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gunpowder, and of a thousand simples, as part and parcel of the scheme of all brought together by mere chance or nature, against which it is impious to fate, a sort of incense burned in his contend. Doctors had peered into his honor and agreeable to his soul. It eyes with lenses, quarrelled with one seemed to bring him life, and put him another their diagnoses of his into touch with all he could not see, case, and still the Rubio sat contented, but yet could feel, almost as well as questioning nothing, and enduring if he saw just as did other men. everything, sun, rain, wind, flies, and
Sniffing it up, his nostrils would di- dust, as patiently as he were a rock. late, and then occasionally a shadow Nothing was further from his thoughts ran across his freckled face, and as he than that he ever once again could see. ran his hands down the fore legs of the Plainly, it had been written in the horse left in his charge, marking books of fate he should be blind, and so acutely any splint or spavin they might when European doctors talked to him have, he used to mutter, half in a re of operations and the like he smiled, signed, half in an irritated way, “Mek- not wishing to offend, and never doubttub," the sole profession of his faith ing of their learning, for had not one of that he was ever heard to make, for if them cured a relation of his own of ina thing is written down by fate, it fol- termittent fever by the use of some lows naturally that there is somebody white magic powder, when native docwho writes, if only foolishly. Whether tors after having burned him with a the mystic phrase of resignation re- red-hot iron, and made him take texts ferred to his condition or to the possi- of the Koran steeped in water, had igble splint upon the horse's leg, no one nominiously failed ? could tell, but as the shadow passed All that they said did not appeal to away, as quickly as it came, he soon him, for all of them were serious men, fell back again into the half-resigned who talked the matter over gravely, good humor of the blind, which, like and looked on him as something curithe dancer's lithographic smile, seems ous on which to exercise their skill. quite involuntary.
All might have gone on in the same Years melted into one another, and old way, and to this day the Rubio time sauntered by, just as it always still sat on his stone without a wish to must have sauntered in the town see the horses that he held, the sunwhere hours are weeks, weeks months, light falling white upon the towers, or and months whole years, and still the the red glare upon the Spanish coast hum of animals and men rose from
at eventide, had not a German scienthe Arab market, and still the shadows tist appeared. in the evening creeping on the sand From the first day on which the Ruseemed something tangible to the blind bio held the doctor's horse a fellowship watcher on his stone. Not that he sprang up between them, not easy to cared for time, or even marked its explain. No single word of Arabic the tlight, or would have cared to mark it, doctor spoke, and all the German that had it been pointed out to him, for life the Rubio knew was either objurgatory was pleasant, the springs of charity or obscene, and yet the men were unfailing, wit ever present in his brain, friends. Tall and uncouth and with a and someone always had a horse to beard that looked as if it never had hold, to which he talked, as it stood been combed, his trousers short and blinking in the sun. His blindness frayed and with an inch or two of dirty did not seem to trouble him, and if he sock showing between them and his thought of it at all, he looked on it shoes, dressed in a yellowish alpaca
jacket, and a white solar topee lined ipan of science, Allah alone can tell. with green, the doctor peered out on the A season saw the mounting-block deworld through neutral tinted glasses, serted, and tourists gave their horses for his own eyes were weak.
to be held by boys, who tied them by Whether this weakness drew him to the reins to rings high in the wall, and the blind, or if he liked to hear the Ru- fell asleep, leaving the animals to bio's tales about the Europeans he had fight and break their bridles, and for a known, to all of whom he gave the time no stream of cheerful blasphemy worst of characters, calling them was heard, in any European tongue, drunkards and hinting at dark vices from the usual guardian of the stone. which he averred they practised to a In a clean unaccustomed bed in a dark man-not that he for a moment be- corner of Hope House, the missionary lieved a single word he uttered, but hospital, the Rubio lay, his head bound thought apparently his statements gave up in bandages, silent, but cheerful, à piquancy to conversation—the doctor confident in the skill of his strange vever said. Soon Tangier knew him friend, but yet incredulous, after the for a character, and as he stumbled
Arab way. on his horse about the town, curing the During the long six weeks, what Arabs of ophthalmia and gathering were his thoughts and expectations it is facts for the enormous book he said difficult to say. Perhaps they ran he meant to write upon North Africa, upon the wonders of the new world he his reputation grew. The natives would inherit with his sight, perhaps christened him "Father of Blindness," he rather dreaded to behold all that he which name appeared to him a compli- knew so well and so, familiarly by ment, and he would use it, speaking touch. He who, when like a lizard of himself, complacently, just as a he had basked against his wall, had Scotsman likes to be spoken of under never for a moment ceased from talkthe style and title of the land he owns, ing, now was silent, and when the docalthough it be all bog. Though in the tor visited him, to dress his eyes, and little world of men in which he lived make his daily diagnosis of the case, the doctor was a fool, in the large field answered to all the words of hope he of science, he was competent enough, heard, "It will be as God wishes it to and when he proved to demonstration be," and turned uneasily between his to the other doctors in the place that unfamiliar sheets. , At last the day a slight operation would restore the arrived when the doctors judged the Rubio's sight, they all fell in with it, necessary time had passed. No one in and though for years the object of their Tangier
confident than care had held their horses and they was "the Father of Blindness," who had seen him every day, without ob- went and came about the town buoyed serving him, he now became of interest, high with expectation, for he was really just as a moth becomes of interest a kind-hearted man, learned but simple, when it is dead and put into a case after the fashion of his kind. with other specimens.
