« AnkstesnisTęsti »
ful sufferer that the cure, and everything else, was entirely due to the spell cast upon the medicine water by the sahib. Thenceforward scores of sufferers flocked our way, mostly with fever or other simple ailments, but some with diseases about which I knew nothing. All came ostensibly to see the bulbuls. Then they tarried for the sahib, if he were not at home, and on his return told him of their ailments as mere side issues.
Thus it happened that the bulbuls drew more misery to my door than I had even imagined to exist in the jungle. Yet, somehow, while the work was at hand and cost so little to do, it seemed out of reason to blame the birds for bringing it.
Matters were thus progressing when one day a stranger from afar off came to the camp. He was one of a party of four that were tarrying in the shade of the big banian-tree in the hollow, half a mile away. He was a Hindu. Therefore, of all my servants he had approached Narain Singh, who was of Brahman caste and greatly to be respected, and had confided in him his mission.
But as that mission concerned my bulbuls, Narain Singh had passed him on to Chidi Khan. Chidi Khan came to me, his gray beard bristling with indignation.
"Huzoor," said he, "this Kafir would buy a bulbul of the presence!"
This was an unusual audacity. “But, Chidi Khan," I expostulated, "why come to me with such parleying? You know they are not for sale."
Narain Singh, one of the finest fellows that ever came out of the eternal hills, and the only one that was ever as near to me as Chidi Khan, begged leave to explain.
"It is not with money the man would buy, Huzoor," said he. "He has living things to lay at the feet of the sahib, and his quest of the bulbul is concerned with a sick child.”
I bade Chidi Khan bring in the stranger and let him tell his own tale. The man came in, and salaamed decorously.
He wanted a bulbul, for which he was ready to hand over, on the spot, one small bear cub, two wolf cubs, and one kitten of a civet-cat, all rare creatures, all fresh and genuine, that he had procured at some trouble and expense. Furthermore, did the sahib so require, he would send to his brother, who was in service with the dewan, or minister of finance, to his highness the Rajah of Faridkot, in the Punjab, where peacocks, chetahs, and gazelles abounded, and would procure thence young chetahs, peacocks, or gazelles, if only the sahib would present his son with a bulbul.
"But," I protested, "bulbuls are common all over the country. You can get them anywhere for a few annas apiece. Why offer me the value of a hundred bulbuls for one of mine?" Then the murder came out.
"At Baidjanath, where we were on a pilgrimage," he explained, “men said there was a sahib in these jungles who had bulbuls wherewith miracles were wrought. I have seen the doctors of the sahibs and the Hindu doctors. They say my son cannot be cured. He is in his seventh year, and is the pearl of my heart. He has heard the men talk of the sahib and his bulbuls, and he begs for one, believing that a miracle may befall."
I went down to the banian-tree, where there were two other men and a woman, and a boy of seven with a
hopeless enlargement of the spleen. He had big eyes and a clever face, and he looked up at me with pitiful expectancy.
"It is unfortunate that you brought the cubs and the civet-cat," said I to the man, "because I can find no place for them just now; but your boy shall have his bulbul, and I wish him all health and fortune."
uniformed figure of a government chuprassy, or messenger, could be seen hurrying up the jungle trail. His brass badge and red pugree showed that he had come from the telegraph office a hundred miles away. Salaaming profoundly, he handed me the drab-colored despatch.
What matters the import thereof, save that it scattered all thoughts of mines and Santhals and bulbuls, and called me imperatively overseas? But India is a land of long and sudden partings, where one learns to expect the unexpected, and for the unexpected
So I gave them one of the bulbuls, and presently they proceeded on their way. I hope the bird worked the miracle desired by the father and the sufferer, but I greatly doubt it. Poor old Chidi Khan was sorely dis- always to be prepared. Ofttimes such consolate over my charity.
"It is bad luck, Huzoor," said he, with a solemn shake of his turbaned head; "it is bad luck."
And subsequent events seemed to bear out the old Peshawari's presentiments. About a week later, of a sultry evening, I was watching while the old fellow gathered in the bulbuls.
