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Actions and Reactions by Rudyard Kipling

Produced by P. Stratton. The Google Print Project is gratefully acknowledged for the illustrations added to the html file.

ACTIONS AND REACTIONS

By Rudyard Kipling

CONTENTS

An Habitation Enforced The Recall

Garm--a Hostage The Power of the Dog

The Mother Hive The Bees and the Flies

With the Night Mail The Four Angels

A Deal in Cotton The New Knighthood

The Puzzler The Puzzler Little Foxes Gallio's Song

The House Surgeon The Rabbi's Song

ACTIONS AND REACTIONS

AN HABITATION ENFORCED

My friend, if cause doth wrest thee, Ere folly hath much oppressed thee, Far from acquaintance kest thee Where country may digest thee... Thank God that so hath blessed thee, And sit down, Robin, and rest thee. --THOMAS TUSSER.

It came without warning, at the very hour his hand was outstretched to crumple the Holz and Gunsberg Combine. The New York doctors called it overwork, and he lay in a darkened room, one ankle crossed above the other, tongue pressed into palate, wondering whether the next brain-surge of prickly fires would drive his soul from all anchorages. At last they gave judgment. With care he might in two years return to the arena, but for the present he must go across the water and do no work whatever. He accepted the terms. It was capitulation; but the Combine that had shivered beneath his knife gave him all the honours of war: Gunsberg himself, full of condolences, came to the steamer and filled the Chapins' suite of cabins with overwhelming flower-works.

"Smilax," said George Chapin when he saw them. "Fitz is right. I'm dead; only I don't see why he left out the 'In Memoriam' on the ribbons!"

"Nonsense!" his wife answered, and poured him his tincture. "You'll be back before you can think."

He looked at himself in the mirror, surprised that his face had not been branded by the hells of the past three months. The noise of the decks worried him, and he lay down, his tongue only a little pressed against his palate.

An hour later he said: "Sophie, I feel sorry about taking you away from everything like this. I--I suppose we're the two loneliest people on God's earth to-night."

Said Sophie his wife, and kissed him: "Isn't it something to you that we're going together?"

They drifted about Europe for months--sometimes alone, sometimes with chance met gipsies of their own land. From the North Cape to the Blue Grotto at Capri they wandered, because the next steamer headed that way, or because some one had set them on the road. The doctors had warned Sophie that Chapin was not to take interest even in other men's interests; but a familiar sensation at the back of the neck after one hour's keen talk with a Nauheimed railway magnate saved her any trouble. He nearly wept.


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