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I would have you now see her as I see her, standing before Li Po, the great poet, in her green costume. And Li Po, big, fat, with sad eyes and a twisted mouth, uncomfortable as be damned. The sun shone in the garden, the butterflies, the red and black and golden butterflies, flitted from blossom to blossom. And the bees droned. And on the banks of the green lake the kingfisher tunneled his wee house, and the wind shook the blossoms of the apple-trees. And Li Po sat on the marble slab and was very uncomfortable. And in a dark bower was Sanang, the magician, brooding like an owl. And Golden Bells stood before Li Po, and there were hurt tears in her eyes.

"Did my father or I ever do anything to you, Li Po, that you should make a song such as they sing in the market-place?"

"What song?"

"The Song of the Cockatoo."
"I don't remember."

"I'll remind you, Li Po. "There alighted on the balcony of the King of Annam,' the song goes, 'a red cockatoo. It was colored as a peach-treeblossom and it spoke the tongue of men. And the King of Annam did to it what is always done to the learned and eloquent. He took a cage with

stout bars, and shut it up inside.' And was n't that the cruel thing to write! And are you so imprisoned here, Li Po? Ah, Li Po, I'm thinking hard of you, I'm thinking hard."

"Well, now, Golden Bells, to tell you the truth, there was no excuse for it. But oftentimes I do be feeling sad, and thinking of the friends of my youth who are gone. Yuan Chen, who might have been a better poet nor me if he had been spared; and H'sienyang and Li Chien, too. Ah, they were great poets, Golden Bells. They never sang a poor song, Golden Bells, that they might wear a fine coat. And they 'd write what was true, wee mistress, were all the world to turn from them. And I 'm the laureate now, the court singer, living in my glory, and they 're dead with their dreams. I'm the last of the seven minstrels. And, wee Golden Bells, I do be thinking long.

"And sometimes an old woman in the street or a man with gray in his hair will lift a song, and before the words come to me, there 's a pain in my heart.

"And I go down to the drinkingbooths, and the passion of drinking comes on me- a fury against myself and a fury against the world. And the folk do be following me to see will I let drop one gem of verse that they

can tell their grandchildren they heard from the lips of Li Po. And when my heart is high with the drinking, I take a lute from a traveling poet, and not knowing what I 'm saying, I compose the song. Out of fallow sorrow bloom the little songs. You must n't be hard on an old man, wee Golden Bells, and he thinking long for his dead friends."

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"Ah, poor Li Po," she said, and she had grown all soft again. "Is it so terrible to be old?"

"Now you asked me a question, Golden Bells, and I'll give you an answer. Besides, it 's part of my duties to teach you wisdom. Now, it is not a terrible thing, at all, at all, to be old. I see the young folk start out in life, and before them there 's the showers of April, there 's wind and heat and thunder and lightning. But I'm in warm, brown October, and all of it 's gone by me. And in a little while I'll sleep, and 't is I need it, God help me! The old don't sleep much, wee Golden Bells, so 't is a comfort to look forward to one's rest after the hardness of the world. In a hundred or more years or five hundred, just as the fancy takes me, I'll wake up for a while and wander down the world to hear the people singing my songs, and then I'll go back to my sleep."

And she was going to ask him another question when the Sanang came up. The magician was a thick man with merry eyes and a cruel mouth.

"Golden Bells," he says, "there 's rare entertainment in the crystal glass."

"What is it, Sanang?”

"The warlocks of the Gobi have a young lad down, and they 're waiting until the soul comes out of his body. Come, I'll show you."

And in the crystal glass he showed her Marco Polo, and the knees going from under him in the roaring sands. She gave a quick cry of pity.

"Oh, the poor lad!"

Sanang chuckled. "He started out with a big caravan to preach what he thought was a truth to China. I've I've been watching him all along, and it 's

been rare sport. I knew it would come to this."

"Could n't you save him, Sanang?" she cried. "O Sanang, he's so young, and he set out to come to us. Could not you save him?"

"Well, I might." Sanang was not pleased. "It'll be a while before the shadow comes out of him. But it would be rare sport to watch and to see the warlocks and the ghouls and the goblins set on it the way terriers do be setting on an otter.”

"Oh, save him, Sanang! Save him!" "Now, Golden Bells, I might be able to save, and again I might n't," said Sanang.

