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self. "Mamma and I never hold the same views about
anything, so there's not much use in consulting her.
OMie is a dear child, but She has plans for me of her
own and is prejudiced. Billy is entirely useless. I
wish someone would help me."

She looked shyly into his face, but the idea that he
could be the "someone" she meant never entered his
mind. And was he not as prejudiced as Olive Thorn,
if it came to that?

"You're awfully duli to-day," she said presently,
when he did not speak.

"Ye*;," he assented, gloomily. "I am dull to-day.
1 always am dull. I can't help it."

He uttered these words whh strained pauses be-


tween the sentences. When they readied the hotel
entrance he left her abruptly.

Amy went straight to her mother. "Mr. Loring
has asked me to marry him," she said, simply.

"Impudence!" cried Mrs. Van. "What did you
say? I hope you gave him your opinion of his con-

"I told him I would give him an answer to-morrow."

"I'll give it to him to-day if / see him," retorted
the mother, spitefully. "I never heard anything so
ridiculous. A common, ordinary man to aspire to a
girl with your prospects!"

"I guess you'd better leave him to me," smiled her
daughter, pointedly. "My answer will be the same as
yours and perhaps a little more considerate."




IKAO is one of the most beautiful towns in Japan,
which is giving it high praise; for the country is full
of picturesque places, which the hurried traveler from
the Occident too seldom takes time to see. The or-
dinary way is to leave the steamer at Yokohama, run
over to Tokyo for a day or two, then to Nikko
everybody goes to Nikko then to Myanoshita, and
after that a long jump by train to Kyoto. Then the
quickest way is chosen to Kobe and the most delight-
ful of lands if left behind by misguided people who
imagine they have "seen Japan." The real Japan is
not to be found along the lines of railway nor in the
large seaports. It can only be reached on foot or
horseback and the voyager who is afraid of leaving
luxurious hotels never "sees Japan" at all.

And yet even Ikao can be reached with very little
trouble. If you are at Tokyo, for instance, you may
take a train at half-past eight in the morning and ar-
rive at Maebashi at one. After crossing the village
you will find at the other end an extremely primitive
tram, by which you can reaah Shibukawa at half-past
three. From here to Ikao two coolies will pull you in
a 'ricksha up a steep and sandy road in two or three
hours and you are hi a bit of the real Japan at last.


The friends in whom we are just now interested
did not reach Ikao in this manner, however, but in one
requiring much more effort. They came on horseback
from Chuzenji through Ashio, entailing a hard moun-
tain ride, and compelling them also to spend a night
at a very poor native hotel. Mrs. Van Steuben is not
to be wholly blamed that one day at an inn of that
kind was quite enough for her. The only bed's ob-
tainable were made by spreading quilts on the bare
floor and the provisions were merely sudh as the trav-
elers had brought with them. A large number of fleas,
apparently kept for the purpose and trained to their
duties, went to work promptly and never stopped to
rest during the night. There were also other discom-
forts which it is not necessary to mention, calculated
to damp the soul of a lady even less squeamish than
was Mrs. Van.

" If I get out of this place alive," she remarked
many times during that trip, "it's the last one of the
kind you'll ever catch me in."

Mrs. Young, in her capacity as Echo, joined heartily
in these sentiments. The only wholly happy people in
the party were Angel and Seraph, who found enough
pleasure in the discomforts of other people to forget
their own. Both of these precocious infants had to
(stuff the ends of their nightrobes in their mouths to
keep from screaming with delight at each moan that
came through the paper partition that divided them
from Mrs. Van. Even Amy came down rather cross
in the morning, as she did not enjoy being bitten, and
Olive admitted to having had her full share of trouble


with the voracious insects. Everybody's wrath was di-
rected against the mild Mr. Lovejoy, who had somehow
mislaid the "flea powder" which he had undertaken to
provide, but as the remarks were somewhat modified
on account of his sacred profession he was blissfully
unaware of their full significance.

"I slept very well indeed, thank you," he remarked
to Mrs. Van's sarcastic inquiry on that point.

"Slept!" she echoed. "Do you mean to say you
slept, with a thousand fleas running over your body ?"

"I did not notice them," he replied, with one of his
benignant smiles.

"I've got One bite as big as a Mexican dollar," put
in Mrs. Young, in a vigorous "aside." "Not notice
them, indeed!"

