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what it is under the present system. Then, too, a solution would be found for the little in-and-outer problem. These children, the most luckless of all children, as things are, could be kept in the refuges.
It may be argued that the Szell system is out of the question in England owing to the difficulty there would be in finding suitable foster-mothers for the State's charges. So long as a foster-mother is paid only 4s. 6d. a week, or at most, 5s., for taking care of a child, and is required for that not only to board and lodge the child, but to provide it with clothes and shoes, this difficulty will exist of course; but let The Contemporary Review.
the terms be raised even by 1s. 6d. a week, and it would speedily vanish. Were refuges established in such places as Lewes, Keswick, Aylesbury, Chichester and Whitby, each one of them would have within easy reach a dozen villages where children's colonies could be organized. If the Local Government Board would relax their boarding-out rules and Guardians could be induced to combine so that one refuge might serve for a whole county, or even in some cases for two or three counties, the experiment might be given a trial in a very short space of time.
THE VOYAGE OF THE VENTURER.
"How soon can you be in Shanghai?" "In thirty-five days, if I leave here to-morrow."
"And at Chefoo?"
"In another two days-with luck." The tall keen-faced underwriter bent again to study a chart of the China Seas. He was one of the chiefs at Lloyd's. The quiet little library in the upper rooms of the Royal Exchange was tenanted by the two men alone. The roar of the City traffic scarcely penetrated through the double windows from Cornhill.
"The business is very simple to set forth, Captain Drummond," said the underwriter slowly. "There is a steamer called the Venturer which is bound to Port Arthur. She is laden with a most valuable cargo, insured here for a very large sum indeed. It consists mainly of food and medical stores; it is contraband of war. The Japanese will do their utmost to capture her if they hear of it."
"You may be certain they will know of her, sir," said the sailor quietly. "Their system of secret intelligence is perfect. Their spies are everywhere."
This was a fact that the world was beginning to realize with some dismay, especially at Lloyd's.
"Will the Venturer put into Chefoo before making her dash to run the blockade?" Drummond queried.
"To whom is she consigned there?" "Lewison's," was the prompt re
"Ah!" The hearer whistled low, and the underwriter laughed shortly. Certain previous dealings with that firm had left a notoriously unpleasant recollection in some London offices.
"Well, sir," said the captain bluntly, "what is it exactly that you wish me to do."
"Get her into Port Arthur-if it's possible."
"And if not?"
"Have her detained in harbor-safe."
The man who was receiving his instructions gave a little shrug to his broad shoulders. "Do you know anything about her skipper?" he demanded.
"Next to nothing," was the ready
reply. "We have made inquiries cau-
tory with doubtful eyes. Her dainty brows contracted. She was puzzled at the unwonted cordiality of her uncle, old Joseph Lewison, to the captain of the English steamer which had recently arrived from the south. Some queer underhand business was going on which she had not yet succeeded in fathoming. Her surmises were sinister.
Most of the European crew had deserted minus their wages. She had a shrewd suspicion that her uncle could explain this. His ideas of law and order were in strict accord with noth"I do," answered the sailor simply. ing but filling his own pockets; but that "I will start at once."
"Good!" The underwriter shook hands. "I wish you all success," he said.
made it the more unaccountable if he had really bribed the crew to bolt-unknown to the skipper. And then why had he taken so much trouble-apparently--to secure a fresh crew of Chinamen to replace the fugitives? These, too, had come forward with unwonted willingness. The more the girl pondered the more black her misgivings became.
For two days she had watched the English captain. He was a clean-cut, sturdy-limbed man, quiet and determined, with the clear fresh eyes of the sailor; he had been strangely courteous to her on the rare occasions on which they had come across each other in Lewison's grimy house. The men she usually saw there were a very different breed. She was not accustomed to courtesy.
"Now look here, Captain Drummond." said the underwriter earnestly, his eyes resting observantly on his listener's face, "it is precisely because we know so little that we are sending you out there. Enlist any one's help you can to save that cargo from capture. That is your mission; do you understand?"
The girl walked slowly along the uneven roadway. Persistently in her ears was ringing the stately sentence of the olden story. "For whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God." Could it be that the words still echoed a message unto the generations of to-day?
Ah, if she did but know
From the seawall, thronged with Chinese boatmen loafing round their sampans, the dull waters of the Yellow Sea stretched with long low swell beyond the Chefoo headland. The masts of the shipping in the roadstead were silhouetted against a cheerless winter sky. Beatrice Dennis stopped to watch them. One steamer in particular was firing up.
