The Pages and Ping Wang were among the first twenty 바카라사이트 to pass in at the town gates, and the latter at once crossed over to an inn and peeped in at the door. The glance he gave satisfied him, and he beckoned to Charlie and Fred to enter. It was not an attractive-looking place, but there was a smell of roast pork, that made the hungry travellers sniff with delight.

The dining-room into which Ping Wang led the way was very dirty, and until Charlie and Fred were told what the room was they had no idea that it was there that they were to breakfast. They sat down on a form at a little, bare wooden table, and before long were enjoying a hearty meal of roast pork and tea.

'And now,' Fred said, when they had satisfied their healthy appetites, 'I should like to lie down and sleep.'

'So should I,' Charlie declared. 'What kind of beds do they have here?'

'We can lie on the floor here if we like,' Ping Wang answered.

'I'll do so,' Charlie said, and down he went on the floor, turned his face to the wall, rested his head on his arm, and closed his eyes: Fred followed his example at once.

Ping Wang waited until his friends were asleep, and then, having satisfied himself that their pigtails were not slipping off, and that there was nothing about their appearance to attract attention, he lay down beside them.

All three slept soundly until the landlord came in and awoke Ping Wang, who had an argument with him about the price of roast pork.

'What is our next move?' Charlie asked, quietly, when the landlord had left the room.

'To go and see my cousin,' Ping Wang replied, 'to warn him of the danger which threatens his brother and all other Christians.'

Ping Wang found his cousin—a fan-maker—at his shop. He had heard of the Boxers' intentions the day before, and had already been to his brother to warn him and his friends. This was indeed good news, and Ping Wang was anxious to tell his friends of it, but dared not, for his cousin's work-people were in the next room, and would probably hear them[Pg 355] speaking English. He told his cousin, however, that his friends, who were standing at the door, were Englishmen, a piece of news which caused the fan-maker much uneasiness. He begged Ping Wang not to introduce him to the Englishmen, and urged him to get them out of the town as quickly as possible. Ping Wang chatted with him for a few more minutes and then departed.

The streets were now crowded with people, and Ping Wang whispered to his friends not to speak on any account until they were safe at another inn. He led them through numerous narrow streets, and was within a hundred yards of the inn where he hoped to get a room when a man came running along the street, shouting wildly, slashing about with a whip, and driving the people back against the houses on either side. Ping Wang pushed the Pages back quickly and stood in front of them.

A few moments later Charlie and Fred understood the cause of the excitement. A gorgeous palanquin was borne rapidly past them, but not so quickly that they were unable to see the occupant. He was a fat, cruel-looking man, and took no notice whatever of the kowtowing of the people. On his head he wore a yellow cloth, such as the Boxers had worn on the previous evening, and this was regarded, as it was meant to be, as a sign that he was in sympathy with the Boxer movement.

'Chin Choo,' Ping Wang muttered, as the palanquin passed out of sight, and Charlie and Fred knew that they had seen the murderer of their friend's father, and the possessor of the treasure which they had come to China to secure.

The inn to which Ping Wang led his friends was the best in Kwang-ngan. It was roomy, fairly clean, and was the only place of its kind that was two storeys high. The other inns had but one storey.

Ping Wang took a room on the first floor, and they entered into occupation at once.

'Let us sit in the middle of the room,' Ping Wang said, 'and then, if we talk very quietly, there will be no fear of any one hearing that we are not talking Chinese.'

Ping Wang then told his friends of what his cousin had said to him. They were very much relieved to hear that the missionaries had been warned of the danger that threatened them, but were rather worried by the difficulties before them.

'The easiest way to get into Chin Choo's garden,' Ping Wang said, 'will be by climbing over the wall. It is a high one, certainly, but I do not think that we shall have much difficulty in scaling it. What I do fear is that, as Chin Choo's house is in the busiest part of the town, we may have to wait days, perhaps weeks, before we find the road deserted, even at night. As soon as it is dark, we will go out and find the most convenient spots for climbing. In the meanwhile, are either of you hungry?'

Charlie and Fred had had such a hearty breakfast that they almost shuddered at the mention of food.

'Well,' Ping Wang said, 'I'm not hungry either, but we shall want some dinner.'

He went downstairs to give the order and have a chat with the inn-keeper. He was absent about twenty minutes, and when he returned the Pages saw that he had some news to tell them.

