網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

my man and

66 It

as

never occurred to her that her

“ Have

no fear, sister," I words might need explanation said. “Thy man shall not be or preface of any kind, in order taken from thee if I can do that they might be rendered aught to prevent it. Who is intelligible, and as she looked it that seeks to separate thee at me, she sobbed out her prayer, from him ?” “O suffer me to keep my man “Men say that it is an order.” and my children, O suffer them To the Oriental an order is a not to be taken from me! kind of impersonal monster, Allah, Túan, suffer me to keep invincible and impartial, a

my

children!” creature that respects no man I knew, of course, that she and is cruel to all alike. spoke of her “man and her “Have no fear,” I said. children” simply for the sake of is true that I have bidden the decorum, since it is coarse and headman of the villages report indecent, in the eyes of an up to the number of those country woman, to speak of her afflicted by the evil sickness, husband alone, even though she but in this land of Pahang the be childless; but for the moment number is very small, the infecI supposed that she was the tion does not spread, and wife of some man accused of a therefore, sister, have no fear, crime, who had come to me hearken to my words, the Govseeking the aid I had not the ernment hath no desire to seppower to give.

arate thee from thy man. Re“What has thy man done?” turn in peace to thy home, and I asked.

put all fear away, and if aught "Done, Taan? What could cometh to trouble thee, I am at he do, seeing that he is as one hand to listen to thy plaint.” dead ? Unless one lifted him The lives of all of us, we men he could not move. But suffer whom Fate has exiled to the him not to be taken from me. uttermost ends of the earth, He is all I have, all I have, and hold many days in which Disin truth I cannot live without content, born of an aching longhim. I shall die, Túan, I shall ing for all the things from which die, if thou dost suffer this thing we are severed, and the Despair to come to pass.'

that the question Cui Bono ? Then suddenly the mist ob- Cui Bono ? brings to life, play scuring my memory rolled away, at battledore and shuttlecock and I saw the face of the woman with our tired hearts. They as I had seen it once before, are evil days, weary and dark, straining under a terrible burden and we fight through them as on the banks of the Jělai river, best we can, we who are blessed with the red sky and the dark with stamina, while they cram green of the foliage making a our churchyards with the bones background against which it of those amongst us who are stood revealed. Then at last fashioned too delicately for such I understood, and the sight of rough handling. These dark this woman's distress moved me hours of the exile are a trial strangely.

which can never be appreciated

Men say

by any one who has not him- for much, nor care greatly if self been subjected to the cruel some there be to whom such a strain. They crush the spirit feeling may appear ridiculous. from out the heart, and make life for the moment an empty So Mînah returned to her thing and vain. At such times home with joy in her heart and I like to seek comfort in the rec that glad look upon her face ; ollection of the few brown faces and in that secluded up-country into which some word or action village, not twenty miles from of mine has brought the light the place where I sit writing that otherwise had not been these lines, she still toils unkindled, and it is then that ceasingly, tending the wrecked Mînah's face rises before my creature, that is still to her the mind's eye, her features trans- man she loves, with unfailing formed by an ecstasy of relief, tenderness and care. her great soft eyes dewy with that he can live but a few unshed tears, her lips trying months longer, and it wrings vainly to speak the words of my heart to think of what the gratitude which the strength loss will be to Mînah when, to and violence of her emotions use the Malayan idiom, “the will not suffer her to utter. I order comes

to her man.

In had done nothing for her? that hour of utter desolation and True, but to her it seemed as profound loneliness no human though I had given her back all voice will have the power to the joy in life, had turned her bring that beautiful look of world from sombre indigo to gladness back to Mînah's eyes; gorgeous rose - colour in the and of Divine Voice this space of a moment. I had done daughter of the Muhammadans, nothing truly; but it is some- in spite of her pure soul and thing to have been the means her brave heart, has no knowof bringing a look such as that ledge from which to seek conto the face of a good woman. In solation. the memory I find compensation

Hugh CLIFFORD.

a

UNDER

THE

BEARD

OF BUCHANAN.

“What charm can soothe our melan- guised but no less baneful form.

choly, What art can wash our grief away ?”

Having toyed with adultery,

our lady novelists seem to have is unquestionably the problem become enamoured of suicide. of the day, and happy will be Mrs Humphry Ward made the literary agent who can solve away with her latest heroine, it. Our writers have become and that none too soon. We grave as judges, and their occa- contemplated the change with sional deviations into the sadly an equanimity which we cannot humorous are received with the profess to feel for the new lenient enthusiasm of a wearied writer who has recently, in a court - room.

A live rabbit work of great ability, put the under the partially exhausted justification of suicide forward receiver of an air-pump exhibits as “The Open Question.' The a melancholy excitement that is ability of the book, and, alas ! almost equalled in pathos by the its earnestness, are only too conduct of the general reader in apparent; but neither of these the present rarefied atmosphere can extenuate the offence of an of humour. We are fain to author who, appealing to a laugh at the most unconsidered popular audience, dares lightly trifles. To such a pass have to tamper with the very foundawe come, that men have re tions of morality, and vitiates cently been seen to smile at the public mind with a study Mr Frank Harris's Shake- in mental pathology, tricked spearian criticism, and to laugh out in the guise of fiction. We immoderately at Canon Rawns- do not envy C. E. Raimond her ley's daily sonnet. The only responsibility. It is a fascinatfear is that Mr Jerome and his ing subject, truly! the painfully merry men should again take minute record of two neurotic advantage of our necessity. We and decadent lovers who marry want humour, it is true; but for mutual gratification, and heaven protect us from a re resolve to die together before crudescence of the late New their hereditary curse Humour, which, after all, was bequeathed to another generanever really “new," but only tion. A brave and inspiriting an Anglified and diluted form gospel this, which to the quesof the Transatlantic substitute tion whether life is worth living for wit. Oh for an hour of answers, Yes—provided that we Thackeray or Dickens ! But realise clearly that the duration Melancholy, it would seem, has of life is in our own hands. A marked us for her own. more pitiful shadow of a man

