This statement, indisputable as it is, will nevertheless start a chain of thought which may lead to confusion; and it is because of this tendency to confusion that the real issue is so frequently avoided. But let us see if we may not dispel the confusion by a system of logical deduction. One thing is certain. The present condition of the Sex-problem is sadly chaotic.
We paid a visit to the governor of Hami, who received us on the roof of his house, where many were assembled, and scarcely had he greeted us when they all fell to praying, the mollah standing in front to lead, and all the others standing in a row behind.
"You are making sport of me, I fear." "I am not." "Are you an honest man?" "I am." "I should judge so, if what you tell me is true. A rogue would not warn me." "What I tell you is true; and because I am an honest man I warn you." "If you will lead me to the cabin of Tom Pearce all will be well." "Is the old boatman a friend of yours?" "Yes." "Have you seen him lately?" "No."
If he don't think he run up against the business end of a cyclone it will be because I got throat trouble and can't talk. Honest, my fair young brow is commencing to get wrinkled trying to dope out whether I want to become a bride or lead the free and easy life of a bachelor girl.
When I had explained the situation to Captain Russell, he thought that we could not, under any circumstances, overlook this defiant conduct of the Indians, since, unless summarily punished, it would lead to even more serious trouble in the future.
To what purpose has the girl been placed all these years at school, if, when her privileges terminate, she has no fondness for study? Why lead her through the pleasant fields of learning, if, at the close of her walk, she is to possess no relish for these scenes?
'Oh, Captain Gates! and tears that I could not keep back started to my eyes, 'you know it is not in scorn I am acting so. But it wouldn't be for our good if I were to say "Yes." I have not any love to give you, and I know myself better than you do. If I loved you, I would not dare to link my life with yours. Forgive me for saying it. I am not strong enough to lead you; I should be led by you.
I can still see that big fellow Yves, struggling with a whole band of tiny little mousmés of some twelve or fifteen years of age, who barely reached up to his waist, and were pulling him by the sleeves, anxious to lead him astray. Astonished and indignant he repeated as he extricated himself from their clutches: "Oh, this is too much!"
"Just listen at old Boney!" the Boy cried. "I can tell him now. He can beat 'em all!" Loud and clear above the chorus of the others rang the long savage boom of Boney's voice, quivering with passion, defiant, daring, sure of victory! It came at regular intervals as if to measure the miles that separated him from the battle he smelled afar. He was far in the lead. He was past-master of this sport.
He adopted an air of great thought, and finally said: "Well, of course, the feller with the grey sleeve must be upstairs, and we must get past the girl and up there somehow. Suppose I take her by the arm and lead her " "What!" interrupted the captain from between his clinched teeth.