too in this hour of need, or came only in fragments, useless as broken glasses when one wants to read. She must have crouched motionless, empty of thought or feeling, for an hour or two under that impassive crag, her wornout eyes gazing with a blind appeal at those faithful points of starlight steady behind the clouds that drifted down the sky: they held her like a mirage, for her brain had been full of the twinkling lights of the imagined hamlet she would come upon ere night. Then, like other mirages this one went; the sky turned thick as lead, and it began to rain. No English shower was this, but a deluge of a large and generous type, huge as the vast Pacific whence it hailed; all night the hissing flood rushed down as straight as shot, without a gust or intermittent lull, calmly unhasting as an Oriental when he settles to a patient piece of work. Behind her the cruel cliff ran rivulets, and the ground in front echoed with life as the surface seethed in a froth of shivered drops: the river might have been far away, so drowned was its voice in the roar of rain. She rose to make sure of its existence, and when she reached the inaudible current, a strange whim seized her suddenly. Taking off bodice and hat, she walked in up to her waist, standing in a pool outside the suck of the stream, and she turned her face right up to the hiss of the resounding gloom. The incessant sting of the rainfall on her skin was saving her reason and life; by degrees she felt as unperturbed as she had been on that Kose path ages ago; the more the rain dashed down the calmer beat her pulse, her fevered fancies died away, and a whole text rose from the dark and stood before her plain (our cherished
"texts"-had they not all an Asiatic birth?): "There is no man that hath left home, or wife, or brothers and sisters, or parents, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the time to come eternal life." Well, she did most of that some years ago, when she first went out to bury herself among the crowded yellow faces of a Chinese city deep inland. Then the more poignant saying came word for word distinct above the storm: "If any man come unto me, and hate not his own father and mother, and wife and children, brothers and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." To-night she was reft from all her friends as utterly as if she hated them: she was out of humanity's reach, as wholly as if in another world. That sphinx-like rock had cut off human help, and now she was indeed alone. . . . She stood quite still, keenly aware, responsive to the Real Presence; and soon she felt strangely at home. The earth must turn its back on our sun before the constant stars can be seen; and "man's extremity is God's opportunity."
She said she stood in the swelling river all that night, heeding the heavy unrelenting rain as little as gossamer, untroubled by thoughts of the morrow, unconscious of aches or bodily exhaustion. She remembered it was pouring hard when dawn stole in; but the interminable clamor ceased soon afterwards, and a quiet world began to glisten out in luminous relief. Feeling as if that vigil of rain had severed her from her previous life and launched her on a new existence, she stepped from the bed of the stream, and unconcernedly took off her clothes-for they were drenched, though it made no impression on her. Without ulterior aim-most things were unimportant now-but moved by inherited instinct, she spread them on large flat stones to
dry; then relapsed into living over again those silent realities of the night. Hours passed, and she idly noticed that the garments were quite dry; the sun was very hot, and she quietly dressed again.
There stood that headland blocking the curve ahead; clearly the thing to do is to turn one's back on it, and walk in the opposite direction. She was no longer scared or torn by whirls of thought; her programme was laid down by logic, unswayed by emotion, and she breathed on a higher plane half insulated from the touch of common sensory things, because during the night a merciful cushion had been interposed; she walked the riverside unstirred within, as a missile cleaves the air. Scale that promontory? no, not with naked feet inflamed like these (the remains of the stockings had been discarded, and blood-poisoning had set in); it would be ridiculous to attempt it, with a body destitute of strength. Much wiser to go back with the stream, for that is a definite route, and, though uphill, it is a gradual ascent; in a crippled condition easy gradients are to be preferred. (No thought arose that it would be retracing the terrible toil of yesterday; simply there was the stream, and up its valley lay the obvious route.)
And thus she entered on the pitiless third day of her unnoticed drifttravel, indeed, in the true sense of the word.
The valley had enchained her with its silence coming down; it was doubly silent going up, for now she was quite deaf. While straining through the midnight storm to absorb the voice from Heaven, she had lost the power of focussing nearer sounds on earth; and an observer, had there been any, of that desolate ascent, would have seen a solitary figure patiently working its way to higher ground; painfully crippled to the outer eye, yet ever moving forward with
a calm continuance that gave the impression of ease. Her eye never wandered from the narrowing stream, but its music was inaudible; she saw nothing in its sparkling course, not even when shadows of white cumulus cloud that drifted overhead shone mirrored a moment in some placid pool, like silky continents of fairy land, or a forest of tufted foliage-crease. At intervals throughout the long ascent she stooped to rinse her mouth, then on again as a matter of course: man does not live by bread alone-how much less women. Not hunger or thirst possessed her mind, but a single instinct ruled her steps, to attain the open levels of the watershed. Though the track was a via crucis to her wounded feet, she planted them firmly and walked erect, a serene automaton smiling at pain: she noticed the blood, the sinister discoloration of the joints,—that should not be; but her soul was outside such petty incidents, and she kept her way unruffled by the sight.
