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Title: Lippincott's Magazine, December 1878
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lippincott's Magazine, December 1878" ***

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  LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE

  OF

  _POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE_.


  DECEMBER, 1878.


  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1878,
  by J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO., in the Office of the
  Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



DANUBIAN DAYS.


[Illustration: COSTUMES AT PESTH.]


If it were not for the people, the journey by steamer from Belgrade to
Pesth would be rather unromantic. When the Servian capital is reached in
ascending the great stream from Galatz and Rustchuk, the picturesque
cliffs, the mighty forests, the moss-grown ruins overhanging the
rushing waters, are all left behind. Belgrade is not very imposing. It
lies along a low line of hills bordering the Sava and the Danube, and
contains only a few edifices which are worthy even of the epithet
creditable. The white pinnacle from which it takes its name--for the
city grouped around the fort was once called _Beograd_ ("white
city")--now looks grimy and gloomy. The Servians have placed the cannon
which they took from the Turks in the recent war on the ramparts, and
have become so extravagantly vain in view of their exploits that their
conceit is quite painful to contemplate. Yet it is impossible to avoid
sympathizing to some extent with this little people, whose lot has been
so hard and whose final emancipation has been so long in arriving. The
intense affection which the Servian manifests for his native land is
doubtless the result of the struggles and the sacrifices which he has
been compelled to make in order to remain in possession of it. One day
he has been threatened by the Austrian or the jealous and unreasonable
Hungarian: another he has received news that the Turks were marching
across his borders, burning, plundering and devastating. There is
something peculiarly pathetic in the lot of these small Danubian states.
Nearly every one of them has been the cause of combats in which its
inhabitants have shed rivers of blood before they could obtain even a
fragment of such liberty and peace as have long been the possessions of
Switzerland and Belgium. It is not surprising that the small countries
which once formed part of Turkey-in-Europe are anxious to grow larger
and stronger by annexation of territory and consolidation of
populations. They are tired of being feeble: it is not amusing. Servia
once expected that she would be allowed to gain a considerable portion
of Bosnia, her neighbor province, but the Austrians are there, and would
speedily send forces to Belgrade if it were for a moment imagined that
Prince Milan and his counsellors were still greedy for Serapevo and
other fat towns of the beautiful Bosnian lands. Now and then, when a
Servian burgher has had an extra flask of Negotin, he vapors about
meeting the Austrians face to face and driving them into the Sava; but
he never mentions it when he is in a normal condition.

[Illustration: SOPHIA.]

The country which Servia has won from the Turks in the neighborhood of
Nisch, and the quaint old city of Nisch itself, were no meagre prizes,
and ought to content the ambition of the young prince for some time. It
was righteous that the Servians should possess Nisch, and that the Turks
should be driven out by violence. The cruel and vindictive barbarian had
done everything that he could to make himself feared and loathed by the
Servians. To this day, not far from one of the principal gates of the
city, on the Pirot road, stands the "Skull Tower," in the existence of
which, I suppose, an English Tory would refuse to believe, just as he
denied his credence to the story of the atrocities at Batak. The four
sides of this tower are completely covered, as with a barbarous mosaic,
with the skulls of Servians slain by their oppressors in the great
combat of 1809. The Turks placed here but a few of their trophies, for
they slaughtered thousands, while the tower's sides could accommodate
only nine hundred and fifty-two skulls. It is much to the credit of the
Servians that when they took Nisch in 1877 they wreaked no vengeance on
the Mussulman population, but simply compelled them to give up their
arms, and informed them that they could return to their labors. The
presence of the Servians at Nisch has already been productive of good:
decent roads from that point to Sophia are already in process of
construction, and the innumerable brigands who swarmed along the
country-side have been banished or killed. Sophia still lies basking in
the mellow sunlight, lazily refusing to be cleansed or improved. Nowhere
else on the border-line of the Orient is there a town which so admirably
illustrates the reckless and stupid negligence of the Turk. Sophia looks
enchanting from a distance, but when one enters its narrow streets,
choked with rubbish and filled with fetid smells, one is only too glad
to retire hastily. It would take a quarter of a century to make Sophia
clean. All round the city are scattered ancient tumuli filled with the
remains of the former lords of the soil, and they are almost as
attractive as the hovels in which live the people of to-day. What a
desolate waste the Turk has been allowed to make of one of the finest
countries in Europe! He must be thrust out before improvement can come
in. Lamartine, who was one of the keenest observers that ever set foot
in Turkey, truly said "that civilization, which is so fine in its proper
place, would prove a mortal poison to Islamism. Civilization cannot live
where the Turks are: it will wither away and perish more quickly
whenever it is brought near them. With it, if you could acclimate it in
Turkey, you could not make Europeans, you could not make Christians: you
would simply unmake Turks."

[Illustration: BANKS OF THE DANUBE NEAR SEMLIN.]

The enemies of progress and of the "Christian dogs" are receding, and
railways and sanitary improvements will come when they are gone.
Belgrade was a wretched town when the Turks had it: now it is civilized.
Its history is romantic and picturesque, although its buildings are not.
Servia's legends and the actual recitals of the adventurous wars which
have occurred within her limits would fill volumes. The White City has
been famous ever since the Ottoman conquest. Its dominant position at
the junction of two great rivers, at the frontier of Christian Europe,
at a time when turbans were now and then seen in front of the walls of
Vienna, gave it a supreme importance. The Turks exultingly named it "the
Gate of the Holy War." Thence it was that they sallied forth on
incursions through the fertile plains where now the Hungarian shepherd
leads his flock and plays upon his wooden pipe, undisturbed by the
bearded infidel. The citadel was fought over until its walls cracked
beneath the successive blows of Christian and Mussulman. Suleiman the
Lawgiver, the elector of Bavaria, Eugene of Savoy, have trod the
ramparts which frown on the Danube's broad current. The Austrians have
many memories of the old fortress: they received it in 1718 by the
treaty of Passarowitz, but gave it up in 1749, to take it back again in
1789. The treaty of Sistova--an infamy which postponed the liberation
of the suffering peoples in Turkey-in-Europe for nearly a hundred
years--compelled the Austrians once more to yield it, this time to the
Turks. In this century how often has it been fought over--from the time
of the heroic Kara George, the Servian liberator, to the bloody riots in
our days which resulted in driving Mussulmans definitely from the
territory!

[Illustration: VILLAGE NEAR SEMLIN.]

Everywhere along the upper Servian banks of the Danube traces of the old
epoch are disappearing. The national costume, which was graceful, and
often very rich, is yielding before the prosaic--the ugly garments
imported from Jewish tailoring establishments in Vienna and Pesth. The
horseman with his sack-coat, baggy velvet trousers and slouch hat looks
not unlike a rough rider along the shores of the Mississippi River. In
the interior patriarchal costumes and customs are still preserved. On
the Sava river-steamers the people from towns in the shadows of the
primeval forests which still cover a large portion of the country are to
be found, and they are good studies for an artist. The women, with
golden ducats braided in their hair; the priests, with tall brimless
hats and long yellow robes; the men, with round skull-caps, leathern
girdles with knives in them, and waistcoats ornamented with hundreds of
glittering buttons,--are all unconscious of the change which is creeping
in by the Danube, and to which they will presently find themselves
submitting. The railway will take away the lingering bits of romance
from Servia; the lovely and lonely monasteries high among the grand
peaks in the mountain-ranges will be visited by tourists from Paris, who
will scrawl their names upon the very altars; and Belgrade will be rich
in second-class caravanserais kept by Moses and Abraham. After the
Austrians who have gone over into Bosnia will naturally follow a crowd
of adventurers from Croatia and from the neighborhood of Pesth, and it
would not be surprising should many of them find it for their interest
to settle in Servia, although the government would probably endeavor to
keep them out. Should the movement which Lord Beaconsfield is pleased to
call the "Panslavic conspiracy" assume alarming proportions within a
short time, the Servians would be in great danger of losing, for years
at least, their autonomy.

The arrival by night at Belgrade, coming from below, is interesting, and
one has a vivid recollection ever afterward of swarms of barefooted
coal-heavers, clad in coarse sacking, rushing tumultuously up and down a
gang-plank, as negroes do when wooding up on a Southern river; of
shouting and swaggering Austrian customs officials, clad in gorgeous
raiment, but smoking cheap cigars; of Servian gendarmes emulating the
bluster and surpassing the rudeness of the Austrians; of Turks in
transit from the Constantinople boat to the craft plying to Bosnian
river-ports; of Hungarian peasants in white felt jackets embroidered
with scarlet thread, or mayhap even with yellow; and of various Bohemian
beggars, whose swart faces remind one that he is still in the
neighborhood of the East. I had on one occasion, while a steamer was
lying at Belgrade, time to observe the manners of the humbler sort of
folk in a species of cabaret near the river-side and hard by the erratic
structure known as the custom-house. There was a serious air upon the
faces of the men which spoke well for their characters. Each one seemed
independent, and to a certain extent careless, of his neighbor's
opinion. It would have been impossible, without some knowledge of the
history of the country, to have supposed that these people, or even
their ancestors, had ever been oppressed. Gayety did not prevail, nor is
there anywhere among the Danubian Slavs a tendency to the innocent and
spontaneous jollity so common in some sections of Europe. The Servian
takes life seriously. I was amused to see that each one of this numerous
company of swineherds or farmers, who had evidently come in to Belgrade
to market, drank his wine as if it were a duty, and on leaving saluted
as seriously as if he were greeting a distinguished company gathered to
do him honor. That such men are cowards, as the English would have us
believe, is impossible; and in 1877 they showed that the slander was
destitute of even the slightest foundation in fact.

Morals in Belgrade among certain classes perhaps leave something to
desire in the way of strictness; but the Danubian provinces are not
supposed to be the abodes of all the virtues and graces. The Hungarians
could not afford to throw stones at the Servians on the score of
morality, and the Roumanians certainly would not venture to try the
experiment. In the interior of Servia the population is pure, and the
patriarchal manner in which the people live tends to preserve them so.
There is as much difference between the sentiment in Belgrade and that
in the provinces as would be found between Paris and a French rural
district.

But let us drop details concerning Servia, for the brave little country
demands more serious attention than can be given to it in one or two
brief articles. The boat which bears me away from the Servian capital
has come hither from Semlin, the Austrian town on the other side of the
Sava River. It is a jaunty and comfortable craft, as befits such vessels
as afford Servians their only means of communication with the outer
world. If any but Turks had been squatted in Bosnia there would have
been many a smart little steamer running down the Sava and around up the
Danube; but the baleful Mussulman has checked all enterprise wherever he
has had any foothold. We go slowly, cleaving the dull-colored tide,
gazing, as we sit enthroned in easy-chairs on the upper deck, out upon
the few public institutions of Belgrade--the military college and the
handsome road leading to the garden of Topschidere, where the
Lilliputian court has its tiny summer residence. Sombre memories
overhang this "Cannoneer's Valley," this Topschidere, where Michael, the
son and successor of good Milosch as sovereign prince of the nation,
perished by assassination in 1868. In a few minutes we are whisked round
a corner, and a high wooded bluff conceals the White City from our view.

The Servian women--and more especially those belonging to the lower
classes--have a majesty and dignity which are very imposing. One is
inclined at first to believe these are partially due to assumption, but
he speedily discovers that such is not the case. Blanqui, the French
revolutionist, who made a tour through Servia in 1840, has given the
world a curious and interesting account of the conversations which he
held with Servian women on the subject of the oppression from which the
nation was suffering. Everywhere among the common people he found virile
sentiments expressed by the women, and the princess Lionbitza, he said,
was "the prey of a kind of holy fever." M. Blanqui described her as a
woman fifty years old, with a martial, austere yet dreamy physiognomy,
with strongly-marked features, a proud and sombre gaze, and her head
crowned with superb gray hair braided and tied with red ribbon. "Ah!"
said this woman to him, with an accent in her voice which startled him,
"if all these men round about us here were not women, _or if they were
women like me_, we should soon be free from our tormentors!" It was the
fiery words of such women as this which awoke the Servian men from the
lethargy into which they were falling after Kara George had exhausted
himself in heroic efforts, and which sent them forth anew to fight for
their liberties.

[Illustration: THE OXEN OF THE DANUBE.]

At night, when the moon is good enough to shine, the voyage up the
river has charms, and tempts one to remain on deck all night, in spite
of the sharp breezes which sweep across the stream. The harmonious
accents of the gentle Servian tongue echo all round you: the song of
the peasants grouped together, lying in a heap like cattle to keep
warm, comes occasionally to your ears; and if there be anything
disagreeable, it is the loud voices and brawling manners of some
Austrian troopers on transfer. From time to time the boat slows her
speed as she passes through lines or streets of floating mills
anchored securely in the river. Each mill--a small house with sloping
roof, and with so few windows that one wonders how the millers ever
manage to see their grist--is built upon two boats. The musical hum
of its great wheel is heard for a long distance, and warns one of the
approach toward these pacific industries. The miller is usually on the
lookout, and sometimes, when a large steamer is coming up, and he
anticipates trouble from the "swell" which she may create, he may be
seen madly gesticulating and dancing upon his narrow platform in a
frenzy of anxiety for the fruits of his toil. A little village on a
neck of land or beneath a grove shows where the wives and children of
these millers live. The mills are a source of prosperity for thousands
of humble folk, and of provocation to hurricanes of profanity on the
part of the Austrian, Italian and Dalmatian captains who are compelled
to pass them. Stealing through an aquatic town of this kind at
midnight, with the millers all holding out their lanterns, with the
steamer's bell ringing violently, and with rough voices crying out
words of caution in at least four languages, produces a curious if not
a comical effect on him who has the experience for the first time.

[Illustration: FISHERMEN'S HUTS ON THE DANUBE.]

Peaceable as the upper Danube shores look, Arcadian as seems the
simplicity of their populations, the people are torn by contending
passions, and are watched by the lynx-eyed authorities of two or three
governments. The agents of the _Omladina_, the mysterious society which
interests itself in the propagation of Pan-slavism, have numerous
powerful stations in the Austrian towns, and do much to discontent the
Slavic subjects of Francis Joseph with the rule of the Hapsburgs. There
have also been instances of conspiracy against the Obrenovich dynasty,
now in power in Servia, and these have frequently resulted in armed
incursions from the Hungarian side of the stream to the other bank,
where a warm reception was not long awaited. In the humblest hamlet
there are brains hot with ambitious dreams daringly planning some scheme
which is too audacious to be realized.

The traveller can scarcely believe this when, as the boat stops at some
little pier which is half buried under vines and blossoms, he sees the
population indulging in an innocent festival with the aid of red and
white wine, a few glasses of beer, and bread and cheese. Families
mounted in huge yellow chariots drawn by horses ornamented with
gayly-decorated harnesses, come rattling into town and get down before a
weatherbeaten inn, the signboard above which testifies to respect and
love for some emperor of long ago. Youths and maidens wander arm in arm
by the foaming tide or sit in the little arbors crooning songs and
clinking glasses. Officers strut about, calling each other loudly by
their titles or responding to the sallies of those of their comrades who
fill the after-deck of the steamer. The village mayor in a braided
jacket, the wharfmaster in semi-military uniform, and the agent of the
steamboat company, who appears to have a remarkable penchant for gold
lace and buttons, render the throng still more motley. There is also, in
nine cases out of ten, a band of tooting musicians, and as the boat
moves away national Hungarian and Austrian airs are played. He would be
indeed a surly fellow who should not lift his cap on these occasions,
and he would be repaid for his obstinacy by the very blackest of looks.

Carlowitz and Slankamen are two historic spots which an Hungarian, if he
feels kindly disposed toward a stranger, will point out to him. The
former is known to Americans by name only, as a rule, and that because
they have seen it upon bottle-labels announcing excellent wine; but the
town, with its ancient cathedral, its convents, and its "chapel of
peace" built on the site of the structure in which was signed the noted
peace of 1699, deserves a visit. Rumor says that the head-quarters of
the Omladina are very near this town, so that the foreign visitor must
not be astonished if the local police seem uncommonly solicitous for his
welfare while he remains. At Slankamen in 1691 the illustrious margrave
of Baden administered such a thrashing to the Turks that they fled in
the greatest consternation, and it was long before they rallied again.

[Illustration: VIEW OF MOHACZ.]

Thus, threading in and out among the floating mills, pushing through
reedy channels in the midst of which she narrowly escapes crushing the
boats of fishers, and carefully avoiding the moving banks of sand which
render navigation as difficult as on the Mississippi, the boat reaches
Peterwardein, high on a mighty mass of rock, and Neusatz opposite,
connected with its neighbor fortress-town by a bridge of boats. Although
within the limits of the Austria-Hungarian empire, Neusatz is almost
entirely Servian in aspect and population, and Peterwardein, which marks
the military confines of Slavonia, has a large number of Servian
inhabitants. It was the proximity and the earnestness in their cause of
these people which induced the Hungarians to agree to the military
occupation of Bosnia and the Herzegovina. At one time the obstinate
Magyars would have liked to refuse their adhesion to the decisions of
the Berlin Congress, but they soon thought better of that. Peterwardein
is the last really imposing object on the Danube before reaching Pesth.
It is majestic and solemn, with its gloomy castle, its garrison which
contains several thousand soldiers, and its prison of state. The
remembrance that Peter the Hermit there put himself at the head of the
army with which the Crusades were begun adds to the mysterious and
powerful fascination of the place. I fancied that I could see the lean
and fanatical priest preaching before the assembled thousands, hurling
his words down upon them from some lofty pinnacle. No one can blame the
worthy Peter for undertaking his mission if the infidels treated
Christians in the Orient as badly then as they do to-day. Centuries
after Peter slept in consecrated dust the Turks sat down before
Peterwardein to besiege it, but they had only their labor for their
pains, for Prince Eugene drove them away. This was in 1716. It seems
hard to believe that a hostile force of Turks was powerful enough to
wander about Christendom a little more than a century and a half ago.

After passing Peterwardein and Neusatz the boat's course lies through
the vast Hungarian plain, which reminds the American of some of the rich
lands in the Mississippi bottom. Here is life, lusty, crude, seemingly
not of Europe, but rather of the extreme West or East. As far as the eye
can reach on either hand stretch the level acres, dotted with herds of
inquisitive swine, with horses wild and beautiful snorting and
gambolling as they hear the boat's whistle, and peasants in white linen
jackets and trousers and immense black woollen hats. Fishers by hundreds
balance in their little skiffs on the small whirlpool of waves made by
the steamer, and sing gayly. For a stretch of twenty miles the course
may lie near an immense forest, where millions of stout trees stand in
regular rows, where thousands of oaks drop acorns every year to fatten
thousands upon thousands of pigs. Cattle stray in these woods, and
sometimes the peasant-farmer has a veritable hunt before he can find his
own. Afar in the wooded recesses of Slavonia many convents of the Greek
religion are hidden. Their inmates lead lives which have little or no
relation to anything in the nineteenth century. For them wars and rumors
of wars, Russian aggression, Austrian annexation, conspiracies by Kara
Georgewitch, Hungarian domination in the Cabinet at Vienna, and all such
trivial matters, do not exist. The members of these religious
communities are not like the more active members of the clergy of their
Church, who unquestionably have much to do with promoting war and
supporting it when it is in aid of their nationality and their religion.

One of the most remarkable sights in this region is a herd of the noble
"cattle of the steppes," the beasts in which every Hungarian takes so
much pride. These cattle are superb creatures, and as they stand eying
the passers-by one regrets that he has not more time in which to admire
their exquisite white skins, their long symmetrical horns and their
shapely limbs. They appear to be good-tempered, but it would not be wise
to risk one's self on foot in their immediate neighborhood.

As for the fishermen, some of them seem to prefer living on the water
rather than on dry land. Indeed, the marshy borders of the Danube are
not very healthy, and it is not astonishing that men do not care to make
their homes on these low lands. There are several aquatic towns between
Pesth and the point at which the Drava (or Drau), a noble river, empties
its waters into the Danube. Apatin is an assemblage of huts which appear
to spring from the bosom of the current, but as the steamer approaches
one sees that these huts are built upon piles driven firmly into the
river-bed, and between these singular habitations are other piles upon
which nets are stretched. So the fisherman, without going a hundred
yards from his own door, traps the wily denizens of the Danube, prepares
them for market, and at night goes peacefully to sleep in his rough bed,
lulled by the rushing of the strong current beneath him. I am bound to
confess that the fishermen of Apatin impressed me as being rather
rheumatic, but perhaps this was only a fancy.

Besdan, with its low hills garnished with windmills and its shores lined
with silvery willows, is the only other point of interest, save Mohacz,
before reaching Pesth. Hour after hour the traveller sees the same
panorama of steppes covered with swine, cattle and horses, with
occasional farms--their outbuildings protected against brigands and
future wars by stout walls--and with pools made by inundations of the
impetuous Danube. Mohacz is celebrated for two tremendous battles in the
past, and for a fine cathedral, a railway and a coaling-station at
present. Louis II., king of Hungary, was there undone by Suleiman in
1526; and there, a hundred and fifty years later, did the Turks come to
sorrow by the efforts of the forces under Charles IV. of Lorraine.

[Illustration: BRIDGE OF BUDA-PESTH.]

Just as I was beginning to believe that the slow-going steamer on which
I had embarked my fortunes was held back by enchantment--for we were
half a day ascending the stream from Mohacz--we came in sight of a huge
cliff almost inaccessible from one side, and a few minutes later could
discern the towers of Buda and the mansions of Pesth. While nearing the
landing-place and hastening hither and yon to look after various small
bundles and boxes, I had occasion to address an Hungarian gentleman. In
the course of some conversation which followed I remarked that Pesth
seemed a thriving place, and that one would hardly have expected to find
two such flourishing towns as Vienna and Pesth so near each other.

"Oh," said he with a little sneer which his slight foreign accent (he
was speaking French) rendered almost ludicrous, "Vienna is a smart town,
but it is nothing to this!" And he pointed with pride to his native
city.

Although I could not exactly agree with this extravagant estimate of the
extent of Pesth, I could not deny that it was vastly superior to my idea
of it. When one arrives there from the south-east, after many wanderings
among semi-barbaric villages and little cities on the outskirts of
civilization, he finds Pesth very impressive. The Hungarian shepherds
and the boatmen who ply between the capital and tiny forts below fancy
that it is the end of the world. They have vaguely heard of Vienna, but
their patriotism is so intense and their round of life so circumscribed
that they never succeed in forming a definite idea of its proportions or
its location. Communication between the two chief towns of the
Austria-Hungarian empire is also much less frequent than one would
imagine. The Hungarians go but little to Vienna, even the members of the
nobility preferring to consecrate their resources to the support of the
splendors of their own city rather than to contribute them to the
Austrian metropolis. Seven hours' ride in what the Austrians are bold
enough to term an express-train covers the distance between Vienna and
Pesth, yet there seems to be an abyss somewhere on the route which the
inhabitants are afraid of. Pride, a haughty determination not to submit
to centralization, and content with their surroundings make the
Hungarians sparing of intercourse with their Austrian neighbors. "We
send them prime ministers, and now and then we allow them a glimpse of
some of our beauties in one of their palaces, but the latter does not
happen very often," once said an Hungarian friend to me.

An American who should arrive in Pesth fancying that he was about to see
a specimen of the dilapidated towns of "effete and decaying Europe"
would find himself vastly mistaken. The beautiful and costly modern
buildings on every principal street, the noble bridges across the vast
river, the fine railway-stations, the handsome theatres, the palatial
hotels, would explain to him why it is that the citizens of Pesth speak
of their town as the "Chicago of the East." There was a time when it
really seemed as if Pesth would rival, if not exceed, Chicago in the
extent of her commerce, the vivacity and boldness of her enterprises and
the rapid increase of her population. Austria and Hungary were alike the
prey of a feverish agitation which pervaded all classes. In a single day
at Vienna as many as thirty gigantic stock companies were formed;
hundreds of superb structures sprang up monthly; people who had been
beggars but a few months before rode in carriages and bestowed gold by
handfuls on whoever came first. The wind or some mysterious agency which
no one could explain brought this financial pestilence to Pesth, where
it raged until the _Krach_--the Crash, as the Germans very properly call
it--came. After the extraordinary activity which had prevailed there
came gloom and stagnation; but at last, as in America, business in Pesth
and in Hungary generally is gradually assuming solidity and contains
itself within proper bounds. The exciting period had one beneficial
feature: it made Pesth a handsome city. There are no quays in Europe
more substantial and elegant than those along the Danube in the
Hungarian capital, and no hotels, churches and mansions more splendid
than those fronting on these same quays. At eventide, when the whole
population comes out for an airing and loiters by the parapets which
overlook the broad rushing river, when innumerable lights gleam from the
boats anchored on either bank, and when the sound of music and song is
heard from half a hundred windows, no city can boast a spectacle more
animated. At ten o'clock the streets are deserted. Pesth is exceedingly
proper and decorous as soon as the darkness has fallen, although I do
remember to have seen a torchlight procession there during the
Russo-Turkish war. The inhabitants were so enthusiastic over the arrival
of a delegation of Mussulman students from Constantinople that they put
ten thousand torches in line and marched until a late hour, thinking,
perhaps, that the lurid light on the horizon might be seen as far as
Vienna, and might serve as a warning to the Austrian government not to
go too far in its sympathy with Russia.

[Illustration: CITADEL OF BUDA]

Buda-Pesth is the name by which the Hungarians know their capital, and
Buda is by no means the least important portion of the city. It occupies
the majestic and rugged hill directly opposite Pesth--a hill so steep
that a tunnel containing cars propelled upward and downward by machinery
has been arranged to render Buda easy of access. Where the hill slopes
away southward there are various large villages crowded with Servians,
Croatians and Low Hungarians, who huddle together in a rather
uncivilized manner. A fortress where there were many famous fights and
sieges in the times of the Turks occupies a summit a little higher than
Buda, so that in case of insurrection a few hot shot could be dropped
among the inhabitants. Curiously enough, however, there are thousands of
loyal Austrians, German by birth, living in Buda--or Ofen, as the
Teutons call it--whereas in Pesth, out of the two hundred thousand
inhabitants, scarcely three thousand are of Austrian birth. As long as
troops devoted to Francis Joseph hold Buda there is little chance for
the citizens of Pesth to succeed in revolt. Standing on the terrace of
the rare old palace on Buda's height, I looked down on Pesth with the
same range of vision that I should have had in a balloon. Every quarter
of the city would be fully exposed to an artillery fire from these
gigantic hills.

Buda is not rich in the modern improvements which render Pesth so
noticeable. I found no difficulty in some of the nooks and corners of
this quaint town in imagining myself back in the Middle Ages. Tottering
churches, immensely tall houses overhanging yawning and precipitous
alleys, markets set on little shelves in the mountain, hovels protesting
against sliding down into the valley, whither they seemed inevitably
doomed to go, succeeded one another in rapid panorama. Here were
costume, theatrical effect, artistic grouping: it was like Ragusa,
Spalatro and Sebenico. Old and young women sat on the ground in the
markets, as our negroes do in Lynchburg in Virginia: they held up fruit
and vegetables and shrieked out the prices in a dialect which seemed a
compound of Hungarian and German. Austrian soldiers and Hungarian
recruits, the former clad in brown jackets and blue hose, the latter in
buff doublets and red trousers, and wearing feathers in their caps,
marched and countermarched, apparently going nowhere in particular, but
merely keeping up discipline by means of exercise.

The emperor comes often to the fine palace on Buda hill, and sallies
forth from it to hunt with some of the nobles on their immense estates.
The empress is passionately fond of Hungary, and spends no small portion
of her time there. The Hungarians receive this consideration from their
sovereign lady as very natural, and speak of her as a person of great
good sense. The German and Slavic citizens of Austria say that there are
but two failings of which Her Imperial Majesty can be accused--she loves
the Hungarians and she is too fond of horses. Nothing delights the
citizens of Pesth so much as to find that the Slavs are annoyed, for
there is no love lost between Slav and Magyar. A natural antipathy has
been terribly increased by the fear on the part of Hungary that she may
lose her influence in the composite empire one day, owing to the Slavic
regeneration.

[Illustration: MUSEUM AND SEAT OF THE DIET AT PESTH.]

At Pesth they do not speak of the "beautiful blue Danube," because there
the river ceases to be of that color, which Johann Strauss has so
enthusiastically celebrated. But between Vienna and Pesth the blue is
clearly perceptible, and the current is lovely even a few miles from the
islands in the stream near the Hungarian capital. The Margarethen-Insel,
which is but a short distance above Pesth, is a little paradise. It has
been transformed by private munificence into a rich garden full of
charming shaded nooks and rare plants and flowers. In the middle of this
pleasure-ground are extensive bath-houses and mineral springs. Morning,
noon and night gypsy bands make seductive music, and the notes of their
melodies recall the strange lands far away down the stream--Roumania,
the hills and valleys of the Banat and the savage Servian mountains.
Along the river-side there are other resorts in which, in these days,
when business has not yet entirely recovered from the _Krach_, there are
multitudes of loungers. In midsummer no Hungarian need go farther than
these baths of Pesth to secure rest and restore health. The Romans were
so pleased with the baths in the neighborhood that they founded a colony
on the site of Buda-Pesth, although they had no particular strategic
reasons for doing so. As you sit in the pleasant shade you will probably
hear the inspiring notes of the _Rakoczy_, the march of which the
Hungarians are so passionately fond, which recalls the souvenirs of
their revolutions and awakens a kind of holy exaltation in their hearts.
The _Rakoczy_ has been often enough fantastically described: some hear
in it the gallop of horsemen, the clashing of arms, the songs of women
and the cries of wounded men. A clever Frenchman has even written two
columns of analysis of the march, and he found in it nearly as much as
there is in Goethe's _Faust_. These harmless fancies are of little use
in aiding to a veritable understanding of the wonderful march. It
suffices to say that one cannot hear it played, even by a strolling band
of gypsies, without a strange fluttering of the heart, an excitement and
an enthusiasm which are beyond one's control. A nation with such a
_Marseillaise_ as the _Rakoczy_ certainly ought to go far in time of
war.

The Hungarians are a martial people, and are fond of reciting their
exploits. Every old guide in Pesth will tell you, in a variegated
English which will provoke your smiles, all the incidents of the
Hungarian revolution, the events of 1848 and 1849--how the Austrians
were driven across the great bridge over the Danube, etc.--with infinite
gusto. The humblest wharf-laborer takes a vital interest in the welfare
of his country, even if he is not intelligent enough to know from what
quarter hostilities might be expected. There is a flash in an
Hungarian's eye when he speaks of the events of 1848 which is equalled
only by the lightnings evoked from his glance by the magic echoes of the
_Rakoczy_.

The peasantry round about Pesth, and the poor wretches, Slavic and
Hungarian, who work on the streets, seem in sad plight. A friend one day
called my attention to a number of old women, most miserably clad,
barefooted and bent with age and infirmities, carrying stones and
bricks to a new building. The spectacle was enough to make one's heart
bleed, but my friend assured me that the old women were happy, and that
they lived on bread and an occasional onion, with a little water for
drink or sometimes a glass of adulterated white wine. The men working
with them looked even worse fed and more degraded than the women. In the
poor quarters of Pesth, and more especially those inhabited by the Jews,
the tenements are exceedingly filthy, and the aroma is so uninviting
that one hastens away from the streets where these rookeries abound. The
utmost civility, not to say servility, may always be expected of the
lower classes: some of them seize one's hand and kiss it as the Austrian
servants do. Toward strangers Hungarians of all ranks are unfailingly
civil and courteous. A simple letter of introduction will procure one a
host of attentions which he would not have the right to expect in
England or America.

The mound of earth on the bank of the Danube near the quays of Pesth
represents the soil of every Hungarian province; and from that mound the
emperor of Austria, when he was crowned king of Hungary, was forced to
shake his sword against the four quarters of the globe, thus signifying
his intention of defending the country from any attack whatsoever. Thus
far he has succeeded in doing it, and in keeping on good terms with the
legislative bodies of the country, without whose co-operation he cannot
exercise his supreme authority. These bodies are a chamber of peers,
recruited from the prelates, counts and such aristocrats as sit there by
right of birth, and a second chamber, which is composed of four hundred
and thirteen deputies elected from as many districts for the term of
three years, and thirty-four delegates from the autonomous province of
Croatia-Slavonia. The entrance to the diet is guarded by a
frosty-looking servitor in an extravagant Hungarian uniform, jacket and
hose profusely covered with brilliant braids, and varnished jack-boots.
The deputies when in session are quiet, orderly and dignified, save
when the word "Russian" is pronounced. It is a word which arouses all
their hatred.

Buda-Pesth is about to undergo a formidable series of improvements
notwithstanding the illusions which were dispersed by the _Krach_. One
of the most conspicuous and charming municipal displays in the Paris
Exposition is the group of charts and plans sent from Pesth. The patriot
Deak is to have a colossal monument; the quays are to be rendered more
substantial against inundations than they are at present; and many
massive public edifices are to be erected. The Danube is often unruly,
and once nearly destroyed the city of Pesth, also doing much damage
along the slopes of Buda. If an inundation should come within the next
two or three years millions of florins' worth of property might be swept
away in a single night. The opera, the principal halls of assembly and
the hotels of Pesth will challenge comparison with those of any town of
two hundred thousand population in the world; and the Grand Hotel
Hungaria has few equals in cities of the largest size.

[Illustration: SLAV WOMAN IN PESTH.]

The Hungarians are a handsome race, and the people of Pesth and vicinity
have especial claims to attention for their beauty. The men of the
middle and upper classes are tall, slender, graceful, and their features
are exceedingly regular and pleasing. The women are so renowned that a
description of their charms is scarcely necessary. Beautiful as are the
Viennese ladies in their early youth, they cannot rival their
fellow-subjects of Hungary. The Austrian woman grows fat, matronly and
rather coarse as she matures: the Hungarian lady of forty is still as
willowy, graceful and capricious as she was at twenty. The
peasant-women, poor things! are ugly, because they work from morning
till night in the vineyards, toiling until their backs are broken. The
wine which the beauties drink costs their humbler sisters their
life-blood, their grace, their happiness. The sunshine of a thousand
existences is imprisoned in the vintages of Pressburg and Carlowitz.
Poor, homely toilers in the fields! Poor human creatures transformed
into beasts of burden! The Hungarian nation owes it to itself to
emancipate these struggling women and show them the way to better
things.

EDWARD KING.



"FOR PERCIVAL."

CHAPTER XLVIII ENGAGEMENTS--HOSTILE AND OTHERWISE.

[Illustration]


The fairest season of the year, the debatable ground between spring and
summer, had come round once more. There were leaves on the trees and
flowers in the grass. The sunshine was golden and full, not like the
bleak brightness of March. The winds were warm, the showers soft.
Percival, always keenly affected by such influences, felt as if a new
life had come to him with the spring. Now that the evenings had grown
long and light, he could escape into the country, breathe a purer air
and wander in fields and lanes. And as he wandered, musing, it seemed to
him that he had awakened from a dream.

He looked back upon the past year, and he was more than half inclined to
call himself a fool. He had taken up work for which he was not fit. He
could see that now. He knew very well that his life was almost
intolerable, and that it would never be more tolerable unless help came
from without. He could never grow accustomed to his drudgery. He could
work honestly, but he could never put his heart into it. And even if he
could have displayed ten times as much energy, if his aptitude for
business had been ten times as great, if Mr. Ferguson had estimated him
so highly as to take him as articled clerk, if he had passed all his
examinations and been duly admitted, if the brightest possibilities in
such a life as his had become realities and he had attained at last to a
small share in the business,--what would be the end of this most
improbable success? Merely that he would have to spend his whole life in
Brenthill absorbed in law. Now, the law was a weariness to him, and he
loathed Brenthill. Yet he had voluntarily accepted a life which could
offer him no higher prize than such a fate as this, when Godfrey Hammond
or Mrs. Middleton, or even old Hardwicke, would no doubt have helped him
to something better.

Certainly he had been a fool; and yet, while he realized this truth, he
sincerely respected--I might almost say he admired--his own folly. He
had been sick of dependence, and he had gone down at once to the bottom
of everything, taken his stand on firm ground and conquered independence
for himself. He had gained the precious knowledge that he could earn his
own living by the labor of his hands. He might have been a fool to
reject the help that would have opened some higher and less distasteful
career to him, yet if he had accepted it he would never have known the
extent of his own powers. He would have been a hermit-crab still, fitted
with another shell by the kindness of his friends. Had he clearly
understood what he was doing when he went to Brenthill, it was very
likely that he might never have gone. He was almost glad that he had not
understood.

And now, having conquered in the race, could he go back and ask for the
help which he had once refused? Hardly. The life in which we first gain
independence may be stern and ugly, the independence itself--when we
gather in our harvest--may have a rough and bitter taste, yet it will
spoil the palate for all other flavors. They will seem sickly sweet
after its wholesome austerity. Neither did Percival feel any greater
desire for a career of any kind than he had felt a year earlier when he
talked over his future life with Godfrey Hammond. If he were asked what
was his day-dream, his castle in the air, the utmost limit of his
earthly wishes, he would answer now as he would have answered then,
"Brackenhill," dismissing the impossible idea with a smile even as he
uttered it. Asked what would content him--since we can hardly hope to
draw the highest prize in our life's lottery--he would answer now as
then--to have an assured income sufficient to allow him to wander on the
Continent, to see pictures, old towns, Alps, rivers, blue sky;
wandering, to remain a foreigner all his life, so that there might
always be something a little novel and curious about his food and his
manner of living (things which are apt to grow so hideously commonplace
in the land where one is born), to drink the wine of the country, to
read many poems in verse, in prose, in the scenery around; and through
it all, from first to last, to "dream deliciously."

And yet, even while he felt that his desire was unchanged, he knew that
there was a fresh obstacle between him and its fulfilment. Heaven help
him! had there not been enough before? Was it needful that it should
become clear to him that nowhere on earth could he find the warmth and
the sunlight for which he pined while a certain pair of sad eyes grew
ever sadder and sadder looking out on the murky sky, the smoke, the
dust, the busy industry of Brenthill? How could he go away? Even these
quiet walks of his had pain mixed with their pleasure when he thought
that there was no such liberty for Judith Lisle. Not for her the
cowslips in the upland pastures, the hawthorn in the hedges, the
elm-boughs high against the breezy sky, the first dog-roses pink upon
the briers. Percival turned from them to look at the cloud which hung
ever like a dingy smear above Brenthill, and the more he felt their
loveliness the more he felt her loss.

He had no walk on Sunday mornings. A few months earlier Mr. Clifton of
St. Sylvester's would have claimed him as a convert. Now he was equally
devout, but it was the evangelical minister, Mr. Bradbury of Christ
Church, who saw him week after week a regular attendant, undaunted and
sleepless though the sermon should be divided into seven heads. Mr.
Bradbury preached terribly, in a voice which sometimes died mournfully
away or hissed in a melodramatic whisper, and then rose suddenly in a
threatening cry. Miss Macgregor sat in front of a gallery and looked
down on the top of her pastor's head. The double row of little boys who
were marshalled at her side grew drowsy in the hot weather, blinked
feebly as the discourse progressed, and nodded at the congregation. Now
and then Mr. Bradbury, who was only, as it were, at arm's length, turned
a little, looked up and flung a red-hot denunciation into the front
seats of the gallery. The little boys woke up, heard what was most
likely in store for them on the last day, and sat with eyes wide open
dismally surveying the prospect. But presently the next boy fidgeted, or
a spider let himself down from the roof, or a bird flew past the window,
or a slanting ray of sunlight revealed a multitude of dusty dancing
motes, and the little lads forgot Mr. Bradbury, who had forgotten them
and was busy with somebody else. It might be with the pope: Mr. Bradbury
was fond of providing for the pope. Or perhaps he was wasting his energy
on Percival Thorne, who sat with his head thrown back and his upward
glance just missing the preacher, and was quite undisturbed by his
appeals.

Judith Lisle had accepted the offer of a situation at Miss Macgregor's
with the expectation of being worked to death, only hoping, as she told
Mrs. Barton, that the process would be slow. The hope would not have
been at all an unreasonable one if she had undertaken her task in the
days when she had Bertie to work for. She could have lived through much
when she lived for Bertie. But, losing her brother, the mainspring of
her life seemed broken. One would have said that she had leaned on him,
not he on her, she drooped so pitifully now he was gone. Even Miss
Macgregor noticed that Miss Lisle was delicate, and expressed her strong
disapprobation of such a state of affairs. Mrs. Barton thought Judith
looking very far from well, suggested tonics, and began to consider
whether she might ask her to go to them for her summer holidays. But to
Percival's eyes there was a change from week to week, and he watched her
with terror in his heart. Judith had grown curiously younger during the
last few months. There had been something of a mother's tenderness in
her love for Bertie, which made her appear more than her real age and
gave decision and stateliness to her manner. Now that she was alone, she
was only a girl, silent and shrinking, needing all her strength to
suffer and hide her sorrow. Percival knew that each Sunday, as soon as
she had taken her place, she would look downward to the pew where he
always sat to ascertain if he were there. For a moment he would meet
that quiet gaze, lucid, uncomplaining, but very sad. Then her eyes would
be turned to her book or to the little boys who sat near her, or it
might even be to Mr. Bradbury. The long service would begin, go on, come
to an end. But before she left her place her glance would meet his once
more, as if in gentle farewell until another Sunday should come round.
Percival would not for worlds have failed at that trysting-place, but he
cursed his helplessness. Could he do nothing for Judith but cheer her
through Mr. Bradbury's sermons?

About this time he used deliberately to indulge in an impossible fancy.
His imagination dwelt on their two lives, cramped, dwarfed and fettered.
He had lost his freedom, but it seemed to him that Judith, burdened once
with riches, and later with poverty, never had been free. He looked
forward, and saw nothing in the future but a struggle for existence
which might be prolonged through years of labor and sordid care. Why
were they bound to endure this? Why could they not give up all for just
a few days of happiness? Percival longed intensely for a glimpse of
beauty, for a little space of warmth and love, of wealth and liberty.
Let their life thus blossom together into joy, and he would be content
that it should be, like the flowering of the aloe, followed by swift and
inevitable death. Only let the death be shared like the life! It would
be bitter and terrible to be struck down in their gladness, but if they
had truly lived they might be satisfied to die. Percival used to fancy
what they might do in one glorious, golden, sunlit week, brilliant
against a black background of death. How free they would be to spend all
they possessed without a thought for the future! Nothing could pall upon
them, and he pictured to himself how every sense would be quickened, how
passion would gather strength and tenderness, during those brief days,
and rise to its noblest height to meet the end. His imagination revelled
in the minute details of the picture, adding one by one a thousand
touches of beauty and joy till the dream was lifelike in its loveliness.
He could pass in a moment from his commonplace world to this enchanted
life with Judith. Living alone, and half starving himself in the attempt
to pay his debts, he was in a fit state to see visions and dream dreams.
But they only made his present life more distasteful to him, and the
more he dreamed of Judith the more he felt that he had nothing to offer
her.

He was summoned abruptly from his fairyland one night by the arrival of
Mrs. Bryant. She made her appearance rather suddenly, and sat down on a
chair by the door to have a little chat with her lodger. "I came back
this afternoon," she said. "I didn't tell Lydia: where was the use of
bothering about writing to her? Besides, I could just have a look round,
and see how Emma'd done the work while I was away, and how things had
gone on altogether." She nodded her rusty black cap confidentially at
Percival. It was sprinkled with bugles, which caught the light of his
solitary candle.

"I hope you found all right," he said.

"Pretty well," Mrs. Bryant allowed. "It's a mercy when there's no
illness nor anything of that kind, though, if you'll excuse my saying
it, Mr. Thorne, you ain't looking as well yourself as I should have
liked to see you."

"Oh, I am all right, thank you," said Percival.

Mrs. Bryant shook her head. The different movement brought out quite a
different effect of glancing bugles. "Young people should be careful of
their health," was her profound remark.

"I assure you there's nothing the matter with me."

"Well, well! we'll hope not," she answered, "though you certainly do
look altered, Mr. Thorne, through being thinner in the face and darker
under the eyes."

Percival smiled impatiently.

"What was I saying?" Mrs. Bryant continued. "Oh yes--that there was a
many mercies to be thankful for. To find the house all right, and the
times and times I've dreamed of fire and the engines not to be had, and
woke up shaking so as you'd hardly believe it! And I don't really think
that I've gone to bed hardly one night without wondering whether Lydia
had fastened the door and the little window into the yard, which is not
safe if left open. As regular as clockwork, when the time came round,
I'd mention it to my sister."

Percival sighed briefly, probably pitying the sister. "I think Miss
Bryant has been very careful in fastening everything," he said.

"Well, it does seem so, and very thankful I am. And as I always say when
I go out, 'Waste I _must_ expect, and waste I _do_ expect,' but it's a
mercy when there's no thieving."

"Things will hardly go on quite the same when you are not here to look
after them, Mrs. Bryant."

"No: how should they?" the landlady acquiesced. "Young heads ain't like
old ones, as I said one evening to my sister when Smith was by. 'Young
heads ain't like old ones,' said I. 'Why, no,' said Smith: 'they're a
deal prettier.' I told him he ought to have done thinking of such
things. And so he ought--a man of his age! But that's what the young men
mostly think of, ain't it, Mr. Thorne? Though it's the old heads make
the best housekeepers, I think, when there's a lot of lodgers to look
after."

"Very likely," said Percival.

"I dare say you think there'd be fine times for the young men lodgers if
it wasn't for the old heads. And I don't blame you, Mr. Thorne: it's
only natural, and what we must expect in growing old. And if anything
could make one grow old before one's time, and live two years in one, so
to speak, I do think it's letting lodgings."

Percival expressed himself as not surprised to hear it, though very
sorry that lodgers were so injurious to her health.

"There's my drawing-room empty now, and two bedrooms," Mrs. Bryant
continued. "Not but what I've had an offer for it this very afternoon,
since coming back. But it doesn't do to be too hasty. Respectable
parties who pay regular," she nodded a little at Percival as if to point
the compliment, "are the parties for me."

"Of course," he said.

"A queer business that of young Mr. Lisle's, wasn't it?" she went on. "I
should say it was about time that Miss Crawford did shut up, if she
couldn't manage her young ladies better. I sent my Lydia to a
boarding-school once, but it was one of a different kind to that. Pretty
goings on there were at Standon Square, I'll be bound, if we only knew
the truth. But as far as this goes there ain't no great harm done, that
I can see. He hasn't done badly for himself, and I dare say they'll be
very comfortable. She might have picked a worse--I will say that--for he
was always a pleasant-spoken young gentleman, and good-looking too,
though that's not a thing to set much store by. And they do say he had
seen better times."

She paused. Percival murmured something which was quite unintelligible,
but it served to start her off again, apparently under the impression
that she had heard a remark of some kind.

"Yes, I suppose so. And as I was saying to Lydia--The coolness of them
both! banns and all regular! But there now! I'm talking and talking,
forgetting that you were in the thick of it. You knew all about it, I've
no doubt, and finely you and he must have laughed in your sleeves--"

"I knew nothing about it, Mrs. Bryant--nothing."

Mrs. Bryant smiled cunningly and nodded at him again. But it was an
oblique nod this time, and there was a sidelong look to match it.
Percival felt as if he were suffering from an aggravated form of
nightmare.

"No, no: I dare say you didn't. At any rate, you won't let out if you
did: why should you? It's a great thing to hold one's tongue, Mr.
Thorne; and I ought to know, for I've found the advantage of being
naturally a silent woman. And I don't say but what you are wise."

"I knew nothing," he repeated doggedly.

