Puslapio vaizdai

tion they are seldom angry or uncivil. A plaintive tone pervades their words, even as reported by Ziegenbalg. They acknowledge the iniquities of their race without forgetting the greater wickedness of Europeans-everyone concedes the pre-eminence of that race in wickedness-but either ascribe it to the will of God, or the fact that one great age is coming to a close prior to the thorough regeneration of the whole world. But alas! the difficulty is that they will not be converted, even when they seem almost convinced. They appear to have put shrewd questions. When a physician, who has come from a great distance, hears him inveigh against a plurality of gods, he asks how he accounts for the Trinity. That, says Ziegenbalg, is a great mystery, and explains it by analogy with the soul of man, which is distinct, and yet one, with both will and understanding.

rage of the multitude, but with all provoca- | laying hold of his tail, reported to his wife and children that an elephant resembles a great pole. Another, who touched his ear, announced that the animal is like a besom; while a third, in feeling for the beast, caught his trunk in his hand, and returned to his home, well satisfied that an elephant was the image of an apothecary's pestle. But their families always held these different beliefs. One conference is with certain poets, who finally ask for employment. "First get converted," says the wily Ziegenbalg," and then we will see." But the poets wish to show their skill at once, and on any subject he may give them. Accordingly, in his humorous way, he gives a subject on his side of the recent controversy:


"But," says the physician, so do we argue with our many Gods. They are Lieutenants of our God."

"God would make use of Lieutenants like Himself," roars Ziegenbalg triumphantly; "not Robbers and Adulterers."

Yet, with all his energy, they will not be converted. The name Christianity is no news to them. St. Thomas is believed to have established a church on that coast which received bishops from Babylon for some 1,300 years. On their arrival the Portuguese captured several of these Babylonish bishops and sent them to Lisbon and Rome, where they were judged out of orders, one of them dying in a monastery. Finally the Portuguese stopped the supply from Babylon, and forcibly put one of their own number, a layman apparently, in the chair; but him the primitive Christians resisted with arms. These facts, however, conjoined with others worse, such as the license and rapacity of Europeans, the real corruptions in Christian churches, do not seem to be the actual obstacle to conversions. The reasons lie much deeper. One thing always seems to have won their approval: Ziegenbalg's hearty denunciation of the slothful Brahmans. That struck the popular fiber. But when he argued in a mixed company of Brahman and Mohammedan priests, who were politely noting the resemblances of their religion to his, they may have been amused, but were certainly not convinced, by the kind of parable he applied to them. For he informed them that certain masters of families, who were blind men, went to visit an elephant, having heard much talk of the beast. One,

"There is one God in whom we believe; and those that know Him not, but adore the Malabarian false gods, are heathens, and are in danger of being damned forever."

The poets, however, are equal to the emergency, for in a short time they write him a very fine poem against plurality of gods.

"What a pity," he says, delighted with their work, "that such genius should go to waste among heathens!"

"Well, we were born here," the poets answer," and must live. If we turned against the gods, no one would employ us."

"At this rate," retorts Ziegenbalg, “you would rather go to hell in Malabar company than to heaven in the company of strangers!"

Unfortunately for him it was too true. They would prefer what he was pleased to call hell, but which was heaven in their estimation, although, by so choosing, they were obliged to await the national transit of the soul from the body to the chair of Emen, Judge and God of Death. It seems that when the soul is breathed out of the Tamil body, Emendudakel, the messenger of that god, receives it in a kind of sack, and runs away with it through briars and thorns, and burning whirlwinds, which torment the soul to the bank of the Fiery Current, through which it has to pass to the God of Death. This is the usual proceeding. If Emen assigns hell to the new arrival, he is ushered into “a large fiery cellar, where are fiery leeches." Doubtless the good poets knew they had done nothing to deserve these fiery leeches, and therefore had no fear of their hell, while Ziegenbalg's place of punishment must be heaven, for it was to contain their gods!

One may smile at the vehemence of Bartholomæus Ziegenbalg, but what shall be said of those ten years in which his energy, as far as relates to his real object, was wasted?

