Chicago Sunday Tribune, February 22, 1914
The photo-drama corresponding to the installments The Adventures of Kathlyn may now be seen at a number of the leading motion picture theaters. By this unique arrangement with the Selig Polyscope Company it is, therefore, possible and only to read The Adventures of Kathlyn in The Sunday Tribune, but also to keep pace with each additional installment at the moving picture theater.1
SYNOPSIS OF PREVIOUS CHAPTERS
Kathlyn Hare, believes her father, Col. Hare, to be in dire peril in Allaha, a principality iof India. The King of Allaha has recently died, and because the colonel once saved his life he names him as his successor. Umballah2, pretender to the throne of Allaha, loves Kathlyn and has forged a message summoning her to her father, whom he has thrown into prison. She leaves her home to California to go to him.
Upon her arrival in Allaha she is informed by Unballah that her father is dead and that she is the queen and must marry him forthwith. Her refusal infuriates him, but as Kathlyn’s beauty and spirit have made a strong appeal to the people, and especially to the soldiers, who hate Unballah, he yields the point for the time being. A priest announced that no woman may rule unmarried, but because of the young queen is not conversant with the laws of the state she will be given seven days to decide.
When Kathlyn reiterates, at the expiration of the week of grace, her refusal to marry Umballah she receives sentence time from the supreme tribunal that she is to undergo two ordeals with wild beasts. If she survives, she is to be permitted to rule without hinderance.
John Bruce, an American and fellow passenger on the boat which brought Kathlyn to Allaha, saves her life. The elephant which carries her from the scene of her trials becomes frightened and runs away, separating her from Bruce and the rest of the party.
After a ride filled with peril she takes refuge in a ruined temple. The holy men and villagers, believing her to be an ancient princess risen from the tomb, allow her to remain as the guardian of the sacred fire. But Kathlyn’s haven is also the abode of a lion, and she is forced to fly from it with the savage beast in pursuit. She escapes and finds a retreat in the jungle, only to fall into the hands of a band of slave traders.
CHAPTER VIII THE SLAVE MART
“Having decided upon the fate of Kathlyn, the natives set about recapturing the wild elephant. It took the best part of the morning. When this was accomplished the journey to Allaha was begun. But for the days of peace and quiet of the wilderness and the consequent hardness of her flesh, Kathlyn would have suffered greatly. Half the time she was compelled to walk. There was no howdah, and it was a difficult feat to sit back of the mahout. The rough skin of the elephant had the same effect upon the calves of her legs that sandpaper would have had. Sometimes she stumbled and fell, and was rudely jerked to her feet. Only the day before they arrived was she relieved in any way: she was given a litter, and in this manner she entered the hateful city.
In giving her the litter the chief mahout had been inspired by no expressions of pity; simply they desired her to appear fresh and attractive when they carried her into the slave mart.
In fitful dreams all that had happened came back to her—the story her father had told about saving the old king’s life, and the grim, ironical gratitude in making Colonel Hare his heir—as if such things could be! And then her own journey to Allaha; the nightmarish durbar, during which she had been crowned; the escape from the ordeals with John Bruce; the terrors of the temple of the sun; the flight from there… John Bruce! She could still see the fire in his eyes; she could still feel the touch of his gentle yet tireless hand. Would she ever see him again?
On the way to the mart they passed under the shadow of the grim prison walls of the palace. The elephants veered off here into a side street, toward the huge square where horses and cattle and elephants were bought and sold. The litter, in charge of the chief mahout, proceeded to the slave mart. Kathlyn glanced at the wall, wondering. Was her father alive? Was he in some bleak cell behind that crumbling masonry? Did he know that she was here? Or was he really dead? Ah, perhaps it were better that death should have taken him—better that than having his living heart wrung by the tale of his daughter’s unspeakable miseries.
Even as she sent a last lingering look at the prison the prisoner within, his head buried in his thin wasted hands, beheld her in a vision—but in a happy, joyous vision, busying about the living room of the bungalow.
And far away a younger man beheld a vision as very tenderly he gazed at Kathlyn’s discarded robe and resumed his determined quest. Often, standing beside his evening fires, he would ask the silence, “Kathlyn, where are you?” Even then he was riding fast toward Allaha.
A slave mart is a rare thing these days, but at the time these scenes were being enacted there existed many of them here and there across the face of the globe. Men buy and sell men and women these times—enlightened, so they say—but they do it by legal contract or from vile hiding places.
