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MasNES I: Ghosts of Empires

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Masada, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    Where is Pulau Emas? What is the size of Pulau Emas? Who compose its population? To whom does it belong? How many men in the streets of London would be able to answer these questions? How few would be able to tell us that Pulau Emas is the 52nd largest island in the world, with an area of 6600 square miles; and that all of this island belongs to His Highness, Sultan Raja Tuanku IV, and is under lease to the Régie Autonome des Coloniale which has begun to develop its vast resources. The population of this island, with its agricultural riches, is less than one-hundred-and-fifty-thousand souls, nearly a quarter of whom inhabit the capital of Branbrakel.

    The fascinating history of Pulau Emas of European rule is by no means familiar to the British public. In 1875 this corner of the Malay Archipelago – most important from its strategic position, commanding the routes athwart the sea-lanes between the East Indies and the Philippines – was in danger of being acquired by a hostile foreign power, when at the eleventh hour a small body of Belgians and Englishmen leased the island from the Sultan Raja Tuanku III. Formal recognition of the status of the island was granted in 17 November 1879 by Leopold II, King of the Belgians, who agreed to act as honorary chair of the Régie Autonome.

    During the 25 years which have since elapsed, the country has been redeemed from a condition of lawlessness and desolation which has left the native population peaceful and industrious. Their welfare is studiously safeguarded. Smallpox formerly devastated the country, and native population seemed doomed to annihilation but vigorous campaigns of vaccination has proved their salvation, and this and other ameliorative measures have bought about a large increase in their numbers. Forty years ago, the country was a tropical wilderness; untilled, uncared for, utterly neglected. Today it is a scene of patient toil and industry. Numerous rubber, copra and tobacco estates are scattered throughout the Territory, and its valuable timber and tin resources are being exploited. As yet however it is still in its youth as a producing country, and the next few decades will assuredly witness an immense expansion of its industrial activities.

    The Directors of the Régie Autonome welcome any attempt to enlighten the British public as regards the good work which they are doing in this remote corner of the Kingdom of Belgium, under the benevolent gaze of Leopold II, King of the Belgians.

    Game Play:

    Welcome to MasNES I: Ghosts of Empires. In this NES players will take control of an individual on Pulau Emas (the Island of Gold), a fictional island located in the Sulu Sea between the territories of the North Borneo Chartered Company, the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines. The objective of this NES is to give players a chance to shape the future of a fictional political entity.

    This NES will by and large be built on what the players make of it. As time goes on the rules for the NES will adjust themselves to best fit the current situation of Pulau Emas. It is likely that as Pulau Emas develops the political and economic environment will change – perhaps decisively which the players will shape and be shaped by it.

    I would like to thank Bombshoo for giving me the inspiration to try and a workable structure to borrow. And a shout-out is also due to Iggy who came up with the map and has proved an invaluable sounding board.
     
  2. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    Characters

    Kefli Osman - North King

    Sabtu Solomon - North King

    Daud Ibn Deris - Azale

    Tan Koi Boon - Chiefdesigner

    Muhammed Bin Tuanku - Wrymouth

    Winston Henri Lee - alex994

    Katsu Kobayashi - Birdjaguar

    Miyako Kobayashi - Birdjaguar

    Jules-Damien Vernier - Thlayli

    Ibrahim ibn Sulaiman - m.t.cicero

    Archibald Bishop - Lord Iggy

    Ronald Bishop - Lord Iggy

    David Bishop - Lord Iggy

    Alistair Sinclair - Crezth
     
  3. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    Random.
     
  4. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    Stuff
     
  5. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    Other
     
  6. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    One more for luck
     
  7. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    I lied.
     
  8. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    lalala
     
  9. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    And we are off!
     
  10. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    l'Asie
    February, 1900​

    A word from our editor:

    It is a strange thing that this island does not have an ice plant with which to cool one's drinks while at the club. Singapore, Hongkong, Macao and Palmerston all have ice plants. It must be said that a man looking to make something of himself could with a little capital import the machinery and have himself a profitable business with little trouble.

    Telegraphs and Dispatches

    The District Officer of Lueven telegraphed last night to report that the Dutch Steamer Europa had been floated off the reef and towed into Cook Bay for repairs. He notes that the master of the ship has need of laborers to unload the cargo and effect some basic repairs.

    The Eastern which left Branbrakel on Friday night for Singapore and intervening ports took away five ladies as passengers. We received compensation, however, for our loss, as a few days previous the SS Australian bought us the same number of ladies, all of whom are strangers to our island.

    A word from a trusted source is our authority for stating that Miss Bell has been appointed to the new Branbrake European Girls School. Her lessons are to begin on Monday next, February 12. Miss Bell is also said to have made the acquaintance of Mr Jims, the head of the trading house Fitch and Jims, whilst making her transit on the Australian.

    Mr F. E. Findlay was a passenger on the Australian. He was forced to leave the Branbrake on account of his failing health. For the last two years, or thereabouts, he has been connected with the British-Singapore Bank, and will be remembered by many Islanders as holding the position of librarian to the Governor’s Residence, a post which he filled most satisfactorily. We wish Mr Findlay a speedy and permanent return to health.

    The Hong Kong Weekly Press, of January 27, says: "two more cases of bubonic plague have occurred in Manila. Out of thirteen cases reported eight have provided to be bubonic plague." As Manila is only a very short step from Pulau Emas it behooves the local authorities to see that the health regulations are most strictly enforced.

    A general meeting of the members of the Branbrakel Orchestra will be held on Friday night, February 16th, in the Governor’s Residence. The business to be transacted is the election of officers, and the making of arrangements for the ensuing season. It is to be hoped that a good must of musicians takes place, and so help along this pleasure-giving institution.