"Save him, Sanang!" Li Po broke in. "Save him the way the wee one wants. For if you don't, Sanang, I ’ll write a song about you that 'll be remembered for generations, and they will point out your grandchildren and your grandchildren's grandchildren, and they'll laugh and sing Li Po's song:

"There was a fat worm who considered himself a serpent-""

"Oh, now, Li Po, for God's sake, let you not be composing poems on me, for 't is you have the bitter tongue. Promise me now, and I 'll save him. We'll send for the keeper of the khan's drums."

And they sent for the keeper, and Sanang gave a message to be put on the Speaking Drums.

"Let you now," he told his helper, "get me the Distant Ears."

And the helper brought him the Golden Ears, which were the like of a great bird's wings, and he put them on his head and he listened.

"I hear the drums of the battlements," he said, ". . and I hear the Drums of the Hill of Graves

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And he listened a while, and Golden then she cried. She caught Li Po's Bells was white.

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hand and laughed again and again she cried. Sanang shook his head to get out of his ears the deafening noises of the world. And Li Po smiled out of

"Those would be the drums of Yung his sad eyes. Chang

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"I think I'll go and write a marriage

"I hear the Drums of Kia Yu Kwan," song, Golden Bells." he said.

"Whom will you write the marriage

"Yes, Sanang, yes." Little Golden song for, Li Po?” Bells was one quiver of fear.

"I hear the Drums of the Convent of the Red Monks," said Sanang. "I hear drums calling the Tatar tribes

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"I'll write it for you, Golden Bells." "But I'm not going to be married, Li Po. There is no one. I love no one, Li Po. I do not. I do not, indeed."

"Then take your lute and sing me the 'Song of the Willow Branches,'

"Yes, Sanang. Oh, hurry, Sanang! which is the saddest song in the world." hurry!"

He listened a little while longer, and then he took off the Distant Ears.

She shook her head, and blushed.
"I cannot sing that song, Li Po. I
don't feel like singing that song.'
"Then I must write you another

"Your man 's saved," he said.
Then little Golden Bells laughed and song, little Golden Bells

(The end of the second part of Messer Marco Polo)

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The Wise Woman


She must be rich who can forego
An hour so jeweled with delight;

She must have treasuries of joy

That she can draw on day and night;

She must be sure of heaven itself.
Or is it only that she feels
How much more safe it is to lack

A thing that fate so often steals?

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The Italian Fascisti

Who They Are and What Their Aim Is By GIUSEPPE PREZZOLINI

TALY is a democracy ruled by public opinion. I make the observation, for the benefit of Americans especially, to emphasize the fact that we are not, like the people of the United States, a democracy ruled by political parties. The distinction here is a fundamental one. The great movements of popular feeling in the United States eventually find their expression in the two leading parties, Democratic and Republican, which keep their names, but change their platforms and their war-cries from election to election. The will of the American people is worked out through the machinery of its Government.

There is no such intimate connection between the Italian Government and the Italian people. In the American sense political parties do not exist in Italy. Only two political groups, the Socialist and the Clerical, have, from the definiteness of their principles and the relative weakness of their forces, anything approaching the organization of the American political party.

In reality the Italian Government is merely an administrative organism, a bureaucracy charged with managing the various departments of public service police, railroads, posts and telegraphs, customs, schools, tobacco, charities, and so on. As such it is a body of separate interests, the interests of patronage, toward which the public

at large is suspicious when not actually hostile. In Italian political elections, whatever the minor, the temporary issues, the major issue is inevitably patronage, an affair, therefore, of the office-holder or the prospective officeholder.

Americans were doubtless much surprised that in the last two elections, when Italy was a seething hotbed of passionate agitation, hardly fifty per cent. of the electorate went to the polls. To us that seems quite natural, for the Italian public does not look to its Government for civic leadership. The Government is never more than an arbiter between the great factions in public opinion, which expresses itself independently of the political bureaucracy when not in open opposition to it.

So, when looked at from abroad, and especially from a fully evolved democracy like the United States, Italy seems frequently on the verge of revolution. The Italian people is up in arms on this issue or that, while the Government stands by as an idle spectator. Patriots seize Fiume, workers seize their factories, Fascisti finally go romping up and down the peninsular at will; then, suddenly, in a day or two, a week or two, everything is over: the revolution has not come off. The foreign critic is mystified.

The fact is that in every such case a great battle has been fought in Italian

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