Royal Tramp ##TOP##
On the day of the palace recruitment, Siu-bo accidentally stumbles into the eunuch room before being saved by Hoi Tai-fu, the palace's head eunuch. Suspicious of the Empress Dowager's identity and unable to confront her himself, Tai-fu strongarms Siu-bo into stealing the Empress Dowager's copy of the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters. When Siu-bo is discovered, Tai-fu fights off the Empress, who possesses an unexpected level of combat prowess. Amidst the conflict, Siu-bo inadvertently befriends the Princess and the Emperor, thinking that they are eunuchs. The Emperor offers to give Siu-bo both his copy and the Empress' copies of the Sutra if he can defeat the Emperor in a fight. Siu-bo fights dirty and defeats the Emperor after grabbing his crotch, only to realize that the pair are royalty. Shortly afterward, one of the Emperor's seditious Generals, Oboi, bursts in to make demands. When Siu-bo successfully maneuvers the Emperor around a political confrontation with Oboi, and the Princess uncovers that Siu-bo is not a eunuch himself, he is promoted to the position of spy for the Emperor, told to keep an eye on Tai-fu and Oboi.
After Oboi kills another courtier, the Emperor assigns Siu-bo and To-lung, a royal guard, to devise a plan to deal with him. but Oboi proves too strong for their plans. Provoked, Oboi fights back and tears down the Emperor's defenses, even with Tai-fu's help. Reminded of the Empress' strength, Siu-bo rushes to her chambers, where she quickly subdues Oboi. Unable to reveal her fighting capabilities to the Emperor, the Empress credits Siu-bo for everything, who is then promoted once more and given Oboi's assets, including his copy of the Sutra.
We pulled into Grand Junction, CO, 300 miles east of Salt Lake, arounddinnertime. The next morning, I shuttled from one stretch of track to theother, looking for that elusive place where one can jump trains withoutgetting busted. I found 2 other Denver-bound tramps. Lyndell was a wiry66-year old, who claimed to have a B.S.M.E. and to have started hoboingafter his wife died. Lai was the first Asian tramp I'd met, a 30-ishVietnamese with limited English. He simply said, "I have no family, nofriends, nobody."
Experienced tramps make good things happen. We found a string ofjunkyard-bound crummies and boarded them. For a tramp, they're positivelyluxurious - a bed, desk, windows and doors, even cases of bottled water. Ipicked out the absolute last caboose because it had the classic upper storyfrom which the brakeman can see over the top of the train. There was anamusing graffito scrawled inside the crummy: "EMPEROR OF THE NORTH - A-NO.1." Somebody else had enjoyed the same movie, the best one ever made abouttramps.
Lyndell, the older tramp, was still in the preceding crummy. Strangelyenough, Lai had jumped off unnoticed. Lyndell and I strode into themoonscape of the Denver yard, heading for a rendezvous with a Pueblo-boundtrain. He'd cheered up when I agreed to ride with him. He wanted the safetyafforded by a partner. More important, he wanted to ward off the lonelinessthat hangs over the full-time tramp. Meanwhile, I craved his pricelessknowledge of yards and trains.
Humble fishing smacks and rusty tramp steamers last week sailed with the Royal blessing. Centuries of service rendered the Nation in war and peace by commercial ships and fishing fleets were signalized by bringing these vast and wandering squadrons, like other able Empire services, under the honorary wing of the Royal family. The title of Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleet was presented to the Prince of Wales.
Once there was a time when every corner of the Abbey Church was alive with priests offering the holy Sacrifice, with communicants approaching the Table of the Lord, with penitents frequenting the tribunal of penance, with worshippers kneeling before this shrine or that, as their devotion led them: when the walls were clothed with gorgeous colour, and the atmosphere was fragrant with incense, and the twilight of the chapels was lit up [11/12] with lamps and votive tapers, standing out against the dusk like flaming sheaves of golden stars, and the tranquil spirit of prayer brooded over all. Now bareness, coldness, and deadness reign everywhere, except perhaps in the Sanctuary, and in the chapels of the Confessor and of Henry VII, where the altars have been restored. The murmur of the Rosary is replaced by the ceaseless tramp and chatter of thousands of tourists: from the altarless chapels is heard, not the voice of the sacrificing priest, but the bawl of the verger explaining the details of the vaulting to his flock of trippers. And the Blessed Sacrament, once enthroned in its hanging pyx over the high altar, is gone; the Shekinah [12/13] has been banished from the mercy-seat, the soul of the great building has fled. Little wonder that it is not found necessary to open the church at 5 a.m. or to keep it open till 10 p.m., for the benefit of would-be worshippers; little wonder that we see a notice proclaiming that one of the smallest and gloomiest chapels is "reserved for private devotion," and implying thereby that the rest of the building is kept open merely as an interesting architectural monument; little wonder that the whole atmosphere of the church, as it stands at present (and with the exception of those parts which we have specified), is one of paganism, secularity, coldness, and death. 041b061a72