    A meeting of the local bicycle club will be held one night next week to appoint officers for the ensuing year, make preliminary arrangements for the race meeting to be held next May, and fix any other matters pertaining to cycling that the club may have on hand.

    Letters have been received recently in Boston (reported the National Provisioner, dated New York, December 2nd) from a naval officer stationed at Manila, saying that plans have been made to establish a line of regular communication with Australia by which fresh meat can be supplied constantly to both the army and navy. Three ships have been selected for this service, the Culgoa, the Celtic and the Glacier. The Culoga and the Celtic are supply ships and the Glacier is a refrigerating ship, they will make fortnightly trips between Manila and Australia, with a stop-off at Branbrake.

    The Young Tuanku has been spotted in the company of a number of Eurasian ladies in the past month. It is said his father, the Sultan, is incensed.

    Yoshino Corporation has established offices in Branbrake under the auspices of Mr Takahashi. Mr Takahashi is said to be interested in opening up a sugar mill should sufficient volume be found. For those ignorant of Japan, Yoshino Corporation is one of its largest companies.

    Mr Takahashi is said to be keen on bird watching and has seen riding his bicycle into the hills with binoculars around his neck.

    Mr Takahasi asked this correspondent if "the good people of the island might be able to recommend him some reliable servants".

    The rumour published by us a week or two ago, to the effect that the Luckystrike mine was about to shut down till after the workings dry was apparently incorrect. Work is being carried out as vigorously as ever at this live mine, and a cleaning has just taken place, the result being an enticing cake of tin weighing some 300 pounds. We might remark that the publication of misleading and annoying rumours of the above character might be easily avoided if persons interested would take the trouble to send along a little authentic information which we shall be only too glad to publish at any time.

    The Prospector Mine is said to be looking to take on new hands.

    The P.E.C. Railroad has need of a new engineer after one of the new hires turned out to be a drunk. The P.E.C Railroad also has need of a half dozen new firemen.

    It seems that the local manager of the Lee Family has opened the safe and fled ahead of the arrival of the youngest son of Mr Lee to run the family's affairs. Our sources suggest that Mr Sung might have fled to Batavia where he is known to have family.

    To Go Free and Contaminate the Rest of Her Race

    (To the editor)

    Dear Sir, -

    During the week Mr. Barney Flynn arrived at the former Francis Xavier mission and reported a native in a bad state of leprosy being on her way into the settlement. Mr Janssens took prompt measures to secure her, and as she was in a very bad state indeed she was detained, and was to have been sent down today. This morning, however, the District Officer ordering her release, and she is now free to wander at her own sweet will, distributing contamination at her leisure, a shocking and sickening sight, and a menace to the whole community.

    One can only imagine what may be one of the darkest blots in the islands. Possibly a repetition of the unfortunate state of affairs that recently blasted the happiness of a leading family on Ambonya - with the particulars of your readers are doubtless acquainted. Surely, if as stated, this was a genuine case of leprosy, and which, from all the accounts I can hear, there is not a shadow of doubt, then it is one of the gravest scandals ever perpetrated, and should be at once stamped on, and justice and humanity insisted on.

    What other colony is there that does not take strict measures for the suppression of such disease! Then, are we to render those colonies' efforts void by allowing our country to become the breeding ground of diseases. Surely we have not become so utterly lost to all sense and honesty to our fellow colonists! If so, it will be a standing disgrace we shall never be able to wipe out.

    -

    We are always glad to receive communications from correspondent but do not hold ourselves responsible for opinions expressed under this heading.

    We ask that Mssr. Vernier the newly appointed Apostolic Vicar take that urgent action on this matter which it seems is a problem on Church lands - Ed.

    A Long Swim

    A Chinaman employed at what is known as Armstrong's farm, six miles from town, was found drowned in a well there on Saturday last. At 10 a.m he was seen at work by his mates, who were engaged some distances off, but as he did not turn up to dinner a search was made for him, the result being the discovery of his hat floating in the well. Information was sent in to Mr W. LeClerc, the owner of the selection, who, accompanied by Mr. M. Dubious, went out and dragged the well. The dead body of the Chinaman was soon bought to the surface. An examination of the body showed a mark on the forehead, caused, no doubt, by striking the side of the well mouth in his fall. A number of large bruises on his back were thought to be due to his bouncing off the well during his fall. It is surmised that the decreased, who was a heavy opium smoker, became giddy when preparing to draw water and tumbled into the well. A number of Europeans who were seen talking to the deceased shortly before his fall are asked to come forward to corroborate this train of events. It is was not deemed necessary to hold an inquest.

    Beri-Beri in Hongkong

    Beri-beri is a disease that has frequently made its appearance on the island, consequently it should interest us to know that a serious outbreak, assumed something like epidemic form, is referred to in Hongkong papers of January 6th. The disease first broke out in the Blind Home as far back as July of last year, so it is stated, the first case being that of an infant. From the Blind Home the Disease was carried to the Berlin Foundling House, allegedly by a European nurse, that being the only communication between the two institutions. The nurse herself was not attacked, but it is supposed that she conveyed the contagion in some way, as the first two children to be attacked at the Foundling Home were being attended by her. Within two or three days of these children showing the symptoms some 50 or 60 other children were attacked. Up to Dec. 7th the house contained 102 Chinese children and girls up to 16 and 17 years of age, and on this date 69 school children, all suffering from beri-beri were sent to Macao; two died shortly after arrival.

