Yone Santo: A Child of Japan
As I entered the school, the next morning, I was met at the door by Miss Gibson, whose countenance gave warning of new evils.
“ What has happened? ” I asked.
“ The children are no better,” she said, “ and Miss Philipson has at last frightened herself into real cholera, I do believe.”
“ Hardly that, I think ; she will not be an easy victim. She has never subjected herself to the regimen of the establishment. Is that all ? ”
“ Alas ! that is not all, doctor ; I have been greatly to blame. I cannot understand how I could be so thoughtless. I mentioned it to Yone.”
“ Mentioned what ? ”
“ I told her that Miss Philipson had been taken ill. It was late. The children were mostly at rest, and she — Yone ” —
“ I see,” said I, sternly; “ you need tell me no more.”
“ Don’t, doctor, don’t! ” she implored, covering her face with her hands. “ Heaven knows I foresaw no evil. And even now ” —
“ Well, child, well,” I answered, as I led the way to the sick-rooms; “ she would have heard of it from some one, I suppose. And then she is fated; I have always felt that. The long sacrifice of her life can have only one fitting end. So, then, tell me.”
“ It was about nine o’clock, doctor. I had gone to watch with the children, meaning that Yone should have a good night’s rest; and by telling her she would soon be fit for nothing if she allowed herself so little sleep, I persuaded her to leave everything in my hands until the morning. It was only by chance — a miserable, hateful chance — that I spoke of Miss Philipson’s attack. The instant I mentioned it I saw the mischief I had done, and tried to make light of the matter ; but Yone shook her head, and said, ‘No, I must go to her.’ I assured her that the younger sister was perfectly well, and could do all that was requisite, but again she said, ‘ Oh, no, Miss Kezia is not equal to it; I will go.’ Then I promised to look after the old lady myself, watching half the night here and half with Miss Philipson ; but she would listen to nothing.”
“ You should have known she would not.”
“ I ought, indeed. Oh, doctor, do not reproach me. If any harm befalls, what shall I do, — what shall I do ? ”
“ And did she pass the night there ? ”
“ She did. I was there every half hour. When I first went in with her, the Philipsons made a pretense of refusing her aid, and then accepted it as if they were bestowing a favor. Yone said not a word, but set about caring for the thankless woman lying in bed. As for that useless Kezia, she sat comfortably in an armchair, taking great praise and glory to herself for staying and tending her dear afflicted sister, whom she never went near, contenting herself with ordering Yone about, until I told her plainly that if she spoke another word in my hearing, I would take her out of the room with my own hands, and lock her up somewhere.”
“ Ah, my child, if you could have done that with Yone ! ”
“ I did what I could, doctor; little enough, but my best. I gave her some beef tea, and made her rest at intervals, while I nursed and fanned that impatient creature. Doctor, not all the children together have shown one tenth of the ill-temper, selfishness, — oh, I can’t say what, — of that one woman in a single night. At dawn, or just before, I did contrive to get my darling to my own room, promising faithfully to call her if I found things going beyond me. But I fear ” —
“ What ? ”
“ I fear that the real reason why she consented to go was that she felt her strength was leaving her, and that she could do no more.”
“ Come,” said I, starting forward; “ we have delayed too long.”
On entering her chamber, we found Yone sleeping. I looked carefully at her face, and, while I saw enough to give me deep concern, discovered no trace of that which was most to be feared. Placing on guard a quiet little scholar who was devoted to her, — as which of them was not ? — with instructions to run for me the instant she saw signs of waking, I first went the round of the youthful invalids, having reasons for doubting the existence of the extremest peril on Miss Philipson’s part, and finally made my way to that lady’s apartment.
“ Oh, Dr. Charwell,” she cried, as soon as she caught sight of me, “ at last, thank Heaven, at last! Twice have I been at the point of death, twice at death’s very door. Save me, oh, save me! ”
“ Certainly, madam,” said I. “ I have come for that express purpose.”
“ I sent for you, sir, twice, last night. Two separate times, when I felt death stealing upon me, I gave orders that you should be summoned,” continued the excited spinster ; “ but I suppose you were absent, — absent from home, Dr. Charwell, when the grim spectre was hovering over me.”
“ Well, madam,” I replied, “ I am absent from home now, for that matter. The grim spectre is hovering over more sick people hereabout than you, perhaps, are aware of ; but still, I do not remember ” —
I stopped abruptly at a sign from Miss Gibson, who privately told me that Yone had taken it upon herself to countermand the order, knowing that the case did not then require my attention, and that I needed all the rest I could obtain.
“ She thinks of everybody,” I whispered to Miss Gibson, “except herself.”
“ Oh, doctor, tell me, is there any hope for me ? ” moaned the occupant of the bed.
“ I should be glad,” I suggested, “ to know who looked after you during the night.”
“ She was well cared for,” said the younger sister. “ I was here myself, from the moment the danger declared itself.”
“ Ah, then,” I observed, examining the medicine phials, “ so these were measured and administered by your skillful hands, Miss Kezia. Nothing could be more regular.”
“ Miss Gibson undertook it occasionally,” was the reply, every syllable of which sounded like the snapping of a jackdaw’s beak.
As the reader knows, I had been made aware of what had passed, but, since it suited my humor that the truth should be drawn from the reluctant couple, I pursued my inquiries relentlessly.
“ Then you and Miss Gibson were the only attendants ? ”
“ No, sir, not necessarily,” rejoined the now angry Kezia.
“ Who were the others ? permit me to ask.”
“ Is it important, Dr. Charwell, that you should know the name of every person who may have happened to be called in during the course of the night ? ”
“ Dr. Charwell,” interposed the elder sister, “ I insist that you answer my question, instead of continuing this useless catechism. Is my life to be sacrificed in this dreadful devastation, or shall I be spared ? ”
“ You see, madam,” I responded, “ it is desirable that I know what particular treatment you have been under ; and to learn that, I should be informed of the names of your attendants.”
“ Well, then, do let him know,” said the invalid. “ There was my sister ; and there was Miss Gibson, — very kind indeed of her ; and there was that Yone Santo, who seemed determined to come in, — I don’t know why ; nobody asked her.”
“ Then I will tell you why,” broke in Miss Gibson. “ It was because difficult and wearying and thankless work had to be done; and wherever such things are required, there you will find Yone Santo on the spot.”
“ Oh, indeed ! ” sneered Miss Kezia; “ and little enough return for the countless blessings that have been showered upon her from this house.”
“ Come, Miss Philipson,” I remarked, taking my hat in hand, “ I can afford to waste no more time here. Unless my questions are answered, I shall be obliged to leave you.”
“ Don’t let him go ! ” screamed the recumbent Sophia. “ Tell him all he wants to know, I command you, Kezia. I slept so much that I remember nothing.”
“ Oh, well! ” exclaimed the junior, while tears of spite stood in the corners of her eyes; “after nine o’clock, Yone Santo undertook a great deal of the work,”
“ After nine o’clock ? ” I asked.
“ Yes, sir ; after nine.”
“ And at what hour did the symptoms begin to appear ? ”
“ At what hour ? Let me see.”
