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*I don't know him, but I know of him,' said the Major; I suppose he knew you were halting here?'
' Oh, yes; his brother was waiting for me when I got here, but he went off directly after.'
* Well, you really must report me to the Deputy Commissioner,' rejoined the Major, and in the meantime you shall hear my version. But even if you agree with it, which you probably will not do, you must report me just the same in order to see whether the Deputy Commissioner takes my view or not. I expect you will find that he will do so. However, your friend Mulraj is a seditious rascal.'
Oh, not seditious; he seeks for a liberated India, but he is anything but seditious.'
· Call him what you like, he is exceedingly hostile to the Government, and a brother of his—I don't know whether it is the one you saw yesterday–has been in prison for sedition. Mulraj himself was pretty strongly suspected, but he got off somehow. But his one idea is to do anything possible to get the Government disliked, and if you will allow me to say so, travelling M.P., Labour for choice and Radical for next best, is just the sort of man he and his sort like to get hold of. He is going to fill you up with all sorts of lies, and I am afraid you will believe most of them.'
Mr. Luxford bridled, but the Major continued.
His brother doubtless saw us march in, and being a cute lad he got hold of the headman and told him to refuse us supplies, with further instructions to complain to you afterwards.
. Of course you know that an M.P. is considered by all natives to be of immense importance. As a matter of fact, we brought a lot of our supplies with us, but we had to supplement here, and Mulraj's brother and the headman knew very well that one method of bringing Government into contempt is to refuse to help troops. Further, if they can make a complaint that supplies were extorted by force there is another point in their favour. They know pretty well that the Deputy Commissioner will not believe for a moment that I used force to get what I wanted, but they did expect that you would believe it, and that you would kick up a row. Not that you could effect much out here. Still, if when you got home you could say something in the House about the brutality of soldiers and the callous indifference of
civilian officials, why it would look mighty well from their point of view. Do you see?'
Luxford nodded with polite acquiescence.
Now I was not going to be sat on,' continued the Major, by any insolent headman, nor let him brag that he got the better of some Sahibs. That sort of thing does not do at all. And as it happens I know that this village can always find a certain amount of supplies, for we have been here before. Moreover, the village people are uncommonly glad to sell them and to make a little ready money. Ready money is pretty scarce with them, I can tell you. So I told the headman that if he did not find what I wanted within half an hour it would be the worse for him. The supplies were brought in twenty-five minutes, and were paid for on the nail. Perhaps your friend the headman said that they had not been paid for?
* No, he did not say that,' answered Luxford; ' but he did say that you had not paid the proper amount.'
"Well, you must put that in your report, too,' said the Major, ‘for they were paid for by the authorised schedule of prices current. But I am afraid that it is the headman who will get into trouble, not I. May I have another kidney?'
Mr. Luxford helped him with a cordial hand.
' And now,' said the Major, smiling, “I am going to carry the war into the enemy's country. It was the kidneys that reminded me. May I ask if you carry all your supplies with you; I mean your meat and that kind of thing?'
' Oh, no,' replied Luxford; 'surely meat would not keep, would it? Antonio, my servant, always manages it for me.'
'Well,' said the Major, you must forgive me for criticising this excellent breakfast that you have given us. These kidneys now: how many kidneys are there to a sheep, or to a goat?
Luxford replied to this indelicate question that he thought each animal was endowed with two.
'In that case,' said the Major, these kidneys must have been the product of four sheep or goats. Probably goats. But the chops, they are certainly mutton-not goat.'
Oh, I hope so,' said Luxford, devoutly.
Certainly they are mutton, and well-fed mutton, too. Did you happen to see a butcher's shop in the village?'
No, I did not notice one,' answered Luxford, wondering to what these questions tended.
'It would be funny if you had, for there is not one. Small villages like this do not as a rule have a butcher; the people are too poor to eat meat, and, moreover, you never see a flock of sheep, only goats.'
* What about the quails ? ' put in the subaltern, who was at that moment scrunching the leg of one. • There are practically no quail about here, but you have managed to raise a dozen. It is jolly good of you, of course.'
* All this is dreadfully rude,' said the Major apologetically; * but I want to do something still worse. I want to ask your servant how he managed to get all this. Will you allow me to do so?'
Certainly,' said Luxford. Antonio! Antonio! come here.'