    The children who were attacked were all between four and seven years of age. In the Sanitary Board's report it is assumed that the germ which resides in the soil and is not transmissible from one human being to another except through the medium of formites containing the germ, was conveyed by the European nurse in her clothing, or more probably in the soil adhering to her boots; that it then developed rapidly, and that the children sleeping, and that the children sleeping on the ground floor room nearest to the nurse's apartments were poisoned by the toxin generated by the infective germ. After reading all this we may heartily congratulate ourselves that the outbreaks of beri-beri here have been only isolated cases, and confined to adults. Nevertheless there is enough in the above particulars to satisfy us that beri-beri is not a disease to be treated with contempt.

    Though Europeans do not take this disease readily, still there is enough evidence proucable to prove that the European is not immune. The Straits Budget of 23rd December relates on instance, that of a Mr. Skeat, who after a perilous feat of exploring in Siamese Malaya, had to go into hospital with an attack of beri-beri. In the report of Mr. G. W. H. Norcock (keeper of the Branebrake Goal) for 1898 mention is made of two cases of death in the prison from beri-beri. These were Asiatics, we may mention, but the fact of the disease being found in such an institution shows how extremely careful we ought to be to prevent healthy persons becoming infected.

    Our Beloved Anne

    Further particulars of the case of piracy on board the British barque Anne, which was engaged in the all Indies trade and stopped in at Branbrake regularly, have been published, on the information of one of the crew named Pereira. His story is that, in a mutiny, the master of the Anne was murdered along with his son. The mate was then killed, the corpses were then pitched overboard, after which the mutineers took counsel what to do. Pereira they forced to join them under threats of death. A Japanese and a negro on board were looked up as so dangerous that they were also murdered. The mutineers upon this thought of making for Manila but were dissuaded by their ringleader who advised them to scuttle the vessel instead. the mutineers did so, and made for a Dutch island where they arrived in the guise of shipwrecked mariners. The islanders sent them on to the nearest Dutch official. To him, Periera told the story. The whole gang were thereupon seized and sent to Macassar. Proceedings are currently under way to have them extradited to the island. The Judicial Officer has had carpenters repairing the gallows and erecting seating in preparation for their return.

    The Philippines

    The report of the Philippine Commission, which we have been telegraphically informed has received the approval of President McKinley and the U.S. Government, is of great length and consists of a compact summary of the conditions which prevailed in the Philippines at the time when the Commission left the islands, and a resumé of the historical events which preceded the war, leading up to the original Filipino insurrection, with an account of the negotiations between the American commanders and the insurgents. The Commissioners also deal with the outbreak and progress of the present insurrection, and finally append a statement regarding the capacity of the Filipinos for self-government. A notable feature of the report is Admiral Dewey's memorandum explaining his relations with Aguinaldo. The main idea of the reports is that no other course is possible for the United States but to maintain its sovereignty over the islands, and to force the insurgents to submit to American authority as a preliminary to the establishment of civil government, giving them the largest measure of self-government of which they may be capable. The report shows that Aguinaldo defeated the desire of his Cabinet and of many leading Filipinos to come to a peaceful agreement respecting the government of the islands, and that the Filipinos brought about the beginning of hostilities. It further demonstrates that the Filipinos are incapable of self-government, owing to the great diversity of their tribes and languages, even local self-government being impossible except under immediate American control or guidance, as was proved by the utter failure of the attempt to establish a native government at Negros, conducted as it was in the most favorable circumstances.



    The First Philippine Commisison
    From left to right: Mr Dean C. Worcester, Colonel Charles Denby, President Jacob Gould Schurman, Mr. John R. MacArthur, Secretary to the Commission, Admiral George Dewey and General E.S. Otis

    At Manila

    At the date of last advices from Manila, the approaching close of the rainy season had been taken advantage of for starting vigorous operations against the insurgents in that neighbourhood. The insurgents had fixed their capital at Tailac, and had actively kept the field against the Americans whose advanced lines were moved forward in the direction of Tarlac. Engagements with the enemy showed that the latter, though in large numbers, could not stand against attacks in force, and that discouragement had set in among them. The enemy were then steadily pushed back, while preparations were maturing for falling upon them at Tarlac with converging columns. About the middle of the month, General Wheaton defeated 1200 insurgents at San Fabian with the loss of 81 killed and 200 wounded. Wheaton's column was advancing upon Tarlac along with another column under General Young, who easily dispersed the enemy on the way. Heavy rain and miry country impeded the march of the troops, who, however, steadily drove the dispirited enemy before them and pushed on to Tarlac, which they reached on the 12th November. But Aguinaldo and his men had abandoned the town. All the archives of the insurgent government and much spoil fell into the hands of the Americans.

    On the day that Tarlac fell, another column, that commanded by General MacArthur, fought a successful action at Arayat, near the Manila Dagupan railway. Beyond Tarlac, Generals Wheaton, Young and Lawton's columns were in hot pursuit of Aguinaldo, who was fleeing to the mountains with only 200 armed men. The pursuers relied chiefly upon scouts belonging to the Macabebe tribe. The Macabebes are deadly enemies of the Tagalbs, who form Aguinaldo's chief supporters. The Macabebes follow up the fleeing insurgents closely and allow them no rest. The American officers speak highly of the Macabebes, and say they are as fine a body of men as can be found anywhere. The Manila Times concur in stating that Aguinaldo's capture is imminent. The following was the situation on the 24th Nov. The objective point of the insurgent leader is believed to be at Bayombong, in Nueva Viscaya, but it is also possible that he will make for some coast town in an effort to embark in a vessel. Aringay, his last place of refuge, is only 40 miles from the coast, and there are several points he could make for, though his escape by sea is rendered practically impossible, as the coast is too well patrolled by our warships to permit this. General Young is pushing the pursuit hard, and news is expected in almost any time now of Aguinalclo's capture. Both Generals Lawton and Young have starred in the hunting business before, and Lawton has persevered before in tracking down the Apaches in Arizona, a task which requires a great amount of hardship, ingenuity, and perseverance. Once on Aguinaldo's trail these gentle-men will stay there and finally track and bring him to ground, even if it takes months to do so.