As he was chasing after the last of the twittering rascals, the Rampur hound that customarily sat by my chair when I was in residence bounded up from his resting-place and gave tongue. On the instant all the other dogs started baying or barking. It was rarely that a stranger came toward the camp in the later afternoon, so everybody was at once on the lookout.
Presently, piloted by a Santhal, the
messages as I received come thus in drab despatches. Ofttimes they come otherwise, hurriedly, unseen, and somebody digs a grave. Always some neighbor, near by or forty miles off, steps in to settle matters and be kind, well knowing the plight may be his own to-morrow.
So I sent a messenger, hot-foot, to my neighbor, bidding him to come and take my bulbuls and otherwise attend to some affairs.
To catch the steamer at Bombay, I should leave at latest before noon on the morrow. Two hours before dawn my neighbor came, and we drank to our merry parting. The sun was overhead when I kissed good-by to eight uncomprehending bulbuls, and set forth on my journey to the sea.
At Home in the Modern World
By GILBERT MURRAY
HE following is a condensed version of Professor Murray's recent presidential address, "Orbis Terrarum." The address, as delivered, was replete with classical reference and historical illumination. Space economy has dictated the condensation that makes possible the presentation of Professor Murray's stimulating reflections in this issue of THE CENTURY MAGAZINE. But it would be unfair both to Professor Murray and to the reader to omit an introductory suggestion of the background against which the ideas here presented were thrown.
The ancients, according to Professor Murray, lived in a "delightfully clear and definite and intellectually manageable" universe. The ancients felt at home in their world, because they conceived the universe as "one great city of gods and men," a conception that dominated the ethics, religion, and political theory of the Roman Empire. They conceived the earth as the physical center and man as the moral center of the universe. "In such a world," says Professor Murray, "it was comparatively easy for man to see his own place and his neighbor's place, to realize their common duty, and to contemplate with confidence rather than terror the before and after of his conscious life." For centuries man held in his hands a chart of the world that gave him assurance and comfort.
But this well-charted and understandable universe of the ancients was shattered by scientific discovery. Along came Copernicus and Galileo with the idea that the earth was not the center of the universe, but only one of its minor planets. If the earth was not the physical center of the universe, half of the comfortable world of the ancients was gone, and it made it more difficult to cling to the other half, namely, that man was the moral center of the universe. Thus did scientific discovery rob our ancestors of their well-charted and intelligible world and cast them naked into an uncharted and baffling immensity. They could no longer feel at home in their world as they had before.
Here Professor Murray finds the point of departure for his argument. He asserts that within recent times a change has taken place in our attitude toward the earth which is the exact opposite of the change in our ancestors' attitude toward the whole universe. For them scientific discovery shattered a world which they thought of as compact and understandable, and they had to readjust themselves to a new world of unexplored and mysterious vastness. But for us the progress of science, the sweep of exploration, and the development of transportation have shrunk the world into a well-charted and easily accessible neighborhood. Once again it is becoming possible for man to think of the world as "one great city." This time the conception
of the world as "one great city" can rest upon established fact, not upon fallacious theory, as with the ancients. Professor Murray is here concerned, therefore, with the most vital problem of our time the problem that underlies alike politics, trade, and education: How shall we adjust ourselves to this new world that has become known and neighborly, not to our own little fenced-in areas, but to the whole world, Orbis Terrarum?-THE EDITOR.
We are becoming at home in the world. If you look back in history you will find at every epoch or in every society that there is a sort of precinct, some limited area, within which the world is understood or at least understandable, and outside of which rage the unknown heathen. There is the Hellenic world, within which there are doubtless many wicked and hateful persons; but still they are Hellenes, and have customs upon which you can calculate. Their speech may be Their speech may be unintelligible to you, but at least it is a proper language. Outside are the barbaroi, making noises like birds and capable of anything. Many of them, no doubt, are very wise and virtuous, but somehow not ever people that you can be at home with. A philosopher like Plato tries to humanize the usages of war; a publicist like Isocrates tries to establish a general international concord. But both of them stop at the limits of the Hellenic world, and know that for practical purposes it is no good talking about such things with barbarians. To the men of the Middle Ages the precinct was Christendom; within reigned, ideally at least, though subject to many allowances for the difficulties of real life, the law
of Christ; outside were Jews and infidels, whose ways no one could understand or wished to understand.