"Well, I don't suppose it was any the worse for anybody who _did_ know,"
said Mrs. Bryant. "And though, of course, Miss Lisle lost her situation
through it, I dare say she finds it quite made up to her."

"Not at all," said Percival shortly. The conversation was becoming
intolerable.

"Oh, you may depend upon it she does," said Mrs. Bryant. "How should a
gentleman like you know all the ins and outs, Mr. Thorne? It makes all
the difference to a young woman having a brother well-to-do in the
world. And very fond of her he always seemed to be, as I was remarking
to Lydia."

Percival felt as if his blood were on fire. He dared not profess too
intimate a knowledge of Judith's feelings and position, and he could not
listen in silence. "I think you are mistaken, Mrs. Bryant," he said, in
a tone which would have betrayed his angry disgust to any more sensitive
ear. Even his landlady perceived that the subject was not a welcome one.

"Well, well!" she said. "It doesn't matter, and I'll only wish you as
good luck as Mr. Lisle; for I'm sure you deserve a young lady with a
little bit of money as well as he did; and no reason why you shouldn't
look to find one, one of these fine days."

"No, Mrs. Bryant, I sha'n't copy Mr. Lisle."

"Ah, you've something else in your eye, I can see, and perhaps one might
make a guess as to a name. Well, people must manage those things their
own way, and interfering mostly does harm, I take it. And I'll wish you
luck, anyhow."

"I don't think there's any occasion for your good wishes," said
Percival. "Thank you all the same."

"Not but what I'm sorry to lose Mr. and Miss Lisle," Mrs. Bryant
continued, as if that were the natural end of her previous sentence,
"for they paid for everything most regular."

"I hope these people who want to come may do the same," said Percival.
Though he knew that he ran the risk of hearing all that Mrs. Bryant
could tell him about their condition and prospects, he felt he could
endure anything that would turn the conversation from the Lisles and
himself.

But there was a different train of ideas in Mrs. Bryant's mind. "And, by
the way," she said, "I think we've some little accounts to settle
together, Mr. Thorne." Then Percival perceived, for the first time, that
she held a folded bit of paper in her hand. The moment that he feared
had come. He rose without a word, went to his desk and unlocked it.
Glancing over his shoulder, he saw that Mrs. Bryant had approached the
table, had opened the paper and was flattening it out with her hand. He
stooped over his hoard--a meagre little hoard this time--counting what
he had to give her.

Mrs. Bryant began to hunt in her purse for a receipt stamp. "It's a
pleasure to have to do with a gentleman who is always so regular," she
said with an approving smile.

Percival, who was steadying a little pile of coin on the sloping desk,
felt a strong desire to tell her the state of affairs while he stooped
in the shadow with his face turned away. Precisely because he felt this
desire he drew himself up to his full height, walked to the table,
looked straight into her eyes and said, "Not so very regular this time,
Mrs. Bryant."

She stepped back with a perplexed and questioning expression, but she
understood that something was wrong, and the worn face fell suddenly,
deepening a multitude of melancholy wrinkles. He laid the money before
her: "That's just half of what I owe you: I think you'll find I have
counted it all right."

"Half? But where's the other half, Mr. Thorne?"

"Well, I must earn the other half, Mrs. Bryant. You shall have it as
soon as I get it."

She looked up at him. "You've got to earn it?" she repeated. Her tone
would have been more appropriate if Percival had said he must steal it.
There was a pause: Mrs. Bryant's lean hand closed over the money. "I
don't understand this, Mr. Thorne--I don't understand it at all."

"It is very simple," he replied. "According to your wishes, I kept the
rent for you, but during your absence there was a sudden call upon me
for money, and I could not refuse to advance it. I regret it exceedingly
if it puts you to inconvenience. I had hoped to have made it all right
before you returned, but I have not had time. I can only promise you
that you shall be paid all that I can put by each week till I have
cleared off my debt."

"Oh, that's all very fine," said Mrs. Bryant. "But I don't think much of
promises."

"I'm sorry to hear it," he answered gravely.

She looked hard at him, and said: "I did think you were quite the
gentleman, Mr. Thorne. I didn't think you'd have served me so."

"No," said Percival. "I assure you I'm very sorry. If I could explain
the whole affair to you, you would see that I am not to blame. But,
unluckily, I can't."

"Oh, I don't want any explanations: I wouldn't give a thank-you for a
cartload of 'em. Nobody ever is to blame who has the explaining of a
thing, if it's ever so rascally a job."

"I am very sorry," he repeated. "But I can only say that you shall be
paid."

"Oh, I dare say! Look here, Mr. Thorne: I've heard that sort of thing
scores of times. There's always been a sudden call for money; it's
always something that never happened before, and it isn't ever to happen
again; and it's always going to be paid back at once, but there's not
one in a hundred who does pay it. Once you begin that sort of thing--"

"You'll find me that hundredth one," said Percival.

"Oh yes. To hear them talk you'd say each one was one in a thousand, at
least. But I'd like you to know that though I'm a widow woman I'm not to
be robbed and put upon."

"Mrs. Bryant"--Percival's strong voice silenced her querulous tones--"no
one wants to rob you. Please to remember that it was entirely of your
own free-will that you trusted me with the money."

"More fool I!" Mrs. Bryant ejaculated.

"It was to oblige you that I took charge of it."

"And a pretty mess I've made of it! It had better have gone so as to be
some pleasure to my own flesh and blood, instead of your spending it in
some way you're ashamed to own."

"If you had been here to receive it, it would have been ready for you,"
Percival went on, ignoring her last speech. "As it is, it has waited all
these weeks for you. It isn't unreasonable that it should wait a little
longer for me."

She muttered something to the effect that there was justice to be had,
though he didn't seem to think it.

"Oh yes," he said, resting his arm on the chimney-piece, "there's the
county court or something of that kind. By all means go to the county
court if you like. But I see no occasion for discussing the matter any
more beforehand."

His calmness had its effect upon her. She didn't want any
unpleasantness, she said.

"Neither do I," he replied: "I do not see why there need be any. If I
live you will be paid, and that before very long. If I should happen to
die first, I have a friend who will settle my affairs for me, and you
will be no loser."

Mrs. Bryant suggested that it might be pleasanter for all parties if Mr.
Thorne were to apply to his friend at once. She thought very likely
there were little bills about in the town--gentlemen very often had
little bills--and if there were any difficulties--gentlemen so often got
into difficulties--it was so much better to have things settled and make
a fresh start. She had no doubt that Mr. Lisle would be very willing.

"Mr. Lisle!" Percival exclaimed. "Do you suppose for one moment I should
ask Mr. Lisle?"

Startled at his vehemence, Mrs. Bryant begged pardon, and substituted
"the gentleman" for "Mr. Lisle."

"Thank you, no," said Percival. "I prefer to manage my own affairs in my
own way. If I live I will not apply to any one. But if I must go to my
grave owing five or six weeks' rent to one or other of you, I assure you
most solemnly, Mrs. Bryant, that I will owe it to my friend."

The storm had subsided into subdued grumblings. Their purport was,
apparently, that Mrs. Bryant liked lodgers who paid regular, and as for
those who didn't, they would have to leave, and she wished them to know
it.

"Does that mean that you wish me to go?" the young man demanded with the
readiness which was too much for his landlady. "I'll go to-night if you
like. Do you wish it?" There was an air of such promptitude about him as
he spoke that Mrs. Bryant half expected to see him vanish then and
there. She had by no means made up her mind that she did wish to lose a
lodger who had been so entirely satisfactory up to that time. And she
preferred to keep her debtor within reach; so she drew back a little and
qualified what she had said.

"Very well," said Percival, "just as you please."

Mrs. Bryant only hoped it wouldn't occur again. The tempest of her
wrath showed fearful symptoms of dissolving in a shower of tears. "You
don't know what work I have to make both ends meet, Mr. Thorne," she
said, "nor how hard it is to get one's own, let alone keeping it. I do
assure you, Mr. Thorne, me and Lydia might go in silks every day of our
lives, and needn't so much as soil our fingers with the work of the
house, if we had all we rightly should have. But there are folks who
call themselves honest who don't think any harm of taking a widow
woman's rooms and getting behindhand with the rent, running up an
account for milk and vegetables and the like by the week together; and
there's the bell ringing all day, as you may say, with the bills coming
in, and one's almost driven out of one's wits with the worry of it all,
let alone the loss, which is hard to bear. Oh, I do hope, Mr. Thorne,
that it won't occur again!"

"It isn't very likely," said Percival, privately thinking that suicide
would be preferable to an existence in which such interviews with his
landlady should be of frequent occurrence. Pity, irritation, disgust,
pride and humiliation made up a state of feeling which was overshadowed
by a horrible fear that Mrs. Bryant would begin to weep before he could
get rid of her. He watched her with ever-increasing uneasiness while she
attempted to give him a receipt for the money he had paid. She began by
wiping her spectacles, but her hand trembled so much that she let them
fall, and she, Percival and the candle were all on the floor together,
assisting one another in the search for them. The rusty cap was
perilously near the flame more than once, which was a cause of fresh
anxiety on his part. And when she was once more established at the
table, writing a word or two and then wiping her eyes, it was
distracting to discover that the receipt-stamp, which Mrs. Bryant had
brought with her, and which she was certain she had laid on the table,
had mysteriously disappeared. It seemed to Percival that he spent at
least a quarter of an hour hunting for that stamp. In reality about two
minutes elapsed before it was found sticking to Mrs. Bryant's damp
pocket handkerchief. It was removed thence with great care, clinging to
her fingers by the way, after which it showed a not unnatural
disinclination to adhere to the paper. But even that difficulty was at
last overcome: a shaky signature and a date were laboriously penned, and
Percival's heart beat high as he received the completed document.

And then--Mrs. Bryant laid down the pen, took off her spectacles, shook
her pocket handkerchief and deliberately burst into tears.

Percival was in despair. Of course he knew perfectly well that he was
not a heartless brute, but equally of course he felt that he must be a
heartless brute as he stood by while Mrs. Bryant wept copiously. Of
course he begged her to calm herself, and of course a long-drawn sob was
her only answer. All at once there was a knock at the door. "Come in,"
said Percival, feeling that matters could not possibly be worse. It
opened, and Lydia stood on the threshold, staring at the pair in much
surprise.

"Well, I never!" she said; and turning toward Percival she eyed him
suspiciously, as if she thought he might have been knocking the old lady
about. "And pray what may be the meaning of this?"

"Mrs. Bryant isn't quite herself this evening, I am afraid," said
Percival, feeling that his reply was very feeble. "And we have had a
little business to settle which was not quite satisfactory."

At the word "business" Lydia stepped forward, and her surprise gave
place to an expression of half incredulous amusement--Percival would
almost have said of delight.

"What! ain't the money all right?" she said. "You don't say so! Well,
ma, you _have_ been clever this time, haven't you? Oh I suppose you
thought I didn't know what you were after when you were so careful about
not bothering me with the accounts? Lor! I knew fast enough. Don't you
feel proud of yourself for having managed it so well?"

Mrs. Bryant wept. Percival, not having a word to say, preserved a
dignified silence.

"Come along, ma: I dare say Mr. Thorne has had about enough of this,"
Lydia went on, coolly examining the paper which lay on the table. She
arrived at the total. "Oh that's it, is it? Well, I like that, I do!
Some people are so clever, ain't they? So wonderfully sharp they can't
trust their own belongings! I do like that! Come along, ma." And Lydia
seconded her summons with such energetic action that it seemed to
Percival that she absolutely swept the old lady out of the room, and
that the wet handkerchief, the rusty black gown and the bugle-sprinkled
head-dress vanished in a whirlwind, with a sound of shrill laughter on
the stairs.

For a moment his heart leapt with a sudden sense of relief and freedom,
but only for a moment. Then he flung himself into his arm-chair, utterly
dejected and sickened.

Should he be subject to this kind of thing all his life long? If he
should chance to be ill and unable to work, how could he live for any
length of time on his paltry savings? And debt would mean _this_! He
need not even be ill. He remembered how he broke his arm once when he
was a lad. Suppose he broke his arm now--a bit of orange-peel in the
street might do it--or suppose he hurt the hand with which he wrote?

And this was the life which he might ask Judith to share with him! She
might endure Mrs. Bryant's scolding and Lydia's laughter, and pinch and
save as he was forced to do, and grow weary and careworn and sick at
heart. No, God forbid! And yet--and yet--was she not enduring as bad or
worse in that hateful school?

Oh for his dream! One week of life and love, and then swift exit from a
hideous world, where Mrs. Bryant and Miss Macgregor and Lydia and all
his other nightmares might do their worst and fight their hardest in
their ugly struggle for existence!

Percival had achieved something of a victory in his encounter with his
landlady. His manner had been calm and fairly easy, and from first to
last she had been more conscious of his calmness than Percival was
himself. She had been silenced, not coaxed and flattered as she often
was by unfortunate lodgers whose ready money ran short. Indeed, she had
been defied, and when she recovered herself a little she declared that
she had never seen any one so stuck up as Mr. Thorne. This was unkind,
after he had gone down on his knees to look for her spectacles.

But if Percival had conquered, his was but a barren victory. He fancied
that an unwonted tone of deference crept into his voice when he gave his
orders. He was afraid of Mrs. Bryant. He faced Lydia bravely, but he
winced in secret at the recollection of her laughter. He very nearly
starved himself lest mother or daughter should be able to say, "Mr.
Thorne might have remembered his debts before he ordered this or that."
He had paid Lisle's bill at Mr. Robinson's, but he could not forget his
own, and he walked past the house daily with his head high, feeling
himself a miserable coward.

There was a draper's shop close to it, and as he went by one day he saw
a little pony chaise at the door. A girl of twelve or thirteen sat in it
listlessly holding the reins and looking up and down the street. It was
a great field-day for the Brenthill volunteers, and their band came
round a corner not a dozen yards away and suddenly struck up a
triumphant march. The pony, although as quiet a little creature as you
could easily find, was startled. If it had been a wooden rocking-horse
it might not have minded, but any greater sensibility must have received
a shock. The girl uttered a cry of alarm, but there was no cause for it.
Percival, who was close at hand, stepped to the pony's head, a lady
rushed out of the shop, the band went by in a tempest of martial music,
a crowd of boys and girls filled the roadway and disappeared as quickly
as they came. It was all over in a minute. Percival, who was coaxing the
pony as he stood, was warmly thanked.

"There is nothing to thank me for," he said. "That band was enough to
frighten anything, but the pony seems a gentle little thing."

"So it is," the lady replied. "But you see, the driver was very
inexperienced, and we really are very much obliged to you, Mr. Thorne."

He looked at her in blank amazement. Had some one from his former life
suddenly arisen to claim acquaintance with him? He glanced from her to
the girl, but recognized neither. "You know me?" he said.

She smiled: "You don't know me, I dare say. I am Mrs. Barton. I saw you
one day when I was just coming away after calling on Miss Lisle." She
watched the hero of her romance as she spoke. His dark face lighted up
suddenly.

"I have often heard Miss Lisle speak of you and of your kindness," he
said. "Do you ever see her now?"

"Oh yes. She comes to give Janie her music-lesson every Wednesday
afternoon.--We couldn't do without Miss Lisle, could we, Janie?" The
girl was shy and did not speak, but a broad smile overspread her face.

"I had no idea she still came to you. Do you know how she gets on at
Miss Macgregor's?" he asked eagerly. "Is she well? I saw her at church
one day, and I thought she was pale."

"She says she is well," Mrs. Barton replied. "But I am not very fond of
Miss Macgregor myself: no one ever stays there very long." A shopman
came out and put a parcel into the chaise. Mrs. Barton took the reins.
"I shall tell Miss Lisle you asked after her," she said as with a bow
and cordial smile she drove off.

It was Monday, and Percival's mind was speedily made up. He would see
Judith Lisle on Wednesday.

Tuesday was a remarkably long day, but Wednesday came at last, and he
obtained permission to leave the office earlier than usual. He knew the
street in which Mrs. Barton lived, and had taken some trouble to
ascertain the number, so that he could stroll to and fro at a safe
distance, commanding a view of the door.

He had time to study the contents of a milliner's window: it was the
only shop near at hand, and even that pretended not to be a shop, but
rather a private house, where some one had accidentally left a bonnet or
two, a few sprays of artificial flowers and an old lady's cap in the
front room. He had abundant leisure to watch No. 51 taking in a supply
of coals, and No. 63 sending away a piano. He sauntered to and fro so
long, with a careless assumption of unconsciousness how time was
passing, that a stupid young policeman perceived that he was not an
ordinary passer-by. Astonished and delighted at his own penetration, he
began to saunter and watch him, trying to make out which house he
intended to favor with a midnight visit. Percival saw quite a procession
of babies in perambulators being wheeled home by their nurses after
their afternoon airing, and he discovered that the nurse at No. 57 had a
flirtation with a soldier. But at last the door of No. 69 opened, a slim
figure came down the steps, and he started to meet it, leisurely, but
with a sudden decision and purpose in his walk. The young policeman saw
the meeting: the whole affair became clear to him--why, he had done that
sort of thing himself--and he hurried off rather indignantly, feeling
that he had wasted his time, and that the supposed burglar had not
behaved at all handsomely.

And Percival went forward and held out his hand to Judith, but found
that even the most commonplace greeting stuck in his throat somehow. She
looked quickly up at him, but she too was silent, and he walked a few
steps by her side before he said, "I did not know what day you were
going away."

The rest of the conversation followed in a swift interchange of question
and reply, as if to make up for that pause.

"No, but I thought I should be sure to have a chance of saying
good-bye."

"And I was out. I was very sorry when I came home and found that you
were gone. But since we have met again, it doesn't matter now, does it?"
he said with a smile. "How do you get on at Miss Macgregor's?"

"Oh, very well," she answered. "It will do for the present."

"And Miss Crawford?"

"She will not see me nor hear from me. She is ill and low-spirited, and
Mrs. Barton tells me that a niece has come to look after her."

"Isn't that rather a good thing?"

"No: I don't like it. I saw one or two of those nieces--there are seven
of them--great vulgar, managing women. I can't bear to think of my dear
little Miss Crawford being bullied and nursed by Miss Price. She
couldn't endure them, I know, only she was so fond of their mother."

Percival changed the subject: "So you go to Mrs. Barton's still? I
didn't know that till last Monday."

"When you rescued Janie from imminent peril. Oh, I have heard," said
Judith with a smile.

"Please to describe me as risking my own life in the act. It would be a
pity not to make me heroic while you are about it."

"Janie would readily believe it. She measures her danger by her terror,
which was great. But she is a dear, good child, and it is such a
pleasure to me to go there every week!"

"Ah! Then you are not happy at Miss Macgregor's?"

"Well, not very. But it might be much worse. And I am mercenary enough
to think about the money I earn at Mrs. Barton's," said Judith. "I don't
mind telling you now that Bertie left two or three little bills unpaid
when he went away, and I was very anxious about them. But, luckily, they
were small."

"You don't mind telling me now. Are they paid, then?"

"Yes, and I have not heard of any more."

"You paid them out of your earnings?"

"Yes. You understand me, don't you, Mr. Thorne? Bertie and I were
together then, and I could not take Emmeline's money to pay our debts."

"Yes, I understand."

"And I had saved a little. It is all right now, since they are all paid.
I fancied there would be some more to come in, but it seems not, so I
have a pound or two to spare, and I feel quite rich."

It struck Percival that Judith had managed better than he had. "Do you
ever hear from him?" he asked.

"Yes. Mr. Nash has forgiven them."

"Already?"

Judith nodded: "He has, though I thought he never would. Bertie
understood him better."

(The truth was, that she had taken impotent rage for strength of
purpose. Mr. Nash was aware that he had neglected his daughter, and was
anxious to stifle the thought by laying the blame on every one else. And
Bertie was quicker than Judith was in reading character when it was on
his own level.)

"He has forgiven them," Percival repeated with a smile. "Well, Bertie is
a lucky fellow."

"So is my father lucky, if that is luck."

"Your father?"

"Yes. He has written to me and to my aunt Lisle--at Rookleigh, you know.
He has taken another name, and it seems he is getting on and making
money: _he_ wanted to send me some too. And my aunt is angry with me
because I would not go to her. She has given me two months to make up my
mind in."

"And you will not go?"

"I cannot leave Brenthill," said Judith. "She is more than half inclined
to forgive Bertie too. So I am alone; and yet I am right." She uttered
the last words with lingering sadness.

"No doubt," Percival answered. They were walking slowly through a quiet
back street, with a blank wall on one side. "Still, it is hard," he
said.

There was something so simple and tender in his tone that Judith looked
up and met his eyes. She might have read his words in them even if he
had not spoken. "Don't pity me, Mr. Thorne," she said.

"Why not?"

"Oh, because--I hardly know why. I can't stand it when any one is kind
to me, or sorry for me, sometimes at Mrs. Barton's. I don't know how to
bear it. But it does not matter much, for I get braver and braver when
people are hard and cold. I really don't mind that half as much as you
would think, so you see you needn't pity me. In fact, you mustn't."

"Indeed, I think I must," said Percival. "More than before."

"No, no," she answered, hurriedly. "Don't say it, don't look it, don't
even let me think you do it in your heart. Tell me about yourself. You
listen to me, you ask about me, but you say nothing of what you are
doing."

"Working." There was a moment's hesitation. "And dreaming," he added.

"But you have been ill?"

"Not I."

"You have not been ill? Then you are ill. What makes you so pale?"

He laughed: "Am I pale?"

"And you look tired."

"My work is wearisome sometimes."

"More so than it was?" she questioned anxiously. "You used not to look
so tired."

"Don't you think that a wearisome thing must grow more wearisome merely
by going on?"

"But is that all? Isn't there anything else the matter?"

"Perhaps there is," he allowed. "There are little worries of course, but
shall I tell you what is the great thing that is the matter with me?"

"If you will."

"I miss you, Judith."

The color spread over her face like a rosy dawn. Her eyes were fixed on
the pavement, and yet they looked as if they caught a glimpse of Eden.
But Percival could not see that. "You miss me?" she said.

"Yes." He had forgotten his hesitation and despair. He had outstripped
them, had left them far behind, and his words sprang to his lips with a
glad sense of victory and freedom. "Must I miss you always?" he said.
"Will you not come back to me, Judith? My work could never be wearisome
then when I should feel that I was working for you. There would be long
to wait, no doubt, and then a hard life, a poor home. What have I to
offer you? But will you come?"

She looked up at him: "Do you really want me, or is it that you are
sorry for me and want to help me? Are you sure it isn't that? We Lisles
have done you harm enough: I won't do you a worse wrong still."

"You will do me the worst wrong of all if you let such fears and fancies
stand between you and me," said Percival. "Do you not know that I love
you? You must decide as your own heart tells you. But don't doubt me."

She laid her hand lightly on his arm: "Forgive me, Percival."

And so those two passed together into the Eden which she had seen.



CHAPTER XLIX.

HOW THE SUN ROSE IN GLADNESS, AND SET IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF
DEATH.


The Wednesday which was so white a day for Judith and Percival had
dawned brightly at Fordborough. Sissy, opening her eyes on the radiant
beauty of the morning, sprang up with an exclamation of delight. The
preceding day had been gray and uncertain, but this was golden and
cloudless. A light breeze tossed the acacia-boughs and showed flashes of
blue between the quivering sprays. The dew was still hanging on the
clustered white roses which climbed to her open window, and the birds
were singing among the leaves as if they were running races in a
headlong rapture of delight. Sissy did not sing, but she said to
herself, "Oh, how glad the Latimers must be!"

She was right, for at a still earlier hour the Latimer girls had been
flying in and out of their respective rooms in a perfectly aimless,
joyous, childishly happy fashion, like a flock of white pigeons. And the
sum of their conversation was simply this: "Oh, what a day! what a
glorious day!" Yet it sufficed for a Babel of bird-like voices. At last
one more energetic than the rest, in her white dressing-gown and with
her hair hanging loose, flew down the long oak-panelled corridor and
knocked with might and main at her brother's door: "Walter! Walter!
wake up! do! You said it would rain, and it doesn't rain! It is a
_lovely_ morning! Oh, Walter!"

Walter responded briefly to the effect that he had been awake since half
after three, and was aware of the fact.

Henry Hardwicke, who had been to the river for an early swim, stopped to
discuss the weather with a laborer who was plodding across the fields.
The old man looked at the blue sky with an air of unutterable wisdom,
made some profound remarks about the quarter in which the wind was,
added a local saying or two bearing on the case, and summed up to the
effect that it was a fine day.

Captain Fothergill had no particular view from his window, but he
inquired at an early hour what the weather was like.

Ashendale Priory was a fine old ruin belonging to the Latimers, and
about six miles from Latimer's Court. Sissy Langton had said one day
that she often passed it in her rides, but had never been into it.
Walter Latimer was astonished, horrified and delighted all at once, and
vowed that she must see it, and should see it without delay. This
Wednesday had been fixed for an excursion there, but the project was
nearly given up on account of the weather. As late as the previous
afternoon the question was seriously debated at the Court by a council
composed of Walter and three of his sisters. One of the members was sent
to look at the barometer. She reported that it had gone up in the most
extraordinary manner since luncheon.

The announcement was greeted with delight, but it was discovered late
that evening that Miss Latimer had had a happy thought. Fearing that the
barometer would be utterly ruined by the shaking and tapping which it
underwent, she had screwed it up to a height at which her younger
brothers and sisters could not wish to disturb it, had gone into the
village, and had forgotten all about it. There was general dismay and
much laughter.

"It will rain," said Walter: "it will certainly rain. I thought it was
very queer. Well, it is too late to do anything now. We must just wait
and see what happens."

And behold the morrow had come, the clouds were gone, and it was a day
in a thousand, a very queen of days.

The party started for Ashendale, some riding, some driving, waking the
quiet green lanes with a happy tumult of wheels and horse-hoofs and
laughing voices. Captain Fothergill contrived to be near Miss Langton,
and to talk in a fashion which made her look down once or twice when she
had encountered the eagerness of his dark eyes. The words he said might
have been published by the town-crier. But that functionary could not
have reproduced the tone and manner which rendered them significant,
though Sissy hardly knew the precise amount of meaning they were
intended to convey. She was glad when the tower of the priory rose above
the trees. So was Walter Latimer, who had been eying the back of
Fothergill's head or the sharply-cut profile which was turned so
frequently toward Miss Langton, and who was firmly persuaded that the
captain ought to be shot.

Ashendale Priory was built nearly at the bottom of a hill. Part of it,
close by the gateway, was a farmhouse occupied by a tenant of the
Latimers. His wife, a pleasant middle-aged woman, came out to meet them
as they dismounted, and a rosy daughter of sixteen or seventeen lingered
shyly in the little garden, which was full to overflowing of
old-fashioned flowers and humming with multitudes of bees. The hot sweet
fragrance of the crowded borders made Sissy say that it was like the
very heart of summer-time.

"A place to recollect and dream of on a November day," said Fothergill.

"Oh, don't talk of November now! I hate it."

"I don't want November, I assure you," he replied. "Why cannot this last
for ever?"

"The weather?"

"Much more than the weather. Do you suppose I should only remember that
it was a fine day?"

"What, the place too?" said Sissy. "It is beautiful, but I think you
would soon get tired of Ashendale, Captain Fothergill."

"Do you?" he said in a low voice, looking at her with the eyes which
seemed to draw hers to meet them. "Try me and see which will be tired
first." And, without giving her time to answer, he went on: "Couldn't
you be content with Ashendale?"

"For always? I don't think I could--not for all my life."

"Well, then, the perfect place is yet to find," said Fothergill. "And
how charming it must be!"

"If one should ever find it!" said Sissy.

"One?" Fothergill looked at her again. "Not _one_! Won't you hope we may
both find it?"

"Like the people who hunted for the Earthly Paradise," said Sissy
hurriedly. "Look! they are going to the ruins." And she hastened to join
the others.

Latimer noticed that she evidently, and very properly, would not permit
Fothergill to monopolize her, but seemed rather to avoid the fellow. To
his surprise, however, he found that there was no better fortune for
himself. Fothergill had brought a sailor cousin, a boy of nineteen,
curly-haired, sunburnt and merry, with a sailor's delight in flirtation
and fun, and Archibald Carroll fixed his violent though temporary
affections on Sissy the moment he was introduced to her at the priory.
To Latimer's great disgust, Sissy distinctly encouraged him, and the two
went off together during the progress round the ruins. There were some
old fish-ponds to be seen, with swans and reeds and water-lilies, and
when they were tired of scrambling about the gray walls there was a
little copse hard by, the perfection of sylvan scenery on a small scale.
The party speedily dispersed, rambling where their fancy led them, and
were seen no more till the hour which had been fixed for dinner. Mrs.
Latimer meanwhile chose a space of level turf, superintended the
unpacking of hampers, and when the wanderers came dropping in by twos
and threes from all points of the compass, professing unbounded
readiness to help in the preparations, there was nothing left for them
to do. Among the latest were Sissy and her squire, a radiant pair. She
was charmed with her saucy sailor-boy, who had no serious intentions or
hopes, who would most likely be gone on the morrow, and who asked
nothing more than to be happy with her through that happy summer day.
People and things were apt to grow perplexing and sad when they came
into her every-day life, but here was a holiday companion, arrived as
unexpectedly as if he were created for her holiday, with no such thing
as an afterthought about the whole affair.

Latimer sulked, but his rival smiled, when the two young people arrived.
For--thus argued Raymond Fothergill, with a vanity which was so calm, so
clear, so certain that it sounded like reason itself--it was not
possible that Sissy Langton preferred Carroll to himself. Even had it
been Latimer or Hardwicke! But Carroll--no! Therefore she used the one
cousin merely to avoid the other. But why did she wish to avoid him? He
remembered her blushes, her shyness, the eyes that sank before his own,
and he answered promptly that she feared him. He triumphed in the
thought. He had contended against a gentle indifference on Sissy's part,
till, having heard rumors of a bygone love-affair, he had suspected the
existence of an unacknowledged constancy. Then what did this fear mean?
It was obviously the self-distrust of a heart unwilling to yield,
clinging to its old loyalty, yet aware of a new weakness--seeking safety
in flight because unable to resist. Fothergill was conscious of power,
and could wait with patience. (It would have been unreasonable to expect
him to spend an equal amount of time and talent in accounting for Miss
Langton's equally evident avoidance of young Latimer. Besides, that was
a simple matter. He bored her, no doubt.)

When the business of eating and drinking was drawing to a close, little
Edith Latimer, the youngest of the party, began to arrange a lapful of
wild flowers which she had brought back from her ramble. Hardwicke, who
had helped her to collect them, handed them to her one by one.

A green tuft which he held up caught Sissy's eye. "Why, Edie, what have
you got there?" she said. "Is that maiden-hair spleenwort? Where did
you find it?"

"In a crack in the wall: there's a lot more," the child answered; and at
the same moment Hardwicke said, "Shall I get you some?"

"No: I'll get some," exclaimed Archie, who was lying at Sissy's feet.
"Miss Langton would rather I got it for her, I know."

Sissy arched her brows.

"She has so much more confidence in me," Archie explained. "Please give
me a leaf of that stuff, Miss Latimer: I want to see what it's like."

"My confidence is rather misplaced, I'm afraid, if you don't know what
you are going to look for."

"Not a bit misplaced. You know very well I shall have a sort of instinct
which will take me straight to it."

"Dear me! It hasn't any smell, you know," said Sissy with perfect
gravity.

"Oh, how cruel!" said Carroll, "withering up my delicate feelings with
thoughtless sarcasm! Smell? no! My what-d'ye-call-it--sympathy--will
tell me which it is. My heart will beat faster as I approach it. But
I'll have that leaf all the same, please."

"And it might be as well to know where to look for it."

"We found it in the ruins--in the wall of the refectory," said
Hardwicke.

Sissy looked doubtful, but Carroll exclaimed, "Oh, I know! That's where
the old fellows used to dine, isn't it? And had sermons read to them all
the time."

"What a bore!" some one suggested.

"Well, I don't know about that," said Archie. "Sermons always are awful
bores, ain't they? But I don't think I should mind 'em so much if I
might eat my dinner all the time." He stopped with a comical look of
alarm. "I say, we haven't got any parsons here, have we?"

"No," said Fothergill smiling. "We've brought the surgeon, in case of
broken bones, but we've left the chaplain at home. So you may give us
the full benefit of your opinions."

"I thought there wasn't one," Archie remarked, looking up at Sissy,
"because nobody said grace. Or don't you ever say grace at a picnic?"

"I don't think you do," Sissy replied. "Unless it were a very Low Church
picnic perhaps. I don't know, I'm sure."

"Makes a difference being out of doors, I suppose," said Archie,
examining the little frond which Edith had given him. "And this is what
you call maiden-hair?"

"What should you call it?"

"A libel," he answered promptly. "Maiden--hair, indeed! Why, I can see
some a thousand times prettier quite close by. What can you want with
this? _You_ can't see the other, but I'll tell you what it's like. It's
the most beautiful brown, with gold in it, and it grows in little
ripples and waves and curls, and nothing ever was half so fine before,
and it catches just the edge of a ray of sunshine--oh, don't move your
head!--and looks like a golden glory--"

"Dear me!" said Sissy. "Then I'm afraid it's very rough."

"--And the least bit of it is worth a cartload of this green rubbish."

"Ah! But you see it is very much harder to get."

"Of course it is," said Archie. "But exchange is no robbery, they say.
Suppose I go and dig up some of this, don't you think--remembering that
I am a poor sailor-boy, going to be banished from 'England, home and
beauty,' and that I shall most likely be drowned on my next
voyage--don't you think--"

"I think that, on your own showing, you must get me at least a cartload
of the other before you have the face to finish that sentence."

"A cartload! I feel like a prince in a fairy-tale. And what would you do
with it all?"

"Well, I really hardly know what I should do with it."

"There now!" said Archie. "And I could tell you in a moment what I would
do with mine if you gave it me."

"Oh, but I could tell you that."

"Tell me, then."

"You would fold it up carefully in a neat little bit of paper, but you
would not write anything on it, because you would not like it to look
business-like. Besides, you couldn't possibly forget. And a few months
hence you will have lost your heart to some foreign young lady--I don't
know where you are going--and you would find the little packet in your
desk, and wonder who gave it to you."

"Oh, how little you know me!" Archie exclaimed, and sank back on the
turf in a despairing attitude. But a moment later he began to laugh, and
sat up again. "There _was_ a bit once," he said confidentially, "and for
the life of me I couldn't think whose it could be. There were two or
three girls I knew it couldn't possibly belong to, but that didn't help
me very far. That lock of hair quite haunted me. See what it is to have
such susceptible feelings! I used to look at it a dozen times a day, and
I couldn't sleep at night for thinking of it. At last I said to myself,
'I don't care whose it is: she was a nice, dear girl anyhow, and I'm
sure she wouldn't like to think that she bothered me in this way.' So I
consigned it to a watery grave. I felt very melancholy when it went, I
can tell you, and if my own hair had been a reasonable length I'd have
sent a bit of it overboard with hers, just for company's sake. But I'd
had a fever, and I was cropped like a convict, so I couldn't."

"You tell that little story very nicely," said Sissy when he paused. "Do
you always mention it when you ask--"

"Why, no," Archie exclaimed. "I thought _you_ would take it as it was
meant--as the greatest possible compliment to yourself. But I suppose
it's my destiny to be misunderstood. Don't you see that I _couldn't_
tell that to any one unless I were quite sure that she was so much
higher, so altogether apart, that she never, never could get mixed up
with anybody else in my mind?"

"She had better have some very particular sort of curliness in her hair
too," said Sissy. "Don't you think it would be safer?"

"Oh, this is too much!" he exclaimed. "It's sport to you, evidently, but
you don't consider that it's death to me. I say, come away, and we'll
look for this green stuff."

Fothergill smiled, but Latimer's handsome face flushed. He had made a
dozen attempts to supplant Carroll, and had been foiled by the laughing
pair. What was the use of being a good-looking fellow of six-and-twenty,
head of one of the county families and owner of Latimer's Court and
Ashendale, if he were to be set aside by a beggarly sailor-boy? What did
Fothergill mean by bringing his poor relations dragging after him where
they were not wanted? He sprang to his feet, and went away with long
strides to make violent love to the farmer's rosy little daughter. He
knew that he meant nothing at all, and that he was filling the poor
child's head and heart with the vainest of hopes. He knew that he owed
especial respect and consideration to the daughter of his tenant, a man
who had dealt faithfully by him, and whose father and grandfather had
held Ashendale under the Latimers. He felt that he was acting meanly
even while he kissed little Lucy by the red wall where the apricots were
ripening in the sun. And he had no overmastering passion for excuse:
what did he care for little Lucy? He was doing wrong, and he was doing
it _because_ it was wrong. He was in a fiercely antagonistic mood, and,
as he could not fight Fothergill and Carroll, he fought with his own
sense of truth and honor, for want of a better foe. And Lucy, conscious
of her rosy prettiness, stood shyly pulling the lavender-heads in a glad
bewilderment of vanity, wonder and delight, while Latimer's heart was
full of jealous anger. If Sissy Langton could amuse herself, so could
he.

But Sissy was too happily absorbed in her amusement to think of his. She
had avoided him, as she had avoided Captain Fothergill, from a sense of
danger. They were becoming too serious, too much in earnest, and she did
not want to be serious. So she went gayly across the grass, laughing at
Archie because he would look on level ground for her maiden-hair
spleenwort. They came to a small enclosure.

"Here you are!" said Carroll. "This is what somebody said was the
refectory. It makes one feel quite sad and sentimental only to think
what a lot of jolly dinners have been eaten here. And nothing left of it
all!"

"That's your idea of sentiment, Mr. Carroll? It sounds to me as if you
hadn't had enough to eat."

"Oh yes, I had plenty. But we ought to pledge each other in a cup of
sack, or something of the kind. And a place like this ought at least to
smell deliciously of roast and boiled. Instead of which it might as well
be the chapel."

Sissy gazed up at the wall: "There's some maiden-hair! How was it I
never saw it this morning? Surely, we came along the top and looked down
into this place."

"No," said Archie. "That was the chapel we looked into. Didn't I say
they were just alike?"

"Well, I can easily get up there," she said. "And you may stay down here
if you like, and grow sentimental over the ghost of a dinner." And,
laughing, she darted up a steep ascent of turf, slackening her pace when
she came to a rough heap of fallen stones. Carroll was by her side
directly, helping her. "Why, this is prettier than where we went this
morning," she said when they reached the top: "you see the whole place
better. But it's narrower, I think. This is the west wall, isn't it? Oh,
Mr. Carroll, how much the sun has gone down already!"

"I wish I were Moses, or whoever it was, to make it stop," said the boy:
"it would stay up there a good long time."

There was a black belt of shadow at the foot of the wall. Archie looked
down as if to measure its breadth. A little tuft of green caught his
eye, and stooping he pulled it from between the stones.

"Oh, how broken it is here! Doesn't it look as if a giant had taken a
great bite out of it?" Sissy exclaimed, at the same moment that he
called after her, "Is this right, Miss Langton?"

She turned her head, and for a second's space he saw her bright face,
her laughing, parted lips. Then there was a terrible cry, stretched
hands at which he snatched instinctively but in vain, and a stone which
slipped and fell heavily. He stumbled forward, and recovered himself
with an effort. There was blank space before him--and what below?

Archie Carroll half scrambled down by the help of the ivy, half slid,
and reached the ground. Thus, at the risk of his life, he gained half a
minute, and spent it in kneeling on the grass--a yard away from that
which he dared not touch--saying pitifully, "Miss Langton! Oh, won't you
speak to me, Miss Langton?"

He was in the shadow, but looking across the enclosure he faced a broken
doorway in the south-east corner. The ground sloped away a little, and
the arch opened into the stainless blue. A sound of footsteps made
Carroll look up, and through the archway came Raymond Fothergill. He had
heard the cry, he had outrun the rest, and, even in his blank
bewilderment of horror, Archie shrank back scared at his cousin's
aspect. His brows and moustache were black as night against the
unnatural whiteness of his face, which was like bleached wax. His eyes
were terrible. He seemed to reach the spot in an instant. Carroll saw
his hands on the stone which had fallen, and lay on her--O God!--or only
on her dress?

Fothergill's features contracted in sudden agony as he noted the
horribly twisted position in which she lay, but he stooped without a
moment's hesitation, and, lifting her gently, laid her on the turf,
resting her head upon his knee. There was a strange contrast between the
tenderness with which he supported her and the fierce anger of his face.
Others of the party came rushing on the scene in dismay and horror.

"Water!" said Fothergill. "Where's Anderson?" (Anderson was the young
doctor.) "Not here?"

"He went by the fish-ponds with Evelyn," cried Edith suddenly: "I saw
him." Hardwicke darted off.

"Curse him! Playing the fool when he's wanted more than he ever will be
again.--Mrs. Latimer!"

Edith rushed away to find her mother.

Some one brought water, and held it while Fothergill, with his
disengaged hand, sprinkled the white face on his knee.

Walter Latimer hurried round the corner. He held a pink rosebud, on
which his fingers tightened unconsciously as he ran. Coming to the
staring group, he stopped aghast. "Good God!" he panted, "what has
happened?"

Fothergill dashed more water on the shut eyes and bright hair.

Latimer looked from him to the others standing round: "What has
happened?"

A hoarse voice spoke from the background: "She fell." Archie Carroll had
risen from his knees, and, lifting one hand above his head, he pointed
to the wall. Suddenly, he met Fothergill's eyes, and with a
half-smothered cry he flung himself all along upon the grass and hid his
face.

"Fothergill! is she much hurt?" cried Latimer. "Is it serious?"

The other did not look up. "I cannot tell," he said, "but I believe she
is killed."

Latimer uttered a cry: "No! no! For God's sake don't say that! It can't
be!"

Fothergill made no answer.

"It isn't possible!" said Walter. But his glance measured the height of
the wall and rested on the stones scattered thickly below. The words
died on his lips.

"Is Anderson never coming?" said some one else. Another messenger
hurried off. Latimer stood as if rooted to the ground, gazing after him.
All at once he noticed the rose which he still held, and jerked it away
with a movement as of horror.

The last runner returned: "Anderson and Hardwicke will be here directly:
I saw them coming up the path from the fish-ponds. Here is Mrs.
Latimer."

[Illustration: "FOTHERGILL! IS SHE MUCH HURT?"--Page 682.]

Edith ran through the archway first, eager and breathless. "Here is
mamma," she said, going straight to Raymond Fothergill with her tidings,
and speaking softly as if Sissy were asleep. A little nod was his only
answer, and the girl stood gazing with frightened eyes at the drooping
head which he supported. Mrs. Latimer, Hardwicke and Anderson all
arrived together, and the group divided to make way for them. The first
thing to be done was to carry Sissy to the farmhouse, and while they
were arranging this Edith felt two hands pressed lightly on her
shoulders. She turned and confronted Harry Hardwicke.

"Hush!" he said: "do not disturb them now, but when they have taken her
to the house, if you hear anything said, tell them that I have gone for
Dr. Grey, and as soon as I have sent him here I shall go on for Mrs.
Middleton. You understand?" he added, for the child was looking at him
with her scared eyes, and had not spoken.

"Yes," she said, "I will tell them. Oh, Harry! will she die?"

"Not if anything you and I can do will save her--will she, Edith?" and
Hardwicke ran off to the stables for his horse. A man was there who
saddled it for him, and a rough farm-boy stood by and saw how the
gentleman, while he waited, stroked the next one--a lady's horse, a
chestnut--and how presently he turned his face away and laid his cheek
for a moment against the chestnut's neck. The boy thought it was a rum
go, and stood staring vacantly while Hardwicke galloped off on his
terrible errand.

Meanwhile, they were carrying Sissy to the house. Fothergill was
helping, of course. Latimer had stood by irresolutely, half afraid, yet
secretly hoping for a word which would call him. But no one heeded him.
Evelyn and Edith had hurried on to see that there was a bed on which she
could be laid, and the sad little procession followed them at a short
distance. The lookers-on straggled after it, an anxiously-whispering
group, and as the last passed through the ruined doorway Archie Carroll
lifted his head and glanced round. The wall, with its mosses and ivy,
rose darkly above him--too terrible a presence to be faced alone. He
sprang up, hurried out of the black belt of shadow and fled across the
turf. He never looked back till he stood under the arch, but halting
there, within sight of his companions, he clasped a projection with one
hand as if he were giddy, and turning his head gazed intently at the
crest of the wall. Every broken edge, every tuft of feathery grass,
every aspiring ivy-spray, stood sharply out against the sunny blue. The
breeze had gone down, and neither blade nor leaf stirred in the hot
stillness of the air. There was the way by which they had gone up, there
was the ruinous gap which Sissy had said was like a giant's bite.
Archie's grasp tightened on the stone as he looked. He might well feel
stunned and dizzy, gazing thus across the hideous gulf which parted him
from the moment when he stood upon the wall with Sissy Langton laughing
by his side. Not till every detail was cruelly stamped upon his brain
did he leave the spot.

By that time they had carried Sissy in. Little Lucy had been close by,
her rosy face blanched with horror, and had looked appealingly at
Latimer as he went past. She wanted a kind word or glance, but the
innocent confiding look filled him with remorse and disgust. He would
not meet it: he stared straight before him. Lucy was overcome by
conflicting emotions, went off into hysterics, and her mother had to be
called away from the room where she was helping Mrs. Latimer. Walter
felt as if he could have strangled the pretty, foolish child to whom he
had been saying sweet things not half an hour before. The rose that he
had gathered for her was fastened in her dress, and the pink bud that
she had given him lay in its first freshness on the turf in the ruins.

Some of the party waited in the garden. Fothergill stood in the shadow
of the porch, silent and a little apart. Archie Carroll came up the
path, but no one spoke to him, and he went straight to his cousin.
Leaning against the woodwork, he opened his lips to speak, but was
obliged to stop and clear his throat, for the words would not come. "How
is she?" he said at last.

"I don't know."

"Why do you look at me like that?" said the boy desperately.

Fothergill slightly changed his position, and the light fell more
strongly on his face. "I don't ever want to look at you again," he said
with quiet emphasis. "You've done mischief enough to last your lifetime
if you lived a thousand years."

"It wasn't my fault! Ray, it wasn't!"

"Whose, then?" said Fothergill. "Possibly you think it would have
happened if I had been there?"

"They said that wall--" the young fellow began.

"They didn't. No one told you to climb the most ruinous bit of the whole
place. And she didn't even know where the refectory was."

Carroll groaned: "Don't, Ray: I can't bear it! I shall kill myself!"

"No, you won't," said Fothergill. "You'll go safe home to your people at
the rectory. No more of this."

Archie hesitated, and then miserably dragged himself away. Fothergill
retreated a little farther into the porch, and was almost lost in the
shadow. No tidings, good or evil, had come from the inner room where
Sissy lay, but his state of mind was rather despairing than anxious.
From the moment when he ran across the grass and saw her lying, a
senseless heap, at the foot of the wall, he had felt assured that she
was fatally injured. If he hoped at all it was an unconscious hope--a
hope of which he never would be conscious until a cruel certainty killed
it.

His dominant feeling was anger. He had cared for this girl--cared for
her so much that he had been astonished at himself for so caring--and he
felt that this love was the crown of his life. He did not for a moment
doubt that he would have won her. He had triumphed in anticipation, but
Death had stepped between them and baffled him, and now it was all over.
Fothergill was as furious with Death as if it had been a rival who
robbed him. He felt himself the sport of a power to which he could offer
no resistance, and the sense of helplessness was maddening. But his fury
was of the white, intense, close-lipped kind. Though he had flung a
bitter word or two at Archie, his quarrel was with Destiny. No matter
who had decreed this thing, Raymond Fothergill was in fierce revolt.