At early morning all was ready, and Whether the sympathy that certainly in the presence of the assembled docexists between wise men and those tors of the place, with infinite precauwhose intellect is rudimentary, and tion the dressings were removed. Cauwhich is rarely manifested between a tiously and by degrees, a little light learned and an ordinary man, pre- was let into the room. Holding his vailed upon the Rubio to submit him- patient's hand and visibly moved, the self to the ministrations of the German German asked him if he saw. "Not
yet,” the Rubio answered, and then, throwing the window open wide, the sunlight filled the room, falling upon the figure in the bed and on the group of doctors standing by expectantly. It filled the room, and through the window showed the mountains standing out blue above Tarifa, the strait, calm as a sheet of glass, except where the two "Calas" cut it into foam. It fell upon the cliffs which jut into the sea below Hope House; upon the hills of Anjera, and on the bird-like sails of the feluccas in the bay, filling the world with gladness that a new day was born. Still on his bed the Rubio lay, pale with his long confinement, and with
The Saturday Review.
his hands nervously feeling at his eyes. All saw that the experiment had failed, and with a groan the German man of science buried his head between his hands and sobbed aloud, the tears dimming his spectacles and running down upon his beard. With a grave smile the patient got out of his bed, and having felt his way to where he heard the sobs, laid his rough, freckled hand upon the shoulder of his friend, and said as unconcernedly, as if he had not suffered in the least, “Weep not; it was not written"; then, looking round, asked for a boy to lead him back again to his accustomed seat upon his stone.
R. B. Cunninghame Graham.
NOVEMBER, 1907: NOVEMBER, 1908.
A CONTRAST. It is just twelve months since New York depositors had started their run York was shaken by the great crisis to on the banks at the same moment that which the present depression is prima- Austria threw down the glove to Turrily due. The year has been a troubled key? one, and even now there is not much in The contrast between the two years, the situation from which we can draw indeed, is so remarkable that, even at encouragement; but we may at least be the risk of re-treading old ground, we thankful that the political disturbances may count the changes which have -the turmoil in the Balkans and the taken place, and recapitulate some of hubbub of the Presidential election in the main points of difference. To begin America-have come this autumn in- with the money market. At this time stead of last. It is not pleasant to last year, as we showed in our money think of what would have happened article a week ago, the stock of coin if the financial panic had coincided at in the chief banks of the world was once with the European political crisis some £80,000,000, or 20 per cent., less and the oratorical campaigns of Mr. than the sum held by them at the presBryan and Mr. Taft. The comparative ent time; credit was already extended ease with which the various Stock Ex- to a dangerous point, and there was changes passed through the recent war still the worst of the American crisis scare, and the fact that no English firm to be faced, and the heaviest demand of any size was ruined by the slump in of depositors to be satisfied. Our own prices may serve to point the contrast Bank rate, which is now 212 per cent., between the position now and the posi- rose in a week from 5 to 7 per cent.; tion a year ago, when important people the Reichsbank raised its rate to 743 were "talked about,” and cases of in- per cent.; the Bank of France to 4 per solvency were common. How far cent., and the Austro-Hungarian Bank would Consols have dropped if the New to 6 per cent. But in spite of these defensive measures the drain of gold other, and until we have learnt the art to America continued, and it was an of avoiding panics we shall not master open question whether we should get the secret of employment. through to Christmas without the dec- In the industrial world the position laration of an 8 per cent. minimum has been enormously altered since last from the Bank of England. The strain November. Manufacturers have been entailed by these high monetary rates relieved from the pressure of dear was naturally enormous, and reports money and the high prices of commodwhich we published at the time from ities, but demand has fallen off propormany representative British industries tionately, and in every great manufacproved how severely it was felt, not turing centre abnormal activity has merely by stockbrokers and financiers, been succeeded by abnormal slackness. but by commercial men in every walk In the first seven months of the year of life. Thanks to the long warning British foreign trade declined by about that had been given and the admirable 10 per cent, and American foreign way in which the Bank of England met trade by 17 per cent., while there is a the crisis, actual failures in this coun- corresponding loss in the figures of all try were comparatively few; but in the the continental countries. Our index United States, in Germany, in Holland, number of prices, which will be and in South America a