"A Mexican dollar is only worth forty-five cents in
American money," remarked her son, soothingly. "So
you see it's not as bad as it seems."

"That must have been the 'wicked flea' that 'no man
pursueth,' " said Seraph, with a look that left the be-
holder in doubt whether she was or was not cross-

Mrs. Van took occasion to ask her daughter, when
they were again on the road, if she thought sihe would
care for any more of the interior of Japan after that
night's experience, and she said it in a tone which
showed what answer she expecte'd.

"Why, certainly," was the response. "If that dd
ninny of a Lovejoy hadn't forgotten the flea powder
everything would have been lovely. I like the pic-
nicking immensely, the hard beds, the cold lunches and


the horseback riding. I'm going over a lot more of
this country before I leave it."

"You'll have to go without me, then," sard her
mother. "I call this sort of travel unfit for any decent
human being."

Amy saw her opportunity and made good use of it.

"Oh, mamma, you must go, just on a few more
trips," sihe coaxed. "There's a lovely one I read of
in the guide book, that leads around the volcano of
Fu j iyama "

"I sihould think you'd want a few more volcanoes !"
was the ironical reply. "Oh, yes, I should love to go
there above all things."

"But this volcano hasn't been active for a century
or two," broke in Billy, who was ridling near the

"I wouldn't trust one of them," said his mother.
"If you and Amy want to commit suicide you'd better
take some easier way. Remember Mr. Meyer's I
mean Mullet's adopted father, buried in the lava on

Billy here admitted that he had seen all the vol-
canoes he wanted to for the next fifty years. As his
sister made no remark at the time, Mrs. Van came to
the conclusion that the matter would end there and
dismissed it from her mind.

The inn at Ikao, tine "Kimdayo," was so prettily sit-
uated anld so well kept tihat all of the party except
Mrs. Van and Mrs. Young, who were determined not
tb be satisfied with anything, and Mr. Loring, who
was in a dejected state over the contents of a note he


had received on the day following his proposal of mar-
riage became quite enthusiastic over it. The town
itself has for its principal "street" a flight of broad
stone stairs, of an easy grade, nearly a quarter of a
mile in length. This stairway runs from the bottom of
a valley, where rice meadow's stretch far away to the
mountains beyond, to a Buddhist Temple on the hills
above the village. Along both sides of the steps are
numerous residences and shops, and hot springs which
gush out of the hillside have their waters conducted in-
to hundreds of private bathhouses. These baths are
commended as cures for many diseases, and, as this was
the height of the season, the place was crowded with
well-to-do people.

The effect of the brightly-arrayed natives continual-
ly ascending and decending the steps was a reminder
of the escalier of the Piazza, di Spagna in Rome, but
much more entertaining. Angel said it made him
think of his namesakes on Jacob's Ladder. Amy and
Olive haunted the vicinity, delighted with everything
tihey saw.

There were tiny women, in kimonos and obis, with
their hair in the regulation fashion, stuck through
with daggers ; bright slippers on baby feet usually bare
of hosiery; odd-looking men and doll-like children.
Amy divided her time also between the goods offered
for sale at the shops and the magnificent view. She
left Olive a good deal to Capt. Thorn, thinking they
must be glad to be alone after their long separation.
Mr. Loring kept to his room, on the plea that he had
letters to write, an'd the others disposed of themselves
according to their various fancies.


When they had been at Ikao but a few days a con-
tinuous rain that lasted nearly a week drove them in-
doors. But even then Amy was happy. She declared
that nothing could be pleasanter than sitting in the
glass-enclosed balconies which opened from the rooms.
Across the immense plain tihe prettiest effects were
visible. First came the red roofs of the houses, one be-
low the other as the ground descended. Streams of
hot water flowing on their mission of utility and health
sent up clouds of steam. When the little rivers had
finished visiting the bathhouses they swept through
long chutes and turned the wfaeels of a number of rice
mills ere they made their final plunge into the valley
and became part of the larger stream there.

So full of running water is Japan that the traveler
can hardly get out of sound of its musical flow from
one end of the green land to the other. The height
of Fujiyama most beautiful of isolated mountains
could be seen from the hotel, its top now crowned witfh
the first snow of the season. And most impressive of
all, masses of fleecy white clouds hung like a curtain
over the emerald landscape, changing their location
and forms with every movement of the breeze.

