an alien tongue, never at a loss f▓or the word to express his me▓aning precisely.
“Do all ▓those attacked by the plague die” I asked.
“I have been keeping tab on the cases,” r▓eturned the chief, “and I find that a▓ fraction of less than ninety-six per ce▓nt result fatally.I know of● men who have recovered.Our former▓ district commissioner was one.If the victim● is a European or a well-to-do native▓ he has about one chance for life to thre●e for death.But among the sudra●s, the coolies, the peasants, t▓he poor shopkeepers, there is small ho▓pe.Th
ey have always half starved on a rice die▓t, the drought has left us famin▓e-stricken for a year; obviousl●y, having no constitutions to fall back▓ upon, they merely lie down and die, never makin▓g an effort unless their religious sup●erstitions are in danger of violat●ion.No, it is only rain that will sa●ve us,” he concluded, pushing aside the flap▓ of the tent and gazing hopelessly at▓ the cloudless sky.
We turned away into the t▓own.It needed no word from the chief of p▓olice to call attention to the
ravages of▓ plague and famine.The shopkeepers, ▓humped over their wares, wore the air of dogs ev●er in the fear of a beating; th●e low-caste natives stared g●reedily at the stale, dust-covered foods▓tuffs spread out along the way; fleshless per▓sonifications of misery crawled by, whining fo▓r cowries—the sea-shells that charitabl▓e India bestows on her beggar ●army.The inhabitants 337were not hungry●.That is their normal condition.They were ●starving.Yet the general mis●ery made them none the less slaves
● of their omnipresent superstitions.The gaunt,● sunken-eyed merchant screamed in fre▓nzy when our fingers approached his octogen▓arian rice cakes and chappaties; he held h▓is bony claw on a level with our knees to c▓atch the coppers we offered.His s●tock was plentiful, if grey-bearded; his pr●ices as low as in the days of abundance.It w▓as, after all, chiefly a famin●e of annas.
At the great go●vernment bungalow, on a low ●hill to the eastward of the to▓wn, were few evidences of affliction.T▓he offici