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Chapter 13 LECTURE XIII.

  • Before resuming my quotations from the manuscript account of Leete "West'_xperiences while in Boston, I invite your attention to a subject of whic_hat manuscript does not treat. I mean the very general impoverishment tha_ollowed the Chinese invasion, and which was accelerated by the formation o_haritable societies such as the one referred to in my last lecture.
  • The longer the Chinese stayed in Boston, the poorer the inhabitants of tha_ity became. Those who were numbered among the workers received a salary o_age which as least kept them from starvation, but those who did not so work — and these included all the children and all persons over forty-five years o_ge — received nothing, and were obliged to live on what property they ha_hanced to accumulate. As nearly every one had some such property, it wa_upposed by the Chinese statesmen that it would be some time before absolut_overty and penury became very general. They reasoned that a person who foun_imself with only $100 of money, and with no expectation of receiving more, would naturally be as economical as possible, and endeavor to make that mone_ast as long as they could. This was one of the few instances in which th_easoning of our statesmen was wrong. The majority of the Bostonians did no_conomise, but (owing to various circumstances) spent, generally, more tha_hey would have spent had the Chinese invasion never have happened.
  • Let us look at the reasons for this. For at least three generations there ha_een no necessity for any person to lay up money or things upon which t_ubsist in time of sickness or of old age. Such provident habits were, indeed, discouraged by the Nationalists, when, at the end of each year, the amoun_nspent upon the credit card became worthless. Up to the time when Nationalis_ad been adopted by the United States, the American people, though by no mean_acking in forethought, were in no manner distinguished, as a race, fo_rugality. There was no racial predisposition toward provident habits, but, indeed, rather the reverse, and the effect of the Nationalistic theory upo_his national characteristic, was to make the race less and less provident an_aving.
  • Thus, those Bostonians who received money for goods, had neither experienc_or a racial instinct to prompt them to economy. The young people had th_enerosity of youth, the old had the habit of a lifetime which unconsciousl_rompted them to think that the money they how possessed would somehow o_ther lose its value (as the credit card would have) at the end of the year, when, as there always had been a new supply forthcoming, there must be a ne_upply again.
  • In addition, for the first time in three generations, there came to them th_emands of charity, which they met with the impulsive generosity of childre_ho had just received pocket-money. The Chinese invasion inaugurated among th_itizens of the coast cities, not an era of economy, but rather an era o_xtravagance.
  • I return now to the manuscript from which I quoted in my last lecture.
  • > " Two days before we were to return to Albany, I received a summons t_ttend the Admiral in his cabin.
  • >
  • > "' Mr. West, said he, after his first greetings had passed, ' your fathe_nd I have had some conversation on a topic on which you naturally feel grea_nterest. I mean your marriage.'
  • >
  • > " I looked at him with astonishment, and did not know what to say, but h_aved me the necessity ot replying, by continuing:
  • >
  • > " You retum to Albany in two days. I have mentioned to your father, and _ill now say to you (in strict confidence, however) that every one of th_emands of the Nationalist Commissioners will be refused. Our gracious Empero_as instructed us to accept no terms, except an absolute and unconditiona_urrender of the entire territory of the United States. I rely upon you not t_ention this until after it has been made public by your Congress.'
  • >
  • > " Of course, I at once gave the necessary promise, and he went on:
  • >
  • > "' Under these circumstances, you will, of course, not wish to return t_oston, where you will be hourly in danger of deportation, but I can imagin_hat you would be equally unwilling to leave your lady-love in the territor_f the enemy. I cannot wisely give Miss Nesmyth leave to depart, as it woul_e establishing a precedent that would prove extremely inconvenient, an_ubject me personally to the charge of favoritism. But,' he added with _mile, 'if you can arrange any way in which the young lady can smuggle hersel_pon the train by which you return, I think I can promise you that as long a_he remains in hiding she will be invisible to the officials. The suggestio_lso includes her father and mother, if you so desire.'
  • >
  • > " I thanked the Admiral heartily, as may be supposed, and said that I woul_t once advise with Miss Nesmyth.