Of course it would be absurd to pretend that there was only one precinct with a sharp edge, outside of which were only the rejected. There were always, no doubt, several; now there are very many precincts indeed, and they shade insensibly one into another. But this multiplication of minor precincts is, I think, the way in which the original primitive barrier breaks down. Not so very long ago a man in England who trespassed outside the bounds of his native village had to blow a horn as he went to give fair warning, unless he wished to be killed at sight.
As that sharp barrier breaks and a man obtains knowledge of the next village, the next county, then of people who speak a different language, wear different clothes, have a different religion or a different color to their skin, there may remain plenty of conscious differences and repugnances; but, with thoughtful men at least, there will not come a definite line beyond which are outlaws, between whom and yourself there are no human bonds and no moral obligation.
The essential mark of the foreigner as such, of the barbarians, of the heathen, is a difference which is not understood and does not explain itself. I remember, as a boy, loathing a certain man, a Frenchman, who had a particular kind of pouch under his eyes. It seemed to me to connote some indescribable wickedness. Then some one told me that it was a swelling of the lacrymal gland produced by exposure to a tropical sun, and I loathed him no more. It is generally some superficial and harmless characteristic
in a foreigner that, in literature, is seized upon as a ground for shuddering at him. But with increased knowledge of the world we get to see the reasons for the differences of custom, and they cease to be upsetting.
It is the same with physical characteristics. Europeans are often aware of the smell of negroes, and dislike negroes accordingly. But a very little anthropology teaches us that all human beings smell. We may find, as a friend of mine did, that a Japanese waiting-maid is apt to fall in a faint at the smell of a number of Europeans and Americans sitting at dinner. That alters the state of the case. When knowledge and understanding come in, the peculiar sense of horror connected with the unknown vanishes.
Observe, it is not a question of hating and loving. All really vigorous hatred is directed toward your neighbors, relatives, and rivals whom you know and constantly rub against; and the same is true of vigorous affection. We are considering now merely the question of a precinct, a fencedin area, within which the moral law holds, and an outer darkness in which it simply does not. It is that fence which, I think, our increase of geographical knowledge has, I will not say merely broken down, but, as far as human beings are concerned, removed off the edges of the map of the world.
At this point a critic may suggest certain facts which seem to give to my reasoning the lie direct. At the present moment there are more precincts or ring fences set up in the world, with fellow-creatures inside and mere ver
min outside, than there have been for a great many centuries. In mere pig-headed, bestial rejection of the foreigner this country and most others have of late sometimes sunk to a point of degradation which would tempt our more enlightened ancestors to disown us if they knew of it.
That may be true enough. It is of course due to the war. The strain of being allies in a long war is generally more than human nature can support. And though the contrary strain of being official enemies tends, in the actual fighter, to produce a reaction of kindliness, still, the sufferings and cruelties of this last war were so far beyond common anticipation that they have left a legacy of hate behind them. This condition, I would say, is altogether exceptional and will pass. Yet that answer to my supposed critic is not sufficient. For the fact is that inter-racial contempt and dislike were, on the whole, growing and not diminishing in the century or century and a half before the war.
Think of Sir Joshua Reynolds's noble picture of the Prince of Otaheite, and compare it with our conception of a South-Sea islander to-day. Think of the romance and majesty with which the medieval travelers endow the rulers of Cathay or the Indies, and the respect, almost amounting to awe, with which they speak of Arabian science. Think of the romantic poems written in the eighteenth century about African princes treacherously enslaved. Or, to throw one specific instance into contrast with our present attitude, consider on the one hand the eloquent pages about Africa in Condorcet's famous little book, "Esquisse d'un tableau historique des progrès de l'esprit humain," written in the