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circling wall. It is a great box of Oriental mystery. All the grim tragedy of medieval life passes within a gunshot of the legations, the outposts of Europe and America. Men die starving and athirst in the prison, never fed by the government, often deserted by their friends. Fever and disease ravage its foul ranks. Overhead, from the high tower of the mosque, a long cry thrills out in the bright moonlight, telling the world that Allah is great.
The Kasbah is never silent. Its sleep is troubled even under the quiet stars. The rattle of police drums and the blare of bugles accompany the changing guard. A party of holy men with a white flag drift slowly down its narrow alleys, with shrill pipes and slow drums asking alms for a saint. Donkeys bray in hysterical chorus and dogs answer one another at intervals. Sometimes there is a lull that allows the night breeze to rustle the palm-tree by the great mosque, that lets the ear drink in the long wash of the surf on the beach far below, and then come the muffled human sounds from the painted houses and the hollow courts within.
In a harem, women are dancing to the maddening rhythm of drums. Close by, a sick man is dying. To-morrow he will be carried shoulder-high on a flat, wooden stretcher, while the beautiful and impressive funeral-chant will swell out alternately in front, then behind, and again in front, as the two groups of mourners relieve each other, till the body is laid a little way down under the earth on the hillside where many graves, like miniature housetops, mark the resting-place of the faithful.
In the blazing light of noon one may enter the Kasbah gates, turn once or twice down the narrow streets, and imagine that five centuries have been lost. The grated windows, the studded doors, the limewashed walls of white, and ocher, and brilliant blue, the half-open door revealing a court where a gnarled fig-tree is shading a well, and Ayesha with her yellow vest, her pink trousers, and a striped apron cloth tucked between her knees as she pulls up the dripping earthen pitcher, make scenes which form a perfect picture of the past.
Fair women captives from our North
ern shores have been dragged up these slopes, the prize of pirates. And what they saw then, our eyes see to-day: the cloudless blue, the blaze of sunlight on the tinted walls, the motley throngs of children running in the streets. The housetops are for the women, and one may not without danger look down too often upon his neighbor's roof. In every narrow street, in tiny shops, the articles of life are growing under skilful hands: morocco slippers of leather, yellow, and red, as they are for men or women; shutters and studded doors of wood; trays of beaten brass. The doors of the poor are not guarded like those of the rich, and, standing ajar, will often show a family wash in progress over a sodden floor, a meal in preparation, or a baby in its changing clothes. Suddenly a woman, robed in her great blanket of white, comes into the street. Veiled to the eyes, which are screened by a hand raised beneath her wrap, they peer out curiously. In the white sunlight, she stands before one openly, yet enveloped in impenetrable mystery.
In my dream world of the East, mingled with the faint odor of an old volume of the Arabian Nights, my senses enjoyed only the sweet scent of flowers and the heavy perfumes of the painted ladies. Perhaps in the deeply guarded recesses of the harem there are those who punish their husbands for failing to use rose-water. The clean garments and spotless hands and feet of their lords give color to such stories. But over the real world of the street it is better to draw the veil of a perfumed handkerchief.
THE night had tempted me, and I sat heedless of time on a terrace enraptured by the beauty of the Kasbah in the full moon. The city was alive. Some one played fitfully upon the Moorish pipes. The tinkling of a gimbri blended with weird snatches of Arab song, and steadily, rum-tum-a-rum-tum, rum-tum-a-rum-tum, beat the mad cadence of a rhythmic dance. That tom-tom fascinated me, and I arose to trace the sound. Every sense was too delicately awake for hurry. I watched the pattern of tree-shadows on the path, which drops by little flights of steps through the garden. I stopped to drink in the cool air, full of the perfume of a night flower, and
listened to the distant beat of the drum through the veil of rustling leaves.
