Left alone, Campanula sat, her hands folded in her lap–a Lost One
Before her mental vision, beyond Japan, beyond that desolate country
always surrounded with ice, the country where the bluebells grew–beyond
all this lay the land where O Toku San had gone that day, the land where
one never regrets, one never forgets, one never remembers.
He had gone to find happiness. Not one word had she spoken to hold him
back or keep him by her, this true daughter of Dai Nippon, soul sister
of O Gozen San, daughter in spirit of the immortal Hirose.
Cleopatra with the asp and all the mouthing heroines of history would
seem cheap indeed beside this small and faithful figure to whom death
was nothing, passion and personal happiness nothing beside the happiness
of the being she loved.
She sat for an hour scarce moving; then she rose up. She had no more
time for personal thoughts; all things had to be left in order, and her
trust to the least detail faithfully fulfilled.
She called the Mousmés to her, and told them that now Leslie San had
left, they would be discharged until he came back. They could go that
evening to their homes in the city below. She would pay them their wages
and a month in advance, and a little present for each out of money of
her own. And the three kow-towed, delighted at the prospect of change
and the month’s money for doing nothing, and the little present besides.
They never thought to ask her what she would do herself in the house
alone, their butterfly brains were so filled with the thoughts of
Then she made Lotus-bud bring all the bills owing, bills yard long and
extraordinarily minute in detail. These she discharged. There were chits
out, but these were Leslie’s affair, and he had no doubt settled them.
She thought of Sweetbriar San the cat, and as he was fondest of
Pine-breeze, she gave Pine-breeze a small sum to take him home and keep
him, applying to M’Gourley San if more money were needful.
Then she went upstairs to her own room and folded neatly the obis and
kimonos in the drawers of the great lacquer cabinet. In one of these
drawers were things she had only, as it were, dropped from her hand; the
toys she had played with as a child. Here was the doll bought in Nikko,
and bouncing balls, ever so many; and in a piece of rice paper, still
ferocious, but terribly old and warped, the famous dragon.
She took him out and tried to remove the paper from his sugar-candy
sides, but it was stuck too tight. She put him back, and, holding the
drawer with both hands, pressed her forehead against them.
As she stood like this, mute and utterly motionless, the night breeze
came through the window, bearing the perfume of the azaleas.
It was as if they were calling to her, and she closed the drawer gently
and turned, as if to say, “I hear.”
Then she came down and found the three Mousmés waiting, each with a
lighted lamp on the end of a stick, and her frail belongings on her
back, luggage consisting of cardboard boxes, except in the case of
Pine-breeze, who was also burdened with a basket containing Sweetbriar
They had received their wages, and there was nothing left for them now
to do but go; which they did, after profound salaams, murmurs and
declarations of personal unworthiness.
Then Campanula found herself standing alone. The only living thing
beside herself in the house was the mushi, that musician of the night,
already saluting its mistress with a thin stream of song. She went to
the doorway where it hung, and unhooked the little cage.
The fair that had been going on all day in the street leading to the
Bund was still in full swing. A lurid sight the street presented, lit by
lanterns of all colors, and flare lamps near the booths.
Leslie was glad of the noise and bustle around him; one cannot think
much when pressing one’s way through a Japanese fair, colored lamps
dancing, Mousmés laughing, and showmen shouting, rikshas passing at a
trot, or attempting so to do, children blowing trumpets, babies whirling
rattles, men-of-war’s men from the ships in harbor walking four abreast
and arm in arm, singing “Jean Francis de Nantes,” or “We won’t go Home
till Morning.” _Chamécens_ and moon fiddles buzzing and tinkling, dogs
barking, and gakunin wailing.
It was ten when he reached the hotel. In the entrance-hall, where the
orange trees in tubs reflected the lamp-light from their glossy leaves,
a Chinese hall porter in a blue silk blouse sat on guard. From the
half-open door of the _salle à manger_, where a party of Russian
officers were at dinner, came the sound of laughter and the clinking of
As he entered the hotel the whole world around him changed. Campanula
vanished from his mind. He was no longer in Japan. He was in the same
house with Jane, and in a few more hours she would be his.
