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*ONE DAY MILDRED SAT WATCHING ARTHUR AS HE PLAYED INTENTLY

WITH A TRAIN OF CARS" (SEE PAGE 422)

LXXXII-52

the back, which had been made by the damming-up of a little brook. Over this dam in the middle the water flowed in a swift stream, forming a strong current as it reached the edge. Although constituting no danger for the adult navigator, it was unsafe for one not expert with oars. Arthur of course was forbidden to go upon the water at all, although it was his habit to play upon the banks. This seemed to be entirely safe, since his nurse was always with him. Mildred often reflected that although most boys of Arthur's age were scornful of a nurse, he was as dependent upon Carrie as a baby, and he was naturally a careful child, who seemed instinctively to keep out of dangerous situations.

The afternoon after his Aunt Eva's departure, however, it happened that it was Carrie's afternoon out, and Mildred was left in charge of Arthur. He chose to play by the pond, and she sat under a tree close by to read, with, nevertheless, a conscientious eye upon him. A heavy, flatbottomed scow lay by the little wharf beside a canoe with which she occasionally amused herself and a light rowboat. Arthur, working hard at his play, after the manner of children, had taken one of the loose seats from the boat, and planting it against the scow in imitation of a gangplank, was playing steamer. It made Mildred a little nervous and she called out to him:

defiance of childhood, "You can't get me; you can't get me." In that moment, looking into Arthur's face, Mildred felt that she hated him.

Suddenly she became aware that his motion had loosened the boat, which had evidently not been moored securely, and, to her horror, she saw it floating out into the stream. It must not get into the current. Once there, it might be drawn over the falls; besides, Arthur might capsize the boat before that. Already he was frightened. After a moment of standing immovably staring at the water, he burst into tears, for, unlike most children, he seemed to receive quickly the sense of danger. In a flash Mildred took in the situation: the canoe paddle and the oars were in the stable; the canoe was useless for rescuing purposes; the rowboat was tied by some amateur hand into a hard knot. There was only one way-to swim. She cast an agonized glance about. There was no one in sight. There was not a minute to lose; already the scow approached the current. She was a fair, though not an expert, swimmer. She pulled off her shoes and waded in. The current had seized the boat now; it began to draw it. She hesitated an infinitesimal instant. The terrified child might easily tax her beyond her resources, making res cue impossible. There was the chance of losing all,-Gilbert, life, happiness. Then horror roused her. Arthur, stamping in his terror, screamed piercingly and rushed to the edge of the boat; he was over in the water, he sank from sight! Aware of no process between that catastrophe and her own action, Mildred swam toward him with all her strength. She reached him as he rose the second time, caught him by his long hair, contrived to get her hand under his chin despite his blind, terrified efforts to fight against her, his vise-like clutch of her arm. In a moment he became heavier. It was hard for her to swim with one arm and support his weight with the other, but the distance was not great. She seemed to become an embodied will. Somehow she reached shallow water, touched bottom, lifted Arthur, now limp, in her arms, and walked the rest of the distance. He was not unconscious, for she felt the instinctive clasp of his arms around her neck. She put him down, detaching his arms with difficulty. She had an indistinct

"I should rather you did not play that game, dear." Arthur acted as if he had not heard. She rose and went down to the edge of the pond. "I am afraid you will fall into the water. Then you would get all cold, and you would n't like that."

"Yes, I would," was Arthur's reply, and he kept on walking to and fro upon his improvised gang-plank. Then she spoke more decisively: "I want you to come on the shore right away, Arthur. Your father would n't like you to do that."

Again Arthur acted as if he had not heard.

"Arthur, come here at once." Arthur did not move. Then Mildred reached out her hand to take him forcibly. Her action was without anger, but it was the action of superior force, and it increased the child's wilfulness. He dodged away from her hand, calling out a familiar

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vision of Gilbert running toward her, then She opened her eyes to see him bending came oblivion.

over her. She came to consciousness out of a “Arthur?" she said faintly. nightmare of remorse—the steamer carry- “He is safe,” Gilbert answered. ing Arthur away, the small figure with Her eyes closed again, but the tears outstretched hands pleading with her, the gathered thickly under the lids. She heard water widening between them, Arthur de- Gilbert's voice again, “My dearest, I 'd fying her with his childish malice, and she no idea you cared so much.” looking into his eyes and hating him- She nodded, wordless. It was true. She hating one moment, the next in an agony

Somehow the miracle had hapof terror seeing him struggling in the pened. There was a bond now binding water, sinking, sinking, while she stood her to Gilbert's child--the bond of that upon the shore, mute, dumb, powerless to vision of temptation, the shock of her dissave, to atone-she, Mildred, the silent, covery of her own smothered hatred. She willing cause of his death, and a whole could love him now that she had saved long lifetime of torment, of remorse, him. She could wait and work against his stretching out before her.

childish antagonism, now that her own She heard Gilbert's voice, her name. was dead forever.

did care.

