Leslie walked back to the hotel that day with Jane. When he left her he
was vastly troubled in his mind. Troubled about Jane, troubled about
Campanula, troubled about himself, and troubled about a vast, vague,
tragic something: a shadow stealing up from his past and already
tingeing his future with the twilight that comes before eclipse.
What demon had called Jane up from the past?
Unconsciously during the last five years he had been altering for the
better. The friendliness and kindness of Japan, the frank friendliness
of M’Gourley, that most unconscionable Scot, the beauty of the flowers
and seasons, and Campanula–above all, Campanula–these things had
worked upon him with slow but sure effect.
Slowly, he had learnt the great, great secret that happiness is to be
found, not in grand palaces, not in wealth, not in success, but amongst
the lowly and little things of life, the things that no man can
appreciate who has not a free and untroubled conscience.
The new book, the pipe of tobacco smoked beneath the cherry trees of a
morning, the home-coming of Campanula from school of an evening laden
with books and perplexities, the rubber of whist with Mr. Initogo, the
quaint, funny things that are always happening in a Japanese
household–these and a thousand other trifles had made up the sum of his
life, and the addition of them made happiness.
And Campanula–he little knew how much she had entered into his
being–what a multitude of impalpable threads bound her to him, threads
that had been spinning from the very first day, when he found her lost
amidst the crimson azaleas!
He had eaten the lotus for nearly five years; he had been preparing a
future of happiness and peace, and who knows what boundless
possibilities of love?
Suddenly, Satan had appeared before him with the command, “Get up and
fight, fight me for this future you have been preparing for yourself;
fight me for the beauty of it, the happiness you will have in it, the
happiness you will make for others in it; get it if you can, for my
weapon is Lust.”
That night, when the moon, now waxing stronger, laid her patient square
of pure white light on the floor of his room, the battle began in
He had determined on going to Arita on the morrow to get away for a
while from the woman against whom he felt fate was driving him with
Now, as he lay alone, with the powers of good and evil on either side of
him, he reviewed his position clearly for the first time.
The cold, calculating, sneaking, pickpocket form of adultery, which is
the canker at the heart of English society–to put it in plain English,
the bestial use of another man’s wife behind his back–was a form of
crime as unthinkable to Leslie as the crime of cheating at cards, or
forging a check.
To obtain the woman he wanted, there was only one way. The open way.
That meant the smashing up of everything around him. He must leave
Japan, leave Campanula, for, deep in his heart, something told him that
Campanula could have no place in that new life. It meant the social ruin
of Jane du Telle.
Here, alone, away from the object of his passion, all this was very
Then that same old Scotch ancester, with the long upper lip, and the
crude common sense, and the rigid belief in God and the law, came out of
his cell and spoke to this effect. There is no excuse before God or man
for adultery. Love, the child of God, has no part therein, but Lust, the
child of the devil, and the end of Lust is Hell.
All this, with the thoughts that went before it, was edifying and made
for good, and the devil said nothing, for the devil, like the great
Boyg, has a method with some natures. He does not strike, but lets the
victim do the striking, hedging him gently, gently, letting him hit out
widely till he is exhausted, or beats himself to death as the Blind One
beat himself against the trees.
Early in the morning Leslie rose, white and haggard, and dressed, and
went off to the station without waiting for breakfast.
“Tell Campanula San I am going to Arita on business, but will be back
to-night. Tell her I am going alone,” he said to Pine-breeze.
“Kashko marimashta,” murmured Pine-breeze, in a voice of devotion, and
He was going to Arita to get beyond the reach of Jane, and lo! when he
got into the railway carriage, she was there–not in the flesh, but in
the spirit. And when he alighted at Arita, she was on the platform, and
in the street she walked at his side.
The tones of her voice thrilled him, and he smelt the perfume of her
hair, he felt the curve of her waist, and his lips felt the satin of her
throat, but the physical desire was small compared with the terrible
sentiment that was born of it, the heart-breaking longing inspired by
her idealized image.
