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killed him, and dispersed his followers by the ruse of an imaginary force behind them. Anyhow, there was the boh,

dead, with Walden's bullet through his head, and you would think a boy of twenty would be pleased at the distinction. But Walden cbared rather at the letters of congratulation and newspaper cuttings that reached

him in camp.

his side. That meant eleven shots. Then he groped along the wall for his shot-gun. He found it, and also his cartridge-belt. Fumbling in the dark, he felt for the lead and wax head of a ball-cartridge, and slipping it into the right barrel, he jammed shot of some kind, probably No. 8, good enough at close quarters, into the left. The click of the breech in the tense silence must have sounded like a rifle-shot; no doubt he thought the dacoits could hear his heart beat. He slipped away from the spot where he had been sleeping on his valise, and sat with his back to the wall covering the door, the revolver in his hand and the rifle and gun on each side of him. There was only one door in the bamboo shanty, approached by a ladder from without, and no windows. So he was well placed. If he kept still, his assailants would not know where to shoot. Presently he heard them coming up the ladder. There were three or four be judged by their smothered ejaculations. One of them swung an ember: it cost him his life. Walden fired three shots with his revolver. The leader fell to the first, and at the same moment another behind him fired blindly into the room, hitting the wall ten feet from Walden's head. They scrambled or fell down the ladder, and held another muffled parley underneath; one of them seemed to be wounded. Walden sat waiting, without a sound or stir, until it became light. But they slipped away into the darkness, leaving their boh on the field. Walden found him in the morning lying at the foot of the ladder.

The boh turned out to be a particularly elusive malefactor who was being hunted, through some false scent, at least a hundred miles away in another direction. The affair, with additions, found its way into the papers. Walden and his orderly were said to have attacked the boh in his lurking-place,

“What could I do," he said, "but skulk in the dark and shoot? I couldn't miss the door at ten yards."

By the time he had finished his story I gathered he had gained nothing in confidence through the encounter: if anything, it aggravated his morbid self-distrust. He felt, I think, that he needed vindication more than ever. Perhaps he thought his sensations in the vigil at Mongpawn must be his normal state in action. He translated his lonely communion with death to the battlefield, where, if he had known it, men like himself taste a rare joy. For battle is like the cold stream into which the timid bather plunges hesitatingly, to receive an exquisite nerving thrill which transcends fear. Walden was for seeking the brink, though conscious only of the first numbing grip of the ulde. A few hours in the firing line, one bayonet charge, might have laid the ghost which haunted bim. But it was not to be.

At dinner that night Walden unfolded to me his project of following the Dihong river through the Mishni country to the point reached by the intrepid native survey agent, Nain Singh, in his exploration of the Tsangpo river in Tibet. He had a wild idea that by travelling only at night, and lying perdu all day, he might get through in the teeth of hostility. He had also some impracticable notions about food. I tried to explode the whole idea carelessly; but it was no good, and we turned to other things. It was after midnight, when we had been

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talking for hours about old times, that an impulse made me speak.

“Walden, old man,” I said, “you are on the wrong tack. Give up this Mishmi idea. It is not fair on your mother." And I could not help adding, "You couldn't have been more game, you know, at Mongpawn. It isn't everybody who would have kept his head and done the right thing."

He looked at me perplexed, half incredulous that I had divined the secret of his broodings. I wanted to explain that this fear of being afraid was nothing but a morbid fancy, a malady of inexperience, a fatal kind of hallucination, and quite ungrounded. But it would not have been any use.

"Oh, I'll get through all right," he said; "it's not difficult as you think."

And I have no doubt he would have tried if it had not been for the Chin expedition. When I saw he was with the force, you may imagine how eagerly I followed the campaign. I hoped Walden would win the V.C. There was a great chance that he might find himself and vindicate the latent soldier in him. He was certain to distinguish himself in some brilliant or mistaken way. You will understand that the telegram did not surprise me.

It was quite a small affair, and ought never to have happened. Walden was in command of a fatigue-party who were cutting a path to the water-supply, when they were attacked by a band of Yokwa Chins in thick bamboo jungle. The tribe had come over twenty miles that day, through an apparently impervious country, to offer their submission. All their neighbors had capitulated, and the rumor of burning villages and captive chiefs bad spread fear to the most remote strongholds. So Shain Byik, the Yokwa chief, came hurrying in to prove that he also was “friendly" and submissive.

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The mood might have been permanent had not his first vision of the invaders been Walden's fatigue-party, detected by the ring of their kukris against the hollow bamboo stems, and then cautiously observed through the enclosing thicket. Now Shain Byik was before all things a shikari, a raider, a headhunter; the diplomatist in the man owed a transient and spurious ascendancy to events quite outside his control. Naturally, then, as he crept up to his unconscious quarry he recognized with a glow of pride that rare gift, so often denied by woodland spirits, the perfect relations between the hunter and the hunted. There may have been a moment of indecision, when the vanishing diplomatist would have diverted the rickety old Tower musket from the unhappy Sikh at the end of the barrel. But Shain Byik, being human in bis fashion, fired, reluctantly perhaps, and Sepoy Prem Singh fell to the ground with an ounce or more of telegraph wire in his chest. Then the Yokwa men scrambled up the steep Khud into [ webingyui.