Allaha had been a famous mart in its prime. It had drawn the agents of princes from all over India. Persia, Beloochistan, Afghanistan, and even southern Russia had been rifled of their beauties to adorn the zenanas of the slothful Hindu princes.
The slave mart in the capital town of Allaha stood in the center of the bazaars, a great square platform with a roof, but open on all four sides. Here the slaves were exhibited, the poor things intended for dalliance and those who were to struggle and sweat and die under the overseer’s lash.
Every fortnight a day was set aside for the business of the mart. Owners and prospective buyers met, chewed betel-nut, smoked their hookas, sipped coffee and tea, and exchanged the tattle of the hour. It was as much an amusement as a business; indeed, it was the oriental idea of a club, and much the same things were discussed. Thus, Appaji bought a beautiful girl at the last barter and Roya found a male who was a good juggler, and only night before last they had traded. The bazaars were not what they used to be. Dewan Ali had sold his wife to a Punjab opium merchant. Aunut Singh’s daughter had run away with the son of a bheestee. All white people ate pig. And no one read the slokas, or moral, stanzas, any more. Yes, the English would come some day, when there would be enough money to warrant it.
All about there were barkers, and fruit sellers, and bangle wallas (for slave girls should have rings of rupee silver about their ankles and wrists), and solemn Brahmins, and men who painted red and ocher caste marks on one’s forehead, and ash covered fakirs with withered hands, Nautch girls, girls from the bazaars, peripatetic jewelers, kites, and red-headed vultures—this being a proper place for them.
The chief mahout purchased for Kathlyn a beautiful saree, or veil, which partially concealed her face and hair.
“Chalu!” he said, touching Kathlyn’s shoulder, whenever she lagged, for they had dispensed with the litter, “Go on!”
She understood. Outwardly she appeared passive enough, but her soul was on fire and her eyes as brilliant as those of the circling, whooping kites, watching that moment which was to offer some loophole. On through the noisy bazaars, the object of many a curious remark, sometimes insulted by the painted women at the windows, sometimes jested at by the idlers around the merchants’ booths. Vaguely she wondered if some one of her ancestors had not been terribly wicked and that she was paying the penalty.
It seemed to her, however, that a film of steel had grown over her nerves; nothing startled her; she sensed only the watchfulness she had often noted in the captives at the farm.
At length they came out into the busy mart. The old mahout congratulated himself upon the docility of his find. It would stiffen the bidding to announce that she was gentle. He even went so far as to pat her on the shoulder. The steel film did not cover all her nerves, so it would seem; the patted shoulder was vulnerable. She winced, for she read clearly enough what was in the mind back of that touch.
She had made her plans. To the man who purchased her she would assume a meekness of spirit in order to lull his watchfulness. To the man who purchased her—Kathlyn Hare! She laughed. The old man behind her nodded approvingly, hearing the sound but not sensing its import. Ah, when the moment came, when the fool who bought her started to lead her home, she would beguile him and at the first sign of carelessness she would trust to her heels. She knew that she was going to run as never a woman ran before; back to the beasts of the jungle, who at least made no effort to molest her so long as she kept out of their way.
Wild and beautiful she was as the old mahout turned her over to a professional seller.
“From the north!”
“A bride from the desert!”
“A daughter of the north seas!”
The old mahout squatted close by and rubbed his hands. He would be a rich man that night; bags of rupees; a well thatched house to cover his gray hairs till that day they placed him on the pyre at the burning ghat. The gods were good.
Durga Ram, known familiarly as Umballa, at this hour came forth into the sunshine, brooding. He was not in a happy frame of mind. Many things lay heavy upon his soul; but among these things there was not one named remorse. To have brought about all these failures this thought irked him most. Here was a crown almost within reach of his greedy fingers, the water to Tantalus. To have underestimated this yellow haired young woman, he who knew women so well—there lay the bitter sting. He had been too impetuous; he should have waited till all her fears had been allayed. That spawn of Siva, the military, was insolent again, and rupees to cross their palms were scarce. Whither had she blown? Was she dead? Was she alive?
The white hunter had not returned to his camp yet, but the sly Ahmed was there. The perpetual gloom on the face of the latter was reassuring to Umballa. Ahmed’s master had not found her. To wring the white man’s heart was something. He dared not put him out of the way; too many knew.
And the council was beginning to grow uneasy. How long could he hold them in leash?