Passion, when it rises to this dimension in the mind of a man, has
beautiful attributes as well as vile, it holds in its hands pictures of
perfect innocence, besides the others.
The devil takes care of that!
He saw Jane not only as she was, but as she had been, fair, and fresh,
and innocent, against the background of the beeches round Glenbruach,
and the sea lochs, and the purple hills.
What he did with his body that day in Arita, or where he wandered, he
could never tell, for his mind was fighting a battle so fierce that all
intelligent perception of outward things was blurred.
At the end of it he found himself in a tea house sitting before some
food which he had apparently ordered, and the battle was won. So he told
As a matter of fact, he was worn out. Passion was exhausted, fighting
against fate, attempting to escape from the pursuing devils, beating
himself against the trees, he had fallen beneath them, telling himself
that the battle was won, wondering at himself that he ever could have
even dreamed of the ruinous course of action which lust had urged him
But the trees remained steadfast and unharmed, waiting only for the
renewal of the madman’s strength and the inevitable end.
It was dark when he reached the Nagasaki station. He picked a riksha
from a row of them standing outside with hoods up, for it had been
raining slightly, and looking absurdly like a row of tiny, unhorsed
hansom cabs, and told the man to take him to the House of the Clouds.
He came up the hill-path, and as he came the wind, blowing against him,
brought a perfume with it, the perfume of rain-wet azaleas. During the
day and the previous night dozens of blossoms had broken forth, filling
the garden with their fragrance and beauty; dozens more would be born
ere the morrow under the light of the silvery moon now gliding up over
the hill-tops behind a tracery of flying, fleecy clouds.
As he approached the house, he saw through the open panel space the
silhouettes of Pine-breeze and Cherry-blossom.
They were sitting opposite to each other on their heels upon the lamplit
matting, and seemed at first to be engaged in the game of kitsune-ken,
but almost instantly he perceived that they were playing at no game, but
were engaged in conversation. Alarmed conversation, to judge by the
movements of their hands, now up-flung, now flung out sideways.
Sweetbriar San was promenading the matting with tail fluffed out, now
rubbing against Pine-breeze, now against Cherry-blossom, attempting
apparently to join in the conversation, and seeming to share in the
Something had happened of a tragic nature–but what? Two steps brought
him on to the veranda two more into the house with his boots on, despite
the clause in the lease.
The Mousmés gave two little shrieks, wheeled round, and kow-towed before
the August One.
“What is the matter?” he asked. “Has anything happened? Is Campanula San
Campanula San was quite safe.
Then why all this? What had they been conversing about with so many
“Go,” he said, “and bring me some tea, and ask Lotus-bud to come
In a few moments Lotus-bud, wearing a very white face, appeared, and
He questioned her. At first her answers were vague, and then it all came
Things had happened. Campanula San had gone into the town that day, and
had met he whose head was like the rising sun (George du Telle in plain
prose); and he with the sun-bright head had walked with her, and had
spoken dishonorable words. Oh, shame!–he had offered her gold.
“God!” said Leslie, staring at the bent figure on the matting before
He remained speechless for a moment, then he took out his watch and
looked at it: it was eleven o’clock.
He turned furiously and strode out of the room: on the veranda he
stopped like a horse suddenly reined in.
Jane’s image had appeared before him, turning him back.
Suppose he were to go to the hotel now and drag George du Telle out and
beat him within an inch of his life, as was his intention a moment ago?
The idea of Jane in the midst of that scene brought his fury down from
He returned to the room, where Lotus-bud was still on her knees, with
her hands clasped.
Where was Campanula San now?
In bed and asleep. She had returned, it seems, greatly troubled at noon,
and had confided her trouble to Lotus-bud, making her promise to tell no
one–Leslie San especially–and Lotus-bud had promised–with the result
we have already seen.
For a moment he thought of waking Campanula, but he dismissed the
thought. The thing had occurred and was irremediable, the question now
remained, what was he to do about George du Telle.
He went up to bed. In times past he could have obtained his remedy.
