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      A certain measure of relief came to poor Alice at this moment, for she observed that everybody had finished the meat-course, and she and Hugh (who had at present escaped the lash of his grandmothers tongue) and John hastily got up and began changing their elders plates, and removing dishes. This was the custom of Sunday lunch at Mrs Keelings, and a Sabbatarian design of saving the servants trouble lay at the back of it. The detail of which it took no account was that it gave Hugh and Alice and John three times as much trouble as it would have given the servants, for they made endless collisions with each other as they went round the table; two of them simultaneously tried to drag the roast beef away in opposite directions, and the gravy spoon, tipped up by Johns elbow, careered through the air with a comet-tail of congealed meat-juice behind it. Ominous sounds of side-slip from heaped plates and knives came from the dinner wagon, where the used china was piled, and some five minutes of arduous work, filled with bumpings and crashings and occasional spurts of suppressed laughter from John, who, like a true wit, was delighted with his own swift and disconcerting reply to his Granny, were needful to effect the changes required for the discussion of plum tart and that strange form of refreshment known as{23} cold shape. During these resonant minutes further conversation between the elders was impossible, but Mrs Goodford was not wasting her time, but saving up, storing her forces, reviewing her future topics.Mrs. Masters trembled a little under the rebuke, but she showed no sign of repentance. "I'm only repeating what's said," she remarked. "An' for all I know it might have been the Devil. It says in the Bible that he's to be unbound for a thousand years, and I'm sure he might just as well come here as elsewhere for a start. The place is wicked enough."

      It is good-bye she said, and quite simply like a child she raised her face to his.It was being made. The air was in anguish with the din of tree-felling and log-chopping, of stamping, neighing, braying, whooping, guffawing, and singing--all the daybreak charivari beloved of a camp of Confederate "critter companies." In the midst of it a chum and I sat close together on a log near the mess fire, and as the other boys of the mess lifted their heads from their saddle-tree pillows, from two of them at once came a slow, disdainful acceptance of the final lot of the wicked, made unsolicited on discovering that this chum and I had sat there talking together all night. I had the day before been wheedled into letting myself be detailed to be a quartermaster's clerk, and this comrade and I were never to snuggle under the one blanket again. The thought forbade slumber.

      The train sped onward, and in an hour from the time of leaving the station at Yokohama it was nearing Tokio. It passed in full view of the forts of Shinagawa, which were made memorable during the days of Perry and Lord Elgin, as the foreign ships were not allowed to pass them, and[Pg 108] there was at one time a prospect that they would open fire upon the intruders. Near one of the forts, a boat containing three fishermen was pulling slowly along, one man handling the oar, while the other two were lifting a net. Whether any fish were contained in it the boys did not ascertain, as the train would not stop long enough to permit an investigation. The fort rose from the water like a huge warehouse; it might resist a Chinese junk, or a whole fleet of the rude craft of the East, but could not hold out an hour against the artillery of the Western nations. In recent years the forts of Tokio have been[Pg 109] strengthened, but they are yet far from what an American or English admiral would hold in high respect. The Japanese have made commendable progress in army organization; but, so far as one can learn generally, they have not done much in the way of constructing and manning fortifications.

      "Tell him all you know."She came from upstairs with a mixed armful of papers, books and sewing, said she had been with Charlotte, and said no more, only made a mysterious mouth. I inquired how Charlotte was. She shrugged, sank into a seat on the gallery, let her arm-load into her lap, and replied, "Ah! she lies up there and smiles and smiles, and calls us pet names, and says she's perfectly contented, and then cannot drop half asleep without looking as though she were pressing a knife into her own heart. Oh, Dick, what is the matter with her?"


      "We made all our journey on foot, as we could not find any jin-riki-shas, except in the foreign part of Shanghai. They were only brought into use a few years ago, and they cannot be employed in all the cities of[Pg 327] China, because the streets are very narrow, and the carriage could not move about. But we saw some sedan-chairs, and one of these days we are going to have a ride in them. It looks as though a ride of this sort would be very comfortable, as you have a good chair to sit in, and then you are held up by men who walk along very steadily. Ordinarily you have two men; but if you are a grand personage, or are going on a long course, three or four men are needed. The chair is quite pretty, as it has a lot of ornamental work about it, and the lower part is closed in with light panelling or bamboo-work. It is surprising what loads the coolies carry, and how long they will walk without apparent fatigue. They are accustomed to this kind of work all their lives, and seem to think it is all right."Because it makes Chi-ca-go."



      Alice moved aside the table which carried her{336} tray. You never liked him, she said. How is it you can help me like this? How can you understand, if you didnt like him?