“ Shall I tell you ? ” inquired Miss Gibson.
“ No, miss ; your interference has already been more than sufficient. It was about nine o’clock, sir.”
“ Then,” said I, “ Yone’s attention began immediately upon the appearance of the disease. You are trifling with me, ladies. I bid you goodday.”
“ What do you mean, Kezia ? ” shrieked the terror - stricken elder. “ How dare you disobey me? Tell him the truth at once ! ”
“ Oh, if you wish me to magnify that creature into a saint ” —
“ Never mind what I wish. I wish to be cured. That is the first thing. Afterward, we can ” —
“ Very good,” hastily interrupted Miss Kezia, whose wits were a little more manageable, for the moment, than those of her confused senior. “ Then, if you must know, Yone was here from about nine last evening, when the illness first showed itself, until sunrise.”
“ No one else touched the medicines ? ”
“ N—no ; unless, perhaps, Miss Gibson.”
“ I did nothing,” said the young lady referred to, “ but lend Yone my strong arms once or twice.”
“ And this excellent friend of ours,” I continued, resolved, in my irritation, to push the matter home, “ did nothing of any kind, I conclude.”
“ It was surely needful,” Miss Kezia feebly protested, “ that somebody should superintend the proceedings.”
“ Precisely, precisely,” said I. “ And now, Miss Philipson, I will answer the question I would have answered immediately, if your sister had obliged me with the information I have with difficulty extracted. From the moment that I know you were in the hands of Yone Santo, I know also that you are undoubtedly safe, without reference to your sister’s capabilities of superintendence. Yone’s experience was large, last year, as you ought to remember gratefully. She knows as well as I what needs to be done, and you may count yourself a fortunate woman in having secured a ministration which I don’t mind saying, madam, you have not in any degree deserved.”
I need hardly remark that the invalid’s condition was not such as to excite the least alarm, as in that case I should have taken a more rapid diagnosis. Whatever danger there might have been in the beginning had evidently vanished some hours before ; and I was simply enjoying my opportunity of probing for the conscience which these two ladies might be supposed to possess, — an operation which may be pronounced heartless and unmanly, but which I shall not take the trouble to defend, — neither that nor any part of my subsequent conduct toward this earnest-minded and otherwise gifted couple.
Half an hour later, I was called, by her little guardian, to the chamber in which Yone was reposing. The child confided to me that her kindest of teachers was not so kind as usual, this morning. Instead of telling beautiful stories, as she always could, she kept interrupting the natural flow of her Japanese speech with long sentences in English, and would speak of nothing but furnaces, ovens, and such unpleasant things. I sent the child for Miss Gibson, and made all speed to Yone’s bedside.
“ You are there, doctor ? ” she said, smiling faintly. “ I was going to dress me, but the atmosphere is so heavy here that I cannot get my strength. It is so warm in this place, close to the stoves ; I cannot bear it.”
As I brought her some water, Miss Gibson entered.
“ Why have they kindled all the fires?” continued Yone, speaking with great rapidity and a slight huskiness of utterance.
“ There are no fires, my dear,” said Miss Gibson ; “ there would be none in any case, on this floor.”
“ Hark, Marian ; you will hear the roar of the blaze, as well as feel the heat. Oh, doctor, it is terrible ! What will the little sick ones do ? I must go and stop it. And see,” she exclaimed, glancing at the window, “ the sun, the sun itself, is coming near us! What fearful sounds ! Dear friends, what is threatening us ? Look from the window. That angry, raging sun comes to consume us.”
She made a sudden attempt to spring out upon the floor, but, being withheld, covered her face with the bed-clothes, shuddering violently. Miss Gibson gazed at me in speechless horror.
“ Yone, hear me,” I said firmly. “ I can free you from some of your anxieties, but you must put great faith in me. Try to believe everything that I tell you, even if it is hard to do so. Doubt nothing that I say for a little while, no matter if you fancy I am mistaken, or am misleading you. And you, Miss Gibson, will think of the invalids elsewhere. You will go ” —
“ No, doctor, no. I shall stay here. Could you think ” —
I stopped her with a hasty and violent gesture, pointing also to Yone, whose face was still concealed by the bed-coverings, to indicate that my meaning must be hidden from her.
“ You will go,” I continued, “ and order all the ice that can be purchased, to be carried to the place where you will understand it is most needed. Then run across, yourself, to my hospital, select a comfortable litter, send it — no, let my servants bring it, and come you also. But leave instructions to make ready the up-stairs room in the southwest corner. Be here again in less than five minutes.”
She was off like the wind.
“ Now, Yone,” said I, “ can you speak with me ? ”
“ Yes, doctor,” she answered, cautiously drawing down the coverings. “ Is the danger past ? Did Marian bring it and take it away ? But that is impossible ; yet she is gone. Tell me, doctor, what is this dreadful heat ? ”
She was again speaking rapidly and wildly. My hope was that I could keep my hold upon her reason until our friend should return with the litter, and Yone’s rare docility and confidence enabled me to accomplish this, in good part. She realized, at least, that she had overtasked herself, and accepted my assurance that she must rest for a while, without work of any sort. I allowed her to think the interval might be short, in order to cheer her with the hope of speedily resuming her labors.
In less than a quarter of an hour, she was on the way to a more suitable place for treatment. While passing through the street, from one house to the other, she spoke once, in supplicating tones: —
“ Doctor — Marian — must I stay in this burning boat, while you float beside me in the cool water ? ”
From that moment, for many a day, she uttered no word that could be understood by any listener. Miss Gibson at once dedicated herself to the sufferer, and at first resented the idea of sharing her task of affection with a hired assistant.
“ My arms are strong, and my head is clear,” she said ; “ there is nothing I cannot do.”
“ But your heart is not hard,” I told her ; “ and some exercise of force will probably be needed. No, my child, you must have a professional nurse with you. There is no help for it.”
The cholera ran its course among us, desolating many a household, and filling the city with gloom. More than one hundred thousand victims were believed to have been sacrificed to the perversity and arrogance of two ruthless agents of foreign oppression. But all traces of the visitation had vanished long before our most cherished patient recovered her reason. And when the light of understanding returned to her countenance, it was with an anxious dread that I beheld the ravages which a violent fever had wrought upon her delicate frame. Marian Gibson, less tutored by experience, was able to contain her joy at what seemed to her the beginning of the recovery only on being warned that Yone must be kept in ignorance of the perilous state to which she had been reduced. Her intellect being fully restored, Marian now became her sole attendant. Indeed, excepting that devoted girl and myself, she saw no one. The thickwitted husband, still terrified by wild visions of cholera, — which disease had never touched Yone at all, — would not come near her ; and, indeed, his rough presence and coarse speech were not much to be desired in an invalid’s chamber.