The market-place was empty and white in the moonlight. The sound beat from the right, and so I followed it. At a side street I paused. In the shadow of a low house stood a small crowd of men gazing into a lighted doorway. From within came the mad beat of the drum and the muffled cry of voices. I waited in the moonlight, and watched the eager faces of the men. A few were of the city; others were of the neighboring tribes; and some were barelegged madmen of the hills, fresh from the fellowship of eagles and vultures.
I vaguely scented danger, but my feet led me to the door, and I looked in. A lantern, hung in the low roof, threw a soft light on two weird figures dressed like the old Moors of Tarik's time, with girdles about their waists, and high turbans, like the Persians. They were performing a holy dance. Men sat close to the walls, squatting on the floor and chanting, while they beat time with their hands, and rocked their bodies to and fro. The dance became a frenzy. The feet flew swiftly, and the tom-toms broke into a double rhythm, as the sounds crossed each other.
While lost in this strange spectacle, something awoke me to the consciousness of a presence regarding me with the sullen eyes of a beast. A tall, lean mountaineer was walking around me slowly in a circle, about five feet from where I stood. Appearing to watch the dance within, I gripped my stick firmly, as I was unarmed. Soon my eyes followed him, and I had to turn my head quickly so that
only an instant he was unseen at my back. A few of the group noticed him. I made a slight movement. He plunged his hand into his bosom, pulled a dagger into view, and loosened it in its sheath. I walked slowly, pretending to be looking back at the light and the dance, out into the deserted market-place. The lean figure followed, and began to move in a large circle round me twenty feet off, gradually closing to eighteen, fifteen, and then to ten feet. I stood in the same spot, silent, but now always facing him, and when I swung my stick at him he would recede a pace or two, and continue to circle, always with eyes intent on me but never meeting my gaze. Two town Moors, passing, stopped. One sat down on an empty box, while the other stood by him, to watch the strange
Finally the two Moors advanced upon him, shouting, and gesticulating angrily. They caught him by the arms and hustled him off, no doubt telling him that, with war-ships in the bay, and soldiers in the guard-house, Tangier was no place in which to kill Christians.
When I regained the terrace, the whole world was a fairy-land under the spell of that beautiful moon. I watched the tracery of the tree-shadows upon the terrace, and drank in the deep perfume of the night flowers. Through the whispering of the trees came the steady beat of the tom-tom; but it had ceased to call me. It was no longer a mystery. Had one of Fate's little plans miscarried, or had that great dramatic artist merely added a touch of danger to increase the glory and charm of the night?
THE INDUSTRIAL FUTURE OF CHINA ("THE TRADE OF THE WORLD" PAPERS)
BY EDWARD ALSWORTH ROSS
Professor of Sociology in the University of Wisconsin
HERE are three possibilities known as the "yellow peril." One is the swamping of the slow-multiplying, highwage, white societies with the overflow that is bound to come when China has applied Western knowledge to the saving of human life. This is real, and imminent, and nothing but a concerted policy of exclusion can avert it. Another is the overmatching of the white peoples by colossal armies of well-armed and well-drilled yellow men who, under the inspiring lead of some Oriental Bonaparte, will first expel the Powers from eastern Asia, and later overrun Europe.
This forecast is dream-stuff. One who goes up and down among these teeming proletarians realizes that, save among the Mohammedans of the Northwest, the last traces of the military spirit evaporated long ago. The folk appears to possess neither the combative impulses nor the en
ergy of will of the West Europeans. Chinese lads quarrel in a girlish way with much reviling but little pounding, with random flourishing of fists, but only when there is no danger of their finding the opponent's face. A row among coolies impresses one much more with the objurgatory richness of the language than with the fighting prowess of the race.