And yet, through it all, he knew perfectly well that Sissy's death would
hardly make any outward change in him. He was robbed of his best
chance, but he did not pretend to himself that his heart was broken or
that his life was over. Walter Latimer might fancy that kind of thing,
but Fothergill knew that he should be much such a man as he had been
before he met her, only somewhat lower, because he had so nearly been
something higher and missed it. That was all.

Mrs. Latimer came for a few moments out of the hushed mystery of that
inner room. The tidings ran through the expectant groups that Sissy had
moved slightly, and had opened her eyes once, but there was little
hopefulness in the news. She was terribly injured: that much was
certain, but nothing more. Mrs. Latimer wanted her son. "Walter," she
said, "you must go home and take the girls. Indeed you must. They cannot
stay here, and I cannot send them back without you." Latimer refused,
protested, yielded. "Mother," he said, as he turned to go, "you don't
know--" His voice suddenly gave way.

"I do know. Oh, my poor boy!" She passed quickly to where Evelyn stood,
and told her that Walter had gone to order the horses. "I would rather
you were all away before Mrs. Middleton comes," she said: "Henry
Hardwicke has gone for her."

This departure was a signal to the rest. The groups melted away, and
with sad farewells to one another, and awestruck glances at the windows
of the farmhouse, almost all the guests departed. The sound of wheels
and horse-hoofs died away in the lanes, and all was very still. The bees
hummed busily round the white lilies and the lavender, and on the warm
turf of one of the narrow paths lay Archie Carroll.

He had a weight on heart and brain. There had been a moment all blue and
sunny, the last of his happy life, when Sissy's laughing face looked
back at him and he was a light-hearted-boy. Then had come a moment of
horror and incredulous despair, and that black moment had hardened into
eternity. Nightmare is hideous, and Archie's very life had become a
nightmare. Of course he would get over it, like his cousin, though,
unlike his cousin, he did not think so; and their different moods had
their different bitternesses. In days to come Carroll would enjoy his
life once more, would be ready for a joke or an adventure, would dance
the night through, would fall in love. This misery was a swift and
terrible entrance into manhood, for he could never be a boy again. And
the scar would be left, though the wound would assuredly heal. But
Archie, stumbling blindly through that awful pass, never thought that he
should come again to the light of day: it was to him as the blackness of
a hopeless hell.



CHAPTER L.

THROUGH THE NIGHT.


The village-clock struck five. As the last lingering stroke died upon
the air there was the sound of a carriage rapidly approaching. Carroll
raised his head when it stopped at the gate, and saw Hardwicke spring
out and help a lady to alight. She was an old lady, who walked quickly
to the house, looking neither to right nor left, and vanished within the
doorway. Hardwicke stopped, as if to give some order to the driver, and
then hurried after her. Archie stared vaguely, first at them, and then
at the man, who turned his horses and went round to the stables. When
they were out of sight he laid his head down again. The little scene had
been a vivid picture which stamped itself with curious distinctness on
his brain, yet failed to convey any meaning whatever. He had not the
faintest idea of the agony of love and fear in Mrs. Middleton's heart as
she passed him. To Archie, just then, the whole universe was _his_
agony, and there was no room for more.

Ten minutes later came Dr. Grey's brougham. The doctor, as he jumped
out, told his man to wait. He went from the gate to the house more
hurriedly than Mrs. Middleton, and his anxiety was more marked, but he
found time to look round as he went with keen eyes, which rested for an
instant on the young sailor, though he lay half hidden by the bushes.
He too vanished, as the others had vanished.

About an hour later he came out again, and Fothergill followed him. The
doctor started when he encountered his eager eyes. Fothergill demanded
his opinion. He began some of the usual speeches in which men wrap up
the ghastly word "death" in such disguise that it can hardly be
recognized.

The soldier cut him short: "Please to speak plain English, Dr. Grey."

The doctor admitted the very greatest danger.

"Danger--yes," said Fothergill, "but is there any hope? I am not a
fool--I sha'n't go in and scare the women: is there any hope?"

The answer was written on the doctor's face. He had known Sissy Langton
from the time when she came, a tiny child, to Brackenhill. He shook his
head, and murmured something about "even if there were no other injury,
the spine--"

Fothergill caught a glimpse of a hideous possibility, and answered with
an oath. It was not the profanity of the words, so much as the fury with
which they were charged, that horrified the good old doctor. "My dear
sir," he remonstrated gently, "we must remember that this is God's
will."

"God's will! God's will! Are you sure it isn't the devil's?" said
Fothergill. "It seems more like it. If you think it is God's will, you
may persuade yourself it's yours, for aught I know. But I'm not such a
damned hypocrite as to make believe it's mine."

And with a mechanical politeness, curiously at variance with his face
and speech, he lifted his hat to the doctor as he turned back to the
farmhouse.

So Sissy's doom was spoken--to linger a few hours, more or less, in
helpless pain, and then to die. The sun, which had dawned so joyously,
was going down as serenely as it had dawned, but it did not matter much
to Sissy now. She was sensible, she knew Mrs. Middleton. When the old
lady stooped over her she looked up, smiled faintly and said, "I fell."

"Yes, my darling, I know," Aunt Harriet said.

"Can I go home?" Sissy asked after a pause.

"No, dear, you must not think of it: you mustn't ask to go home."

"I thought not," said Sissy.

Mrs. Middleton asked her if she felt much pain.

"I don't know," she said, and closed her eyes.

Later, Henry Hardwicke sent in a message, and the old lady came out to
speak to him. He was standing by an open casement in the passage,
looking out at the sunset through the orchard boughs. "What is it,
Harry?" she said.

He started and turned round: "I beg your pardon, Mrs. Middleton, but I
thought in case you wanted to send any telegrams--if--if--I mean I
thought you might want to send some, and there is not very much time."

She put her hand to her head. "I ought to, oughtn't I?" she said. "Who
should be sent for?"

"Mr. Hammond?" Hardwicke questioned doubtfully.

Something like relief or pleasure lighted her sad eyes: "Yes, yes! send
for Godfrey Hammond. He will come." She was about to leave him, but the
young fellow stepped forward: "Mrs. Middleton"--was it the clear red
light from the window that suddenly flushed his face?--"Mrs. Middleton,
shall I send for Mr. Percival Thorne?"

She stopped, looking strangely at him: something in his voice surprised
her. "For Percival?" she said.

"May I? I think he ought to come." The hot color was burning on his
cheeks. What right had he to betray the secret which he believed he had
discovered? And yet could he stand by and not speak for her when she had
so little time in which to speak for herself?

"Is it for his sake," said Mrs. Middleton, "or is it that you think--?
Well, let it be so: send for Percival. Yes," she added, "perhaps I have
misunderstood. Yes, send at once for Percival."

"I'll go," said Harry, hurrying down the passage. "The message shall be
sent off at once. I'll take it to Fordborough."

"Must you go yourself?" Mrs. Middleton raised her voice a little as he
moved away.

"No: let me go," said Captain Fothergill, turning the farther corner: "I
am going to Fordborough. What is it? I will take it. Mrs. Middleton, you
will let me be your messenger?"

"You are very good," she said.--"Harry, you will write--I can't. Oh, I
must go back." And she vanished, leaving the two men face to face.

"I've no telegraph-forms," said Harry after a pause. "If you would take
the paper to my father, he will send the messages."

Fothergill nodded silently, and went out to make ready for his journey.
Hardwicke followed him, and stood in the porch pencilling on the back of
an old letter. When Fothergill had given his orders he walked up to
Carroll, touched the lad's shoulder with the tips of his fingers, and
stood away. "Come," he said.

Archie raised himself from the ground and stumbled to his feet: "Come?
where?"

"To Fordborough."

The boy started and stepped back. He looked at the farmhouse, he looked
at his cousin. "I'll come afterward," he faltered.

"Nonsense!" said Fothergill. "I'm going now, and of course you go with
me."

Archie shrank away, keeping his eyes fixed, as if in a kind of
fascination, on his cousin's terrible eyes. The idea of going back alone
with Raymond was awful to him. "No, I can't come, Ray--indeed I can't,"
he said. "I'll walk: I'd much rather--I would indeed."

"What for?" said Fothergill. "You are doing no good here. Do you know I
have a message to take? I can't be kept waiting. Don't be a fool," he
said in a lower but not less imperative voice.

Archie glanced despairingly round. Hardwicke came forward with the paper
in his outstretched hand: "Leave him here, Captain Fothergill. I dare
say I shall go to the inn in the village, and he may go with me. He can
take you the earliest news to-morrow morning."

Archie looked breathlessly from one to the other. "As you please," said
Fothergill, and strode off without another word.

The boy tried to say something in the way of thanks. "Oh, it's nothing,"
Hardwicke replied. "You won't care what sort of quarters they may turn
out to be, I know." And he went back to the house with a little shrug of
his shoulders at the idea of having young Carroll tied to him in this
fashion. He did not want the boy, but Hardwicke could never help
sacrificing himself.

So Archie went to the gate and watched his cousin ride away, a slim
black figure on his black horse against the burning sky. Fothergill
never turned his head. Where was the use of looking back? He was intent
only on his errand, and when that piece of paper should have been
delivered into Mr. Hardwicke's hands the last link between Sissy Langton
and himself would be broken. There would be no further service to
render. Fothergill did not know that the message he carried was to
summon his rival, but it would have made no difference in his feelings
if he had. Nothing made any difference now.

Mrs. Middleton sat by Sissy's bedside in the clear evening light. Harry
Hardwicke's words haunted her: why did he think that Sissy wanted
Percival? They had parted a year ago, and she had believed that Sissy
was cured of her liking for him. It was Sissy who had sent him away, and
she had been brighter and gayer of late: indeed, Mrs. Middleton had
fancied that Walter Latimer-- Well, that was over, but if Sissy cared
for Percival--

A pair of widely-opened eyes were fixed on her: "Am I going to die, Aunt
Harriet?"

"I hope not. Oh, my darling, I pray that you may live."

"I think I am going to die. Will it be very soon? Would there be time to
send--"

"We will send for anything or any one you want. Do you feel worse, dear?
Time to send for whom?"

"For Percival."

"Harry Hardwicke has sent for him already. Perhaps he has the message by
now: it is an hour and a half since the messenger went."

"When will he come?"

"To-morrow, darling."

There was a pause. Then the faint voice came again: "What time?"

Mrs. Middleton went to the door and called softly to Hardwicke. He had
been looking in Bradshaw, and she returned directly: "Percival will come
by the express to-night. He will be at Fordborough by the quarter-past
nine train, and Harry will meet him and bring him over at once--by ten
o'clock, he says, or a few minutes later."

Sissy's brows contracted for a moment: she was calculating the time.
"What is it now?" she said.

"Twenty minutes to eight."

Fourteen hours and a half! The whole night between herself and Percival!
The darkness must come and must go, the sun must set and must again be
high in the heavens, before he could stand by her side. It seemed to
Sissy as if she were going down into the blackness of an awful gulf,
where Death was waiting for her. Would she have strength to escape him,
to toil up the farther side, and to reach the far-off to-morrow and
Percival? "Aunt Harriet," she said, "shall I live till then? I want to
speak to him."

"Yes, my darling--indeed you will. Don't talk so: you will break my
heart. Perhaps God will spare you."

"No," said Sissy--"no."

Between eight and nine Hardwicke was summoned again. Mrs. Latimer wanted
some one to go to Latimer's Court, to take the latest news and to say
that it was impossible she could return that night. "You see they went
away before Dr. Grey came," she said. "I have written a little note. Can
you find me a messenger?"

"I will either find one or I will go myself," he replied.

"Oh, I didn't mean to trouble you. And wait a moment, for Mrs. Middleton
wants him to go on to her house. She will come and speak to you when I
go back to the poor girl."

"How is Miss Langton?"

"I hardly know. I think she is wandering a little: she talked just now
about some embroidery she has been doing--asked for it, in fact."

"When Dr. Grey was obliged to go he didn't think there would be any
change before he came back, surely?" said Hardwicke anxiously.

"No. But she can't know what she is saying, can she? Poor girl! she will
never do another stitch." Mrs. Latimer fairly broke down. The unfinished
embroidery which never could be finished brought the truth home to her.
It is hard to realize that a life with its interlacing roots and fibres
is broken off short.

"Oh, Mrs. Latimer, don't! don't!" Harry exclaimed, aghast at her tears.
"For dear Mrs. Middleton's sake!" He rushed away, and returned with
wine. "If you give way what will become of us?"

She was better in a few minutes, and able to go back, while Harry waited
in quiet confidence for Mrs. Middleton. He was not afraid of a burst of
helpless weeping when she came. She was gentle, yielding, delicate, but
there was something of the old squire's obstinacy in her, and in a
supreme emergency it came out as firmness. She looked old and frail as
she stepped into the passage and closed the door after her. Her hand
shook, but her eyes met his bravely and her lips were firm.

"You'll have some wine too," he said, pouring it out as a matter of
course. "You can drink it while you tell me what I am to do."

She took the glass with a slight inclination of her head, and explained
that she wanted an old servant who had been Sissy's nurse when she was a
little child. "Mrs. Latimer is very kind," she said, "but Sissy will
like her own people best. And Sarah would be broken-hearted--" She
paused. "Here is a list of things that I wish her to bring."

"Mrs. Latimer thought Miss Langton was not quite herself," he said
inquiringly.

"Do you mean because she talked of her work? Oh, I don't think so. She
answers quite sensibly--indeed, she speaks quite clearly. That was the
only thing."

"Then is it down in the list, this needlework? Or where is it to be
found?"

"You will bring it?" said Mrs. Middleton. "Well, perhaps--"

"If she should ask again," he said.

"True. Yes, yes, bring it." She told him where to find the little case.
"The fancy may haunt her. How am I to thank you, Harry?"

"Not at all," he said. "Only let me do what I can."

It was nearly eleven before Hardwicke had accomplished his double errand
and returned with Sarah. The stars were out, the ruins of the priory
rose in great black masses against the sky, the farmhouse windows
beneath the overhanging eaves were like bright eyes gazing out into the
night. Dr. Grey had come back in the interval, and had seen his patient.
There was nothing new to say, and nothing to be done, except to make the
path to the grave as little painful as might be. He was taking a nap in
Mr. Greenwell's arm-chair when the young man came in, but woke up clear
and alert in a moment. "Ah, you have come?" he said, recognizing the old
servant. "That's well: you'll save your mistress a little. Only, mind,
we mustn't have any crying. If there is anything of that sort you will
do more harm than good."

Sarah deigned no reply, but passed on. Mrs. Middleton came out to meet
them. Sissy had not spoken. She lay with her eyes shut, and moaned now
and then. "Are you going home, Harry?" said the old lady.

"Only into the village: I've got a room at the Latimer Arms. It isn't
two minutes' walk from here, so I can be fetched directly if I'm
wanted."

"And you will be sure to meet the train?"

"I will: you may depend upon me. But I shall come here first."

"Good-night, then. Go and get some rest."

Hardwicke went off to look for Archie Carroll. He found him in the
square flagged hall, sitting on the corner of a window-seat, with his
head leaning against the frame, among Mrs. Greenwell's geraniums. "Come
along, old fellow," said Harry.

There was only a glimmering candle, and the hall was very dim. Archie
got up submissively and groped his way after his guide. "Where are we
going?" he asked as the door was opened.

"To a little public-house close by. We couldn't ask the Greenwells to
take us in."

As they went out into the road the priory rose up suddenly on the left
and towered awfully above them. Carroll shuddered, drew closer to his
companion and kept his eyes fixed on the ground. "I feel as if I were
the ghost of myself, and those were the ghosts of the ruins," he said as
he hurried past.

The flight of fancy was altogether beyond Hardwicke: "You've been
sitting alone and thinking. There has been nothing for you to do, and I
couldn't help leaving you. Here we are."

They turned into the little sanded parlor of the ale-house. Hardwicke
had looked in previously and given his orders, and supper was laid ready
for them. He sat down and began to help himself, but Archie at first
refused to eat.

"Nonsense!" said Harry. "You have had nothing since the beginning of the
day. We must not break down, any of us." And with a little persuasion he
prevailed, and saw the lad make a tolerable supper and drink some brandy
and water afterward. "Vile brandy!" said Hardwicke as he set his tumbler
down. Archie was leaning with both elbows on the table, gazing at him.
His eyes were heavy and swollen, and there were purple shadows below
them.

"Mr. Hardwicke," he said, "you've been very good to me. Do you think it
was my fault?"

"Do I think what was your fault?"

"_This!_" Archie said--"to-day."

"No--not if I understand it."

"Ray said if he had been there--"

"I wish he had been. But we must not expect old heads on young
shoulders. How did it happen?"

"We climbed up on the wall, and she was saying how narrow and broken it
was, and I picked some of that stuff and called to her, and as she
looked back--"

Hardwicke groaned. "It was madly imprudent," he said. "But I don't blame
you. You didn't think. Poor fellow! I only hope you won't think too much
in future. Come, it's time for bed."

"I don't want to sleep," Archie answered: "I can't sleep."

"Very well," said Hardwicke. "But I must try and get a little rest. They
had only one room for us, so if you can't sleep you'll keep quiet and
let a fellow see what he can do in that line. And you may call me in the
morning if I don't wake. But don't worry yourself, for I shall."

"What time?" said Carroll.

"Oh, from five to six--not later than six."

But in half an hour it was Carroll who lay worn out and sleeping
soundly, and Hardwicke who was counting the slow minutes of that
intolerable night.

Sarah had been indignant that Dr. Grey should tell her not to cry. But
when Sissy looked up with a gentle smile of recognition, and instead of
calling her by her name said "Nurse," as she used to say in old times,
the good woman was very near it indeed, and was obliged to go away to
the window to try to swallow the lump that rose up in her throat and
almost choked her.

Mrs. Middleton sat by her darling's bedside. She had placed the little
work-case in full view, and presently Sissy noticed it and would have it
opened. The half-finished strip of embroidery was laid within easy reach
of hand and eye. She smiled, but was not satisfied. "The case," she
said. Her fingers strayed feebly among the little odds and ends which it
contained, and closed over something which she kept.

Then there was a long silence, unbroken till Sissy was thirsty and
wanted something to drink. "What time?" she said when she had finished.

"Half-past twelve."

"It's very dark."

"We will have another candle," said Aunt Harriet.

"No: the candle only makes me see how dark it is all round."

Again there was silence, but not so long this time. And again Sissy
broke it: "Aunt Harriet, he is coming now."

"Yes, darling, he is coming."

"I feel as if I saw the train, with red lights in front, coming through
the night--always coming, but never any nearer."

"But it _is_ nearer every minute. Percival is nearer now than when you
spoke."

Sissy said "Yes," and was quiet again till between one and two. Then
Mrs. Middleton perceived that her eyes were open. "What is it, dear
child?" she said.

"The night is so long!"

"Sissy," said Aunt Harriet softly, "I want you to listen to me. A year
ago, when Godfrey died and I talked about the money that I hoped to
leave you one day, you told me what you should like me to do with it
instead, because you had enough and you thought it was not fair. I
didn't quite understand then, and I would not promise. Do you remember?"

"Yes."

"Sissy, shall I promise now? I've been thinking about it, and I've no
wish on earth but to make you happy. Will it make you happier if I
promise now that it shall be as you said?"

"Yes," said Sissy with eager eyes.

"Then I do promise: all that is mine to leave he shall have."

Sissy answered with a smile. "Kiss me," she said. And so the promise was
sealed. After that the worst of the night seemed somehow to be over.
Sissy slept a little, and Aunt Harriet nodded once or twice in the
easy-chair. Starting into wakefulness after one of these moments, she
saw the outline of the window faintly defined in gray, and thanked God
that the dawn had come.



CHAPTER LI.

BY THE EXPRESS.


Mr. Hardwicke, not knowing Percival Thorne's precise address, had
telegraphed to Godfrey Hammond, begging him to forward the message
without delay. A couple of days earlier Hammond had suddenly taken it
into his head that he was tired of being in town and would go away
somewhere. In a sort of whimsical amusement at his own mood he decided
that the Land's End ought to suit a misanthrope, and promptly took a
ticket for Penzance as a considerable step in the right direction.

It made no difference to Percival, for Hammond had left full directions
with a trustworthy servant in case any letters should come for Mr.
Thorne, and the man sent the message on to Brenthill at once. But it
made a difference to Hammond himself. When Hardwicke despatched the
telegram to his address in town Godfrey lay on the turf at the Lizard
Head, gazing southward across the sunlit sea, while the seabirds
screamed and the white waves broke on the jagged rocks far below.

But with Percival there was no delay. The message found him in Bellevue
street, though he did not return there immediately after his parting
with Judith. He wanted the open air, the sky overhead, movement and
liberty to calm the joyful tumult in heart and brain. He hastened to the
nearest point whence he could look over trees and fields. The prospect
was not very beautiful. The trees were few--some cropped willows by a
mud-banked rivulet and a group or two of gaunt and melancholy elms. And
the fields had a trodden, suburban aspect, which made it hardly needful
to stick up boards describing them as eligible building-ground. Yet
there was grass, such as it was, and daisies sprinkled here and there,
and soft cloud-shadows gliding over it. Percival's unreal and fantastic
dream had perished suddenly when Judith put her hand in his. Now, as he
walked across these meadows, he saw a new vision, that dream of noble,
simple poverty, which, if it could but be realized, would be the fairest
of all.

When he returned from his walk, and came once more to the well-known
street which he was learning to call "home," he was so much calmer that
he thought he was quite himself again. Not the languid, hopeless self
who had lived there once, but a self young, vigorous, elate, rejoicing
in the present and looking confidently toward the future.

  This I can tell,
  That all will go well,

was the keynote of his mood. He felt as if he trod on air--as if he had
but to walk boldly forward and every obstacle must give way. The door of
No. 13 was open, and a boy who had brought a telegram was turning away
from it. Hurrying in with eager eyes and his face bright with unspoken
joy, Percival nearly ran up against Mrs. Bryant and Emma, whose heads
were close together over the address on the envelope.

"Lor! Mr. Thorne, how you startled me! It's for you," said his landlady.

He went up the stairs two at a time, with his message in his hand. Here
was some good news--not for one moment did he dream it could be other
than good news--come to crown this day, already the whitest of his life.
He tore the paper open and read it by the red sunset light, hotly
reflected from a wilderness of tiles.

He read it twice--thrice--caught at the window-frame to steady himself,
and stood staring vaguely at the smoke which curled upward from a
neighboring chimney. He was stunned. The words seemed to have a meaning
and no meaning. "This is not how people receive news of death, surely?"
he thought. "I suppose I am in my right senses, or is it a dream?"

He made a strong effort to regain his self-command, but all certainties
eluded him. This was not the first time that he had taken up a telegram
and believed that he read the tidings of Sissy's death. He had
misunderstood it now as then. It could not be. But why could he not
wake?

"Ashendale." Yes, he remembered Ashendale. He had ridden past the ruins
the last day he ever rode with Sissy, the day that Horace came home. It
belonged to the Latimers--to Walter Latimer. And Sissy was dying at
Ashendale!

All at once he knew that it was no dream. But the keen edge of pain
awoke him to the thought of what he had to do, and sent him to hunt
among a heap of papers for a time-table. He drew a long breath. The
express started at 10.5, and it was now but twenty minutes past eight.

He caught up his hat and hurried to the office. Mr. Ferguson, who seldom
left much before that time, was on the doorstep. While he was getting
into his dog-cart Percival hastily explained that he had been summoned
on a matter of life and death. "Sorry to hear it," said the lawyer as he
took the reins--"hope you may find things better than you expect. We
shall see you again when you come back." And with a nod he rattled down
the street. Percival stood on the pavement gazing after him, when he
suddenly remembered that he had no money. "I might have asked him to
give me my half week's salary," he reflected. "Not that that would have
paid my fare."

A matter of life and death! Sissy waiting for him at Ashendale, and no
money to pay for a railway-ticket! It would have been absurd if it had
not been horrible. What had he to sell or pawn? By the time he could go
to Bellevue street and return would not the shops be shut? It was a
quarter to nine already. He did not even know where any pawnbroker
lived, nor what he could take to him, and the time was terribly short.
He was hurrying homeward while these thoughts passed through his mind
when Judith's words came back to him: "I have a pound or two to spare,
and I feel quite rich." He took the first turning toward Miss
Macgregor's house.

Outside her door he halted for a moment. If they would not let him see
Judith, how was he to convey his request? He felt in his pocket, found
the telegram and pencilled below the message, "Sissy Langton was once to
have been my wife: we parted, and I have never seen her since. I have
not money enough for my railway-fare: can you help me?" He folded it
and rang the bell.

No, he could not see Miss Lisle. She was particularly engaged. "Very
well," he said: "be so good as to take this note to her, and I will wait
for the answer." His manner impressed the girl so much that, although
she had been carefully trained by Miss Macgregor, she cast but one
hesitating glance at the umbrella-stand before she went on her errand.

Percival waited, eager to be off, yet well assured that it was all right
since it was in Judith's hands. Presently the servant returned and gave
him a little packet. The wax of the seal was still warm. He opened it
where he stood, and by the light of Miss Macgregor's hall-lamp read the
couple of lines it contained:

     "I cannot come, but I send you all the money I have. I pray God you
     may be in time. Yours, JUDITH."

There were two sovereigns and some silver. He told the girl to thank
Miss Lisle, and went out into the dusk as the clocks were striking nine.
Ten minutes brought him to Bellevue street, and rushing up to his room
he began to put a few things into a little travelling-bag. In his haste
he neglected to shut the door, and Mrs. Bryant, whose curiosity had been
excited, came upon him in the midst of this occupation.

"And what may be the meaning of this, Mr. Thorne, if I may make so bold
as to ask?" she said, eying him doubtfully from the doorway.

Percival explained that he had had bad news and was off by the express.

Mrs. Bryant's darkest suspicions were aroused. She said it was a likely
story.

"Why, you gave me the telegram yourself," he answered indifferently
while he caught up a couple of collars. He was too much absorbed to heed
either Mrs. Bryant or his packing.

"And who sent it, I should like to know?"

Percival made no answer, and she began to grumble about people who had
money enough to travel all over the country at a minute's notice if they
liked, and none to pay their debts--people who made promises by the
hour together, and then sneaked off, leaving boxes with nothing inside
them, she'd be bound.

Thus baited, Percival at last turned angrily upon her, but before he
could utter a word another voice interposed: "What are you always
worrying about, ma? Do come down and have your supper, and let Mr.
Thorne finish his packing. He'll pay you every halfpenny he owes you:
don't you know that?" And the door was shut with such decision that it
was a miracle that Mrs. Bryant was not dashed against the opposite wall.
"Come along," said Lydia: "there's toasted cheese."

Percival ran down stairs five minutes later with his bag in his hand. He
turned into his sitting-room, picked up a few papers and thrust them
into his desk. He was in the act of locking it when he heard a step
behind him, and looking round he saw Lydia. She had a cup of tea and
some bread and butter, which she set down before him. "You haven't had a
morsel since the middle of the day," she said. "Just you drink this. Oh,
you must: there's lots of time."

"Miss Bryant, this is very kind of you, but I don't think--"

"Just you drink it," said Lydia, "and eat a bit too, or you'll be good
for nothing." And while Percival hastily obeyed she glanced round the
room: "Nobody'll meddle with your things while you're gone: don't you
trouble yourself."

"Oh, I didn't suspect that any one would," he replied, hardly thinking
whether it was likely or not as he swallowed the bread and butter.

"Well, that was very nice of you, I'm sure, _I_ should have suspected a
lot if I'd been you," said Lydia candidly. "But nobody shall. Now, you
aren't going to leave that tea? Why, it wants twenty minutes to ten, and
not six minutes' walk to the station!"

Percival finished the tea: "Thank you very much, Miss Bryant."

"And I say," Lydia pursued, pulling her curl with less than her usual
consideration for its beauty, "I suppose you _have_ got money enough?
Because if not, I'll lend you a little. Don't you mind what ma says, Mr.
Thorne. I know you're all right."

"You are very good," said Percival. "I didn't expect so much kindness,
and I've been borrowing already, so I needn't trouble you. But thank you
for your confidence in me and for your thoughtfulness." He held out his
hand to Lydia, and thus bade farewell to Bellevue street.

She stood for a moment looking after him. Only a few hours before she
would have rejoiced in any small trouble or difficulty which might have
befallen Mr. Thorne. But when he turned round upon her mother and
herself as they stood at his door, her spite had vanished before the
sorrowful anxiety of his eyes. She had frequently declared that Mr.
Thorne was no gentleman, and that she despised him, but she knew in her
heart that he _was_ a gentleman, and she was ashamed of her mother's
behavior. Lydia was capable of being magnanimous, provided the object of
her magnanimity were a man. I doubt if she could have been magnanimous
to a woman. But Percival Thorne was a young and handsome man, and though
she did not know what his errand might be, she knew that she was not
sending him to Miss Lisle. Standing before his glass, she smoothed back
her hair with both hands, arranged the ribbon at her throat and admired
the blue earrings and a large locket which she wore suspended from a
chain. Even while she thought kindly of Mr. Thorne, and wished him well,
she was examining her complexion and her hands with the eye of a critic.
"I don't believe that last stuff is a mite of good," she said to
herself; "and it's no end of bother. I might as well pitch the bottle
out of the window. It was just as well that he'd borrowed the money of
some one else, but I'm glad I offered it. I wonder when he'll come
back?" And with that Lydia returned to her toasted cheese.

Percival had had a nervous fear of some hinderance on his way to the
station. It was so urgent that he should go by this train that the
necessity oppressed him like a nightmare. An earthquake seemed a not
improbable thing. He was seriously afraid that he might lose his way
during the five minutes' walk through familiar streets. He imagined an
error of half an hour or so in all the Brenthill clocks. He hardly knew
what he expected, but he felt it a relief when he came to the station
and found it standing in its right place, quietly awaiting him. He was
the first to take a ticket, and the moment the train drew up by the
platform his hand was on the door of a carriage, though before getting
in he stopped a porter to inquire if this were the express. The porter
answered "Yes, sir--all right," with the half smile of superior
certainty: what else could it be? Thorne took his place and waited a few
minutes, which seemed an eternity. Then the engine screamed, throbbed,
and with quickening speed rushed out into the night.

A man was asleep in one corner of the carriage, otherwise Percival was
alone. His nervous anxiety subsided, since nothing further depended upon
him till he reached town, and he sat thinking of Sissy and of that brief
engagement which had already receded into a shadowy past. "It was a
mistake," he mused, "and she found it out before it was too late. But I
believe her poor little heart has been aching for me, lest she wounded
me too cruelly that night. It wasn't her fault. She would have hid her
fear of me, poor child! if she had been able. And she was so sorry for
me in my trouble! I don't think she could be content to go on her way
and take her happiness now while my life was spoilt and miserable. Poor
little Sissy! she will be glad to know--"

And then he remembered that it was to a dying Sissy that the tidings
of marriage and hope must be uttered, if uttered at all. And he sat
as it were in a dull dream, trying to realize how the life which
in the depths of his poverty had seemed so beautiful and safe was
suddenly cut short, and how Sissy at that moment lay in the darkness,
waiting--waiting--waiting. The noise of the train took up his thought,
and set it to a monotonous repetition of "Waiting at Ashendale! waiting
at Ashendale!" If only she might live till he could reach her! He seemed
to be hurrying onward, yet no nearer. His overwrought brain caught up
the fancy that Death and he were side by side, racing together through
the dark, at breathless, headlong speed, to Sissy, where she waited for
them both.

Outside, the landscape lay dim and small, dwarfed by the presence of the
night. And with the lights burning on its breast, as Sissy saw them in
her half-waking visions, the express rushed southward across the level
blackness of the land, beneath the arch of midnight sky.



CHAPTER LII.

     Quand on a trouvé ce qu'on cherchait, on n'a pas le temps de le
     dire: il faut mourir.--J. JOUBERT.


When the gray of the early morning had changed to golden sunlight, and
the first faint twittering of the birds gave place to fuller melody,
Mrs. Middleton went softly to the window, opened it and fastened it
back. She drew a long breath of the warm air fresh from the beanfields,
and, looking down into the little orchard below, saw Harry Hardwicke,
who stepped forward and looked up at her. She signed to him to wait, and
a couple of minutes later she joined him.

"How is she? How has she passed the night?" he asked eagerly.

"She is no worse. She has lived through it bravely, with one thought.
You were very right to send for Percival."

Hardwicke looked down and colored as he had colored when he spoke of him
before. "I'm glad," he said. "I'm off to fetch him in about an hour and
a half."

"Nothing from Godfrey Hammond?" she asked after a pause.

"No. I'll ask at my father's as I go by. He will either come or we shall
hear, unless he is out."

"Of course," the old lady answered. "Godfrey Hammond would not fail me.
And now good-bye, Harry, till you bring Percival."

She went away as swiftly and lightly as she had come a minute before,
and left Hardwicke standing on the turf under the apple trees gazing up
at the open casement. A June morning, sun shining, soft winds blowing, a
young lover under his lady's window: it should have been a perfect poem.
And the lady within lay crushed and maimed, dying in the very heart of
her June!

Hardwicke let himself out through the little wicket-gate, and went back
to the Latimer Arms. He entered the bedroom without disturbing Archie,
who lay with his sunburnt face on the white pillow, smiling in his
sleep. He could not find it in his heart to arouse him. The boy's lips
parted, he murmured a word or two, and seemed to sink into a yet deeper
slumber. Hardwicke went softly out, gave the landlady directions about
breakfast, and returned, watch in hand. "I suppose I must," he said to
himself.

But he stopped short. Carroll stirred, stretched himself, his eyes were
half open: evidently his waking was a pleasant one. But suddenly the
unfamiliar aspect of the room attracted his attention: he looked eagerly
round, a shadow swept across his face, and he turned and saw Hardwicke.
"It's true!" he said, and flung out his arms in a paroxysm of despair.

Harry walked to the window and leant out. Presently a voice behind him
asked, "Have you been to the farm, Mr. Hardwicke?"

"Yes," said Harry. "But there is no news. She passed a tolerably quiet
night: there is no change."

"I've been asleep," said Archie after a pause. "I never thought I should
sleep." He looked ashamed of having done so.

"It would have been strange if you hadn't: you were worn out."

"My watch has run down," the other continued. "What is the time?"

"Twenty minutes past seven. I want to speak to you, Carroll. I think you
had better go home."

"Home? To Fordborough? To Raymond?"

"No. Really home, to your own people. You can write to your cousin. You
don't want to go back to him?"

Archie shook his head. Then a sudden sense of injustice to Fothergill
prompted him to say, "Ray was never hard on me before."

"You mustn't think about that," Hardwicke replied. "People don't weigh
their words at such times. But, Carroll, you can do nothing here--less
than nothing. You'll be better away. Give me your address, and I'll
write any news there is. Look sharp now, and you can go into Fordborough
with me and catch the up train."

As they drove through the green lanes, along which they had passed the
day before, Archie looked right and left, recalling the incidents of
that earlier drive. Already he was better, possessing his sorrow with
greater keenness and fulness than at first, but not so miserably
possessed by it. Hardly a word was spoken till they stood on the
platform and a far-off puff of white showed the coming train. Then he
said, "I shall never forget your kindness, Mr. Hardwicke. If ever
there's anything I can do--"

"You'll do it," said Harry with a smile.

"That I will! And you'll write?"

Hardwicke answered "Yes." He knew too well _what_ it was he promised to
write to say a word more.

It was a relief to him when Carroll was gone and he could pace the
platform and watch for the London train. He looked through the open
doorway, and saw his dog-cart waiting in the road and the horse tossing
his head impatiently in the sunshine. Through all his anxiety--or rather
side by side with his anxiety--he was conscious of a current of interest
in all manner of trivial things. He thought of the price he had given
for the horse five months before, and of Latimer's opinion of his
bargain. He noticed the station-master in the distance, and remembered
that some one had said he drank. He watched a row of small birds sitting
on the telegraph-wires just outside the station, and all at once the
London train came gliding rapidly and unexpectedly out of the cutting
close by, and was there.

A hurried rush along the line of carriages, with his heart sinking lower
at every step, a despairing glance round, and he perceived the man he
came to meet walking off at the farther end of the platform. He came up
with him as he stopped to speak to a porter.

"Ah! I am in time, then?" said Percival when he looked round in reply to
Hardwicke's hurried greeting.

"Yes, thank God! I promised to drive you over to Ashendale at once."

Percival nodded, and took his place without a word. Not till they were
fairly started on their journey did he turn to his companion. "How did
it happen?" he asked.

Hardwicke gave him a brief account of the accident. He listened eagerly,
and then, just saying "It's very dreadful," he was silent again. But it
was the silence of a man intent on his errand, leaning slightly forward
as if drawn by a powerful attraction, and with eyes fixed on the point
where he would first see the ruins of Ashendale Priory above the trees.
Hardwicke did not venture to speak to him. As the man whom Sissy Langton
loved, Percival Thorne was to him the first of men, but, considered from
Hardwicke's own point of view, he was a fellow with whom he had little
or nothing in common--a man who quoted poetry and saw all manner of
things in pictures and ruins, who went out of his way to think about
politics, and was neither Conservative nor Radical when all was done--a
man who rather disliked dogs and took no interest in horses. Hardwicke
did not want to speak about dogs, horses or politics then, but the
consciousness of their want of sympathy was in his mind.

As they drove through the village they caught a passing glimpse of a
brougham. "Ha! Brackenhill," said Thorne, looking after it. They dashed
round a corner and pulled up in front of the farmhouse. Hardwicke took
no pains to spare the noise of their arrival. He knew very well that the
sound of wheels would be music to Sissy's ears.

A tall, slim figure, which even on that June morning had the air of
being wrapped up, passed and repassed in the hall within. As the two
young men came up the path Horace appeared in the porch. Even at that
moment the change which a year had wrought in him startled Percival. He
was a mere shadow. He had looked ill before, but now he looked as if he
were dying.

[Illustration: "SEE HERE, SISSY," SAID PERCIVAL, "WE ARE FRIENDS."--Page
698.]

"She will not see me," he said to Hardwicke. His voice was that of a
confirmed invalid, a mixture of complaint and helplessness. He ignored
his cousin.

"She will see you now that Percival has come," said Mrs. Middleton,
advancing from the background. "She will see you together."

And she led the way. Horace went in second, and Percival last, yet he
was the first to meet the gaze of those waiting eyes. The young men
stood side by side, looking down at the delicate face on the pillow. It
was pale, and seemed smaller than usual in the midst of the loosened
waves of hair. On one side of the forehead there was a dark mark, half
wound, half bruise--a mere nothing but for its terrible suggestiveness.
But the clear eyes and the gentle little mouth were unchanged. Horace
said "Oh, Sissy!" and Sissy said "Percival." He could not speak, but
stooped and kissed the little hand which lay passively on the coverlet.

"Whisper," said Sissy. He bent over her. "Have you forgiven him?" she
asked.

"Yes." The mere thought of enmity was horrible to him as he looked into
Sissy's eyes with that spectral Horace by his side.

"Are you sure? Quite?"

"Before God and you, Sissy."

"Tell him so, Percival."

He stood up and turned to his cousin. "Horace!" he said, and held out
his hand. The other put a thin hot hand into it.--"See here, Sissy,"
said Percival, "we are friends."

"Yes, we're friends," Horace repeated. "Has it vexed you, Sissy? I
thought you didn't care about me. I'm sorry, dear--I'm very sorry."

Aunt Harriet, standing by, laid her hand on his arm. She had held aloof
for that long year, feeling that he was in the wrong. He had not acted
as a Thorne should, and he could never be the same to her as in old
days. But she had wanted her boy, nevertheless, right or wrong, and
since Percival had pardoned him, and since it was partly Godfrey's
hardness that had driven him into deceit, and since he was so ill, and
since--and since--she loved him, she drew his head down to her and
kissed him. Horace was weak, and he had to turn his face away and wipe
his eyes. But, relinquishing Percival's hand, he held Aunt Harriet's.

Percival stooped again, in obedience to a sign from Sissy. "Ask him to
forgive me," she said.

"He knows nothing, dear."

"Ask him for me."

"Horace," said Percival, "Sissy wants your forgiveness."

"I've nothing to forgive," said Horace. "It is I who ought to ask to be
forgiven. It was hard on me when first you came to Brackenhill, Percy,
but it has been harder on you since. I hardly know what I said or did on
that day: I thought you'd been plotting against me."

"No, no," said Sissy--"not he."

"No, but I did think so.--Since then I've felt that, anyhow, it was not
fair. I suppose I was too proud to say so, or hardly knew how,
especially as the wrong is past mending. But I do ask your pardon now."

"You have it," said Percival. "We didn't understand each other very
well."

"But I never blamed you, Sissy--never, for one moment. I wasn't so bad
as that. I've watched for you now and then in Fordborough streets, just
to get a glimpse as you went by. I thought it was you who would never
forgive me, because of Percival."

"He has forgiven," said Sissy. But her eyes still sought Percival's.

"Look here, Horace," he said. "There was a misunderstanding you knew
nothing of, and Sissy feels that she might have cleared it up. It _was_
cleared up at last, but I think it altered my grandfather's manner to
you for a time. If you wish to know the whole I will tell you. But since
it is all over and done with, and did not really do you any harm, if you
like best"--he looked steadily at Horace--"that we should forgive and
forget on both sides, we will bury the past here to-day."

"Yes, yes," said Horace. "Sissy may have made a mistake, but she never
meant me any harm, I know."

"Don't! don't! Oh, Horace, I did, but I am sorry."

"God knows I forgive you, whatever it was," he said.

"Kiss me, Horace."

He stooped and kissed her, as he had kissed her many a time when she was
his little pet and playmate. She kissed him back again, and smiled:
"Good-bye, Horry!"

Mrs. Middleton interposed. "This will be too much for her," she
said.--"Percival, she wants you, I see: be careful." And she drew Horace
gently away.

Percival sat down by the bedside. Presently Sarah came in and went to
the farther end of the room, waiting in case she should be wanted. Sissy
was going to speak once, but Percival stopped her: "Lie still a little
while, dear: I'm not going away."

She lay still, looking up at this Percival for whom she had watched and
waited through the dreary night, and who had come to her with the
morning. And he, as he sat by her side, was thinking how at that time
the day before he was in the office at Brenthill. He could hardly
believe that less than twenty-four hours had given him the assurance of
Judith's love and brought him to Sissy's deathbed. He was in a strangely
exalted state of mind. His face was calm as if cast in bronze, but a
crowd of thoughts and feelings contended for the mastery beneath it. He
had eaten nothing since the night before, and had not slept, but his
excitement sustained him.

He met Sissy's eyes and smiled tenderly. How was it that he had
frightened her in old days? Could he ever have been cruel to one so
delicate and clinging? Yet he must have been, since he had driven away
her love. She was afraid of him: she had begged to be free. Well, the
past was past, but at least no word nor look of his should frighten or
grieve the poor child now.

After a time she spoke: "You have worked too hard. Isn't it that you
wanted to do something great?"

"That isn't at all likely," said Percival with a melancholy smile. "I'm
all right, Sissy."

"No, you are pale. You wanted to surprise us. Oh, I guessed! Godfrey
Hammond didn't tell me. I should have been glad if I could have waited
to see it."

"Don't talk so," he entreated. "There will be nothing to see."

"You mustn't work too hard--promise," she whispered.

"No, dear, I won't."

"Percival, will you be good to me?"

"If I can I will indeed. What can I do?"

"I want you to have my money. It is my own, and I have nobody." Sissy
remembered the terrible mistake she had once made, and wanted an
assurance from his own lips that her gift was accepted.

Percival hesitated for a moment, and even the moment's hesitation
alarmed her. It was true, as she said, that she had nobody, and her
words opened a golden gateway before Judith and himself. Should he tell
her of that double joy and double gratitude? He believed that she would
be glad, but it seemed selfish and horrible to talk of love and marriage
by that bedside. "I wish you might live to need it all yourself, dear,"
he answered, and laid his hand softly on hers. The strip of embroidery
caught his eye. "What's this?" he said in blank surprise. "And your
thimble! Sissy, you mustn't bother yourself about this work now." He
would have drawn it gently away.

The fingers closed on it suddenly, and the weak voice panted: "No,
Percival. It's mine. That was before we were engaged: you spoilt my
other."

"O God!" he said. In a moment all came back to him. He remembered the
summer day at Brackenhill--Sissy and he upon the terrace--the work-box
upset and the thimble crushed beneath his foot. He remembered her pretty
reproaches and their laughter over her enforced idleness. He remembered
how he rode into Fordborough and bought that little gold thimble--the
first present he ever made her. All his gifts during their brief
engagement had been scrupulously returned, but this, as she had said,
was given before. And she was dying with it in her hand! She had loved
him from first to last.

"Percival, you will take my money?" she pleaded, fearing some
incomprehensible scruple.

"For God's sake, Sissy! I must think a moment." He buried his face in
his hands.

"Oh, you are cruel!" she whispered.

How could he think? Sissy loved him--had always loved him. It was all
plain to him now. He had been blind, and he had come back to find out
the truth the day after he had pledged himself to Judith Lisle!

"Don't be unkind to me, Percival: I can't bear it, dear."

How could he stab her to the heart by a refusal of that which he so
sorely needed? How could he tell her of his engagement? How could he
keep silence, and take her money to spend it with Judith?

"Say 'Yes,' Percival. It is mine. Why not? why not?"

He spoke through his clasped hands: "One moment more."

"I shall never ask you anything again," she whispered. "Oh, Percival, be
good to me!"

He raised his head and looked earnestly at her. He must be true, happen
what might.

"Sissy, God knows I thank you for your goodness. I sha'n't forget it,
living or dying. If only you might be spared--"

"No, no. Say 'Yes,' Percival."

"I will say 'Yes' if, when I have done, you wish it still. But it must
be 'Yes' for some one besides myself. Dear, don't give it to me to make
amends in any way. You have not wronged me, Sissy. Don't give it to me,
dear, unless you give it to Judith Lisle."

As he spoke he looked into her eyes. Their sweet entreaty gave place to
a flash of pained reproach, as if they said "So soon?" Then the light in
them wavered and went out. Percival sprang up. "Help! she has fainted!"

Sarah hurried from her post by the window, and the sound of quick
footsteps brought back Mrs. Middleton. The young man stood aside,
dismayed. "She isn't dead?" he said in a low voice.

Aunt Harriet did not heed him. A horrible moment passed, during which he
felt himself a murderer. Then Sissy moaned and turned her face a little
to the wall.

"Go now: she cannot speak to you," said Mrs. Middleton.

"I can't. Only one more word!"

"What do you mean? What have you done? You may wait outside, and I will
call you. She cannot bear any more now: do you want to kill her
outright?"

He went. There was a wide window-seat in the passage, and he dropped
down upon it, utterly worn out and wretched. "What have I done?" he
asked himself. "What made me do it? She loved me, and I have been a
brute to her. If I had been a devil, could I have tortured her more?"

Presently Mrs. Middleton came to him: "She cannot see you now, but she
is better."

He looked up at her as he sat: "Aunt Harriet, I meant it for the best.
Say what you like: I was a brute, I suppose, but I thought I was doing
right."

"What do you mean?" Her tone was gentler: she detected the misery in
his.

Percival took her hand and laid it on his forehead. "You can't think I
meant to be cruel to our Sissy," he said. "You will let me speak to
her?"

She softly pushed back his hair. After all, he was the man Sissy loved.
"What was it?" she asked: "what did you do?"

He looked down. "I'm going to marry Miss Lisle," he said.