'What is it?' Charlie asked.

Ping Wang quietly turned the key in the door and then sat down beside his friends.

'There is to be a feast to-night. It's to be held at the other end of the town, and everybody who possibly can will be there. That will leave this end of the town nearly deserted. A better opportunity for climbing over Chin Choo's wall we could not possibly have. The road will be deserted, and most of Chin Choo's servants will be at the feast. Perhaps Chin Choo himself will be there. Don't let us talk about it just now. Our dinner will not be brought up for three hours, and in the meantime we had better get all the sleep that we can. We must be as fresh as possible this evening.'

Charlie and Fred agreed, and five minutes later all three were sleeping soundly.

They were aroused from their slumber by a terrific banging at their door.

'Who's there?' Ping Wang asked in Chinese, and the reply came, from the landlord himself, that he was their disreputable nephew, who would, if permitted to intrude his worthless body upon their exalted presence, lay the dinner.

Ping Wang replied instantly that if their intellectual uncle would condescend to demean himself by waiting on such idiotic monkeys, they would at once admit his glorious body to their ridiculous and contemptible presence.

These flowery Chinese compliments having been exchanged, Ping Wang opened the door to his 'uncle,' and his 'nephew' walked in and placed a couple of ducks on the table.

As soon as they had finished their meal, the Pages and Ping Wang went to the window and stood gazing down into the busy street. Charlie quickly noticed that nearly all the people who were proceeding in one direction were carrying provisions.

'Are they taking those things to give to their ancestors' ghosts?' he inquired.

'Well, no,' Ping Wang replied. 'The feast to be given to-night has been got up by the priests of Fo.'

'Who is Fo?'

'Buddha. Fo is our name for him. The Buddhists decided, many years ago, that the Confucians were to be blamed for neglecting to feast the ghosts of those who had been so unfortunate as to die without leaving any descendants, and agreed to do the work themselves. They published accounts of the terrible sufferings of the starving ghosts who had no descendants, and urged the people to contribute food to relieve their wants. The people gave willingly, and from that time the Buddhist priests have had feasts at intervals. I think that we shall be able to see part of this evening's performance. At dusk we will go out and examine the wall round Chin Choo's house, and when we have found the best place for scaling it, we will hurry off to the feast. We will stay there a short time, and then return to finish our job. By this time to-morrow I hope that we shall be back at Su-ching, with our pockets full of rubies. But Chin Choo is not likely to be merciful to any one found robbing him.'

'But we are not going to rob him,' Charlie declared. 'We are simply going to recover what he has stolen from you.'[Pg 356]

"A gorgeous palanquin was borne rapidly past." "A gorgeous palanquin was borne rapidly past."
'That is so,' said Fred; 'but Chin Choo will think that as much stealing as if we were taking from him something to which he had a perfect right.'

'Oh, well, don't let us look on the gloomy side of the affair,' said Ping Wang. 'We need not talk about it any more now. I must go out for a few minutes. Wait for me here.'

(Continued on page 366.)
[Pg 357]

The feebler folk among Nature's children have many enemies; against these they are, as a rule, nearly powerless; but here and there, among the different groups of animals, we meet with strange devices for repelling attacks. Though these are by no means always successful, it seems clear that they are good enough to serve as a fairly sure protection. This is especially the case with the Caterpillars.

  • Fig. 1.—Caterpillars of Procession Moth. Fig. 1.—Caterpillars of Procession Moth.
There are two methods of defence used by caterpillars. One of these is the device of squirting noxious fluids from the body; the other is found in the poisonous hairs and spines which are scattered more or less all over the body.

  • Fig. 2.—Caltrops and Spines of Caterpillars. Fig. 2.—Caltrops and Spines of Caterpillars.
Those who have taken up the study of butterflies and moths, will do well to be careful in handling hairy caterpillars, especially those of the family known as the Bombyces. Some of the members of this family, such as the Fox-moth and the Brown and Gold-tailed moths, when in the caterpillar stage are thickly clothed with long stiff hairs, and these, if the creature be handled, pierce the skin and break off. In consequence very painful itching and irritation is set up. But this is nothing to the pain caused by the caterpillars of the wonderful 'Procession moth' (fig. 1). In these caterpillars the poison hairs are very loosely attached to the body, and studded with exceedingly fine hooks that curve inwards, as may be seen in the diagram of a magnified portion of one of the spines (fig. 2, d and e). Partly by adhering to the skin, and partly by means of a very fine dust with which they are covered, these hairs set up a very violent inflammation on the skin of men and animals, which is hard to get rid of. On this account, moreover, the neighbourhood of the nests of these larvæ is dangerous, for the surrounding air is filled with the hairs and dust borne about by the wind. These are thus inhaled, and give rise to internal inflammation and swellings which have sometimes caused death.