    Bringing in wounded Filipinos, Churchyard San Fabian, Pangasinan Province.



    The bridge at Bamban, Tarlac Province, destroyed by the Filipinos to prevent General MacArthur from closing the pincer on Aguinaldo.



    Aguinaldo's newspaper printing machinery seized by the Americans in Tayug, Pangasinan Province



    Troops of General MacArthur's column in La Paz, Tarlac Province.
     
  11. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    Spoiler Map of the Island :


    Single dots represent towns with populations of between 500 and 1500.
    Midsize dots represent large towns (of which there is one, currently unnamed) which have populations 1500 and above.
    The large dot with a white exterior represents the capital, Branbrakel. The capital has a population of about 3000.
    Squares represent mines.
    White lines represent railroad tracks.
    Villages are not shown but it's safe to assume that for every town there's about half a dozen villages nearby. Villages have population of less than 500.

    You can thank Iggy for the map.
     
  12. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    So it begins! Looks like Ronald Bishop might have found a bit of work for his son, David. :)
     
  13. Lord_Iggy

    Lord_Iggy Tsesk'ihe

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    Grandfather's House

    It was always one of my favourite places to visit as a child. It was a white-painted wooden structure, twenty minute's walk from the middle of Branbrakel. I always called it 'The Tower'- it stood three stories tall, on a hillside with a western view over the ocean. It looked like it came from some fairy-story, a clean white house hidden in the greenery of the forest.

    Grandfather Bishop had a full beard. Even today, I struggle to imagine him without it. Early in my childhood, I remember it being speckled grey, but by his final years it had become as white as a cloud. He wore thin-framed, round spectacles, which made his ears stick out from the sides of his head. Hair was sparse on the top of his scalp, but a wild and frizzy ring stretched behind him from ear to ear. His teeth were uneven and some were missing, but he rarely showed them- his smiles were a precious, uncommon occurrence.

    Grandfather Bishop was a confusing man to me when I was young. The iconic image of him in my mind shows him at his desk on the third floor, in 'the bird room'. It was a wondrous place, with hundreds of prepared birds held in glass-windowed boxes, mounted on the walls, and even stacked up in drawers. Boxes of pinned beetles, all meticulously labeled, were also there, but I paid them little heed until I was older. I was only allowed there under the strictest supervision when I was young- Grandfather had been very distrustful of us ever since he caught my older brother Adam playing with his birds, causing the loss of some feathers and, in one case, a head. The caning marks didn't go away for weeks.

    I was fearful of the man for this reason. However, as I grew older, this fear faded and we became closer. Over time, he began to invite me more and more into his wonderful collection room. It was practically a museum, the likes of which is rarely seen in our modern world. God, how I miss it. He would take out his colourful specimens, his mounted skeletons and detailed sketches, and he would tell me fantastic stories about their lives, their anatomy, and their descent. With a crinkly grin, gap-toothed grin he would show me his books- huge, thick codices filled with many words that I did not understand. His stern face showed a hint of pride as he showed his letters, written in a scrawling cursive, and spoke of his correspondence with the greatest scientific minds of Europe.

    Europe's where Grandfather was born- I'd seen pictures and heard descriptions- a place of huge factories and giant cities. Grandfather Bishop spoke of it with mixed terms. Sometimes I think he missed it. Other times he seemed happy to be away from it all- he didn't even like Branbrakel, which even as a child I understood to be slightly smaller than Europe.

    I was six years old when he first brought me out into the field, along with my father, and we shot a hundred or so birds. Grandfather was getting older then, and he wanted a spry youth such as myself to carry them all back to town. I was more than enthusiastic to go along, which pleased Grandfather to no end- none of the rest of my brothers took to his work with the same enthusiasm as myself. I remember very well the pride of carrying back our first 'catch', even getting the opportunity to aid in skinning them, in preparation for their shipment back to Europe. I always had unusually dextrous fingers, good for fine detail work- surgeon's hands, Grandfather would call them.

    I spent many happy days working with that dear old man... I wish I could have spent more. Sometimes I spent more time with him and Grandmother than I did with my own family.

    Ah, Grandmother. What a loving lady she was. I regret now that I spent so little time with her, for she was a wonder in her own right. Melati was her name- Archibald was Grandfather's although I don't believe that I ever called him that. Grandmother ran a school for the local children, although father did not let me attend it- he was quite insistent that my education be 'European'. I did not understand what that meant until I was much older.

    I missed Grandfather intensely when I left Pulau Emas to attend school in Singapore. I sent many letters to be read by both him and my family, and always looked forward to the times when I could return home. The Tower would always be one of my first destinations, after the steamer returned me to Branbrakel, and my grandparents would always be there to greet me.

    These were the happiest years of my childhood.
     
  14. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    Thanks. I'll be contributing stories on an ad-hoc basis as well.
     
  15. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    OOC: I'll have a story up fairly soon.
     
  16. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    The Stain - Part 1

    The prau glided down the river towards civilization, the two white men sitting sprawled out in the heat trailing their fingers in the warm water of the river. After two weeks on the river they were glad to know that civilization - in the form of the District Officer's house - was close. To Mr Francis who had been on the island since 1892, the Malay villages and their welcomes were a ritual he put up with for the job; to Mr Nancy who was new to the island they had at first held a certain wonder but he to had grown tired of them eventually and now wished for a stiff gin, a bath, and a bed in that order.

