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inducing Bedouins to settle on arable lands, and about townships, which in certain districts (e.g. on the Lower Euphrates) it has built expressly to act as steadying influences. In consequence there is now hardly any more insecurity on either bank of the great rivers than in Asia Minor; and among the prospective difficulties of the Baghdad railway-makers is never reckoned any danger from the nomad populations along the route. As for Arabia, which of all his Asiatic lands is the most important to a Caliph, there is little information at first hand; for it is at least ten years since any European has penetrated its inner regions. But the reports and certain obvious facts are most significant. It is known that the great Arab power of the interior, that of the Rashid family in Hail, which up to the death of the late Emir Mohammed, in 1897, kept the Turk at the end of a spear, has come, under Mohammed's nephew, to be an ally and catspaw of the Ottoman Sultan. At the instigation of the latter, the young Emir of Nejd, Abdul Aziz, has made those repeated attacks on Koweit which have distracted Eastern Arabia these two years past; and by imperial invitation he has lately visited Constantinople, where his uncle would no more have shown his face than in Paris. The latest travellers in Hadramaut found that the Sultan was prayed for fervently in the mosques of that fanatic district. In Yemen, his power has been established since 1872, and all efforts of the natives, in revolt after revolt, seem powerless seriously to shake it. Indeed, of late the local Turkish authorities have not scrupled to provoke complications, even with the European Power which holds Aden. It is long now since news of any restiveness on the part of the Meccan Sherifs has reached Europe. Hurgronje, the last European of repute who has been in the Holy City, found Ottoman administration in 1885 most fully recognised there, and thoroughly efficient; and the steady advance of the southward railway from Mzerib may be taken to prove the confidence which the Turkish authorities feel in their hold upon all the Hejaz and the road thither. It is not thirty years since two-thirds of the great pilgrim track from Syria was in hostile hands; and the trans-Jordanic valleys, which Circassian colonists have now made to bloom again as the rose, were held by Bedouin sheikhs who laughed at the Sultan's writ.

In a word, the Ottoman Empire in Asia, which a few years ago was little better than a geographical expression, is being welded into a solid political whole, which, when the stress comes,

will add a weight still unknown to the Ottoman influence in the world's affairs. Nor, as Indian officials have had reason to know, is the improvement of the Sultan's position in Asia confined to his own territories. His pan-Islamic propaganda has established itself much farther afield, and has probably not yet reached the term of its expansion. Surely, when one sees with what iron consistency, behind all compromises and throughout all diplomacy, this strong and reasoned policy of pan-Islamism has been pursued in the face of such foes within and without, as no other empire in the world has had to take into account, it is impossible any longer to use that hackneyed phrase of Czar Nicholas-the 'Sick Man.' There is abundant vitality in the Ottoman system yet, as there is in more than one great race that is, and will long remain, faithful to Osmanli rule.

It is not inconsistent to acknowledge and welcome these facts in Asia, and at the same time to expect and hope that the term of Ottoman dominion in Europe is drawing near. Where the mass of the population is Moslem, the absolute identification of Church and State, in the Ottoman system, tempers its autocratic rigour, without anything being detracted from its undoubted strength. In his Asiatic Empire as a whole the Padishah exercises a paternal rule, somewhat uneven and capricious, but not oppressive as oriental sovereignties go. Among the halfcivilised or wholly barbarous races, which make up the bulk of his Asiatic Mussulman subjects, his administration makes for more unity, order, and, after all, content, than it is conceivable would be induced by any other that could be substituted for it now-certainly more than by the domination of Russia, if we may judge by the Caucasian provinces, or by that of Germany, if we may judge by her East African territories. The Turk has not lost yet all the qualities of a ruling race, and he still shows that most important capacity, the power of governing subjects through subjects.