She started away from him: "You told her that? God forgive you,
Percival!"

"I should have been a liar if I hadn't."

"Couldn't you let her die in peace? It is such a little while! Couldn't
you have waited till she was in her grave?"

"Will she see me? Just one word, Aunt Harriet." And yet while he pleaded
he did not know what the one word was that he would say. Only he felt
that he must see her once more.

"Not now," said Mrs. Middleton. "My poor darling shall not be tortured
any more. Later, if she wishes it, but not now. She could not bear it."

"But you will ask her to see me later?" he entreated. "I must see her."

"What is she to you? She is all the world to me, and she shall be left
in peace. It is all that I can do for her now. You have been cruel to
her always--always. She has been breaking her heart for you: she lived
through last night with the hope of your coming. Oh, Percival, God knows
I wish we had never called you away from Miss Lisle!"

"Don't say that."

"Go back to her," said Aunt Harriet, "and leave my darling to me. We
were happy at Brackenhill till you came there."

He sprang to his feet: "Aunt Harriet! have some mercy! You know I would
die if it could make Sissy any happier."

"And Miss Lisle?" she said.

He turned away with a groan, and, leaning against the wall, put his hand
over his eyes. Mrs. Middleton hesitated a moment, but her haste to
return to Sissy triumphed over any relenting feelings, and she left him,
pausing only at the door to make sure of her calmness.

Noon came and passed. Sissy had spoken once to bid them take the
needlework away. "I've done with it," she said. Otherwise she was
silent, and only looked at them with gentle, apathetic eyes when they
spoke to her. Dr. Grey came and went again. On his way out he noticed
Percival, looked keenly at him, but said nothing.

Henry Hardwicke's desire to be useful had prompted him to station
himself on the road a short distance from the farm, at the turning from
the village. There he stopped people coming to inquire, and gave the
latest intelligence. It was weary work, lounging there by the wayside,
but he hoped he was serving Sissy Langton to the last. He could not even
have a cigar to help to pass the time, for he had an idea that Mrs.
Middleton disliked the smell of smoke. He stared at the trees and the
sky, drew letters in the dust with the end of a stick, stirred up a
small ants' nest, examined the structure of a dog-rose or two and some
buttercups, and compared the flavors of different kinds of leaves. He
came forward as Dr. Grey went by. The doctor stopped to tell him that
Miss Langton was certainly weaker. "But she may linger some hours yet,"
he added; and he was going on his way when a thought seemed to strike
him. "Are you staying at the farm?" he asked.

"No: they've enough without me. I'm at the little public-house close
by."

"Going there for some luncheon?"

Hardwicke supposed so.

"Can't you get young Thorne to go with you? He looks utterly exhausted."

Hardwicke went off on his mission, but he could not persuade him to
stir. "All right!" he said at last: "then I shall bring you something to
eat here." Percival agreed to that compromise, and owned afterward that
he felt better for the food he had taken.

The slow hours of the afternoon went wearily by. The rector of
Fordborough came; Dr. Grey came again; Mrs. Latimer passed two or three
times. The sky began to grow red toward the west once more, and the
cawing rooks flew homeward, past the window where Percival sat waiting
vainly for the summons which did not come.

Hardwicke, released from his self-imposed duty, came to see if Percival
would go with him for half an hour or so to the Latimer Arms. "I've got
a kind of tea-dinner," he said--"chops and that sort of thing. You'd
better have some." But it was of no use. So when he came back to the
house the good-natured fellow brought some more provisions, and begged
Lucy Greenwell to make some tea, which he carried up.

"Where are you going to spend the night?" asked Harry, coming up again
when he had taken away the cup and plate.

"Here," said Percival. He sat with his hands clasped behind his head and
one leg drawn up on the seat. His face was sharply defined against the
square of sunset sky.

Hardwicke stood with his hands in his pockets, looking down at him. "But
you can't sleep here," he said.

"That doesn't matter much. Sleeping or waking, here I stay."

A sudden hope flashed in his eyes, for the door of Sissy's room opened,
and, closing it behind her, Mrs. Middleton came out and looked up and
down the passage. But she called "Harry" in a low voice, and Percival
leant back again.

Harry went. Mrs. Middleton had moved a little farther away, and stood
with her back toward Percival and one hand pressed against the wall to
steady herself. Her first question was an unexpected one: "Isn't the
wind getting up?" Her eyes were frightened and her voice betrayed her
anxiety.

"I don't know--not much, I think." He was taken by surprise, and
hesitated a little.

"It is: tell me the truth."

"I am--I will," he stammered. "I haven't thought about it. There is a
pleasant little breeze, such as often comes in the evening. I don't
really think there's any more."

"It isn't rising, then?"

"Wait a minute," said Hardwicke, and hurried off. He did not in the
least understand his errand, but it was enough for him that Mrs.
Middleton wanted to know. If she had asked him the depth of water in the
well or the number of trees on the Priory farm, he would have rushed
away with the same eagerness to satisfy her. His voice was heard in the
porch, alternating with deeper and less carefully restrained tones. Then
there was a sound of steps on the gravel-path. Presently he came back.
Mrs. Middleton's attitude was unchanged, except that she had drawn a
little closer to the wall. But though she had never looked over her
shoulder, she was uneasily conscious of the young man half sitting, half
lying in the window-seat behind her.

"Greenwell says it won't be anything," Hardwicke announced. "The glass
has been slowly going up all day yesterday and to-day, and it is rising
still. He believes we have got a real change in the weather, and that it
will keep fine for some time."

"Thank God!" said Mrs. Middleton. "Do you think I'm very mad?"

"Not I," Harry answered in a "theirs-not-to-reason-why" manner.

"A week or two ago," she said, "my poor darling was talking about dying,
as you young folks will talk, and she said she hoped she should not die
in the night, when the wind was howling round the house. A bitter winter
night would be worst of all, she said. It won't be _that_ but I fancied
the wind was getting up, and it frightened me to think how one would
hear it moaning in this old place. It is only a fancy, of course, but
she might have thought of it again lying there."

Hardwicke could not have put it into words, but the fancy came to him
too of Sissy's soul flying out into the windy waste of air.

"Of course it is nothing--it is nonsense," said Mrs. Middleton. "But if
it might be, as she said, when it is warm and light!--if it might be!"
She stopped with a catching in her voice.

Harry, in his matter-of-fact way, offered consolation: "Dear Mrs.
Middleton, the sun will rise by four, and Greenwell says there won't be
any wind."

"Yes, yes! And she may not remember."

"I hope you have been taking some rest," he ventured to say after a
brief silence.

"Yes. I was lying down this afternoon, and Sarah will take part of the
night." She paused, and spoke again in a still lower tone: "Couldn't you
persuade him to go away?"

"Mr. Thorne?"

She nodded: "I will not have her troubled. I asked her if she would see
him again, and she said, 'No.' I wish he would go. What is the use of
his waiting there?"

Hardwicke shrugged his shoulders: "It is useless for me to try and
persuade him. He won't stir for me."

"I would send for him if she wanted him. But she won't."

"I'll speak to him again if you like," said Harry, "though it won't do
any good."

Nor did it when a few minutes later the promised attempt was made. "I
shall stay here," said Percival in a tone which conveyed unconquerable
decision, and Hardwicke was silenced. The Greenwells came later,
regretting that they had not a room to offer Mr. Thorne, but suggesting
the sofa in the parlor or a mattress on the floor somewhere. Percival,
however, declined everything with such courteous resolution that at last
he was left alone.

Again the night came on, with its shadows and its stillness, and the
light burning steadily in the one room. To all outward seeming it was
the same as it had been twenty-four hours earlier, but Mrs. Middleton,
watching by the bedside, was conscious of a difference. Life was at a
lower ebb: there was less eagerness and unrest, less of hope and fear,
more of a drowsy acquiescence. And Percival, who had been longed for so
wearily the night before, seemed to be altogether forgotten.

Meanwhile, he kept his weary watch outside. He said to himself that he
had darkened Sissy's last day: he cursed his cruelty, and yet could he
have done otherwise? He was haunted through the long hours of the night
by the words which had been ever on his lips when he won her--

  If she love me, this believe,
  I will die ere she shall grieve;

and he vowed that never was man so forsworn as he. Yet his one desire
had been to be true. Had he not worshipped Truth? And this was the end
of all.

His cruelty, too, had been worse than useless. He had lost this chance
of an independence, as he had lost Brackenhill. He hated himself for
thinking of money then, yet he could not help thinking of it--could not
help being aware that Sissy's entreaty to him to take her fortune was
worth nothing unless a will were made, and that there had been no
mention of such a thing since she spoke to him that morning. And he was
so miserably poor! Of whom should he borrow the money to take him back
to his drudgery at Brenthill? Well, since Sissy no longer cared for his
future, it was well that he had spoken. Better poverty than treachery.
Let the money go; but, oh, to see her once again and ask her to forgive
him!

As the night crept onward he grew drowsy and slept by snatches, lightly
and uneasily, waking with sudden starts to a consciousness of the window
at his side--a loophole into a ghostly sky where shreds of white cloud
were driven swiftly before the breeze. The wan crescent of the moon
gleamed through them from time to time, showing how thin and
phantom-like they were, and how they hurried on their way across the
heavens. After a time the clouds and moon and midnight sky were mingled
with Percival's dreams, and toward morning he fell fast asleep.

Again Aunt Harriet saw the first gray gleam of dawn. Slowly it stole in,
widening and increasing, till the candle-flame, which had been like a
golden star shining out into the June night, was but a smoky yellow
smear on the saffron morning. She rose and put it out. Turning, she
encountered Sissy's eyes. They looked from her to a window at the foot
of the bed. "Open," said Sissy.

Mrs. Middleton obeyed. The sound of unfastening the casement awoke
Sarah, who was resting in an easy-chair. She sat up and looked round.

The breeze had died away, as Harry had foretold it would, and that day
had dawned as gloriously as the two that had preceded it. A lark was
soaring and singing--a mere point in the dome of blue.

Sissy lay and looked a while. Then she said, "Brackenhill?"

Aunt Harriet considered for a moment before she replied: "A little to
the right, my darling."

The dying eyes were turned a little to the right. Seven miles away, yet
the old gray manor-house rose before Aunt Harriet's eyes, warm on its
southern slope, with its shaven lawns and whispering trees and the long
terrace with its old stone balustrade. Perhaps Sissy saw it too.

"Darling, it is warm and light," the old lady said at last.

Sissy smiled. Her eyes wandered from the window. "Aunt, you promised,"
she whispered.

"Yes, dear--yes, I promised."

There was a pause. Suddenly, Sissy spoke, more strongly and clearly than
she had spoken for hours: "Tell Percival--my love to Miss Lisle."

"Fetch him," said Mrs. Middleton to Sarah, with a quick movement of her
hand toward the door. As the old woman crossed the room Sissy looked
after her. In less than a minute Percival came in. His dark hair was
tumbled over his forehead, and his eyes, though passionately eager, were
heavy with sleep. As he came forward Sissy looked up and repeated
faintly, like an echo, "My love to Miss Lisle, Percival." Her glance met
his and welcomed him. But even as he said "Sissy!" her eyes closed, and
when, after a brief interval, they opened again, he was conscious of a
change. He spoke and took her hand, but she did not heed. "She does not
know me!" he said.

Her lips moved, and Aunt Harriet stooped to catch the faint sound. It
was something about "Horry--coming home from school."

Hardly knowing what she said--only longing for one more look, one smile
of recognition, one word--Aunt Harriet spoke in painfully distinct
tones: "My darling, do you want Horace? Shall we send for Horace?"

No answer. There was a long pause, and then the indistinct murmur
recommenced. It was still "Horry," and "Rover," and presently they
thought she said "Langley Wood."

"Horace used to take her there for a treat," said Mrs. Middleton.--"Oh,
Sissy, don't you know Aunt Harriet?"

Still, from time to time, came the vague murmur of words. It was
dark--the trees--she had lost--

Percival stood in silent anguish. There was to him a bitterness worse
than the bitterness of death in the sound of those faint words. Sissy
was before him, yet she had passed away into the years when she did not
know him. He might cry to her, but she would not hear. There was no word
for him: the Sissy who had loved him and pardoned him was dead. This was
the child Sissy with whom Horace had played at Brackenhill.

The long bright morning seemed an eternity of blue sky, softly rustling
leaves, birds singing and golden chequers of sunlight falling on walls
and floor. Dr. Grey came in and stood near. The end was at hand, and yet
delayed. The sun was high before the faint whispers of "Auntie," and
"Horry," ceased altogether, and even then there was an interval during
which Sissy still breathed, still lingered in the borderland between
living and dying. Eagerly though they watched her, they could not tell
the moment when she left them.

It was late that afternoon. Hardwicke lounged with his back against the
gate of the orchard and his hands in his pockets. When he lifted his
eyes from the turf on which he stood he could see the white blankness of
a closed window through the boughs.

He was sorely perplexed. Not ten minutes earlier Mrs. Latimer had been
there, saying, "Something should be done: why does not Mr. Thorne go to
her? Or could Dr. Grey say anything if he were sent for? I'm sure it
isn't right that she should be left so."

Mrs. Middleton was alone with her dead in that darkened room. She was
perfectly calm and tearless. She only demanded to be left to herself.
Mrs. Latimer would have gone in to cry and sympathize, but she was
repulsed with a decision which was almost fierce. Sarah was not to
disturb her. She wanted nothing. She wanted nobody. She must be by
herself. She was terrible in her lonely misery.

Hardwicke felt that it could not be his place to go. Somewhere in the
priory ruins was Percival Thorne, hiding his sorrow and himself: should
he find him and persuade him to make the attempt? But Harry had an
undefined feeling that Mrs. Middleton did not want Percival.

He stood kicking at a daisy-root in the grass, feeling himself useless,
yet unwilling to desert his post, when a hand was pressed on his
shoulder and he started round. Godfrey Hammond was on the other side of
the gate, looking just as cool and colorless as usual.

"Thank God you're come, Mr. Hammond!" Harry exclaimed, and began to
pour out his story in such haste that it was a couple of minutes before
Godfrey fully understood him. The new-comer listened attentively, asking
a question or two. He brushed some imperceptible dust from his gray
coat-sleeve, and sticking his glass in his eye he surveyed the
farmhouse.

"I think I should like to see Mrs. Middleton at once," he said when
Hardwicke had finished.

Sarah showed him the way, but he preferred to announce himself. He
knocked at the door.

"Who is there?" said the voice within.

"It is I, Godfrey Hammond: I may come in?"

"Yes."

He opened the door and saw her sitting by the bedside, where something
lay white and straight and still. She turned her head as he entered,
then stood up and came a step or two to meet him. "Oh, Godfrey!" she
said in a low voice, "she died this morning."

He put his arm about her. "I would have been here before if I could," he
said.

"I knew it." She trembled so much that he drew her nearer, supporting
her as tenderly as if he were her son, though his face above her was
unmoved as ever.

"She died this morning," Mrs. Middleton repeated. She hid her face
suddenly and burst into a passion of tears. "Oh, Godfrey! she was hurt
so! she was hurt so! Oh my darling!"

"We could not wish her to linger in pain," he said softly.

"No, no. But only this morning, and I feel as if I had been alone for
years!"

Still, through her weeping, she clung to him. His sympathy made a faint
glimmer of light in the darkness, and her sad eyes turned to it.



CHAPTER LIII.

AFTERWARD.


There is little more to write. Four years, with their varying seasons,
their endless procession of events, their multitude of joys and sorrows,
have passed since Sissy died. Her place in the world, which seemed so
blank and strange in its first vacancy, is closed up and lost in the
crowding occupations of our ordinary life. She is not forgotten, but she
has passed out of the light of common day into the quiet world of years
gone by, where there is neither crowd nor haste, but soft shadows and
shadowy sunshine, and time for every tender memory and thought. Even
Aunt Harriet's sorrow is patient and subdued, and she sees her darling's
face, with other long-lost faces, softened as in a gentle dream. She
looks back to the past with no pain of longing. At seventy-eight she
believes that she is nearer to those she loves by going forward yet a
little farther. Nor are these last days sad, for in her loneliness
Godfrey Hammond persuaded her to come to him, and she is happy in her
place by his fireside. He is all that is left to her, and she is wrapped
up in him. Nothing is good enough for Godfrey, and he says, with a
smile, that she would make the planets revolve round him if she could.
It is very possible that if she had her will she might attempt some
little rearrangement of that kind. Her only fear is lest she should ever
be a burden to him. But that will never be. Godfrey likes her delicate,
old-fashioned ways and words, and is glad to see the kind old face which
smiled on him long ago when he was a lad lighted up with gentle pleasure
in his presence now. When he bids her good-night he knows that she will
pray before she lies down, and he feels as if his home and he were the
better for those simple prayers uttered night and morning in an unbroken
sequence of more than seventy years. There is a tranquil happiness in
that house, like the short, golden days of a St. Martin's summer or the
November blooming of a rose.

In the February after Sissy's death Godfrey went to Rookleigh for a day,
to be present at a wedding in the old church where the bridegroom had
once lingered idly in the hot summer-time and pictured his marriage to
another bride. That summer afternoon was not forgotten. Percival,
standing on the uneven pavement above the Shadwells' vault, remembered
his vision of Sissy's frightened eyes even while he uttered the words
that bound him to Judith Lisle. But those words were not the less true
because the thought of Sissy was hidden in his heart for ever.

Since that day Percival has spent almost all his time abroad, leading
such a life as he pictured long ago, only the reality is fairer than the
day-dream, because Judith shares it with him. Together they travel or
linger as the fancy of the moment dictates. Percival does not own a
square yard of the earth's surface, and therefore he is at liberty to
wander over it as he will. He is conscious of a curious loneliness about
Judith and himself. They have no child, no near relations: it seems as
if they were freed from all ordinary ties and responsibilities. His
vague aspirations are even less definite than of old; yet, though his
life follows a wandering and uncertain track, fair flowers of
kindliness, tolerance and courtesy spring up by that wayside. Judith and
he do not so much draw closer day by day as find ever new similarity of
thought and feeling already existing between them. His heart turns to
her as to a haven of peace; all his possibilities of happiness are in
her hands; he rests in the full assurance that neither deed nor word of
hers can ever jar upon him; in his darker moods he thinks of her as
clear, still sunlight, and he has no desire apart from her. Yet when he
looks back he doubts whether his life can hold another moment so supreme
in love and anguish as that moment when he looked into Sissy's eyes for
the last time and knew himself forgiven.



SOME ASPECTS OF CONTEMPORARY ART.


The art of the present day succeeds to the art of past centuries not
immediately nor by an insensible gradation. It is preceded by an
interval of absolute deadness in matters artistic. Sixty years ago art
in almost every branch was a sealed book to the majority of even
well-educated persons, and contentedly contemplated by them as such. All
love for it, with all knowledge of its history and all desire for its
development, was for a generation or two confined to a few professed
followers and a few devoted patrons, the mass of mankind thinking of it
not at all. But slowly a revival came in the main centres of
civilization--not much sooner in one than in another, though somewhat
differently in each. In Germany we see it beginning with the famous
Teutonic colony at Rome, reverent in spirit, cautious in method, severe
in theory, restrained in style--culminating, on the one hand, in the
academic pietism of Overbeck, on the other in the deliberate majesty of
Cornelius. In France the new life begins with the successors of David,
strenuous, impetuous, jealous and innovating, Ingres and outline waging
deadly battle with color and Delacroix. In England architectural
enthusiasm gave the first impulse, the "Gothic Revival" becoming the
basis of all subsequent work.

If, before noting the points of difference between one branch and
another of this modern art, we try to find the characteristics in which
these branches resemble one another, and by which they collectively are
distinguished from earlier developments, we find the most prominent one
to be self-consciousness--not necessarily self-conceit, but the inward
consciousness that they _are_, and the endeavor to realize just what
they are. With these comes, when the art is conscientious, a desire to
discover the noblest goal and to formulate the best methods of reaching
it. Some, casting the horoscope for this struggling art of ours, find
in these facts a great discouragement, believing that the vital germ of
art is spontaneity--believing that there cannot again be a genuine form
of art until there arise a fresh race of artists, unfed by the
mummy-wheat of tradition, unfettered by the cere-cloths of criticism.
Others, more sanguine, believe that spontaneity has done all it can, and
that its place is in the future to be worthily filled by a wide
eclecticism. Let us inquire what testimony as to the value of
spontaneity and the influence of self-consciousness in art may be
gathered from the methods and results of the past, and what from a
contrast between the different contemporary schools in their methods and
their results. Painting, as most prominently before our eyes and minds
just now, will principally concern us.

To the making of every work of art go three things and no more--the
material worked upon, the hand that works, and the intellect or
imagination which guides that hand. When the proportion is perfect
between the three, the work of art is perfect of its kind. But in the
different kinds of art the necessary proportion is not the same. In
music, for example, the medium is at its lowest value, the imagination
at its highest. In architecture, on the other hand, material is most
important. Musicians use the vibration of string and atmosphere,
sculptors use bronze and marble, painters use color and canvas, poets
use rhythm and rhyme, as vehicles to express their ideas. The
architect's ideas are for the sake of his material. He takes his
material as such, and embellishes it with his ideas--creates beauty
merely by disposing its masses and enriching its surface. But in all and
each of these processes, whether mind predominate or matter, there comes
in as a further necessary factor the actual technical manipulation.
Poetic visions and a noble mother-tongue do not constitute a man a poet
if he cannot treat that language nobly according to the technique of his
art. Nor, though Ariel sing in his brain and the everlasting harp of the
atmosphere wait for him, is he a musician if he have not a sensitive
ear and a knowledge of counter-point. More notably yet does the
hand--and in this as a technical term I include the other bodily powers
which go to form technical skill,--more notably yet does the hand come
in play with the painter. Here the material is little, the imagination
mighty indeed, but less overwhelming than with poet and musician; but
the technique, the God-given and labor-trained cunning of retina and
wrist, how all-important! often how all-sufficing!

In all criticism it is necessary first to reflect which of these three
factors--intellectual power, physical endowment or propitious
material--is most imperious. When we find this factor most perfectly
developed, and the others, though subordinate, neither absent nor
stunted, we shall find the art nearest to perfection. And the conditions
of race and climate and society which most helpfully develop that factor
without injuring the others are the conditions which will best further
that art. And the critic who lays most stress on that factor, and is
content to miss, if necessary, though noting the loss, a certain measure
of the other two in order more entirely to gain the one that is
vitalest, is the critic whose words are tonic. And he who, blending the
province of the arts, calling them all with vagueness "art," exalts and
demands the same factor first in all of them, must be detrimental, no
matter how great his sincerity and his knowledge.

Before weighing any contemporary thing in the balance let us mark out in
the past some standards of comparison. For it is useless to speculate
upon theoretical methods if we can discover the actual methods employed
by those whose art, if not ideally perfect, is yet so far beyond our
present power as to be quite perfectly ideal. It needs no discussion to
prove that to find the utmost that has been actually accomplished by
human endeavor we must turn in sculpture and in language to Greece, in
music to Germany, in architecture to Greece or to mediæval Europe as our
taste may pull, and in painting to the Italians.

The primary conception of art in its productive energy is as a certain
inspiration. How did that inspiration work in those whom we acknowledge
to have received it in fullest measure? If we think a moment we shall
say, "Involuntarily"--by a sort of _possession_ rather than a voluntary
intellectual effort. The sculpture of the Greeks, their tragedies and
their temples, were all wrought simply, without effort, without
conscious travailing, by a natural evolution, not by a potent
egg-hatching process of instructive criticism and morbid self-inspection
and consulting of previous models, native and foreign. Architectural
motives were gathered from Egypt and the East, from Phoenicia and
Anatolia, but they were worked in as material, not copied as patterns;
and the architecture is as original as if no one had ever built before.
Phidias and Praxiteles and the rest shaped and chiselled, aiming at
perfection no doubt, trying to do their best, but without troubling
themselves as to what that best "ought" to be. Criticism was rife in
Athens of all places, but it was a criticism of things existing, not of
things problematically desirable. Statue and temple-front were
criticised, not sculptor and architect--surely not sculpture and
architecture in the abstract. Not sculptors and architects, that is,
when the question was of their works. The men came in for their share of
criticism, but on a different count. Theseus and Athene were judged as
works of art, not as lame though interesting revelations of Phidias's
soul. And be sure no faintest sin of the chisel was excused on the plea
that Phidias meant more than he could express, and so bungled in the
expression. Nor was the plea advanced that such bungling after the
infinite was better than simple perfection in the attainable. An artist
was called upon to be an artist, not a poet nor a philosopher nor a
moralist. When Plato confounded them all in a splendid confusion of
criticism the fruit-time had gone by. There was left but to expatiate on
the hoard which summer had bequeathed, or to speculate, if he chose, on
the possible yield of a future and most problematical year.

In the rich Italian summer one sees the same thing. Men paint because
they must--because put at anything else they come back to art as iron to
the magnet. Not because art is lovely, nor because to be an artist is a
desirable or a noble or a righteous thing, but because they are artists
born, stamped, double-dyed, and, kick as they might, they could be
nothing else--if not artists creative, yet artists critical and
appreciative. Truly, they think and strive over their art, write
treatises and dogmas and speculations, vie with and rival and outdo each
other. But it is their _art_ they discuss, not themselves, not one
another--technical methods, practical instruction, questions of pigment
and model and touch, of perspective and chiaroscuro and varnish, not
psychological æsthetics, biographical and psychical explanations as to
facts of canvas and color. What is done is what is to be criticised.
What can be done technically is what should be done theoretically, and
what cannot be done with absolute and perfect technical success is out
of the domain of art once and for ever. As the Greek did not try to
carve marble eyelashes, so no Venetian tried to put his conscience on a
panel. All Lionardo could see of Mona Lisa's soul he might paint, not
all he could feel of Lionardo's. Mr. Ruskin himself quotes Dürer's note
that Raphael sent him his drawings, not to show his soul nor his
theories, but simply _seine Hand zu weisen_--to prove his touch. In
Raphael's touch was implied Raphael's eye, and those two made the artist
Raphael.

Nothing strikes one more in these men than the oblivion of self in their
work. Only one of the first-rank men was self-conscious, and he, the
most mighty as a man, is by no means the first as an artist. And even
Michael Angelo had not the self-consciousness of to-day: it requires a
clique of commentators and a brotherhood of artists equally infected to
develop that. But just so far as he tried to put his mighty self into
his work, just so far he failed of artistic perfection; and not every
one is Michael Angelo to make even failure beautifully colossal. In
architecture, which in his day was already a dead art to be galvanized,
not alive and manly like the art of the painter, his self-consciousness
shows most strongly and his failure is most conspicuous. Here he did not
create, but avowedly composed--set himself deliberately to study the
past and to decide what was best for the future. And upon none but him
rests the blame of having driven out of the semi-unconscious,
semi-original Renaissance style what elements of power it had, and sent
it reeling down through two centuries crazed with conceit and distorted
with self-inspection.

On the unconscious development of mediæval architecture, due to no one
man, but to a universal interest in and appreciation of the art, it is
unnecessary to dwell. Nor need we for present purposes seek further
illustration farther afield. Let us take time now to look more narrowly
at the art of to-day, and try to mark the different shapes it has taken
with different nations.

The most decided school is in France: her artists, many in number,
confine, whether involuntarily or not, their individual differences
within sharply-marked and easily-noted limits. In Germany the schools
are two--one of so-called historical painting at Munich, one of what we
may name domestic painting at Düsseldorf. This last may be put on one
side as having no specially obtrusive characteristics, and by German
pictures will be meant those of the Munich and Vienna type, whether
actually from the studios of Munich and Vienna or not. In English
contemporary art can one pretend to find a school at all in any true
sense of the word? What we do find is a very widespread art-literature
and talk of art, a large number of working artists varying in
temperament, and a vast horde of amateurs, who are not content to be
patrons, but yearn also to be practisers of art.

In England theories of art are more carefully discussed and more widely
diffused than they are in any other country. But they are theories of an
essentially untechnical, amateurish, literary kind. The English critic
calls all law and philosophy, all rules of morals and manners, of
religion and political economy and science and scientific æsthetics, to
aid his critical faculty when he needs must speak of pictures. In
Germany there is also much theorizing, but of a different kind. It is
not so much the whole physical and psychical cosmos that the German
critic studies as the past history of art in its most recondite phases
and most subtle divergences. Upon this he draws for information as to
the value of the work before him. On the other hand, we shall find
French art-criticism to be almost purely technical.

As the critics differ, so do the criticised by the natural law of
national coherence. An English painter is apt to be primarily an
embodied theory of one sort or another; which theory is more or less
directly connected with his actual work as a painter. A German painting
is apt to be scientifically composed on theory also, but a theory drawn
from the study of art _per se_, not of the whole world external to art.
The work of a Frenchman, like the criticism of his commentator, is
primarily technical.

Because both German work and English work are theoretical compared with
French, I do not wish to imply that technically they are on a par. Aside
from the difference of imaginative power in the two nations, which
renders German conceptions more valuable in every way than contemporary
English ideas, there is a great difference in the technical training of
the two groups of artists. German work often shows technical qualities
as notable as those we find in France, though of another kind. The noble
physical endowment of an artist--that by reason of which, and by reason
of which alone, he _is_ an artist--is twofold: power of eye and power of
hand. By power of the eye I mean simple vision exalted into a special
gift, a special appreciation of line, an ultra delicate and profound
perception of color, and an exact, unconscious memory. This last is not
imagination nor imaginative memory, but an automatic power, if I may so
say, of the retina--as unconscious as is the pianist's memory of his
notes, and as unerring. It is not the power to fix in the mind by
conscious effort the objects before one, and to recall them
deliberately, inch by inch, at any time, but the power, when the brush
pauses trembling for the signal, to put down unerringly facts learned
God knows where, or imagined God knows how. Automatic, I repeat, this
power must be. The tongue might not be able to tell, nor the mind
deliberately to recall in cold blood, what was the depth of blue on a
distant hill or the vagueness of its outlines, or what the anatomical
structure of a mistress's fingers. But the brush knows, as nothing but
the brush of an artist can; and when it comes to painting them, aërial
perspective and anatomical detail _must_ come right. This is the first
and the great endowment. And the second is like unto it in--Shall I use
the fashionable artistic slang and say _preciousness_? It is the gift of
a dexterous hand, winged with lightness and steady as steel, sensitive
as a blind man's finger-tips, yet unerring in its stroke as the piston
of a steamship. This is a gift as well as the other, but it can, far
more than the other, be improved and developed by practice and patience.
Both gifts in equal perfection constitute a technical master. It is
hardly necessary to say that no man--certainly no nation--can to-day
claim the highest measure of both. The French are most highly gifted
with the first, the Germans with the second. In the latter, patience and
science, working upon a natural aptitude, have developed great strength
and accuracy of wrist, and with this the power of composition and
design, purity and accuracy of outline, and good chiaroscuro. But the
whole race is deficient in a sense of color. Its work is marked by
crudeness and harshness, or at the best reticence--splendor without
softness or inoffensiveness without charm. In cases where much is
attempted in color--as in what is undoubtedly one of the best of
contemporary paintings, Knille's _Tannhäuser and Venus_ in the Berlin
Gallery--the success is by no means on a par with the great excellence
of drawing and composition. In France the eye for color is present--I
will not say as in Venice, but to a greater degree than in the two other
nations.

If we leave now professional painters and professional critics and turn
to the untrained public, we shall find, of course, all our modern faults
more evident. The English public is pre-eminently untechnical in its
judgments, pre-eminently literary or moral. But the French and the
German public approximate more to the English--as is natural--than do
their respective artists. I use the word _literary_ as it has often been
used by others in characterizing the popular art-criticism of the
time--and in England much of the professional criticism also--to denote
a prominence given to the subject, the idea, the story--_l'anecdote_, as
a French critic calls it--over the purely painter's work of a picture.
It denotes the theory that a picture is not first to please the sense,
but to catch the fancy or the intellect or to touch the heart. This
feeling, which in France turns toward sensationalism, in England toward
sentimentality, is something other than the interest which attaches to
historical painting as the record of facts--in itself not the highest
interest one can find in a work of art. If we think back for a moment, we
shall see how different from either of these moods was the mood in which
the great Italians painted. Some "subject" of course a painting must
have that is not a portrait, but these men chose instinctively--hardly,
it is to be supposed, theoretically--such subjects as were most familiar
to their public, and therefore least likely to engage attention
primarily, and to the exclusion of the absolute pictorial value of the
painting as such. We never find Titian telling anecdotes. His portraits
are quiescence itself--portraits of men and women standing in the
fulness of beauty and strength to be painted by Titian. We do not find
likenesses snatched in some occurrence of daily life or in some dramatic
action of historical or biographical importance. Even Raphael's great
frescoes are symbolical more truly than historical, expressing the
significance of a whole series of events rather than literally rendering
one single event. The first remark of many who, accustomed to the
literary interest of modern pictures, are for the first time making
acquaintance with the old masters, is, that the galleries are so
unexcitingly monotonous: the subjects are not interesting. Portraits,
scenes from sacred history or Greek mythology,--that is all among the
Italians. Desiring nothing but beauty of line and color, and
expressiveness provided it was beautiful, they sought a subject merely
as the _raison d'etre_ of beauty. Raphael could paint the Madonna and
Child a score of times, and Veronese his _Marriages of Cana_, and all of
them Magdalenes and St. Sebastians by the dozen, without thinking of
finding fresh subjects to excite fresh interest. Nor does this
restricted range of subjects imply, under the hand of a master,
monotony. There is more unlikeness in Raphael's Madonnas than in the
figures of any modern artist, whatever their variety of name and action.
Even a century later than Raphael, among the Flemings and Hollanders,
the best pictures are the simplest, the least dependent for their
interest upon anything dramatic or anecdotal in their subject. The
triumphs of the Dutch school are the portraits of the guilds. The
masterpieces of Rubens are his children and single figures and biblical
scenes, not his _Marie de Medicis_. And what of Rembrandt is so perfect
as his _Saskia with the Pink_ at Dresden? If we have a photograph even
of such a picture as this constantly before us, with a modern picture of
anecdotal interest, no matter how vivid and pleasant that interest may
have been at first, it is not hard to predict which will please us
longest--which will grow to be an element in the happiness of every day,
while the other becomes at last _fade_ and insipid. This even if we
suppose its technical excellence to be great. How, then, shall such
interest take the place of technical excellence?

This modern love of _l'anecdote_ is not exactly the cause perhaps, nor
yet the effect, of the self-consciousness of modern art, but it goes
hand in hand with it: they are manifestations of the same spirit in the
two different spheres of worker and spectator.

But it may be said, If Michael Angelo was self-conscious, it was
because he first caught the infection of modern times. Life, the world,
the nineteenth century, are self-conscious through and through. It is
impossible to be otherwise. It is impossible for a world which has lived
through what ours has, which has recorded its doings and sufferings and
speculations for our benefit, ever to be naïve or spontaneous in
anything. Inspiration unsought and unquestioned is a thing of the past.
Study, reflection, absorption, eclecticism,--these are the watchwords of
the future. If this were granted, many would still think it an open
question whether art of the highest kind would in the future be possible
or not. But is by no means necessary to grant it, for we have had in the
most learned and speculative of nations an art in our century--still
surviving, indeed, in our very midst--the growth of which has been as
rapid and the flowering as superb as the growth and bloom of sculpture
in Greece or of painting in Italy. I mean, of course, music in Germany.
And if we think a moment we shall see that its growth was as
unpremeditated, its direction and development as unbiassed by theories,
its votaries as untroubled with self-consciousness, as if they had been
archaic sculptors or builders of the thirteenth century. Bach, Haydn,
Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, what sublime unconsciousness of their
own personality as the personality of artists and as influencing art!
Does Richard Wagner seem at first sight to be a glaring exception to
such a rule--seem to strive more than any other artist in any branch of
art to be critic as well--seem, perhaps, to be most notably
self-conscious even in an age of self-consciousness? The most highly
gifted of the generation as an artist, his musical talent developed
spontaneously, irresistibly. It had thus developed before he began to
reason about it, to justify in theory that which had approved itself in
fact. His power lies in the union we find in him of musician and
dramatist. His dogmatizing and theorizing expatiate not on the way he
works in either art, but on the propriety of combining the two. Not his
theories, but his artist's instinct, taught him how to do it as it is
done in the _Meistersinger_. His theories try to explain his work, but
by just so much as his work is consciously founded on his theories, by
just so much is it less perfect than it would have been had he preserved
his unconsciousness. The fact of his self-consciousness tends in many
eyes to mark him as the rearguard of a line of artists, the pioneer of a
generation of critical musicians. May Liszt perhaps serve as a sample of
such--learned, critical, self-conscious, productive, but unoriginal? And
the worst sign in Germany is less that the young musicians copy Wagner
than that they copy him not instinctively and by nature, but
theoretically and of deliberate intent, exalting his theories to rank
beside his work.

It seems at first strange that, music being at once the glory and the
recreation of the whole German nation, and a knowledge of it being
native to the vast majority of individual Germans, there is little
existing musical criticism--none as compared with the abounding German
criticism on every other branch of art and every other subject under the
sun. The field offered here to the cobweb-spinning German brain is wide
and attractive. It seems strange that it should be as yet uncultivated,
unless we fall back on the theory that art at its vitalest is of
necessity uncritical, and that where an inborn love of, and aptitude
for, an art exists with a daily enjoyment of its technical perfection,
we shall be least likely to find it elaborately criticised
theoretically. Where practice is abundantly satisfactory theories are
superfluous.

Below, though still in the same category with, the musical gift of the
Germans we may cite the literary gift of the English. For though this
may not be the greatest literary epoch of England, yet it will not be
denied that the greatest of English aptitudes is for literature. The
wide appreciation of it in England is unmatched by a like appreciation
of any other form of art. The growth of English novel-writing and its
healthy development, accompanied, it may be, by many fungus-growths due
to over-fertility, afford us the spectacle of a contemporary yet
spontaneous English art, unforced by hothouse cultivation, uninfluenced
by theories. A century or so hence the hearty, unconscious bloom of
narrative literature in our day and language may seem as strange as
seems to us the spontaneous blossoming of Venetian painting, of Greek
sculpture, or of architecture in the Ile de France. An Englishman of
to-day who thinks painters can be spun out of theories would surely
laugh with instinctive knowledge of the veritable requirements of their
art if one were to propose supplying novelists or poets in a similar
way.

If we thus acknowledge that two kinds of art--and those two requiring
the greatest amount of imaginative power--can flourish with spontaneity
even in so self-conscious a civilization as ours, we shall fail to see
in that civilization a sufficient _a priori_ reason why the same might
not have been the case with painting. If, however, still keeping to our
own day, we look for the reverse of this picture, we shall find some
approach to it in the condition of the painter's art in England. Here
theory runs wild, practice falls far behind, and a great part of the
practice that exists is inspired and regulated by theory. Artists are
especially self-conscious, and the public, while much concerned with
things artistic and fed on daily food of art-theory and speculation, is
specially devoid of an innate artistic sense and an educated faculty for
appreciating technical perfection.

In England, more even than on the Continent or with ourselves, is there
a passion for story-telling with the brush, a desire to give ideas
instead of pictures, a denial of the fact that the main object of a
picture is to please the eye just as truly and as surely as the main
object of a symphony is to please the ear. If we look through the
catalogue of a Royal Academy exhibition, we notice the preponderance of
scenes illustrative of English or other literature--of canvases that
tell a story or point a moral or bear a punning or a sentimental title.
And we notice the great number of quotations introduced into the
catalogue without any actual explanatory necessity. Even landscapes are
dragged into the domain of sentiment, and Mr. Millais, who copies Nature
with the exactest reverence, cannot call his brook a brook, but "The
sound of many waters;" and a graveyard is not named a graveyard, but
"Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap;" and instead of
_Winding the Clock_ we are told "The clock beats out the life of little
men." A canvas representing "untrodden snow" must be ticketed, for
increase of interest, "Within three miles of Charing Cross." Another is
marked, "Christmas Eve: a welcome to old friends. (See _Silas Marner_.)"
And so on, _ad infinitum_. May one not say _ad nauseam_ before a piece
of marble labelled "Baby doesn't like the water," or a canvas by Faed,
R. A., called "Little cold tooties," or the portrait by the president of
the Academy of a child on her pony denoted not only by the child's name
in full, but her pony's also?

Prominent also at a first visit to a London exhibition stands out the
hesitancy; of English artists to deal with large canvases and life-size
figures--their strict confinement to _genre_ of a domestic or bookishly
archæological type. This is not the place to discuss the causes of such
a fact, nor to insist on the lack of certain technical qualities in even
the best English work. Such discussions can only be profitable when the
originals are at hand to recriticise the criticism.

More striking than anything to be seen in 1877 at the Royal Academy was
the small collection of pictures at the Grosvenor Gallery, organized and
controlled by a noble amateur--himself a painter also--with the avowed
intention of exhibiting the latest and most eccentric phases of English
art. To a Londoner the opening day was interesting, as revealing the
newest works of the most conspicuous London artists. To a stranger fresh
from continental pictures, old and new, eager to see the touch of hands
so often described in print, it was a revelation not only of a few men's
work, but of the tendency of a national art and the artistic
temperament of a whole people. Superficially, these pictures seemed the
exact opposite of those at the conservative Academy--as aberrant as the
latter were commonplace. But to one who knew them as the work of a
fashionable, highly-educated clique they seemed merely a reaction of the
same spirit that produced the elder style. In striving to get out of the
rut of commonplace which had so long held in its grip the wheels of
English art, not originality, so much as deliberate, sought-out
eccentricity, was the result. The scale of work, starting from the
original bathos of domestic sentimentality, runs up to the veriest
contortions of affected mediævalism, rarely striking out a note of
common sense. Simple English art is the apotheosis of the British
middle-class spirit, of Mr. Arnold's "Philistinism." English art
departing from this spirit shows, not Mr. Arnold's "sweetness and
light," not calmness, repose, sureness of self, unconsciousness of its
own springs of life, but theories running into vague contradictions, a
far-fetched abnormalness, a morbid conception of beauty, a defiant
disregard of the fact that a public exists which judges by common sense
and the eye, not by a fine-spun confusion of theories and an undefined
but omnipotent and deified "æsthetic sense" non-resident in the optic
nerve. Mr. Whistler's pictures to-day, cleverly as he can paint if he
will, are not pictures--I do not mean in fact, which is certainly
true--but in title. They are "Natures in Black and Gold," or "In Blue
and Silver," or "In Blue and Gold," or "Arrangements in Black," or
"Harmonies in Amber and Brown." Here we have the desperate reaction from
the idea that _l'anecdote_ is everything to the idea that it is
sufficient to represent nothing (poetically conceived!) with little
color and less form, with the vaguest and slightest and most untechnical
technique. It is hard to say which would most puzzle Titian
redivivus--"Little cold tooties," or a blue-gray wash with a point or
two of yellow, bearing some imaginary resemblance to the Thames with its
gaslights, and called a "Nocturne in Blue and Gold."

The French "impressionalist" clique, similar in spirit to these
Englishmen, though less outré in practice, is not by any means of so
great importance in France as they are in England. It has more than once
been remarked in England that the old-fashioned amateur--patron and
critic, _kenner_--is dying out, and that his modern substitute must not
only choose, but experiment--not only admire, but be admired. This
spirit, spreading through a nation, will not make it a nation of
artists, but will make the nation's artists amateurs. No critic, no
amateur, is more loath to try his own hand than the one who most deeply
and rightly appreciates the skill of others, and the rare and God-given
and difficult nature of that skill. The confusion of amateur with
professional work lowers the standard, so there will be every year fewer
to tell the mass of the nation that most useful of truths--how earnest a
thing is true art, and how rare a native appreciation of its truest
worth.

There is no place where the interest excited by national art is so
widespread, where the exhibitions are so crowded, where they so regulate
times and seasons, annual excursions to and departures from town, as in
England. Yet there is no place where the interest in art seems to a
stranger so factitious, so much a matter of fashion and custom, of
instinctive following of chance-appointed bell-wethers. It would
scarcely be a matter of surprise if the whole thing should collapse
through some pin-thrust of rival interest or excitement, and next year's
exhibition be a desert, next year's artists paint their theories and
their souls for unregarding eyes, or rather for unheeding brains. Have
we not an apology for such a suggestion in the history of the rage for
Gothic architecture, so thoroughly demonstrated in every possible
theoretical and philosophical way to be the only proper style for
Englishmen present or future, so devotedly and exclusively followed for
a while by the profession, only to be suddenly abandoned for its fresher
rivals, the so-called styles of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Anne?

In the throngs that flocked to the opening of the Royal Academy, waiting
hours before the doors were opened, fighting and struggling for a
foothold on the stairs, eager to be the first to see, though there were
weeks of opportunities ahead--in the rare recurrence through the hum of
the vast criticising crowd of a word of technical judgment or sober
artistic criticism--it was easy to recognize the same spirit that
confuses morality with chair-legs, that finds a knocker more "sincere"
and "right" than a door-bell, that insists as upon a vital necessity
that the heads of all nails should be visible and that all lines should
be straight, and would as soon have a shadow on its conscience as in the
pattern of wall-paper. Nowhere was decorative art so non-existent a few
years ago as in England--nowhere is it so universally dwelt upon to-day.
Yet it is easy to see how entirely the revival is a child of theory and
books and teachers and rules--how little owing to a spontaneous
development of art-instinct in the people, a spontaneous desire for more
beauty in their surroundings, a spontaneous knowledge of how it is best
to be obtained.

The literary and un-painterlike--if I may use such an awkward
term--nature of English art is shown perhaps more forcibly in its
critics than in artists or public. One is especially struck in reading
criticisms of whatever grade with the excessive prominence given to the
artist's personality. The work of this year is judged not so much by its
excellence as by comparison with the work of last year. A----'s
pictures, and B----'s and C----'s and D----'s, are interesting and
valuable mainly as showing A----'s improvement, or B----'s falling off,
or C----'s unexpected change of theme, or D----'s fine mind and delicate
sensibilities.

