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      There was a good deal of whispering and talking in corners and under the trees at Longmere House. A fussy little man with an eyeglass seemed to have a great deal to say. Lady Longmere laughed somewhat scornfully as she watched him. A great pile of strawberries were on her plate.In the first place, the corner house was already marked as the scene of one unsolved tragedy. For years it had been shut up, for years the boys of the locality had challenged one another to go down the area steps after dark, for years nobody had crossed the threshold. Then the door had been left open for the public eye to look on another tragedy.

      "And I remember you now," Lawrence replied. "So you know nothing of what has been happening lately?"

      As the description of the First National Fair at Tokio may not be uninteresting, we will copy from a letter to a New York paper, by one of its correspondents who was in Japan at the time. After describing the opening ceremonies, which were attended by the emperor and empress, together with many high dignitaries of the government, he wrote as follows:

      "Proofs? no! you saw things taken from the body of another man in Oliver's clothes! Oliver swapped places with him on the boat going down to the city so's he could come back to these parts without being hung by the Yankees; swapped with a sick soldier, one of a pair that wanted to desert; swapped names, clothes, bandages, letters, everything. It was that soldier that died of the congestive chill and was buried by your mother with his face in a blanket--as, like enough, mine will be before another day is done--Oh, Lord, Lord! my head will burst!""Those? That one is the Virgin's sheaf; and those two are the Balances."

      "Now we come to the marvellous evidence against Bruce. There you had stolen my plot, body and boots. Bruce is poor, so was my hero. You find out all about that picture he bought, and Balmayne or somebody--it does not in the least matter who--in the guise of a Dutchman puts Bruce in possession of 200. These notes he places in his pocket."Do you want to see him?" I gathered my horse.

      Lawrence did not appear to hear the question, so he proceeded.

      "A gentleman who has given much attention to this subject says that of the one hundred and twenty rulers of Japan, nine have been women; and that the chief divinity in their mythology is a womanthe goddess Kuanon. A large part of the literature of Japan is devoted to the praise of woman; her fidelity, love, piety, and devotion form the groundwork of many a romance which has become famous throughout the country, and popular with all classes of readers. The history of Japan abounds in stories of the heroism of women in the various characters of patriot, rebel, and martyr; and I am told that a comparison of the standing of women in all the countries of the East, both in the past and in the present, would unquestionably place Japan at the head.He was not so handsome as his brother, though younger. His affability came by gleams. I asked how that good fortune had come to my mother, and he replied that there was hardly time now for another story; we might be interrupted--by the Yankees. "Ask the young lady you met yesterday evening," he added, with a knowing gleam, and smiled me away; and when by and by the enemy did interrupt, I had forgiven him. Whoever failed to answer my questions, in those days, incurred my forgiveness.


      I said I knew and went on gathering sweet-pea blossoms.


      She looked round as if seeking inspiration. She found it presently in the housekeeper's room. Just in front of her was the glitter and sheen of the telephone. The scheme that she wanted came to her like a flash."At the last place where we stopped before reaching the Great Wall we found the people very insolent, both to us and to the men in our employ. They said rude things to us, and perhaps it was fortunate that we did not understand Chinese, or we might have been disposed to resent their impudence, and so found ourselves in worse trouble. Our guide said something to a lama, or priest, and he managed to make the people quiet, partly by persuasion and partly by threats. Some of the men had been drinking too freely of sam-shoo, which has the same effect on them as whiskey has on people in America. It is not unusual for strangers in this part of China to be pelted with stones; but the natives are afraid to do much more than this, as they would thereby get into trouble.


      Since those days men have made "fire-proof" buildings. You know them; let certain aggravations combine--they burn like straw. We had barely started when I began to be threatened with a conflagration against which I should have called it an insult to have been warned. The adroit beauty at my side set in to explain more fully her presence. From her window she had seen those two trim fellows hurrying along in a fair way to blunder into the Federal pickets within an hour, had cautioned them, and had finally asked leave to come with them, they under her guidance, she under their protection.