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PILGRIMS ON THE ROAD. PILGRIMS ON THE ROAD.
On the second morning after Holgrave's capture, the baroness, upon Calverley's entering the room in which she sat, inquired if he had seen the wife of Holgrave? "I hear," continued she, without noticing the surprise which the question created, "that she is in the court-yard, and has had the insolence to ask one of the varlets if she might speak with me! Go, Calverley, and desire her to leave the castle instantly."The staff-officer cut away its cornhusk wrapping and read aloud the owner's name on the hilt. The General laid the mighty weapon across his palm and sternly shut his lips. "How did you get through the enemy's pickets with this?"
I cant say whether I should have been pleased or not, she said. It didnt happen. But Im sure I dont know why you sent your typewriter in here to talk to me. I dont know what you think I should find to say to her. With Alice here too."Hollo!" cried the galleyman, as, at this moment, a party of men approached"with whom hold ye, mates?"
But she went up to her bed in a far better temper than she would otherwise have done, and quite abandoned any idea of lying awake to punish him for his previous brutality.The dinner consisted of stewed fish for the first course, and it was so thoroughly stewed that it resembled a thick soup. Then they had cold fish with grated radishes, and, finally, a composite dish of hard-boiled eggs, cut in two, and mixed with shrimps and seaweed. The table was cleared after each course before the next was brought, and the food was served in shallow bowls, which were covered to retain the heat. At the side of each person at table there were two cups. One of these contained soy, a sort of vinegar flavored with spices of different kinds, and in which each mouthful of food was dipped before it was swallowed. It is said that our word "sauce" comes from the Japanese (or Chinese) word which has just been quoted. The other cup was for sa-kee, a beverage which has been already mentioned in the pages of this book. They were not inclined to sa-kee; but the soy was to their taste, and Frank was especially warm in its praise.
CHAPTER XIX.The road wound among the fields where the rice was growing luxuriantly, and where now and then they found beans and millet, and other[Pg 165] products of Japanese agriculture. The cultivation was evidently of the most careful character, as the fields were cut here and there with little channels for irrigation; and there were frequent deposits of fertilizing materials, whose character was apparent to the nose before it was to the eye. In some places, where the laborers were stooping to weed the plants, there was little more of them visible than their broad sun-hats; and it did not require a great stretch of the imagination to believe they were a new kind of mushroom from Brobdingnagian gardens. Hills like sharply rounded cones rose from each side of the narrow valley they were descending; and the dense growth of wood with which the most of them were covered made a marked contrast to the thoroughly cleared fields. The boys saw over, and over, and over again the pictures they had often seen on Japanese fans and boxes and wondered if they were realities. They had already learned that the apparently impossible pictures we find in Japanese art are not only possible, but actual; but they had not yet seen so thorough a confirmation of it as on this day's ride.