Mr. Ruskin is without doubt the most remarkable of English critics, and
summarizes so many opposite theories and tendencies that his pages may
in some sort be taken as an epitome of the whole matter. It would be
impossible to abstract from their great bulk any consecutive or
consistent system of thought or precept. His influence has been mainly
by isolated ideas of more or less truth and value. It is impossible here
to analyze his work. Such is the mixed tissue of his woof that the
captive princess who was set to sort a roomful of birds' feathers had
scarcely a harder task than one who should try to separate and classify
his threads, some priceless and steady, some rotten, false, misleading.
Morals, manners, religion, political economy, are mixed with art in
every shape--art considered theoretically and technically, historically,
philosophically and prophetically. Various as are his views on these
varying subjects, on no one subject even do they remain invariable. Yet
such is the charm of his style, delightfully sarcastic, and eloquent as
a master's brush, so vividly is each idea presented in itself, that,
each idea being enjoyed as it comes, all seem at first of equal value.
We realize neither the fallacy of many taken singly nor the conflict of
all taken together. His points are often cleverly and faithfully put,
and our attention is so riveted on this cleverness and faithfulness that
we take for granted the rightness of his deductions, slovenly, illogical
or false though they may be. What we most remark in his books is how the
purely artistic element in his nature--of a very high grade and very
true instincts--is dwarfed of full development and stunted of full
results by the theorizing literary bent which he has in common with his
time and people. In theorizing even on truly-felt and clearly-stated
facts, in explaining their origin and unfolding their effects, his
guidance is least valuable. We may more safely ask him _what_ than
_why_. His influence on English art has been great at the instant:
whether it will be permanent is doubtful. At one time it was said that
without having read his books one could tell by an inspection of the
Royal Academy walls what Mr. Ruskin had written in the past year. Now,
the most notable exponents of his teaching, whether consciously so or
not, are on the one hand the shining lights of the Grosvenor
Gallery--hierophants of mysticism and allegory and symbolism and
painted souls and moral beauty expressed in the flesh, copying Ruskin's
_Botticelli_ line for line, forgetting that what was naïveté in him, and
in him admirable, because all before him had done so much less well,
becomes to-day in them the direst affectation, is reprehensible in them
because many before them have done so much better. On the other hand, we
have a naturalistic throng which follows Mr. Ruskin's precepts when he
overweights the other side of the scale and says that art should "never
exist alone, never for itself," never except as "representing a
true"--defined as actually-existing--"thing or decorating a useful
thing;" when he declares that every attempt by the imagination to "exalt
or refine healthy humanity has weakened or caricatured it." Mr. Ruskin
bade men "go to Nature in all singleness of heart, and walk with her
laboriously and trustingly, having no other thought but how best to
penetrate her meaning, _rejecting nothing, selecting nothing and
scorning nothing_;" and Mr. Hamerton was literally obeying him when he
exiled himself for five years in a hut on an island in a bleak Scotch
lake to learn faithfully to portray the shores of that single lake. Was
it thus that Titian studied in his youth, and learned how, years after
in Venice, to paint the chestnuts and the hills of Cadore a
thousand-fold more artistically and more truly, because more abstractly
and more ideally, than could all the "pre-Raphaelite" copyists of
to-day? Thus we see the two extremes of Mr. Ruskin's teaching--see him
at one time exalting imagination and feeling over the pictorial part of
art, at another degrading art into the servilest copying.

Observers may disagree as to whether these cognate
things--self-consciousness in the artist, æsthetic philosophizing in the
critic, and the taste for a literary rather than a pictorial value in
the public--are on the increase or on the decrease in the various
centres of art. Annual exhibitions--a significant illustration of our
high-pressure life in art as in other things--would seem to tend toward
deepening these faults. Attention must be attracted at all hazards, and
the greater the number of exhibitors and the average attractiveness of
their canvases the greater becomes the temptation to shine, not by
excellence, but by eccentricities of treatment, or, still more, by the
factitious interest of a "telling" subject. Is it due, perhaps, to this
constant desire for notoriety on the part of the artist, and for more
and more excitement on the part of the public, that in all modern
schools, landscape art, as less possibly influenced by such a state of
things, stands ahead of the art which has humanity for its subject? It
is scarcely possible to find in France to-day a figure-painter who is a
Daubigny, still less a Jules Dupré. Next to these unquestionably stand
such animal-painters as Bonheur and Troyon; and it would be hard among
the youngest file of artists to find a figure-painter who in his line
should rival Van Marcke in his. In England also landscape ranks ahead,
and it is perhaps in comparing it with French landscape that the
difference between the schools is most truly though not most glaringly
displayed. Even here, and in the allied fields of animal-painting, the
desire for _l'anecdote_ creeps in, and Landseer with all his talent
often prostitutes his brush in the attempt to make his brutes the centre
of dramatic action, and forces into them semi-human characteristics in
order to extract from them tales or ideas of human interest. It was not
thus that Veronese painted dogs or Franz Snyders his lions and
boars--not thus that the Greeks have put the horse into art. Nor, to
take the best contemporary comparison, is it thus that Barye's bronzes
are designed.

Landscape brings us inevitably to Turner. The most highly gifted of all
English artists, past or present, his genius was hardly a logical
outcome of the contemporary spirit of his nation. We have no right to
say this of an artist, no right to call him anomalous, while we are
still in doubt as to whether he may be only the advance-guard of a new
national art, the herald of a new avatar. But when he with his
generation dies, when another generation develops and bears fruit, and
a third is beginning to blossom, and he still seems anomalous, it is
fair to hold him exceptional in his country's art, rather than
characteristic thereof. Together with wonderful endowments of eye and
hand, and a prodigious power of work, Turner's earlier works show us an
unconscious development and a healthy oblivion of his own personality.
But later the fatal modern fever entered his blood, ending in something
very like delirium. From a painter he became a theorist, contaminated by
a rush of criticism alike indiscriminate in praise and injudicious in
blame. We shall see the baleful effects of modern methods if we look, in
the wonderful series at the National Gallery, first at the pictures
painted when Turner was an artist thinking of painting, then to those
done when he was a self-conscious experimentalist thinking of
Turner--Turner worshipped by Ruskin, Turner sick with envy of the
Dutchmen and defiance of Claude.

I have but a line to give to the one or two other men of abnormally
splendid gifts whom this century has seen. Henri Regnault's
extraordinary talent was extinguished almost at the first spark, and it
is beyond prophecy to tell what it might have produced. His
eccentricities seem to have been quite genuine, due to an overflow of
power rather than to posing or grimace. His love of his art, his passion
for color, were almost frantic in their intensity, but sincere. A
certain exaggerated phrase of his is but the protest of reaction against
the literary painting, the erudite and philosophical art, of his time.
"La vie," he cries, "étant courte, il faut peindre tant qu'on a des
yeux. Donc on ne doit pas les fatiguer à lire des stupides journaux." A
crude way of putting the idea that to be an artist one needs but art.

Another wonderful talent is Hans Makart. Such an eye for color, it is
quite safe to say, has not been born since Veronese. Had he been born at
Venice among his peers, forced to work instead of experiment, outvied
instead of foolishly extolled, surrounded by artists to surpass him if
he tripped for a single instant, instead of critics to laud his most
glaring faults and amateurs to pay thousands for his spoiled paper, we
should have had another name to use as explanatory of genius. As it is,
he is, according to present indications, utterly spoiled. Only those who
know how he can draw if he will, how he has painted--portraits best,
perhaps--when he would, are vexed beyond endurance by the folly and the
carelessness and the sins he chooses to give us. It has been said that
Raphael Mengs was a born genius spoiled by the coldness, the
pseudo-classicism, the artificiality and eclecticism of the eighteenth
century. A companion portrait is Hans Makart, ruined by the
amateurishness, the rhapsodizing, the theorizing, the morbid
self-consciousness of the nineteenth.

The so-called Spanish school of to-day is as yet too new for us to see
exactly whither it tends. Its passion for glaring, metallic, aniline
compound tints--tints that "scream," to use a French phrase--its horror
of all shade and depth and of pure and simple colors, are, however, most
certainly unhealthy. It is a diseased eye that in the desire for violent
color loses all memory of chiaroscuro.

I have left till now unnoticed the contemporary Netherland artists,
though their works are perhaps more entirely satisfactory than those of
either of the three schools we have discussed. But their characteristics
are less markedly distinct, less available for comparison, and can be
best noted and appraised by a previously-gained knowledge of the
peculiarities of English, French and German painting. The Belgian school
is most closely allied to the French, and in technique is often its
equal. In landscape and cattle-painting the types are similar, while
Belgian figure-painting gains by the lack of the element which a French
critic notes when he says modern art has become _mondain--surtout
demi-mondain_. Nowhere does contemporary art seem so healthy and sane,
so sure of itself, so consonant with the best nature and gifts of the
people, as in the Netherlands: nowhere are its ideals so free from
morbidness, affectation or sentimentality. Is it perhaps that in the
studios of Amsterdam, in the great school of Antwerp, even in the
galleries of Brussels, one is somewhat out of the wildest stream of
modern life--less driven to analysis and theorizing and
self-consciousness than in London, Paris or Munich? Whatever is cause,
whatever effect, the Netherland school shows two things side by
side--the least measure of self-consciousness, and the soundest
contemporary painting: if not the most effective, it is, I think, the
most full of promise. There seems to be forming the most healthy
national soil for the development of future genius.

In conclusion, it may be noted that we in America, whose art is just
beginning even to strive, are subjected to a somewhat strange cross-fire
of influences. Lineally the children of England, we are spiritually and
by temperament in many things her opposites. Our taste in art seems to
turn resolutely away from her. For each hundred of French and score of
German pictures that comes to us, how many come from England? What can
one who has not crossed the sea learn of English pictures from our
private collections and picture-dealers' shops? Was not all we knew
prior to the Exhibition of 1876 gleaned from _Vernon Gallery_ plates and
Turner's _Rogers_ or _Rivers of France_? But while our dealers and
students and millionaires throng the studios of Paris and Munich, and
our eyes are being daily educated to demand above all things
_technique_, our brains are constantly being worked upon by a stream of
art-literature from England. Taste pulls us one way--identity of English
speech, with consequent openness to English ideas, pulls us the other.
Pictures preach one thing, books another. Our boy who has worked in
Paris comes home to try to realize Ruskin. Both influences are too new,
and our art is as yet too unsteady, for any one to guess as to the
ultimate result. One thing only can be unreservedly inculcated: Let us
shun self-analyzation, self-consciousness, morbidness, affectation,
attitudinizing. Let us look ahead as little as possible, keeping our
eyes on our brushes and on the world of beauty around us. One thing
only can with safety be predicted: If we are, or are to be, a people of
artists, creative or appreciative as the case may be, we shall learn
whatever of technique the world has to teach us, and shall improve upon
it, and we shall perhaps digest the small measure of theory for which we
have appetites left. But if we are _not_ artists, actual or future,
technique will be impossible, and will seem undesirable. We shall
greedily fill our stomachs with the wind of art-philosophy, shall work
with the reason instead of with the eye and the fingers, shall symbolize
our aspirations, our theorizings, our souls and our consciences, and
fondly dream we are painting pictures. Or we shall copy with a hopeless
effort after literalness the first face or weed we meet, and call the
imperfect, mechanical result a work of art.

  M. G. VAN RENSSELAER.



THREE WATCHES


  I sat in the silence, in moonlight that gathered and glowed
    Far over the field and the forest with tender increase:
  The low, rushing winds in the trees were like waters that flowed
    From sources of passionate joy to an ocean of peace.
  And I watched, and was glad in my heart, though the shadows were deep,
    Till one came and asked me: "Say, why dost thou watch through the
        night?"
  And I said, "I am watching my joy. They who sorrow may sleep,
    But the soul that is glad cannot part with one hour of delight."

  Again in the silence I watched, and the moon had gone down;
    The shadows were hidden in darkness; the winds had passed by;
  The midnight sat throned, and the jewels were bright in her crown,
    For stars glimmered softly--oh softly!--from depths of the sky.
  And I sighed as I watched all alone, till again came a voice:
    "Ah! why dost thou watch? Joy is over, and sorrow is vain."
  And I said, "I am watching my grief. Let them sleep who rejoice,
    But the spirit that loves cannot part with one hour of its pain."

  Once more I sat watching, in darkness that fell like a death--
    The deep solemn darkness that comes to make way for the dawn:
  I looked on the earth, and it slept without motion or breath,
    And blindly I looked on the sky, but the stars were withdrawn.
  And the voice spoke once more: "Cease thy watching, for what dost
        thou gain?"
    But I said, "I am watching my soul, to this darkness laid bare.
  Let them sleep to whom love giveth joy, to whom love giveth pain,
    But the soul left alone cannot part with one moment of prayer."

  MARION COUTHOUY.



SISTER SILVIA.


Monte Compatri is one of the eastern outlying peaks of the Alban
Mountains, and, like so many Italian mountains, has its road climbing to
and fro in long loops to a gray little city at the top. This city of
Monte Compatri is a full and busy hive, with solid blocks of houses, and
the narrowest of streets that break now and then into stairs. For those
old builders respected the features of a landscape as though they had
been the features of a face, and no more thought of levelling
inequalities of land than of shaving down or raising up noses. When a
man had a house-lot in a hollow, he built his house there, and made
Steps to go down to it: his neighbor, who owned a rocky knoll, built his
house at the top, and made stairs to go up to it. Moreover, if the land
was a bit in the city, the house was made in the shape of it, and was as
likely to have corners in obtuse or acute as in right angles.

The inhabitants of Monte Compatri have two streets of which they are
immensely proud--the Lungara, which wriggles through the middle of the
town, and the Giro, which makes the entire circuit of the town, leaving
outside only the rim of houses that rise from the edge of the mountain,
some of them founded on the natural rock, others stretching roots of
masonry far down into the earth.

One of these houses on the Giro had for generations been in the
possession of the Guai family. One after another had held it at an easy
rent from Prince Borghese, the owner of the town. The vineyard and
orchard below in the Campagna they owned, and from those their wealth
was derived. For it was wealth for such people to have a house full of
furniture, linen and porcelain--where, perhaps, a connoisseur might have
found some rare bits of old china--besides having a thousand scudi in
bank.

In this position was the head of the family when he died, leaving a
grown-up son and daughter, and his wife about to become a mother for the
third time.

"Pepina shall have her portion in money, since she is to marry soon,"
the father said. "Give her three hundred scudi in gold and a hundred in
pearls. The rest of the money shall be for my wife to do as she likes
with. For the little one; when it shall come, Matteo shall put in the
bank every year thirty scudi, and when it shall be of age, be it girl or
boy, he shall divide the land equally with it."

So said Giovanni Guai, and died, and his wife let him talk
uncontradicted, since it was for the last time. They had lived a stormy
life, his heavy fist opposed to her indefatigable tongue, and she
contemplated with silent triumph the prospect of being left in
possession of the field. Besides, would he not see afterward what she
did--see and be helpless to oppose? So she let him die fancying that he
had disposed of his property.

"The child is sure to be a girl," she said afterward, "and I mean her to
be a nun. The land shall not be cut up. Matteo shall be a rich man and
pile up a fortune. He shall be the richest man in Monte Compatri, and a
girl shall not stand in his way."

Nature verified the mother's prophecy and sent a little girl. Silvia
they called her, and, since she was surely to be a nun, she grew to be
called Sister Silvia by everybody, even before she was old enough to
recognize her own name.

The house of the Guai, on its inner wall, opened on the comparatively
quiet Giro. From the windows and door could be heard the buzz and hum of
the Lungara, where everybody--men, women, children, cats and dogs--were
out with every species of work and play when the sun began to decline.
This was the part of the house most frequented and liked by the family.
They could see their neighbors even when they were at work in their
houses, and could exchange gossip and stir the polenta at the same
time. The other side of the house they avoided. It was lonely and it was
sunny. For Italians would have the sun, like the Lord, to be for ever
knocking at the door and for ever shut out. It must shine upon their
outer walls, but not by any means enter their windows.

As years passed, however, there grew to be one exception in this regard.
Sister Silvia loved not the town with its busy streets, nor the front
windows with their gossiping heads thrust out or in. She had her own
chamber on the Campagna side, and there she sat the livelong day with
knitting or sewing, never going out, except at early morning to hear
mass. There her mother accompanied her--a large, self-satisfied woman
beside a pallid little maiden who never raised her eyes. Or, if her
mother could not go, Matteo stalked along by her side, and with his
black looks made everybody afraid to glance her way. Nobody liked to
encounter the two black eyes of Matteo Guai. It was understood that the
knife in his belt was sharp, and that no scruple of conscience would
stand between him and any vengeance he might choose to take for any
affront he might choose to imagine.

After mass, then, and the little work her mother permitted the girl to
do for health's sake, Silvia sat alone by her window and looked out on
the splendor which her eyes alone could appreciate. There lay the
Campagna rolling and waving for miles and miles around, till the
Sabines, all rose and amethyst, hemmed it in with their exquisite wall,
and the sea curved a gleaming sickle to cut off its flowery passage, or
the nearer mountains stood guard, almost covered by the green spray it
threw up their rocky sides. She sat and stared at Rome while her busy
fingers knit--at the wonderful city where she was one day to go and be a
nun, where the pope lived and kings came to worship him. In the morning
light the Holy City lay in the midst of the Campagna like her mother's
wedding-pearls when dropped in a heap on their green cushion; and Silvia
knelt with her face that way and prayed for a soul as white, for she
was to be the spouse of Christ, and her purity was all that she could
bring Him as a dowry. But when evening came, and that other airy sea of
fine golden mist flowed in from the west, and made a gorgeous blur of
all things, then the city seemed to float upward from the earth and rise
toward heaven all stirring with the wings of its guardian angels, and
Silvia would beg that the New Jerusalem might not be assumed till she
should have the happiness of being in it.

But there was a lovely view nearer than this visionary one, though the
little nun seldom looked at it. If she should lean from her window she
would see the mountain-side dropping from the gray walls of her home,
with clinging flowery vines and trees growing downward, while the olives
and grapevines of the Campagna came to meet them, setting here and there
a precarious little garden halfway up the steep. Just under her window
an almost perpendicular path came up, crept round the walls and entered
the town. But no one ever used this road now, for a far wider and better
one had been constructed at the other side of the mountain, and all the
people came up that way when the day's work was over in the Campagna.

One summer afternoon Silvia's reveries were broken by her mother's voice
calling her: "Silvia, come and prepare the salad for Matteo."

It was an extraordinary request, but the girl went at once without
question. She seized upon every opportunity to practise obedience in
preparation for that time when her life would be made up of obedience
and prayer.

Her mother was sitting by one of the windows talking with Matteo, who
had just came up from the Campagna. He had an unsocial habit of eating
alone, and, as he ate nothing when down in the vineyard, always wanted
his supper as soon as he came up. The table was set for him with
snow-white cloth and napkin, silver knife, fork and spoon, a loaf of
bread and a decanter of golden-sparkling wine icy cold from the grotto
hewn in the rock beneath the house; and he was just eating his
_minestra_ of vegetables when his sister came in. At the other end of
the long table was a head of crisp white lettuce lying on a clean linen
towel, and two bottles--one of white vinegar, the other of oil as sweet
as cream and as bright as sunshine. Monte Compatri had no need to send
to Lucca for oil of olives while its own orchards dropped such streams
of pure richness.

The room was large and dingy. The brick floor had never known other
cleansing than sprinkling and sweeping, the yellow-washed walls had
become with time a pale, mottled brown, the paint had disappeared under
a fixed dinginess which the dusting-brush alone could not remove, and
the glass of the windows had never been washed except by the rain. Yet,
for all that, the place had an air of cleanliness. For though these
people do not clean their houses more than they clean their yards, yet
their clothing and tables and beds are clean. Plentiful white linen,
stockings like snow, and bright dishes and metals give a look of
freshness and show well on the dim background. Heavy walnut presses,
carved and black with age, stood against the walls, drinking-glasses and
candlesticks sparkled on a dark bureau-top, there was a bright picture
or two, and the sunlighted tinware of a house at the other side of the
street threw a cluster of tiny rays like a bouquet of light in at the
window. Silvia received these sun-blossoms on her head when she placed
herself at the lower end of the table. She pushed the sleeves of her
white sack back from her slim white arms, and began washing the
lettuce-leaves in a bowl of fresh water and breaking them in the towel.
The leaves broke with a fine snap and dropped in pieces as stiff as
paper into a large dark-blue plate of old Japanese ware. A connoisseur
in porcelain would have set such a plate on his drawing-room wall as a
picture.

"How does Claudio work?" the mother asked of her son.

"He works well," Matteo replied. "He is worth two of our common fellows,
if he _is_ educated."

"Nevertheless, I should not have employed him," the mother said. "He
has disobeyed and disappointed his parents, and he should be punished.
They meant him to be a priest, and raked and scraped every soldo to
educate him. Now, just when he is at the point of being able to repay
them, he makes up his mind that he has no vocation for the priesthood,
and breaks their hearts by his ingratitude. It is nonsense to set one's
will up so and have such scruples. Obedience is vocation enough for
anything. There should be a prison where parents could put the children
who disobey them."

The Sora Guai spoke sternly, and looked as if she would not have
hesitated to put a refractory child in the deepest of dungeons.

"He was a fool, but he earns his money," Matteo responded, and, drawing
a plate of deliciously fried frogs toward him, began to gnaw them and
throw the bones on the floor.

Silvia gave him the salad, and poured wine and water into the tumbler
for him, while his mother went to the kitchen for a dish of fricasseed
pigeons.

"There's no onion in the salad," Matteo grumbled when she came back.

Silvia uttered an exclamation of dismay, ran for a silvery-white little
onion and sliced it thinly into the salad.

"Forgive me, Matteo," she said. "I was distracted by the thought of
Claudio. It seems such a terrible thing."

"It would be a much more terrible thing if it were a girl who
disobeyed," Matteo growled. He did not like that girls should criticise
men.

"So it would," the girl responded with meek readiness.

"I don't know why I feel so tired to-day," the mother said, sinking into
a chair again. "My bones ache as if I had been working in the vineyard
all day."

"You are not ill, mamma?" exclaimed Silvia, blushing with alarm.

The answer was a hesitating one: "I don't see what can ail me. It
wouldn't be anything, only that I am so tired without having done much."

"Perhaps it's the weather, mamma," Silvia suggested.

Gentle as she was, she had adopted the ruthless and ungrateful Italian
custom of ascribing every ache and pain of the body to some almost
imperceptible change in their too beautiful weather. The smallest cloud
goes laden with more accusations than it holds drops of rain, and the
ill winds that blow nobody any good blow through those shining skies
from morning till night and from night till morning again.

The Sora Guai was sicker than she dreamed. It was not the summer sun
that scorched her so, nor the _scirocco_ that made her head so heavy.
What malaria she had found to breathe on the mountain-top it would be
hard to say; but the dreaded _perniciosa_ had caught her in its grasp,
and she was doomed. The fever burned fiercely for a few days, and when
it was quenched there was nothing left but ashes.

And thus died the only earthly thing to which Sister Silvia's heart
clung. The mother had been stern, but the daughter was too submissive to
need correction. She had never had any will of her own, except to love
and obey. Collision between them was therefore impossible, and the
daughter felt as a frail plant growing under a shadowing tree might feel
if the tree were cut down. She was bare to every wind that blew. She had
no companions of her own age--she had no companion of any age, in
fact--and she had not been accustomed to think for herself in the
smallest thing.

She had got bent into a certain shape, however, and her brother and
sister felt quite safe on her account. Everybody knew that she was to be
a nun of the Perpetual Adoration; that she was soon to go to the convent
of Santa Maria Maddalena on the Quirinal in Rome; and that, once entered
there, she would never again see a person from outside. The
town's-people were accustomed to the wall of silence and seclusion which
had already grown up about her, and they did not even seek to salute her
when they met her going to and from church in the morning. To these
simple citizens, ignorant but reverential, Sister Silvia's lowered
eyelids were as inviolate as the pearl gates of the New Jerusalem.
Besides, to help their reverence, there were the fierce black eyes and
strange reputation of Matteo. So when, a day or two after her mother's
death, his sister begged him to accompany her to church in the early
morning, and leave her in the care of some decent woman there, Matteo
replied that she might go by herself.

She set out for the first time alone on what had ever been to her a _via
sacra_, and was now become a _via dolorosa_, where her tears dropped as
she walked. And going so once, she went again. Pepina, the elder sister,
a widow now, had come home to keep house for Matteo, but she was too
much taken up with work, the care of her two children and looking out
for a second husband to have time to watch Silvia, and after a few weeks
the young girl went as unheeded as a matron in her daily walk.

At home her life was nearly the same. She mended the clothes from the
washing and knit stockings, and sat at her window and looked off over
the Campagna toward Rome.

One evening she sat there before going to bed and watched the moonlight
turn all the earth to black and silver under the purple sky--a black
like velvet, so deep and soft was it, and a silver like white fire,
clear and splendid, yet beautifully soft. She was feeling desolate, and
her tears dropped down, now and then breaking into sobs. It had been
pleasant to sit there alone when she knew that her mother was below
stairs, strong, healthy and gay. All that life had been as the oil over
which her little flame burned. Lacking it, she grew dim, just as the
floating wick in her little blue vase before the Madonna grew dim when
the oil was gone.

As she wept and heard unconsciously the nightingales, she grew conscious
of another song that mingled with theirs. It was a human voice, clear
and sweet as an angel's, and it sang a melody she knew in little
snatches that seemed to begin and end in a sigh. The voice came nearer
and paused beneath a fig tree, and the words grew distinct.

"Pietà, signore, di me dolente," it sang.

Silvia leaned out of the window and looked down at the singer. His face
was lifted to the white moonlight, and seemed in its pallid beauty a
concentration of the moonlight. Only his face was visible, for the
shadow of the tree hid all his figure. One might almost have expected to
catch a glimmer of two motionless wings bearing up that face, so fair it
was.

To Silvia it was as if another self, who grieved also, but who could
speak, were uttering all her pain, and lightening it so. She recognized
Claudio's voice. He was the chief singer in the cathedral, and sang like
an angel. She was afraid that Claudio had done very wrong in not being a
priest, but, for all that, she had often found her devotion increased by
his singing. The Christmas night would not have been half so joyful
lacking his _Adeste Fideles_; the _Stabat Mater_ sung by him in Holy
Week made her tears of religious sorrow burst forth afresh; and when on
Easter morning he sang the _Gloria_ it had seemed to her that the
heavens were opening.

For all that, however, he had been to her not a person, but a voice.
That he should come here and express her sorrow made him seem different.
For the first time she looked at his face. By daylight it was thin and
finely featured, and of a clear darkness like shaded water, through
which the faintest tinge of color is visible. In this transfigurating
moonlight it became of a luminous whiteness.

The song ended, the singer turned his head slightly and looked up at
Silvia's window. She did not draw back. There was no recognition of any
human sympathy with him, and no slightest consciousness of that airy and
silent friendship which had long been weaving itself over the tops of
the mountains that separated them. How could she know that Claudio had
sung for her, and that it had been the measure of his success to see her
head droop or lift as he sang of sorrow and pain or of joy and triumph?
The choir had their post over the door; and, besides, she never glanced
up even in going out. Therefore she gazed down into his uplifted face
with a sweet and sorrowful tranquillity, her soul pure and candid to its
uttermost depths.

For Claudio, who had sung to express his sympathy for her, but had not
dreamed of seeing her, it was as if the dark-blue sky above had opened
and an angel had looked out when he saw her face. He could only stretch
his clasped hands toward her.

The gesture made her weep anew, for it was like human kindness. She hid
her face in her handkerchief, and he saw her wipe the tears away again
and again.

Claudio remembered a note he carried. It had been written the night
before--not with any hope of her ever seeing it, but, as he had written
her hundreds of notes before, pouring out his heart into them because it
was too full to bear without that relief. He took the note out, but how
should he give it to her? The window was too far above for him to toss
so light a thing unless it should be weighted with a stone; and he could
not throw a stone at Silvia's window. He held it up, and, that she might
see it more clearly, tore up a handful of red poppies and laid it white
on the blossoms that were a deep red by night.

Silvia understood, and after a moment's study dropped him down the ball
of her knitting; and soon the note came swaying up through the still air
resting on its cushion of poppies, for Claudio had wound the thread
about both flowers and letter.

He smiled with an almost incredulous delight as he saw the package
arrive safely at its destination and caught afterward the faint red
light of the lamp that Silvia had taken down from before her Madonna to
read the note by. Since she was a little thing only five or six years
old his heart had turned toward her, and her small white face had been
to him the one star in a dim life. He still kept two or three tiny
flowers she had given him years before when his family and hers were
coming together down from Monte San Silvestro at the other side of
Monte Compatri. The two children, with others, had stopped to stick
fresh flowers through the wire screen before the great crucifix halfway
up the mountain, and Silvia had given Claudio these blossoms. He had
laid them away with his treasures and relics--the bit of muslin from the
veil of Our Lady of Loretto, the almost invisible speck from the cord of
St. Francis of Assisi and the little paper of the ashes of Blessed
Joseph Labré. In those days he was the little priest and she the little
nun, and their companions stood respectfully back for them. Now he was
no more the priest, and she was up there in her window against the sky
reading the note he had written her.

This is what the note said:

"My heart is breaking for your sorrow. Why should such eyes as yours be
permitted to weep? Who is there to wipe those tears away? Oh that I
might catch them as they fall! Drop me down a handkerchief that has been
wet with them, that I may keep it as a relic. Tell me of some way in
which I can console you and spend my life to serve you."

She read with a mingling of consolation and astonishment. Why, this was
more than her mother cared for her! But perhaps men were really more
strongly loving than women. It would seem so, since God, who knows all,
when He wanted to express His love to mankind, took the form of a man,
not of a woman. Then she considered whether, and how, she should answer
this note, and the result of her considering was this, written hastily
on a bit of paper in which some Agnus Dei had been wrapped:

     "I do not know what I ought to write to you, but I thank you for
     your kindness. It comforts me, and I have need of comfort. I think,
     though, that it may be wrong for you to speak of my handkerchief as
     if it were a relic. Relics are things which have belonged to the
     saints, and I am not a saint at all, though I hope to become one. I
     frequently do wrong. Spend your life in serving God, and pray for
     me. You pray in singing, and your singing is very sweet.

     SILVIA."

It seemed to her a simple and merely polite note. To him it was as the
spark to a magazine of powder. All the possibilities of his life, only
half hoped or half dreamed of, burst at once into a flame of certainty.
She had need of comfort, and he comforted her! His voice was sweet to
her, and his singing was a prayer!

Silvia should not be a nun. She should break the bond imposed by her
mother, as he had broken that imposed by his parents. She should be his
wife, and they would live in Rome. He knew that his voice would find
bread for them.

All this flashed through his mind as he read, and pressed to his lips
the handkerchief which she had dropped down to him, though it was not a
relic. He lifted his arms upward toward her window with a rapturous joy,
as if to embrace her, but she did not look out again. A little scruple
for having deprived the Madonna for a moment of her lamp had made her
resolve to say at once a decade of the rosary in expiation. He waited
till the sound of closing doors and wandering voices told that the
inhabitants gathered for the evening in the Lungara were separating to
their homes, then went reluctantly away. Matteo would be at home, and
Matteo's face might look down at him from that other window beside
Silvia's. So he also went home, with the moonlight between his feet and
the ground and stars sparkling in his brain. He felt as if his head were
the sky.

This was an August night. One day in October, Matteo told his sister
that she was to go to Rome with him the next morning to pass a month
with a family they knew there, and afterward begin her noviciáte in the
convent of the Sacramentarians at Monte Cavallo. He had received a
letter from the Signora Fantini, who would receive her and do everything
for her. He and Pepina had no time, now that the vintage had begun, to
attend to such affairs, even if they knew how.

Silvia grew pale. She had not expected to go before the spring, and now
all was arranged without a word being said to her, and she was to go
without saying good-bye to any one.

Matteo's sharp eyes were watching her. "You will be ready to start at
seven o'clock," he said: "I must be back to-morrow night."

"Yes, Matteo," she faltered, hesitated a moment, then ventured to add,
"I did not expect to go so soon."

"And what of that?" he demanded roughly. "You were to go at the proper
time, and the proper time is to-morrow."

She trembled, but ventured another word: "I should like to see my
confessor first."

"He will come here this evening to see you," her brother replied: "I
have already talked with him. You have nothing else to do. Pepina will
pack your trunk while you are talking with the priest."

Silvia had no more to say. She was bound hand and foot. Besides, she was
willing to go, she assured herself. It was her duty to obey her parents,
or the ones who stood in their place and had authority over her. Matteo
said she must go; therefore it was her duty to go, and she was willing.

But the willing girl looked very pale and walked about with a very
feeble step, and it was hard work to keep the tears that were every
moment rising to her eyes from falling over her cheeks. It was such a
pitiful face, indeed, that Father Teodoli, when he came just before Ave
Maria, asked if Silvia were ill.

"She has had a toothache," Matteo said quickly, and gave his sister a
glance.

"And what have you done for it, my child?" the priest asked kindly.

"Nothing," Silvia faltered out.

"I will leave you to give Silvia all the advice she needs," Matteo said
after the compliments of welcome were over. "I have to go down the
Lungara for men to work in the vineyard to-morrow.--Silvia, come and
shut the door after me: there is too much draught here."

Silvia followed her brother to the door, trembling for what he might say
or do. Well she knew that his command was given only that he might have
a chance to speak with her alone.

"Mind what you say to your confessor," he whispered, grasping her arm
and speaking in her ear. "You are to be a nun: you wish to be, and you
are willing to set out to-morrow. Tell him no nonsense--do you hear?--or
it will be worse for you. I shall know every word you say. If he asks if
you had a toothache say Yes. Do you hear?"

"Yes, Matteo."

She went back half fainting, and did as she had been commanded. If there
had been any little lurking impulse to beg for another week or month, it
died of fear. If she had any confession to make of other wishes than
those chosen for her, she postponed it. Matteo might be behind the door
listening, or in the next room or at the window. It seemed to her that
he could make himself invisible in order to keep guard over her.

So the priest talked a little, learned nothing, gave some advice,
recommended himself to her prayers, gave her his benediction, and went.
Then Pepina called her to see the trunk all packed with linen that had
been laid by for her for years, and Matteo, who had really been lurking
about the house, told her to go to bed, and himself really went off this
time to the Lungara. Pepina's lover came for her to sit out on the
doorstep with him, and Silvia was left alone. Nobody cared for her. All
had other interests, and they forgot her the moment she was out of their
sight. Worse, even: they wanted her to be for ever out of their sight,
that they might never have to think of her.

But no: there was one who did not forget her--who would perhaps now have
heard that she was going away, and be waiting in the mountain-path for
her. She hastened to her room, locked the door and went to the window.
He made a gesture of haste, and she dropped the ball down to him. This
was not the second time that their conversation had been held by means
of a thread. Indeed, they had come to talk so every night. At first it
had been a few words only, and Silvia's unconsciousness and her
sincerity in her intention to follow her mother's will had imposed
silence on the young man. But little by little he had ventured, and she
had understood; and within the last week there had been no concealments
between them, though Silvia still resisted all his prayers to change her
resolution and brave her brother.

His first note was in her hands in a moment:

"Is it possible that what I hear is true? I will not believe it: I will
not let you go."

"Yes, and I must go," she wrote back. "I have to start at seven in the
morning. Dear Claudio, be resigned: there is no help for it."

"Silvia, why will you persist in ruining your life and mine? It is a
sin. Say that you are too sick to go to-morrow. Stay in bed all day, and
by night I will have a rope-ladder for you to come down to me. We can
run away and hide somewhere."

"I cannot. We could never hide from Matteo: he would find us out and
kill us both."

"I will go to the Holy Father and tell him all. We could be in Rome
early in the morning if we should walk all night."

"Matteo would hear us: he hears everything. We should never reach Rome.
He would find us wherever we might be hidden. If we were dead and buried
he would pull us out of the ground to stab us. I must go. I have sinned
in having so much intercourse with you. Be resigned, Claudio. Be a good
man, and we shall meet in heaven. The earth is a terrible place: I am
afraid of it. I want to shut myself up in the convent and be at peace. I
fear so much that I tremble all the time. Say addio."

"I cannot. Will you stay in bed to-morrow, and let me try if I cannot go
to Rome?"

"Say addio, Claudio. I dare not stay here any longer: I hear some one
outside my door. I say addio to you now. I shall not drop the ball
again."

She did not even draw it up again, for the thread caught on a nail in
the wall and broke. And at the same time there was a knock at her door.

"Silvia, why do you not go to bed?" Matteo called out: "I hear you up."

"I am going now," she made haste to answer, and in her terror threw
herself on the bed without undressing. She wondered if Matteo could hear
her heart beat through the wall or see how she was shaking.

The next morning at seven o'clock Silvia and her brother took their
seats in the clumsy coach that goes from Monte Compatri to Rome whenever
there are passengers enough to fill it, and after confused leavetakings
from all but the one she wished most to see they set out. Claudio was
invisible. In fact, he had lain on the ground all night beneath her
window, and now, hidden in a tree, was watching the winding road for an
occasional glimpse of the carriage as it bore his love away.

The peasants of Italy, when they see the Milky Way stretching its
wavering, cloudy path across the sky, shining as if made up of the
footprints of innumerable saints, say that it is the road to Jerusalem.
The road to the New Jerusalem has no such pallid and spiritual glory:
its colors are those of life. No death but that of martyrdom, with its
rosy blood, waving palm-branch and golden crown, is figured there. Life,
and the joy of life, beauty so profuse that it can afford to have a few
blemishes like a slatternly Venus, and the _dolce far niente_ of poverty
that neither works nor starves,--they lie all along the road.

Silvia was young, and had all her life looked forward to this journey.
She could not be quite indifferent. She looked and listened, though all
the time her heart was heavy for Claudio. They reached the gate of St.
John Lateran just as all the bells began to ring for the noon _Angelus_,
and in fifteen minutes were at the Signora Fantini's door and Silvia in
the kind lady's arms. It seemed to the girl that she had found her
mother again. That this lady was more gracious, graceful, kind and
beautiful than her mother had ever been she would not think. She was
simply another mother. And when Matteo had gone away home again, not
too soon, and when, after a few days' sightseeing, the signora,
suspecting that the continued sadness of her young guest had some other
cause than separation from her brother and sister, sought persistently
and artfully to win her secret, Silvia told her all with many tears. She
was going to be a nun because her mother had said that she must; and she
was willing to be a nun--certainly she was willing. But, for all that,
if it could have been so, she would have been so happy with Claudio, and
she never should be quite happy without him.

"Then you must not be a nun," the signora said decidedly. "The thing is
all wrong. You have no vocation. You should have said all this before."

For already the signora had taken Silvia to see the Superior at Monte
Cavallo, who had promised to receive the young novice in three weeks,
and had told her what work she could perform in the convent. "You are
not strong, I think," she had said, "but you can knit the stockings. All
have to work."

And Monsignor Catinari, whose business it was to examine all candidates
for the conventual life, had held a long conversation with her and gone
away perfectly satisfied.

But when the signora proposed to undo all this, Silvia was wild with
terror. No, no, she would be a nun. Her mother had said so, she wished
it, and Matteo would kill her if she should refuse.

"Leave it all to me," the signora said, and laid her motherly hand on
the trembling little ones held out to her in entreaty. "We will look out
for that. Matteo shall not hurt you or Claudio. I am going to send for
Monsignor Catinari again, and you must tell him the truth this time. And
then we will see what can be done in the case. Don't look so terrified,
child. Do you think that Matteo rules the world?"

Poor little Silvia could not be reassured, for to her other terrors was
now added Monsignor Catinari's possible wrath. To her, men were objects
of terror. The doctrine of masculine supremacy, so pitilessly upheld in
Italy, was exaggerated to her mind by her brother's character; and
though she believed that help was sometimes possible, she also believed
that it often came too late, as in the case of poor Beatrice Cenci. They
might stand between her and Matteo, but if he had first killed her, what
good would it do? She had a fixed idea that he would kill her.

Monsignor Catinari was indeed much provoked when the signora told him
the true story of the little novice.

"Just see what creatures girls are!" he exclaimed. "How are we to know
if they have a vocation or not? That girl professed herself both willing
and desirous to be a nun."

He did not scold Silvia, however. When he saw her pretty frightened face
his heart relented. "You have told me a good many lies, my child," he
said, "but I forgive you, since they were not intended in malice. We
will say no more about it. I learn from the signora that this Claudio is
a good young man, so the sooner you are married the better. Cheer up: we
will have you a bride by the first week of November; and if Claudio has
such a wonderful voice, he can make his way in Rome."

The reassurances of a man were more effectual than those of a woman.

"At last I believe! at last I fear no more!" Silvia cried, throwing
herself into the arms of the Signora Fantini when the Monsignor was
gone. "Oh how beautiful the earth is! how beautiful life is!"

"We will then begin immediately to enjoy life," the signora replied.
"Collation is ready, and Nanna has bought us some of the most delicious
grapes. See how large and rich they are! One could almost slice them.
There! these black figs are like honey. Try one now, before your soup.
The macaroni that will be brought in presently was made in the
house--none of your Naples stuff, made nobody knows how or by whom. What
else Nanna has for us I cannot say. She was very secret this morning,
and I suspect that means riceballs seasoned with mushrooms and hashed
giblets of turkey. She always becomes mysterious when those are in
preparation. Eat well, child, and get a little flesh and color before
Claudio comes."

They made a merry breakfast, with the noon sun sending its golden arrows
through every tiniest chink of the closed shutters and an almost summer
heat reigning without. Then there was an hour of sleep, then a drive to
the Pincio to see all the notable people who came up there to look at or
speak to each other while the sun sank behind St. Peter's. And in the
evening after dinner they went to the housetop to see the fireworks
which were being displayed for some festa or other; and later there was
music, and then to bed.

Life became an enchantment to the little bride-elect, as life in Italy
will become to any one who has not too heavy a cross to bear. For peace
in this beautiful land means delight, not merely the absence of pain.
How the sun shone! and how the fountains danced! What roses bloomed
everywhere! what fruits of Eden were everywhere piled! How soft the
speech was! and how sweet the smiles! And when it was discovered that
Silvia had a beautiful voice, so that she and Claudio would be like a
pair of birds together, then it seemed to her that a nest of twigs on a
tree-branch would be all that she could desire.

They took her to see the pope on one of those days. It was as if they
had taken her to heaven. To her he was the soul of Rome, the reason why
Rome was; and when she saw his white figure against the scarlet
background of cardinals she remembered how Rome looked against the rosy
Campagna at sunset from her far-away window in Monte Compatri.

"A little _sposa_, is she?" the pope said when Monsignor Catinari
presented her.--"I bless you, my child: wear this in memory of me." He
gave her a little gold medal from a tiny pocket at his side, laid his
hand on her head and passed on. It was too much: she had to weep for
joy.

Then, when the audience was over, they took her through the museum and
library, and some one gave her a bunch of roses out of the pope's
private garden, and she was put into a carriage and driven home, her
heart beating somewhere in her head, her feet winged and her eyes
dazzled.

There was a rapturous letter from Claudio awaiting her, and by that she
knew that it was not all a dream. She rattled the paper in her hands as
she sat with her eyes shut, half dreaming, to make sure and keep sure
that she was not to wake up presently to bitterness. Claudio would come
to Rome in a week, and perhaps they would be married before he should go
back. There was no letter from Matteo. So much the better.

One golden day succeeded another, and Silvia changed from a lily to a
rose with marvellous rapidity. She was not a ruddy, full-leaved rose,
though, but like one of those delicate ones with clouds of red on them
and petals that only touch the calyx, as if they were wings and must be
free to move. She was slim and frail, and her color wavered, and her
head had a little droop, and her voice was low. She had always been the
stillest creature alive; and now, full of happiness as she was, her
feelings showed themselves in an uneasy stirring, like that of a flower
in which a bee has hidden itself. After the first outburst she did not
so much say that she was happy as breathe and look it.

One noonday, when life seemed too beautiful to last, and they all sat
together after breakfast, the signora, her daughter and Silvia, too
contented to say a word, the door opened, and Matteo Guai came in with a
black, smileless face, and not the slightest salutation for his sister.
He had come to take Silvia home, he replied briefly to the signora's
compliments. She must be ready in an hour. The vintage was suffering by
his absence, and it was necessary that he should return at once.

Signora Fantini poured out the most voluble exclamations, prayers and
protests. She had forty engagements for Silvia. They had had only a few
days' visit from her, and she was to have stayed a month. They would
themselves accompany her to Monte Compatri later if it was necessary
that she should go. But, in fine, Monsignor Catinari did not expect her
to return.

"I am the head of the family, and my sister has to obey me till she is
married," Matteo replied doggedly. "I suppose that Monsignor Catinari
will not deny that. The Church always supports the authority of the
master of the family."

"Why, of course," the signora replied, rather confused by this
irresistible argument, "you have the right, and no one will resist you.
But as a favor now--" and the signora assumed her most coaxing smile,
and even advanced a plump white hand to touch Matteo's sleeve.

She might as well have tried to bewitch and persuade the bronze Augustus
on the Capitoline Hill.

"Things are changed since it was promised that Silvia should stay a
month with you," Matteo replied. "There is work at home for her to do.
Since she is not to be a nun, she must work. Let her be ready to start
in an hour: my carriage is waiting at the door. I am going out into the
piazza for a little while. I will send a man up for her trunk when I am
ready to start."

Silvia uttered not a word. At sight of her brother she had sunk back in
her chair white and speechless. On hearing his voice she had closed her
eyes.

He half turned to her before going out, looking at her out of the
corners of his evil eyes, a cold, strange smile wreathing his lips. "So
you are not going to be a nun?" he said.

She did not respond. Only the quiver of her lowered eyelids and a slight
shiver told that she knew he was addressing her.

Matteo went out, and the signora, at her wits' end, undertook to
encourage Silvia. There was no time to see Monsignor Catinari or to
appeal to any authority; and if there were, it would have availed
nothing perhaps. Almost any one would have said that the girl's terrors
were fanciful, and that it was quite natural her brother, who would lose
five hundred scudi by her change of purpose, should require her to work
as other girls of her condition worked.

"Cheer up and go with him, _figlia mia_," she said, "and leave all to
me. I will see Monsignor Catinari this very evening, and post a letter
to you before I go to bed. If Matteo is unkind to you, we will have you
taken away from him at once. And, in any case, you shall be married in a
few weeks at the most, as Monsignor promised. Don't cry so: don't say
that you cannot go. I am sorry and vexed, my dear, but I see no way but
for you to go. Depend upon me. No harm shall come to you. I will myself
come to Monte Compatri within the week, and arrange all for you.
Besides, recollect that you will see Claudio: he is there waiting for
you. Perhaps you may see him this very evening."

The Signora Fantini's efforts to cheer and reassure the sister were as
ineffectual as her efforts to persuade the brother had been. Silvia
submitted because she had no strength to resist.

"O Madonna mia!" she kept murmuring, "he will kill me! he will kill me!
O Madonna mia! pray for me."

When an Italian says that he will come back in an hour, you may look for
him after two hours. Matteo was no exception to the rule. It was already
mid-afternoon when the porter came up and said that Silvia's brother was
waiting for her below.

The signora gave her a tumbler half full of _vin santo_, which she kept
for special occasions--a strong, delicious wine with the perfume of a
whole garden in it. "Drink every drop," she commanded: "it will give you
courage. You had better be a little tipsy than fainting away. And put
this bottle into your pocket to drink when you have need on the way."

More dead than alive, Silvia was placed in the little old-fashioned
carriage that Matteo had hired to come to Rome in, and her brother took
his seat beside her. The Signora Fantini and her daughter leaned from
the window, kissing their hands to her and shaking their handkerchiefs
as long as she was in sight. And as long as she was in sight they saw
her pale face turned backward, looking at them. Then the tawny stone of
a church-corner hid her from their eyes for ever.

Who knows or can guess what that drive was? The two passed through
Frascati, and Matteo stopped to speak to an acquaintance there. They
drove around Monte Porzio, and Matteo stopped again, to buy a glass of
wine and some figs. He offered some to his sister, but she shook her
head.

"She is sleepy," her brother said to the man of whom he had bought.
"Give me another tumbler of wine: it isn't bad."

"It is the last barrel I have of the vintage of two years ago," the man
replied. "It was a good vintage. If the signorina would take a drop she
would sleep the better. Besides, the night is coming on and there is a
chill in the air."

Silvia opened her eyes and made the little horizontal motion with her
fore finger which in Italy means no.

"She will sleep well enough," Matteo said, and drove on.

Night was coming on, and they had no more towns to pass--only a bit more
of lonely level road and the lonely road that wound to and fro up the
mountain-side. At the best, they could not reach home before ten
o'clock. The road went to and fro--sometimes open, to give a view of the
Campagna and the Sabine Mountains, and Soracte swimming in a lustrous
dimness on the horizon; sometimes shut in closely by trees, that made it
almost black in spite of the moon. For the moon was low and gave but
little light, being but a crescent as yet. There was a shooting star now
and then, breaking out like a rocket with a trail of sparks or slipping
small and pallid across the sky.

