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      There was a laugh all around at the oddity of the situation in which the boys found themselves. They tried various positions in front of the little table that had been spread for them, but no attitude they could assume was thoroughly comfortable. They squatted, they knelt, and then[Pg 172] they sat flat on the floor, but all to no purpose. They were uncomfortable, and no mistake. But they had a merry time of it, and both Fred and Frank declared they would not have missed this dinner in Japan for a great deal. It was a novelty, and they thought their schoolmates would envy them if they knew where they were.

      "I should--have turned back, my boy." After a silence the hero said more to himself than to me "Ah, if my brother were here to-night--I might live!"

      She was conscious that somebody was by her side. She looked and found that her companion was the Countess. No answer came. Hetty touched the other's arm. She was shaking from head to foot like a reed in the gale.A PAVILION IN THE PROHIBITED CITY. A PAVILION IN THE PROHIBITED CITY.

      Now the dance is off, but now it is on again, and again. The fiddler toils to finer and finer heights of enthusiasm; slippers twinkle, top-boots flash, the evens come in (to the waltz) and the odds, out on the veranda, tell one another confidentially how damp they are. Was ever an evening so smotheringly hot! Through the house-grove, where the darkness grows blacker and blacker and the tepid air more and more breathless, they peer toward the hitching-rail crowded with their horses. Shall they take their saddles in, or shall they let them get wet for fear the rebels may come with the shower, as toads do? [Laughter.] One or two, who grope out to the animals, report only a lovely picture: the glowing windows; the waltzers circling by them; in the dining-room, and across the yard in the kitchen, the house-servants darting to and fro as busy as cannoneers; on their elbows at every windowsill, and on their haunches at every door, the squalid field-hands making grotesque silhouettes against the yellow glow that streamed out into the trees.Non-election to County Club. Notice of termination of Clubs lease.

      "Osaka is one of the most important cities of Japan," Dr. Bronson continued, "and has long been celebrated for its commercial greatness. If you look at its position on the map, you will see that it is admirably situated to command trade both by land and by water; and when I tell[Pg 276] you that it contains half a million of inhabitants, you will understand that it must have had prosperity to make it so great. The streets are of good width, and they are kept cleaner than those of most other cities in Japan. The people are very proud of Osaka, and are as tender of its reputation as the inhabitants of any Western city in America are tender of theirs. There are not so many temples as in Tokio, and not so many palaces, but there is a fair number of both; and, what is better in a practical way, there are many establishments where cotton, iron, copper, bronze, and other goods are manufactured. As a commercial and manufacturing centre, Osaka is at the head, and without a rival so far as Japan is concerned."

      THERE SHE BLOWS! "THERE SHE BLOWS!"But Mr Silverdale hasnt spoken to me like that, said poor Alice.


      He had made an excursion into fairy landthat was how he framed the matter to himself. There had been The Cedars and work for him before, there would be work and The Cedars for him afterwards. Those who have drunk of the metheglin never perhaps afterwards are wholly free from the reminiscence of the sweet draught brewed magically from the heather and the honey, but they go back after their sojourn among the little people, and behave like ordinary mortals again, and eat the home-brewed bread, and move about their appointed ways. But the nights and days they have spent in the secret places of the earth will, till they die, be more vivid to them than all the actual experiences that they go through afterwards and went through before they penetrated the enchanted glen; the remembrance will colour their idle moments with the ensanguined hue of dream; that baseless fabric, that vision of hidden doors thrown open and the things that lurk within, is more rich, just because to them it is more real than the sober tonelessness of their profession or{328} pursuit. Therefore if they are wise, the best thing they can do is, like Prospero, to drown the magic book beneath the waters of absorbing employment. Often it will float up again to the surface, and each time it must be prodded back with averted eyes. So, for Keeling, a love that could not be realised once crowned the hill-tops of his nature; now that citadel and the very hill-tops themselves had been shaken down and strewn over the plains. He had now one paramount needthat of forgetting, and, since he could not forget, the need resolved itself into the effort to remember as little as possible, to use up in other ways the energy which was his, and the leisure that he could command if he chose.


      Keeling looked at him with perfectly blank eyes.