Panting and trembling in every limb, she found herself at last emerging in full view of the illimitable upland panorama. Down in the west a world of rugged outlines rose and fell in faraway peaks of velvet indigo edge, against a deepening glory of crimson sky. A few miles in front Asama blocked the air, and as the twilight tints died out its summit flickered with the glow of that reverberating furnace in its depths; while wreaths of tight-curled issuing smoke slowly unrolled and spread themselves lazily down the mountain flank, with a pungent waft of sulphur borne to the terrace where she stood. The evening and the morning were the third day: it was a marvellous expanse of silence that she saw; was any of it real? The sulphur smell recalled her to the earth, and the uplifted shape of the great volcano seemed to rouse some instinct of locality in her dried-up brain. She
did not reason that because the sun had set on her right therefore her homeward route lay more or less ahead. Asama led her unawares, Asama that dominates the Karuizawa sky, the first sight looked for in the morning air when the missionary steps outside his little house, and wonders what delightful walk will shape itself to-day. . . . She suddenly screamed aloud, again and again, with all her strength: not shrieks of fright, but of mere relief, an unconscious effort to tear herself from the nightmare that had suffocated her so long, from its conspiracy of silence and benumbing Arctic desolation. She never sat down at all that night, but strode painfully southwards through the scrub, hurling her cries incessantly as she went, a sheer animal protest against the outrageous situation in which she found herself.
(She said that she screamed with reckless disregard-but so each one of us believes when he is making very mediocre groans at the waking climax of an ordinary domestic nightmare.)
But she pushed on, tense as steel; and while her shouts at regular intervals startled the midnight air, the tiny buyu never ceased to bite the swollen feet, and hour after hour on Asama's summit the red glow flickered like some laboring forge of a greater world. . . . As daylight opened up the branches of the trees she left off screaming; her throat was fearfully dry. She veered to and fro in search of a pool, but none was visible: this day was going to be the hottest of all -as she noted the depth of the shadows on her path, and the solid blue of the heaven above. The ground was getting strewn with cindery dust and gravel: there had once been a forest where she walked, but only charred stumps now remained to tell the tale of the big eruption 120 years ago, and the ravages were half concealed by a
dainty growth of greenest slender underwood.
Wondering to find she moved SO frictionless through this, she discovered she was on a track,—a living human path at last. Great fires of feeling began to surge, for the first time she staggered in her walk; the path emerged from out the copse; coarse grass redeemed by splendid flowersthe vivid gentian blue, and sumptuous lilies white came into the foreground on her left. In a flash the steel casing dropped from her heart and brain, and she quivered helplessly. That Japanese hut, a hundred yards ahead! It is the very cottage where she slept; can she possibly get there? Instantly she framed her shrivelled lips to pronounce the two words midzukudasai ("water, please," the only ones she knew), and repeating them with desperate tenacity -for she felt she would be speechless soon-she aimed herself wildly at the little shed, tottered with a stumbling knock against the door, stood, swaying, while the woman hurried out, spoke the two words into her soul, and fell in a heap across the threshold.
And is there care in Heaven?
a poet asked three hundred years ago;
There is: else much more wretched were the cace
Of men than beasts,
because man needs care more; the havoc is greater in his "cace." There is also care in the remotest corners of this earth; as Mungo Park experienced when sick in the unknown Niger land, and as travellers find in every "savage" tribe to-day. We can leave her in that hut secure, for where on earth would she meet with more devoted care, combined with deft delight in tendering help, than when intrusted to a woman of Japan-passion and co
petence of a unique blend. In Japan they do not spell "pity" with a capital P, nor do they find it necessary to maintain a Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which shall number its convictions of inhuman parents by thousands every year. mote from the long-illuminated West, and uninformed of the Spectator-ial discovery that pity is a "Christian product," unknown before the birth of Christ, and unknown now in extraChristian lands, they are free without impropriety to go on practising it daily in their unassuming way, in the common-sense manner of their race, not lavishing it with public blandishment on paltry cats or idle dogs, but reserving it par excellence "for all young children." This is a nation not much given to adoration of Ideas: they like the homely Fact far better. Kindness, they think, should begin with one's own kind; and certainly the Japanese children are a charming sight which seems to justify the untutored bias of their gentle mothers.
About 9 A.M. on the second day of The Test a string of pack-horses lurched clumsily down the Karuizawa street; at the "Manpei Hotel" a countryman slipped off, and bowing himself in-with apologetic hand in front held like a deferential wedge-between the white men smoking there, begged for a word with the Honorable Head. In low brief sentences repeated he explained that the foreign lady who arrived at his cottage the night before last had not been seen since the morning-meal of yesterday. She had not meant to stay away, because she took nothing with her, not even an umbrella for the sun. Had the Head any honorable news of the lady? or perhaps he was not alarmed, since he had such intimate acquaintance with manners and habits of foreign folk who travel? 2 Published on the 21st of July, 1900.
