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Drawn by Howard Chandler Christy. Half-tone plate engraved by C. W. Chadwick
"ONE DAY MILDRED SAT WATCHING ARTHUR AS HE PLAYED INTENTLY WITH A TRAIN OF CARS" (SEE PAGE 422)
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
vision of Gilbert running toward her, then came oblivion.
She came to consciousness out of a nightmare of remorse-the steamer carrying Arthur away, the small figure with outstretched hands pleading with her, the water widening between them, Arthur defying her with his childish malice, and she looking into his eyes and hating himhating one moment, the next in an agony of terror seeing him struggling in the water, sinking, sinking, while she stood upon the shore, mute, dumb, powerless to save, to atone-she, Mildred, the silent, willing cause of his death, and a whole long lifetime of torment, of remorse, stretching out before her.
She heard Gilbert's voice, her name.
in the garden
At the heart of noon, In my hand a flower,
On my lips a tune,
I saw a face before me,
Dim eyes-dim eyes I knew!
I saw a shadow-woman;
The garden glanced her through.
BY JOHN ERSKINE
She hid no branch behind her;
'What change-what change, my lover! Ah, heedless God!" she cried, "If love or prayer could help thee, Dear lad, thou hadst not died!"
She opened her eyes to see him bending over her.
T is thou art dead," I faltered; "The futile prayers are mine; My foot still marks the garden-walk; No print nor sound from thine."
"Arthur?" she said faintly.
"He is safe," Gilbert answered.
Her eyes closed again, but the tears gathered thickly under the lids. She heard Gilbert's voice again, "My dearest, I 'd no idea you cared so much."
She nodded, wordless. It was true. She did care. Somehow the miracle had happened. There was a bond now binding her to Gilbert's child-the bond of that vision of temptation, the shock of her discovery of her own smothered hatred. She could love him now that she had saved him. She could wait and work against his childish antagonism, now that her own. was dead forever.
"For the lure the maiden fashions To snare the ghost of thee, Ere thou wert dead, my lover,
Was what thou lovedst in me."
BY EDWARD ALSWORTH ROSS
N China to-day one may observe a state of society which has not been seen in the West since the Middle Ages, and which will probably never recur on this planet. For many generations the Chinese, loath to abandon to the careless plow of the stranger the graves that dot the ancestral fields, and reluctant to exile themselves from the lighted circle of civilization into the twilight of barbarism, have stayed at home, multiplying until reproduction and destruction have struck a balance, and society has entered upon the stationary stage. To Americans, who have had the good fortune to develop their life and standards in the cheerful presence of unlimited free land, the life and standards of a people that for centuries have been crowding upon the subsistence possibilities of their environment cannot but seem strange and eccentric.
The most arresting feature of Chinese life is the ruthless way in which the available natural resources have been made to minister to man's lower needs. It is true that childish superstitions have held back the Chinese from freely exploiting their mineral treasures. It is also true that from five to ten per cent., in some cases even twenty per cent., of the farms is given up to the grave-mounds of ancestors. But, aside from these reservations, the earth is utilized as perhaps it never has been elsewhere. Little land lies waste in highways. Throughout the rice zone the roads are from foot-paths one to three feet wide, yet the greedy farmers nibble away at the roads on both sides until the undermined paving-stones sink dismally into the
paddy-fields. Pasture or meadow there is none, for land is too precious to be used in growing food for animals. Even on the boulder-strewn steeps there is no grazing save for goats, for where a cow can crop herbage, a man can grow a hill of corn. The cows and the water-buffaloes never taste grass except when they are taken out on a tether by an old granny and allowed to browse by the roadside and the ditches, or along the terraces of the rice-fields.
The traveler who, in dismay at stories of the dirt and vermin of native inns, plans to camp in the cleanly open is incredulous when he is told that there is no room to pitch a tent. Yet such is the case in two thirds of China. He will find no roadside, no commons, no waste land, no pasture, no groves or orchards, not even a dooryard or a cow-pen. Save the threshing-floor, every outdoor spot fit to spread a blanket on is growing something. But, if he will pay, he may pitch his tent on a submerged rice-field, in the midst of a bean-patch, or among the hills of sweet potatoes.