The Chinaman rose from his seat when he saw Leslie enter and led him
down a corridor to the door of the private sitting-room where he had
dined with Du Telles. He had promised Jane to wait for her there till
The sphinx-like Celestial closed the door, and Leslie found himself
The windows were open on account of the warmth, and they gave a view of
the narrow mysterious harbor that seems to have been cut in the old
heroic days by some giant who was also a poet. The high cliffs cast
their shadows like sable robes upon the water, jeweled with the lights
of the shipping. The sky all silence and stars, paling now in the
moonlight, was almost the sky of Europe. Orion was there, and the
Pleiades, and Cassiopæa dreaming in her diamond-studded chair.
The room itself was a strange mixture of Japan and Europe. The floor was
the matted floor of Japan, the cane sofas might have been bought at
Shoolbred’s. The walls were as plain and unadorned as the walls of a
Japanese house are wont to be–that is to say, under the fans which the
hotel proprietor had fastened to them–fans from Kioto, Tokyo, and Nara
crucified against the white paneling and looking like great butterflies
in some giant’s collection.
He lit a pipe. Jane was upstairs in some room, but there were still nine
hours of waiting to be done; and he had promised that he would not go
upstairs if permitted to pass the night in the hotel, but wait patiently
for her to come to him at the hour of starting.
He felt that if he thought about her he would break his oath, so he
drove her from his mind.
He watched the twinkling lights in the harbor; those darting about like
fire-flies were the sampans; that long hulk all crusted with light was
the _La France_, the ship in which Jane had intended to sail for Osaka.
It was after ten now, and she was overdue to leave. That sister-hulk,
equally gemmed, was the Nord Deutscher Lloyd boat leaving at dawn for
Colombo. Those three lights in a triangle were the anchor lights of the
great Russian cruiser _Rurik_–the ill-fated _Rurik_.
Suddenly a horn of light shot out from the bow of the _La France_, and
she began to move like a glittering town towards the sea, and the wind
from the west brought the faint music of a band. The _La France_ had
unbuoyed and was away.
He watched her as she picked her course through the shipping stealthily
like a robber. Now with all side lights showing, now with them half
extinguished as she veered to avoid the bell-buoy of the Atraska shoal;
now a vague phantom swallowed by the shadows of the night.
The hotel was silent now, the Russians had gone off to their ship.
Somewhere outside, somewhere in the gloom of the mysterious night, a
_chamécen_ was tinkling to the muttering of a little drum. What dancing
girl was setting her steps to that tune–and where?
He rose to his feet and began to pace the room, then he turned the lamp
up till it smoked, and turned it down till it was nearly out, and cursed
the burner for his own stupidity.
Still the distant _chamécen_ kept up its buzzing to the devil’s tattoo
of the distant drum.
He walked to the window and shut it. Result–absolute silence and
stifling heat. No matter; anything was better than that infernal drum.
He had shut out the drum, but he had shut in a mosquito. It was in the
lace curtain, and its twang brought him again to his feet. He tried to
find it in the curtain, failed, pulled the whole curtain down from its
attachment, and trampled it under-foot.
Silence, this time unbroken, until one of the fans upon the wall
rustled, and from beneath it crept a frightful-looking spider as brown
and as broad as a penny.
He did not see it; he was sitting in the arm-chair with his head between
his hands, breaking his promise to Jane.
When it was broken he got up, crossed the room, opened the door, and
went into the hall.
The Chinese night-porter was sitting like a figure of stone in a blouse
of blue silk. Leslie went up to him, spoke some words in a low tone, and
handed him some money.
The Chinaman rose and led the way upstairs. Down a passage they went
till the guide stopped, pointed to a door, turned, and vanished as
silently as he had come.
Leslie went to the door and knocked softly. No answer. He turned the
handle, the door opened and he entered–an empty room.
A lamp was burning on a table in one corner, a bed stood close to the
window: the bed was empty.
It was Jane’s room, for there lay her trunks. A glove lay on the floor.
He picked it up, looked at it, smelt it, and then threw it down. The
dressing-table held none of those articles of the toilet one might have
expected to see. Beside the lamp on the side-table lay a letter.
He had seen the letter almost on the first moment of his entering the
room, with that vague, half-terrified comprehension which we may imagine
in the brain of the bull when the sun-light flashes on the sword of the
He approached it now, and read the superscription: “Richard Leslie, Esq.
He opened it, and a number of bank notes came out. These he laid on one
side, took the letter that was with them, and began to read.
He read the letter, not as if he were reading a letter, but the face of
some scoundrel he had dragged by the ears into the zone of lamplight. He
envisaged it, took whole sentences in _en bloc_. He read first at the
end, then in the middle, then at the beginning.