Walden did the wrong thing. He ought to have gone back to camp, only half a mile distant, for a force sufficient to capture and burn the village. Instead he plunged into the jungle on the heels of Shain Byik, with his handful of men, most of whom he soon outdistanced. I can picture him, wildly elated, and flushed with his chance, pressing on to Mwebingyui and the hour of his vindication. He found it in the narrow entrance to the village, beneath the stockade, where two men cannot walk abreast.

When I tu ned into the club they were discussing Walden again.

"Now that dacoit business," Cocksure Smith was saying. "He tackled him alone in the dark in a zayat. The fellow must have had a nerve."

By general consent Walden was very much of a boh.

LIVING

AGE.

VOL.

XLI.

"What was it the naik said in the stockade. The Sahib was a great evidence?" some one asked. And the Doctor read again:

Bahadur."

"I followed Walden Sahib until he fell. We were only three, the Sahib, myself, and Gurdit Singh. I do not know how many there were behind the Blackwood's Magazine.

It was just the epitaph Walden would have asked for. And it was true enough. In his own pathetic way he was one of the bravest souls alive.

"MERRIE ENGLAND."

"England is a strong land and a sturdy," wrote one of Chaucer's predecessors, "and the plenteousest corner of the world, so rich a land that unneth it needeth help of any land, and every other land needeth help of England." It is a peep into the life of this "strong land and sturdy"-a land "full of mirth and of game and men oft times able to mirth and game" that Mr. Coulton provides in his latest fascinating volume, "Chaucer and his England" (Methuen & Co.). The dark side is exhibited with the bright; the author, indeed, reveals a certain impatience with those who picture the Middle Age as a kingdom of innocence and gold. If the poor were little worse off then, they were little better. In all ages, indeed, as Mr. Coulton justly remarks, the past no less than the present, they find their suffering "limited only by the bounds of that which flesh and blood can endure." Nor were saintliness and meekness more characteristic of our race yesterday than to-day. There are complaints, as indignant yesterday as today, of the arrogance, the greed, the truculence of the English people. "The English," wrote Froissart, after he had told the story of all their great victories, "will never love or honor their king, but if he be victorious and a lover of arms and war against his neighbors, and especially against such as are greater and richer than themselves." "They take delight and solace in battles and slaughter," he notes,

Edmund Candler.

"covetous and envious are they above measure of other men's wealth." For the characteristic mettle and temper of this proud people did not reside (as in feudal notions abroad) in an aristocratic caste; it lay in the proud free vigor of the common people. How far to-day could we boast of the descendants of an English peasantry, as Froissart could boast of their ancestors, that "specially there is no people under the sin so perilous in the matter of its common folk as they are in England"? "England is best kept of all lands in the world; otherwise they could by no means live together." "Englishmen suffer indeed for a season but in the end they repay so cruelly that it may stand as a great warning; for no man may mock them; the lord who governs them rises and lays him down to rest in sore peril of his life."

It is a land of forests and villages and green gardens; where as yet is "no real divorce between town and country"; London alone, a huge aggregation of 40,000 persons, conspicuous for its wealth and population. Founded by Brut, the son of Æneas, who nained it Troymount or New Troy, the city could boast two hundred years before Chaucer that it "traded with every nation under heaven." "Could the ships of Tharshish," asks Matthew of Westminster, "so extolled in Holy Scripture, be compared with thine?" Froissart found the men of London of more weight than all the rest of England, and "where