    True the Malays were hospitable but there was not much in the way of comfort to be found in their houses or freshness in their entertainments and stories. Every evening, the travelers would reach their land-place, and the headman would offer them a young coconut as refreshment before leading them off to his house. These houses were built on piles and accessed via the trunk of a tree rudely notched into steps. From a discrete distance all of the village would watch as the Europeans dressed in formerly white ducks - now yellowed with sweat - would struggle on leaden limbs up the steep trunks.

    The first time this happened, Mr Nancy fell off the wet trunk to the accompaniment of gales of laughter by the Malays. Hearing the laughter, Mr Francis fired two rounds into the air from his Modèle 1892 roaring at the natives to disperse before he put the other four rounds through them. The crowd having dispersed, Mr Francis, picked up Mr Nancy and slapped him good-naturedly on the back roaring with laughing. Later when Mr Francis had loosed his tongue with gin, he explained to Mr Nancy that it was fear that kept the white man in power and it was fear that must be maintained. From that point on, the native guide pulled the chiefs aside and explained this episode and not once when the white men fell was there so much as a smile cracked on brown faces.

    When the white men sat in the house it was on clean mats newly made. The headman would then offer a mature coconut to the guests to prepare them for the arak which would be served by a girl. Small shy things with swelling chests, the awkwardness of a colt and faces passive in their powerless before the white men. These girls would hold a cup of the white man's lips till it was empty before replacing it with another until they drunk and impotent. The girls would then disappear to be replaced with old women who would serve the men food fit to fill them before helping them to stagger to sleeping rolls laid out under mosquito nets.

    But now their journey was done and they were on their way to the coast. They had started at dawn. The river was shallow and ran clear and bright over the bottom; the trees leaned over it so that there was only a strip of blue sky; but now it began to broaden out, and the men were no longer poling but paddling. The trees, bamboo and palm had begun to thin replaced with mangroves as the water began to salt and turn towards the brackish.

    The day wore on and now the heat was no longer oppressive as the sun began to lose its fierceness behind the mangrove walls of the river. Mr Nancy looked at his pocket watch, tapped it to make sure. It would not be long before they reached their destination now.

    "What sort of fellow is Moreau?" he asked.

    "I don't know him. I believe he's a very good chap though."

    Moreau, Mr Moreau, was the Resident in whose house they were to spend the night. It was he who had provided the native guide who had proven so useful and, it must be said, tactful.

    "Well I hope he's got some gin. I've drunk enough arak to last a lifetime."

    Mr Nancy was a mining engineer whom the young Tuanku had met while on a bender in Singapore, and finding him at a loose end had commissioned him to go to the island and see whether he could discover any tin which might be profitably worked. He gave Mr Nancy a hastily scribbled note for his father and left him with a grin and three quarters of a bottle of gin in hand. The elder Tuanku had left Mr Nancy in the care of Mr Francis who was in his service and spoke Malay like a native. This was the third trip they had made into the interior. Mr Nancy was now going to Singapore to prepare his reports.

    They were to catch the Sally which was due to pass the mouth of the river at dawn the day after tomorrow. With luck they would reach Branbrake that same day. They were both glad to be back to it. There was tennis, billiard, European food, companion and comforts. Mr Francis was glad too because he had tired of his companion who was a little man, balding, overweight with a thinning mustache which had liked to twirl theatrically when he made a point. He was seldom without a pipe between his yellowed teeth. He was neither clean nor neat, his ducks were ragged and yellowed with more than sweat. He had been a man of the world for some time and could tell a story well and was he was fond of alcohol which had mattered a great deal to Mr Nancy.

    For all that, Mr Francis had never felt comfortable with the man. For all that they had shared they remained nothing but acquaintances having shared no real confidences. This hurt Mr Francis who was sensitive and could feel a certain coolness behind Mr Nancy who it seemed had formed an opinion on Mr Francis and not thought to tell him about it. Mr Francis desired to be liked and admired, and needed to be popular but his wishes stood ill at-ease with his treatment of others such that while he was friendly with everyone his sensitivity and fear of rejection held him back. He correspondingly offered no confidences and received none in return.

    It was for this reason that he looked forward to seeing Mr Moreau another long term resident of the island who doubtless shared many friends and acquaintances in common with Mr Francis.

    The prau rounded a bend in the river and suddenly a bungalow sitting on the lee of the bank came into view. In a few minutes they caught sight of the pier and on it waving was a figure in white.

    Mr Moreau was as he assured the two men not French despite his name. This was apparent by looking at the man who was a short, stout man with a red face and a much redder nose. He gave quite simply the impression of an English shopkeeper. But as it turned out he was ill at ease with people and had none of the self-confidence or airy manner of the green grocer. Rather, he was shy and shook hands with a slight tremble in his voice as he introduced himself to his guests and led them to his house. He took them to the veranda where they found waiting for them gin and long chairs which they soon made themselves comfortable in...
     
  17. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2005
    Messages:
    10,573
    Location:
    In the desert
    My esteemed mentor, Fra Duchamp,

    I am now afforded the opportunity to send this regrettably short letter to you, for our ship, an English packet steamer by the name of Cymbeline, has made port at Suez to take on additional coal for the voyage across the Indian Ocean. Our ports of call thenceforth shall be at Ceylon and at Singapore, from whence I may be required to find passage to Pulau Emas on board one of the smaller indigenous vessels, I have learned.