One of these latter might have been poor Silvia's soul slipping away
from the earth. It went out there somewhere on the mountain-side. Matteo
said the carriage tilted, and she, being asleep, fell out before he
could prevent. Her temple struck a sharp rock, and Claudio missed his
bride.

He had to keep quiet about it, though. What could he prove? what could
any one prove? Where knives are sharp and people mind their own
business, or express their opinions only by a shrug of the shoulders and
a grimace, how is a poor boy, how is even a rich man or a rich woman, to
come at the truth in such a case? Besides, the truth would not have
brought her back, poor little Silvia!

  MARY AGNES TINCKER.



A SPANISH STORY-TELLER


In these days of pessimism in literature, when Tourgueneff and
Sacher-Masoch represent man as the victim of blind Chance and
annihilation his greatest happiness, it is pleasant to turn to a writer
who still believes in God, his country and the family, and recognizes an
overruling Providence that directs the world. It is not strange that
these old-fashioned ideas should be found in Spain, where, in spite of
much ignorance and superstition, the lower classes are deeply religious
in the best sense of the word, and distinguished for their patriotism
and intense love for their homes.

Antonio de Trueba, the subject of this sketch, was born in 1821 at
Montellano, a little village in Biscay. He thus describes the home of
his childhood in the preface to his collected poems: "On the brow of one
of the mountains that surround a valley of Biscay there are four little
houses, white as four doves, hidden in a grove of chestnut and walnut
trees--four houses that can only be seen at a distance when the autumn
has removed the leaves from the trees. There I spent the first fifteen
years of my life. In the bottom of the valley there is a church whose
belfry pierces the arch of foliage and rises majestic above the ash and
walnut trees, as if to signify that the voice of God rises above
Nature; and in that church two masses were said on Sunday--one at
sunrise and the other two hours later. We children rose with the song of
the birds and went down to the first mass, singing and leaping through
the shady oak-groves, while our elders came down later to high mass.
While our parents and grand-parents were attending it I sat down beneath
some cherry trees that were opposite my father's house--for from that
spot could be seen the whole valley that ended in the sea--and shortly
after four or five young girls came to seek me, red as the cherries that
hung over my head or as the graceful knots of ribbon that tied the long
braids of their hair, and made me compose couplets for them to sing to
their sweethearts in the afternoon, to the sound of the tambourine,
under the walnut trees where the young people danced and the elders
chatted and enjoyed our pleasure."

The young poet's parents were simple tillers of the soil, who gave their
son a meagre education. In one of his letters he says that his father's
library consisted of the _Fueros de Viscaya_ (the old laws of Biscay),
the _Fables_ of Samaniego, _Don Quixote_, some ballads brought from
Valmaseda or Bilbao, and two or three lives of the saints. Antonio seems
to have had from his earliest childhood an ardent love of poetry, and in
the passage quoted above he mentions his own compositions. He continues
by saying, "I remember one day one of those girls was very sad because
her sweetheart was going away for a long time. She wanted a song to
express her grief, and I composed one at her request. A few days later
she did not need my aid to sing her sorrow: in proportion as it had
increased her ability to sing it herself had also increased, for poetry
is the child of feeling. Her songs, as well as those I composed, soon
became popular in the valley."

When the poet was fifteen years old the civil war waged by Don Carlos
was desolating Spain. The inhabitants of Biscay espoused his cause, but
Antonio's parents were unwilling to expose their son to the dangers he
must run if he remained at home, and therefore decided to send him to a
distant relative in Madrid who kept a hardware-shop. "One night in
November," says Trueba, "I departed from my village, perhaps--my
God!--never to return. I descended the valley with my eyes bathed in
tears. The cocks began to crow, the dogs barked, the owls hooted in the
mountains, the wind moaned in the tops of the walnut trees, and the
river roared furiously rushing down the valley; but the inhabitants of
the village slept peaceably, except my parents and brothers, who from
the window followed weeping the sound of my footsteps, about to be lost
in the noise of the valley. I was just leaving the last house of the
village when one of those girls who had so often sought me under the
cherry trees approached the window and took leave of me sobbing. On
crossing a hill, about to lose the valley from my sight, I heard a
distant song, and stopped. That same girl was sending me her last
farewell in a song as beautiful as the sentiment that inspired it."

Antonio devoted himself to his duties during the day and pursued his
studies with eagerness during the night. What he suffered from
home-sickness the reader can easily imagine. All through his later works
are scattered reminiscences of those unhappy years in Madrid, when his
memory fondly turned to the mountains and cherry-groves of his beloved
Encartaciones.[1] Often dreaming of the country, which, he says, is his
perpetual dream, he imagined the moment in which God would permit him to
return to the valley in which he was born. "When this happens, I say to
myself, my brow will be wrinkled and my hair gray. The day on which I
return to my native valley will be a festal day, and on crossing the
hill from which I can behold the whole valley, I shall hear the bells
ringing for high mass. How sweetly will resound in my ears those bells
that so often rilled my childhood with delight! I shall enter the
valley, my heart beating, my breathing difficult and my eyes bathed with
tears of joy. There will be, with its white and sonorous belfry, the
church where the holy water of baptism was poured upon the brows of my
parents and my own; there will be the walnut and chestnut trees beneath
whose shade we danced on Sunday afternoons; there will be the wood where
my brothers and I looked for birds' nests and made whistles out of the
chestnut and walnut bark; there, along the road, will be the apple trees
whose fruit my companions and I knocked off with stones when we went to
school; there will be the little white house where my grand-parents, my
father, my brothers and I were born; there will be all that does not
feel or breathe. But where will be, my God, all those who with tears in
their eyes bade me farewell so many years ago? I shall follow the valley
down: I shall recognize the valley, but not its inhabitants. Judge
whether there will be among sorrows a greater sorrow than mine! The
people gathered in the portico of the church waiting for mass to begin
will look over the wall along the road, and others will look out of the
windows, all to see the stranger pass. And they will not know me, and I
shall not know them, for those children and those youths and those old
men will not be the old men nor the youths nor the children whom I left
in my native valley. I shall follow sadly the valley down. 'All that has
felt,' I shall exclaim, 'has changed or died. What is it that preserves
here pure and immaculate the sentiments which I inspired?' And then some
village-woman will sing one of those songs in which I enclosed the
deepest feelings of my soul, and on hearing her my heart will want to
leap from my breast, and I shall fall on my knees, and, if emotion and
sobs do not stifle my voice, I shall exclaim, 'Holy and thrice holy,
blessed and thrice blessed, poetry which immortalizes human sentiment!'"

Antonio after a time left his relative's shop to enter another in the
same business, from which he was relieved by the owner's financial
difficulties. He then determined to devote himself to literature, and
became a writer for the papers. In 1852 he published _Libro de Cantares_
(_Book of Songs_), which at once made his name a household word
throughout Spain. He tells us that most of the poems in it were composed
mentally while dreaming of his native country and wandering about the
environs of Madrid, "wherever the birds sing and the people display
their virtues and their vices, for the noble Spanish people have a
little of everything." He warns his readers not to expect from him what
he cannot give them: "Do not seek in this book erudition or culture or
art. Seek recollections and feeling, and nothing more. Fifteen years ago
I left my solitary village: these fifteen years, instead of singing
under the cherry trees of my native country, I sing in the midst of the
Babylon which rises on the banks of the Manzanares; and,
notwithstanding, I still amuse myself with counting from here the trees
that shade the little white house where I was born, and where, God
willing, I shall die: my songs still resemble those of fifteen years
ago. What do I understand of Greek or Latin, of the precepts of Horace
or of Aristotle? Speak to me of the blue skies and seas, of birds and
boughs, of harvests and trees laden with golden fruit, of the loves and
joys and griefs of the upright and simple villagers, and then I shall
understand you, because I understand nothing more than this."

These poems are what the author calls them, nothing more--pure and
simple records of the life of the people around him, their loves and
griefs, their hopes and disappointments. The most usual metre is the
simple Spanish _asonante_, or eight-syllable trochaic verse, with the
vowel rhyme called _asonante_.[2] They are pervaded by a tender spirit
of melancholy, very different from the _Weltschmerz_ of Heine, with some
of whose lyrics the Spanish poet's _cantares_ may be compared without
losing anything by the comparison. In one poem he says: "In the depths
of my heart are great sorrows: some of them are known to men, others to
God alone. But I shall rarely mention my griefs in my songs, for I have
no hope that they can be alleviated; and where is the mortal who, in
passing through this valley, has not encountered among the flowers some
sharp thorn?" In the same poem he says: "All ask me, Who taught you to
sing? No one: I sing because God wills it--I sing like the birds;" and
he explains his method by a touching incident. One evening he was
singing on the bank of the Manzanares when he saw a child smiling on the
breast of its mother. The poet went and caressed it, and the child threw
its arms about Antonio's neck and turning to its mother cried, "Mother,
Antonio, he of the songs, is a blind man who sees."[3] The poet
continues: "I am a blind man who sees: that angel told the truth. With
my guitar resting on my loving heart, you may see me wandering from the
city to the valley, from the cabin of the poor to the palace of the
great, weeping with those who weep, singing with those who sing, for my
rude guitar is the lasting echo of all joys and all sorrows. I shall
sing my songs in the simple language of the laborer and the soldier, of
the children and the mothers, of those who have not frequented learned
schools.... In this language I shall extol the faith and the holy
combats of the soldiers of Christ with the sacrilegious Saracen; I shall
sing the heroic efforts of our fathers to conquer the proud legions of
Bonaparte; and the beauty of the skies, and the flowers of the valley,
and love and innocence--all that is beautiful and great--will find a
lasting echo in my rude guitar."

Many of these songs are ingenious variations on a theme supplied by some
old and well-known poem, a few lines of which are woven into each
division of the new song.

The success of the _Libro de los Cantares_ was immediate and great; the
first three editions were exhausted in a few months; the duc de
Montpensier wished to defray the expenses of the fourth, and Queen
Isabella of the fifth; since then others have followed. Some years later
the poet married, and since then has written chiefly in prose.

In 1859 appeared a volume of short tales entitled _Rose-colored Stories_
(_Cuentos de Color de Rosa_): these were followed by _Tales of the
Country_ (_Cuentos campesinos_), _Popular Tales_ (_Cuentos popolares_),
_Popular Narrations_ (_Narraciones popolares_), _Tales of Various
Colors_, _Tales of the Dead and Living_, etc.[4]

Before examining in detail any of these collections it may be well to
learn the author's views of his task and definition of his subject. In
the introduction to the _Popular Tales_ he says, addressing his friend
Don José de Castro y Serrano: "The object of this preface is simply to
tell you why I have given the name of _Popular Tales_ to those contained
in this volume, what I understand by popular literature, and why I write
tales instead of writing novels or comedies or cookbooks. There are two
reasons why I have called these tales popular. First, because many of
them are told by the people; and, secondly, because in retelling them I
have used the simple and plain style of the people.... In my conception,
popular literature can be defined in this manner: That literature which
by its simplicity and clearness is within the reach of the intelligence
of the people.... However, in popular literature the simplicity of form
is not enough: it is necessary to reproduce Nature, because if not
reproduced there will be no truth in it; and if there is no truth in it
the people will not believe it; and if they do not believe it they will
not feel it. For my part, I take such pains in studying Nature, in order
that my pictures may be true, that I fear you will accuse me of
extravagance, and will laugh at me when you read the two examples I am
going to cite. On a very severe night in January I was writing in the
fourth story of the street Lope de Vega, No. 32, the tale which I named
_De Patas en el Infierno_ ('The Feet in Hell'), and when a detail
occurred which consisted in explaining the changes in the sound made by
water in filling a jar at a fountain, I found that I had never studied
these changes, and I did not have in the house at that moment water
enough to study them. The printers were going to send for the story
early in the morning, and it must be finished that night. Do you know
what I did to get out of my difficulty? At three o'clock in the morning,
facing the darkness, rain and wind, I went to the little fountain near
by with a jar under my cloak, and spent a quarter of an hour there
listening to the sound of the water as it fell into the jar. A short
time after I was preparing to write the rural tale called _Las Siembras
y las Cosechas_ ('Seed-time and Harvest'), and the description of a
sunrise in the country entered into my plan. I had often seen the sun
rise in the country, but it was necessary to contemplate and study anew
that beautiful spectacle in order to describe it exactly; and early one
morning, long before the dawn, accompanied by two friends, I went to the
hills of Vicalvaro, where we made some good studies, but were very much
frightened by some thieves who attacked us knife in hand, believing we
were people who carried watches."

These words of the author reveal better than we could explain his aim
and method. He is a follower of Fernan Caballero, in so far as he has
devoted himself to illustrate the every-day life of the Spanish people.
The former writer has filled her pages with brilliant pictures of the
life of Andalusia. Her canvas is, however, larger than Trueba's: she
depicts the society of the South in all its grades; Trueba has chosen a
more limited circle on which he has lavished all his care.

The volume of _Rose-colored Tales_ is in many respects the best that
Trueba has produced. The dedication to his wife explains the title and
reveals the author's optimistic views. He says: "I call them
_Rose-colored Tales_ because they are the reverse of that pessimistic
literature which delights in representing the world as a boundless
desert in which no flower blooms, and life as a perpetual night in which
no star shines. I, poor son of Adam, in whom the curse of the Lord on
our first parents has not ceased to be accomplished a single day since
the time when, still a child, I left my beloved valley of the
Encartaciones,--I shall love this life, and shall not believe myself
exiled in the world while God, friendship, love and the family exist in
it, while the sun shines on me every morning, while the moon lights me
every night and the flowers and birds visit me every day."

The scene of all the stories of this collection is in the Encartaciones,
and an examination of a few of them will make us acquainted with the
usual range of characters and the author's mode of treatment. The first
is entitled "The Resurrection of the Soul" (_La Resurreccion del Alma_),
and opens with an account of the village of C----, one of the fifteen
composing the Encartaciones. Here lived Santiago and Catalina, the
latter a foundling whom Santiago's parents had found at their door one
winter morning. The good people, who had always desired a daughter,
cared tenderly for the little stranger, and she grew up with their son,
who was a few years older. It had been decided that when Santiago was
fifteen he should go to his uncle in Mexico; which country, for the
simple inhabitants of Biscay, is still "India," and the retired
merchants who return to spend their last days in their native towns are
"Indians"--a class that often play an important part in the dénouement
of Trueba's simple plots. At the beginning of the story the two children
(Santiago was nearly fifteen) had gone off to play and allowed the goats
to get into the fields. The angry father is about to punish Catalina,
who has assumed all the blame, but his wife mollifies him by reminding
him that they have received a piece of good news. Ramon good-humoredly
says, "You women always have your own way," and proceeds to tell a story
to illustrate it. We give it as an example of the popular tales that
Trueba often weaves into his stories:

"Once upon a time, when Christ went through the world healing the sick
and raising the dead, a woman came out to meet him and said to him,
seizing hold of his cloak and weeping like a Magdalen, 'Lord, do me the
favor to come and raise my husband, who died this morning.'

"'I cannot stop,' answered the Lord. 'I am going to perform a great
miracle--that is, find a good mother among the women who are fond of
bull-fights; but everything will turn out well if the ass doesn't stop.
All I can do for you is that if you take it into your head to raise your
husband, your husband will be raised.'

"And indeed the wife took it into her head that her husband must be
raised, and her husband was raised, for even the dead can't resist the
whims of women."

The good news that Ramon had received was a letter from his brother, who
wished Santiago to be sent to him by the first steamer leaving Bilbao.
It was the 15th of August, the Feast of the Assumption, when Santiago,
accompanied by his father, prepared to start for Bilbao.

"Quica, who until the moment of departure had not shed a tear, because
she had only seen her son on the way to happiness, as you saw yours,
disconsolate mother, who now see only a sepulchre in the
Americas,--Quica now wept without restraint. Poor Catalina had wept so
much for a month and a half that there were no tears left in her eyes:
she did not weep, but she felt the faintness and sorrow which the dying
must experience. Santiago's eyes were moist at times, but soon shone
with joy.

"'Come, come! You are like a lot of crying children,' exclaimed Ramon,
tearing his son from the arms of Quica and Catalina. 'One would say that
it is a matter to cry over. Don't you see me? I too have a soul in my
soul-case....'

"And indeed he had, for tears as large as nuts rolled from his eyes.
Santiago and Ramon departed. Quica and Catalina sorrowfully followed
them with their eyes until they crossed a neighboring hill. Then the
young girl made an almost supernatural effort to calm herself, and said,
'Mother, I am going to take the sheep to the mountain.'

"'Do what you wish, my daughter,' answered Quica mechanically.

"It was Catalina's custom to open, the gate every morning to a flock of
sheep and lead them a stone's throw from the farmhouse, where she left
them alone; but this day she went with them as far as the hill that
Ramon and Santiago had just crossed, and from that hill she went on to
the next and the next, with her eyes always fixed on the road to Bilbao,
until, overcome by fatigue and dying with grief, she bowed her beautiful
head, and instead of retracing her steps to the farmhouse of Ipenza, she
went to the church in the valley and fell on her knees before the altar
of the Virgin of Solitude."

Santiago reaches Mexico in safety, and is kindly received by his uncle,
who dies ten years later and leaves him an immense fortune. Santiago at
once plunges into every species of dissipation, and soon destroys his
health. His physician recommends him as a last resort to return to his
native country and try the effect of the mountain-air. Meanwhile,
Catalina had grown up one of the prettiest girls of the village, and
Santiago's parents had died, leaving her a handsome dowry and the use of
the farm until it should be claimed by Santiago.

"One dark and rainy night Santiago returned to his home, broken down in
health and profoundly weary of life. Catalina receives him, and is
amazed at his changed appearance.

"'Are you ill, Santiago?' asked Catalina with infinite tenderness.

"'Yes--ill in body and mind.'

"'How do you feel, brother of my heart?'

"'I do not feel anything: that is my greatest misfortune.'"

In truth, the unfortunate Santiago had lost all the better feelings of
his heart. His return to the home of his innocent boyhood failed to
evoke any pure and noble sentiments: his heart continued paralyzed,
cold, indifferent to everything. But it was impossible for him to remain
in this condition under the influence of Catalina. He gradually began to
take an interest in the life around him and employ his wealth for the
benefit of his neighbors. Gradually, he awoke from his lethargy and
became well in body and mind. As the reader can imagine, the story
closes with his marriage to Catalina, who had such a great share in his
recovery.

In the story called "From One's Country to Heaven" (_Desde la Patria al
Cielo_) the author's endeavors show that the surest happiness is to be
found in one's native village. He begins with an ironical description of
the village of S---- in the Encartaciones, in which he depicts the
simplicity of the inhabitants and their backwardness, in regard to the
spirit of the age. In this village lived, among others, Teresa, a poor
widow, and her only child, Pedro. One day, while passing the palace of a
wealthy "Indian," he called her and said he was obliged to return to
America, and wished her to take care of his house during his absence.
The poor woman now saw herself relieved from want and able to educate
her son. The latter found in the rich library of the "Indian" food for
many years of study, and soon became dissatisfied with his quiet life in
the village, and eager to travel and see the countries about which he
had read such charming tales. He soon grew to despise everything around
him, and treated with scorn his neighbor Rose, who had long loved him
tenderly.

One day news arrived from Mexico that the "Indian" had died, leaving to
Teresa his palace at S---- and a large sum of money besides. Pedro was
now able to fulfil his dreams of travel, and started on his journey. He
first visits the Pass of Roncesvalles, and is nearly killed by the
indignant Frenchmen whom he asks about the defeat of Charlemagne and the
Twelve Peers. Pedro then proceeds to Bayonne, where he is so shocked by
the sight of young girls selling their hair to the highest bidder that
he determines to leave France, and we next find him in a Swiss chalet,
where he is disgusted by the lack of cleanliness. His feelings can be
imagined when he finds that the peasants have no popular traditions and
are not acquainted even with the name of William Tell. In despair, Pedro
directs his course to Germany, but finds no sylphs or sirens on the
banks of the Rhine, while maidens with blue eyes and golden hair are no
more abundant there than elsewhere. Greece next receives the wanderer,
who hears in Athens of railroads and consolidated funds: on Olympus he
finds a guano manufactory, and on Pindus a poet writing
fourteen-syllable endecasyllabics. He visits with a similar
disenchantment Constantinople, and then makes his way to England. There
poor Pedro is disgusted by the sordid, selfish spirit of the people. An
absurd scene at a village church fills him with horror. The bare walls
of the temple chill his heart, and after the service a domestic quarrel
between the curate and his jealous wife caps the climax and Pedro flees
to America. On landing in New York he is robbed of his watch: the thief
is arrested, but gives the watch to the magistrate, keeping the chain
for himself, and Pedro is condemned to pay the costs and the damages
suffered by the thief's character. On returning that evening from the
theatre he is garroted and robbed of all he has with him. The landlord
tells him that no one thinks of going out at night without a pair of
six-shooters, and adds that what happens in New York is nothing to what
goes on at Boston, Baltimore and New Orleans. The next day he reads an
editorial in the _New York Herald_ advising American merchants to
repudiate their foreign debts. He then determines to visit the different
States, and on passing through the South thanks God that slavery is
unknown in Europe. Railroad accidents, murders and political and social
corruption cause him to regard with profound horror the young republic,
which seems to him old in vice, and he starts for South America, the
Spanish part of which reminds him of a virgin overwhelmed with
misfortunes, but still full of youth and faith. In Vera Cruz, Pedro
visits the sepulchre of the "Indian" to whom he owes his fortune. A
letter from his mother is awaiting him there, and he bursts into tears,
and sails at once for his beloved home, which he reaches one beautiful
Sunday morning in May. His meeting with his mother takes place in the
church, and there also he sees Rose, whose constancy is now rewarded.
The story closes with the lines from Lista: "Happy he who has never seen
any other stream than that of his native place, and, an old man, sleeps
in the shade where he played a boy!"

Another story of the same collection, and one of the author's best, is
entitled _Juan Paloma_. The principal characters are Don Juan de
Urrutia, nicknamed Juan Paloma ("dovelike"), a wealthy and crusty old
bachelor, and Antonio de Molinar, a poor peasant, and his wife. The
moral of the story is in Don Juan's last words: "Blessed be the family!"
and in Juana's remark: "Alas for him who lives alone in the world, for
only his dogs will weep for him when he dies!"

The other stories of this volume, "The Mother-in-Law," "The Judas of the
Household" and "I Believe in God," all contain many charming scenes. In
the last a young girl is educated by an infidel father, and after his
death marries Diego, a village lad. She becomes a mother, but still
retains in her heart the seeds of atheism sown there by her father. Her
child, a girl, becomes ill, and a doctor is sent for from Bilbao.

"The doctor was long in coming, and Ascensita was devoured by impatience
and uncertainty. He arrived at last, and examined the child attentively,
observing a deep silence, which caused the poor mother the most
sorrowful anxiety.

"'Will the daughter of my heart recover?' Ascensita asked him in tears.
'For God's sake, speak to me frankly, for this uncertainty is more cruel
than the death of my daughter.'

"'Señora,' answered the doctor, 'God alone can save the child.'

"Ascensita fell senseless by the side of the cradle containing her
dying child. When she returned to herself Diego alone was at her side.
The unhappy mother placed her ear to the child's lips, and perceived
that it still breathed.

"'Diego,' she exclaimed, 'take care of the child of my soul!' and flying
down the stairs hastened to a hermitage near by, and falling on her
knees before the Virgin of Consolation exclaimed in grief, 'Holy Virgin!
pity me! Save the child of my heart! And if she has flown to heaven
since I left her side to fall at thy feet, beg thy holy Son to restore
her to life, as He did the maid of Galilee!'

"A woman who was praying in a corner of the temple arose weeping with
joy and grief, and hastened to clasp the unhappy mother in her arms and
call her daughter. It was her husband's mother, Agustina, who had also
gone to the temple to pray for the restoration of the child.

"'Mother,' exclaimed Ascensita, 'I believe in God! I believe in God and
hope in His mercy!'

"'My daughter, no one believes in it in vain,' answered Agustina,
bursting into tears. And both again knelt and prayed."

The mother's prayer was heard and the child recovered.

In the _Popular Narrations_, Trueba works up themes already popular
among the people, but clothes them in his own words and varies them to
suit his own taste. He says in the preface: "The task which I undertook
some time ago, and still continue, consists in collecting the
narrations, tales or anecdotes that circulate among the people and are
the work of the popular invention, which sometimes creates and at others
imitates, if it does not plagiarize, trying when it imitates to give to
the imitation the form of the original. Some of the writers or
collectors abroad, and especially in Germany, who have devoted
themselves to a similar task, have followed a method different from
mine; since, like the Brothers Grimm, they reproduce the popular tales
almost as they have collected them from the lips of the people. This
system is not to my taste, because almost all popular tales, although
they have a precious base, have an absurd form, and in order to enter
worthily into the products of the literary art they need to be perfected
by art, and have a moral or philosophical end, which nothing in the
sphere of art should be without."

The subjects of some of these stories are well known out of Spain. "St.
Peter's Doubts" (_Las Dudas de San Pedro_) is as old as the _Gesta
Romanorum_ (cap. 80), and is familiar to English readers from Parnell's
_Hermit_. Another, "A Century in a Moment" (_Un Siglo en un Momento_),
is the story of the woman allowed after death to come back to the earth
and see her lover, whom she finds faithless. Still another,
_Tragaldabas_, is familiar to the readers of Grimm's _Household Tales_,
where it figures as "Godfather Death."

The volume of _Popular Tales_ contains nineteen stories of the most
varying description. Some are popular in the broadest sense, as "The
Three Counsels" (_Los Consejos_), in which a soldier whose time of
service has expired buys from his captain with his pay three pieces of
advice: Always take the short cut on a road, Do not inquire into what
does not concern you, and Do nothing without reflection. The soldier on
his way home has occasion to put in practice all three counsels, and
thereby saves his life and property. Others, are legendary, as _Ofero_,
the legend of St. Christopher, and _Casilda_, the story of the Moorish
king's daughter converted to the Christian religion by a physician from
Judea, who proves to be Our Lord. One, "The Wife of the Architect" (_La
Mujer del Arquitecto_), is a local tradition of Toledo, and another,
"The Prince without a Memory" (_El Principe Desmemoriado_), is taken
from Gracian Dantisco's _Galateo Español_.

We may say of this collection, as of the last, that, although the
stories show much humor and skill, they are not among the author's best.
He is most at home in the simple pictures of life in the Encartaciones
or in the country near Madrid. The latter is the scene of the stories
in the volume entitled _Rural Tales_ (_Cuentos campesinos_), which
contains some of the author's most charming productions. They are
generally longer than the others--one, "Domestic Happiness" (_La
Felicidad domestica_), filling over ninety-two octavo pages. "Seed-time
and Harvest" (_Las Siembras y las Cosechas_) is a charming story of Pepe
and his wife Pepa, the former of whom sows wheat in his fields, and the
latter economy, love and virtue by the fireside. The best story of the
collection, however--and, to our mind, one of the best that Trueba has
written--is the one called "The Style is the Man" (_El Estilo es el
Hombre_), which is so well worth a translation that we will not spoil it
by an analysis.

We have said that Trueba's works have been great popular successes. He
has endeared himself to all who love poetry and the simple, honest life
of the Spanish people. His beloved province has not forgotten him, and
in 1862 unanimously elected him archivist and chronicler of Biscay, with
a salary of nine hundred dollars a year. The poet henceforth turned his
attention to a history of Biscay, which has not yet appeared, though
some preliminary studies have been published in a work entitled
_Chapters of a Book_ (_Capitulos de un Libro_). Trueba resided at this
period of his life at Bilbao, which he was obliged to leave in haste
during the last Carlist war, and he has since lived in Madrid. He has
published there several volumes of romances and historical novels, some
of which have been very successful; but Trueba's real strength is in his
poetry and short stories, which may be favorably compared with the best
of this class of literature--with Auerbach's _Tales of the Black
Forest_, for example. The reader is at once attracted to the author,
whose personality shines through most of his stories and is always
apparent in his poetry. Simple, honest, patriotic, religious, he is a
type of the best class of Spaniards--a class that will some day win for
their country the respect of other nations and bring back a better glory
than that founded on conquest.

  T. F. CRANE.



THROUGH WINDING WAYS.

CHAPTER XVII.


My first meeting with Georgy Lenox on the seashore was not my last. The
habits of the family made it easy for us to have our interviews
uninterrupted, and probably unperceived, for although we were all early
risers we rarely met each other till breakfast-time. Helen went to her
father's room at half-past seven, and they read and talked together
until my mother called them at nine o'clock. As for my mother, purest of
all women as she was, she felt she was not pure enough to meet the new
day until she had spent an hour at her Bible and on her knees in prayer.
There is a light that comes out of the west sometimes toward evening
after a stormy day which seems to be sent straight from the fount of
light itself. Such light was always in my mother's eyes when I kissed
her good-morning, and I knew it had come to her as she knelt on bended
knees. She was tranquil in these days with a Heaven-born tranquillity,
but I know now that she had a pang of dread for every throb of love.

She spoke to me once of my increasing intimacy with Georgina. "There is
nothing you are concealing from me, Floyd?" she said, her brown eyes
reading my face.

She had come to my bedside after I had gone to rest for the night,
impelled by a restlessness to be certain that all was well with her dear
ones before she could close her eyes.

"I cannot think what you mean, mother," I answered. "I have nothing to
conceal."

She sighed. "Georgy is a beautiful girl," she said quietly, "but she
baits too many lures for men, Floyd. It seems to me she is trying to win
you, my dear boy. She is born to make men unhappy. Do not trust her. Oh,
why is she here?"

"Because Helen has asked her to remain, mother."

"Helen pities her and tries to please her. She is one too many in the
house, Floyd: she will do some harm to some of us. She is cold and
treacherous at heart, and she never sees us happy, contented together
but that she hates us every one."

I thought my mother fanciful, and told her that she was prejudiced
against the girl, who had grown up from infancy under her eyes.

"I know her better than you do, mother," I affirmed stubbornly.

She smiled a patient, melancholy smile. "If I am prejudiced," said she
gently, "it is because of what her misconduct cost my son years ago. Do
you think I can ever forget that but for her caprice and self-will you
would never have had those years of suffering, Floyd? But we women know
each other. It is at times a sad knowledge, and for our prescience the
men whom we would serve misjudge us and tell us we hate each other.
Georgina is in love this summer. You do not guess what man she has set
her wishes upon?"

I stirred restlessly on my pillow, but I looked at her with something
like anger against her growing in my heart.

"Good-night, mother," I returned. "It is none of my business to read any
girl's heart through a sister-woman's cold trained eyes. If Miss Lenox
is in love, God bless her! I say. I suppose I am not the lucky fellow."

My mother kissed me softly on my forehead and went out; and, alas! it
was many a day afterward before there was perfect peace and confidence
between us again. Not that we were cold or constrained--indeed, we were
more than ever gentle and tender in our ways ... but there was a subject
which was heavy on our hearts of which we were not again to speak, and
there may have been a meaning in my face which she did not venture to
read, for I resented it if her look fastened upon me too closely.

But the pleasant country-house life went on quite unchecked by events of
any sort. Few visitors were admitted, and it was understood at the Point
that rigid seclusion from all society was the will of Miss Floyd. The
young girl was much talked about: she held every advantage of youth,
beauty, enormous wealth, and, almost more than all these, she possessed
that prestige which inheres in families that maintain quietly and
proudly their reserve, dignity and indifference to the transitory
fashions of society. Georgy Lenox became more and more involved in the
watering-place dissipations as the season advanced and the hotels
filled. She came and went in shimmering toilettes of all hues with an
air of radiant enjoyment, but her outgoings and incomings disturbed no
one but myself. Helen would kiss her and tell her there was no one half
so beautiful; Mr. Floyd would lean back in his chair and smile at her
with the admiration in his eyes that all men who are not churls feel it
a discourtesy to withhold from a pretty woman; and even my mother, with
a conscientious wish to do her duty by the young girl, would inquire
carefully about every chaperone, every invitation, and would herself
direct what time the carriage should be sent to bring her home.

I have already spoken of our pleasant labors together in the study over
poor Mr. Raymond's papers. Many a treasure did Mr. Floyd and Helen find
there. After the death of his daughter Mr. Raymond had jealously taken
possession of every scrap of paper which belonged to her, and now her
husband was at last to see a hundred testimonials of her love for him of
which he had never dreamed. There was the young girl's journal before
she was married, bound in blue velvet and clasped with gold: there were
the letters the poor little woman had written, shuddering before her
great trial, to the husband and the child who should survive her. I
believe all young mothers on the threshold of outward and visible
maternity believe they are to die in their agony, but these tokens of
his young wife's unspoken dread touched Mr. Floyd so closely we almost
had cause to regret that he had seen them.

"She never told me of her premonition of death," he said to my mother
over and over again. "She seemed very glad and proud that she was going
to bring me a little child."

Helen had run off with her blue velvet-covered book.

"Some time," said Mr. Floyd, "I want to read every word she wrote, but
these letters are enough now: I can bear nothing more." And even these
he could not well endure until my mother had talked them over with him
again and again.

The quiet, happy life which we led in these days suited Mr. Floyd's
health, and there was no recurrence of the alarming symptoms which had
filled me with dread a few months before. "I begin to think," he
remarked often, "that by continuing this life, as simple as that which a
bird leads flying from bough to bough, I am to grow stout and elderly,
and go on getting gray, rubicund, with an amplitude of white waistcoat,
until I am seventy years of age or so. My father and mother each died
young, but both by accident as it were: the habit of both families was
of long life and great strength. I confess I should like to live for a
good many years yet. I suppose Helen will marry by and by. I should like
to be a witness of her happiness, rounded, full, complete, sanctified by
motherhood. Think, Mary, of my holding Helen's children on my knee!"

"I think often of grandmotherhood myself," my mother replied. "It is a
symptom of advancing age, James."

I heard the talk, but Helen was far enough from guessing what plans her
father was forming for his ultimate satisfaction, and I could fancy her
superb disdain at such mention. It was easy for me to see that her love
for her father was quite enough for her: she invested it with all the
charming prettinesses that a dainty coquette uses with her lover. She
was arch, gay, imperious, tender, all in a breath: I confess that I
often felt that, let her once put forth her might, not Georgy Lenox
could be more winning, sweet and seductive. But all her tenderness was
for her father: with me she was sometimes proud and shy, sometimes
wearing the manner of a loving little child. I often called her "little
sister" in those days, and so, and in no other wise, I held her. When
she was kind, we had pleasant talks together: when she treated me with
coolness and reserve, I laughed and let her go. Her father needed her,
and I did not; and I paid scant attention to her little caprices,
although I scolded her for them now and then.

"Do you wish to treat me as you treat Thorpe?" I would ask. "I am not a
tame cat yet."

"How do I treat Mr. Thorpe?" she inquired. "I intend to treat him as I
do the man who places my chair."

"You don't always manage that, my dear child. For instance, last night,
when you were going to sing, you showed plainly that you were vexed at
his officiousness in opening the piano and placing your stool for you,
and declined singing at once. Now, had Mills performed those slight
services you would have said coolly, 'Thank you, Mills,' and not have
wasted a thought on the matter more than if some interior mechanism had
raised the cover of the instrument."

"But Mr. Thorpe looks at me as Mills would never dare to look. He
thrusts his personality upon me," exclaimed Helen in a small fury. "Let
him pay his compliments to Georgy: I do not want them. Think of it! he
called me Miss Helen this morning!"

"What did you tell him?"

"I told him nothing: I looked----"

"I pity him then: I know how you can look."

"Am I so dreadful?" she asked coaxingly. "Tell me how to behave to young
gentlemen, Floyd. Really, I don't know."

"To me you should behave in the most affectionate manner, mademoiselle.
Granted that, the more disdainful you are to other fellows the more I
shall admire you."

"Really, now?"

"Well, since you are in earnest, dear child, if I were you I would show
nothing but kindness to my friends.

  Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike;
  But, like the sun, they shine on all alike,

is a very pretty description of the manner of a successful woman."

"But I cannot be like that," she cried plaintively. "Would you like me
to treat you and Mr. Thorpe in precisely the same way, Floyd?"

"Not at all. Don't count me in with the rest of your admirers: I must
have the first, best, dearest place."

"I am sure you always do," she remonstrated in a tone of injury. "You
come next after papa. If I behave badly to you sometimes, it is because
I like to see if you mind my putting on little airs." That was candor.

"Well, Miss Kitten," said I, "you seem to know how to behave to young
men. I shall waste no more advice upon you."

And indeed she did not require it. She possessed in an exquisite degree
that gift of a delightful manner which generally comes through
inheritance, and cannot be perfectly gained by education. But my
suggestion regarding Thorpe bore fruit, and henceforward she was a
little more queenly and indifferent to him than ever, but never
displayed pique or asperity. Yet, however badly she treated him, he
quite deserved my title of a "tame cat:" he bore every reverse
patiently, and indeed at times displayed an absolute heroism in the face
of her indifference, going on in fluent recital of something he believed
would interest her while she utterly ignored him and his subject.
However, Thorpe was a good actor, and could play his part, and do it
well, in spite of his audience. I sometimes fancied that he was less
cheerful in those times than he seemed. In fact, I was ready to believe
that he was in reality, as he was in pretence, seeking to win Helen's
attention. Mr. Floyd looked at the matter in the same light.

"When he gets his congé he cannot complain of having received
encouragement," he said once or twice. "But he's no fool: can it be that
he is in love with Miss Lenox all the time, and that he tries to pique
her with a show of devotion to Helen?"

"Tony Thorpe will never be in love with a poor girl," I replied: "there
is nothing of that sort."

"I don't like Helen's having lovers," said Mr. Floyd. "When I married my
wife it was the pleasantest thing in the world to know that no other man
had ever breathed a word of love in her ears. 'The hand of little
employment hath the daintier sense.' The first sound of a lover's voice
brings a thrill to a girl's heart which she never knows but once. Miss
Lenox's perceptions in that way must be considerably toughened:
sole-leather is nothing in thickness compared to the epidermis of a
coquette's heart. Now, a man can love with delicacy, fervor, passion a
score of times. Women are frail creatures, are they not? I would like to
have my little girl give her heart once, receive unbounded love in
return, and never think of another man all her life. But Fate will
manage her affairs for her, as for us all."

I have said that my morning interviews with Miss Lenox on the beach
continued for a time. Suddenly they ceased: she came to the rendezvous
no more, and it was impossible for me to get near enough to her to seek
an explanation. I had felt quite dissipated and like a man of the world
when I jumped out of my bed half awake each morning with an appointment
on my hands. I had not told myself that it was bliss to meet her, and in
fact had smiled a little at the recollection that it had been she who
had asked me to join her ramble. Once or twice I had designated the
whole thing a bore, and had wished it might rain and let me have a
comfortable morning's nap instead of an hour or two with the most
beautiful of girls at a romantic trysting-place. But most men deceive
themselves about their feelings concerning women. When the first time I
did not find Georgina awaiting me (for my orders were to join her walk,
not to have her join mine) I lay on the rocks and took a nap until
Thorpe came along the beach as usual and awoke me. But when I had failed
to find her the second morning I was restless and disturbed. After two
more fruitless quests I grew by turns insanely jealous and wretchedly
self-distrustful.

Had I vexed her? What had I said? what had I done? I went over and over
again every word of our talks: every mood of hers, every blush and
glance and smile, lived again for me. We had spoken of many things those
mornings we had met, yet there had been small reference to our mutual
relations; and certainly if there were love-making on my part, it had
colored none of our moods to any passion. I had travelled and seen many
people: I had been introduced in courts, and had, by Mr. Floyd's
influence, penetrated into an exclusive and brilliant continental
society, where I had found much to observe. These reminiscences of mine
had delighted Georgina: she had the irresistible feminine instinct for
details, the analysis of which made a mastery of brilliant results
easily attainable to her who possessed, to begin with, remarkable
beauty, and, if not tact, so bewildering a way of doing what she chose
that in the eyes of men at least she lacked nothing which grace and good
taste could teach her. She was always anxious, too, to hear everything
concerning Mr. Floyd--his friends abroad, his habits, his _vie intime_
at certain houses which had been his favorite lounge for years while he
was minister at ----. Garrulity was by no means my habit in those days,
but I had talked to her very freely: indeed, she could do with me what
she wished.

But why had she suddenly given me up? Had she tired of me, exhausted me,
wrung my mind dry of interest; and flung me by like a squeezed orange? I
lay in wait for her in the passages that I might speak to her, but she
seemed never to be alone any more. I would lurk in her path for hours,
only to be rewarded by the sight of her dress vanishing in another
direction. I wrote her notes, to none of which would she reply. "If a
woman flies, she flies to be pursued," I had heard all my life. Elusive,
mocking goddess that she was, I felt every day more and more ardent in
my pursuit, yet I rarely saw her now except at breakfast, when she was
demure, a little weary, and altogether indifferent to me. I determined
to follow her into society.

It was early in July now, and the watering-place life was at its gayest.
I had hitherto accepted no invitations, from respect for the habits of
the house where I was staying, but now I examined with interest every
card and note brought to me. Accordingly, I set out on a round of
pleasure-seeking, which soon transformed me from a boy whose foolish aim
in life was to be as clever as other men into an impassioned lover.
Other men may look back upon their first love with a certain pleasing
sentimentality: in spite of all the years that now lie between me and
the fever of those few months at The Headlands, I still suffer bitterly
from the recollection of that time.



CHAPTER XVIII.


I had gone with Georgina to a picnic one day at her request, meeting her
at the house of Mrs. Woodruff, with whom she was staying for a
fortnight, at the Point. The picnic meant merely a drive for miles back
into the country and a lunch in the woods prepared by a French cook, but
it was a delightful road through shadows of tall forest trees, the glare
of sunlight alternating with green copsewood coolness. They were cutting
the grass and clover in the fields, and the air was fresh with the scent
of new-mown hay: half the land on either side of us was covered with
ripening grain, and the light breeze that played perpetually over it
gave us endless shimmerings and glimmerings of wonderful light almost as
beautiful as the tints that play over the sea.

I had every need to find the beauty of the summer gracious to me that
day. It was but another of many days when every throb of my feeling for
Georgy Lenox became an anguish hard to bear. She was opposite me as we
rode through the fair country, but she neither looked at nor spoke to
me. I was much lionized, however, by Mrs. Woodruff, a pretty, faded,
coquettish woman, who had been balancing herself on the very edge of
proprieties for years, but who still, thanks to a certain weariness she
compelled in men, was yet safe enough in her position as a matron.
Georgy's companion was a titled foreigner just then a favorite at the
Point, but of whom I need not speak.

"Did you ask me to come that I might hear you talk with the count?" I
asked her when once that day I had a chance to address her.

"But the count would talk to me," she returned, laughing. "Do you
suppose I care for him? I think him the most odious man I know, with his
waxed moustache, his small green eyes, his wicked mouth and teeth. But
Mrs. Woodruff is dying for him, and half the women here hate me in their
hearts because he pays me attention. I like you infinitely better,
Floyd."

"Then come away and sit upon the rocks with me."

"Oh, I cannot afford to do those romantic, compromising things. You see
that, as we are both staying at The Headlands, where everybody's
curiosity is centred this summer, we are much observed, much commented
upon."

"It seems to me you are not at all afraid of compromising yourself with
other men."

"Now you are cross and jealous. Perhaps if you betrayed a little less
interest in me you might make me less afraid of concession. And you must
not watch me so: the count himself spoke about your eyes ready to burn
me with their melancholy fire."

"Hang the count!"

"With all my heart! I am tired of his hanging about me, however. Now go
away: at the dance to-night I will talk to you all you wish."

There were plenty of beautiful girls at the picnic, and not a few of
them sat outside the circle quite neglected or wandered away like
school-girls in couples, picking ferns and gathering pale wood-blossoms;
but since I could not speak to Georgina at my ease, there seemed to me
neither meaning nor occupation for the slowly-passing hours. I have
sometimes wondered how those women feel to whom society brings no
homage, no real social intercourse, who sit outside the groups formed
around their more brilliant sisters and behold their easy triumphs. They
seem patient and good-natured, but must they not wonder in their hearts
why one woman's face and figure are a magnet compelling every man to
come within the circle of her attraction, while others, not less fair
and sweet, seem depolarized?

Georgy had many successful days, and this was but one of them. She
understood allurement now not as an accident, but as a science, and she
practised it cleverly. She had already heard bold language from the
count, so held him in check as he sat beside her, giving him at times,
however, "a side glance and look down," and to his trained habits of
observation showed constantly that she was perfectly aware of his
presence even if she seemed to ignore him. She was openly flirting with
Frank Woolsey (a cousin of mine), but since she knew him for a veteran
whose admiration only counted to lookers-on, she consoled herself by
other little diversions, and scarcely a man there but felt his pulses
tingle as she sent him a bright word or a careless smile.

Thorpe was there, but dull, moody, distrait, and he joined me and poured
into my ears his disgust at this form of entertainment. He had eaten
ants in his salad, he affirmed, his wine was corked, his _pâté_ spoiled.

"What are we here for?" he asked. "I see no reason in it. I suppose Miss
Lenox is enjoying herself, and she thinks the men about her are in a
seventh heaven. What do even the cleverest women know about the men they
meet? Woolsey hates her like poison; the count is on the lookout for a
_belle héritière_ and is yawning over his loss of time; and I doubt if
one of that group except Talbot would marry her. I don't think many of
us are pleased with that sort of thing. We don't want too fierce a light
to beat about the woman we are dreaming of. She has no love or respect
for sweetness and womanly virtue for their own sake--no faith in their
value to her, further than that the semblance of them may attract
admirers."

"You're out of humor, Thorpe," said I: "don't vent it on her."

"I _am_ out of humor," he exclaimed, "devilishly out of humor! For God's
sake, Randolph, tell me if you think I have any chance with Miss Floyd."

"Look here, Thorpe," I returned under my breath: "I have no business to
make any suppositions concerning that young lady, but I will say just
this much. Do you see that bird in the air hovering above that oak
tree?"

He followed my look upward toward the unfathomable blue. "I do," he
returned.

"I think there is just as much chance of that bird's coming down at your
call and nestling in your bosom as there is of your winning the young
lady you allude to."

He looked crestfallen for a moment: then his thorough coxcombry resumed
its sway. "You see," said he, with a consummate air of reserve, "you
know nothing about the affair at all, Randolph."

"You'd much better drop the subject, Thorpe," I remarked: "I assure you
it's much safer let alone."

I contrived to live through the long hours of the day. At sunset we
drove back to the Point, I giving up my seat in Mrs. Woodruff's barouche
to a lady and joining Frank Woolsey and Thorpe in a dog-cart. We none of
us spoke, but smoked incessantly, our eyes upturned to the sky, which
was lovely, mystical, wonderful, with the pale after-glow thrilling it
with the most beautiful hues. Before we had reached the town a strange
yellow moonlight had crept over the landscape, making the trees gloom
together in solemn masses, while the sea glimmered in a thousand lines
of trembling light away, away into remote horizons. We all enjoyed the
drive, although none of us spoke until we got down from the cart at the
steps of the hotel.

"That was the best part of the day," observed my cousin Frank. "What
good times we fellows might have if there were no women to disturb us!"

Thorpe growled some inarticulate assent or dissent, as the case might
be, and went up to his room, while Frank and I had our cigars out on the
piazza.