It is pathetic to hear the bitterness breaking through his "conferences," and not less so is the brave face he puts on in the preface to his Tamil Grammar. His conversions, it is to be feared, were even fewer than the number he gives, and of those assured, how many were from interested motives? Let those answer who have been missionaries in Oriental lands. With him the difficulty was the same that missionaries find at the present day, but he had not the means of judging which we now possess. When his heathen opponents acknowledged the folly and wickedness of their rites, he could not see why they should hesitate; but they were perfectly aware that their debased religion rested on as sound precepts as his, and, like his, was daily perverted from the truth. He made the great mistake of treating Brahmans as heathen.

It is one thing to attack the savage rites of a barbarous tribe, and another, the ingrained religious observances of a mighty and deep religion. Ziegenbalg could not get sight of those mysterious sacred books the priests spoke of, and which we now know as the Vedas, and therefore concluded that they were myths; he looked upon the Tamils as

Ан, friend of mine, The old enchanted story!-Oh, I cannot hear a word!


Tell some poor child who loved a bird, And knows he holds it stained and


"It flies-in Fairyland!

Its nest is in a palm-tree, on a hill; Go, catch it-if you will."


| low-grade savages, who allowed themselves to be imposed upon by the priests, while the latter juggled them with idols. What he said was partly true, but he did not know that the faithful inquirer, who penetrated at last into the arcana, discovered there the same great truths which underlay Ziegenbalg's faith; that was the knowledge he lacked, perhaps fortunately lacked, for it might have weakened that fiery energy of his, and the West would have been compelled to wait still longer for the Tamil Grammar.

Ah, friend of mine,

The music (which ear hath not heard ?)
At best wails from the skies,
Somehow, into our funeral cries!
The flowers (eye hath not seen?) still fail
To hide the coffin-lid.
Against this face so pitiless now and

Can the high Heavens avail?

Thus from two great nations, which issued, no one knows when, from some Central Asiatic region, no one knows where, came priests to the Tamil. The Brahmans came first, and Ziegenbalg found their work done. They had permitted idols, fostered the giving of sacrifices, reaped for themselves the benefits of appeals to charity, given the nation the kind of outward religion suited to their development. The Teutonic missionary arrived centuries later, and attempted to introduce among them a religion of the highest European stamp. It was as if he had come to Tranquebar with a cargo of hooks, and found in all Damulia no eyes.

Ah, friend of mine,

I think you mean-to mean it all!
But then an angel's wing
Is a remote and subtle thing,

(If you could show me any such In air that I can breathe!)

And surely Death's cold hand has much, so


About it we can touch!

Ah, friend of mine,

Say nothing of the thorns-and then
Say nothing of the snow.

God's will? It is that thorns must grow,
Despite our bare and troubled feet,
To crown Christ on the cross;
The snow keeps white watch on the unrisen

And yet-the world is sweet.

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NOTWITHSTANDING his assumed ease and a certain relief, which was real, Gabriel was far from being satisfied with the result of his visit to Mrs. Markle. Whatever may have actually occurred, not known to the reader except through Gabriel's own disclosure to Olly, Gabriel's manner hardly bore out the boldness and conclusiveness of his statement. For a day or two afterward, he resented any allusion to the subject from Olly, but on the third day he held a conversation with one of the Eureka Bar miners, which seemed to bear some remote reference to his experi


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"But thar must be a kind o' gin'ral law on the subject," urged Gabriel. "Now what would be your opinion if you was on a jury onto a case like this? It happened to a friend o' mine in Frisco," said Gabriel, with a marked parenthesis, a man ez you don't know. Thar was a woman-we'll say a widder-ez had been kinder hangin' round him off and on for two or three year, and he hadn't allowed anything to her about marryin'. One day he goes down thar to her house, kinder easy-like, jest to pass the time o' day, and be sociable


"That's bad," interrupted the cynic. "Yes," said Gabriel, doubtingly, "p'r'aps it does look bad, but you see he didn't mean anythin'."

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Yes, all. Now this woman kinder allows she'll bring a suit agin him to make him marry her."


My opinion is," said the adviser, bluntly, "my opinion is that the man was a fool, and didn't tell ye the truth, nuther, and I'd give damages agin him, for being such a fool."