    Of course there is little of note beyond the ocean's immensity to report thusfar since my Mission has yet to be established, but I consider this a welcome period of rest and contemplation before the great Work to come. I believe that you might take comfort in knowing that the Lord has becalmed the waters for my passage, excepting a spate of choppy water for two days off the coast of Gibraltar. Many of my fellow passengers were regrettably taken with nausea at this time, but I was blessedly immune to this, having sailed upon little boats in the Seine upon many occasions during my boyhood.

    I have taken it upon myself to say a weekly Mass for those of the ship wishing to attend (this being very gratefully received by the Portuguese sailors) and I have also organized a weekly discussion of Scripture at the captain's table on Wednesday evenings. Of course, my secondary motive - to improve my connaisance of English for ameliorated communication with those gentlemen once upon the island - has progressed apace. Despite constant study, I fear that my progress in Maylay is not yet of comparable measure.

    It is remarkable to admit that among many of the more genteel class of Britons on this ship, there are very few points of theological contention to be found, barring some few eccentrics. One could almost be convinced that the Anglicans are but a rite of the Catholic Church, with the missal responses translated into the English tongue. Of course, the primacy and superiority of the Pope and the Latin language cannot be doubted, but I was astonished to learn from the Captain, a staunch Anglican himself of the high church, that even in their schism from Rome the Anglicans continue to consider themselves 'catholic'.

    I had thought to find converts mostly among the indigenous population, but armed with this knowledge perhaps it might be possible to win souls to Peter's Church among the white race as well. It may be that men willing to defy convention in such a manner as to leave their homeland will find departing the Church of England less of a struggle than for their compatriots in the metropole. And the admirable influence of the late Cardinal Newman, God rest his soul, on such men cannot be discounted.

    I have attempted to speak with the sailors who have attended my Mass to find one who has visited the isle of my destination, but the solitary soul turned up by my search, a bearded ancient by the name of Diego, could only admit that while he had once set foot on Pulau Emas, he cannot remember anything of it. I suppose I will have to content myself with my books for the time being.

    Over the past several weeks the Cymbeline has become something of a home to me, and while much of our voyage remains yet, I am already convinced that after this journey's end I shall recall it fondly for the rest of my days. My heart does not quail at the task to come, for my charge is but a small island, and God appoints to us the tasks which He considers most fit to our natures and abilities.

    Please write me with your advice and consolation. I do hope your work in Lille has not left you as enervated as when I saw you last. It need not be mentioned that you are ever in my prayers.

    Ad Majoram Dei Gloriam,

    Mssr. J. Vernier
     
  18. alex994

    alex994 Hail Divine Emperor!

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2004
    Messages:
    12,666
    Location:
    Breadbasket of USA
    OOC: Sorry for the absence - work has been crushing. Expect something in the next few days. Love the stories so far :D
     
  19. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Messages:
    12,518
    Location:
    Osaka
    French Consulate,
    Makassar

    January 21, 1900.

    Monsieur,

    I have the honor of making a most unusual report.

    A French citizen, a Mademoiselle D. Marchand arrived in Branbranke on the SS Australia. She is a Sarah Bernhardt type with blonde hair and blue eyes, at an age where she has begun to worry about her face and figure. An Amazon with a great thirst for and eye for young males. A forceful character who takes what she wants with a devil may care attitude. Perhaps a wee bit round the bend but still a fine sight for all that.

    Mlle. Marchand upon stepping from the lighter made her way to the Hotel Asiane where she settled down to some serious drinking. When the hotel proprietor asked for payment it was found that she possessed no francs. She then took a rickshaw to the house of my Vice Consul who settled her bills amounting to 25 francs for which he has received no recompense.

    On arrival at his house she helped herself to his drinks and informed in that she was staying the night. At his protest that he had no spare room and only one double bed she said that this presented no problem as she was quite willing to sleep with him. When he objected, he reports she whistled at him and moved her hips "quite seductively".

    I returned from tour late the same evening and was informed of the situation. I drove and found the Vice Consul's wife in quite a state having found a strange women in a state of undress in her marital bed. The Vice Consul who was sitting on the veranda was nursing a whiskey and soda and holding his head which was bleeding profusely from a fine famille rose vase his wife had pitched at him.

    Seeing that the author of the problem was unknown to me and knowing that the Vice Consul had been with me at the office, I surmised that something curious was happening. I soon cornered the head boy and found that the lady had never before been to the house and had entered against his wishes.

    Having surmised that she was an unwelcome presence, I lured her out with the promise of a party at the Club. The lady left the Vice Consul's house and his wife and took up residence at the Consulate. I suppose one of us is born every day!

    At the Club, a sing-a-long was in progress with Mme Jacobs at the piano. That night was also the awards ceremony for the bridge tournament and trophies were being distributed to the various winners. I myself, thanks to an extremely good second was to receive a cup for the mixed teams. Lilianne as the lady informed all she liked to be called, walked up to the trophies and in a piece of daft luck proceeded to push mine between her ample bust. Another of the prizes, a fine bottle of whisky she proceeded to drink. I declined when challenged to retrieve my trophy and figured she would soon remove it. She did not.

    With the trophy still between her bust she grabbed a partner for a waltz. The poor unfortunate was an acquaintance of mine, a Belgian Captain. A deft hand against the Moor pirates from Philippines by all accounts. In the middle of the dance, she stopped, accused him of "getting her giddy" and landed a right-hook which split his lip, in spite of the fact as the Captained assured me later smiling ruefully that he had rolled with the punch.