  • >
  • > " ' It is necessary, I suppose, that you should do so,' answered th_dmiral. ' But mind, Mr. West, not a word or a hint in public of what I tol_ou; nor must any one except I and you, and the person I shall shortl_ntroduce you to, ever have the slightest knowledge that I am acquainted wit_he intention of Miss Nesmyth to escape. I will introduce you to Lieutenan_oo, who will have charge of your train. You must lead the young lady t_uppose that you have made your arrangements with him alone; but you mus_mpress upon her the necessity of absolute secrecy, if such a thing b_ossible to a woman, and inform her that the slightest whisper of he_ntention to leave town will remove the blindness from official eyes. You wil_ot speak of this matter again to me, but arrange all the details wit_ieutenant Foo.'
  • >
  • > " He touched a bell and bade the sentry call Lieutenant Foo. That gentlema_ntered immediately; he evidently had been waiting outside, and the Admira_ntroduced us to each other. Then by a happily worded wish that my marrie_ife might be happy, he signified that my audience was concluded.
  • >
  • > " We left the Admiral's cabin, and in a single sentence, Lieutenant Foo gav_e notice that he was already thoroughly familiar with the object in view.
  • >
  • > " ' You will probably wish,' he said, ' to see the young lady at once. I_hat be the case, you will find Lieutenant Wong in his stateroom. 'It i_referable that he receive no notification of what is intended, though,' an_e looked at me with a meaning smile, 'his eyesight and hearing have bee_reatly impaired of late.'
  • >
  • > " My first impulse was to go at once to Margaretta, but almost instantly _ecided otherwise.
  • >
  • > " ' Would it not be better,' I said to Lieutenant Foo, ' if you and I wer_o devise some plan and not mention it to the ladies until the time fo_eparture comes ?'
  • >
  • > ''' Much better,' he answered. ' If you will come to my office we will tal_ver the matter at once.'
  • >
  • > " Leaving me alone for a moment, he stepped into Lieutenant Wong's room an_aid a word or two to him — announcing probably that he would be m_scort—then asking me to precede him, we went over the side of the ship, an_o his office which was near the railway yards.
  • >
  • > " He showed me the diagram of the car which we were to travel in. It was th_ar built for the Superintendent of the Eastern Railroad division. There was _arge stateroom and dressing-room at either end, and the space between wa_rranged as a drawing-room.
  • >
  • > " ' One stateroom has been allotted to you and the other to your father,' h_aid. ' The train will consist of four passenger cars. The first two will b_or Commissioner Hi and his suite, then will come your car, my own car will b_he last. You will thus be between Commissioner Hi's car and my own, and n_ne will be permitted to pass through your car without, notice being given. I_our father should be ill, it will afford an excuse to keep the greate_ortion of the curtains drawn, and to prevent the passage of persons throug_he car.'
  • >
  • > " ' Does my fathier know of the plan ?' I asked.
  • >
  • > " ' He must not know of it,' he replied. 'It would never do for _ommissioner of the United States to connive at prisoners escaping in hi_ar.'
  • >
  • > "' But how can we hide the fact from him ?' I asked.
  • >
  • > " ' I have a suspicion,' said Lieutenant Foo, with a twinkle in his eye, '
  • that your father will enter the car by the door nearest his room, so ill tha_e will at once retire and remain ill and confined to his room until Albany i_eached.'
  • >
  • > " I smiled, for I saw at once the purpose of my father's illness.
  • >
  • > "' Now,' I said,' where shall our friends hide—in my stateroom, I suppose, while Mr. Nesmyth and I sleep on the lounges in the drawing-room ?'
  • >
  • > " ' The ladies can occupy the room, but the gentleman must sleep in th_ressing-room. It would be too great a risk to allow him to sleep elsewhere. _ust ask you, also, to see that they leave the stateroom as little as possibl_nd keep the doors locked.'
  • >
  • > "' How shall we get them there ?' I asked.
  • >
  • > " ' That is the most difficult matter of all,' he replied. ' We must eithe_muggle them in the night before, which will be difficult; or better yet, i_hey will consent, I can obtain a blank requisition for a man and two women t_lean the car, and they can present it, filled out in their names, to me an_hus disarm all notice or suspicion. Once in the car they must either make _retense of working for a while, or at once conceal themselves — which, I mus_udge of at the time ; but I shall be able to inform them when they arrive.'
  • >
  • > " 'They will have to take some baggage with them,' I remarked.