But the Head was considerably perturbed by this message from the moorland wastes. The lady had been his guest, and it was he who had made the arrangements for her trip to Kose; and his Japanese blood, inheriting three centuries of the Tokugawa régime of responsibility, curdled at the thought that trouble had befallen her. He called his wife, who came out from the kitchen (how could so small a kitchen furnish such a varied meal?) with round arms bare, and to her he imparted the distressing news-in the unemotional tone of a chef discussing commissariat.
There was not much dawdling after that. Before the foreigners had finished their cigars the word had gone forth that every able-bodied villager could have a job and earn his 30 sen (71⁄2d.) by joining the rescue-party to scour the heights all day. Seated on the rice-straw mats in the very heart of the arrangements, Master Goro promptly entered into the spirit of affairs, and climbing straightway on to the back of the head jinriki-man, announced his readiness to start at once. Taro, the eldest boy, skilled in the hardest Chinese ideographs, and quite at home with ordinary English talk, begged earnestly that he might have a day off too, "for," said he, "they cannot speak to her when they find her, but I can." His father bade him stay in the house. How could the foreigners' meals be properly served if he were not at his usual post to place their wine or beer beside their plate within a few seconds of the order given, and to keep his sharp head fixed with nimble eye on the whims of that peppery gentleman from Dokkani.
Thus at ten o'clock the village expedition sallied forth-a chorus of "so desu? domo!" (eh? dear, dear!) in its rear-equipped with food and a supply of lanterns in case of need, taking with them also visions of liberal saké
at the happy ending of their quest. They rounded the corner to the left, and Karuizawa resmed its sunny repose, except where some active men and maids defied the sun with lawntennis, while missionary boys and girls careered on bicycles.
Soon after dark the Head and some of his men returned, more serious than they went; the lady had vanished utterly, without a trace of her wanderings. Most of the searchers stayed in the neighborhood of Kose, sleeping by turns and scouting far and wide with shouts and many-colored lanterns held aloft on bamboo poles above the grass. Then the heavy rain came down and stopped proceedings for the night,— that night which she spent waist-deep in the stream beneath the cliff. With the early light of the third day a reinforcement of searchers arrived. The whole band was now scattered along every point of the compass, and the moors became eloquent with weirdest cries. The searchers themselves grew keener as the issue appeared more desperate; and the lady was not-as she thought-the only one who tramped and screamed all night in view of Asama's peak. But in such waste land a solitary figure is as hard to find-especially when deaf-as the needle in the hay; so, in spite of their fantastic shouts, she had slipped through their lines and reached the bourne alone. Indeed, long after she had been washed and tended by the happy woman in the hut, and by a Japanese doctor brought from Karuizawa, the straggling knots of rescuers were pushing farther and farther away from rejoicing Kose.
The lady's eyes opened about sunset, when she saw a white-faced woman' sitting patiently by her side; she did not recognize that it was one of her fellow-workers, but simply asked for "tea." They gave her a cup of hot milk-and-water, which satisfied her so
that she speedily fell asleep again. Her feet had looked so horrible that her friends had several hours before wired to the big Scotsman in Tokyo begging that he would come the ninety miles at once. The message reached him as he returned for tea to his pretty house on the bank of the Sumida, after a long day's work through endless Tokyo streets, with thermometer at 95°; but though no light weight, he was ever the readiest of emergency men. He filled his bag, took another four miles of jinrikisha to Uyeno Station, and the midnight train turned him out in cool Karuizawa. Not much after dawn he was with the lady in the Kose hut.
She had recovered consciousness, and was not a bit dismayed by the doctor's serious view of the case. He said she must be moved at once, and, if possible, get down to Yokohama that very evening, where he would see her safe in hospital. So in a kago-a sort of hammock slung from a bamboo pole, the immemorial conveyance in Japan before the jinrikisha came in 2-carried by two of the search-party, she was smoothly borne to Karuizawa, placed in the noonday train, and at dinner-time was surrounded by white men's faces in the white man's hospital, looking out on the far-travelled ships in that deep blue bay. Next morning the medical staff urged amputation of both feet, in the hope of arresting fatal mischief. But she would not hear of it; she was inflexible, not from vanity, but because of the newborn atmosphere of assurance that seemed to buoy her since the night in the storm. Those feet, she said, had done so much for her in her hour of need; she could not now discard them, she would rather take her chance. With grave misgivings the doctors had to submit. But her confidence was justified, and in a fortnight she was strolling on the Bund, as unconcerned