This was a time when the assistance of Shizu Miura would have been gladly welcomed, but she was already on the way to her new home in a distant land. Deep was the affectionate girl’s distress at leaving the companion of her childhood in bodily pain and peril, but Roberts’s plans for removal had been definitely arranged before the illness, and could not be set aside without injury to the interests of many parties. He was more touched than I had expected by the harsh necessity which compelled his wife to depart at a period when the mind of her friend and benefactress was clouded, and no intelligent farewell could be given or received. He promised without hesitation that Shizu should be privileged to return, after an interval; and though the pledge was undoubtedly qualified by mental reservations, the deception was kindly intended, and beneficial in effect.
As the days went on, bringing no gain of strength to Yone, I called for the opinions, one by one, of the fellow-members of my profession, whose earnest and unaffected concern was a true consolation in that afflicted period. The missionary physicians — a set of men loftily elevated, as a rule, above their exclusively religious colleagues in the extreme East — were foremost in proffering their aid, with the magnanimity which is developed, I make no doubt, by their humane vocation, and which rises superior to the intolerance that often accompanies imperfect education. Not a few of these were familiar with the fine spirit and character of my patient, and well knew that her loss would be a grievous bereavement to the sick and poor of her quarter. But they could say little, either in encouragement or the reverse. We could hope only for the healing touch of Nature’s comforting hand, and those whose eyes were keenest saw that, to be effective, this must not be much longer withheld.
Presently we thought it wisest to allow her such simple diversions as befitted her condition, and for several days some of her little favorites from the school were invited to be with her, of an afternoon. She asked for others, who had not been able to struggle through the ordeal of the previous month ; and when we could not answer, the effect was so painful that we deemed the experiment too severe for repetition. But she begged so piteously for her child friends, promising that she would no more be disturbed by the absence of any of them, that they were admitted again, without further discussion.
“ Why shall I mind missing those that are gone ? ” she said, with a strange expression in her thoughtful eyes ; “ it is for such a little time. My doctor knows it will soon be their turn to come to Yone’s arms, and then these will be the absent ones.”
I think, from something which happened a little later, that she would not have spoken thus if Miss Gibson had been present; but she turned her face to me with a smile of sorrowful meaning, from which I learned for the first time with certainty what the near future had in store for us.
One day the Philipson sisters presented themselves, with an intimation that, if desired, they would favor the sick girl with an interview. I had then determined to defer in everything to Yone’s wishes, and on finding that she made no objection, the ladies were admitted, though not with Miss Gibson’s cordial concurrence.
“ Why, Yone, child,” was the salutation of the elder, “ how shockingly you look ! Have they taken proper care of you here, I wonder ? ”
“ Shocking, indeed,” said Miss Kezia ; whereupon a sharp glance passed between the pair, foretelling a philological combat à l’outrance, at the first opportunity, on the question of employing adverbs or adjectives, here represented by ‘‘shockingly” and “shocking,” in certain familiar forms of expression.
“ Not quite such perfect care as Yone took of you, Miss Sophia,” remarked Miss Gibson, “ but still the best it was in our power to afford.”
“ I have been treated most kindly,” was heard, in Yone’s calm, sweet voice; “ and of kindness only let us think, if I may ask it. You are welcome here, ladies ; it does gladden me that you passed through all danger without harm.”
“ We are quite well, Yone,” Miss Sophia replied, “ as I am sure you will be, soon.”
“ Oh, we are all sure of that!” exclaimed the junior.
But to this our invalid did not incline to respond, although she regarded both the sisters with a pleasant smile.
“ Well, we cannot stay long,” said Miss Sophia, rising. “ I hope, Yone, we are friends ? ”
“I wish you well, Miss Philipson, with all my heart.”
“ You know, if I sometimes seemed a little harsh ” —
“ Do not speak of it, I beg; it has not a place in my thoughts,” said Yone.
“ It was my religion that compelled me to take a course toward you which I would often have wished to avoid; but you cannot understand that.”
“ Certainly not,” affirmed the second Miss P. ; “ we do not expect you to.”
Yone now turned her lustrous eyes upon them.
“ No,” she said slowly ; “ no, truly, I cannot understand that.”
“ Never mind,” rejoined Miss Sophia, glancing quickly at Miss Gibson and myself, — “never mind; we shall see you again, soon, and meanwhile I will pray for your convalescence.”
“ Do not think of that, madam ; there is no need, and your prayers would not avail.”
A scared look passed over the elderly woman’s face, and her thin, pinched lips trembled as she replied : —
“ Why, Yone, you speak as if you hated me. I have always wished to be your friend. And why should my prayers be unheard ? ”
“ I never hated anybody, Miss Philipson. I should be in despair now, if I could remember to have hated anybody. And I thank you for your offer. I should have done that before, but I was thinking how certain it was that no prayers could keep me in this world. And my mind was fixed upon another matter, besides. We are taught, in our faith, that those who are taken away to heaven are permitted to plead for those who are left behind; and if, hereafter, I am not unworthy to be heard, I shall have no such happiness as to recall all the good ” —
She was interrupted by a sudden start from Miss Philipson, who, pressing a handkerchief to her lips, moved hastily toward the bed in which Yone lay. What her impulse might have been I never knew. It remained unfulfilled ; for after two or three quick steps, she turned about, murmured something the sense of which was obscured by her handkerchief, and hurriedly withdrew from the chamber, pulling her sister after her. If it was a tardy impulse of tenderness, — as to which, indeed, I cannot be sure, — it was checked before it could declare itself; and I have more than enough reason to believe it was held in characteristic restraint forever after.
While Yone was speaking, the color vanished from Miss Gibson’s face, leaving it of a death-like hue ; and as the visitors departed, she quickly followed them, with an apparent pretense of taking leave outside. Being alarmed for her, I, too, presently followed, and found her alone, in a state of passionate and convulsive grief.
“ It is not true, doctor,” she sobbed; “ her delirium has returned. There was no meaning in those awful words. Oh, tell me, tell me ” —
“ If you can be calm, Miss Gibson, you shall know all that I know. But if I may not reckon upon you, where shall I look ? To-morrow, I give you my word, I will tell you my true conviction.”
“ To-morrow ! But I shall fear the coming of each day, now. And I, also, have something to tell. Perhaps I should have told before ; perhaps, I have thought, I should not tell at all. I have been greatly perplexed, but now you give me new and terrible reasons for deciding quickly.”
“ Does it concern Yone? ”
“ Yes, closely, intimately.”
“ Then I should say — But you will judge best, no doubt.”
“ Do not be offended, doctor. It is a matter of much difficulty. I have had such anxious hours; but from this moment I am resolved. To-night you shall learn the whole. As soon as I can leave Yone, I will go to your office.”
At a later hour she came, bringing news that was indeed unlooked for.
“ Arthur Milton is here ! ”
My amazement was so great that for a while I could not answer, but stared speechless at her, awaiting further intelligence. As she likewise remained silent, I brought my mind to bear more clearly upon the strange announcement, and to consider what it portended.
“Arthur Milton?” I repeated. “ Here again, to witness — Do you mean that he is in this city ? ”
“ I believe so ; certainly not far away. I received a letter from him, dated Yokohama, early this morning, — a truly mournful and penitent letter. Doctor, I do think it would move the most unforgiving spirit. Pray tell me, are you as sure as ever that he has no good quality in him ? ”
“ He has ingenuity, at least. Why did he write to you instead of me, do you suppose ? ”
“ I have been wondering why.”
