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      "Not a word," replied Wells, breaking from the foreman's hold, and effecting a precipitate retreat.

      Wait and see if there is an answer, said Keeling."Say you so, knave?" returned the enraged baron; and then, turning to an attendant, he ordered that a few retainers should instantly attend.

      Nature had given the galleyman a good and a kind heart, but evil associates had done much, and dissipation still more, to demoralize his soul; yet his natural good qualities were not entirely uprooted: the good fruit would sometimes spring up, but it sprung up only to shew what the soil might have producedit bloomed for an hour in beauty, and then was trodden underfoot, and defiled in the dust.


      I confessed I had, and told him how, on our journey to Squire Wall's, being stung to desperation by the infantile way in which she had drooled out to others what my love had sacredly confided to her alone, I had abruptly confronted her with the fact, and in the ensuing debate, carried away by the torrent of my emotions, had offered her my love, for life and all.

      "Money.""To understand the question thoroughly, it will be necessary to bear in mind that the Oriental way of thinking is very often the exact reverse of our way. We have one idea of honor and the Japanese have another; who is right or who is wrong we will not pretend to say, as each party has its own particular views and will not readily yield to the other. Writers on Japan differ considerably in their views of Japanese points of honor, and there are disagreements on the subject among the Japanese themselves; therefore I cannot speak with absolute exactness about it. According to the old code, all persons holding office under the government were required to kill themselves in the way mentioned whenever they had committed any crime, though not till they had received an order to do so from the court. If they disobeyed the order, their families would be disinherited, and none of their descendants would be allowed to hold office ever after; consequently a regard for one's family required a cheerful submission to the custom. There was no disgrace attached to a death by hari-kari, and in former times its occurrence was almost an every-day affair. One writer says, 'The sons of all persons of quality exercise themselves in their youth, for five or six years, with a view to performing the operation, in case of need, with gracefulness and dexterity; and they take as much pains to acquire this accomplishment as youth among us to become elegant dancers or skilful horsemen; hence the profound contempt of death which they imbibe in early years.' Curious custom, isn't it, according to our notions?"


      Quite. You will have done yourself justice.{237}



      "Well, if we kept on telling you all we have seen in Kioto we[Pg 300] should be a long time at it, and so we may as well stop short. Besides, we are going to Lake Biwa, and it is time to be off. If you enjoy this letter half as much as we have enjoyed the material for making it you will have a very pleasant time over it."