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"I don't know. Oh, I don't know. He locked her in the bath-room, but she climbed out of the window and dropped to the ground. Then she came in here and grabbed her purse, with what money she had, and rushed out."
I was at my wit's end. Mrs. Barrington needed attention. Poor old Meg needed attention. But it seemed as if I must not lose a moment in following Patricia, to find out where she had gone, and what, if anything, I could do to help her. Kidnapping is a crime, and surely it should be possible to catch Rudolph and restore Bimbo to his mother.
I telephoned a doctor and a vet, and then I closed my ears to Mrs. Barrington's pleas and ran home. I threw some necessary articles into a valise, took all the money I could find, together with my check-book, leaped into my car, and drove to the village.
I obtained no information of value there, and I did not waste time. I visited the police departments of four cities before I returned, and though I obtained not a single clue to the whereabouts of either Rudolph and Bimbo or Patricia, I did succeed in getting official action started in earnest and was assured that a capture would be made before nightfall. Then, quite at a loss, I returned.
I was totally unable to fathom the mystery. That Rudolph had been clever enough to cover his tracks I could well understand, but what had become of Patricia was beyond my power to imagine. It was unthinkable that she had gone with him. Besides, according to Mrs. Barrington's story, he had driven off some minutes before she was ready to
follow. But what route she had taken, or by what means she had traveled, I had not the slightest idea. And in spite of the activities of the police and of private detectives, this remains a complete mystery to me to this day.
I found that the doctor had visited Mrs. Barrington and that the maid had returned. The maid informed me that her mistress was quieter, and I decided not to intrude. The vet was still with old Meg. She had recovered consciousness but was obviously suffering. Her eyes begged me to help her. I shall never forget the look in them. One of her ribs was cracked, the vet said, and there were probably internal injuries. We contrived a sort of litter and carried her over to my house.
I sat up most of that night with Meg, partly for Patricia's sake, but partly, too, because Meg, by her bravery, had won my love and respect. Nothing that I could possibly do for her was as much as she deserved. I had just begun to understand her.
But Meg refused to surrender to death. It seemed, as I have said, as though she felt called upon to live until she could witness the return of Patricia and Bimbo. It is beyond human power to know all that goes on in the mind and heart of a dog.
It was perhaps as well for me that I had old Meg to care for during the days that followed, for there seemed to be nothing that I could do. Reports from the detectives seemed to indicate that they were leaving no stone unturned, and yet they had discovered virtually nothing. Thrice I was on the point of packing up and starting on the quest myself, but I
was forced to give up the futile undertaking by a baffling sense of the wideness of the world and the utter lack of any useful clue. I should not have known whether to start north, south, east, or west.
My mind was tortured with misgivings. What was happening now to Patricia? How was she subsisting? Had any harm befallen her? I had to force myself to hush these questions. Madness lay that way.
Then one day came a letter. It was postmarked Grand Central Station, New York, but it contained no address. It was a strange letter, but it was at least a sign that Patricia was alive. It read:
"Dear Uncle Pymm:
"Don't worry. And please, please don't do anything more. If you care anything for me or for Bimbo, don't! It is terrible, but you will understand it all some day. Please trust me. I hope Mama and Meg are all right.
No word has come since that letter, and I don't know what to think. But somehow I have gained in hope
fulness, and I have faith in Patricia, Meg is able to walk about with me now; and so we sit out here among the dunes, now that warm weather has come again, waiting and wondering and hoping. It is Meg's patience that keeps me going. That and a strange feeling I have that she knows more than I do, can see things that are hidden from my understanding. There is a far-away look in Meg's eyes, but not a vacant look. What does she see? When will Patricia come back?
Somehow peace has come to me, and faith that Patricia, when she does come home, will be my old, sweet, provocative Patricia. It is worth waiting for, worth living for, so old Meg and I think.
The wind has changed, and the breeze comes in from seaward, the soft salt breeze that Patricia loved. The wide-winged gulls sail and dip in I lay my hand gently on Meg's the sunshine against the blue sky. shoulder. She glances up at me sympathetically, and then her rapt gaze returns to its contemplation of the restless horizon and the sea.
THE MAN-STIFLED ORIENT
Here, on a Thumb-Nail, Let Me Draw the Picture
EDWARD ALSWORTH Ross
ID THE birth-rate of fifty years ago prevail in Europe to-day, there would be two and one half million more babies born in the year. In the thirty years before the war eighteen of the most enlightened peoples cut their fertility on the average a fifth. They are still growing like mushrooms, but it is certain that they will cut their fertility even more if necessary in order to preserve their standard of living. Altogether a third of a billion, mostly of the white race, have turned their backs on the quagmire of overpopulation, and in a couple of decades the number headed for comfort and long life may top half a billion. But what of the billion committed to a family system suited to a rabbit-warren?
Half of our race live in Asia between the meridians of Yokohama and Bombay. Adding the peoples of western Asia and northern Africa, you have three fifths of humanity taking what may be termed "the Oriental attitude" toward sex and offspring. So, while Homo Europaus is moving into the sunshine, the life of Homo Asiaticus is clouded by misery, worry, and fewness of days. To Orientals the natural inferiority of females is self-evident. With the exception of the Burmese and a few small peoples, the Orient exhibits
flagrant masculine domination. If a woman attains to dignity and respect, she is either the darling of a hero or the mother of sons. In a word, her value is but a reflection of her importance to the all-precious male. Asiatic religions and philosophies, save only Buddhism, consecrate this notion of the superior worth of the male sex. Until roused from without, the women themselves accept without question the low rating which men's opinion assigns them.