“ Then I will tell you. Because he knew his false lamentations could no longer impose upon me, and he thought a woman might be more successfully deluded. Nothing could be easier than for him to learn how intimate you and Yone had become. He would have no difficulty in informing himself about our journey in the country. I ’ll warrant he urges you to conceal his return, and the fact of his writing, from me.”
“ You are not altogether right, doctor. He asks me to see him first, and after one interview he is willing — he desires, even — that you shall be told. I wish to be guided solely by what is best for Yone. I think of nothing else. I will leave his letter with you, and tomorrow morning we will consider all its merits, or its faults. But I must ask — more than that, I must demand — to speak and to be heard in this matter. Yone is a woman, my younger sister, — I feel her to be that, and nothing less ; and there are things concerning which a woman’s loving instinct is more to be trusted than the wisest father’s sagacity. Dr. Charwell, we must think and work together, in this.”
“ God bless you, my child. I ask for nothing better than your generous help ; but I beseech you to build no flattering hope on so vain a foundation as Milton’s honor or integrity. That is my only warning. And now, good-night.
The letter, as might be expected, was eloquent, pathetic, and eminently calculated to move the compassion of any person not familiar with the writer’s loose and vacillating nature. Knowing him as I now did, I nevertheless was struck with its seeming grief and remorse. It was most difficult to distrust the genuineness of his emotion — at the time of writing. He had, moreover, some remarkable facts to communicate. He had met his party on their return from Peking to Shanghai, and after a series of vain endeavors to share their pleasures, and a futile struggle to accompany them on their journey through Southern Asia, had gathered together the members of his family, told them — unreservedly, he declared — the story of the past few weeks, and proclaimed his purpose to return to Japan without delay, there to fulfill what he knew was his duty, and to insure the happiness of his life. With no little pains, but yet with less than he anticipated, he had obtained his mother’s and his sister’s assent, which was not, indeed, indispensable, but which would stand in proof of the honesty of his intentions. At this point, the idea appeared to be conveyed that Mrs. Milton and her daughter were profoundly conscious of the sacrifice about to be made, and had pressed entreaty and remonstrance upon him, until they found his resolution utterly immovable. That was the weak passage in an effusion of which the greater part was distinguished by a touching accent of humility.
In the morning, I found Miss Gibson better prepared than I had hoped for what she had to hear. She listened with all the control she could command while I told her the hour of separation was very near at hand, and found some relief from her anguish in my assurance that Yone’s life would end as tranquilly as it had passed, and far more painlessly. We agreed that she should herself decide upon the question of permitting Milton to visit her, as her composure was greater and her judgment, we believed, clearer than our own. And when we submitted it to her, we found that our confidence was justified.
“ I told you, doctor, that he must never come to see me again,” she said. “ Yes, you remember that. But I did not know what would happen so soon. It is different now. If you are willing, he shall come.”
After a few words of explanation, Miss Gibson started for the place where he had said he could be found. Immediately upon her departure, Yone beckoned to me with the pretty Japanese gesture of invitation.
“ Please sit beside me, doctor, and let me hold your hand. I am glad we may be alone a little. One thing I wish to say which Marian, perhaps, would not understand; hut you, dear friend, understand everything. It is selfish, — oh, I can see very selfish thoughts, if I look to the bottom of my heart, — but it shall be confessed. I must tell you how happy I am to remember that you are not young. You do not need to show me that this is not right. I know, — I know. I love Marian dearly ; she has been like a true sister to me, — how beautiful and good ! But it is to you I owe everything, — all, all. all the brightness the world has ever contained for me. I can bear to wait for her; but you, my constant help and protection, the guardian of my whole life, the father of my soul, — ah, I have taken such pleasure in hoping we shall be so little time apart. If it is wrong, you will forgive me. You always have forgiven Yone’s faults.”
“ Don’t, Yone, — don’t speak to me like that. You are stronger than I am, now, my child. Think what I am feeling, and say no more, dear; not just yet, — not just yet.”
She took her hand from mine, and, as if wishing to dispel the sad emotions she had awakened, held up the little feeble fingers for my inspection, smiling at the recollection they happened to suggest.
“ Do you remember Mrs. Steele ? ” she said. “ Mrs. Steele would not complain of these hands. How they once did vex her! She would not scold me now.”
“ Nor would she ever, if she had a woman’s heart.”
“ Oh, doctor, forgive me, but I think you are hasty to say that. It was a great trouble to her, my untidiness; and she could not know the reason. No, no; I should never mind that. Only, when ” —
“ Go on, Yone.”
“ Yes, there is something else. When we were all three together, at Miyanoshita, — oh, those glad days ! — I was never so happy, and my thoughts went out joyfully to everybody I had ever known. I wanted to tell them all of my good fortune, my pleasure, how grateful I was. I wrote a letter to Mrs. Steele. I thought she would not be unwilling to hear about the brightness that had come, as she knew something of my sorrows. I thought so, but ” —
“ She did not answer ? ”
“ Perhaps she never received the letter, Yone.”
“ She received it, doctor.”
“ Do not be too sure; I will make inquiry.”
“ That is not necessary ; she sent it back to me.”
“ My poor patient darling. Why in God’s name do all the women who come here leave charity and humanity behind them ? ”
“ Not all, doctor, — not all. I have Marian, and for her dear sake I will think no evil thing of any of them. You will tell Mrs. Steele, some day, when it is right to do so, — when she knows all the truth, — that Yone sent her a farewell message through you, and ” —
“ Forgave her ? ”
“ Yes, if that word is not amiss, to my teacher and my elder.”
Again she clasped my hand, and we remained in silence until the faithful messenger reappeared.
“ He will be here,” she told us, “ very soon ; but if he gets a warning, at the door, that he is too early, he will go away, and return after another hour.”
“ He must not wait too long,” said Yone placidly, “ if he wishes me to see him.”
“ Dear Yone,” entreated Marian, “ you cut me to the heart. Do not grieve us so.”
“ But we are not to deceive ourselves in what we think or what we say. Let us look at what is coming without fear. Tell me, Marian, where has he been since I last saw him ? ”
“ Mr. Milton ? He has been in China and Siam. He came back on your account only.”
“ Does he know how ill I am ? ”
“ I have told him — all.”
“ Yes,” sighed Yone; “ yes, that is best. It will spare him pain.”
“ But — what can I say ? He will not believe me. He passes it all by as mere exaggeration or illusion. Would to God he were right! I hope he is right. Oh, I hope, I hope ” —
The tender-hearted girl burst into tears, and her speech became broken and incoherent.
“ It gives me great joy to know how much you love me,” said Yone. “That was the last blessing I could wish for; and it came, dear Marian, when I did deeply need it. Now I shall tell you all the truth. You know what my doctor has done for me ever since I was a little, foolish, ignorant child. He alone is nearer to me than you, my dear, and for a while he must be; but early in the millions of happy years of our next companionship, our affection will become quite the same. Yone will have no cause to seem unkind in speaking of earthly preferences.”
