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"Free in her soaring spirit, free in speech,

Lifting by eloquence the party game

To lofty spheres beyond mean Faction's reach,
Bending Ambition to the patriot's aim.

"What now sheathes England's sword, what shifts her flag? Whate'er Expedience and her Sects require.

What prompts her Parliaments?-The Party Gag.
The rulers of her realm ?—The Caucus Wire.

"I blame not, I, your politicians' part!

'Tis fit, in phrases of your Commons' school, Your demagogues should learn the despot's art To climb to place and power: 'Divide and Rule!'

"But you, the People, wherefore, half asleep,1 Flock you by custom to the party fold,

Then, unresisting, stare, like herded sheep,

To see your Realm by traitors bought and sold?

"Divide what Egbert, Henry, Edward joined !
What Cecil built, for which your Nelson bled!
Raze then these walls where patriot dust is shrined!
Disperse the ashes of your mighty dead!

"Divide! When all the sprites of Air and Fire,
All the swift messengers of Wave and Wind,
With Britain's thought, with Britain's speech conspire
To blend in one your great imperial kind!

"Divide? Not so! What fruits the Britains bear,
One wise Society, to great and small

Dispense, in mutual just-proportioned share,
And profit each by each, and each for all!

"I see, I see the free Dominions rise,

Free in their Laws, their Senates all their own;
Arts, Customs, Manners, different as their skies;
A hundred Nations 'neath a single Throne!

1 "Wake up, England!"-Speech of King George, when Prince of Wales, at the Guildhall in 1902.

"But be the Briton's aim, where'er he toil,
On English shores, across Pacific foam,
By famous deeds to win this Minster's soil,
And with th' imperial dead to rest at Home!

"O! Speed, ye Ages, speed the blessed day,

When Common Sense shall Party Greed confound, When Class nor Sect the Public Weal shall sway, But, from the confines to the centre bound,

"Exulting navies, hastening east and west,
Shall to the Empire's Federate Council bring
Whome'er the Realm's Dominions choose as Best,
To serve a Patriot People's Patriot King!"





"Fair Spirit! who doth show

But seldom on this earth thy gentle face,
Thy widespread wings are drooping, for a space
Above the water, and thy calm doth throw
Its mantle o'er the place.

For one enchanted hour

Imprisoned fantasies may find release;

The burning throb of heart and brain can cease;
And, like the perfume of some scented flower,
Is blown the breath of peace."

THE little Attalo, her decks littered by crowds of native families, who camped in small groups amid an abundance of bundles, baskets, fruit, betelboxes, babies, and other miscellaneous trash, slipped her moorings from the quay, dropped down down the the winding Saigon river, and panted out to sea. A couple of hours later she was thrusting her blunt nose into the ruddy waters of the Mekong.

These pour out into the China Sea through half a dozen mouths, bearing with them the rich freight of soil garnered during their passage across half the Asiatic continent, which even in historic times has wrought immense changes in the coast country hereabouts. The sight of this great stream of mud-red river imparts a thrill even now, when one recalls the immense distances which it has traversed from its still obscure sources, yonder, very far away, somewhere in the mountains of


Tibet; but, alas! more than half of the mystery that made Francis Garnier fall a prey to what he called l'obsession du Mékong has been reived from it in these latter days. Laos and the Shan States and those cruel Kakhyen hills, where poor young Margary lost his life four-and-thirty years ago, after faring alone and without mishap from from Shanghai to Bhamo, are no longer part of the great Unknown. White men rule most of them nowadays, have visited them in detail over and over again, have surveyed and mapped them, and have reduced their marvels, so to speak, to pounds, shillings, and pence, and their mystery to words of one syllable. "The Captain of all the Rivers," as Linschoten named the Mekong, with more of enthusiasm than accuracy, is a brave and lusty fellow still, but he is no longer a brigand chief, savage and wild and bloodthirsty. Instead he has been woefully transformed into

a disciplined servant of the white men, who have filched from him all his most intimate secrets, have measured his pulses, know his eccentricities to a fraction, and bend him to their will and to their uses.