Asia's reverence for the mother of many sons would appear to be a relic of an ancient "preparedness" program, a heritage from a time when the tribe, the people, the realm deemed its perpetuity to be bound up with the number of tall spearmen it could muster. So ancient militarist Asia encouraged stocking up with sons, just as modern militarist Europe encourages stocking up with tanks and airplanes, not forgetting, however, to stress the preciousness of boy babies. The embedding of this propaganda in religion put it beyond the reach of rational criticism, so that the subsequent filling up, even cumbering, of the land could not affect it.
Women much more than men have cause to flout such a dogma. Among ourselves, to be sure, this is not so
plain. When children cannot be put to steady work until their teens, the strain on the father becomes heavy as his family grows. But the bulk of Oriental laboring humanity have as yet not the least intention of schooling their children beyond infancy. From its eighth year the child's services may be worth its keep, and in its youth it may yield the father a handsome profit. Moreover nearly a quarter of mankind are Chinese, and in China the burden of the child upon the parent is lighter than with us, while the benefit expected from the male child is much greater. The laboring Chinese look to their sons to keep them in their declining years. An earning son is virtually an oldage pension.
Opposed to this, the physiological cost of a baby is no less for Oriental women than for our women, while the care and attention the child requires is the same. Hence, below the small servant-keeping class, there can be no comparison between the sacrifices the yearly baby imposes on the mother and the sacrifices it imposes on the father. One has only to mark how age-stricken is the Oriental mother of a family in comparison with the father, who nevertheless is years older.
Because it is so unequal in its incidence upon the sexes, the large family is in the Orient bound up with patriarchalism. There every advance in the self-consciousness and independence of women smoothes the way for the practice of adaptive fertility, while the continuance of the régime of male domination and the systematic enslavement of females delays it. So many groups of Oriental men have a selfish interest in up
holding-for others-blind procreation that the custom will hardly be overthrown until its chief victims, the women, join their protests to that from the handful of enlightened men. But there is no prospect of an early emergence of the female sex in India or China, so that for a long time to come propagation will depart but little from its present lines.
And what are these lines? Consider India. In India marriage is universal. "Practically no one is unmarried in India," declares B. K. Roy, "except deformed persons, saints, and prostitutes." In the West religion has often made for celibacy, but in India it throws its weight for the married state. In the words of the Indian sociologist Wattal:
"Everybody marries, fit or unfit, and becomes a parent at the earliest possible age permitted by nature. ... For a Hindu marriage is a sacrament which must be performed regardless of the fitness of the parties to bear the responsibilities of a mated existence. A Hindu male must marry and beget children-sons, if you please to perform his funeral rites lest his spirit wander uneasily in the waste places of the earth."
Then there is the early marriage of girls. Until recently the higher classes felt that the paternal hearth is disgraced by the presence of the girl who has arrived at womanhood unmarried. Wattal says, "A Hindu maiden, unmarried at puberty, is a source of social obloquy to her family and of damnation to her ancestors.' No wonder that in Bengal the average age of brides is twelve and a half years. In the small native state of
Baroda, which twenty years ago passed an Infant Marriages Prevention Act fixing twelve years as the minimum age for girls, the convictions for violation of this reasonable law run above four thousand a year! Nor is this custom rapidly breaking up. In forty years the decline in the proportion of girls ten to fifteen years of age married has been less than a fourth. In the Report of the Indian Census for 1921 appears this observation: ". . . while the educated classes are inclined toward the postponement of marriage both for men and girls, there is a strong countervailing influence in the tendency to the adoption of what is held to be an Orthodox Hindu custom by those castes which are trying to better their status and hope, by exaggerated orthodoxy, to enhance their social respectability."
Although there is no birth-control, the fertility of these marriages is not great. Data collected on half a million completed families in various provinces of India show that the usual number of children born is from five to seven, of whom from a third to two fifths die early. Breeding from immature females produces fewer infants, but the generations are so close together that the population tends to multiply very fast. The dying out of the old custom of female infanticide tends in the same. direction.
In order to encourage agricultural improvement, or else out of tenderness for native religious susceptibilities, the government of India does not officially admit that India is overpopulated. If only I might quote what the experts say in private! However, as to the actual state of the
people, let me cite the Indian economist, Professor K. T. Shah of the University of Bombay:
"... the available resources of the Indian people are not sufficient to give them two meals out of every three they need, let alone the question of satisfying other wants like those of clothing or house-room. There is thus ample evidence to conclude that India is overpopulated. No doubt, there is a high birth ratehigher than the death rate, which explains in part the steady growth of the population in the successive censuses. But the further fact that every epidemic which makes itself manifest always claims a greater proportion of souls in this than in any other country is conclusive, in my judgment, of the fact that the vitality of the people is so steadily being reduced that they are unable to withstand the ravages of any sudden demand upon their constitution. Habitually underfed, they simply cannot, of their own inherent vitality, resist the approach of illness; and so the death rate also tends to be excessive. There is no further proof necessary to show that India is, from an economic standpoint, overpopulated. It is true, the people manage somehow to live. But they live a life which is a disgrace to any community calling itself civilized, since the less-than-brute existence they manage to maintain is purchased at the cost-impossible to measure in terms of money—of a steady, regular, progressive, unrestrained reduction in the national vitality, and national efficiency."
Indian intellectuals exult that "blind tradition is now losing its hold over the more educated classes who,