“ You are never unkind.” Miss Gibson declared; “ but is that the belief of your people ? ”
“ That is what we learn for truth,” answered Yone.
“ I did not know it,” said the older girl. “ And do you think, — forgive me, Yone, — do you think that in time your good-will may extend to all you have ever met — even those who have not cared for you — even such as —those ladies of the school ? ”
“ Oh, surely so ! ” replied Yone ; “ how can you ask me ? ”
“ I will ask no more, dear love ; your answers shame me.”
Soon after, the dying girl requested me to move her bed near the centre of the room, so that one of us, her friends, might be on either side of her. As we sat thus upon the edges of the cot, she passed an arm around each, letting her thin, worn hands rest upon our shoulders, and raising herself by this means to a higher position.
“ Now I am comfortable,” she said. “ Doctor, let my left hand hold your right, and, Marian, my right shall clasp your left.”
Her pulse was feeble, though not alarmingly so ; and I should have derived some satisfaction from her slight ability to exert herself, but that a soft flush came into her cheeks as she remarked: —
“ This is a great liberty for a Japanese girl; but for once you will not mind it. . . . Yet you are not to forget it,” she added, smiling gently at us in turn.
A servant appeared, with the announcement that Mr. Milton was asking for me below. I was about to disengage myself, when Yone interposed, saying: —
“ No, do not go ; do not leave me, either of you. I am best in this way. Lifted upright, as I am, I speak more easily.”
“ Are you well enough to speak at all ?” I asked. “ Do not attempt too much.”
But Miss Gibson had given orders that the visitor be brought to us, and Yone said softly : —
“ I wish to see him. I need to see him now.”
I doubt, nevertheless, if she could have been in any degree prepared for the agitating incidents which ensued. We heard his footsteps rapidly approaching, then saw his well-remembered form and face framed for an instant in the doorway. For an instant, only, he stood motionless. Then he tottered, caught vainly at the lintel above with an outstretched arm, staggered blindly forward, and fell, with a sharp cry, by the side of the bed, where he remained kneeling, his head clutched within his hands, and resting, half hidden, close to the body of the girl from whose life he had driven peace and gladness.
“ My God, O my God, what is this ? ” he presently cried. “ What does it mean ? What have you done to her ? Yone, for merciful Heaven’s sake, speak to me! I don’t dare to look at you, but give me a word, — just one word. Or you. Dr. Charwell, — are you here ? For God’s sake, tell me this is not the end ! ”
There was a brief interval, and then Yone’s sweet and plaintive voice was heard.
“ It is not the end, Arthur,” she said, “ and I am more glad than I can tell that you are here in time. I wonder that I am so glad. I thought I could have died without much grief if you had not come; but now I see how little I knew myself.”
“ Why does she talk of dying?” exclaimed Milton, partly raising his face, and giving a sidelong glance at me, but still averting his eyes from the wasted form beside him. “ She shall live a life of such happiness as a man’s best affection can give her. I am here with my hand and my name for her acceptance. Santo will consent to an honorable divorce, and Yone shall have all the devotion that a true lover and an honest husband can bestow. Oh, Yone, don’t speak of leaving me, my treasure; don’t think of it. Come to me as I have come to you.’’
Yone had started when he spoke of the divorce, for the scheme had never been revealed to her ; but his meaning was plain before he had finished.
“ Then you did come to marry me,” she said simply.
“ I do, I do ! ” he cried. “ You shall soon see. My mother and my sister wish it, too, Yone. They have sent their love to you, and many messages of kindness. As soon as you are better you shall learn everything.”
“ Arthur,” she said gravely, “look in my face.”
With slow and reluctant movements, as if afraid to confront again the sight which met him when he entered, he turned his eyes upward, and fixed them upon the features he had hitherto seen only in health and loveliness, but which now revealed the fatal signs of a hopeless disease. Stricken speechless, he gazed upon the face which had once been lighted by a rare and noble attachment, — an attachment called into existence by him, but upon which he had trampled with the recklessness of a blind and unmanly egotism. And as she returned his gaze, there came back before our amazed view a strange and chastened reflection of the purity, the modest grace, and tender delicacy which had made all other youthful charms appear dim and dull beside those of Yone Yamada. At the summons of the only absorbing love she had ever known, the fairness of her brighter days revived and clothed her again with the unforgotten beauty.
“ I see nothing to disturb me,” he faltered. “You have been ill, very ill, I fear ; but Dr. Charwell — who has been my best friend when I least thought him so — will soon restore yon to us. Heaven only knows what I shall owe him then! ”
It was a marvel, the power of this creature of impulse over our senses, when our judgment still refused to condone his baseness. As he knelt before us all, with a glow, hardly less fervent than Yone’s transient flush, beaming from his eyes, and with his whole aspect betraying the most eager and intense solicitude, it seemed cruel to doubt that he realized, at last, the force of his former iniquity. In any case, this was not the time for suggesting doubts, and we — Miss Gibson and myself — were grateful for even the briefest term of happiness which Yone could enjoy. As I caught Marian’s interrogating glance, I almost allowed myself to disregard the sorrowful testimony of experience, and to imagine the possibility that the newly kindled joy might inspire with fresh vitality that fragile and exhausted frame. Alas, it was but a passing fancy, unsustained by any reality of hope.
“ Come nearer to me, Arthur,” said the fading girl; and as he moved forward, still kneeling, she disengaged her hand from my shoulder, and laid it upon his head.
“ Regard him now, doctor,” she continued, appealingly ; “ he never thought to harm me. Marian, he meant no wrong. He did not know. I am sure he did not know.”
“ Yone, you crush me with your goodness,” Milton answered, in half-stifled tones. “ I did think to harm you. I did mean wrong. I cannot keep the truth from you. But now all is changed. All shall be well, my poor, wounded dove. I know how to love you as you deserve, now; they shall all witness it. I think of nothing but to make you my wife, if — if only you will forgive me.”
“ Forgive you ? ” she responded, in a tone which, gentle as it was, thrilled through us all. “Forgive you? — Oh, Arthur! But I think my two best friends, here, may not understand you as well as I do. This is what they will both do to please me. Doctor, you will forgive all his mistakes. Marian, you too, for my sake.”
“ I do not yet know Miss Gibson,” murmured Milton, “ and Dr. Charwell does not know me — as I am now. But if they will wait ” —
“ Oh, no,” said Yone ; “ there is no need to wait. They will refuse me nothing. But I wish them to feel that you — that you deserve it. Therefore, in the days to come, when I can no longer speak for you, dear Arthur, let your actions, I pray you, always he such as to keep their friendship with you true and sacred.”
He looked at us with a bewildered air, and again turned to Yone.
“ Do not misunderstand me, Yone. I am sure you misunderstand me, for you could not be willingly unkind. I ask that we may never be separated. I shall always be near you till you are well, and from that time we shall constantly be together.”
“ Arthur, it is you who will not understand. Are you alone unable to see what all the rest can see? Speak to me no more like that. You cannot know the happiness I feel, except only for the grief I must soon give to you around me. And now — but you will wait for me a little; I am fatigued. Marian, dear, please raise me again.”