Where lay his remedy now? The law could do nothing; there remained only
A wheezy pug dog protected by a woman’s skirts, that is what George du
Telle was. Leslie knew that if once he could catch the brute by the
scruff of the neck, the only struggle would be with himself as to the
limits of chastisement to be inflicted.
If he could only get him away from Jane up a back street anywhere, just
for five minutes! The thing was to be done. With the help of the astute
M’Gourley he felt it was to be done, and would be done on the morrow.
He got up and went to a rack on the wall where he kept his sticks, and
took down a whangee cane half an inch thick, a most efficient instrument
for the chastisement of a brute. He made it sing through the air, then
he put it on the rack again and returned to bed, and slept soundly, far
more soundly than he had slept the night before.
He was awakened by voices. Sunlight was streaming into the room, the
sparrows were bickering round the trees, and from below came the voice
of Pine-breeze crying, “Irashi, condescend to enter!”
Then Jane’s voice: “I don’t understand what you say. Stop rubbing the
matting with your nose. I want your master.” Then an octave higher,
“Hullo!” cried Leslie, leaning on his elbow, and scarcely able to credit
“Oh, you are there! Come down at once, I must speak to you. Quick!”
“What on earth has happened?”
“All sorts of things.”
“I’ll be down in two minutes, but for goodness sake tell me what _is_
“Can I speak without any one understanding?”
“Oh, that’s all right.”
“Well, then, George has bolted.”
“George has _what_?”
“Where has he gone to?”
“Oh! come down and I’ll tell you everything. Dick! Dick! is that a bath
I hear you dragging over the floor? Dick, if you dare to have the
impudence to keep me waiting whilst you take a bath, I’ll–I’ll come up
and pull you out of it. Do come on!”
“Well, don’t be long,” grumbled Jane; and she apparently took her seat
on the cushions upon the matting, for he could hear her grumbling about
the absence of chairs.
This was a new development of affairs. George bolted! It was just what
one might have expected of the man, to insult a girl and then fly from
the wrath to come.
It was rather a relief, too, viewed by the light of morning. No man
likes the task of thrashing a dog that has misbehaved: the thing has to
be done, but it is unpleasant, and if the creature runs away and hides,
so much the better. And the thrashing of a fat, wheezy pug without teeth
or means of defense was what the punishment of George du Telle would
He dressed rapidly and came down to the room where Jane was sitting on a
cushion, trying to read the _Japan Mail_.
“Oh, there you are! Come and sit down. No, not beside me; right
opposite, if you please.”
“Tell me all about it.”
“Oh, there’s not much to tell. I was in bed nearly all yesterday with a
headache, and George went off for a walk in the afternoon; said he was
going to call on _you_. I told him you had gone to Nagoya.”
“It’s all the same–then he went out, I don’t know where, and that is
the last I’ve seen of him. At nine yesterday evening they brought me a
note saying he had gone to Osaka, and to follow with our luggage.”
“What are you whistling about?”
“Osaka! Why, that’s over three hundred miles away!”
“Where is it?”
“On the Inland Sea.”
“Oh, it runs from here up to–well, practically to Osaka. At least, it
doesn’t exactly reach from here, you have to go through the Straits of
“Well, I don’t care what Straits you have to go through; he’s gone to
Osaka on important business the note said. Now, what business can have
taken him there. What do they do at Osaka?”
“Make all sorts of things, from machinery to tea-pots, and so on.”
“Well, he can’t have gone to buy machinery or tea-pots–what can it
_mean_? He was so good, too, yesterday; brought me up some antipyrine,
and wanted to fetch a doctor, and plumped up my pillows, and then went
out and off to Osaka without a word, and how did he get there? He says
follow by next boat to-morrow. I was going to ask the hotel people, but
I didn’t like to. I just told them I knew he was going, and I was going
to follow him to-morrow.”
“There’s no railway to Osaka,” said Leslie, “for this bit of Japan is an
island. He must have gone by a Holt liner; one started last evening. The
Canadian Pacific boats don’t stop at Osaka, they go right on to
Yokohama. I suppose he means for you to follow by the Messagerie boat
that leaves to-morrow evening.”