In his European provinces, however, as we have seen during this past summer in Macedonia, just this fact that the Head of the State and the Head of the State Church are one and the same, makes the continuance of the Sultan's rule disastrous. Where the majority is Christian it is impossible for him to govern in the interest of the governed, that is to govern according to the most elementary European standard, without being false to his own religious pretension, and outraging the prejudice of an

enormous proportion of his subjects. He may make what profession he please to the representatives of Christian Powers in the solemn farce of diplomacy, but he does not alter the facts: and, so far as he is able, so far as not constrained by fear of effective European intervention or other eventual loss, he will always instruct his agents to act towards a rayah population, as at Krushevo or Smerdesh, as though it lacked the most elementary rights against Moslems. He owes it to himself, and to his own 'spiritual flock, so to do. Tolerance and liberal adoption of Giaur ideas may perhaps be displayed by individual Moslems, without lessening their reasonable hopes of Paradise: but they cannot be looked for at Yildiz without a complete reversal of that Imperial policy, which has made at once the misfortunes and the fortune of the present reign.



ALL readers of Silas Marner' will remember the beautiful passage in which George Eliot opens the story of the Weaver of Raveloe : 'In the days when the spinning-wheels hummed busily in the farmhouses.' It pictures for us an England before steam-ploughs and railroads, when weaving was still a cottage industry and spinning-wheels were to be found in my lady's drawing-room. It all sounds ancient history now, but it is in truth not so very long ago, and vast as the change has been, we may doubt if it is yet in any sense complete: whether we are not at the beginning rather than at the end of the life of machinery. An exalted personage is reported to have expressed the pious hope that the present reign would see a motor car in every man's backyard. Terrible as that prospect appears to quiet folk who love the peaceful lanes of Old England and the cheerful clatter of horses' hoofs upon the roadways, we may be sure that it is only an instalment of what awaits us. Are we not to have a series of underground tunnels, one below the other, in which we are to be shot through tubes from place to place? Are not our letters to be whirled through the air by an electric current? Who knows if we may not see a service of balloons installed for those who care for aerial locomotion? In spite of the old song, we are annihilating time and space.'

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If, however, some timid spirits amongst us throw mournful glances back at the dignified, leisured repose of our fathers, the young generation are intoxicated with the joy of their mechanical toys, and in the pride of the race forget, perhaps, the motive of the journey. Have we not seen a party of English tourists, men and women, doing their seventy miles a day along the most beautiful part of the Riviera ?—seventy miles which might so much more profitably have been done round a track at Brixton! But we cannot go back; the gains have been immeasurable; the loss, perhaps, will become gain, when we have rightly estimated the value of

our new forces, and learned how to use them. When motors carry parcels and coals, fine ladies will cease to ride in them. May we not picture a London in which all traction shall be done by motors, at special times along special roadways? And though England is a small island, we may perhaps still find room for motor tracks in the country, and so safeguard the peace of our rural lanes and hedgerows.

It must always be an interesting consideration how far material luxury and convenience are aids to a full and vigorous life, whether the ease and the cheapness of the life of modern civilisation give us more of that we wish to promote, and give us that more of better quality. An instance will occur to everyone in the art of letter-writing. Our fathers certainly suffered under heavy disabilities in the matter of correspondence. The huge and expensive sheets of paper, the quill pen, the absence of envelopes, the pouncet-box, instead of the clean sheet of blotting paper, the tiresome wafers, the necessity for several seals, the very large cost of letters, and the annoyance to all members of Parliament of writing franks for their friends: all these considerations, one would have thought, must have impeded letter-writing, and yet what is the whimsical result of the new and delightful system? A devastating flood of missives in which the art of correspondence has disappeared. The highest form of letter-writing to-day is a telegram inside a hansom cab; at the bottom of the scale is the postcard. Shall we ever again have such lettters as Madame de Sévigné's or those of Mademoiselle de Lespinasse, of Lord Byron and the poet Gray, of Cowper and Horace Walpole? No! letterwriting as an art has vanished along with private journals, diaries, books of accounts, and the family receipts.

There have lately come into the writer's possession some old family books of this kind, kept with the loving precision of days of leisure, bringing with them a savour of the old world, an aroma of rose-leaves and lavender. It has seemed to the writer that it would be interesting to recall something of the life of a quiet cultured English family some eighty years ago, and from these authentic records to compare the cost of home, servants, children, amusements then, with the cost of the same things to-day. Some curious surprises await us; for, as the old country-woman said, 'If you only keep your clothes long enough they're sure to come into fashion again,' and the revolution of time often brings back old things under new conditions.

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