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N China to-day one may observe a state paddy-fields. Pasture or meadow there is

none, for land is too precious to be used the West since the Middle Ages, and in growing food for animals. Even on which will probably never recur on this the boulder-strewn steeps there is no grazplanet. For many generations the Chinese, ing save for goats, for where a cow can loath to abandon to the careless plow of crop herbage, a man can grow a hill of the stranger the graves that dot the corn. The cows and the water-buffaloes ancestral fields, and reluctant to exile never taste grass except when they are themselves from the lighted circle of civi- taken out on a tether by an old granny lization into the twilight of barbarism, and allowed to browse by the roadside have stayed at home, multiplying until and the ditches, or along the terraces of reproduction and destruction have struck the rice-fields. a balance, and society has entered upon The traveler who, in dismay at stories the stationary stage. To Americans, who of the dirt and vermin of native inns, have had the good fortune to develop their plans to camp in the cleanly open is inlife and standards in the cheerful presence credulous when he is told that there is no of unlimited free land, the life and stan- room to pitch a tent. Yet such is the case dards of a people that for centuries have in two thirds of China. He will find ro been crowding upon the subsistence pos- roadside, no commons, no waste land, no sibilities of their environment cannot but pasture, no groves or orchards, not even seem strange and eccentric.

a dooryard or a cow-pen. Save the threshThe most arresting feature of Chinese ing-floor, every outdoor spot fit to spread life is the ruthless way in which the avail- a blanket on is growing something. But, able natural resources have been made to if he will pay, he may pitch his tent on a minister to man's lower needs. It is true submerged rice-field, in the midst of a that childish superstitions have held back bean-patch, or among the hills of sweet the Chinese from freely exploiting their potatoes. mineral treasures. It is also true that In one sense it is true that China is culfrom five to ten per cent., in some cases tivated "like a garden,” for every lump even twenty per cent., of the farms is given is broken up, every weed is destroyed, and up to the grave-mounds of ancestors. every plant is tended like a baby. So far, But, aside from these reservations, the however, as the word “garden” calls up earth is utilized as perhaps it never has visions of beauty and delight, it does not been elsewhere. Little land lies waste in apply. In county after county you will highways. Throughout the rice zone the not see altogether a rood of land reserved roads are from foot-paths one to three feet for recreation or pleasure—no village wide, yet the greedy farmers nibble away green, no lawns, no flower-beds or ornaat the roads on both sides until the under- mental shrubbery, no parks, and very few mined paving-stones sink dismally into the shade-trees. To be sure, there are men of fortune in inner China, but they are rela- amid the great tangle of mountains in tively very few. I doubt, indeed, if one west China that give birth to the Han, family in two thousand boasts a garden the Wei, and the rivers that make famed with its fern-crowned rockery and its lotos Szechuen the "Four-river province." pond overhung by drooping willows and Save where steepness or rock-outcropping feathery bamboos. One is struck, too, forbids, the slopes are cultivated from the with the rarity of grape-arbors, vineyards, valley of the Tung-ho right up to the orchards, and orange-groves. In the summits, five thousand feet above. In this country markets one sees mountains of vertical mile there are different crops for vegetables, but only a few paltry baskets different altitudes-vegetables below, then of favorless fruit. The demand for lux- corn, lastly wheat. Sometimes the very uries that appeal to the palate is too slight, apex of the mountain wears a greenthe call for sustaining food is too imperi- peaked cap of rye. The aërial farms are ous, to withdraw much land from its main crumpled into the giant folds of the mounbusiness, which is to grow rice and beans tains, and their borders follow with a and wheat and garlic to keep the people poetic grace the outthrust or incurve of alive.

the slopes. In this colossal amphitheater To win new plots for tillage, human one beholds a thousand fields, but only two sweat has been poured out like water. houses. Here and there, however, one Clear to the top the foot-hills have been detects in a distant yellow bank a row of carved into terraced fields. On a single dark, arched openings like gopher-holes. slope I counted forty-seven such fields It is a rural village, for most of these running up like the steps of a Brobding- highlanders carve their habitations out of nagian staircase. And the river-bed be- the dry, tenacious loess. low, between the thin streams that wander The heart-breaking labor of redeeming over it until the autumn rains cover it and tilling these upper slopes that require with a turbid food, has been smoothed a climb of some thousands of feet from and diked into hundreds of gemlike one's cave home is a sure sign of populapaddy-fields green with the young rice. In tion pressure. It calls up a picture of a the mountains, where the mantle of brown swelling human lake, somehow without soil covering the rocks is too thin to be egress from the valley, rising and rising sculptured into level fields, the patches of until it fairly lifts cultivation over the wheat and corn follow the natural slope, summits of the mountains. In June these and the hoe must be used instead of the circling tiers of undulating sky-farms are plow. Two such plots have I seen at a an impressive, even a beautiful sight; yet measured angle of forty-five degrees, and one cannot help thinking of the grim, any number tilted at least forty degrees ever-present menace of hunger that alone from the horizontal. Of course the wash could have forced people to such prodigies from these deforested and tilled moun- of toil. tain flanks is appalling. A thousand feet Rice will thrive only under a thin sheet below, the Heilung, the Han, or the Kia- of water. A rice-field, therefore, must be ling, slate-hued or tawny when it should level and inclosed by a low dike. Where be emerald, prophesies of the time when all the climate is friendly, the amount of labor this exposed soil will be useless bars in the that will be spent in digging a slope into river, and the mountain will lie stripped rice-fields and carrying a stream through of the humus slowly formed through them is beyond belief. In one case I geologic time. Indeed, one hears with a noticed how a deep-notched, rocky ravine shudder of districts where the thing has in the Alank of a rugged mountain had been run its course to the bitter end. Moun- completely transformed.

The peasants tains, dry, gray skeletons; the rich valley had brought down countless basketfuls of bottoms buried under silt and gravel ; soil from certain pockets at the foot of the population dwindled to one family in four cliffs. With this they had filled the botsquare miles !

tom of the V, Aoated it into a series of Nowhere can the student of man's levels, banked them, set them out with struggle with his environment find a more rice, and led the water over them. So that wonderful spectacle than meets the eye now, instead of a barren gulch, there is a from a certain seven-thousand-foot pass staircase of curving fields, perhaps four

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