“I’ll give him tea-pots,” said Jane gloomily, “when I catch him! The
idea of his leaving me like that! In a strange country, too. I wonder
_what_ is the meaning of it all!”
“Perhaps he went away–because of a girl.”
“You mean he’s run away with some girl!” flashed Jane. “Why don’t you
say so if you mean it?”
“Because I don’t mean it. I said ‘because of a girl,’ not ‘with a
“Dick, you know something!”
“Yes, I do.”
Jane turned pale, and he hated to see her like that, but he had suddenly
made up his mind to tell her all.
“He met Campanula yesterday afternoon, and, not to put too fine a point
upon it, insulted her.”
“Oh, Dick!” said Jane, turning, if possible, paler than before. She
stared at him in a frightened way, then she recovered herself. “There
must be some mistake; she must have misunderstood him. He couldn’t have
done such a thing; however foolish he may be, he’s a gentleman.”
“Yes, a gentleman in England, but not a gentleman in Japan. He–God damn
it!” blazed out Leslie suddenly, bringing his fist down with a bang on
the matting–“he offered her money.”
“I must go to him at once,” said Jane, making as if to rise, “and ask
him if this thing is true.”
“Sit down for a while; you can’t possibly get to Osaka to-day. Oh, it’s
true enough. I was in a boiling rage last night when I came home and
heard it all. I was going down to the hotel with a stick to have it out,
and then I thought of you, and the disgrace and uproar there would be,
so I just bit on the bullet and went to bed. Honestly, I was going to
have got him somewhere by himself to-day, and have it out with him, but
it seems he prefers insulting women to facing men. Forgive me, Jane, for
all this; I feel bitter about it, but I hate to have to say these things
“It was good of you to think of me last night,” said Jane in a broken
voice, gazing at the matting as she spoke, then looking up full in his
face, “very good of you.”
“Oh, I suppose it’s really nothing, after all,” he said. “Those
confounded fools that write books about Japan have got it into English
people’s heads that every ‘Jap-girl,’ as they call them, is a
what’s-its-name at heart. Let’s say no more on the matter, the affair is
closed. Have some breakfast?”
“No, thanks; I’m too much troubled and worried,” said Jane, sighing and
folding her hands in her lap.
“Oh, don’t trouble about it. I told you because–well, I thought you
ought to know.”
“Richard,” said she, looking up, “if you meet George again–”
“Don’t be a bit alarmed. I will do nothing to him except to cut him. He
has run away; that closes the affair entirely. A man can only be really
angry with a man.”
“Richard,” said she, now half tearfully, “I’m going to say something I
want to say. Men don’t understand women. I’m fond of George. Men are
always talking about love, and so are novels. I never loved George that
way. I don’t think I ever loved any one really in that way, but I have
an affection for George; I suppose that is the best name to give it. I
know he’s ugly, I know he’s a lot of things he ought not to be, yet I
feel he belongs to me.
“It’s the sort of feeling one has for an–for an animal. I’m just
telling you what I feel. An animal may be terribly ugly, yet one may
love it. George has been very good to me, and he has grown into my life;
that is the only way I can express it.
“Do you know, Dick, when you have your face very close to another
person’s face you cannot tell what they are like. Well, it’s just the
same with marriage. After people have been married some time they don’t
see each other as they saw each other before; they have lost their
identity–each is part of the other. And, Dick, I know George has been
wicked, but ought we not to remember, the day before yesterday–”
“Yes,” he said; “the day before yesterday I kissed you.”
“It was a moment of weakness on my part,” continued Jane. “We are all
very weak and wicked, but I have always been faithful to my husband–I
should say, to myself. It is strange to talk like this.”
“The whole affair is closed,” he said. “Let us wipe the slate clean and
Sitting opposite to her here in the morning light he was a very
different person from the man wandering about Arita yesterday, pursued
by her image.
The course of a great passion like his is not a high level line. If a
man were to live through such a phase of existence at Italian opera
heights he would be mad or dead in a very few days.