What a woman! As magnificent as the daughter of Firoz, shah of Delhi. Fear she knew not. At one moment he loved her with his whole soul, at another he hated her, longed to get her into his hands again, to wreak his vengeance upon her for the humiliation she had by wit and courage heaped upon him. “I am ready!” He could hear it yet. When they had led her away to the ordeals—”I am ready!” A woman, and not afraid to die!
Money! How to get it! He could not plunge his hand into the treasury; there were too many about, too many tongues. But Colonel Hare knew where the silver basket lay hidden, heaped with gold and precious stones; and torture could not wring the hiding-place from him. May he be damned to the nethermost hell! Let him, Durga Ram, but bury his lean hands in that treasure, and Daraka swallow Allaha and all its kings! Rubies and pearls and emeralds, and a far country to idle in, to be feted in, to be fawned upon for his riches!
And Ramabai and his wife, Pundita, let them beware; let them remain wisely in their house and meddle not with affairs of state.
“A thousand rupees!”
Umballa looked up with a start. Unconsciously he had wandered into the slave mart. He shrugged and would have passed on but for the strange, unusual figure standing on the platform. A golden haired woman with neck and arms like Chinese bronze and dressed in a skirt of grass! He paused.
“Two thousand rupees!”
“What!” jeered the professional seller. “For an houri from paradise? O ye of weak hearts, what is this I hear? Two thousand rupees?—for an houri fit to dwell in the zenana of heaven!”
A keen-eyed Mohammedan edged closer to the platform. He stared and sucked in his breath. He found himself pulled two ways. He had no money, but he had knowledge.
“Who sells this maiden?” he asked.
“Which is he?”
“He squats there.”
The Mohammedan stopped and touched the old mahout on the shoulder.
“Call off this sale, and my master will make you rich.”
The old sinner gingerly felt of the speaker’s cotton garb. “Ah! ‘My master’ must be rich to dress thee in cotton. Where is your gold? Bid,” satirically.
“Two thousand rupees!” shouted the professional seller.
“I have no gold, but my master will give 10,000 rupees for yonder maid. Quick! Old fool, be quick!
“Begone, thou beggar!”
And the old man spat.
“Mem-sahib,” the Mohammedan called out in English, “do not look toward me, or all will be lost. I am Ali, Bruce Sahib’s chief mahout; and we have believed you dead! Take care! I go to inform Ahmed. Bruce Sahib has not returned.”
Kathlyn, when she heard that voice, shut her eyes.
Umballa had drawn closer. There was something about this half veiled slave that stirred his recollection. Where had he seen that graceful poise? The clearness of the skin, though dark; the roundness of the throat and arms.…
“Three thousand rupees!”
The old mahout purred and smoothed his palms together. Three thousand rupees, a rajah’s ransom! He would own his elephant; his wife should ride in a gilded palanquin, and his children should wear shoes. Three thousand rupees! He folded his arms and walked gently to and fro.
“Five thousand rupees!” said Umballa, impelled by he knew not what to make this bid.
A ripple of surprise ran over the crowd. The regent, the powerful Durga Ram, was bidding in person for his zenana.
Kathlyn’s nerves tingled with life again, and the sudden bounding of her heart stifled her. Umballa! She was surely lost. Sooner or later he would recognize her.
The mahout stood up, delighted. He was indeed fortunate. He salaamed.
“Huzoor, she is gentle,” he said.
The high-caste who had bid 3,000 rupees salaamed also.
“Highness, she is yours,” he said. “I can not bid against my regent.”
It was the custom to mark a purchased slave with the caste of her purchaser. Umballa, still not recognizing her, waved her aside toward the Brahmin caste markers, one of whom daubed her forehead with a yellow triangle. Her blue eyes pierced the curious brown ones.
“The sahib at the river,” she whispered in broken Hindustani. “Many rupees. Bring him to the house of Durga Ram.” This in case Ali failed.
The Brahmin’s eyes twinkled. Her Hindustani was execrable, but “sahib” and “river” were plain to his understanding. There was but one sahib by the river, and he was the white hunter who had rescued the vanished queen from the ordeals. He nodded almost imperceptibly. Inwardly he smiled. He was not above giving the haughty upstart a Thuggee’s twist. He spoke to his neighbor quietly, assigned to him his bowls and brushes, rose, and made off.
“Follow me,” said Umballa to the happy mahout. Presently he would have his bags of silver, bright and twinkling.
Fate overtook Ali, who in his mad race to Hare’s camp fell and badly sprained his ankle. Moaning, less from the pain than from the attendant helplessness, he was carried into the hut of a kindly ryot and there ministered to.
