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troubles, growing pains, and so on. She knows now just how much to lengthen her apron-strings, and just when to yield to the parting tug. Many an anxious moment she has had, is indeed now having. For India is teething badly, crying loudly, in convulsions sometimes. But, But, "Bless the little dear," says mother, never fear. She'll become a great girl in no time." Still India yells, and she has a very loud voice, and wants it all in rather less than no time. It should take more than this to rattle mother, however. She may Indianise her local administration as quickly as she likes, and she will only lose a little revenue; or her railways and her trains will only run a little late and collide a little

oftener, and so on through every department of her domestic economy. No great harm will be done. But she must go slow over the Indian Army, or she will lose it-and India. She has been wise in recognising that that Army must move with the times, but has she been so wise in implementing this recognition ? There are Indian gentlemen fit and worthy in every way to bear the KingEmperor's commission, as good as any Britisher, as capable of rising in their profession. But these Indians are at present rare. They are far to seek. But they exist, and they can be found now. In time there will be more of them. In time, more still. But the politician must not be allowed a finger in that pie.

THE ELUSIVE TRAIL.

BY CYRIL W. DAVSON.

IV. A THREAT.

San Miguel is the third city of the republic of Salvador, and the chief city of the eastern end of it. It was nearly noon when we awakened, stiff and sore with the previous day's exertions, and we decided that the rest of the day must be given to preparations for the continuance of our journey, of which we had only completed half. So we spent the time in replenishing stores and various other necessary items of our outfit and making inquiries concerning any local rumours there may be of oil indications. We hoped that the second half of our journey would prove more fruitful than the first. The geology had been interesting; it always is in a volcanic country where active volcanoes still exist, but from the point of view of oil finding, it had not been encouraging so far. Some one whom we met stated that he was connected with a property on which there were undoubted indications of oil in the neighbourhood of San Alejo, and as this town lay directly on our route, it was arranged that he should accompany us there.

He was one of those immaculate creatures, spotless but spineless. He spoke English well. He had, so I gathered,

married an Englishwoman, a privilege which he neither deserved nor presumably enjoyed, for she was not in the republic with him. He was a devil with the women and the very devil without them. He spoke pleasantly enough; that type usually does, but I didn't altogether trust his motives. After about two hours' riding he wanted to stop for a long rest, but that fount of energy, Chatsworth, thought otherwise. So did I, and so we rode through the village of Yayantique in spite of his murmurings, and pushed on to San Alejo.

We arrived there before noon. I did not like, neither did I understand, the sulky looks of the inhabitants of this town. Our friend, moreover, was constantly engaged in long and apparently hostile arguments with the people. Chatsworth asked me what it was all about.

"Heaven knows!" I replied. "I suppose he's up to some mischief."

At length we crossed the town and stopped in front of a small dirty farm on the outskirts. Our friend then addressed us :

Gentlemen, I regret to say that an unfortunate coincidence has arisen, which-er-may give you some annoyance, and, in

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"Yes, do," I snapped, "for we aren't accustomed to riding into and crawling out of villages in the way you suggest." Chatsworth merely looked at valley." him contemptuously.

"This town," he began, "is about to be sold to a group of financiers much against the will of the principal inhabitants. The authorities and inhabitants of this town are now convinced that you gentlemen are the financiers who are about to buy it."

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"What? I shouted amazement, and particularly for the benefit of the bystanders. "What, this miserable, ramshackle, squalid collection of filthy dwellings Buy it! Good heavens, tell them we wouldn't take it as a gift."

"I've told them that already, señor, but that is just the way people negotiate in these parts, and so they are more convinced than ever that this nefarious deal, as they term it, is the sole purpose of your visit here, and they even threaten violence if we don't leave at once. But I think I can prevail on them to let us rest here until to-morrow."

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Our friend then became engaged in heated conversation with the people gathered there. At last he turned to us, sayingGentlemen, I have been told to warn you that if you attempt to ride out to these properties now, you will be ambushed on your return through the woods, and either shot or beaten."

"And you will not come with us?" I parried.

"No, señor, I do not consider that I am called on to invite disaster, and probably death, for all of us, and for such a trivial purpose."

"Trivial!" I laughed. "I thought you owned properties out there."

"Señor," replied this immaculate dilettante, "my life is my most valuable property."

