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Newspaper Page Text
people?" ehided Marcia. "Your
clothing is covered from dust from
contact with that fellow."
"A poor fellow, indeed," replied
Walter, pityingly. "You will not
wonder at his condition when I tell
' you that I found him lying by the
knees, bound for Calcutta."
"Two hundred miles away!" ex
claimed arcia. "You do not mean "
"That he had already covered one
hundred miles without rising upright
for the past six weeks? "Yes," de
"Why did he do It?" Inquired the
widow, with indifferent curiosity.
"As a penalty. He was starving
and stole a measure of meal. The law
put him at a year of hard labor. The
priest of his sect fined him twenty
taels, or the horrible ordeal he was
"And you paid his fine, I infer?"
spoke Marcia contemptuously.
"I could not resist doing it," re
The widow left them a few days
later to meet her affianced husband
at Naples. The native, Ayrith, whom
Walter had taken under his protect
ing wing, became domesticated as a
grateful, loyal servant. He was with
out kith or kin, but was a man of un
usual education for his class. His
devotion to the counsul and his wife
became dog-like ints intensity.
Walter was a good deal surprised
to find how useful Ayrih became to
him as the weeks passed on. Most of
the consular functions consisted in
A passing upon export duties and the
standing of business houses in the
district. It was remarkable how well
Ayrih was posted on these details.
, One day he came to Walter, evidently
full of sdme subject that interested
"him greatly, for a half suppressed ex
citement was visible In bis manner.
"Sahib," he said, " I learn."
"Learn what, Ayrih?" inquired
Walter in his kindly way.
"The guilds those who export the
wicker, the bamboo, the beads, the J
tinsels. Tbey laughed at your coun
try the great land I love because
you are of there. They boast to pay
but little duties, because they say
'material raw' and 'goods fancy'
w,hen it is really 'fabrics.' "
In his poor way Ayrih had given
the young consul a valuable hint.
Walter knew that the district guild
of merchants included shrewd, trick
ish men. That night he went over
his tariff files. He made an import
ant discovery. Strung rice, beads,
bamboo plaiting, native tindel weav
ings, when applied to rugs, draperies
and curtains, should have been listed
as "fabrics." This meant an increase
in the import duty of over forty per
cent ad valorem.
Walter duly reported his discovery
and opinions to the authorities at
Washington. Just two months later
he came into the house with a flut
tering strip of paper In his hand.
"Look, Blanche' he said buoyant
ly. "Our ship has come in!" '
"Your discoveries will lead to a
change of classification' the official
letter read, "that will Increase Import
duties over $2,000,000 a year. You
are transferred as consul general to
Singapore at four thousand dollars
It was under widef changed resi
dential conditions that Mrs. Burnham
dropped in upon them unexpectedly
a few weeks later. The Burtons oc
cupied a beautiful bungalow, set in
the midst of a lovely garden.
"How superb!" pronounced the ca
pricious Marcia. "I would be content
to live in this earthly Paradise for
ever." "You will be surely welcomed as a
permanent guest," declared Walter
chivalrously. "But how about the
"A count of no account," reported
Marcia with a wry face. Luckily, I
found it out in time. And your ser
vants how different to those at that
half-civilized settlement. The man
who carried In my traps was quite
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