This opinion was so crushing to Gabriel that he turned hopelessly away. Nevertheless, in his present state of mind, he could not refrain from pushing his inquiries farther, and in a general conversation which took place at Briggs's store, in the afternoon, among a group of smokers, Gabriel artfully introduced the subject of courtship and marriage.

"Thar's different ways of getting at the feelins of a woman," said the oracular Johnson, after a graphic statement of his own method of ensnaring the affections of a former sweetheart, "thar's different ways jest as thar's different men and women in the world. One man's way won't do with some wimmen. But thar's one way ez is pretty sure to fetch 'em allers. That is, to play off indifferent-to never let on ye like 'em! To kinder look arter them in a gin'ral sort o' way, pretty much as Gabe thar looks arter the sick!-but not to say anythin' particler. To make them understand that they've got to do all the courtin', ef thar's enny to be done. What's the matter, Gabe, ye ain't goin'?"

Gabriel, who had risen in great uneasiness, muttered something about "its being time to go home," and then sat down again, looking at Johnson in fearful fascination.

"That kind o' thing is pretty sure to fetch almost enny woman," continued Johnson, "and a man ez does it orter be looked arter. It orter be put down by law. It's tamperin', don't yer see, with the holiest affections. Sich a man orter be spotted whar'ever found."

"Well?" said the adviser.

"But mebbe the man don't mean anythin'-mebbe it's jest his way," suggested Gabriel ruefully, looking around in the faces of the party, "mebbe he don't take to wim

"Well! thet's all," said Gabriel.

"All!" exclaimed his companion, indig- men and marriage natʼral, and it's jest his



Copyright, 1875, by BRET HARTE. All rights reserved.

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"Thet Gabe seems to be out o' sorts to-day," said Johnson. "I heerd Lawyer Maxwell asking arter him this mornin'; I reckon thar's suthin' up! Gabe ain't a bad sort of chap. Hezen't got enny too much sabe about him, but he's mighty good at looking arter sick folks, and thet kind o' man's a power o' use in this camp. Hope thar ain't anything ez will interfere with his sphere o' usefulness."


May be a woman scrape," suggested Briggs. "He seemed sort o' bound up in what you was saying about women jest now. Thar is folks round yer," said Briggs, dropping his voice and looking about him, "6 ez believes that that yer Olly, which he lets on to be his sister, to be actooally his own child. No man would tote round a child like that, and jest bind himself up in her, and give up wimmen and whisky, and keerds, and kempeny, ef it wasn't his own. Thet ain't like brothers in my part of the country."

"It's a mighty queer story he tells, ennyways all this yer stuff about Starvation. Camp and escapin'," suggested another. "I never did, somehow, take enny stock in that."


'Well, it's his own lookout," concluded Johnson. "It's nothin' to me. Ef I've been any service to him pintin' out sick people, and kinder makin' suggestions here and thar, how he should look arter them, he's welcome to it. I don't go back on my record, if he hez got into trouble."

"And I'm sure," said Briggs, "if I did allow him to come in here and look arter thet sick Mexican, it ain't for me to be expected to look arter his moril character too." But here the entrance of a customer put a stop to further criticism.

Meanwhile the unfortunate subject of this discussion, by clinging close to the walls of houses, had avoided the keen blast that

descended from the mountain, and had at last reached the little trail that led through the gulch to his cabin on the opposite hillside. Here Gabriel hesitated. To follow that trail would lead him past the boardinghouse of Mrs. Markle. In the light of the baleful counsel he had just received, to place himself so soon again in the way of danger seemed to him to be only a provocation of fate. That the widow and Sal might swoop down upon him as he passed, and compel him to enter; that the spectacle of his passing without a visit might superinduce instant hysterics on the part of the widow, appeared to his terror-stricken fancy as almost a certainty. The only other way home was by a circuitous road along the ridge of the hill, at least three miles further. Gabriel did not hesitate long, but began promptly to ascend the hill.

This was no easy task in the face of a strong gale and torrents of beating rain, but the overcoming of physical difficulties by the exercise of his all-conquering muscles, and the fact that he was doing something, relieved his mind of its absurd terrors. When he had reached the summit he noticed for the first time the full power of those subtle agencies that had been silently at work during the last week's steady rain. A thin trickling mountain rill where he had two weeks before slaked his thirst during a ramble with Olly, was now transformed into a roaring cataract; the brook that they had leaped across was now a swollen river. There were slowly widening pools in the valleys, darkly glancing sheets of water on the distant plains, and a monotonous rush and gurgle always in the air.