The Brahmin, however, filled with greed and a sly humor, reached his destination in safety. Naturally cunning, double tongued, sly, ingratiating, after the manner of all Brahmins, who will sink to any base level in order to attain their equivocal ends his actions were unhampered by any sense of treachery toward Umballa. A Thuggee’s twist to the schemes of the street rat Umballa, who wore the Brahmin string, to which he had no right! The Brahmin chuckled as he paused at the edge of Bruce’s camp. A fat purse lay yonder. He approached, his outward demeanor a mixture of pride and humility.
Bruce had returned but half an hour before, mind weary, bone tired. He sat with his head in his hands, his elbows propped upon his knees. His young heart was heavy. He had searched the bewildering jungle as one might search a plot of grass before one’s door, blade by blade. A hundred times he had found traces of her; a hundred times he had called out her name, only to be mocked and gibbered at by apes. She had vanished like a perfume, like a cloud shadow in the wind.
His soul was bitter; for he had built many dreams, and always this fair haired girl had ridden upon them. So straight she stood, so calm in the eyes, mannered with that gentleness, known of the brave.… Gone, and skilled as he was in jungle lore, he could not find her.
“Sahib, a Brahmin desires audience.”
“Ask him what he wants.”
“It is for the sahib’s ear alone.”
“Ah! Bring him to me quickly.”
The Brahmin approached, salaamed.
“What do you wish?” Bruce asked curtly.
“A thousand rupees, Huzoor!” blandly.
“And what have you that is worth that many rupees?” irritably.
The Brahmin salaamed again. “Huzoor, a slave this day was purchased by Durga Ram, Umballa, so-called. She has skin the color of old tusks, and eyes like turquoise, and lips like the flame of the jungle, and hair like the sands of Ganges, mother of rivers.”
Bruce was upon his feet, alive, eager. He caught the Brahmin by the arm.
“Is this woman white?” harshly.
“Huzoor, the women of Allaha are always dark of hair.”
“And was sold as a slave?”
“To Durga Ram, the king without a crown, Huzoor. It is worth a thousand rupees,” smiling.
“Tell me,” said Bruce, stilling the tremor in his voice, “tell me, did she follow him without a struggle?”
“Yes. But would a struggle have done any good?
Bruce took out his wallet and counted out a thousand rupees in Bank of India notes. “Now, listen. Umballa must not know that I know. On your head, remember.”
“Huzzor, the word of a Brahmin.”
“Ah, yes; but I have lived long here. Where is Ali?” cried Bruce, turning to one of his men.
“He went into the city this morning, Sahib, and has not returned.”
“Come,” said Bruce to the waiting Brahmin, “We’ll return together.” He now felt no excitement at all; it was as if he had been immersed in ice water. It was Kathlyn, not the least doubt of it, bought and sold in the slave mart. Misery, degradation … then he smiled. He knew Kathlyn Hare. If he did not come to her aid quickly she would be dead.
Now, when Umballa took her into his house, Kathlyn was determined to reveal her identity. She had passed through the ordeals; she was, in law, a queen, with life and death in her hands.
“Do not touch me!” she cried slowly in English.
Umballa stepped back.
“I am Kathlyn Hare, and if all the world is not made up of lies and wickedness, I am the queen you yourself made. I can speak a few words, enough to make myself known to the populace. I will make a bargain with you. I will give you five times five thousand rupees if you will deliver me safely in Peshawer. On my part, I promise to say nothing, nothing.”
Umballa raised both his hands in astonishment. He knew now why that form had stirred his recollection.
“You!” He laughed and clapped his hands to summon his servants. Kathlyn, realizing that it was useless to attempt to move this man, turned and started to run, but he intercepted her. “My queen, my bride that was to be, the golden houri! Five times five thousand rupees would not purchase a hair of your head.”
“I am your queen!” But she said it without heart.
“What! Do you believe that? Having passed the ordeals you nullified the effect by running away. You will be whatever I choose! Oh, it will be legally done. You shall go with me to the council, and the four of us shall decide. Ah, you would not be my wife!”
“You shall die, Durga Ram,” she replied, “and it will be the death of a pariah dog.”
“Ah! Still that spirit which I loved. Why, did I not buy you without knowing who you were? Are you not mine? At this very moment I could place you in my zenana and who would ever know? And soon you would not want any one to know.”
“Are you without mercy?”