From away to the north'ard fancy seemed to waft to her the dull reverberation of hurtling shells bursting on defensive hillcrests. Ever the investing Japanese lines were closing around the doomed Russian fortress. The girl shivered. Her imagination pictured the guns of Port Arthur booming in a last loud cry to the world for help.
Beatrice regarded the distant promon
"Thy people shall be my people." And this captain was of her own folk, the English, simple-minded, straightforward. She loathed the fat oily smile which she had noticed on old Lewison's lips once or twice when she had been watching the two men, herself unheeded. Lewison's descent was mixed.
This girl was full of quick impulses. She hesitated; womanlike, she glanced down suddenly at her dress. It was three years since any one had cared to notice her frock, since her uncle had
married his son to the podgy daughter of the German storekeeper in Shanghai who waddled. Even now, after this interval, her young face grew hard and cold as stone as she remembered. was a delicate face under a mass of soft fair. Surely something about this tall lithe maiden might become very bewitching to a man, if she willed.
The little head rose very erect. Her resolution was formed. She could act on her impulses fearlessly, did she so choose.
Dusk was falling when the derricks rattled inboard for the last time. The donkey engine clanked noisily, and the hose-pipes swept the coal-dust before streams of water from the deck. Bernard Fairton sat alone in the little chart-room under the bridge. Outside was all gray and dreary, with that unnatural dreariness which probably portended snow. Inside, a low fire smouldered dully in the iron stove, for the night gave promise of being bitterly ccld. The master of the Venturer leant over the shabby table oil-cloth, intent on the "Sailing Directions for the North China Seas." A flickering lamp swung overhead; a pile of charts and papers were scattered in disorder on a locker.
The door widened stealthily. Fairton did not move except to slip his hand into a side pocket. His grasp tightened over the revolver there. Then a flash of immense surprise crossed his face as the new-comer entered with cautious speed.
"Miss Dennis," he muttered, amazed. "You-here!"
She nodded breathlessly. Something in his tone brought a defiant color to her cheeks.
"What have you come for?" he asked, searching her face with steadi
"To warn you to sail at once, before it is too late."
Instead of answering his question she put another.
"You have not shipped all your new crew yet, have you?"
"Only a few of them. The remainder should be on board to-morrow." "Don't wait for them."
"I cannot put to sea as I am," Fairton deliberated. His attitude was uncomprehending.
"When are you due at Port Arthur?" queried the girl with great directness. "In two days; that is the worst of it," Fairton admitted ruefully. "The Russian torpedo-boats are to make a raid as soon as I am off the port to cover my dash for the entrance. Every hour's delay makes success more doubtful."
"It is absolutely necessary that you get to sea at once," she repeated. Her confidence was emphatic.
"Lewison was to provide a pilot as well," remonstrated the captain dubiously.
"Instead of which he has bribed your old crew to desert."
"So!" said her hearer slowly.
"And is waiting to betray you to the Japanese," finished Beatrice Dennis with terseness.
"Why have you troubled to warn me?" asked Fairton suddenly. He was thinking hard.
"Because you are English as my dead father was, and-I hate Lewison," she muttered. Something in her manner told Fairton that the girl spoke with soberest truth.
"Oh, he is vile and treacherous!" she cried with sudden heat. Her large eyes blazed with passion, her small oval face was pale. "He got my father into his power, he killed his own sister, my mother, by his cruelty and neglect. Then I had no home, no kin of my own in all the world. So he took me and made me his house drudge, and I am of use to him as a slave would be. Often his charity almost chokes me. And
then you came-you were different-of my own people-courteous even to such as me."
"But he is the agent of my owners; we are consigned to his firm," expostulated the vessel's captain. His gaze never left her face.
"What does that matter to Lewison & Co.?" cried the girl with scorn. "He will take your money with one hand and sell you for more money with the other. I tell you"-she stamped her small foot with passionate assurance"if you delay any longer you will never reach Port Arthur."
The lamp was flaring greasily; the little chart-room smelt of stale smoke and evil oil. The speaker looked singularly soft and girlish in her worn dark dress outlined against the dingy cabin fittings. The lamplight tinged the fairness of her hair.
"If you trust me"-she fronted him very resolute "if you trust me, you will be guided by what I say, and go." she declared.
Fairton reached for his cap. "Well, we will see if we cannot outwit Mr. Lewison this time," he decided with grimness. "I'll just speak to my engineer."
lishman, as Lewison stormed from an inner room and the expletives floated around him, "what the deuce is up?"
The agitated ship agent cannoned into his caller, and recoiled, puffing savage maledictions. His florid features glared interrogation.
"Just you take a turn outside an' let the blizzard blow through that head of yours, and you'll feel calmer," suggested Drummond stolidly.