    Finally, perhaps inadvertently, she overturned a table full of drinks and I returned her to the Consulate. There she opened a bottle of my best champagne and eventually taking the bottle she retired, finally, to bed. But, it did not end there, for when I retired, I found her asleep on my bed. To avoid a perhaps fatal shock to my aged amah I eventually managed to move her to her own room carefully covering the lower portions of her exposed anatomy with her discarded dress. Her seduction foiled, I went to bed.

    Meanwhile I had discovered that she was looking for a young Frenchman by the name of C. T. F. Favier an engineer on a Dutch steamer operating out of Makassar Port, whom she hoped to marry, that she had a return ticket to France and that she had traveler's cheques which presumably she could cash at the Bank.

    On the Monday, she visited the Banque de l'Indochine and the offices of Fitch and Jims. She returned with sufficient money to cover her trip to Makassar and a birth on a steamer due to leave Branbrake at 4:00 am.

    At that time I was under the impression that she was a widower and would be welcomed by Favier who would arrange her accommodation. Both the Bank Manager and the Senior Clerk of Fitch and Jims informed me that in their opinion was not absolutely normal. On the other hand, even during her long periods of inebriation, I found she was quite capable of looking after herself and her money. She left the Consulate in the afternoon to "enjoy myself at Club and spending some of this money I have, after all I am on holiday".

    I next heard of Lilianne from the Dutch master of the Betawi who just been at the Club. He informed me that a girl whom he understood was living at the Consulate was "causing much troubles and nuisances at the Club" I asked how she had managed to get there. He informed that one of his countrymen had bought her in for lunch from the Hotel Asiane where he had met her. I replied that the girl was foot loose, fancy free, well over twenty one and no ward of mine, that whoever had bought her to the Club was, as a member responsible both for her behavior and departure. There were three more similar female callers, culminating in a personal visit from the wife of the Chairman.

    I left a report I was endeavoring to write and had my boy saddle a horse. Lilianne, with half a bottle of whisky on the piano top was treating a spell bound Club to Ah, fors'è lui from La Traviata while in a state of some minor undress. I strode to the platform and said "It's time to go". At my words the masculine crowd roared their disapproval. Seeing my fire, she straightened up shrugged, gave her piano a decisive thump and sang Ah, fors'è lui as she sauntered behind me towards the exit to accompanying roars of laughter from the crowd. Twice she paused on the way out, once to finish her whiskey, half of which found her gullet the other half her well developed chest; and once to take her leave formally from the gathered company, half of which were watching her departure in lust, the other half in hatred.

    Once home, she helped herself to a bottle of Bordeaux red and ordered me into my study, stating that she wished to consume her win in the dining room. Thanking God I retired to my study and tried to concentrate on my report - how optimistic can one be?! Less than ten minutes later she flung open my door in an even more advanced state of undress and asked "Do you mind if I tell you what I think of you?" "No" I replied. "It will have a lot of bad language" me "carry on". She did! The language was bad!

    In the midst of her tirade, another caller stopped at my door. I talked to the Dutchman who said that the steamer she was to travel on had blown a boiler and would not depart as scheduled but perhaps later in the evening or early the next morning. I informed her. Thereupon she picked up my tennis racquet and proceeded to bend it in her anger. I begged her not to brake it and to distract her attention I asked why she had a parang and a lathi with her. "They are presents to me from my dear Favier, this time I'm getting married to him properly in a Church and everything forever and ever and ever - and, if he does not, I'll bust his head open and scoop his brains out for the dogs". She was waving my racquet about violently to make her point and and at this moment it slipped out of her hand whereupon it connected with my portrait, painted by an aged Cabanel, leaving a great tear in it. I believe I may have passed out after this because I awoke on the ground, my face smothered in her bosom.

    Having recovered myself, Lilianne said she was going to bed and left the room. Hardly had I picked up my pen and collected my thoughts when there was a dreadful crash upstairs. I ran upstairs to find out what had happened and called. "Are you all right?" She replied "Yes, I've dropped my earring". I fear this left me speechless. On arrival I found she had knocked down a large silk screen and the lost earring was clipped to the neck of her dress. As I left she told me not to mind if she turned up in my bed.

    The next day, I had lunch with Lilianne at the Consulate. She was in a sober mind and though not repentant, seemed almost subdued. Our conversation was almost normal and I gleaned something of her past life. She explained she had been a spoilt child; that she usually got what she wanted by causing hell; that she came from Marseilles; that her parents had told her she was adopted which she refused to believe; that she had married and had a child; that her husband had been a cavalry officer and liked to use his riding crop on her; that she had worked as a minor Opera star for three years; that she was sick of men of which she had seen too many except for Johnny; and that she was not divorced.

    In many ways Lilianne has been a great tonic for this rather conventional island - long may she rampage and ravage the region but not in my area again, not unless there is another French Consul around. Personally, I am rather sorry she did not meet up her Favier in the end, surely no one, not even Ulysses, could have dared more in his quest.

    I have copied this letter to the Consul in Saigon; both you and he may wish to notify your colleagues of this visitation.

    I have to the honour to be,
    SIR,
    Your obedient Servant.

    J. A. Berry.
     
  20. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    11,102
    Location:
    北京皇城
    THREE GRIEVANCES EACH

    It was down a darkened street one blustery November evening that Alistair St. Clair found himself walking on the way to his flat in Kensington, London. It was the kind of darkened street, and the kind of blustery evening that a man would nevertheless be warmed by if he knew a warm hearth, and a warm supper, and a warm wife were waiting for him; which is to say, it was an ordinary kind of evening in any weather for a man so lucky as to take satisfaction in his life, or at least satisfaction in his wife.