One of the most remarkable of all hairy caterpillars is that of an American species (fig. 3), burdened by scientific men with the terrible name—Megalopyga! The shorter hairs are poisonous.

  • Fig. 3.—Megalopyga Caterpillar. Fig. 3.—Megalopyga Caterpillar.
The caterpillar of our British 'Festoon moth' belongs to a very remarkable family indeed. All the caterpillars of this group, which is found in many parts of the world, are very slug-like in form, and many have an evil reputation as poisoners, though our English species is happily innocent. A small Australian species has the body armed with slight reddish knobs, four in the front and four in the hind part of the body. These knobs can be opened at will, and from them slight rays or bunches of stings of a yellow colour are thrust out. The wounds which these darts inflict are very painful. Of one Indian species a collector records that 'the caterpillar stung with such horrible pain that I sat in the room almost sick with it, and unable to keep the tears from running down my cheeks, for more than two hours, applying ammonia all the time.'

(Concluded on page 364.)
[Pg 358]

Hugh Martin had come home from Canada, where his father owned a ranch, on a visit to some English relations.

Willie Pearse was the cousin nearest him in age, and the two boys became great friends.

'It must be a jolly life out there, and money seems to be made much more quickly than in England,' Willie said one day. 'I wish Father would let me go out with you.'

'You would have to make up your mind to work harder than you do here,' Hugh told him, for he had noticed that his cousin was inclined to be lazy.

'Oh, I like that! Why, you were telling me how little there was to do in the winter, with everything frozen up! I thought that when you were not having a ripping time with sleighing parties and tobogganing, you just sat by the fire and read.'

'Compared with the summer, of course, the winter work is nothing. We just have to feed the calves every day, and ride round the field where our stock are wintering, to look up the cattle. But even that is more than you seem to get through, Will.'

'Not more than just ride round a field!' cried Willie. 'I should be glad if that ended my day's work.'

'Perhaps you do not quite realise the size of what we call a field,' Hugh said quietly.

'How many acres?' asked his cousin.

'Oh, a matter of two thousand acres or so,' was the answer, and then Willie began to think that if all the little jobs of work were on the same scale, perhaps only the energetic folk were the sort to go to Canada, and those who loved their ease had better stay at home.

M. H.
We cannot show in Britain such tall and beautiful natives of the fern tribe as may be found growing freely in tropical countries, but still we have some fine ferns belonging to our islands. These are much commoner in some parts than in others, and probably, many years ago, when a great part of the country was covered with damp forests or woods, there was a greater abundance of ferns generally than there is now. Indeed, even in the last few years, some ferns that used to be abundant have become quite scarce, often owing to the fact that unwise people dig them up, to carry the plants away from their haunts, and put them in gardens.

There are, fortunately, some ferns which such thefts do not harm, because they are plentiful. The well-known bracken, for instance, though quantities of it may be cut for wrapping or decoration, is not thereby thinned much, and it covers acres and acres of ground in some woodlands, especially about the western counties. The West of England is the home of ferns, big and small; but some southern counties, such as Sussex and Hampshire, have a good display. In Scotland, again, glens or copses, often the haunts of wild deer, are green with a thick growth of bracken.

A well-known writer, who lives where ferns abound, says that the bracken is the fern of ferns in the British Islands. The shelter of it is a pleasure and a safeguard too, not only to the tall deer and their fawns, but to thousands of quadrupeds and birds, whose home is amid the copses, shady lanes, or moorlands. In sandy wastes, this fern only grows a foot high; along the paths in woods it will attain to six or seven feet, or grow taller still in a lofty hedge, or in a clump of supporting trees. Even in the winter months the ferns have their uses; it is delightful, after walking over some moist lowland, to come upon a hilly ridge of ground, where, amongst the birches and the fragrant firs, the brown ferns grow freely.