  • >
  • > " 'They must come empty-handed, of course,' said Lieutenant Foo. ' But i_hey wish to send a couple of trunks of clothing, and so forth, to your mothe_nd sisters, I see no reason why you have not a perfect right to take it. Bu_o not make them more than two. I must ask you also to see that in one of th_runks there is food enough to last for four or five days, as I shall not b_ble to supply you with more food than you could reasonably be supposed to ea_ourself. Your father, being ill, will have a light appetite, and may, perhaps, refuse his meals once or twice; it would, therefore, be no harm fo_ou to have a few delicacies, such as potted meats, etc., to tempt hi_ppetite. I could put two small trnnks in your car, as a matter of course, bu_ore might excite comment.'
  • >
  • > " 'And when we arrive at Albany, what then ?' I queried.
  • >
  • > " ' I have arranged for that. The Admiral has received a written reques_rom Mr. Robert Goodale, the Assistant Chief of your Railroad Department a_hicago, to forward this car to him, and has decided to comply with th_equest, although he has written to say that the request is a very unusua_ne, and must not be construed as a precedent. As soon, therefore, as you an_our father debark at Albany, I shall myself take the car to Chicago and han_t over to Mr. Robert Goodale, with the Admiral's letter. I should say tha_rovisions for six days would be enough, and I shall be very glad to oblig_ou by taking charge of the trunks you destine for your mother, and seein_hem safely into her hands.'
  • >
  • > "' It is a very fortunate coincidence,' said I, * that Mr. Goodale shoul_pply for this car just at this time, isn't it ?'
  • >
  • > " ' Very !' he responded, smiling.
  • >
  • > " I understood the meaning of that smile better when I learned later tha_pon Lieutenant Foo's arrival in Chicago, Mr. Goodale indignantly repudiate_he letter as a forgery and at once returned the car to the Admiral.
  • >
  • > " 'Now,' said Lieutenant Foo, 'I suppose you will want to see your friends.
  • In that case, we had better return to the ship, where you will probably fin_ong waiting for you.'
  • >
  • > " I lunched with the officers on board the man-of-war ; then, accompanied b_ieutenant Wong, I went to the Nesmyths. As soon as we had entered, Wong sai_hat he had some papers to read, and requested that he might be permitted t_etire to a private room. He was shown to the sitting-room upstairs, an_argaretta, who had taken quite a fancy to him—which I laughingly told her, almost made me jealous—sent up to him a decanter of madeira and a box of he_ather's best cigars. We then returned to the parlor, her mother, at m_equest, accompanying us.
  • >
  • > " We had no sooner seated ourselves than the door opened and Mr. Nesmyt_alked in. We were all surprised to see him, far it was much earlier than hi_sual hour for returning from work. His wife was quite fearful that he wa_ll.
  • >
  • > "'No,' he said in answer to our inquiries, 'I'm not ill. I wish that was al_hat was the matter with me.  I have been dismissed from the industria_ervice, that is all. Dismissed before my time of labor has expired. Dismisse_ithout any reason being given, except that my services were no longe_equired. Dismissed without cause, without any opportunity given me to mee_ny charges against me. It is a most high-handed, outrageous proceeding. As _an who has always done his duty well and conscientiously, I am free to sa_hat better treatment was due to me. The Chinese boast that they have _onsideration for a man because of his ancestry, and tell us we are barbarian_ecause we look only to a man's personal and individual worth; and I ha_hought that, therefore, they might have some consideration for me as th_epresentative of one of the most ancient families of Boston. But, of course, I was mistaken. They are not men, they are brutes in human form. Cruel, vindictive and unscrupulous. They know nothing of moral principle, the right_f man, the dictates of justice.'
  • >
  • > " He was very angry," his pride was severely hurt; for under th_ationalistic theory, no man could be dismissed from the industrial forc_ithout good cause and after a fair and impartial trial; and a dismissal wa_he worst disgrace that could be put upon a person. It made him a socia_ariah, with whom no one would associate. He was very angry and he indulged i_ bitter tirade. But I confess, that as soon as I recovered from the firs_hock of the news, I found myself wondering if this were an accidental or _urposely contrived coincidence. The more I considered, the more I detected _urpose in it.
  • >
  • > "I waited until the first vehemence of Mr. Nesmyth's passion had subsided.
  • Then I begged his permission to say a word. I told him I thought I knew why h_ad been dismissed, and then, in answer to the eager inquiries of all, I sai_hat Lieutenant Foo would have charge of the train that father and I woul_eturn on, and that I had arranged with him that they could go with us. Then, I explained to them the method that had been devised for their escape. _issimulated far enough to let them think that Lieutenant Foo was the onl_erson privy to their flight; and I impressed upon them the necessity o_bsolute secrecy.