A dance at Mrs. Woodruff's was to follow the picnic, and thither we
resorted about ten o'clock and found the chairs placed for a German.
Georgy Lenox was there, radiant in a ravishing toilette, waiting for
Frank to lead the cotillon with her. She nodded to me pleasantly as she
took her seat. I was angry with myself for my disappointment, doubly
angry with her for causing it. It cost me my self-respect to be so
utterly at her mercy. What did I gain by following her into this gay
coterie but pang upon pang of humiliation and pain? Why did I come,
indeed? It was not the first time she had broken her promises to me. Yet
what could I expect of her? Bright, gay, dazzling creature that she was,
warm and eager in her love of vigorous life, could she sit down with me
in a corner and talk while the rest of the world palpitated and glowed
and whirled around her to the music of the waltz, which stirred even my
crippled limbs with a wild wish for voluptuous swaying motion in rhythm
with the melodious melancholy strain? No, I could not blame her: I was
merely out of my place. Let me go home and remember what a gulf of
disparity separated me from my fellows.

So I walked out of the house through the grounds into the street, and
along the road home to The Headlands. It was a long walk for me, yet I
overcame the distance quickly, and long before eleven o'clock gained the
house, entered quietly and sat down beside my mother on her sofa, unseen
by Mr. Floyd and Helen, who were in the next room.

I was half mad with baffled desire, blind anger and fatigue that night,
and the sound of Helen's voice as she sang some song like a lullaby was
like a blessing. My mother did not speak to me; only smiled gently in my
face and kissed me on my forehead. Her tenderness touched my heart, and
my head drooped to her shoulder, then to her lap, and I lay there like a
boy comforted by his mother's touch, just as I was. A kind of peaceful
stupor came over me. Helen went on singing some quiet German piece of
which her father was fond, with many verses and a sweet, moving story.
Her voice was delicious in its way, with a noble and simple style, and a
pathetic charm in some of its cadences I never heard surpassed. Mr.
Floyd never tired of hearing her. After a time the ballad came to an
end.

"Floyd has come, papa," I heard her say.

"Why, no! Has he? so early?"

"Go on singing, Helen," whispered my mother. "Floyd has gone to sleep."

She sang something soft, cooing, monotonous, a strain a mother might
sing as she hushed her baby at her breast: then she came out, followed
by her father, and both sat down beside us. I, half shyly, half through
dread of talking, went on counterfeiting sleep.

"Poor boy!" exclaimed Mr. Floyd. "He has evidently walked back from the
Point. He was tired out with his dissipations, or Miss Georgina was
coquetting with other men or ate too much to suit him. If I were in love
to extremity of passion with Miss Lenox, or rather with her brilliant
flesh-tints and her hands and feet, I should recover the moment I saw
her at table. She is the frankest gourmande I ever saw, and will be
stout in five years."

"Now, papa, Georgy's hands and feet are nothing so particular."

"Helen's are smaller and much better shaped," said my mother jealously.

"Now, Mary, how little you understand the points of a woman! Helen has
hands that I kiss"--and he kissed them--"the most beautiful hands in the
world; and she has feet whose very shoe-tie I adore; but, nevertheless,
there is nothing aggressive about her insteps and ankles. She considers
her feet made to walk with, not to captivate men with."

"I should hope not," said Lady Disdain, with plenty of her chief
attribute in her voice. "I prefer that nobody should know I have any
feet."

"That is just it. Now, Miss Lenox never comes in or goes out of a room
but every man there knows the color of her stockings."

"I am ashamed of you, papa!--Scold him, Mrs. Randolph. I think him quite
horrid."

"Since, my mouse, you don't want to be admired for your feet and hands,
what points of your beauty may we venture to obtrude our notice upon?"

"Oh, you may love me for whatever you like. But I don't want other
people ever to think of me in that way at all."

"Your intellect is a safe point, perhaps."

"I do not want anybody to love me at all, papa, except yourself."

"Not even Floyd?"

"Floyd would never be silly," Helen said indignantly. "Floyd likes me
because we are old friends: he knew grandpa and you, papa, and all
that."

"You are easily satisfied if you are contented with affection on the
score of your aged relatives."

"How soundly he sleeps!" murmured Helen; and I knew that she bent close
to me as she spoke, for I could feel the warmth of her young cheeks.
Half to frighten her, half because I wanted to see how she looked as she
regarded me, I suddenly opened my eyes.

"You weren't asleep at all!" she exclaimed, laughing and quite
unembarrassed. "But I think you were wicked to hoax us so. Did you hear
everything we said?"

"Indeed, Helen," I said, "I was fast asleep, I do believe, until you
confessed your affection for me. You did not expect me to sleep through
that?"

She stared at me blankly, then looked at the others with dilating eyes.
"Did I say anything about that?" she asked, growing pale even to her
lips and tears gathering in her eyes.

"Why, no, you foolish child!" said her father, drawing her upon his
knee: "he is only teasing you. As if anybody had any affection for one
of the Seven Sleepers!--Well, Floyd, how happened you to come back so
soon? The carriage was going for you at midnight.--Here, Mills, Mr.
Randolph has already returned, and the coachman may go to bed."

"The day was pretty long," I returned. "I had had enough of it, and so
set out and walked back. I was well tired out when I came in, and that
put me to sleep."

"It was a shame for you to walk so far," exclaimed Helen imperiously:
"you are not strong enough for such an effort. There are eight horses in
the stables, every one of them pawing in his stall, longing for a
gallop, and for you to be obliged to walk four miles! Don't do such a
dreadful thing again, Floyd."

I sprang up and limped about, feeling impatient and cross. "In spite of
my poor leg," I returned, "I am a fair walker. Don't set me down as a
helpless cripple, Helen."

I was bitter and wrathful still, or I trust I was too magnanimous to
have wounded her so.

"Floyd!" exclaimed my mother in a tone of reproof; but I did not turn,
and went down the long suite of parlors and stood at the great window
which overlooked the sea. It was all open to the summer night, and the
lace curtains waved to and fro in the breeze. Solemnly came up the
rhythmic flow of the waves as they beat against the rocks. I pushed
aside the draperies and looked out at the wide expanse of waters lying,
it seemed, almost at my feet, for everything else but the great silver
plain of sea was in shadow. Above, the moon had it all her own way
to-night: the constellations shone pale, and seemed weary of the
firmament which at other times they span and compass with their myriad
splendors. Mars moved in a stately way straight along above the southern
horizon to his couch in the west: even his red light was dim.

But what stillness and peace seemed possible beneath this throbbing sea?
I sighed as I listened to the sound of the waves and gazed at the great
golden pathway of the moon across the silver waters. I knew that some
one had followed me and stood timidly behind me: I guessed it was Helen,
but did not know until a slim satin hand stole into mine, for surely it
was not my mother's hand. Hers was warm and firm in its pressure: the
touch of this was soft and cool like a rose-leaf. I held the hand close,
but did not turn.

"Floyd!" she whispered timidly, "dear Floyd!"

"I hear you, Helen," I returned wearily.

"Are you angry with me? Do not be angry."

"I am only angry with myself: I am not behaving well to-night."

She came in front of me and looked up in my face. "I don't want you to
think," she said in a little faint trembling voice, "that--that I--that
I--" She quite broke down.

"I really don't know what you mean, Helen."

"Floyd," she cried passionately, "I think I would die before I would
wilfully hurt your feelings!"

"Why, my poor little girl," said I, quite touched at the sight of her
quivering face and the sound of her impassioned voice, "you did not hurt
my feelings for an instant. What I said was in answer to my own
thoughts. I like to say such things to myself at times, and remember
that I do not possess the advantages of other men. Besides, facts are
facts: I am lame. I cannot dance, and although I can walk, it is with a
limping gait: I should be a poor fellow in a foot-race. I don't suppose
that my being a cripple will forfeit me anything in the kingdom of
heaven, but, nevertheless, it obliges me to forego a good many pleasures
here on earth."

"You are not a cripple!" she burst out impetuously. "You have every
advantage! What is it that you cannot dance? I despise men who whirl
about like puppets: I have never seen them waltzing but they must make
themselves ridiculous. I am glad you cannot dance: you are on the level
of too much dignity and noble behavior to condescend to such petty
things. And surely you do not want to run a foot-race!" she added with
an intensity of disdain which made me laugh, high-wrought and painful
although my mood was. Then her lip trembled, and I saw tears in her eyes
as she went on. "If you were a cripple," she pursued in a low, eager
voice, "really a helpless cripple, everybody would love you just the
same. Why, Floyd, what do you think it is to me that, as you say, you do
not possess the advantages of other men? Have you forgotten how it all
came about? I was a little girl then, but there is nothing that happened
yesterday clearer to my memory than that terrible morning when I cost
you so dear. I know how I felt--as if forsaken by the world. I wondered
if God looked down and saw me, alone, in danger, blind and dizzy and
trembling, so that again and again I seemed to be slipping away from
everything that held me. I could not have stayed one minute more had I
not heard your voice. You were so strong, so kind, Floyd! When you
reached me your hands were bleeding, your face scratched and torn, your
breath came in great pants, but you looked at me and smiled. And then
you carried me to the top and put me in safety, and I let you go down,
down, down!" She was quite speechless, and leaned her cheek against my
hand, which she still held, and wet it freely with her tears.

"If you mind your lameness," she said brokenly, with intervals of
sobs--"if you feel that Fate is cruel to you--that there is any reason
why you cannot be perfectly happy--then I wish," she exclaimed with
energy, "that I had never been born to do you this great injury. I love
my life, I love papa, I love your mother and you, and it seems to me as
if I were going to be a very happy woman; but still, if you carry any
regret for that day in your heart, I wish I had died when I was so sick
before you came: I wish I lay up there on the hill with the grass
growing over me."

What was anybody to do with this overwrought, fanciful child? She was so
wonderfully pretty too, with her great dark, melancholy eyes, her
flushed, tear-stained cheeks, her rich rare lips! "Oh, Helen," I
murmured, holding her close to me, "I don't want you to go under the
green grass: I'm very glad you are alive. I would have broken all my
bones in your service that day and welcome, so that you might be well
and unhurt. Come, now, cheer up: I am going to be a pleasanter fellow
than I have been of late. Dry your eyes, dear. Your father will be
laughing at you. Come, let us go and take a stroll in the moonlight: it
is quite wicked not to indulge in a little romance on a sweet midsummer
night like this."

When I had gone to my room that night, and sat, still bitter, still
discontented, looking off through my open window toward the Point, and
wondering who was looking in Georgy Lenox's starry eyes just
then--thinking, with a feeling about my forehead like a band of burning
iron, that some man's arm was sure to be about her waist, her face
upturned to his, her floating golden hair across his shoulder as they
danced,--while, I say, such fancies held a firm clutch over my brain and
senses, devouring me with the throes of an insane jealousy, my mother
came in and sat down beside me.

"My dear boy," she said, putting her hand on my shoulder, "I am going to
give you a caution. You must remember that Helen, with all her frankness
and impetuosity, is still no child. Don't win her heart unthinkingly."

I felt the blood rush to my face, and I think I had never in all my life
experienced such embarrassment.

"I'm not such a coxcomb, mother, as to believe any girl could fall in
love with me--Helen above all others."

She smiled, with a little inward amusement in her smile. "You must
remember," she said again softly, "that Helen is not a child, and you
surely would not make her suffer."

"Why, mother," I gasped, "we are just like brother and sister: our
intimacy is the habit of years."

"Good-night, my son," my mother said, and went away still smiling: "I
have perfect faith in your magnanimity."

I remembered with a flash of guilty self-consciousness one or two
little circumstances about our talk by the window two hours before which
I have not set down here. It had seemed an easy task to soothe the
child. If there had been any absurdity like that my mother hinted at,
would she--could I-- No, never! She was a careless child, with fits of
coldness, imperious tenderness and generosity. Not a woman at all. The
idea was quite distasteful to me that Helen was a grown-up woman with
whom I must be on my guard.

However, Helen's manner to me next day and at all times was calculated
to assure any man that she was a wilful, self-sustained young creature
of extraordinary beauty and grace, who was devoted to her father, and to
him alone. I saw Thorpe one evening pick up, by stealth, the petals of a
crimson rose which had dropped from the stalk that still nestled in the
black ribbon at her throat, and I laughed at him for his pains as he
laid them carefully away in his pocket-book.

"Miss Floyd," said I, "here is another rose. Don't honor that poor
skeleton of a vanished flower."

She saw the accident which had befallen her rose, and took mine from me
and replaced her ornament with a fresh blossom. "Give me the poor stem,"
said I as she was about to throw it away.

"What is that for?" she asked, staring at me as I placed it in my
buttonhole. "What do you want of the poor old thing?"

And, mistrusting some mischief beneath my sentimental behavior, she was
quite tart with me the entire evening, and would not speak to Thorpe at
all, but sat demurely between my mother and Mr. Floyd, her eyes nailed
on some embroidery, and behaving altogether like a spoiled child of
twelve years old.

Georgy Lenox had returned from her visit at Mrs. Woodruff's, and seemed
a little quiet and weary of late. I was not so much at her service as
before, but had begun to console myself by teaching in song what, like
other young poets, I had experienced in suffering. I thank Heaven that
no eyes but my own ever beheld the tragedy I wrote that summer: still,
I am a little tender-hearted over it yet, and believe that it was, after
all, not so bad as it might have been. At any rate, it enabled me to
find some relief from my passionate unrest in occupation, and even my
own high-sounding phrases may have taught me some scanty heroism. After
all, if one fights one's own battle bravely, does it make so much matter
about other things? Our battles to-day, like the rest of those fought
since creation, show poor cause if regarded from any other standpoint
save the necessity of fighting them. Most of our fiercest struggles for
life have no adequate reason: it is not so necessary for us to live as
we think it is. That we do not get what we want, or that we sink beneath
our load of trouble, signifies little in the aggregate of the world's
history. But, all the same, our cries of despair go up to Heaven, and
there seems no need in the universe so absolute, so final, as that we
ourselves should live and be happy.

It is hard for a man of middle age, with a cool brain and tranquillized
passions, to retrace the history of his youth. There is much that he
must smile over--much, too, which is irksome for him to dwell upon. Many
experiences which in their freshness seemed holy and sacred, in after
years, stripped of their disguise of false sentiment and the aureole
with which they were invested by youthful imagination, become absolutely
loathsome--just as when we see tamely by daylight the tawdry stage which
last night made a world for us full of all the paraphernalia of high
romanticism--silver and velvet robes, plumed hats, dim woodland vistas
and the echo of a distant high note, youthful beauty, rope-ladders,
balconies, daggers, poison, and passionate love-strains. This skeleton
framework of the illusion, these well-worn contrivances, tarnished gold
lace and mock splendors, disenchant us sadly, and what we took for

  Horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
  Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
  Blow, bugle: answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying,

is now discovered to be a cheap-trumpet imitation of the enchanted
notes we dreamed of hearing.

After Miss Lenox returned from the Point she was, as I have said, a
little pensive: this little shadow upon the splendor of her beauty lent
a subtlety and charm to her manner. If there had been a fault in her
loveliness before, it was that it remained always equal: the same light
seemed always to play over face and hair, the liquid clearness of her
eyes was always undimmed, and there was a trifle of over-robustness
about the rounded contours of her figure. In spite of all her beauty, it
had at times been hard for me to realize that she was a woman to give
herself thoroughly to love. I had already had many dreams of her, yet
never one where I thought she could have given me the infinite softness
of a caressing touch or feel the motherly quality which lies at the
bottom of every true woman's love for man. Now the splendor of her eyes
was veiled, her smile was half melancholy, her voice less clear and
ringing.

When a man loves a woman, and her mood changes and softens, he reads but
one meaning in her tenderness; and it was not long before I had begun
fully to believe that there was hope for me. There seemed to be no one
to meddle in my wooing. True, Judge Talbot came constantly to the house
to see Miss Lenox, and lacked none of the signs by which we read a man's
errand in his demeanor; but I did not fear any rivalry from him. Youth,
at any rate, is something in itself, independent of other advantages: no
wonder it vaunts itself and believes in its own power. That Georgy would
think for an instant of giving herself to this man did not seriously
occur to me. His face was like the face of thousands of successful men
whom we see daily in the great marts of the world. His forehead was
broad but low, his eyes inclined to smallness and set closely together,
his brows shaggy and overhanging: his cheeks were heavy, and the fleshy
formation of his mouth and chin denoted both cruelty and sensuality. He
was a wealthy man: such men are always rich. He had the reputation of
holding an iron grip over everything he claimed, and never letting it
go. He had been married in early life, and now had sons and daughters
past the age of the girl upon whom he was eagerly pressing his suit.

He came to dinner now and then, and over his wine he was noisy,
boisterous and bragging. He had been in Congress with Mr. Floyd years
before, and, though of different parties, they had innumerable
recollections in common, and, much as I disliked Mr. Talbot, I
recognized his cleverness in anecdote and the clearness and conciseness
of his narratives. I could endure him among men, but with women he was
odious, and, for some reasons occult and inexplicable to any man, plumed
himself upon his success with them. He understood himself too well, and
relied too entirely upon his natural abilities, to make any effort to
hide his gross ignorance upon all subjects requiring either literary or
mental culture. He had been eminently successful without any such
acquirements in every field he entered, and consequently considered them
non-essentials in a man's career--very good to have, like the cream and
confectionery at dessert, tickling the palates of women and children,
but eschewed by sensible men. He had travelled twice over Europe, seeing
everything with the voracious curiosity of a strong man eager to get his
money's worth: after his experience of cities rich in high historic
charm, works of art where the rapture and exaltation of long-vanished
lives have been exultingly fixed in wonderful colors or imperishable
marbles, he had carried away merely a hubbub of recollections of places
where the best wines were found and his miseries at being reduced in
certain cases to the position of a deaf-mute through his inability to
grapple with the difficulties of foreign tongues.

No, it did not in those days occur to me that I had a rival in Mr.
Talbot. Helen and I used to laugh at his crass ignorance, and mystify
him now and then by our allusions. Miss Lenox was never vivacious at
table, and used to listen languidly to all of us, turning to me now and
then and regarding me with a sort of pleased curiosity when she thought
I overmatched her heavy admirer.

As I have said, I had turned to composition as an amusement, an
occupation, and perhaps a refuge from feelings which were rapidly
becoming an ever-present pain. I recall one day when I had sat for hours
at my desk writing busily, utterly wrapped up in my fancies--so
engrossed, indeed, that when I had finished my work I looked with
astonishment at my watch and discovered that it was long past two
o'clock. I rose and went to the window, pushed aside the curtains and
threw open the blinds, and gazed out. I overlooked the garden, which was
deserted except by the bees and humming-birds busy among the flowers.
The mid-day heat had passed, and a breeze rustled the leaves and moaned
in the pine trees. It was a fair world, and I felt what one often
experiences in coming back to reality after high emotion--a sort of
strangeness in the beauty of tree and grass and sea and wood.

While I stood there some one advanced along the garden-path, looked up,
saw me and beckoned. It was but a moment's effort to join her, and
almost before I had realized what I was doing I was beside Miss Lenox in
the garden.

"Come and sit down in the arbor," she said softly.

"No," I returned, remembering that I had sworn to myself not to yield to
her caprices, "I am going for a walk."

She regarded me pensively. "May I go?" she asked.

"Oh yes, you may go, Georgy," I said with a little laugh. "I am only too
happy, I am afraid, if you ask to go anywhere with me."

"Don't take me where it is wet," she observed simply, "for I have on
thin slippers;" and she stretched out a little foot.

"I will take care of you," I answered her.

She took up the folds of her full white dress in her hands, and we set
out. The mood was upon me to take the old paths across the sloping
uplands into the woods on the hill that Helen and I had tramped over so
often in our childhood. Beneath us lay the sea, a wide plain of placid
waters, blue in the foreground, with opal tints playing over it as it
spread out toward the horizon; above us were the woods luxuriant in
their midsummer verdure, silent except for the occasional note of a wild
bird; and about us were the green fields, fresh mown of late, with
thickets of grape and wild convolvulus and star-wreathed
blackberry-vines making a luxuriant tangle over the fences.

Georgy walked before me in the narrow path, and I followed closely,
watching her fine free movements, the charm of her figure in its plain
white morning-dress bound at the waist with a purple ribbon. Her
golden-yellow hair lay in curls upon her shoulders: now and then I
caught a glimpse of the contour of her face as she half turned to see if
I were close behind her. Neither of us spoke for a long time.

My own thoughts flew about like leaves in a wind, but I wondered of what
she was thinking. Although I had known her all my life, she was not easy
for me to understand; or rather my impressions of her at this time were
so colored by the passion of my own hopes that it was impossible for me
to find a clew to her real feelings. Perhaps she was thinking of Jack:
she was thinking--I was sure she was thinking--of something sweet, sad
and strange, or she could not have looked so beautiful.

Suddenly she stopped in her walk and uttered a little cry. "It is wet
here," she cried with vexation: "we must turn back, Floyd."

"I said I would take care of you," I exclaimed quickly, and putting my
arms about her I raised her and carried her safely over the spot where a
hundred springs trickled up to the surface and made a morass of the
luxuriant grass. I did not set her down at once. For weeks now, sleeping
and waking, I had been haunted by a fierce longing to hold her to my
heart as I held her now, and it was not so easy to put by so great a
joy. When at last I reached the stile I released her, and she sat down
on the stone and looked at me with a half smile.

"If you call that taking care of me, Floyd--" said she, shaking her
head.

"You are not angry with me, Georgina?"

"How could I be angry with you?" she said, putting out her hand to me
and speaking so kindly that I dared to press her little rosy palm to my
lips. "But how strong you are, Floyd! You carried me like a feather's
weight, and yet I am tall and very heavy. You know how to take care of
me, indeed."

"If I might always take care of you!" I said, my heart beating and the
blood rushing to my face. "I can carry you home if you will. Don't you
remember about the Laird of Bothwick declaring that no man should marry
his daughter save the one who should carry her three miles up the
mountain-side? If I could have such a chance with you!"

"But about the daughter of the old laird: did she find a lover so strong
as to carry her to the mountain-top?"

"Yes: one of her suitors took her in his arms and strode along, crying,
'Love gives me strength--love gives me speed.' However, he was not happy
after all, poor fellow! When he reached the goal he died. How could he
have died then?"

"What did the young lady do?" inquired Georgy, laughing. "I suppose
another lover rode by her side as she walked home, and that she married
him for his pains. That is the way the brave men of the world are
rewarded, Floyd. Don't be too generous, nor too strong, nor too
self-forgetful. You will gain nothing by it."

"Do you mean that I shall not gain you, Georgy?"

"Oh, I said nothing about myself. Why do you ask me all these questions
as soon as we are alone? I am afraid sometimes to let you talk to me,
although there are few people in the world whom I like so well to have
near me. Women will always love you dearly, Floyd. You are so gentle, so
harmonious with pleasant thoughts and pleasant doings: you seem less
selfish and vain than other men. You deserve that some woman should
make you very happy, Floyd."

"There is but one woman who can do it, Georgy."

"I am not so sure of that. I do not know why you think of me at all:
what is it about me that attracts you? Helen is younger than I am--a
hundred times more beautiful. No, sir, you need make no such
demonstrations. If you like my poor face best, it is because we are old
friends, and you are so true, so kind, to the old memories. Do not
interrupt me yet. I think you are blind to your own interests when you
pass Helen by: she is so rich that if you marry her you can live a life
like a prince."

"But if I do not wish to lead a prince's life, Georgy?" said I, a little
nettled at the indifference which must prompt such comparisons of Helen
to herself. "Nothing could induce me to marry a rich woman, even if
Helen were to be thought of by a poor fellow like me. I have no vague
dreams about the future: my hopes are clear and definite. I want a
career carved by my own industry, my own taste: I want--above all
things, I want--the wife of whom I am always thinking."

"And who is she, my poor boy?"

"You know very well, Georgy," I returned, throwing myself beside her and
gazing up into her face. "Since I was a little fellow in Belfield, and
used to look out of the school-room window with Jack Holt, and see you
going past the church with your red jacket and your curls on your
shoulders, I have had just one dream of the girl I could love so well
that I could die for her. I used to lie on the hilltop then and fancy
myself a bold knight on a white steed who should gallop down those
sunshiny streets and seize you in his arms, raise you to the saddle and
carry you away into Fairyland to live with him for ever. My longing has
not changed: I want the same thing still."

"But when I was to marry Jack you did not seem to mind," said Georgina,
looking at me with that new pensiveness she had learned of late.

"You knew my heart very little. When Jack told me that you were still
free, I hated myself, my joy, my renewal of hope, seemed so
contemptibly little in contrast with his great despair. I would not have
wronged him. God knows, I pity him when I remember what he has lost!
Still, I too loved you as a child: I never had it in my power to serve
you, but I had no other thought but you. Why may it not be, dear? Who
can love you better than I do? Even although I am not rich, who will
take better care of you than I shall? I am sure you love me a little. Do
not put the feeling by, but think of it: do not deny it--let it have its
chance."

She rose with an absent air. "We must go on," she said dreamily; and I
helped her over the stile, and we walked slowly through the wood. She
leaned upon my arm, but her face was downcast, and her broad hat
concealed it from me.

"I wish," I said after a time, "you would let me know some of those
thoughts."

She looked up at me pale but smiling. "Do you know, Floyd," she
murmured, "I do think you could make me happy if anybody could."

"Promise me that I may have the chance. End now, Georgy, all your
doubts, all my fears. You will be happier so."

"But we should be poor!" she cried sharply. "I could not be contented to
marry a poor man. You may be clever, Floyd--I do not know much about
cleverness in men--but, all the same, it is hard for a man to make money
until he has worked for many, many years. I could not wait for you. I am
older than you, and everybody is wondering why, with all my
opportunities, I have not married. You'd much better give me up," she
added, looking into my face steadily and smiling, although her lip
trembled, "and let Mr. Talbot have me. He is rich, and can marry me at
once. He is waiting for my answer now, and it is best that I should, as
you say, end it all."

I shuddered as this pang disturbed my warm bliss. "For Heaven's sake,
don't joke, Georgy!" I exclaimed. "I can't even hear you allude to the
possibility of marrying such a man as that with equanimity. I am not so
poor. Mr. Floyd--" But, after all, I could not tell her of Mr. Floyd's
generosity to me: it seemed like basing calculations upon his death to
assure her that the course of events was to bring me a fortune.

She looked at me with eagerness. "Tell me now," she said, putting her
hand upon my arm. "If you love me, Floyd, you cannot keep a secret from
me."

To describe the beauty of her face, the fascination of her manner, the
thrill of her touch, words are quite powerless, mere pen-scratches. If
any man could have withstood her, I was not that man. Shame to relate, I
soon had told her everything--that Mr. Floyd had for years placed an
ample income at my disposal--that I had seen his will, which gave me,
without restriction, a clear third of his fortune.

She was meditative for a while. "But," she said then with a trifle of
brusqueness, "if you marry me he will be angry and change all that: he
does not like me. He has different plans for you: he wants you to marry
Helen."

"Don't say that," I cried, "for I love Mr. Floyd so well, I owe him so
much, I could refuse him nothing."

"You mean that if he asked you to marry Helen you would give me up,
would take her?" she retorted with a flaming color on her cheeks and a
gleam in her eyes. "You do not care for me, then. You are merely
playing with me: you love her, after all."

"Now, that is nonsense, Georgy," I said gently, for through her jealousy
I had the first glimpse, I fancied, of something like real love for me;
"and I do not like to hear Helen's name bandied about in this way. You
may be sure that she will stand in no need of suitors: I shall never be
one of them. Now, then, who is it that is coquetting? You know whom I
love--what I want. I am very much in earnest--unsettled in heart and
mind, body, soul and spirit, until I have your answer. Tell me, Georgy
darling, is it or is it not to be?"

But I was to have no answer that day. Miss Lenox said it was very
tiresome hearing me reiterate that dreary question, and that she saw
raspberries in the thicket which I must gather for her. Although, when
she had eaten them, she let me kiss the lovely stained lips, I was still
far enough from knowing whether they were mine or not--whether she liked
to raise my ardent dreams merely to disappoint them, or whether at heart
it was, as she sometimes hinted, that she did care for me with something
of the intimate, clinging habit which bound _me_ so closely to _her_.

  ELLEN W. OLNEY.


[TO BE CONTINUED.]



DAWN IN THE CITY.


    The city slowly wakes:
    Her every chimney makes
  Offering of smoke against the cool white skies:
    Slowly the morning shakes
    The lingering shadowy flakes
  Of night from doors and windows, from the city's eyes.

    A breath through heaven goes:
    Leaves of the pale sweet rose
  Are strewn along the clouds of upper air.
    Healer of ancient woes,
    The palm of dawn bestows
  On feverish temples peace, comfort on grim despair.

    Now the celestial fire
    Fingers the sunken spire;
  Crocket by crocket slowly creepeth down;
    Brushes the maze of wire,
    Dewy, electric lyre,
  And with a silent hymn one moment fills the town.

    Over emergent roofs
    A sound of pattering hoofs
  And anxious bleatings tells the passing herd:
    Scared by the piteous droves,
    A shoal of skurrying doves,
  Veering, around the island of the church has whirred.

    Soon through the smoky haze,
    The park begins to raise
  Its outlines clearer into daylit prose:
    Ever with fresh amaze
    The sleepless fountains praise
  Morn, that has gilt the city as it gilds the rose.

    High in the clearer air
    The smoke now builds a stair
  Leading to realms no wing of bird has found:
    Things are more foul, more fair;
    A distant clock, somewhere,
  Strikes, and the dreamer starts at clear reverberant sound.

    Farther the tide of dark
    Drains from each square and park:
  Here is a city fresh and new create,
    Wondrous as though the ark
    Should once again disbark
  On a remoulded world its safe and joyous freight.

    Ebbs all the dark, and now
    Life eddies to and fro
  By pier and alley, street and avenue:
    The myriads stir below,
    As hives of coral grow--
  Vaulted above, like them, with a fresh sea of blue.

  CHARLES DE KAY.



THE PARIS EXPOSITION OF 1878.

IV.--MACHINERY.

[Illustration: APPLEBY'S STEAM-CRANE, WITH FIXED JIB FOR USE ON
TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT TRACK.]


The machinery in the Paris Exposition covers a larger space than any
other of the eight departments of material, machinery and products which
occupy the buildings and annexes. The ninth department, Horticulture, is
outdoors on the grounds or in greenhouses. Foreign machinery has about
half the space, and French machinery the remainder. Few countries are
without annexes, the space allotted to each, though supposed to be
ample, being utterly insufficient to hold the multitude of objects
presented.

In preference to taking the classes of machinery in turn, and visiting
the various nations in search of exemplars of the classes in rotation,
it will be more interesting to take the nations in order and arrive at
an idea of the rate and direction of their relative progress, modified
so largely by the respective natural productions of the countries and by
the habits and degrees of civilization of their inhabitants. When put to
a trial of its strength, each nation naturally brings forward the
matters in which it particularly excels.

Prominent in the section of the Netherlands, the name so descriptive of
the land where not less than two hundred and twenty-three thousand acres
are below the level of the sea and kept constantly drained by artificial
means, are the engineering and mechanical devices for the reclamation
and preservation of land, the formation of outlet-canals for the centres
of commerce, and the bridging of the rivers and estuaries which
intersect the maritime portions of the country. Some of the models and
relief-maps were shown in the Netherlands section in the Main Building
at Philadelphia, but the exhibition is more perfect here, as much has
been added in the two intervening years.

The works for the drainage of the Haarlemmer Meer illustrate the means
employed for the last great drainage-work completed. This lake had an
area of 45,230 acres, an average depth of seventeen feet below low
water, and was drained between 1848 and 1853. Being diked to exclude the
waters which naturally flowed into it, three large engines were built in
different places around it, and the work of pumping out 800,000,000 tons
of water commenced. The engines have cylinders of twelve feet diameter,
and are capable of lifting 2,000,000 tons of water in twenty-four hours
from the depth of seventeen feet to the level of the _boezem_, or
catch-water basin, of the district. The boezem carries the water to the
sea, into which it discharges by sluices at Katwyk on the North Sea and
at Sparndam and Halfweg on the Y, or the southern end of the Zuyder Zee.
The land reclaimed is now in excellent tillage, and one farm on the
tract is referred to in agricultural journals as one of the three model
farms of the world. The three engines are called the Leeghwater, the
Cruquius and the Lynden, from three celebrated engineers who had at
different times proposed plans for draining the Haarlemmer Meer.
Proposals for its drainage were made by one of these engineers as far
back as 1663. The next enterprise in hand is the drainage of the
southern lobe of the Zuyder Zee, which is stated to have an average
depth of thirteen feet, and it is intended to cut it off by a dike from
the northern basin and erect sufficient engines around it to pump it out
in thirteen years at the rate of a foot a year, working night and day.

Another engineering device, very necessary in a land where foundations
are so frequently built under water, is the enclosed caisson with
compressed air, as shown in detail in this exhibit. It was originally
invented by M. Triger to keep the water expelled from the sheet-iron
cylinders which he sunk through quick-sands in reaching the
coal-measures in the vicinity of the river Loire in France. The seams of
coal in this district lie under a stratum of quicksand from fifty-eight
to sixty-six feet in thickness, and they had been inaccessible by all
the ordinary modes of mining previously practised. The system has been
much amplified and improved since, especially in sinking the foundations
of the St. Louis and the New York East River bridges, and does not
require specific description. An improved air-lock, by which access is
given from the exterior to the working chamber at the part where the men
work in an atmosphere sufficiently condensed to exclude water from the
lower open end--like a tumbler inverted in water--is the principal
addition which America has made to the device.

We need not go abroad to find long bridges, but the great bridge, with
three immense iron trusses and eight smaller ones, over the Wahal near
Bommell would be respectable anywhere. Our Louisville bridge is a
parallel example for length, but the truss is different.

The dikes and jetties of the new embouchure of the Meuse embrace the
same features of extending a river's banks into deep water, and by
confining the stream making it scour out its own bed, as now so
successfully practised by Captain Eads in one of the passes of the
Mississippi River. Limbs and saplings made into gabions and staked
together form mattresses, and by loading with stone are sunk in
position. They soon become silted up, and are practically solid. Others
are made and laid upon them _ad libitum_, and at last raise the crest
above the level of the sea, the last course being laid with the
advantage of high-water spring tides. This foundation supports courses
of pitched masonry on its side, and these protect the stone or gravel
embankment, which forms a roadbed. The river's water, instead of, as
formerly, depositing its silt at the embouchure as its motion is
arrested on reaching the open sea, carries its silt along and deposits
it farther out: if a favorable shore-current occurs, it is swept away
laterally, and so disposed of.

The maritime canal of Amsterdam is another late success of this
remarkable people, which leads the world in dikes and drainage of low
lands, as the Italian does in the art and area of irrigation. The
present canal may satisfy the great and still rising commerce of
Amsterdam, the previous ship-canal, fifty-one miles in length, built in
1819-25 at a cost of $4,250,000, and deep and wide enough to float two
passing frigates, having proved insufficient.

Belgium is happily situated, and well provided by Nature and art to
enter into any competitive trial. With admirable skill, great provision
of iron and coal and a people of economical habits that permit them to
work at low wages without being impoverished, she is, besides working
up her own abundant material, rolling the iron of England into rails,
and making it into locomotives for Great Britain, whose own people lack
the work thus done abroad. The "Société Cockerill-Seraing" has an
enormous space devoted to the machinery for the exploitation of iron.
Compressed forgings in car-wheels and other shapes are piled on the
floor, and a whole railway rail-rolling mill train is shown in motion.
Two of the rolls are stated to have rolled 10,500 tons of steel rails,
and are in apparent good order yet.

[Illustration: WHEELOCK'S AUTOMATIC CUT-OFF STEAM-ENGINE.]

The Belgium system of sinking shafts for mines and wells, invented by
Kind and Chaudron, exhibited here as in Philadelphia, attracts great
attention from its gigantic proportions. Imagine an immense
boring-chisel (_trepan_), weighing 26,000 pounds and with a breadth of
over six feet, worked up and down by machinery, the steel studs on its
face stamping the rocks into dust, so that they can be removed with a
bucket with bottom valves which is dropped into the hole and is worked
up and down until the detritus and water, if any, creep into it, when it
is withdrawn and emptied. The repetition of these processes makes the
shaft of two mètres diameter. Then comes the larger trepan, with a width
of 4.80 mètres, and repeats the process on a larger scale. This enormous
chisel weighs 44,000 pounds. The system is much in favor, and forty-five
shafts have been thus sunk between 1854 and 1877 in Belgium, France,
England and Germany. Cast-iron lining is lowered in sections as the
shaft deepens, the sections being added at the top and bolted together.

The Belgian exhibit contains also one of those immense paper-machines
invented by the brothers Fourdrinier about fifty years ago, and now used
almost universally for the best class of machine-made papers. They are
used by Wilcox at Glen Falls, Delaware county, Penn., in making the
government note and bond paper, and are a marvel of art. The Frenchmen
who invented the machine brought it into use in England, but they were
much hampered and discouraged by difficulties, and it was never a
pecuniary success to them. It was a legacy to the future, and they have
joined the army of martyrs to mechanical science. The machine in the
Belgian section is one hundred and thirty feet long, and the Swiss
machine, near by, is nearly as large. The French, with their customary
ingenuity, have reduced the proportions very considerably. The Swiss
machine makes paper one mètre and a half wide.

The remainder of the Belgian exhibit of machinery may be summarized:
rock drills on the principle of those used at Mont Cenis; the
gas-engines of Otto; machine tools, lathes, drills and planers; a very
curious machine for cutting bevel or straight gears, built by a firm at
Liège, and worthy of attention by Mr. Sellers or Mr. Corliss, whose
ingenious machines for the same purpose were at Philadelphia; the
woollen machinery of Celestine Martin of Verviers, which I recollect to
have seen in Philadelphia also; multitubular boilers, rudder propeller,
and hand fire-engines Then we see a number of locomotives and tramway
engines, rail and street cars, winding, mining, crane and portable
engines, and a full set of vacuum-pans for sugar, with engines,
centrifugal filters and hydraulic presses. A glance at Guibal's great
mine-ventilator fan, fifty feet in diameter and with ten wooden vanes,
and we may quit the section of Belgium, which is the next largest after
England of all the foreign departments here.

The exhibition of Denmark is principally agricultural machinery, its
iron ploughs being copies of the English, and its reapers of the
American, while the dairy machines and apparatus are its own, and very
excellent.

The embroidering-machine of Hurtu & Hautin is shown working in the Swiss
section, and is a great success. The web or cloth to be embroidered is
stretched between horizontal rollers in a vertical frame which hangs
suspended in the machine from the shorter end of a lever above. On each
side of this floating frame is a track on which a carriage alternately
approaches and recedes. Each carriage carries as many nippers in a row
as equals the number of needles, which in this case is two hundred and
twelve. The needles have an eye in the middle and are pointed at each
end. The carriage advances, the nippers holding the threaded needles,
and pushes them through the cloth: the nippers on the other side are
waiting to receive them and shut upon them, those which have just thrust
them into the cloth opening automatically; the second carriage retreats
and draws the silk through the cloth with the requisite tightness, and
then comes forward, thrusting the other end of the needles through the
cloth to be grasped by the nippers on the first carriage, and so on. The
frame holding the cloth is moved by an arrangement of levers under the
control of the operator, who conducts a tracer point on the long end of
the lever over the design, which is suspended before him. The frame
moves in obedience to the action of the tracer, but in a minified
degree, and each needle repeats on a scale of one-twentieth the design
over which the tracer is moved step by step between each stitch. Thus
two hundred and twelve embroideries according to a prescribed pattern
are made by each needle; and, in fact, though it was not stated, to
avoid complicating the description, a second row of a similar number of
needles is carried by the same carriages and operates upon a second web
stretched between another pair of rollers in the same floating frame.
The object of the rollers is to reel off new cloth as the embroidery
progresses and to reel on the work done. A similar machine is shown in
the French section, in the Salle de l'École Militaire.

The Jacquard loom is shown in many sections--Swiss, French, United
States, English and others--principally upon silk handkerchiefs and
motto-ribbons. The exhibit of carpet-weaving is far inferior to the
Philadelphian. The Swiss exhibit of machinery for making paper of wood
pulp is very large and ample, but the Belgian annex shows the finest and
largest varieties of paper so made to be found in the Exposition. The
paper, white and of various colors, made from about forty trees and
twenty different straws, grasses and forage-plants, is shown in large
rolls.

Of Russia there is not much to say except as regards the work of the
École Impériale Technique de Moscou. This is a remarkable
exemplification of tools, methods of work, parts of engines and
machines, all finished with extreme care and fitted with great nicety.
It is fuller than it was in Philadelphia, but many of the portions are
readily recognizable. The machine tools, hydraulic presses, stationary
engines and hand fire-engines are closely associated with the military
and naval objects, cannons, ambulances, field-forges and an excellent
lifeboat, système de Bojarsky.

Austria comes with no more striking exhibit than the malteries and
breweries of Nobak Frères and Fritze. The immense extent of the
magazines for barley and hops; the size and height of the malteries,
where by continuous processes the grain is damped, sprouted and dried
and the malt ground; the number and capacity of the various vessels in
which the infusions of malt and hops are made and mixed; and the
apparently interminable series of engines, pumps and pipes by which the
steam and liquids are conducted,--are confusing until some study
evolves order out of the apparent confusion. The wort is cooled
artificially, time being a great object as well as the saving of aroma,
and the yet innocent liquid is poured in a torrent into the
fermentation-vats, where Nature will have her own way and eliminate the
ingredients which convert the mawkish wort into the sparkling and
refreshing beer. Four hundred and fifty of these establishments have
been erected by this firm in Europe; which must be some comfort to
those, not vignerons, who think the prospects of the vine are materially
clouded by the _Phylloxera_.

But Austria is not beery alone. She has fine exhibits in horology,
electric and pneumatic telegraphy, and in tools, grain-mills, gang-saw
mills, and machines for making paper bags. More important, as some might
say, are the admirable locomotives and stationary engines, cars,
fire-engines, and her collection of iron-work, in which are exhibited
cast-iron car-wheels, made by Ganz & Co. of Buda-Pesth, which have been
in use twenty-one years and have run without apparent severe injury a
distance of 549,108 kilomètres, or nearly 280,700 miles.

The beet-root sugar interest is becoming very important in Austria, but
the evidences of the Exhibition indicate that the diffusion-process
holds better credit there than in France, where it is not approved of.
The rotative apparatus shown is an immense affair, with a series of
eight tall tanks arranged on a circular carriage and rotating on a
vertical axis, so as to bring each in turn to the charging and
discharging positions. Each tank has its own system of pumps. Beet-root
is difficult to exploit for various reasons, chemical and other. Like
the vine, it is particular in its nutriment, requires great skill to
remove extraneous substances, and can hardly be handled by the French
system without a set of machinery costing about eighty thousand dollars.

From Austria to Spain is but a step, but it is not productive of much
information in the matter we have in hand. A beaming-machine for cotton
warps, red, white and yellow, stands solitary in its section, and next
to it is a model of a _cirque de taureau_, composed of nineteen thousand
pieces of tin laboriously put together without solder, as if that were a
merit, and stated to be the work of two years. In the arena the wooden
bull regards with indifference two mounted cavaliers and seven footmen
in various provoking attitudes. Near by are various machines and presses
for the treatment of grapes and olives, grinders and presses in variety,
a sugar-cane press and a turbine. Barcelona would seem to be the most
enterprising of Spanish cities. Several exemplifications of the
excellent iron of Catalonia and Biscay suggest the direction in which
Spain has taken its most important industrial start of late years. An
admirable model of the quay of the copper-mining company of the Rio
Tinto is another evidence in the same line which the maps, plans and
ores amply corroborate.

[Illustration: BLAKE STONE-CRUSHER.]

Two steps, in violation of all preconceived geographical notions, but in
obedience to the Exposition authorities, land us in China, where we find
things mechanical in much the same state of progress as Marco Polo
viewed them some centuries since. The silk tissues brought from the far
East were famous in the days of the Roman magnificence, and here is the
loom. The marvel is how such a web can be made on such a rough machine.
A blue silk warp of delicate threads is in the loom, which has nine
heddles, and the partly-finished fabric shows a woof consisting of a
narrow gilded strip of paper. The sheen of the figured goods is
something remarkable. It is a parallel case to that of the shawls of
Kashmir, where the natives, trained for generations, succeed in
producing by great care and unlimited expenditure of time fabrics with
which the utmost elaboration of our machinery scarcely enables us to
compete.

The machine for the whitening of rice by the removal of the brown
coating from the pure white grain is similar to that shown from Siam at
the Centennial, but, unlike the latter, the faces of the two round
horizontal wooden blocks which act as mill-stones are serrated, whereas
the Siamese rubbers were made of sun-dried clay, the serrations
consisting of bamboo strips inserted in the clay while yet plastic. The
motion is similar, not being continuously revolving, but reciprocatory,
and the method is customary in all the rice-eating regions except India,
and is well known in parts of the latter, though not universal. The
grain of Eastern Asia, including India and Malaysia, is almost
universally rice, of which two, and even three, crops a year are raised
in some regions, and the processes of cooking are simple among these
vegetarians, the variation consisting principally in the choice of
condiments or of certain additional esculents or fruits in their season.
The grinding of grain is, however, universally known, though meal forms
but a small proportion of the daily food. The mortar and pestle in the
Chinese section show the more usual method, and there, as in some parts
of India, the pestle is placed on the end of a poised horizontal beam
which is worked by the foot of the operator at the end opposite to the
pestle.

We meet in the Chinese section with the original of our fanning-mill or
winnowing-machine for grain. Though China has had the same machines for
centuries, we have not knowingly copied many of them. The fanning-mill,
porcelain and the _cheng_ may be fairly credited to her. The last is the
original of all our free-reed musical instruments. It is shown here, and
was also at the Centennial, and it was the carrying of one overland to
Russia, where it fell into the hands of Kratzenstein, the organ-builder
to Queen Catharine II., which initiated the free reed in Europe, and led
to the accordions, concertinas, harmoniums and parlor organs which
perhaps afford the cheapest and loudest music for a given expenditure of
muscle and wind of anything we have.

The spinning and winding machinery of China is simple enough, but so
much like that of our great-grandmothers that it does not arrest
particular attention. It is otherwise with the irrigating-machine, which
in its various modifications produces, by the fruitfulness induced, the
food of scores of millions in China, India, Syria and Egypt--the cogged
wheel on a vertical axis, with an ox travelling beneath it, and a
horizontal shaft moved thereby and carrying an endless chain of pots or
buckets, either hanging from the cord or moving in an inclined chute.

The ploughs, harrows, rakes, flails, spades, hoes and forks are of the
usual clumsy description, not to be apprehended by the reader without
cuts, and many of them only reasonably effective even in the mellow soil
repeatedly stirred and occasionally flooded with water. The seed-drill
for planting one row, with a share on each side to turn soil on to the
grain, is an anticipation of some later inventions nearer home. The
thresher is a square frame drawn over the grain--which is spread upon
the bare ground--and is furnished on its under side with steel blades
which not only shell the grain out of the ear, but also reduce the straw
into chaff, which is desirable, as storing for feed more conveniently.
Southern nations have but little conception of our use of hay. Grain for
the man and straw for the beast is the usual division. The ancient Roman
_tribulum_ and the modern Syrian _morej_, were or are similar, and the
"sharp" threshing instrument of Isaiah may be seen to-day in the Tunis
exhibit, being a frame of boards with sharp flint spalls inserted into
its under surface.

We might linger with profit over the elaborate models of Chinese
manufactures--sugar, rice, tobacco, paper, etc., showing the stages of
cultivation, manufacture, and packing for transportation and market--but
perhaps it will be as well to slip across the alley and visit the
ancient island of Zipango.