Carl Mu'ller paid little attention to these sights.
Not only had he witnessed them all before, but his
mind was occupied with the confidence Miss Van
Steuben had given him, by the lake at Chuzenji, in
reference to Mr. Loring. He had no means of know-
ing the purport of the "answer" she had given on the
Bay following her reference to the matter. He no-
ticed the absorption of the Englishman and his with-


drawal from t!he young lady's society, but was not
sure what this might signify. Possibly it was only a
ruse to disarm the suspicions of Mrs. Van until Amy
could write to her father and obtain his consent to an
open announcement.

But what had she meant by her veiled references to
"noone she liked better" offering himself? Wasshein
love with Capt. Thorn, or was there some one he had
never head of in Honolulu, or perhaps in California?
Notwithstanding his own pain, he was inexpressibly
sorry for her. If she really cared for another man it
was simply terrible to think of her accepting Mr. Lor-
ing. The rule that compelled a young woman to wait
for the momentous question must result sometimes in
the greatest mistake she could make.

While the rain lasted the small list of books which
the tourists had -with them was drawn upon to the
full. Every stray newspaper printed in English was
read with eagerness, as food is guarded and doled out
on a derelict steamer. The proprietor of the Kindayo
Hotel, a bright Japanese who spoke English with con-
siderable fluency, brought to the parlor one evening a
package of Yokohama papers of recent date, which
were received with many manifestations of pleasure.
Each guest took a part of the "treasure-trove" and
silence fell on the group.

"Listen, everybody!" cried Amy, suddenly, spring-
ing to her feet with her newspaper in hand and going
closer to the hanging lamp. "Here is news that you'll
all want to hear." CAnd she re^d alodd :),


The Court at St. Louis, Mo., to which was referred
the last will of the wealthy Peter Meyer, who per-
ished in the eruption at Hawaii, has disallowed the
same, it being proved that the will was executed
while the testator was in an unsound state of mind.
A previous will, bequeathing nearly the whole of
die estate, estimated at over $500,000, to an adopted
son named Carl Muller, though generally called Carl
Meyer, has been accepted, and the property is now
awaiting the rightful heir. As Mr. Muller is visiting
Japan with a party of Americans we hope that this
paragraph will be the means of conveying to him the
pleasant news.

A visible sensation passed through the room as the
girl read these words. For some seconds after she
finished nobody spoke. All looked straight at Carl,
whose face wore an expression compounded of sur-
prise, doubt and grief. Mr. Lovejoy was the first to
congratulate him. Rising from his chair, which hap-
pened to be next to that of the young man, he placed
"his hand in a fatherly way on his shoulder.

"You are righted at last, my dear boy," he said,
impressively. "I shall lose a companion, but you will
regain your true place in the world."

"I am not sure I shall accept this decision," replied
Carl, firmly, though he grew pale and red by turns.

"Not accept it!" exclaimed Billy, who had at last
found his tongue. "Not accept it! What do you
mean ?"

"Don't interrupt him," said the sister, impatiently,
as she leaned forward with the others awaiting the

Carl's brain had begun to grow dizzy. His throat


filled arid he could not speak. The memories that
^ thronged upon him unmanned his stout heart.

"Excuse me or the present," he said hoarsely ; and
as he left the room every person rose involuntarily.
Yes, even Mrs. Young and Mrs. Van.

"Well, I never heard anything like that." (This
was Billy, of course.) "I thought he'd just jump up
to the ceiling with joy."

"Oh, Billy, did you think he'd lost all his fine feel-
ings, just because he's had to take a salary for a few
months !"

Amy spoke with indignant reproach.

"He evidently had a very deep affection for Mr.
Meyer," put in Capt. Thorn. "No amount of material
wealth can make him forget the unhappy events which
alienated his friend."

Amy looked her gratitude, which was reward
enough for Thorn. Olive came to her side and grasp-
ed her hand. Soon after the party broke up. Amy
paused a minute on the staircase to ask Mr. Lovejoy
in a whisper w*hat he thought Carl's decision would be.

"I've no means of guessing," he answered. "A little
selfishness comes into my view of the caise. I should
be very sorry to have him leave me."