The one advised danced with displeasure, and demanded his adviser's errand with ferocity. Drummond explained. Cunning began to replace the rage on Lewison's face.
"So you've come to assist the master of the Venturer from bein' captured?" he snarled.
"Then you'd best go an' prevent him from sailing to-night, and bring back my niece, whom he has abducted, at the same time."
The speaker seethed with suppressed fury. Drummond grunted polite con
"The very apple of my eye she is," the uncle declared unctuously.
The agent of Lloyd's underwriters considered that he had not journeyed from London to aid in the recovery of eloping maidens. But the departure of the steamer was another matter.
"An' me spendin' days in huntin' up a new crew for him," pursued the exasperated Lewison-"helpin' him all I can."
Now it was precisely at this moment on shore that Captain Drummond, in his capacity as representative of Lloyd's, walked into the office of Messrs. Lewison's. His state of body was intensely cold, his state of temper aggrievedly hot. A coasting steamer to Chefoo had seen fit to jar her propeller clean off at the stern tube, and consequently had ceased to exist as a navigable craft for the space of thirtysix hours till taken in tow. Hence much delay. As he hammered imperiously on the office counter his ears were assailed with a burst of language, which, however regrettable, made it convincingly clear that the head of the firm was seriously perturbed.
At this stage Drummond proposed a drink. In fact both men condescended to several drinks, over which the interview became more amicable, though urgent. Lewison opined that "an obstinater chit than that girl didn't
"Sakes alive!" said the burly Eng- breathe," and the sailor suggested that
Something in the last speech had a ring not entirely genuine. His hearer stared meditatively at the speaker's greenish blinking eyes and unshaven jaw. What was the fellow concealing?
it was imperative to interview the Venturer's master without delay. More and more impressed with the urgency of the case, Drummond finally took the ship agent by the arm, and dragged him-still denunciatory-to the quay. Here they chartered a sampan.
Lewison, though protesting, began to think that the very decoy he most needed had been provided providentially. The steamer must be delayed till the morrow; all else was nought to him. Otherwise his carefully maturing plans would miscarry in confusion, and much good money be unearned thereby.
The shore shadows were lengthening in the gloom. The rumble of the revolving capstan jarred the stillness of the bay. The metallic clank of the cable chain hauling through the muddy hawse-hole announced that the anchor was being raised. Deep exhortation on the fo'c'sle betokened haste. The sampan surged alongside the Venturer. Whereupon a frowsy-headed man emerged from the lee door of the galley and pushed her off with a pole. Lewison bellowed awesomely.
"The cap'n's busy. An' if yer gets any redder in the face yer'll bust," said the offender genially. "An spatter our paintwork 'orrid."
Drummond grasped at the rope ladder handing over the steamer's side. At that moment Fairton appeared at the top.
"What do you want?" he demanded with brusqueness.
"To speak with you, captain, please," Drummond answered civilly.
"Speak away then." The invitation was not encouraging.
"You have got my niece aboard," interposed the angry Lewison. "She will return to me at once."
Fairton looked along the deck to where a slight dark figure was holding on to a twisted wire shroud. Her eyes were wide with dismay.
"No, she won't!" he answered curtly. "You're breaking the law"-the voice of its upholder was shrill-"I'll have you arrested for seducin' her away," he screamed.
"I will marry her first!" Fairton was speaking with quietness. "Now, have you done?"
"You just stop till mornin' for the rest of your crew, an' give me back the girl," clamored the ship agent. "What for?"
This was maddening. The listener rocked in the boat with wrath. "I'll give her 'what for when I get her," roared the outraged man.
"And I'll see you damned first," was the blunt rejoinder from above. "Shove off there!"
The Chinese boatman was hunting unconcernedly along his pigtail for an irritating insect. Drummond was holding on to the lower rung of the ship's ladder. Suddenly the gloom was stung by the flash of a revolver. Lewison had fired point-blank at the girl on deck.
Then there was a concert-as the cook of the Venturer, who had been an interested observer, subsequently expressed it. Drummond himself knocked the smoking pistol out of Lewison's hand into the sea. Then he sprang up the ladder. With his foot he pushed the sampan clear. A bubbling at the steamer's stern answered to the sudden slow grind of the half-speed engines. The Venturer was under way, and the native craft wallowed in the wash.
Lewison subsided with violence on to a thwart, giving vent to incoherent splutters as he wrung the slops which the cook had adroitly heaved over him from his eyes. His protesting roars grew fainter. The Venturer drew away into the smother of the night.
In the chart-room Beatrice Dennis stood again before the captain, with burning cheeks. She had drawn back