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      A few days later he drove off in his trap to Rye. Though he had scarcely thought of her for ten years, he was now all aflame with the idea of meeting her. She would be pleased to see him, too. Perhaps their long-buried emotions would revive, and as old people they[Pg 444] would enjoy a friendship which would be sweeter than the love they had promised themselves in more ardent days.There is very little of what we call privacy in a Japanese house, as the paper screens are no obstructors of sound, and a conversation in an ordinary tone can be heard throughout the entire establishment. It is said that this form of building was adopted at a time when the government was very fearful of conspiracies, and wished to keep everybody under its supervision. Down to quite recent times there was a very complete system of espionage all over the country; and it used to be said that when three persons were together, one of them was certain to be a spy, and the other two were pretty sure to be spies as well. At the time Commodore Perry went to Japan, it was the custom to set a spy over every official to observe what he did and report accordingly. The system has been gradually dropped, but it is said to exist yet in some quarters.


      This imaginative flight into the future fatigued{176} her, or at any rate demanded an effort on the part of her brain, and very naturally she went back to the blessings that she found it easier to call to mind since they already existed. Quite high among these, a little lower perhaps than the pleasure of being Lady Mayoress, but higher than the fact that Alice was distinctly better this morning, was the sensible way in which her husband had behaved about those odd evening visits of Miss Propert when she worked at his library catalogue. Faint was the remembrance of that unpleasant moment when she had suddenly appeared among all the guests at the close of dinner, and was subsequently introduced into the drawing-room. But after that those visits had ceased altogether, and instead Miss Propert came in the middle of the morning when her husband was at his office. That was perfectly in accordance with the rules of correct behaviour, and when she chanced to meet Norah going into the library or leaving it at the conclusion of her work, she always had a civil and condescending word for her. She had no doubt whatever that the girl was a very decent young woman in her station of life, which was as much as could be said about anybody.Margaret raised her bright blue eyes, that had been as yet hidden by the long dark lashes, and the downcast lids; but, meeting the bold fixed gaze of the baron, they were instantly withdrawn, and the deep blush of one unaccustomed to the eyes of strangers, suffused her cheek and brow, and even her neck.

      The boys were now sixteen and eighteen, fine, manly young fellows, working cheerfully on Odiam and rejoicing their father's heart. Reuben watched over them sometimes with an odd kind of anxietythey were so satisfactory that he felt it could not last. He remembered that conversation he had overheard in the trap on the way home from Rye, and though nothing had happened since to remind him of it or cause him fresh alarm, he could never quite shake off the cold thrills it had given him."They were supported by the government," the Doctor answered, "in accordance with the ancient custom. Every Samurai received an allowance, which was paid to him in rice, the staple article of food, and what he did not eat he could convert into money. His pay was in proportion to his rank, and the great number of Samurai made their support a heavy burden upon the laboring class. It is said that nine tenths of the product of the soil went, in one way and another, for taxes; that is, for every hundred bushels of rice that a farmer raised, ninety bushels went to the local and general governments, and only ten bushels remained to the farmer. It was by being thus saddled on the country that the Samurai[Pg 218] were able to live without work, and, as the right had been conceded to them for generations, they naturally looked with contempt upon all kinds of industry. Their dissipated way of living was very likely to lead them into debt, just as it leads similar men into debt everywhere else. The merchants and tradesmen of all kinds were their victims, as the law allowed no redress for the wrongs they committed. They would sometimes enter a shop, select what goods they wanted, hand them over to a servant, and then leave without paying. If the merchant intimated that he would like to be paid for his property, they became very insolent and threatened to report him to the police as a swindler. They would enter a[Pg 219] tavern or tea-house with a crowd of their followers, and, after eating and drinking what they wished, walk coolly away. If the landlord asked for payment, he was not very likely to get it; and if he repeated the request, he not infrequently had his head slashed off by the sword of one of the offended gentlemen. The head of a landlord was not of much consequence; but he was generally quite unwilling to lose it, as, when once taken off, it was difficult to restore it to its place.

      Ten pounds! he said. I shouldnt dream of giving more than seven for it. Even that would be a fancy price.

      On the third day from this, Calverley, bearing the felon's brand, unwept and unknown, was laid in the stranger's grave."The word typhoon comes from the Japanese 'Tai-Fun,' which means 'great wind,' and the meaning is admirably descriptive of the thing itself. There is no greater wind in the world than a typhoon; the traditional wind that would blow the hair off the back of a dog is as nothing to it. A cyclone is the same sort of thing, and the two terms are interchangeable; cyclone is the name of European origin, while typhoon comes from the Asiatic.