“And now good-bye for ever. Oh, Dick, don’t think badly of me for this;
I have only done what was right.
“When you get this I shall be gone. I am leaving by the _La France_ to
“I leave you money. Half what I have is yours; remember we are cousins,
and ought to help one another.
“Oh, Dick! Dick! I _can’t_ do what you want. I am not thinking of myself
but of my people. Imagine the disgrace and ruin it would bring them. My
dear old father, it would kill him.”
It was very late at night; clouds from the Pacific were rolling over
Nagasaki, and it was evident that the hot weather of the last two days
had been the prelude of a storm.
The House of the Clouds, lamp-lit and deserted, cast from the opening in
the shoji a long parallelogram of light that cut the darkness like a
sword; a sword of light lying upon the veranda, the graveled walk, and
the landscape garden.
With the darkness outside had come a great silence broken only by the
Had you been standing on the veranda you would have sworn that some
blind person was prowling before the house, soundless of foot and
cautiously feeling his way by tapping on the ground with a stick.
It was only the lath shaken by the wind, the tireless lath that all day
and all the night before had kept the echoes of the garden answering its
summons, and still kept up the unwearied sound-semblance of a blind man
who walked without footstep, a patient sentinel, now advancing, now
retreating, now at the garden gate, now near the azaleas, and ever
The garden gate clicked, and hurried footsteps came up the path.
It was Leslie, hatless, bright and wild of eye, walking rapidly, but in
a tottering manner. His lips were of a dull purple color, and he had the
aspect of a man heavily drugged with opium.
He crossed the veranda and entered the deserted hall. He looked into the
rooms on either side–they were both empty. Then he came back to the
hall, and cried out, “Campanula!” The rafters returned the sound of his
voice, but she did not answer.
He was perfectly clear of mind, but his breathing was affected, and a
deadly torpor hung over him which his will alone prevented falling.
He took in all the details around him with extraordinary clearness,
amongst others the fact that the mushi’s cage had been removed.
Having waited for a moment, straining his ears to catch the faintest
sound, he seized the swinging paper lantern that lit the hall, and with
it in his hand went into the kitchen. It was deserted. Then he went
upstairs–every room was empty. It was like a house from which the
people had fled in terror, and he came down again, wild with the
apprehension of some unknown tragedy.
He brought the lamp into the room on the right of the passage, and
placed it on the floor. Something crimson lay on the primrose-colored
matting. He picked it up; it was Campanula’s obi. Why had she cast it
He was looking round him as if for a person to explain all these things,
when his eye caught an open drawer of the great lacquer cabinet that
contained his papers. He looked into the drawer, and it was empty. It
was the drawer in which he had placed the waki-zashi–the suicide sword,
given to him by Jane.
From the open drawer his eyes turned to the obi, which he had dropped,
and then he looked round him, as Dives looks round him in that picture
of Teniers, where Dives wakes in Hell.
As he stood, the wind shook the broken lath outside, and played with it.
“Tap! tap! tap!”
He saw the sunlit Nikko road, the valley of the crimson azaleas, the
Lost One who had loved him as no other being had loved him–the one he
had lost for ever.
She was dead, yet it was denied to him to find her, and clasp her in his
arms, and die with her.
Death was nothing, but never to find her again, never to see her again,
or touch her small body, that was an agony far beyond death.
He left the room, feeling by the walls like a man without sight.
Outside, the world was in utter darkness. More clouds had rolled up over
the sky, as if called by the Blind One, the tapping of whose stick
betrayed him, as he walked, waiting for his prey.
If he could find her, what cared he for the Blind One! If he could not
find her he felt that he would be for ever lost. But he could never find
her more, for the opium sleep was falling upon him now. He had no more
strength to fight it, and the darkness of the pit lay around him.
Suddenly, the night wind changed, and brought him the perfume of the
unseen azaleas, and with the perfume a thin thread of song.
It was the song of the mushi–the atom of life he had spared that day in
his fury, even as God might now be sparing him–the mushi she had loved
so well. Feeling by the veranda wall, he followed the song like a man
led by a thread, and as he came he crushed something beneath his foot:
it was the lath, whose sound would never trouble him again.
He felt the azalea bushes around his knees, and advanced amongst them,
still led by the tremulous song, till his foot touched something soft,
and his hand a tiny cage, hanging to one of the crimson-flowering boughs.