*Yes, sar,' cried a voice; and there entered a black-faced Goanese boy,' who described himself as a Portuguese, and like all his kind spoke English.
' Antonio,' said the Major, ‘did the people of the village make any difficulty about providing what your Sahib wanted?'
'Oh, no, sar! They very willing. I tell them master very great man, master Member of Parliament, and make bobbery if he did not get all he want.'
* But how did you get all those kidneys?
'I make headman take goats, but I pay only for kidnēys, not for all goats. People are angree, but I say master very great man.'
' But the mutton, Antonio–how did you get that? There are no sheep here, are there?'
'Yes, sar, there was one big sheep here. A dumba, what you call fat-tailed sheep. I say master like chops of fat-tailed sheep. The man say he is pet sheep and love him much, but I tell him not to be dam fool or master make trouble.'
The subaltern's smile was growing wider and wider.
* They fighting quails, sar,' said Antonio simply. Many people here keep fighting quails; like cock-fight, sar. Master love quails, so I take one quail from twelve men. They very angree and give abuse, but I say master send policeman if he not get them. Then they give quails gladlee, sar.'
Mr. Luxford glared speechlessly at his capable attendant.
worse than us. The intimidation that you have used has been most reprehensible, Mr. Luxford.'
But, my dear Major,' gasped the injured gentleman; ' how was I to know what that rascal was doing?'
Surely you are responsible for the actions of your servant. I consider it a gross scandal that you did not bother yourself to enquire into his methods. Just think of it. Four goats slaughtered to provide kidneys for your breakfast table, and only the kidneys, not the whole goats, paid for. Twelve honest men robbed each of a precious fighting quail, and probably paid a penny or twopence for a bird worth several rupees. And, worst of all, a poor fellow deprived of his one fat-tailed ewe lamb, the joy of his household, that you may eat chops. It is terrible.'
' And you a bally M.P.,' said the subaltern. 'I shall write to Truth.'
'I don't want to rub it in,' said the Major; ' you did it largely for our sakes, and we thank you.'
He laughed, and even Mr. Luxford smiled ruefully.
'It certainly is pretty dreadful—I suppose that is what has happened whenever I have travelled in country districts.'
. Certainly,' said the Major. 'But we must be off. We are late already, and that is another crime to be set down to your account. You must come and stay with us at Thandanagar—we shall be back there in a week. You will come, won't you?'
"Yes, rather,' said the Subaltern; you must come. We will tell the fellows in Mess about you, and they'll give you a top-hole time.'
Mr. Luxford gasped a little.
Can I dare come?' he said in a faint voice.
Of course you can,' said the Major and the subaltern together.
JOHN SMITH AT HARROW.
The first time that I saw John Smith was at my father's house. He had come there to take clerical duty in the holidays. I was then a little boy, but I perfectly remember his tall spare figure as he stood in the hall, unwrapping the grey Scotch plaid, which he always wore in lieu of greatcoat. It was a bitter January afternoon, and the half-hour's drive from the station had been all against the wind. His face was blue with cold and his fingers were freezing; but his only answer to my mother's expressions of sympathy was to repeat over and over again ‘Dear lady, it is most remarkable weather--most remarkable.' Only once was his voice raised in complaint; a fire had been lighted in his bedroom, and all luxury offended him. My mother said afterwards that it really seemed to pain him deeply that such an ordinary piece of consideration should have been possible.
That day was the beginning of a long friendship; for he made much of us children, and even wrote to us when he had gone back to Harrow. I wish I had kept those characteristic letters; but my chief interest at the time was in the exquisite maps that he sent me, done by boys in his form, and the little morocco-bound school-roll, which represented such a bundle of romantic possibilities. There never was anyone, we thought, so easy to make friends with, or so ready to be shown things, as Mr. John Smith. He had an adventure too (as it seemed to us) in our house. On my father's return he and his guest sat late alone in the drawing-room, and my father in a fit of absence of mind locked the outer door when he went to bed. John Smith actually slept on the rug sooner than disturb the house at that hour. Next morning the housemaid, when she came to open the room, was astonished to see his tall figure rising from the rug, and to hear his voice repeating in its peculiarly insistent tones that he had had a marvellous night's rest, and had slept gloriously,' though the cold that winter was very severe.
With my mother he soon became very intimate, for they had much in common. His parting words to her on his departure to Harrow were 'Lady, you have brought into the world five little