number of brought up-to-date in next week's ismerchants and manufacturers col- sue, fell from 2,457 at the end of Seplapsed because they could not borrow tember, 1907, to 2,168 at the end of money enough to support their credit. August, 1908, and although there has Now money is something of a drug, since been a marked recovery it is still and the difficulty is not to borrow but impossible to say whether prices have to lend; profits, indeed, are lower, but returned permanently to the higher the strain has gone, and there is no level. Last year the most sensational feeling that the City is living from decline was, of course, in the price of hand to mouth. But unhappily, though copper, which fell by 40 per cent. in the strain no longer presses on the City about three months, and touched £60 it is still felt-and felt far more per ton at the beginning of the crisis. strongly-by the working classes, who Since that time the quotation, though are now in the worst position they fluctuating from day to day and week have known for some years. In our to week, has been, on the whole, more own country the percentage of trades steady, and is almost exactly the same unionists unemployed was 4.6 per cent. now as it was twelve months ago. In in November, 1907; it is 9.6 per cent. fact, many competent observers believe now. In the Eastern States of Amer- that commercial interests would have ica there are, according to friendly esti- been better served if American specumates, one and a half million men out lators and producers-not merely of of work, and in Germany the munici- copper but of iron and steel-had held palities have been forced to the desper- out less firmly for their high prices, ate remedy of starting relief works, and had allowed the value of metals to and are spending large sums out of the fall with the general decline in trade. rates to make a census of the unem- For some months the managers of the ployed and support the workmen and Steel Corporation fought desperately their families. Last autumn it was the to maintain their quotations, and as financiers who were in trouble; this long as they fought the consumer, so year it is the working men.
The one long did their business decline; whereas evil is the necessary sequel of the now that they have recognized the ele
mentary rules of supply and demand very rapidly, and the average price of their business is beginning to revive, twelve leading stocks is now 9844, and the quarterly reports show unmis- against 7748 last November, so that takable signs of recovery. The truth there has been a change of 2115 is that in times of depression salvation points, or 28 per cent. We have never lies in cheap prices of raw material understood, and we still do not underand food, and a combination to render stand, what justification there is for commodities artificially dear is the this sudden appreciation. Mining secu. heaviest incubus that could be placed rities have also risen to a much higher on industry. Fortunately the price of level, but here there is a valid reason wheat is about 5s a quarter lower now in the improvement of the industry, than it was a year ago, and from the and the permanent reduction of workcheapening of this primary commodity, ing expenses. Consols, meanwhile, Great Britain, in common with every which ought to gain most from a 21., other country, should derive the great- per cent. Bank rate, have risen very est benefit. If only the American har- little, and stand only two points higher vest had turned out as well as the than at the end of October twelve Wall Street optimists anticipated, the
At one time this year prospect of a general recovery would they rose as high as 88, but they have be a good deal nearer.
sunk back gradually and still show The changes with which we have little signs of recovery. The weakhitherto been dealing-changes in the ness of the gilt-edged market is not money market, in employment and in easily explained, but in so far as it reindustry-all result naturally and in- sults from the fear of more issues of evitably from a breakdown of credit; Irish Land stock it must continue ungiven the crisis, they might all have til the finance of the Act has been satbeen predicted in more or less of detail isfactorily arranged. This is a point But on the Stock Exchange the year's that a good many of us overlooked events have been more obscure, and the when we prophesied a rising gilt-edged course of prices more difficult to fol- market on the strength of cheap money low. The accepted theory that cheap rates. Whether we are yet in sight of money brings business to the stock the trade recovery is a point on which markets has been partially confirmed, no one is likely to dogmatize; but it is and the position of dealers and brok- significant that the most recent trade ers is certainly better now than it was returns of America, of the United Kinglast autumn; but the change has not dom, of France, and of Belgium show it been altogether satisfactory, and the simultaneous increase, and we may improvement in prices has come at un- hope that “the dim signs on the hori. expected points. American railways, zon," of which the Prime Minister which have been worse hit by the de- spoke last week, will prove to be the pression than any other, have risen dawning of a better day.