The girl started.

"Could he not continue with us, even if he accepts
the money, as an independent traveller?" she asked,
with suppressed eagerness. "It woiild not be absolute-
ly necessary for him to return to America now. He
could signify his acceptance by letter and you could
advance him any money he needs."


The clergyman dwelt musingly on the suggestion.

"He has seen all the countries we intend visiting,"
he said finally, "and I don't suppose would care to go
over them so soon again. No, tihere is no reason why
he should stay. There's nothing in this part of the
world he cares for."

She turned away, saying gvx>d-night in a husky
voice. And the picturesque hotel on the hillside over
which the full moon watched lovingly perhaps pity-
ingly was soon quiet.

The next day Carl asked Mr. Lovejoy if he could
spare him for a few hours, and was told to consider
himself at full liberty. His fellow travelers saw him
wander off toward the solitudes. He wanted to think
out his great problem with nothing but his own Soul
to guide him. When he did not return at noon nor
even at dinner time, no apprehension was felt, as there
are plenty of tea j houses among the hills where light
refreshments may be obtained.

A mail whidh arrived helped to break the monotony.
Among the letters received was one Which seemed to
worry Capt. Thorn a great deal. He told his sister
hurriedly fhat financial matters required his presence
in Yokdhama and started immediately for that city.
He said, however, that he expected to return in a
few days, and kissed her affectiomiartely at parting.

There was one person at the hotel w?ho thoug'ht of a
way to lessen the dullness. This wais MTS. Van Steu-
ben, in whose mind tihere still rankled bitterly the
statement that Mr. Loring had asked Amy to be his
wife. Her resolution to "have it out with him" was


warmly seconded by Mrs. Young, wihen tihe affair was
unbosomed to her in one of those confidences that
women love. Mrs. Young protested tihat it was the
most outrageous breach of hospitality she had ever
heard of. Indeed she would give the fellow a piece of
her mind, if she was the injured mother. She would
not mince her words, either. She would tell him that,
after what had happened, his room was better tflran his

An opportunity came late in the afternoon, when
Amy and Olive had gone out for a stroll with Ld'sette,
Amy's maid, for chaperone, through the village. Mr.
Loring, having been watched for carefully, was de-
tected in one of the hallways and beguiled into Mrs.
Van's parlor, like a fly into that of a spider. Having
got him fairly cornered the lady losK: no time in giving
him her opinion of what he had done.

"My daughter begged me not to refer to the sub-
ject," she said in closing a very warm arraignment,
"but I feel it my duty to ask you to pursue your jour-
ney without us. It will not be agreeable to travel with
a man who could so far forget himself. When Miss
Van Steuben marries she will be able to select her
husband from the highest circles. I should have sup-
posed you would realize that and save us this humilia-

Mr. Loring bowed, with the never-failing good man-
ners for which he had always been conspicuous, though
his cheek burned at the blunft speech.

"I will certainly obey your request," he said in a firm
yoke. "But in justice to myself I ask you to listen to


a statement which may in some cbgree mitigate you*
anger toward me. May I proceed?"

Half turning from him Mrs. Van remarked flippantly
that he could say anything he pleased, but he must un-
derstand in advance that it would not have tfhe slight-
est effect on her decision.

"In the first place, then," he began, "my name is
not Somerset Loring, but Loring Somerset. I am the
eldest son and heir of Lord Somerset of Dorsetshire,
and descended on both my father and motiher's side
from old and highly-connected families. In due time
I shall become not only a member of the British Hbusa
of Lords but very wealthy. I thought, in the circum-
stances, that I was justified in aspiring to the hand of
a young lady whose ancestors have mot, I believe, been
higfhly conspicuous in the history of their country."

Mrs. Van told Mrs. Young afterwards that she
thought she should faint. She fumbled in her dress
pocket for her smelling salts, but could not find them.
Was there ever such a dreadful mistake!

"I beg your pardon most sincerely, my lord," she
exclaimeki, as soon as she could find strength. "I am
ooveired with confusion. Why has all this been con-
cealed until now ?"