It was half an hour later, and two miles further on his rough road, that he came in view of the narrow precipitous gorge through ,which the Wingdam stage passed on its way from Marysville. from Marysville. As he approached nearer he could see that the little mountain stream which ran beside the stage road had already slightly encroached upon the road-bed, and that here and there the stage road itself was lost in drifts of standing water. "It will be pretty rough drivin' up that cañon," said Gabriel to himself as he thought of the incoming Wingdam stage, now nearly due; "mighty onpleasant and risky with narvous leaders, but thar's worse things than that in this yer world," he meditated, as his mind reverted again to Mrs. Markle, "and ef I could change places with Yuba Bill, and get on that box and Olly inside—I'd do it!"

But just then the reservoir of the Wingdam

ditch came in view on the hill beside him, | not waste his power in useless opposition,

but allowed himself to be swept hither and
thither until he touched a branch of chimisal
that depended from the cañon side. Seizing
it with one sudden and mighty effort, he
raised himself above the sweep and suction
of the boiling flood. The coach was gone;
where it had stood a few black figures strug-
gled, swirled, and circled. One of them
was a woman. In an instant Gabriel plunged
into the yellow water. A few strokes brought
him to her side; in another moment he had
encircled her waist with his powerful arm
and lifted her head above the surface, when.
he was seized by two despairing arms from
the other side. Gabriel did not shake
them off. "Take hold of me lower down
and I'll help ye both," he shouted, as he
struck out with his only free arm for the
chimisal. He reached it; drew himself up
so that he could grasp it with his teeth, and
then, hanging on by his jaw, raised his two
clinging companions beside him. They had
barely grasped it, when another ominous
roar was heard below, and another wall of
yellow water swept swiftly up the cañon.
The chimisal began to yield to their weight.
Gabriel dug his fingers into the soil about
its roots, clutched the jagged edges of a rock
beneath, and threw his arm about the woman,
pressing her closely to the face of the wall.
As the wave swept over them, there was a
sudden despairing cry, a splash, and the man
was gone.
Only Gabriel and the woman

and with it a revelation that in a twinkling displaced Mrs: Markle, and seemed almost to change the man's entire nature! What was it? Apparently nothing to the eye of the ordinary traveler. The dam was full, and through a cut-off the overplus water was escaping with a roar. Nothing more? Yes to an experienced eye the escaping water was not abating the quantity in the dam. Was that all? No! Half-way down the rudely constructed adobe bank of the dam, the water was slowly oozing and trickling through a slowly widening crevice, over the rocks above the gorge and stage road below! The wall of the dam was giving away!

To tear off coat and all impeding garments, to leap from rock to rock, and bowlder to bowlder, hanging on by slippery chimisal and the decayed roots of trees; to reach at the risk of life and limb the cañon below, and then to run at the highest speed to warn the incoming stage of the danger before it should enter the narrow gorge, was only the resolve and action of a brave man. But to do this without the smallest waste of strength that ought to be preserved, to do this with the greatest economy of force, to do this with the agility and skill of a mountaineer, and the reserved power of a giant; to do this with a will so simple, direct, and unhesitating, that the action appeared to have been planned and rehearsed days before, instead of being the resolution of the instant, this belonged to Gabriel Conroy! And to have seen him settle into a long swinging trot, and to have observed his calm, grave, earnest, but unexcited face, and quiet, steadfast eye, you would have believed him some healthy giant simply exercising himself.

He had not gone half a mile before his quick ear caught a dull sound and roar of advancing water. Yet even then he only slightly increased his steady stride, as if he had been quickened and followed by his trainer rather than by approaching Death. At the same moment there was a quick rattle and clatter in the road ahead-a halt, and turning back, for Gabriel's warning shout had run before him like a bullet. But it was too late. The roaring water behind him struck him and bore him down, and the next instant swept the coach and horses a confused, struggling, black mass, against the rocky walls of the cañon. And then it was that the immense reserved strength of Gabriel came into play. Set upon by the almost irresistible volume of water, he did VOL. XI.-24.

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