She was moved, as she desired, and as her lips were dry, I moistened them with a cooling cordial. She thanked us, and closed her eyes wearily, still keeping her hand on Milton’s head.
“ If this is real,” he muttered huskily, “ what is left for me ? Must I wait for God’s just vengeance, or will it strike me here and now ? ”
Yone heard, but did not comprehend. She opened her eyes, looked at us intently for a space, and then, more faintly than ever before, said, with an effort that could not be concealed : —
“ Now I shall ask you each to place your right hand upon my breast, as I lie here. I wish to fold mine over them. It is only for a little time.”
We did as she requested, and as she laid her slender hands upon ours, and pressed them near her heart, she added, with a smile of infinite tenderness : —
“ This is my utmost power. It is all I have, and I give it to you to show the strength of my love for you.”
Again the eyelids fell, and all was silence.
As we stood motionless, fearing, indeed, to stir, nor daring to look at one another, a curious sound came through the hall-way, as of heavy bodies moved or moving stealthily. We felt that the shock of a rude intrusion would be unbearable, yet none of us could stir to close the door.
Presently we heard rough whispering, yet still we were incapable of breaking that solemn circle.
The voices drew nearer. One of them, at least, could be recognized. Speaking in Japanese, that memorable “ reclaimer,”Miss Jackman, delivered herself thus, in an undertone, though apparently with little intention of concealment: —
“ That is the door. Go in there : you will see what I have brought you for.”
The next instant we heard her retreating footsteps, while Santo, the boatbuilder, entered the chamber.
“ What does it mean ? ” he asked. “ The big woman — why, she is gone now — she came to my place, with round eyes and a green face, and dragged me hither in a jin-riki-sha. She had two jin-riki-shas ready, waiting for us. She told me to be calm, and to be merciful, and to shed no blood. Why should I not be calm and merciful ; and why should I shed blood ? Ah, ha ! Is she crazy, more or less, that big one ? Now here is nobody but the doctor, and the teacher-miss, and the young American buyer of boats. Yes, she told me he was here, very softly, making such awful faces as you never saw. Ha, ha ! To be sure, she is crazy, —all crazy, every pound of her. And there is my Yone. Will it do me no harm to go near her ? You think not? Well, cholera is a thing to keep away from, generally. How is she now, doctor ? ”
Then noticing that we kept our heads averted, he drew nearer, and peered inquisitively at us. At the same moment, Yone’s thin, attenuated hands relaxed their grasp, and fell to her sides. Milton dropped to his knees again, and hid his face from sight. Marian threw her arms about the frail figure, trembling violently, though with slight audible demonstration of grief. I turned to the husband, who had been brought with such malicious design, and whose advent had been so strangely timed.
“ What! is she, then, dead? ” he inquired, subduing his harsh voice, and staring with astonishment at the unexpected sight before him.
I made an affirmative gesture.
“ But this is stranger than anything in the world. Why are they crying ? You, too, — I see you are crying. Is it because she is dead ? ”
“ It is.”
“ Well, I cannot understand it. I should never think of crying. I may cry at the theatre, or when I listen to the hanashi-ka, but not in my own house. Is it a custom of foreigners ? ”
“ Not always. But we respected and admired Yone very much, and loved her dearly.”
“ What, that poor little doll ? ”
“ She was a good woman, Santo, — the best woman I have known in all my life.”
“ I never knew that, Doctor-san, — never thought of such a thing. Are you sure of it ? ”
“ Quite sure.”
“ Because that other, the big woman, tried to say — Oh, but she is crazy from head to foot.”
“ Entirely so. And now, Santo Yorikichi, if you will excuse me, we will not talk any more. You shall stay, or go ; but you must allow us to be quiet.”
“ Yes, I will go. I have no idea of foreign customs. To think that my poor Yone was so good a woman, and I never suspected it! It is a pity I did not learn it earlier. I will go, — I will go. To-morrow we will make some arrangements about the burial. Good-day to everybody. Farewell, Yone ; I shall tell our neighbors how good a woman you were. I wish I had known that before.”
He went out, with an evident desire to maintain a decorous bearing, but obviously more startled and bewildered than touched by grief, and, I made no doubt, calculating in his mind the probable cost of the ceremonies which he would be called upon to pay for. His anxieties on this latter question were, indeed, turned to our advantage ; for we found no difficulty in obtaining his consent that the interment should take place at Tenno-ji, a tranquil and not too sombre burial - ground, partly appropriated to aliens, where we were able to procure a tomb in one of the most silent and secluded corners. There, at last, this longsuffering, white-souled little pagan saint found rest.
REST AND SILENCE.
We were sitting, Marian Gibson and I, beside Yone’s grave, one afternoon, some weeks after the sepulture, when We saw approaching a species of irregular procession, in the centre of which we detected the monolithic figures of the Misses Philipson. Our familiarity with the neighborhood enabled us to retire unobserved, and take shelter behind a cluster of willows, which, while concealing us, left the new-comers open to our inspection. Their object in visiting the spot we could not at first divine, being confident that the sisters, at least, had no precise knowledge as to Yone’s modest tomb ; but we soon discovered that they were escorting a party of excursionists through the noted localities of Tokio, and had crossed over from the Park of Uyeno, hard by, to this sequestered retreat. Four or five of their most advanced pupils were with them ; brought out, no doubt, to serve as guides and interpreters. As they drew near to Yone’s little inclosure, these young girls detached themselves from the others, walked rapidly forward, and, falling on their knees before the gate, devoutly inclined their bodies until their foreheads touched the green sods. The astonishment with which the Philipsons regarded this proceeding proved to us that a revelation was awaiting them. First of all, however, a note of objurgation was sounded by the younger of the twain: —
“ Whatever does this mean, girls, getting on your knees in all this dust and mud ? Explain yourself, Tama Yasuda. Come here, all of you ; don’t stay sprawling there when I call you.”
“ Be moderate with them, Kezia, I beseech you,” said the elder, not disinclined to pose before the visitors in the character of a merciful intercessor, and at the same time to impart an erudite interest to the occasion. “ These poor children are all familiar with the ancient shrines,” she continued, “ even when the landmarks are set aside, as in this neighborhood. Now I dare say that if we listen to them, they can tell us an impressive story of fortitude and heroism, or pious devotion, connected with this very spot. That, no doubt, is the explanation of the reverent prostration we have just witnessed.”
By this time the younger Miss P. had drawn the facts from her scholars, and was advancing toward her senior, endeavoring, by facial contortions of the most extravagant description, to arrest the latter’s flow of historical eloquence.
“ What is it, sister ? ” was the gracious inquiry. “ What is the object of veneration associated with this scene of classic beauty ? ”
A rapid whisper followed.
“ Indeed ! ” said Miss P. No. 1, with portentous dignity. “ You girls, you five, will report yourselves for punishment to-morrow, before breakfast. Such disgusting slovenliness ! Such heartless disregard of the unhealed scars of our innermost wounds ! ”
Here, however, some of the travelers, whose curiosity was excited by the sudden transition from benignant complacency to vengeful ire, made bold to ask for an elucidation; whereupon the too precipitate superior of the academy found it necessary to take in sail, and tack, and perform other manœuvres to which her skill and cleverness were not wholly adequate.