“Mercy? I know not the word. But I have an ambition which surpasses all other things. My wife you shall be, or worse. But legally, always legally!” He laughed again and swiftly caught her in his arms. She struggled like a tigress, but without avail. He covered her face and neck with kisses, then thrust her aside. “Poor little fool! If you had whined and whimpered I should have let you go long since. But there burns within you a spirit I must conquer, and conquer I will!”
Kathlyn stood panting against a pillar. Had she held a weapon in her hand she would have killed him without compunction, as one crushes a poisonous viper.
“Legally! Why, all the crimes in Hind are done under that word. It is the shibboleth of the British Raj. Legally! Come!”
“I will not stir!”
“Then be carried,” he replied, beckoning his servants.
“Ah! Well, then, we’ll ride together in the palanquin.”
To struggle would reward her with nothing but shame and humiliation; so she bent her head to the inevitable. A passionate longing to be revenged upon this man began to consume her. She wanted the feel of his brown throat in her fingers; wanted to beat him down to his knees, to twist and crush him. But she was a woman and she had not the strength of a man.
“Behold!” cried Umballa later, as he entered the presence of the council, “behold a slave of mine!” He pushed Kathlyn forward. “This day I bought her for five thousand rupees.”
The council stirred nervously.
“Do you not recognize her?” exultantly.
The council whispered to one another.
“Legally she is mine, though she has been a queen. But by running away she has forfeited her rights to the law of the ordeals. Am I not right?”
The council nodded gravely. They had not yet wholly recovered from their bewilderment.
“On the other hand, her identity must remain a secret till I have developed my plans,” continued Umballah.
“You are all courting a terrible reprisal,” said Kathlyn. “I beg of you to kill me at once; do not prolong my torture, my misery. I have harmed none of you, but you have grievously harmed me. One even now seeks aid of the British Raj; and there are many soldiers.”
The threat was ill timed.
The head of the council said to Umballa: “It would be wise to lock her up for the present. We all face a great complication.”
“A very wise counsel,” agreed Umballa, knowing that he had but to say the word to destroy them all. “And she shall have company. I would not have her lonely. Come, majesty; deign to follow your humble servant.” Umballa salaamed.
Kathlyn was led to a cell in the palace prison, whose walls she had but a little while ago viewed in passing, and thrust inside. A single window admitted a faint light. Umballa remained by the door, chuckling softly. Presently, her eyes becoming accustomed to the dark, Kathlyn discovered a man chained to a pillar. The man suddenly leaned forward.
“Kit, my Kit!”
She caught him to her breast in her strong young arms, crooned to him, and kissed his matted head. And they stood that way for a long time.
At this very moment there appeared before the council a wild eyed, disheveled young man. How he had passed the palace guard none of them knew.
“A white woman was brought into this room forcibly a few minutes ago. I demand her! And by the God of my father I will cut out the heart of every one of you if you deny me! She is white; she is of my race!”
“There is no white woman here, Bruce Sahib.”
“You lie!” thundered the young man.
Two guards came in quickly.
“I say you lie! She was seen to enter here!”
“This man is mad! Besides, it is sacrilege for him to enter our presence in this manner,” cried one of the council. “Seize him!”
A fierce struggle between the guards and Bruce followed; but his race to the city and the attendant excitement had weakened him. He was carried away, still fighting manfully.
In the meantime Umballa concluded that the reunion had lasted long enough. He caught Kathlyn roughly by the shoulder and pulled her away.
“Behold, Colonel Sahib! Mine! I bought her this day in the slave mart. Legally mine! Now will you tell me where that silver basket lies hidden, with its gold and game?”
“Father, do not tell him!” warned Kathlyn. “So long as we do not tell him he does not put us out of the way!”
“Dad, poor dad!”
“Little fool!” said Umballa.
Kathlyn struggled to reach her father again, but could not. Umballa folded his arms tightly about her and attempted to kiss her. This time her strength was superhuman. She freed her hands and beat him in the face, tore his garments, dragged off his turban. The struggle brought them within the radius of the colonel’s reach. The prisoner caught his enemy by the throat, laughing insanely.
“Now, you black dog, die!”
1 The movie serial was 13 chapters, with each chapter released every two weeks. The novelization is much more detailed, and therefore in twenty-six chapters.
2 “Umballa” is spelled as “Umballah” in the Chicago Tribune story, when it is spelled without the “h” in Mr. MacGrath’s novel. This may be an indicator for copyright purposes as to where copy was picked up from.
In the novelization, which was published after the release of the final motion picture chapter, The Tribune ceased to provide titles to each chapter starting with the Seventh Chapter.