In one sense it is true that China is cultivated "like a garden," for every lump is broken up, every weed is destroyed, and every plant is tended like a baby. So far, however, as the word "garden" calls up visions of beauty and delight, it does not apply. In county after county you will not see altogether a rood of land reserved for recreation or pleasure-no village green, no lawns, no flower-beds or ornamental shrubbery, no parks, and very few shade-trees. To be sure, there are men of
fortune in inner China, but they are relatively very few. I doubt, indeed, if one family in two thousand boasts a garden with its fern-crowned rockery and its lotos. pond overhung by drooping willows and feathery bamboos. One is struck, too, with the rarity of grape-arbors, vineyards, orchards, and orange-groves. In the country markets one sees mountains of vegetables, but only a few paltry baskets. of flavorless fruit. The demand for luxuries that appeal to the palate is too slight, the call for sustaining food is too imperious, to withdraw much land from its main business, which is to grow rice and beans and wheat and garlic to keep the people alive.
To win new plots for tillage, human sweat has been poured out like water. Clear to the top the foot-hills have been carved into terraced fields. On a single On a single slope I counted forty-seven such fields running up like the steps of a Brobdingnagian staircase. And the river-bed below, between the thin streams that wander over it until the autumn rains cover it with a turbid flood, has been smoothed and diked into hundreds of gemlike paddy-fields green with the young rice. In the mountains, where the mantle of brown soil covering the rocks is too thin to be sculptured into level fields, the patches of wheat and corn follow the natural slope, and the hoe must be used instead of the plow. Two such plots have I seen at a measured angle of forty-five degrees, and any number tilted at least forty degrees from the horizontal. Of course the wash from these deforested and tilled mountain flanks is appalling. A thousand feet below, the Heilung, the Han, or the Kialing, slate-hued or tawny when it should be emerald, prophesies of the time when all this exposed soil will be useless bars in the river, and the mountain will lie stripped of the humus slowly formed through geologic time. Indeed, one hears with a shudder of districts where the thing has run its course to the bitter end. MounMountains, dry, gray skeletons; the rich valley bottoms buried under silt and gravel; population dwindled to one family in four square miles!
Nowhere can the student of man's struggle with his environment find a more wonderful spectacle than meets the eye from a certain seven-thousand-foot pass
amid the great tangle of mountains in west China that give birth to the Han, the Wei, and the rivers that make famed Szechuen the "Four-river province." Save where steepness or rock-outcropping forbids, the slopes are cultivated from the valley of the Tung-ho right up to the summits, five thousand feet above. In this vertical mile there are different crops for different altitudes-vegetables below, then corn, lastly wheat. Sometimes the very apex of the mountain wears a greenpeaked cap of rye. The aërial farms are crumpled into the giant folds of the mountains, and their borders follow with a poetic grace the outthrust or incurve of the slopes. In this colossal amphitheater one beholds a thousand fields, but only two houses. Here and there, however, one detects in a distant yellow bank a row of dark, arched openings like gopher-holes. It is a rural village, for most of these highlanders carve their habitations out of the dry, tenacious loess.
The heart-breaking labor of redeeming and tilling these upper slopes that require a climb of some thousands of feet from one's cave home is a sure sign of population pressure. It calls up a picture of a swelling human lake, somehow without egress from the valley, rising and rising until it fairly lifts cultivation over the summits of the mountains. In June these circling tiers of undulating sky-farms are an impressive, even a beautiful sight; yet one cannot help thinking of the grim, ever-present menace of hunger that alone could have forced people to such prodigies of toil.
Rice will thrive only under a thin sheet of water. A rice-field, therefore, must be level and inclosed by a low dike. Where the climate is friendly, the amount of labor that will be spent in digging a slope into rice-fields and carrying a stream through them is beyond belief. In one case I noticed how a deep-notched, rocky ravine in the flank of a rugged mountain had been completely transformed. The peasants had brought down countless basketfuls of soil from certain pockets at the foot of the cliffs. With this they had filled the bottom of the V, floated it into a series of levels, banked them, set them out with rice, and led the water over them. So that now, instead of a barren gulch, there is a staircase of curving fields, perhaps four