Its course is most like the temperature chart of a typhoid fever case:
tremendous ups and downs, fever point now, a few hours later almost
He clapped his hands, and Pine-breeze appeared.
“Breakfast,” he said. “You’ll stay to breakfast,” turning to Jane. “And
there is something I forgot day before yesterday. You have come to see
Japan–well, look here–”
He went to a big lacquer cabinet where he kept his papers, and returned
with a large, square, cream-colored card covered with Chinese
“What is it?” said Jane, turning it over.
“An invitation to a garden-party. A man named Kamamura is giving it
to-morrow at O-Mura.”
“A Japanese garden-party!” said Jane, with interest in her voice.
“Yes, very Japanese. He told me to bring any of my friends.”
“But to-morrow,” said Jane–“I am going away to-morrow.”
The words went through him like a pang.
“Never mind,” he said. “Your boat does not start till evening; you will
have plenty of time to get back.”
“I’d love to go,” she said; “but–are you sure it’s all right for me to
go without an invitation?”
“Perfectly, or I would not bring you.”
Pine-breeze entered with a tray.
“Where,” enquired Leslie, “is Campanula San?” Campanula San had not
risen yet; she had a headache.
“I’ll go up and see her,” said Jane, when they had finished breakfast.
“Yes, if you like; Pine-breeze will show you the way–but, Jane, say
nothing to her of what occurred yesterday; she thinks nobody knows
except one of the servants here.”
“I’ll say nothing,” replied Jane; “but I’ve got some antikamnia tabloids
in my pocket, fortunately, and I’ll just make her take one.”
“All right,” said Leslie; “but for goodness sake don’t poison her.”
This was another point on which Jane had not altered. As a girl she had
been possessed by a passion for drugs, and would swallow anything in the
way of medicine she came across or was given. She had always been
doctoring rabbits and other unfortunate animals, and had once nearly
poisoned herself by taking half a bottle of pain-killer for a dose. And
now here she was, nearly fifteen years after, in Japan, going upstairs
to doctor Campanula, with just the same manner and seriousness of face
with which long ago, medicine bottle in hand, she would give the order:
“Prize its mouth open, Dick; don’t hurt it. Steady now, I’m going to
Quarter of an hour later she came down triumphant.
“She took it like a lamb. She’s the dearest child! Now I’m off. I have a
hundred things to do. Will you walk down with me as far as the hotel?”
He accompanied her to the hotel, and neither of them spoke much on the
“I won’t ask you in,” said Jane, when they reached the door, “because it
wouldn’t be proper. Now let me see. To-morrow is the garden-party; we
might do something to-day, you and Campanula and I–might not we?”
“We could run over to Mogi,” he said. “We can get rikshas, have luncheon
there, and come back to tea at my place; and to-night there’s an affair
on at the O Suwa temple, we might go there. Shall I call for you at
twelve or so?”
“Yes,” said Jane, “if you’ll bring a chaperon. You see, now George is
away I must be awfully ‘propindicular,’ like that person in Uncle
Remus–the Terrapin–wasn’t it?”
“I’ll bring Campanula–or one of the Mousmés, at a pinch.”
“Campanula chaperoning me!” said Jane with a laugh. “Well, I don’t care.
It’s only for the sake of Mrs. Grundy.”
“There is no Japanese Mrs. Grundy.”
“No, but there is an English one.”
They parted, and Jane entered the hotel.
She went to her bedroom, got her writing-case out of a portmanteau, and
began to write. She was writing a letter to George.