But Chatsworth had no use for long palavers.

"Are you coming?" said he, addressing me.

I nodded assent, and he disappeared to order the mules.

We then consulted with Valdo, our trusty henchman. He, alas, confirmed the truth of our friend's story, but did not seem to believe that the people would go to any serious act of violence. This was, however, by no means reassuring news. We ate our hurried meal, during which our friend regaled us with the folly of our persistence in the face of the opposition of the whole town, but supposed it was just that cussedness for which Englishmen were renowned, and we agreed with him on both points. He ended up his eloquent protest with a final exhortation to abandon the visit, at any rate for that day, but the mules were already at the door and we mounted. Just as we rode away, he shouted

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"Yes, but how?" persisted Chatsworth.

"Poodle-faking. Didn't you see those two wenches amongst the crowd?"

There were just Chatsworth, a local guide, Valdo, and myself, and we kept well together. Each of us had an automatic, but even these powerful weapons are of little avail against ambush. We reached the property without mishap. It was supposed to have what was described as flowing oil, but apparently it only flowed at certain times of the year, and we were unlucky, so we rode back. It was somewhat nervous work riding past that portion of the road where the crime was to be perpetrated. It was densely wooded on either side and an ideal place

If you're murdered, don't for murder. We could not blame me !

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decide whether to separate out or ride close together, so we took the wisest course and did neither. We just rode on and chanced it. The threat proved to be sheer emptiness, or perhaps they had

“Oh, he'll be fully occupied," changed their minds - quien I chuckled.

sabe?

V. REVOLUTIONARIES.

The next day we rode to at which mail steamers can Mira Flores, another rumour come alongside a wharf. ride and equally valueless. We returned through Yayantique and then made a long traverse to La Union, the most eastern town in the republic, situated on the beautiful bay of Fonseca, and the only port in Salvador

We gleaned what information we could, and then started on the homeward journey. Chatsworth wanted to make a traverse southward, to see if he could in any way link up the structure and rock with that

It was not far off, that we knew, but it was like searching for a pin in a bundle of straw. At last a ghostly echo reached our ears.

which he had carefully noted land. We passed a collection on our more northern route. of huts, but no inhabitants. It This, as we had already been is said that they had all died informed, meant passing from malaria and other disthrough the dense forest of eases, and I am not surprised. Usulutan. We rode through Hour after hour passed and we the village of Pilon and thus threaded our way through this skirted the volcanic range of green entanglement, but it was Conchagua, crossed the Rio growing thicker, and the track Managuara, and entered the was becoming almost obliterjungle. A soft rain began to ated. Suddenly we missed it fall, which drove the mosquitoes altogether, and came to a dead out of the trees-a pest in all end, right up against an abtropical countries ! The tor- solutely impenetrable thicket. ment began. A hideous melan- The pack-mules got thoroughly choly prevailed in those aimless entangled with their packs. woods. For what purpose could They would. We extracted such a funereal place exist, them and stood by, whilst except, perhaps, to breed mil- the local guide went to search lions of mosquitoes. We put for the lost trail. on our veils and gloves. The mules began to swish their tails in vain endeavour to drive off the numerous forms of irritating insects. The ground was sodden and mossy, and we passed between lagoons which looked like great cancerous sores oozing with the pus of ages, a fitting home for the hateful reptilia that inhabited them. The whole place was a maddening light green, darker in patches where the trees were denzer, not a hell, nothing so distinctive, just a Hades, a place of departed spirits, where they might wander and wander from nowhere to nowhere. A forest-yes, with noble trees, but not these climbing creepers, call them trees if you will, but they looked like a mass of petrified serpents. We forced the pace. We must get to Intipuca before dark, the only inhabited village in this jungle

"Alo! Olah! Olah!" And we began to follow the sound of each successive call. It was like walking in a dream, then abruptly we stumbled on to him, the guide, and the trail was there at our feet. It was just about three P.M., and in another two hours we ought to arrive-that is, if we did not lose the track again, and get thoroughly bushed. No geological work could be done; not a sign of a rock existed. The ground was thickly covered in vegetation, and on either side of us was this confusion of tangled trees. This way, way, up, down, the ground was getting hilly. Then stop; the pack-mules were caught up again. The loads had been

that

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