Even here, in Cochin-China, where he dies uncleanly amid the mean, flat, scrub-covered coast lands, with barely a village to break the dead monotony of the outlook, he is big enough and imposing enough to satisfy any legitimate expectations, and very glorious he seemed to me when I came out of my cabin, just as the dawn was breaking, and took my seat upon a big coil of ropes at the extreme stern of the little ship. I had turned in late the night before, and had found three of the four berths occupied by muffled forms, corpse-like under white coverlets, and every window hermetically sealed. The atmosphere of the cramped space was almost solid. Very stealthily I crept from window to window, opening each noiselessly in fear and trembling, for I knew that I was sinning outrageously against the sanitary principles of the land; but even with open windows the closeness had been oppressive, and the fresh, clean chill of the dawnwind greeted me with the rough welcome of an old friend. And then I saw again one of the marvellous sunrises of south-eastern Asia, -a sunrise such as is only to be witnessed in the Malay Peninsula and southward through the islands,


now again in these low latitudes of Indo-China. I had seen the dawn break often since

last I breathed the air of Malaya,-in mid-Atlantic, in the West Indies, in South America, and all along the old highway that carries one eastward from Tilbury to Ceylon,— and almost I had begun to fancy that memory had exaggerated the splendour of the daybreak in this remote corner of Asia. Now I was to realise that my recollection had only left me a pale shadow of the truth.

First, low down in the east, the sky waxed faintly luminous, the dead darkness growing wan and sallow. Then a soft pink tinge became visible, and next the sky was ripped suddenly across and across by great streaks and slashes of crimson. As one watched, the intensity of the colour kindled and glowed, as though mighty bellows were at work on the fires of some huge furnace hidden beneath the sky-line; immense waves of crimson spread up and up, invading the shadowy clouds in quick succession, till the very zenith was attained; answering fires awakened in the western sky, till the whole "inverted bowl of the heavens above me was one huge glowing and glorious canopy. Here and there, where the cloud-banks were massed heavily, the hue smouldered sullenly and was tinged with purple and gold; in places slender inlets of a delicious azure showed, ethereal and pure; and again the flood of brilliant colour shaded away to dim reds and rosy pinks against a background of luminous grey. For a minute or two that wonderful, all-en

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veloping glow lasted, imparting to the swiftly moving waters and to the mean landscape a glory that was of heaven, not earth; and then, as it seemed, almost in a single bound, the sun sprang clear of the horizon, the warm colour faded and died, as though stricken mortally, and presently the magic of the daybreak had given place to the merciless, colourless heat of the white morning of the tropics.

seem, however, in any way
to disconcert my companions.
Still standing hand in hand,
and still speaking in chorus,
they continued to beam upon
me with their peculiar mild
benevolence. I was irresistibly
reminded of Tweedledum and
Tweedledee; but presently it
dawned upon me that they
were seeking to admit me to a
confidence of importance, and
that they were
bent upon
assuring me of their social
standing, which apparently
filled them with considerable
pride and content. They never
released their grip of one an-
other's hands, but with the
disengaged members they from
time to time made feeble, half-
hearted gesticulations. Especi-
ally did they display an interest,
and a certain proud proprietary
air, in a man who lay prostrate,
and to all seeming dead, at their
feet; and their mild, calmly
happy faces, their affectionate
attitude to one another, and
their benevolent concern for
the corpse, had in them some-
thing quite extraordinarily en-
gaging. Never have I chanced
upon two men who seemed to
be more overflowing with the
milk of human kindness.

As I sat watching from my coil of cables the earlier processes of this tremendous transformation - scene, I became aware of the proximity of a couple of natives. They were shaggy peasant folk-Kambodians with thick shocks of hair, round mild faces, and squat bodies, wrapped from ankle to chin in old cloths against the chill of the dawnwind. They stood affectionately hand in hand, shadowy in the gloaming, and so closely did they resemble a couple of rough Malays from the wilder parts of the Peninsula, that from sheer force of habit I spoke to them in the vernacular of that now distant land. They beamed upon me as upon an old friend, and forthwith became voluble and choragic in a tongue which was strange to me-a tongue in which each word seemed to have been rough-hewn into crude angles by some rude cutting-implement. This, I was later to discover, was the Kambodian language: for the moment all I knew was that it was not Malay. The fact that we were at Phnom Penh my two mutually unintelligible did not friends, still hand in hand,


It was with a pang, therefore, that I presently discovered, by the aid of the strengthening daylight, that my friends were manacled wrist to wrist, and that the dead man, who seemed so to excite their interest, was their warder, an Anamite policeman, fast asleep!

Later on I saw the policeman awake; for on our arrival

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