    But Alistair St. Clair was not a man who took satisfaction in either, cursed as he was with a lovely woman of good breeding and elegant composure whom he did not love, and who loved him not, which was not unusual in those days: but no less was the ailing of the human spirit for this state of affairs being not far out of the common way. It was in such a home with such a wife that Mr. St. Clair lived, and it was to this home by this path, or some winding path much like it which fancied a detour by various pubs, that Mr. St. Clair ventured every night of the week except for Sundays, when the drinking began much earlier, and Saturdays, when it ended much later.

    Tonight, however, there would be no drinking, as no part of Mr. St. Clair’s affairs would suffice to permit it: not his pocketbook, which had lately been suffering a great drought of funds; nor his health, lately pursued by a case of coughing; nor his wife, who, oddly enough, had insisted on his early homecoming that evening. Mr. St. Clair could not imagine any reason for this, but suspected it better not to argue: and, in any case, unable to find a good reason not to come home early, such as in the repose of hard liquor, thought he might just as well do that.

    Mr. St. Clair was a man whose trade was sufficiently special as to guarantee him patronage in unions, but insufficiently precious as to render him a kingly lifestyle. Food and shelter were granted following pay by the Roger & Roger Mining Co., which had need in his expertise as an engineer of machines. Thus he worked, dawn to dusk, on the design and application of steam engines, which were deployed as mining instruments. The office in London was quite comfortably far enough away from any kind of mining, but it headquartered a decent number of men like himself, and also the men to whom he was beholden for employment. Where once he had derived enormous satisfaction from his work, many years of spiritless living had taken its toll and eroded his enthusiasm for the work, so that he now found significant parts of the day devoted to the less than exemplary pastime of daydreaming. He would sometimes divest this unwonted attention to magazines and pamphlets detailing the far corners of the British Empire in which, it was said, London’s power was all the more incredible to behold, built up as rumor both great and terrible. The descriptions captivated him and he believed himself to be a modern, English Christopher Columbus, cutting a path into the dark hearts of continents long forgotten, charting the uncharted, and seeing the unseen…

    But he would come into himself again, just as quickly, and see the drawing table in front of him, where an unfinished calculation or unmarked figure teased him with their false mystery, and the knowledge that the next step in working was as obvious as the next step in an ancient dance: beautiful, in its own way, but relentlessly choreographed, and hence repulsive. It was a dance grown wooden and predictable over the years, so much different from that ballet which he beheld in his first studies of science. Now, his mind wandered to other fodder, unsated by the beauty of the physical sciences.

    The Orient, in particular, captivated the imagination of Mr. St. Clair as it had so many, many British citizens before him. He had many occasions to wonder about the ancient thrones and ancienter customs which lay and lay alike along streets paved carefully with gold. It was very romantic to him to think of such things, even about a corner of the world which, of late, had been no stranger to the ghosts of empires that had wracked those lands.

    But the politics of war held less interest for him than the war of politics, about which he was nigh equally enthusiastic as an item of romantic appeal, which any observant man would note in entering his home and in remarking at the various Fabian and socialist pamphlets, doctrines, books, and manifestos lining his bookshelves, or the histories on struggles long past, revolutions fought, won, or lost. These were naturally horrible to every decent corner of any decent mind, and yet knowing this only stoked the fires of his compulsion. And he yearned for that romance in every fiber of his being.

    But there was no romance in London. There was no romance in his job, or in his life, or his marriage. There were only flights of fancy, altogether too fleeting and too soon in landing; and there was his wife, who, this evening, waited for his early return.

    He did not know it yet, but Mrs. Lydia St. Clair was intent on celebrating (a cruel misuse of the term) the 15th anniversary of their marriage. The question as to why must remain unanswered, perhaps even to her, although one may speculate it was to have been a vain attempt to rekindle the flames of passion which had brought them together; or perhaps it was simply an ironical toast to the shackles which bound them: for given her background - French-born, as well as his own - the son of a French-born woman, an annulment or divorce of any kind would bring great shame and dishonour. It was enough to be tolerant of each other, though that became more difficult with every passing year; it was enough to be loyal to each other, and to accept that their final reward for this vigilant loyalty and tolerance would be to pass quietly and peacefully into the unknown.

    They both bore a great number of grievances against each other, grievances that could not be seen when the fire burnt brightest, but like ash came on as the flames burnt still.

    Of him to her, he had three primary grievances. The first of these was that she did not love him, and how could he love anyone who did not love him? It was a ludicrous thought, and a waste of his time. The second grievance was that she could not order a meal worth his tongue, which was not strictly true, as time was that even the meals she cooked herself were worth his tongue and much more than that, but the foulness of his attitude towards her had permanently befuddled his sense of taste, and replaced it with a sense of misery. The third grievance, and the only one which mattered, was that she was barren, and had never conceived or even given hope of such. On these grounds he might have successfully pursued an annulment, but he had never been hasty, and, now, fifteen years on, he did not care any more. The fire was long cold, and with it any passion besides hatred.

    Of her to him, she had three primary grievances. The first of these was that he did not love her, and how could she love anyone who did not love her? The second grievance was that he made scarcely any money, which was not strictly true, and time was that the money he made was more than enough for her and him and scores more, so long as they had each other. The third grievance, and the only one which mattered, was that he was infertile, which she knew for a fact because she had had a child at 16, in secret, to preserve the prestige of her family. She might have forgiven him for this, if he had not come to blame her for it in the intervening years. She wished dearly to love him again, but against her every self-deception, she knew she did not, and that was that.

    It should not come as any surprise, then, that the 15th anniversary of the St. Clair marriage passed as uneventfully as it came, with knocks at cooking and earning besides. They retired to their separate quarters in due course, to await the coming of the morrow which, like all morrows for the St. Clair family, promised nothing new.
     

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