i

they are at accord and fully agreed" the half-fledged pleader to the aged jusof such strength that “no men can tice. For they said that all such must gainsay them.” "The only pests of first be slain before the land could enLondon,” said FitzStephen, "are the joy true freedom." immoderate drinking and the frequency Yet that law itselt does not yet beof fires." And this London is set in come the cold, iron, indifferent maa secure and tranquil corner of a civili- chinery of to-day: justice is not yet zation, whose "only pests" are "immod- bewigged as well as blindfolded: caerate drinking” and the "frequency of price, common sense, kindliness, and tires"-and too greedy and riotous pur- anger, as well as a certain ultimate persuit of life's desirable things, and the plexity before the ultimate ironies of uncontrollable judgments and scourges fortune enter into all the efforts to adof earthquake, pestilence, and war. It just the relationships of human society. is a child world always, with the fasci- Mrs. Green has told a pleasant story of nations and also the perplexities of a such difficulties a century later, in world organized upon a basis of acci- which an Aylesbury miller, finding that dent and caprice. The Middle Age has bis mill needed repairs, sent his serbeen shown as "peopled with living vants to dig clay on the highway, creatures," says Mr. Coulton, "beasts thereby making a deep pit in the road, of prey, indeed, in very many cases, into which fell a glover, journeying but always bright and swift and at- from Leighton Buzzard; and the pit, tractive, as wild beasts are in compari- being illed with water by the winter son with the commonplace stock of our rains, man and horse were both incontields and farmyards-bright in them- tinently drowned. "The miller was selves, and heightened in color by the charged with his death, but was acartificial brilliancy which perspective quitted on the ground that he had no gives to all that we see through the malicious intent, and had only dug the wrong end of a telescope.” He depre- pit to repair his mill, and because he cates such a picture. Englishmen of really did not know of any other place the fourteenth century are far more to get the kind of clay he wanted save akin to Englishmen of the twen- the high road." The human will tieth; with the same passions, with the pleased itself, uncontrolled by reference same difficulties in a short and haz- to general principles. Edward III. ardous journey toward a similar goal. spares the citizens of Calais, because Yet there is the child element far more Philippa prays for them; the Black dominant, with the simplicity, the gai- Prince, at the massacre of Limoges, ety, and something of the solemnity of remains indifferent to the cries of childhood. Excess of law exists, reg. women and children for mercy, but is ulating daily life with meticulous de- appeased by the spectacle of three tail, yet the prohibitions, like the prohi- French warriors fighting boldly for bitions which satisfy the consciences of their lives. “Accident,” says Jusserand, the Americans to-day-a similar nation "plays a greater part in the fourteenth of children-are always cheerfully vio- century than perhaps at any other lated. The common people, with un- epoch.” Insecurity is normal: hardness erring instinct, recognize the law as the and austerity is the lot of all: men see enemy. “Then began they to show the sunrise but never the sunset: overforth in deeds part of their in most pur- coats and fur robes are kept to wear pose,” wrote Walsingham of the peas- indoors, instead of outside. The wars ants' revolt, "and to behead in revenge ure conducted with a tedious brutality, all and every lawyer in the land, from amid promiscuous slaughter: diseases born of uncleanliness are rampant; in the "Scot-ales," complaints of the secthe midst comes the Black Death, like ular jollity in the pilgrimages, the sing. the sudden shutting of a door, closing ing of "wanton songs," "and some other the life of an age. Yet with all this pilgrimes will have with them bagge there is irrepressible gaiety, breaking pipes.” Yet everywhere and always, out everywhere into sport and song and in days of prosperity and decline, this dances, defying the regulations of the common people were determined to law and the menaces of the Church. make the most of what pleasures this Across this gulf of time, triumphant little life could give. With the enduron the moans of the suffering and the ing background of uncertainty-in repoor, comes the laughter of "Merrie joicing perhaps heightened and deepEngland.” One sees them, as in Fitz- ened by this uncertainty-the men and Stephen's “Description of London": "in women of this far-off time appear as the holidays all the summer the youths those who accept life instead of rejectare exercised in leaping, dancing, shoot- ing it, filling with zest and rivalry and ing, wrestling, casting the stone, and laughter the hours of a day long dead. practising their shields: the maidens And of religion? Here, also, the trip with their timbrels, and dance as divergence is superficial rather than long as they can well see." When the fundamental, between to-day and yesgreat fen or moor is frozen in winter terday. Then, as now, religion meant, they play upon the ice. In the summer for the few the effort after the aspiranights they dance with candles in their tion of the Spirit; for the many the hands. They break down all regula- attempt to escape from the consetions in restraint of their jolly, boister- quences of the sins of the flesh. The ous sports and pleasures, and the spiritual background to life was, instrength of their determination towards deed, more universally accepted; devils enjoyment is exhibited by the fre- and angels walked visibly on the earth, quency of the attempts to limit and re- seen of many; in the great storm of strict their excesses. There are revels 1361 "the Devil in man's likeness spake on Saint's days, revels at marriage to men going by the way"; a berald feasts, revels at Christmas and Easter who watched the rioters march past in and May morning, revels even at exe- 1381 "saw several devils among them"; cutions and funerals. In 1370 at the good Queen “yielded up her ghost; Christmastide a law is passed in Lon- which," says the chronicler, "as I don “that no one shall go in the streets firmly believe, the holy angels of paraof the city with vizor or mask, under dise seized and carried with great joy pain of imprisonment.” Measures are to the glory of Heaven."

Yet even threatened against taking off the hoods here is a current of underlying sceptiof people a primitive form of "Maffick- cism. Walsingham traced the horrors ing," and against football in the streets. of the peasants' revolt to “the sins of In 1446 the Bishop of Exeter complains the great folk, whose faith in God was against unlawful games, such as tennis, feigned; for some of them (it is said) in the Cathedral cloister, “by the which believed that there was no God, no all the walls of the said cloister have sacrament of the altar, no resurrection been de-fouled, and the glass windows from the dead, but that as a beast dies, all to-burst." Repeatedly the Church so also there is an end of man.” “One endeavored to clear the people from merchant told me the other day," says unholy games (such as football) in the Gower, “how, to his mind, that man churchyards. There are prohibitions would have wrought folly who, being against the "Feast of fools," against able to get the delights of this life,

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