alterna●tely from the dishes, they squatted o▓n their haunches close at hand, watchin●g us, it must be admitted, so●mewhat hungrily.The American had not yet m▓astered the na

tive tongue.His inter●preter was a youthful priest who spoke flu●ent English.With these two at our elbow●s, the conversation did not drag.Th▓e youth was a human interrogation


● point; the convert, for the nonc▓e, a long-stranded mariner eager f●or news of the world outside.●Were “the boys” still signing on in Liverpool ●at three pound ten Did captains still● ship out of Frisco with shang▓haied crews, as of yore Were the Home in M●arseilles and the Mission in Sydney still cl▓osed to beachcombers Was the Peter Rickmer●s still above the waves His quest▓ions fell fast and furious, interspersed with qu●eries from his companion.Then he grew ▓reminiscent and told us, in the vocabulary▓ of them that go down to the sea in ships, t●ales of his days before the mast and o●f his uninspiring adventures in distant po●rts.For the moment he was plain J▓ack Tar again, swapping yarn●s with his fellows. The youth rose a▓t last and laid a hand on the convert’s shoul●der.He started, blinked a moment, and g●lanced at his brilliant garment.Th▓en he rose to dignified erectness and sto▓od a moment silent, gazing down upon us▓ with the half-haughty, half-pitying mien of ●a true believer addressing heathen. “You ▓will excuse us,” he said, in his s●acerdotal vo


ice.“It is time for our evening d●evotions.” He moved with the ot●hers to the further side of the roo●m, where each of the band lig●hted a candle and came to place i▓t on the altar.Then all knelt on a large mat, s●ank down until their hips touched their he▓els and, with their eyes fixed steadfastly on● the serene countenance 385of▓ the statue, rocked their bodies back▓ and forth to the time of a chan▓t set up by one of the youngest pr●iests.It was a half-monotonous wail,▓ rising and falling in uneven cadence, la▓cking something of the solemnity of ●the chanted Latin of a Catholic office, yet m●ore musical than the three-tone song of th▓e Arab.One theme, often rep▓eated, grew familiar even to our ▓unaccustomed ears, a long-drawn● refrain ending in:— “Vooráy kalma-á-y s-●--mée,” which the swaying group, o▓ne and all, caught up from time to● time and droned in deep-voic▓ed chorus. The worship lasted▓ some twenty minutes.When the America▓n returned to us, every trace of● the seaman—save the tattooing—ha▓d disappeared.He was a mission▓ary now, fired with zeal for the “true fa▓ith”; though into his argument●s crept occasionally a sugges▓tion that his efforts were less for conversion● than for self-justification.No●w and again he called on his spons●or in Buddhist lore and ritual to e▓xpatiate on the doctrines he was strivin▓g to set forth.The youth needed no urging.He d▓rew a book from the folds of his g▓own and, for every point brough▓t up by the American, read us s▓everal pages of dissertations or ta▓les of the miracles performed by the Wanderin▓g Prince. The hour grew late for beachco●mbers.A dreadful fear assailed us that t●he night would be all sermon and n▓o sleep.We sank into an open-eyed doze,▓ from which we started up now and ▓then half determined to turn● Buddhists that we might be lef●t in peace.Towards midnight ▓the propagandists tired of the▓ir monologues and rose to their feet.The white● man led the way to a back room, littere●d with kettles and bowls, bu●nches of drying rattan, and all the odds ▓and ends of the establishment, and po▓inted out two mats that the serv●ants had spread for us on the billowy, yet yi●elding floor of split bamboo. “Take my● tip, mat

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