We had fondly harboured the than Ethan Gano never trod delusion that the problem novel the stage of feminine fiction, had gone to its long home with and were it not for the insidious the trunk-maker, and lo! it is moral of his puling life, we with us again in a subtly dis- should heartily applaud the

can be

closing

scene where much Would you know how first he met against his own will, be it said

her? -he finally “steers for the

She was cutting bread-and-butter. Sunset.” The only redeem Charlotte was a married lady, ing character in the book is And a moral man was Werther, brave old Mrs Gano, a mother

And, for all the wealth of Indies, worthy of a Gracchus, and all

Would do nothing for to hurt her. too tolerant of her own miser

So he sighed and pined and ogled, able brood. “ You walk in And his passion boiled and bubbled, darkness,” said the old woman

Till he blew his silly brains out, on her deathbed. “ Not the

And no more was by it troubled. fear of God—that's tonic—but

Charlotte, having seen his body in the fear of pain. Oh, I've Borne before her on a shutter, watched this phase of modern Like a well-conducted person, life. It's been coming, coming

Went on cutting bread-and-butter.” for years. The world to-day is crushed and whining under a

We are bound to say, however, load of sentimentality. People that recent fiction also offers us presently will be afraid to move, several excellent antidotes for lest they do or receive some this nauseating stuff, and we hurt.” The vigorous excellence deemed ourselves fortunate when shown in the drawing of this chance made us acquainted with character leaves a loophole of the tenth edition of the story of escape for C. E. Raimond, in 'Isabel Carnaby'—a most vivathat it sometimes raises a doubt cious and entertaining book. It whether we are to read her con has all the charm, if all the faults, trariwise, and regard the book of youth, and we gladly forgive as a satire of decadence. But

But a conventional plot for so much this is only a charitable and for- sprightly dialogue. Miss Fowlorn hope; and if it be correct, it ler — to use the latest Fleet but serves to show that she has Street jargon-has arrived,” handled deadly weapons which and “should go far”; but we she cannot use without would respectfully suggest that dangering the public safety. she would go still farther were There is only one natural in she to cease to use "like" for terpretation of her book, and it “as," and were she to add to is fraught with the poisonous the many "excellencies" of her air of a hothouse philosophy. work the purely masculine vir

Thackeray, we stake the re tue of correct spelling. Some putation of Maga' on it, knew of the same magic of youth a great deal more about the which gives its perennial charm humour and the tragedy of hu- to "Mona Maclean’ has disman life than C. E. Raimond; appeared from Graham Traand to all poor souls who have vers's “Windyhaugh’; but we read “The Open Question’ we are fully recompensed by an would commend his summary infinitely more matured skill, a of problem fiction as a sovereign more subtle humour, a proantidote :

founder insight into life. There “ Werther had a love for Charlotte

is perhaps enough and to spare Such as words could never utter ; of psychology in Dr Todd's

en

UNDER

THE BEARD OF BUCHANAN.

new

What charm can soothe our melan- guised but no less baneful form. choly,

Having toyed with adultery, What art can wash our grief away?"

our lady novelists seem to have is unquestionably the problem become enamoured of suicide. of the day, and happy will be Mrs Humphry Ward made the literary agent who can solve away with her latest heroine, it. Our writers have become and that none too soon. We grave as judges, and their occa- contemplated the change with sional deviations into the sadly an equanimity which we cannot humorous are received with the profess to feel for the lenient enthusiasm of a wearied writer who has recently, in a court - room.

A live rabbit work of great ability, put the under the partially exhausted justification of suicide forward receiver of an air-pump exhibits as "The Open Question.' The a melancholy excitement that is ability of the book, and, alas! almost equalled in pathos by the its earnestness, are only too conduct of the general reader in apparent; but neither of these the present rarefied atmosphere can extenuate the offence of an of humour. We are fain to author who, appealing to a laugh at the most unconsidered popular audience, dares lightly trifles. To such a pass have to tamper with the very foundawe come, that men have re tions of morality, and vitiates cently been seen to smile at the public mind with a study Mr Frank Harris's Shake- in mental pathology, tricked spearian criticism, and to laugh out in the guise of fiction. We immoderately at Canon Rawns- do not envy C. E. Raimond her ley's daily sonnet. The only responsibility. It is a fascinatfear is that Mr Jerome and his ing subject, truly! the painfully merry men should again take minute record of two neurotic advantage of our necessity. We and decadent lovers who marry want humour, it is true; but for mutual gratification, and heaven protect us from a re- resolve to die together before crudescence of the late New their hereditary curse

can be Humour, which, after all, was bequeathed to another generanever really “new," but only tion. A brave and inspiriting an Anglified and diluted form gospel this, which to the quesof the Transatlantic substitute tion whether life is worth living for wit. Oh for an hour of answers, Yes—provided that we Thackeray or Dickens ! But realise clearly that the duration Melancholy, it would seem, has of life is in our own hands. A marked us for her own.

more pitiful shadow of a man We had fondly harboured the than Ethan Gano never trod delusion that the problem novel the stage of feminine fiction, had gone to its long home with and were it not for the insidious the trunk-maker, and lo! it is moral of his puling life, we with us again in a subtly dis- should heartily applaud the

« 上一頁繼續 »