The first began:
“Your abominable conduct has been discovered. You have heaped
shame on me, you have heaped shame on yourself–”
When she got as far as this she found that it was too melodramatic,
somehow, and the “heaped shames” did not ring true, so she tore it up
and began again:
“My cousin, Richard Leslie, sent for me this morning in great
distress. _How_ you could have acted as you did towards that
sweet child surpasses me. Fortunately for yourself you have run
She tore this up too, flew into a temper with herself, and then wrote as
“GEORGE,–I’ve heard everything. Dick is furious, but he’s not
going to do anything, so just stay at Osaka till I come, and
don’t go bolting off anywhere else. And don’t drink too much
port, for if you get another attack of gout _I_ won’t nurse
“_P.S._–You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
She sealed this classical epistle and addressed it. Then she remembered
that she might just as well have left it unwritten, for there was no
communication to be had with Osaka till the morrow; and if she posted
it, it would go by the same boat as herself. So she tore it up.
Then she sat down on the side of her bed and bit a corner of her
She was thinking.
To-morrow she would never see Dick again, most probably, after that.
She had never loved Dick, that is to say in the good old _Family Herald_
way. Their boy and girl relationship had been anything but sentimental.
Recalling the past she could conjure up no tender pictures.
She could see herself clinging to a rod bent like a bow, and shouting to
Dick: “Now then, chucklehead, gaff him!”
She could see herself tramping after him like a squaw after a chief on
rabbiting expeditions–dozens of pictures like this, but none of them
sentimental. She had never thought of marriage till the day she received
a letter from Dick, asking her to marry him; to which she replied by
writing half a dozen letters refusing him, which letters she tore up one
after the other, and then wrote a seventh accepting him, which she
Now one of the worst evils in an accepted proposal of marriage is this.
That directly they hear of it, the girl’s relations, male and female,
take their implements–nets, ferrets, and so on–and go off rabbiting in
Dick had not much of a past as far as size goes, but it was well stocked
with game for hunters such as these.
So well stocked that old Mr. Deering, a retired London wine merchant who
had taken a country seat in Scotland, near Glenbruach, put his foot down
and forbade Jane to have anything more to do with her cousin: an order
which would have driven her straight into his arms, had not the
unfortunate Dick, hearing of the inquisition that had been made, come
North inflamed with rage and whisky.
Men drank harder even in the ‘eighties than they do now, and Scotland
was never the home of abstinence; yet the scene Dick Leslie created in
Callander went beyond the bounds of even Scottish convention, and
utterly destroyed any chance of his marriage with Jane du Telle.
Remembering his description of the affair which he gave to M’Gourley on
the Nikko road, you will agree with me that he was not a man who viewed
his own acts–well, as others viewed them.
In this, however, he was by no means singular.
Jane, sitting on her bed and biting the corner of her handkerchief, was
at the same time looking back back over the past. She was a person with
an infinite capacity for affection, with no capacity at all for a Grand
Passion. Her life was made up of a bundle of petty interests, and her
history was the history of a pure and somewhat commonplace soul.
She had loved Dick as a brother in the past, and now that he had come
into her life again after all those years (even after that terrible
scene long ago), bringing with him so much from the happy days that were
for ever gone, her heart went out to him as it had never gone to human
And to-morrow she must say good-bye to him, and never, perhaps, see him
They must part; there was no other thing to be done. She was her own
mistress, with plenty of money at her command; she could have flown in
the face of society, and made Dick forever her own. Such a course did
not even occur to her, for she was a creature bound by the laws of
convention, almost as rigidly as you or I by the laws of gravity.
Out of very light-heartedness she would do things and say things that
would have been dangerous symptoms in a woman of a sterner mold; and men
had often pursued her, led on by this laughing spirit that vanished
behind a veil, which, being lifted, disclosed an adamant door.
Her great danger lay in her compassionate emotions, and all the womanly
nature that lay behind them. Her great danger lay in Richard Leslie, for
he was the only being that had ever aroused them to their full strength.
All at once she cast herself upon the bed, and after the fashion of her
childhood, buried her face in a pillow, and sobbed, and “grat.”
When she had occupied herself thus for some ten minutes, she rose and
looked at herself in the glass, and wondered at her own distorted image,
and how she could possibly be such a fool. But she felt better; the pain
of parting with Dick was not quite so bad, and she felt kindlier towards
If his conduct had taken place in England, I doubt if her anger would
have been so soon assuaged. But they were in Japan–and the Japs, you