Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/19

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9
EURASIA.

ceed, though the race has not the physical qualifications to make such a resource general. And, of course, there are the saving few, who make their business successful whatever it is, and rise to positions of moderate affluence and general respect. In spite of all this, however, the Eurasian element of the population of Calcutta has become so large, and the problem presented by its condition so pressing, that a special commission has recently been appointed by Government to inquire into its circumstances and devise some means to make them less distressing. Among other remedies it is proposed to utilize Eurasian youths for military purposes, and to make certain Government appointments more easily accessible to them. But the problem will doubtless always remain a problem, presented by the remorseless operation of natural and economic laws, and only tampered with, more or less futilely, for the sake of a common humanity by the efforts of philanthropy.

Now that I have finished my imperfect sketch, the ink in which I have drawn it seems too black. After all, there is a great deal of red blood in Eurasia; sometimes, indeed, the admixture of the other color is so slight as to completely impose upon society, knowing as society thinks itself. In the heart of Eurasia—a heart which has yet to be bared to us by the scalpel of modern fiction—surely may be found much that is worth adding to the grand total that makes humanity interesting. On the other side of a prejudice, well founded and well built, who knows what fruits may drop and what flowers grow? Nothing is more certain than that we can not see over it.

I met Mrs. De Souza only this morning, in the bazaar. She was buying fruit and vegetables, and she argued with great fluency and decision about their price. The brown Bengali vendors of these things quailed before her; she understood to a thread the construction of the web of their duplicity. In the end, she got all she wanted at about two thirds of the price I should have been obliged to pay—and I know the bazaar. It is the dustur, the impenetrable, unassailable dustur, for the kala mem to pay less for everything. She was accompanied by two Miss De Souzas, who did not pay much attention to the fruit and vegetables. Very smart were the Miss De Souzas, all in pink and blue, for it was Sunday morning, and on Sunday morning Eurasia is en promenade at the bazaar. Also I saw two very elegant young men, with dapper sticks and fresh ties, looking smilingly in their direction. And just outside, high in a swaying sago palm, three hoarse old crows told each other what would certainly happen.

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