Very striking is the contrast with the gamecock Japanese who, fresh from a military feudalism, are still full of pugnacity. At Singapore three thousand Chinese were detained in quarantine with three hundred Japanese. The latter made insolent demands such as that they be served their rice before the Chinese. The Celestials could easily have crushed this handful of brown men, but in the end, rather than have "trouble," they accepted second table. Not that the Chinese is chickenhearted. Indeed, there is tiger enough in
him, when aroused; but he simply does not believe in fighting as a way of settling disputes. To him it is uneconomical, hence foolish. In Malaysia it has been observed that, no matter how turbulent a crowd of Chinese may become, if one of their headmen holds up his hand, they quiet down till they have heard what he has to say. Their tumult is calculated and they do not get beside themselves with rage, as will a mob of Japanese or East Indians.
The new army is a vast improvement, but still its fighting spirit may well be doubted. "How do you like the service?" an American asked a couple of reservists. "Very well." "How if a war should break out?" "Oh, our friends will let us know in time so we can run away." Smarting under repeated humiliations, the haughty Manchu princes are forging the new army as an instrument of revenge; but the Chinese people prize it as a buckler only, and do not intend it shall take the offensive. In the officers one misses the martial visage, the firm chin and set jaw that proclaim the overriding will. The wondering look and the unaggressive manner of the private reveal the simple country lad beneath the khaki. The Japanese peasant has the bold air of the soldier; the Chinese soldier has the mild bearing of the peasant. Belief that right makes might, and that all difficulties can be settled by appealing to the li, i.e., the Reasonable, so saturates Chinese thought that nothing but a succession of shocks that should move the national character from its foundations will lay them open to the military spirit. Long before they have lost their faith in peace, the Chinese will be too strong to be bullied and too flourishing to seek national prosperity through conquest.
The third "yellow peril" is the possibility of an industrial conquest of the West by the Orient. Contemplating the diligence, sobriety, and cleverness of the Chinese, in connection with their immense numbers and their low standard of comfort, some foresee a manufacturing China, turning out great quantities of iron, steel, implements, ships, machinery, and textiles at an incredibly low cost, and therewith driving our goods out of neutral markets and obliging our working-men, after a long disastrous strife with their employers, to take a Chinese wage or starve. Against
such a calamity the industrial nations will be able to protect themselves neither by immigration barriers, nor by tariff walls.
Assuredly the cheapness of Chinese labor is something to make a factory-owner's mouth water. The women reelers in the silk filatures of Shanghai get from eight to eleven cents for eleven hours of work. But Shanghai is dear, and, besides, everybody there complains that the laborers are knowing and spoiled. In the steelworks at Han-yang common labor gets three dollars a month, just a tenth of what raw Ślavs command in the South Chicago steel-works. Skilled mechanics get from eight to twelve dollars. In a coalmine near I-chang, a thousand miles up the Yangtse, the coolie receives one cent for carrying a 400-pound load of coal on his back down to the river a mile and a half away. He averages ten loads a day, but must rest every other week. The miners get seven cents a day and found, i.e., a cent's worth of rice and meal. They work eleven hours a day up to their knees in water, and all have swollen legs. After a week of it they have to lay off a couple of days. No wonder the cost of this coal (semi-bituminous) at the pit's mouth is only thirty-five cents a ton! At Cheng-tu, servants get a dollar and a half a month and find themselves. Across Sze-chuan, lusty coolies were glad to carry our chairs half a day for four cents each. In Singan-fu the common coolie gets three cents a day and feeds himself, or eighty cents a month. Through Shan-si, roving harvesters were earning from four to twelve cents a day, and farm-hands got five or six dollars a year and their keep. Speaking broadly, in any part of the Empire willing laborers of fair intelligence may be had in any number at from eight to fifteen cents a day.
With an ocean of such labor power to draw on, China would appear to be on the eve of a manufacturing development that will act like a continental upheaval in changing the trade map of the world. The impression is deepened by the tale of industries that have already sprung up. In twenty years the Chinese have established forty-six silk filatures, thirty-eight of them in Shanghai. More than a dozen cottonspinning-mills are supplying yarn to native hand-looms. Two woolen mills are weaving cloth for soldiers' uniforms. In Shang