"Because," he replied, eyeing her fixedly, "I want-
ed to win your beautiful child in such a way that I
coufld fed she had accepted me for myself. I thought
the prejudice of her father against rank might be over-
dome in time if he knew me first as a plain citizen. I
ami very sorry for what has happened. Although Miss
Amy declined my proposal I had sitill hoped that time


might iriduce her to change her decision. With your
prejudice against me it is evident I can have no hope.
I will leave here tomorrow, Mrs. Van Steuben, and
can only trust that my explanation will lessen your
severe opinion of my conduct."

Mrs. Van hastened to get between her victim and
the door.

"Indeed, my lord, you will do nothing of tihe kind !"
she exclaimed. "I beg you to forget all I have said
and continue our companion and friend. My lord,
I entreat you ! I shall never forgive mysdf if you do
not remain."




THE decision of Carl MuHer in relation to his in-
heritance was never in any serious doubt. His feelings
toward his adopted uncle were so tender, his hurt so
deep, that he could not bring himself to accept any part
of the large fortune his friend had left. There were
many reasons why a tidy sum of money would have
been very welcome to him just then; and he thought
'these over with a fainting heart, during tine long hours
he passed alone in the hills above Ikao.

His position as an underling in the party with Amy
Van Steuben nearly drove him to madness. Notwith-
standing Mr. Lovejoy's unfailing kindness and the
outward consideration with which he was treated by
most of the others, he fek that he was something
lower than a gentleman, something but little higher
than a valet. It was not tihat he despised his position
in itself, but because the woman he madly loved had
degraded him so far as to pity his sad plight. In her
presence he was at the extreme of mental misery.
The shackles which compelled him to march like a
serf in her train were becoming unbearable.

Ah! how different if instead of a paid companion
lo a doddering old dunce (it was thus he denominated


Mr. Love joy in his distress) he were a gentleman of
fortune, counted for what he believed himself in-
herently to be! Witih as much money as was now
offered him he might even aspire to

The agony of the trial ! But he never for a moment
wavered from his rigid determination. He would not
assist in altering the disposition Peter Meyer had made
of his estate, whether at the time he signed that paper
he was sane or insane. It would be sacrilege to alter
the last wishes the almost dying wishes of the
truest friend he had ever known.

Not until it was nearly midnight did Carl rouse
himself from his revery and rise from the ground
where he had flung himself long before noon. The
thought of food had not come to him during that
long day* and though faint now from abstinence it did
not occur to his mind that hunger was the cause. He
stood up, stretched his arms above his head and turn-
ing to the crescent moon overhead cried aloud

"I will not do it! I will work at any honest em-
ployment, starve if .need be, but I will never touch
a penny of that money !"

Strange hallucinations sometimes come to fevered
and overwrought mind's. Before the startled vision
of the young mam a sliadowy figure was outlined on
tihe hill at some distance above him. As he gazed he
saw that it bore an astounding resemblance to his de-
ceased foster parent. Its arms were stretched toward
him, in an attitude similar to his own. In tihe weird
play of the moonlight he thought tihe familiar features
awfully distinct.


A cloud passed across the face erf the Queen of
Night and when Carl rubbed his eyes again and peered
into the shadow there was nothing to be seen. He
stood a moment trembling, not from fear, but w&h a
still deeper emotion. Then he fell on his knees and
murmured a prayer.

"It was his spirit!" he said, reverently, as he took
his slow way back to the hotel. "He came to tell me
I had decided well."

He was perhaps as free from superstition as a man
could be who had never given a moment's thought to
supernatural phenomena. He only knew what he had
witnessed, or what he thought he had witnessed, if that
pleases the critical reader better. The affair did not
interfere with his rest that night, nor alter his con-
duct in any way; neither did he consider it a matter
to be referred to in conversation with the people about

Everything connected with his deceased friend was
sacred. He had felt no more alarm at sight of Meyer's
wraith than he would have felt at his living presence.
It was evident from Lin/das' statement that the old
genffleman's mind had become unhinged from very
love of him. And though his blood tingled and his
hands clenched themselves involuntarily when he
thought of Marcus' deception, he had for hfe victim
only the tender feeling of a son.

Mr. Love joy wisely let him take his own time to
decide what he would do, though Amy came fre-
quently to ask the result, with an anxiety she could
not hide. On the third day Carl announced his deci-
sion, in the briefest manner:


"I have come to the conclusion tihat I wiil accept

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Online LibraryAlbert RossA sugar princess → online text (page 13 of 19)