“ The truth is simply this,” she said, trembling with indignation and a fear that she might, in her confusion, mix herself up more ridiculously than was appropriate to a responsible elderly female, — “ simply this : that these forward minxes seem to have engaged in a conspiracy to mortify us. I now learn for the first time that this is the grave of a young woman, a Japanese, in whom we took a great interest both before and after her marriage, but who ill repaid our watchful care. She was respectable enough while under our eyes, but she afterward got completely corrupted by contact with a young American ; and as she showed no shame, and would not repent, keeping up the improper connection to the day of her death, we believe, we were obliged, of course, to throw her off. She was a sort of leader among a certain set of native girls, and, as you have seen to-day, their obstinacy is incorrigible. There is no accounting for it, except by remembering, as we are constantly compelled to do, that we are in Japan.”
We were listening, of necessity, to the chorus of asinine acquiescence which arose as the party passed on, — the silly echoes of “ Quite so,” “ To be sure,” “ How truly dreadful,” “ So sad,” — when Marian uttered an exclamation of alarm, and, darting from me down a steep side-path, succeeded in arresting the onward progress of a young man who was marching with great strides in pursuit of the retiring body.
“ Let me go,” he said. “ There may be a man or two among them, to learn what it is to desecrate a grave.”
“ You shall not go! ” exclaimed Marian. “ Would you cast a blot upon Yone’s perfect memory? Come with me ; come with us. You surely did not see the whole. The beginning would have reconciled you to the end.”
“ The brutes — the devilish hags ! ” he cried passionately.
“ Milton,” said I, having now made my way down to the level where he stood, “ it was as hard for me as for you, but I had to bear it. Reflect seriously : shall the poor girl’s peace be broken, and by you, in this her only place of repose ? ”
“ You are right,” he answered, “ and perhaps I ought not to be here when foreigners are likely to come ; but it is not easy to keep away.”
“ We have not seen you since the burial,” said I; “ where have you been ? ”
“ I have found,” he replied, after some hesitation, “ a little house in the priests’ quarters, close by. It is very comfortable, and the people are very nice. Will you come and see ? ”
He led us to one of the daintiest cottages imaginable, built originally in the quaint old native style, but variously modified and adapted for foreign occupation. Observing that our attention was attracted by the evidences of care and expense which had been bestowed upon it, he remarked : —
“ It was hardly habitable when I first came, and, as I mean to remain, I had to put it in order.”
Marian looked at him with innocent and admiring wonder. I saw no occasion for pursuing a conversation on the line suggested, and we presently left him to his uneasy solitude.
The day was not far spent, and we directed our steps toward Yone’s recent dwelling, upon the opposite bank of the river. Santo received us at the gate, as he had met us on Miss Gibson’s first arrival, a few months before, and silently guided us to the chamber in which we had found the invalid of whom we were then in search. He threw aside the door, and we saw, to our surprise, that the contents were precisely as they had Been left by the former occupant of the little apartment. Nothing had been removed, and the arrangement of the simple furniture appeared in all respects unchanged.
“ Will you go in?” he said. “ You see everything is the same. I have been thinking a little; perhaps she will be pleased.”
“ You have been very good, Santo Yorikichi; we thank you sincerely.”
“ It is a small matter,” he answered quickly, in a tone which seemed to protest against the imputation of undue sensibility. “ The house is large, there is plenty of room, it gives no trouble, and it costs nothing.”
Observing that he remained in the passage, I asked him to come nearer to us.
“ No, no,” he objected; “ I never go there. The servants do everything very carefully. It is their duty, but I never go in.”
“ Since you are kind enough to let us enter,” said Miss Gibson, “ I hope you will join us.”
I translated her remark, but without immediate effect.
“ Ah, it is different for you,” he replied. “ You understood, — I never did. You did not tell me about her. No, I will wait here.”
“ Beg him to come this once, doctor.”
I told him that we both earnestly wished it, and then he yielded.
“ Do you think I might ? Would she like it ? Truly, you ought to know. Well, I will do as you bid. The room belongs to her, and you are her friends. If you say it is right, I will come. Indeed, I do not keep myself apart from her always. I go to her tablet every day. You shall see the tablet presently. I hope you will be content with the name that the priests have chosen. To find the best name is not an easy thing, they say. It is a sorrow, Doctor-san, that no one told me she was so good, while she was alive. It is a great sorrow, but I have thought about it many times since she died.”
He walked to the little bed on which she had lain, and knelt beside it, inclining his head as if in meditation. Miss Gibson was much moved. Approaching him, and resting her hand upon his shoulder, she said : —
“ If you know it now, Santo-san, that is enough for you and for her.”
Without responding, or appearing to be aware of her touch, he raised himself slowly, and began to recite the openingline of a song which we recognized as one that Yone had been used to sing. After a few unsteady syllables, his voice fell hoarsely to a dull, unmeaning sound. He flung out his right arm, as if to thrust away the unusual emotion which oppressed him, and endeavored, almost fiercely, to continue the familiar verse. Again his utterance was suddenly broken, and his heavy frame was shaken by three or four harsh, grating, gasping sobs. Then, dashing his hand across his forehead, he turned, and ran headlong from the room, while we stood in shocked amazement at the unexpected, and to me inexplicable, outburst. A moment later we heard him in the boatyard, furiously berating the workmen for some hastily imagined offense.
“ Let us go,” said Miss Gibson ; “ he cannot hear to meet us after this. He will think he ought to be ashamed of his weakness, the dear, rough, honest soul.” “ But he wished to show us Yone’s ihai ” (posthumous tablet), I suggested.
“ Not now ; we will come another time. You do not quite understand him, doctor; Yone and I noticed that, not long ago, on this very spot. No, let us go at once, without speaking to him again.”
As we made our way off the premises, we were obliged to pass near him, but he avoided us, pretending to gaze in another direction, and the air resounded with fresh and more vehement vituperations of his astonished laborers.
“ How he scolds, God bless him! ” exclaimed my companion, with what I chose to pronounce the purest feminine inconsequence. But I was fain to admit that his scolding was more satisfactory to my ear than Mr. Milton’s protestations of unending constancy had been.
“ Yet Mr. Milton declares that he means to remain in perpetual seclusion at Uyeno,” said Miss Gibson, in a somewhat awe-stricken tone, as we walked toward Tsukiji. “ Will he really never leave that place ? ”
“ ‘ Never ’ is a terribly long word,” I replied.
“ But to think that he should give up even the years of his youth so devotedly ! ”
“ My child, he will not give up the years of his youth, nor yet a single year. Pray make no mistake about that.”
“ Doctor, you think him utterly incapable of truthfulness or good feeling. You are too hard upon him.”
“ Oh, no ; I think he is a better man than he was, and that his experience in Japan has done him good. Whether the result was worth the sacrifice of such a life as Yone’s I shall not say. But certainly it would do him no additional good to stay where he now is, even for a little while.”