  • >
  • > " 'I think,' I then said to Mr. Nesmyth, 'that if we could ever know th_eal truth of this matter, we would find that your dismissal had bee_urposely arranged so that theie might be no insinuation that you had deserte_rom your post.'
  • >
  • > " ' It may be so,' said Mr. Nesmyth, ' but in attempting to do me tha_ervice, he has subjected me to a great disgrace.'
  • >
  • > " 'I cannot see it in that light,' I ventured to reply. 'You were no_awfully dismissed. You were dismissed by our enemies, our invaders. You_ismissal is effective only because the arms of the Chinese make it so.'
  • >
  • > " ' Then if I am not lawfully dismissed it is my duty to remain at my post,'
  • said Mr. Nesmyth.
  • >
  • > " Margaretta and her mother looked very blank at this, and I hastened t_eply.
  • >
  • > " ' I don't think so,' I said. ' You have been ousted from your position b_orce, by force used by our enemies. It seems to me that it is your duty t_roceed at once to the central government and report the fact to them. Th_hinese will not permit you to leave openly. You must leave secretly. And, unless you have some better plan to propose, I see no way for you to get t_hicago than by that which I have just proposed to you.'
  • >
  • > " I had expected that whatever objections would be made to the plan o_light would come from the ladies; but the unexpected turn of events, b_nvolving Mr. Nesmyth's safety, had made Margaretta and her mother careless o_ll considerations affecting their own comfort, and they now joined me i_ntreating Mr. Nesmyth to give his approval to the plan that had been made.
  • Finally he consented.
  • >
  • > " All this had taken some time, and it was now growing dark. I hastened t_ieutenant Wong.
  • >
  • > " He smiled at my apologies for leaving him so long solitary, said that h_as in no hurry to return, and handed me a letter which he said Lieutenant Fo_ad requested him to give to me. It inclosed the blank requisition or orde_hich I have already mentioned. The letter requested me to fill this up wit_he names of any friends who might be in need of employment, and to bid th_ersons be in the yard at nine o' clock. My train, it said, would leave a_leven, and suggested that, as I would probably not be able to visit the cit_fter that evening, it might be well to take final leave of Miss Nesmyth an_ll other personal friends before returning to the ship — the trunks I ha_poken of would be called for, at any place designated by me at half pas_even the next morning.
  • >
  • > " I went down stairs and showed this letter to the Nesmyths, and filling i_he blank order with their names gave it to Margaretta's father; then, tha_entleman went out and arranged that dinner should be sent in from the war_ating-house, Lieutenant Wong was invited to come down stairs and we all dine_uite merrily. We left about nine o'clock.
  • >
  • > " The parting between Margaretta and myself was very sad. We were left alon_n the hall for a few minutes, and both of us knew that should our plan_iscarry, we might never meet again. She threw her arms around my neck an_ried, while I, myself, feeling as if I too would shed tears, could onl_omfort her with kisses. At last I tore myself away and went with Wong back t_y quarters on shipboard."
  • I have quoted thus at length from this manuscript, because the episode whic_t narrates shows that the Chinese officers, to whom was confided the task o_onquering, had tender and sympathetic hearts.
  • It has been the fashion, in Nationalistic circles to abuse the Chinese, t_all them devils, monsters and ogres, and to impute to them horrible an_iabolic motives. This is not right. As men, they were courteous an_ospitable and kind. As servants of our gracious Emperor, they had duties t_eform, some of which were necessarily distasteful to their humane hearts.
  • They regarded, as all our statesmen did, the Chinafication of the Unite_tates, as a moral duty we owed our own nation, which otherwise might hav_een tainted with the Nationalism, which most of the world had been infecte_ith. They had hearts. They shed many tears over the sufferings of the captiv_ation.
  • That they may be judged less harshly, is my excuse for quoting at such lengt_rom this manuscript.
  • Note — For the benefit of those who may have become interested in the plight, of the Nesmyths, the Editor begs to say that they escaped in safety t_hicago, the plan devised by Lieutenant Foo being entirely successful. Th_ationalist authorities approved of Mr. Nesmyth's departure from Boston, an_t once reinstated him to his former rank in the industrial army. He is now a_fficer of the military branch of the service.
  • The marriage of Leete West and Margaretta Nesmyth took place early in th_ollowing spring.