“ He said he should.”
“ And he thinks so, undoubtedly, for the moment. But the mere fact that he is fitting up the little cottage so luxuriously shows he is not in the ascetic frame of mind suitable for a long term of isolation. No, indeed; we shall soon see the last of him, —or rather I shall. You will meet him in another season or so, as you go your social ways in Boston.”
“ Then I am to be driven out of Japan, also: is that your determination, doctor ? ”
“ There is not much to keep you here, Marian,” said I. “ At your age you can do nothing alone, and you have not the experience nor the patience to ally yourself with young women of Yone’s stamp, even if you were sure of finding them. Yet I know you will never forget your little friend, and, far away in the future, when you have learned more of the world’s lessons, you may be able to come back and give a helping hand to those who will then be struggling, as she did, and falling by the wayside, as she did not, for want of sympathy and charity. But I don’t think it very likely. The odds are against your ever seeing this country again, after you once leave it.”
“ Perhaps so ; who can tell ? In any event, doctor, as you say, I shall never forget.”
Nor do I believe she has forgotten, though I have heard but seldom from her since she sailed away, a few months after we had thus conversed together. Milton waited a little longer, and was then summoned home by that “ necessary business ” which is the convenient pretext of the habitual idler. He was fervent, on his departure, in protesting that he would rejoin me the following summer ; but several summers have since passed, without bringing him. Not long after reaching Boston, he wrote to ask if I would take charge of a fund — a truly munificent amount, I am bound to say — for the protection and education of deserving Japanese girls ; or, if preferable, for the establishment of an academy in which young women should be harbored and taught, upon principles directly adverse to certain false and injurious Western methods. The scheme was not without attractions, but no amount of attractiveness could induce me to coöperate in such a project with Arthur Milton. By no process so easy and simple to him could I be led to condone his crime, or to associate any act of his with the memory of the gentle creature whose existence he had darkened with grief and desolation.
In the execution of a more modest and unambitious trust confided to me, I have, however, found a satisfaction which time has never deadened or diminished. At the appropriate seasons of each year, packages of flower-seeds, from Shizu Roberts, in Scotland, cross the seas, accompanied by small sums of money, which I am requested to apply to the embellishment of the inclosure wherein the dearest object of her love and veneration lies. An occasional line from her husband vouchsafes the information that nothing would gratify him more than to increase the humble contribution a hundred-fold, “in honor of that truly good woman; ” but that Shizu has set her heart upon maintaining the supply from a little domestic fund, which is “ all her own,” and he cannot oppose a wish expressed with such extreme intensity of feeling.
The elder Miss Philipson no longer enjoys the satisfaction of attributing the mischances of her declining years to the circumstance that she is “in Japan.” She was, in due season, relieved from the cares of school administration, and, with her sister, returned to illuminate the councils of credulous devotees at home. I have never heard that either of the ladies suffered in any form for the possible errors of their Oriental career. On the contrary, they flourished socially and prospered materially; the time not having arrived, in their day, for the application of such tests as should determine the trustworthiness of those who bring tidings from the unknown East. They were greatly in requisition for lectures and addresses on topics with which their extensive experience was supposed to make them familiar. For reasons satisfactory to their friends, however, they did not pursue a common path. It was deemed preferable that they should separately shine as examples of zealous and devoted service among the heathen. Keen observers had remarked that when they were brought together upon the same platform, a jarring lack of perfect harmony was perceptible in the proceedings. Thus, when Miss Sophia would relate — “with due reservations, necessitated by political exigency,” as she explained — the circumstances under which she had converted an illustrious personage to Christianity, sister Kezia would assume an expression of countenance which could hardly be called confirmatory of that interesting narrative. And when the younger lady told how she had once marshaled a host of promising pupils, “ daughters of the aristocracy,” and marched them into Yedo Bay, to be baptized in a body, sister Sophia was heard to whisper to those around her that the children certainly underwent the immersion described, but did so in the conviction that they were simply to be taught swimming in foreign style. When privately questioned as to these disagreements, Miss Sophia would declare, with a compassionate smile, that, notwithstanding her admitted seniority of age, it had been happily vouchsafed that her memory, at least, had never suffered from the strain of mental exertion to which she had, for years, been subjected; and Miss Kezia would intimate that one of her chief sources of content was the reflection that a protracted sojourn in a land renowned for the romantic inventiveness of its people had not tended to an abnormal development of her purely imaginative faculties, however it might have affected others. Whereupon, although it was acknowledged, by the community they adorned, that the awakening stimulus of their recitals was too valuable to be sacrificed, arrangements were made by which they might, for the future, revolve in different orbits.
And Dr. Charwell? There has been little enough in his life to interest any reader, during the eight or nine years since the occurrences hereinbefore related. I dare say he is credited by his neighbors with an abundance of the morose eccentricity which distinguishes most foreigners who grow old in the service of an adopted country, and I am bound to admit that he makes few exertions to secure a more favorable verdict, either from aliens or from the people among whom he has cast his lot. I may mention that he undertook, last summer, not without misgivings, an excursion to a certain popular wateringplace, — a favorite resort of his a dozen years ago. But the place had lost its old attraction. The streams sparkled less brightly; the bloom of the gardens was dim; the songs of the forest birds and insects failed to charm again. It was not a successful expedition, and it will never he repeated. I must confess that, as the days go by, the doctor does little to dispel the gloom which, as he very well knows, is said to be gathering mistily about him. He cares for no companionship, excepting that of an aged cat, which he cherishes with much consideration, although the creature has long outlived all possible usefulness, and he consorts with none of his own species, unless it may be, upon odd occasions, with an uncouth and crusty old carpenter, who plies his trade of boat-builder near Yokoämi, on the Sumida River. For the rest, his sole habit of recreation, if so it can be called, is as lugubrious as the character attributed to him. At frequent intervals be walks out to Uyeno, the city’s gayest pleasure park, not to seek diversion in its noble avenues and shining lawns, but to wander among the graves of Tenno-ji, an adjoining cemetery. One of these, noted for its constant adornment of flowers at all seasons of the year, is said to be the object of his chief attention, though as regards the cause of his interest reports are uncertain. Time runs swiftly in Japan, and the periods of foreign residence are commonly so brief as to allow no extensive range of memory ; and, as the modest inclosure contains no stone or tablet to assist investigation, it is an unsettled question whether the ground is tenanted or vacant. As nearly as I can ascertain, the general opinion is that the doctor, who makes no secret of his intention never to leave the soil of Japan, has chosen this as his last tenement, and takes the same morbid pleasure in keeping it well prepared for occupation that is enjoyed by many philosophers who, in the prime of life, choose to surround themselves with coffins, skeletons, and other emblems of mortality. How far this surmise is correct few can learn with exactness, during his life, for he encourages no communication on the subject. That it will eventually prove well founded, to a certain extent, there is no doubt; for, whether his time for everlasting sleep comes soon or late, his resting-place will surely be by the side of the child whom he loved better than any other being in all the world.
E. H. House.