Zipango, Nipon, Japon, have one consistent syllabic element, and the
rulers of the country are so desirous that it should take its place
among the civilized nations of the world that they have not shown to any
liberal extent the native machinery, except in the form of models which
attract but little attention, a few machines for winding and measuring
silk, some curious articles of bamboo and ratan, fishpots and baskets,
and cutlery of native shapes.

[Illustration: TOOL-GRINDING EMERY-WHEEL.]

The exclusiveness which had marked the policy of Japan from time
immemorial, and which was somewhat roughly intruded upon by Captain
Perry, and subsequently by other explorers and diplomatists, has given
place to a change which amounts to a revolution. Japan, under the name
of Zipango, took its place on the map of the world some time before
Columbus discovered, unwittingly to himself, that a continent intervened
between Western Europe and Eastern Asia. When Columbus made his voyage
in search of Asia, assisted by those very estimable persons Ferdinand
and Isabella, it was on the part of the latter intended as a flank
movement against the Portuguese, who, consequent upon the discovery of
the passage of the Cape of Good Hope by Vasco da Gama, had obtained a
patent from the pope for the eastern route to India. The globe of Martin
Behaim at that time depicted Zipango as off the coast of Asia and near
the longitude actually occupied by the Carolinas and Florida, the
eastward extension of Asia being fearfully exaggerated. The globe of
John Schöner, of 1520, fourteen years after the death of Columbus, had
Zipango in the same place, and Cuba alongside of it, ranging north and
south. So loath were geographers to give up preconceived ideas. Columbus
died supposing he had discovered "fourteen hundred islands and three
hundred and thirty-three leagues of the coast of Asia," and hence our
group are called the West Indies, and our aborigines Indians. Such are
one's reflections as one wanders in the Japanese section, dreaming among
the objects of a land which has just awaked from what may be called the
sleep of centuries.

Italy has much that is valuable as well as beautiful in other classes,
but her attempts in agricultural machinery are but rude. Here, for
example, is a plough. Well, perhaps it is not exactly that which made
the trench over which Remus leaped, to be slain by his twin
wolf-nursling, but it is the plough of Bocchi Gaetano of Parma, is
twelve feet long and weighs something under half a ton. Another, hard
by, is two feet longer and has but one handle. Efforts are evident,
however, to assimilate the country to the portions of Europe more
advanced in mechanical matters. When we reflect upon how much we owe to
Italy, we can but wish her well, but we cannot delay long with her in a
search for objects of mechanical interest except to examine her models
of tunnels, manner of scaffolding, boring and blasting. The Mont Cenis
tunnel must stand as the grandest work of its kind until that of Saint
Gothard is finished. An exemplification by a model constructed to a
scale of the electric ballista of Spezzia for testing the hundred-ton
gun lately made in England for Italy attracts a great many visitors, and
the large photographs which give the condition of the butt after each
impact of the projectiles brings up again the double problem as it is
stated: How to construct a gun and projectile which shall be able to
pierce the heaviest armor; and how to construct armor which shall be
proof against the heaviest shot. Many saw with interest in the Machinery
Building at the Centennial the eight-inch armor-plating made by Cammell
of Sheffield, tested in one case by nine spherical shots overlapping,
making an indentation of 3.12 inches with balls from a seven-inch gun
driven by thirty pounds of powder at a range of seventy feet. They are
here again, and so is the nine-inch armor with a much deeper indentation
from a chilled Palisser bolt. Here is also a new-comer, John Brown,
whose armor of four and a half inches of steel welded on to the same
thickness of iron resists the Palisser bolt, which only penetrates the
thickness of the steel. What might happen to it with a pointed steel
bolt from a sixty- or one-hundred-ton gun is another matter. To set our
minds at rest as to what would occur in the event supposed comes Sir
Joseph Whitworth, who exhibits his gun with polygonal rifling, the bore
being a hexagon with rounded corners. The projectiles are moulded of the
same shape, and are fired as they are cast, without planing. One of
these bolts, six diameters long and weighing twenty-nine and a half
pounds, was fired from a twelve-pounder gun through a four and a half
inch armor-plate. The exhibit also shows a flat-fronted Whitworth
fluid-pressed steel shell, three diameters long, weighing eight hundred
and eight pounds, which was fired at Gavre, France, without a bursting
charge, from a Whitworth twelve-inch, thirty-five-ton gun, and
penetrated iron sixteen inches thick and twelve inches of oak backing.
The shell remained entire and was only slightly distorted. The question
seems to be answered, unless the plates are made twenty inches thick,
and that is impossible on a vessel to be manoeuvred.

Sweden comes next, and the scene changes; for the weapon which suggested
the remarks was only, as it were, one gun in a garden. Instead of wine
and olives we find iron and furs. Except some Indian steels, there is no
better metal than that of Sweden, and horse-shoe nails are made of it
all over Europe and the United States. Iron in ore, pig, rails, bars,
rods, wire; iron in tools, files, wheels, balls, shells, pans, boilers,
stoves, springs; iron _ad lib_.

The agricultural machines of Sweden, like those of Denmark, are copies
of the American and English, and the same is true to a large extent of
the engines, saw-mills, water-wheels and wood-working machinery. The
statement would not be true of the very elaborate exercising-machines
(_la gymnastique médicale mécanique_) invented by Gustave Zander of
Stockholm. They embrace every conceivable variety of effort, and also
another class of applications which may be termed shampooing, as they
consist of kneading and rubbing. Among the twenty machines are those
designed for flexing, stretching and extending the limbs, for kneading
the back and neck, for rubbing the body and limbs to induce circulation
and simulate the effect of exercise in the cases of weak persons or
those confined to their beds by casualties. Some of these were in
Philadelphia in 1876.

Steering-apparatus and gun-harpoons for whaling testify to the maritime
character of the people, as do the boats and ropes. The great exhibit
of _pâte de bois_ shows the anxiety of the people to turn their
extensive forests to good account in the markets of the world. White
pine seems to be the principal wood thus used. Norway and Sweden have
been shipping timber for some centuries, and yet seem to need no laws to
restrain the denudation of their hills; certainly not to encourage
rainfall. Bergen has 88.13 inches per annum, which is just double that
of Philadelphia, and four inches greater than that of Sitka, where the
people say it is always raining. Of course these figures are small when
compared to spots on the Himalayas, where Hooker observed a fall of 470
inches in seven months, and on one occasion 30 inches in four hours; the
latter equal to the average annual rainfall of France.

The American machinery, which occupies a position between Norway and
England, is creditable in kind and quality, but fails very far in giving
a correct idea of the multiplicity of our industries. Almost the only
evidence of our textile manufactures are two of Tilt's Jacquard
silk-weaving looms. The telephones of Edison and Gray excite unremitting
astonishment and admiration, and have both received the highest possible
awards. Our wood-working is practically shown in a large variety by Fay
& Co. of Cincinnati, and one or two other special machines by other
makers. The Wheelock engine, which drives all the machinery in our
section of the main building, has very properly been awarded a grand
prize. It is all that can be desired in an engine, and has a singular
simplicity of construction, with few working parts. It is the same which
drove the machinery in the Agricultural Building at the Centennial. The
steam is admitted and exhausted by a valve at each end of the cylinder
placed directly below the port. The cut-off valve is behind the main
valve: the mechanism for operating the valves is on the outside of the
steam-chest, and easily accessible. The valves and seats are made
tapering in their general diameter, and the pressure of steam comes on
one side, also acting to keep the collar in contact with the sleeve.

[Illustration: TWEDDELL'S HYDRAULIC RIVETING-MACHINE.]

The Waltham Watch Company is considered by some of the most influential
European journals as the most important in the American section on
account of the revolution it is making in that important industry. When
the Swiss commissioner went home from the Centennial he published a
letter fairly throwing up the sponge, and when the company's exhibit
appeared for the first time in Europe at an international exposition it
was regarded as carrying the war into Africa. The American system of
making by machinery all the parts of an article--say, of a watch--of a
given grade by means of gauges and templets, so that the parts may be
"assembled," and of such singular exactitude in their making that any
part may be replaced by the corresponding piece of any other watch of
the same grade, has in this manufactory attained its highest results,
greatest precision and most perfect illustration. The whole collection
of watches was sold within a few weeks after the opening. The latest
improvements in the balance to secure perfect isochronism under varying
conditions of temperature would delight the soul of Harrison, who worked
from 1728 to 1761 on the problem of a compensator for the changes of
rate due to the expansion and contraction of the metal, and received the
reward of twenty thousand pounds sterling offered by the Board of
Longitude.

Tiffany's exhibit has been admired and patronized, but is not quite
within my range of subjects. Darling, Brown & Sharpe have their
machine-tools and gauges, Bliss & Williams their presses and dies. We
have the Baxter, Snyder and Lovegrove portable engines, Taylor's and
Aultman's agricultural engines. Our railroad exhibit is not very full:
we have a Philadelphia and Reading coal-burning locomotive, a Pullman
car, the Westinghouse brake, Stephenson's street-cars, car-wheels from
Baldwin's and Lobdell's: the latter also sends calender-rolls of
remarkable quality. As a sort of set-off to the Austrian car-wheels
which have run for twenty-one years, as previously mentioned, Lobdell
has a pair which have run 245,000 miles on the Missouri, Iowa and
Nebraska Railway. The Fairbanks scales in great variety, both of size
and purpose, and of a finish and an accuracy which have become
proverbial; the Howe scales; the Goodyear boot- and shoe-machinery;
Stow's flexible shaft; Lechner's coal-mining engine; Allen & Roeder's
riveting-machine; and Delamater's punches and shears,--are a few more of
the representative machines.

Sewing-machines are not in as great variety in the American section as
they were in Philadelphia. There are, however, enough of American and
European to foot up about eighty exhibitors. Wheeler & Wilson's have
been awarded the grand prize, and there are various medals for others,
both home and foreign--the American machine, Cole's and Wardwell's among
the number. The various hardware exhibits, such as the Disston saws,
Ames shovels, Collins axes, Batcheller forks, Russell & Erwin builders'
hardware, as well as the Remington, Colt, Winchester, Sharpe and Owen
Jones rifles and revolvers, and the Gatling and Gardner guns, are a
little on one side of my present line of subjects.

The United States has preserved its ancient reputation in its
agricultural machinery. We are especially strong in the class which we
term "harvesters," the name including reapers, automatic binders,
mowers, horse-rakes and hay-loaders. Our baling-presses also are in
advance of competitors. A juryman may perhaps stand excused for
supposing that more than an average amount of interest is felt in the
machinery which happens to be in his class, but on Class
76--"agricultural implements in motion and in the field"--additional
interest was conferred by a series of competitive trials extending from
July 22 to August 12, and embracing reapers, mowers, steam and ordinary
ploughs, hay-presses, threshing-machines especially, but also including
all the other machines for working in the ground, gathering crops and
the storage and preparation of feed for animals. In this series of
competitive trials eight different countries entered the lists. The
prizes were twelve _objets d'art_ placed at the disposal of Monsieur
Tisseraud, the "director-general of agriculture and horticulture of
France," and the jury selected to attend the trials. Eleven of them were
accorded to machines of "exceptional merit," the idea of novelty being
included in the definition of the term. These _objets d'art_ are Sèvres
vases worth one thousand francs each, and in view of their exceptional
value, and the large share that America has in the award, a list of the
names may very properly be appended.[5] Several hundred machines
competed: for instance, twenty-six reapers, sixteen mowers, fifty-four
ploughs, and so on of numerous kinds of agricultural implements and
machines for working in the soil, gathering crops and for the work of
the homestead and barn.

Last on the foreign side is the British machinery, and the collection is
very much larger and more varied than any of the preceding. There are
few lines of manufacture which are not represented here. Machines for
working in iron and other metals, for sawing and fashioning wood, for
the ginning, breaking or carding of cotton, flax, wool, jute and hemp,
for working in stone, glass, leather and paper, are shown. Then, again,
the finished productions; prime motors, such as stationary engines,
locomotives and fire-engines; lifting-machines for solids or liquids,
cranes, jacks, elevators, pumps, each in endless variety.

Prominent in the hall, and employed in driving the machinery, is the
large double compound horizontal engine of Galloway of Manchester. This
form of engine is coming to the front, as is evinced especially in the
marine service. Maudslay & Sons of London exhibit a model of the
four-cylinder marine compound engine as fitted on the "White Star line"
vessels, the Germanic, Britannic, Oceanic, Baltic and Adriatic, and on
the steamers of the "Compagnie Générale Transatlantique," the Ville de
Havre, Europe, France, Amérique, Labrador, Canada. The vessels of the
New York and Bremen line have the same class of engines, built in
Greenock, Scotland.

Amid so large a mass of machinery one can but select the most prominent,
and among these we may choose such as, while not necessarily imposing in
size, are suggestive of ideas which we may find valuable for home
introduction. Appleby & Sons lead the world in the completeness and
capacity of their great cranes and lifts for docks and wharves,
machine-shops, erection of buildings, and travelling cranes for railways
or common roads. We must make one exception--the elevators for hotels
and warehouses, in which America is in advance of all other countries.
While we have many varieties of these, we must give credit where it is
due, and the _ascenseur Edoux_ of Paris is the original of all those in
which the cage is placed upon a plunger that descends into a vertical
cylinder into which water is forced to elevate the plunger, and from
which it is withdrawn to allow the plunger and cage to descend. Very
fine specimens of this class of elevator are in the New York Post-office
building. The gantry crane of Messrs. Appleby Bros. of London is the
most complete engine of its kind in the world. It was originally
constructed for the growing requirements of the docks of the
North-eastern Railway Company of England at Middlesborough. The term
"gantry" is applied to the movable scaffold or frame, which in this case
rests upon a pair of rails twenty-three feet apart, one of them being
close to the edge of the quay. The clear height is seventeen and a half
feet, which allows the uninterrupted passage of locomotives and all
kinds of rolling-stock on each of the two lines of rails which are
spanned by the gantry. The crane is designed for a working load of five
tons, with a maximum radius of twenty-one feet from the centre of the
crane-post to the plumb-line of the lifting chain, with a capacity for
altering the radius by steam to a minimum of fourteen feet. The crane
has capacity to (1) lift and lower; (2) turn round completely in either
direction simultaneously with the lifting and lowering; (3) alter the
radius by raising or lowering the jib-head; (4) travel along the rails
by its own steam-power. All these motions are easily worked by one man,
who attends to the boiler. The travelling motion is transmitted from the
crane-engines by suitable gear and shafts to the travelling wheels, and
warping-drums or capstans are fitted on a countershaft on the inner side
of each frame, which drums can be driven independently of the travelling
wheels for moving trucks into position below the crane as they are
required for loading and unloading. Smaller cranes may pass with their
loads below the gantry, and a number of these large cranes may be
assembled so as each to work at the different hatchways of a large
screw steamer, or two may be associated together for any exceptionally
heavy lift. The value of elevation of the crane is not only in allowing
the loaded cars to be brought on tracks beneath it, but in giving it
capacity to work over the sides of large vessels, which when light may
rise twenty feet above the level of the quay, and to load or discharge
from trucks on two lines of rails on the land-side of the gantry,
overhead of the trucks on the two lines which run below the gantry.[6]

Blake's stone-breaker, though only represented by model in the United
States section, where it belongs, is shown by two English firms; and
though some Europeans profess to have improved upon its details, no
efficient substitute has been found for it, but it remains the premium
stone-crusher of the world, and has rendered services in the
exploitation of gold quartz and silver ores, and in the crushing of
stones for public works and for concretes, which can hardly be
exaggerated. In testimony taken in the United States in 1872 it was put
in evidence that five hundred and nine machines then in service effected
a direct saving over hand-labor of five million five hundred thousand
dollars per annum.

Steam-pumps are here in force--direct by Tangye and others, and rotary
by both of the Gwynnes, whose name has been so long and is so intimately
associated with this class of machines.

The emery-wheels of Thompson, Sterne & Co. of Glasgow have the same
variety of form and application usual with us, but the firm claims that
while it uses the true corundum emery of Naxos, the American article is
only a refractory iron ore, which soon loses its sharpness and becomes
inefficient. This is a question of efficiency or of veracity which we
leave to the trade. The machine adapted as a tool-grinder has six
emery-wheels for varying characters of work. Four are assorted for
gauges of different radii, for moulding-irons, etc. One has a square
face for plane-irons, chisels, etc. One is an emery hone to replace the
water-of-Ayr stone.

In examining the English locomotives exhibited two things were apparent:
one half of them have adopted the outside cylinders and wrist-pins on
the drivers, three out of four have comfortable cabs for the engineers.
These are, as we view them, sensible changes. Outside-cylinder engines
are also coming into extensive use in France. The machine tools shown by
Sharp, Stewart & Co. of Manchester are remarkably well made, and their
locomotive in the same space is an evidence of the efficiency of the
tools.

The exhibit of hydraulic-machine tools by Mr. R. H. Tweddell is a very
admirable one, and shows a multitude of stationary and portable forms in
which the idea is developed so as to reach the varying requirements.
When work is more conveniently held to the machines, the latter are
adapted to reach it whether presented vertically or horizontally, or
with one arm inside of it, as with boilers and flue-pipes. When it is
more convenient to handle the riveter, the latter is suspended from a
crane and swung up to its work, and the peculiarity of the various sizes
and shapes for different kinds of work is remarkable. The cut shows one
of the latest for riveting girders.

The Ingram rotary perfecting press, on which the _Illustrated London
News_ is worked off, prints from a web of paper of the usual length, and
is claimed as the final triumph in the line of inventors, which is thus
stated in England: Nicholson, König, Applegarth and Cowper, Hoe and
Walter. We should be disposed to add a few names to the list, among
which would be Bullock and Campbell. A is the roll of paper, containing
a length of, say, two miles; B B the type and impression cylinders for
printing the inner form; C C calendering rollers to remove the
indentation of the inner form type; D D the outer form type and
impression cylinders; E E cylinders with a saw-tooth knife and an
indentation respectively to perforate the sheet between the papers; F F
rollers to hold the sheet while the snatching-rollers G G, which run at
an increased speed, break the paper off where it has been indented by E
E. The folder is in duplicate to give time to work, as each only takes
half the papers. The vibrating arm H delivers the sheets alternately to
K and J, which are carrying-tapes leading to two folding-machines. If
the sheets are not required to be folded, the arm H is moved to its
highest position, and there fixed, without stopping the machine: it then
delivers the sheets to the roller L, and by means of a blast of air and
a flyer they are laid on a table provided for them.

The rise of British factory-life and great energy in manufacturing began
with the invention of the spinning-frame by Arkwright, the power-loom by
Cartwright, the spinning-jenny by Hargreaves, and the mule by
Crompton--all within a space of twenty years ending 1785. To these must
be added the steam-engine by Watt, which made it possible to drive the
machinery, and the gin by Eli Whitney, which made it possible to get
cotton to spin. Much as iron has loomed up lately, the working of the
various fibres--cotton, wool, flax, hemp and jute--constitutes the pet
industry of her people, and very elaborate and beautiful are the
machines at the Exposition, especially attractive and less commonly
known being those for working long or combing wool, flax, hemp and jute.
The United States is not doing as much as it ought in the working of
these fibres, and the money which is paid for the purchase of foreign
linens and fabrics made of other materials than cotton and wool might,
some economists think, be employed at home in making them. The day will
come probably, but does not seem to be hastening very fast, when we
shall conclude to make our own linens, as we have within a comparatively
few years past determined in regard to all the staple varieties of
carpets.

[Illustration: INGRAM'S ROTARY PERFECTING PRINTING-MACHINE.]

One of the most important machines in the Exposition, from the American
point of view, is the "double Macarthy roller-gin," exhibited by Platt
Brothers & Co. of Oldham, England. It is a curious instance of how
machines sometimes revert to their original types. The oldest machine
for ginning cotton is undoubtedly the roller-gin, and it was known in
India, China and Malaysia long before Vasco da Gama turned the Cape of
Good Hope and opened the trade of the East to the Portuguese and their
successors. The common roller-gin of Southern Asia was shown at the
Centennial from Hindostan, Java and China, and is exhibited here from
Java. It has a pair of rollers about the size of broomsticks, close
together and turning in different directions, which pinch and draw the
fibre through, while the seeds are prevented from passing by the
closeness of the rollers. Whitney's invention of the saw-gin in 1794
revolutionized the business and changed the whole domestic aspect of our
Southern States. In it the fibre is picked from the seed by means of
saw-teeth projecting through slits in the side of the chamber in which
the seed-cotton is placed. But the roller-gin has again come upon the
stage, and with the late improvements is likely to become the gin of the
future. When the close of our civil war put an end to the "cotton
famine," as it was called, in Europe, and American cotton resumed its
place in the market, the export of the East Indian and Egyptian cottons
would have been immediately suppressed if they had not possessed the
roller-gin in those countries. Ten thousand of the double Macarthy gin
are used in India, and five thousand of the single roller-gin in Egypt.
It is understood that the saw-gin is used in but a single district in
India. While the saw-gin injures any variety of cotton by cutting,
tearing, napping and tangling the fibres, its action upon the long and
fine staple called "sea island" is ruinous, and the roller-gin alone is
suitable for working it. The slow action of the single roller-gin,
cleaning about one hundred and fifty pounds of lint per day, made its
cultivation too expensive, but the double roller-gin will clean nine
hundred pounds in ten hours, or one hundred and twenty pounds an hour of
the common upland short-staple cotton. It is thought by Southern members
of the United States commission that the introduction of the double
roller-gin into our country would greatly increase the profitableness of
the culture of cotton, and especially of the "sea island," which is at
present much neglected, and in the growth of which we need fear no
rivalry. Each roller is made of walrus leather, and rotates in contact
with a fixed knife, dragging by its rough surface the fibres of cotton
between itself and the knife. A grating holds the seed-cotton. Besides
these parts there are moving knives to which are attached a grid or
series of fingers. At each elevation of the moving knives, the grids
attached thereto lift the cotton to the elevation of the fixed
knife-edge and of the exposed surface of the rollers: on the descent of
each moving knife the seeds which have become separated from the fibre
are disentangled by the prongs of the moving grid passing between those
of the lower or fixed grid about seven hundred and fifty times per
minute, and are by this rapidity of action flirted out.

It would be scarcely fair to neglect altogether the English annex in
which all the agricultural implements are exhibited, nor that which
contains its carriages. So much commercial intercourse, so many journals
published in the respective countries, have made each pretty well
acquainted with the agricultural machines and methods of the other. The
principal difference is in the splendid plant for steam-ploughing
exhibited by Fowler & Son and by Aveling & Porter, and in the great
number and variety of the machines and apparatus for preparing food for
animals--chaff-cutters, oat- and bean-bruisers and crushers,
oilcake-grinders, boilers and steamers for feed and mills for rough
grinding of grain.

A shed by the annex contains two curious machines for working stone--one
a dresser, belonging to Brunton & Triers, which has a large wheel and a
number of planetary cutters whose disk edges as they revolve cut the
stone against which they impinge. The other machine, by Weston & Co., is
for planing stone mouldings. The stone-drills are in the same annex;
also the Smith and the Hardy brakes, the former of which is the European
rival of the Westinghouse, acting upon the vacuum principle, and already
in possession of so many of the lines in Europe that it proves a serious
competitor.

Perhaps nothing in the French Exposition excites more surprise in the
minds of those who are conversant with technical matters than the
immense advance of the French since 1867 in the matter of machinery. The
simple statement of the names of the exhibitors, their residences and
the subject-matter occupies a large volume, and the quality and variety
are equal to the quantity.

Reference has been made to the web perfecting printing-machine in the
English section, but quite a number are shown in the French department,
three of them by Marinoni of Paris, one of which prints the journal _La
France_, eighteen thousand an hour. It prints, cuts, counts, folds and
piles the papers. Another by the same maker prints twenty thousand an
hour of the _Weekly Dispatch_ (English paper), and counts and piles them
in heaps of one hundred each. A third works on the _Petit Journal_,
printing forty thousand per hour with two forms. Alauzet & Co. have also
a web perfecting press, _à double touche_, for illustrated papers and
book-printing. This wets, prints, cuts, counts and folds in octavo four
thousand per hour of super-royal size. They also show a double railway
topographic press, printing in two colors. Vauthier's roller-press is
arranged to work on an endless roll of paper or on sheets fed in as
usual, and prints in six colors. Electro shells are secured in position
on the respective rollers, which are in horizontal series, and the paper
is conducted by tapes to the rollers in succession. The French section
shows a great variety of polychrome, lithographic and zincographic
printing-machines, and also a great number of ordinary job and card
presses, the most interest, however, centring in the large number and
variety of the web perfecting presses for newspapers and for bill-work
where long numbers are required.

France has a right to exemplify the Jacquard in its fulness, for it is
hers. The original machine of Vaucanson and that of Jacquard are in the
Conservatoire des Arts et Metiérs, as well as a long series of
exemplifications of successive improvements. The Grand Maison de Blanc
of Paris has a large one, making an immense linen cloth of damask
figures, all in white, and representing what I took at first to be an
allegorical picture of all the nations bringing their gifts to the
Exposition. I found afterward that it was called _Fées du Dessert_. It
is about three mètres wide, and just as long as you please to make it,
but the pattern is repeated every five mètres. The design, on paper, is
hung against the wall, and is twelve by eight mètres, all laid off in
squares of twelve millimètres, and these again into smaller ones exactly
a square millimètre in size. The number of small squares on the sheet of
paper is ninety-six million, which represents the number of the
intersections of the warp and woof in the pattern. There are nine
thousand and sixty-six perforated cards in the Jacquard arrangement for
floating the threads which form the damask pattern, and the whole
machine stands on a space of about twenty by twelve feet and is eighteen
feet high. It is worked by one man, without steam-power, the shifting of
the harness being done by two foot-levers and the shuttle thrown by a
pull-cord.

We may here observe the looms that weave the marvellously fine silk
gauzes realizing such fanciful Indian names as "morning mist," which
poetically express the lightness of a web that when spread upon the
grass is not visible unless one stoops down and examines closely. To
even name the various looms here would be to make a list of ribbons,
velvets, cloths and other tissues. The subsidiary machines for dressing
the fabrics are here also--for napping, teasling, shearing, stretching
and brushing, for measuring, folding and packing.

The other modes of making fabrics shown are a machine for making
fishing-nets of great width, and a number of knitting-machines, from the
stocking-frame of eighty years ago to the small domestic machine, and
the larger one with nine hundred needles in the circumference and making
a circular seamless fabric eighteen inches in diameter. The march of
improvement is eminently shown here, where an old man is patiently
knitting a flat web of ten inches with a series of five motions between
the rows of stitches, while just by are the circular machines, whose
motions are so rapid that the clicks of the needles merge into a whir,
and a man is able to attend to six machines, making one hundred and
thirty pounds of knitted goods per day.

Passing the large exhibit of machines for the working of fibres
preliminary to the loom--the carding, roving, spinning, reeling and
warping--and the allied but different machines which make wire-cloths of
different meshes and size, we come to the ropemaking-machines for hemp
and wire, which are shown principally in their products, the
manufacture taking an amount of room and material which could hardly be
expected to be efficiently shown in a crowded building where space is
valuable.

The French plant for boring small shafts to find water or obtain
sections of the strata, and the larger ones for sinking large ones for
mines, are shown by several exhibitors. The annular drills remove
cylindrical sections of the strata from ten to sixty centimètres in
diameter: the large chisels resemble those described in the Belgian
exhibit, having a diameter of four mètres and a weight of twenty-five
thousand kilos.

The department of mining has some excellent large models of mining
districts, in which the face of the country is represented with the
natural undulations, the villages, roads, fields and streams, and made
in removal-sections which expose the underlying strata, the galleries,
drifts and shafts of the subterranean world.

An attempt to describe the steam-engines, of such various size, shape,
position and capacity, would exhaust all the space permissible in a
magazine article.

The wood-working tools of France are excellent, and our manufacturers
must look well to their laurels. We have as yet the advantage in
compactness and simplicity, with adjustability and adaptation to varying
classes of work. The band-saw is claimed as a French invention, and the
crowds around the workman who saws a roomful of dolls' furniture out of
a single block as large as one's fist are as great here as they were at
Philadelphia. The Blanchard lathe for turning irregular forms is here in
a variety of forms. This is an interesting object of study, as
illustrating the usual course of invention, in which a master-hand
grasps a subject which has been suggested in an incomplete and
comparatively ineffective manner from time to time by others. De la Hire
and Condamine during the last century described lathes adapted to turn
irregular shapes, and the scoring-machine for ships' blocks invented by
Brunel and made by Maudslay for Chatham dockyard in England, 1802-8,
was as perfect an exemplification of the idea as the nature of the work
to be done required. Blanchard, however, in 1819 gave the finishing
stroke, and the lathe will bear his name for long years. Inventors of
three nations attacked the problem, and each aided the result.

Brickmaking, diamond-cutting; machines for making paper bags, envelopes,
cuffs and collars; distilleries, sugar-mills, with the successive
apparatus of vacuum-pans, pumps and centrifugal filters; soap, stearine,
paraffine, wax, candle, candy and chocolate machines and
apparatus,--succeed each other, and we next find ourselves in a busy
factory of cheap jewelry, Exposition souvenirs and medals, chains and
charms. The leather machinery is deserving of a careful description, but
it would be too technical perhaps, and there is no romance in the
handling of wet hides, the scraping, currying, stretching and pommelling
which even the thickness, prepare the surface and develop the pliability
of the leather. Near this is the boot- and shoe-making, sewing and
cable-screw wire machines, but none for pegging. Sewing-machines, copies
of the various American forms, occupy the end of the hall.

Separate buildings around the grounds and on both banks of the Seine
contain groups of machinery at which we can but glance. Two long
pavilions have agricultural machines, and one each is appropriated to
materials for railways, to civil engineering, pumps, gas-works, the
forges of Terre Noire, the iron-works of Creusot, the ministry of public
works, stoves, the government manufacture of tobacco, navigation,
life-saving apparatus of floats and boats, fire-engines and ceramics.
Add to these two annexes, each one thousand feet long, containing
locomotives, cars, street-cars, telegraph-apparatus and many acres of
the surplus machinery of all classes excluded from the large building
for want of room, and a person may form some adequate idea of the
immense extent and variety of this wonderful collection.

  EDWARD H. KNIGHT.



THE COLONEL'S SENTENCE: AN ALGERIAN STORY.


"I've known many clever fellows in my time," said Paul Dupont, French
sous-lieutenant in the --th of the line, as he sat sipping his coffee in
front of the Hôtel de la Régence at Algiers, "but by far the cleverest
man I ever met was our old colonel, Henri de Malet. People said he ought
to have been an _avocat_, but that was giving him but half his due, for
I'll be bound he could have outflanked any lawyer that ever wore a gown.
In his latter days he always went by the name of 'Solomon the Second;'
and if you care to hear how he came by it I'll tell you.

"Before he came to us De Malet was military commandant at Oran, and it
was there that he did one of his best strokes--outgeneralling a
camel-driver from Tangier, one of those thorough-paced Moorish rascals
of whom the saying goes, 'Two Maltese to a Jew, and three Jews to a
Moor,' Now this Tangerine, when pulled up for some offence or other,
swore that he wasn't Muley the camel-driver at all, but quite another
man; and as his friends all swore the same, and he had managed to alter
his appearance a bit before he was arrested, he seemed safe to get off.
But our colonel wasn't to be done in that way. He pretended to dismiss
the case, and allowed the fellow to get right out into the street as if
all was over; and then he suddenly shouted after him, 'Muley the
camel-driver, I want to speak to you.' The old rogue, hearing his own
name, turned and came back before he could recollect himself; and so he
was caught in spite of all his cunning.

"The fame of this exploit went abroad like wildfire, and it got to be a
saying among us, whenever we heard of any very clever trick, that it was
'one of Colonel de Malet's judgments;' and so, when he was transferred
from Oran to Algiers, it was just as if we all knew him already,
although none of us had ever seen him before. But it wasn't long before
we got a much better story than that about him; for one night a man
dined at our mess who had known the colonel out in India, and told us a
grand tale of how he had astonished them all at Pondicherry. It seems
that some things had been stolen from the officers' quarters, and nobody
could tell who had done it. The first thing next morning the colonel
went along the line at early parade, giving each of the native soldiers
a small strip of bamboo; and then he said, very solemnly, 'My children,
there is a guilty man among us, and it has been revealed to me by Brahma
himself how his guilt is to be made clear. Let every man of you come
forward in his turn and give me his piece of bamboo; and the thief, let
him do what he may, will have the longest piece.'

"Now, you know what superstitious hounds those Asiatic fellows always
are; and when they heard this announcement they all looked at each other
like children going to be whipped. The colonel took the bamboos one
after another, as solemnly as if he were on a court-martial, but when
about a dozen men had gone past he suddenly sprang forward and seized
one of them by the throat, shouting at the full pitch of his voice, 'You
are the man!'

"Down went the fellow on his knees and yelled for mercy, confessing that
he _was_ the man, sure enough. As for the rest, they looked as
frightened as if all the gods in the caverns of Elephanta had come
flying down among them at once; and from that day forth they salaamed to
the very ground at the mere sight of the colonel half a mile off.

"'How on earth did you manage that, colonel?' asked the senior major, a
great fat fellow, as stupid as a carp.[7]

"'Nothing simpler, my dear fellow,' answered De Malet, laughing. 'The
strips were all exactly the same length, and the thief, fearing to get
the longest piece, betrayed himself by _biting off the end_.'

"This, as you may think, added a good deal to the colonel's reputation;
and when we had that affair with the Bedouins at Laghouat we soon saw
that he could fight as well as manoeuvre. In the thick of the skirmish
one of the rogues, seeing De Malet left alone, flew at him with drawn
yataghan, but the colonel just dropped on his horse's neck and let the
blow pass over him, and then gave point and ran the fellow right through
the body, as neatly as any fencing-master could have done it. You may be
sure we thought none the less of him after that; but all this was
nothing to what was coming.

"Well, De Malet had been with us about a year when the railway was begun
from Algiers to Blidah, and the directing engineer happened to be one of
my greatest friends, Eugène Latour, as good a fellow as I ever met. It
was quite a fête with us whenever he dined at mess, for his jokes and
good stories kept every one brisk; and then to hear him sing! _ma foi_,
it was wonderful! One minute some rattling refrain that seemed to set
the very chairs dancing, and then suddenly a low, sad air that fairly
brought the tears into your eyes. They were in mine, I know, every time
I heard him sing those last two verses of 'The Conscript's Farewell:'

  I thought to gain rich spoils--I've gained
    Of bullets half a score:
  I thought to come back corporal--
    I shall come back no more.

  Feed my poor dog, I pray thee, Rose,
    And with him gentle be:
  He'll miss his master for a while--
    Adieu! remember me![8]

"Well, as I was saying, Eugène had been put over the work, and I don't
know where they could have found a better man for it. Whether it poured
with rain or came on hot enough to cook a cutlet without fire, it was
all one to him: there he was at his post, looking after everything,
with his eyes in ten places at once. You may think that under such a
chief the laborers had no chance of idling; and everything was getting
on splendidly when one morning, as he was standing on the parapet of a
bridge, his foot slipped and down he went, I don't know how far. The
fall would have killed him outright if by good luck there hadn't
happened to be an Arab underneath (the only time that an Arab ever _was_
of any use, I should say), and Eugène, alighting upon _him_, broke his
own fall and the Bedouin's neck to boot.

"Now, if there had been nobody there to tell tales, this wouldn't have
mattered a pin, for an Arab more or less is no such great matter; but,
as ill-luck would have it, there were three or four more of the rascals
near enough to see what had happened, and of course they raised a
hue-and-cry directly. And when it was noised abroad that a Christian dog
(as they politely call us) had killed a Mussulman, you should have seen
what an uproar there was! The people came running together like vultures
when a camel drops down in the desert, and there was a yelling and
dancing and shaking of fists that made one's very head turn round. Poor
Eugène would have been torn to pieces on the spot if the guard hadn't
formed round him and defended him; and the only way we could pacify the
mob was to promise them justice from the district magistrate; so away to
the magistrate we all went.

"Now, I dare say Mr. Magistrate was a very good fellow in his way, and I
don't want to say a word against him, but still, it must be owned that
he wasn't exactly the kind of man to stand firm in the midst of a rabble
of wild Mohammedans, all howling and flourishing their knives at once
under his very nose. To tell the plain truth, he was frightened out of
his wits; and the only thing _he_ thought of was how to shift the
responsibility on to somebody else's shoulders as fast as possible. So
he said (and it was very lucky he did, as it turned out) that Latour,
being in government employ, must be tried by military law; and he
packed them all off to the commandant, who, as I've told you, was no
other than Colonel de Malet.

"It was no easy matter for the colonel to get at the facts of the case,
for all the rascals kept shrieking at once, one louder than another; but
at last, bit by bit, he managed to get a pretty clear idea of what had
happened; and then he said, very solemnly, 'A French officer does his
duty, let it be what it will. You have come here for justice, and
justice you shall have.'

"There was a great roar of triumph from the crowd, and poor Eugène
looked as blank as a thief in the Salle de la Police.

"'Before I pass sentence, however,' pursued De Malet, 'I wish to ask
this young man' (pointing to the son of the dead Arab, who was the
ringleader of all the mischief) 'whether he will accept of any
compromise.'

"'No, no!' yelled the young brigand--'life for life!'

"'So be it,' said the colonel gravely, 'and you, by Mussulman law, are
your father's destined avenger. Therefore, let the engineer be taken
back to the very spot where his victim was standing, and do you go up to
the top of the parapet and _jump down upon him_!'

"_Tonnerre de ciel!_ what a roar of laughter there was! The very Arabs
couldn't help joining in. As to the young villain himself, he stood
stock-still for a moment, and then flew out of the court like a madman;
and that was the last of him. We gave Eugène a famous supper that night
at the Café Militaire in honor of his escape; and the story was in all
the papers next morning, headed 'A Judgment of Solomon.' And from that
day to the end of his life Colonel de Malet never went by any other name
among us but 'Solomon the Second.'"

  DAVID KER.



STARLIGHT


          How dark against the sky
  Loom the great hills! Over the cradled stream
    They lean their dusky shadows lovingly,
          Watching its happy dream.

          The oil-well's little blaze
  Gleams red and grand against the mountain's dark:
    Yon star, seen through illimitable haze,
          Is dwindled to a spark.

          Far greater to my eye
  The swimming lights of yonder fishing-boat
    Than worlds that burn in night's immensity--
          So huge, but so remote.

          Ah, I have loved a star
  That beckoned sweetly from its distant throne,
    Forgetting nearer orbs that fairer are,
          And shine for me alone.

          Better the small and near
  Than the grand distant with its mocking beams--
    Better the lovelight in thine eyes, my dear,
          Than all ambition's dreams.

  CHARLES QUIET.



THE GREAT EARTHQUAKE OF 1878 IN VENEZUELA.


On Friday evening, the 12th of April, 1878, we were collected, as usual,
in our drawing-room in Caracas, and were in the act of welcoming an old
friend who had just returned from Europe, when there came suddenly a
crash, a reverberation--a something as utterly impossible to convey the
impression of as to describe the movement which followed, or rather
accompanied, it, so confused, strange and unnatural was the entire
sensation. It was like the rush of many waters, the explosion of
cannon--like anything the imagination can conceive; and at the same time
the earth appeared to leap beneath our feet, then swayed to and fro with
an oscillating motion: the panes of glass rattled in the windows, the
beams of the flooring above creaked ominously; lamps, chandeliers and
girandoles vibrated and trembled like animated creatures. The great
bells of the cathedral suddenly rang out a spontaneous peal of alarm
with a sonorous, awe-inspiring clang, while the clock in the tower
struck the ill-timed hour with a solemn, unearthly reverberation.

This was but the work of a few seconds: a few more and Caracas would
have been a heap of ruins, as in the earthquake of 1812. But even in
these short moments we had time, horror-stricken and pallid with terror
as we were, to cry out, "An earthquake! an earthquake!"--to seize upon
our European friend, who did not seem to realize the danger, to drag him
from the chair which he was just about to take, I pushing him before me,
while my sister pulled him by the arm down the long drawing-room into
the corridor which surrounds the central court, while still the earth
rocked beneath our feet and everything around us trembled with the
vibration.

By this time the city was thoroughly alarmed. Cries of "Misericordia!
misericordia!" resounded on every side, and every one prophesied another
and a greater shock. These fears were not entirely uncalled for, for at
twenty minutes past nine there was a second, and several more before
daybreak, although none proved to be as severe as the first.

In a short time carriages began to roll by in all directions, bearing
the more timorous to the villages and plantations outside of the city:
the open public squares or _plazas_ filled rapidly with the excited
population, especially when telegram after telegram began to arrive from
La Guayra, Puerto Cabello, Valencia, La Vittoria and the intervening
towns--all having felt the violence of the shock, and anxious lest the
capital might have been destroyed. This proof of the extent of the _onda
seismica_, as the scientists termed it, served to increase the general
alarm. Tents were improvised in the plazas, composed of blankets,
counterpanes, etc., stretched across ropes attached to the trees in the
square, those who had no such appliances at hand remaining all night
upon the public benches or upon more comfortable seats which they caused
to be transported for their accommodation.

The scene in the principal square of Caracas, the Plaza Bolivar--upon
which front the cathedral on the eastern side, the palace of the
archbishop on the southern, the presidential residence (called the _Casa
Amarilla_, or "Yellow House") on the western, and a number of other
public buildings on the northern--was one which under less terrifying
circumstances would have been most imposing, for the archbishop left his
palace and descended by the great stairway into the plaza, accompanied
by a train of his attending priests, to raise the fainting spirits of
the terrified multitude, who, with pallid faces upraised to Heaven or
crouched upon the bare ground in attitudes of supplication, implored
mercy from on high. And inasmuch as calamitous events, such as the
appearance of comets, earthquakes or pestilences, are usually the
signal for great moral reforms, doubtless many a promise of a purer life
was registered in that hour of terror by those self-accused by their
quickened consciences.

The archbishop--who is a young man, devout, fervent and sincere, a very
anchorite in his habits and mode of life, thin, spare of frame, and with
features eloquent with the fire of intellect, morally and physically the
splendid ideal of what a true priest ought to be--wandered among his
flock, exhorting, comforting, admonishing and cheering them; while the
_Hermandades_, a religious brotherhood, headed by their color-bearer,
upon whose banner the effigy of the Virgin, their patron saint, was
emblazoned, walking two by two in procession in the long gowns of their
order--some red, some black, some white--and each carrying a lighted
taper, traversed the plazas and paraded the streets the whole night. The
glimmering light of the tapers falling upon these dusky shrouded forms
in the gloom of this awful night, the melancholy refrain of the prayers
which they chanted as they passed through the awestruck city, the
lessening glimpses of the flickering tapers as the train passed solemnly
by into some distant street,--all served rather to intensify than to
tranquillize the alarm.

The excitement and agitation of the people were so great that no one
thought of going to bed: those who, like ourselves, went neither to the
country nor to the open squares, sat in their windows and compared their
experiences or gathered news from every passer-by; for they feared to
separate from their families, lest a worse shock might overtake some one
of them apart from the rest. Besides this, the danger in the streets was
greater than at home, because of their narrowness and the likelihood of
the walls on either side toppling over upon pedestrians.

The night had been beautifully clear, and the moon brilliant as it is
only in the tropics, but toward midnight the weather became cloudy and a
drizzling rain fell at intervals, driving us within doors between one
and two o'clock, but only to lie down fully dressed upon our beds, with
lights burning and doors left open, so as the more readily to facilitate
our escape if necessary. One or two slight shocks recurred during the
night, but morning dawned at last, finding us unhurt; and with returning
day our courage too returned, so _darkness_ "doth make cowards of us
all." It was then ascertained that the cathedral had sustained some
slight damage; the image of the Virgin in the church of the Candelaria
had been thrown to the ground and broken to pieces; and the National
Pantheon, the observatory of the new university and other public
buildings, with many houses, had been injured, but none thrown down and
no lives lost.

No one, however, could dwell long in lamentation over these accidents
when the news reached us the next morning of the terrible calamity which
had overtaken the beautiful valley of the Tuy. This valley lies to the
south of the city of Caracas, at an elevation of twelve or fifteen
hundred feet above the sea, and is noted for being one of the most
fertile of the many rich agricultural districts in which Venezuela
abounds. The river Tuy, two hundred miles in length and navigable for
about forty miles, flows through the centre, fertilizing the soil and
causing it to become the granary of the capital, its abundant crops
usually sufficing, in fact, for the consumption of the whole province.
Indeed, were there more public highways its surplus products might find
their way to still more distant portions of the republic. The whole
valley is studded with towns, villages and plantations: of the former,
the principal are Ocumare, Charallave, Santa Teresa, Santa Lucia and
Cua.

The city of Cua was beyond comparison the richest and most flourishing
of all, being situated at the head of the valley, where it opens toward
the vast _Llanos_ or plains, and being also the emporium of many
extensive districts producing the staples of the country, such as
coffee, cocoa, sugar and indigo. There too had been transported enormous
timber from the still virgin forests--timber of the most valuable kind,
whether for ornament, for building or for dyeing purposes. Nor was the
city more remarkable for its advantageous situation and the importance
of its commerce than for the refinement of its society. Unlike the
generality of inland towns in South America, where the constitution of
society is apt to be rather heterogeneous, Cua was the residence of many
of the principal families of the country--gentlemen at the head of
wealthy commercial establishments, or opulent planters owning large
estates in the neighborhood, but making the city their permanent abode.
Hence the society was far beyond what might have been imagined as
regards position and general cultivation. Cua, like all Spanish American
towns, was laid out at right angles, while many of the houses rivalled
the handsomest in Caracas, and were furnished with equal splendor.

Such was the state of things in this smiling valley when, at the same
moment precisely at which we in Caracas felt the shock of the
earthquake, all the above-mentioned towns--Ocumare, Santa Lucia,
Charallave, etc.--were shaken to their foundations. The latter
especially suffered greatly, for not a house was left uninjured or safe
to inhabit, although the occupants had time to escape. But Cua--unhappy
Cua!--was utterly destroyed. Without a moment's warning, without a
single indication of their impending fate, all the inhabitants were
buried beneath the mass of ruins to which in a few seconds it was
reduced. Perhaps it is not strictly correct to say there had been no
sign. The heat had become so intense between seven and eight o'clock
that numbers of persons were seated outside of the houses or had betaken
themselves to the open squares to endeavor to seize a breath of fresh
air, while many of the lower classes were sleeping under the open sky;
to which fact, indeed, they owed their lives. The only habitations which
survived the violence of the shock were the huts of the poor, being what
is called _bajareque_, made of posts driven into the earth and otherwise
formed of a species of wild cane tied together and cemented with mud
and straw, these primitive dwellings being usually considered
earthquake-proof.

Besides the extraordinary heat, a friend of ours, who was riding from
his plantation into the town, observed another indication of some
disturbance in the usual processes of Nature. While crossing the river
he noticed that the fishes were leaping in great numbers out of the
water, and called the attention of several persons to the fact. They
attributed this, however, to the discomfort occasioned by the intense
heat, for the temperature of the water had increased so much that it had
become disagreeable to drink.

The gentleman to whom I have alluded, Don Tomas de la G----, describes
the subterranean noise at Cua during the earthquake as something
terrific, like the discharge of hundreds of cannon, while the earth rose
simultaneously under his feet. There are two kinds of earthquakes--that
of _trepidacion_, which comes directly from below, with an upward
motion; the other, _de oscilacion_, where the earth sways to and fro
like a pendulum, and which is generally less dangerous. Unfortunate Cua
experienced both: the first shock was one vast upheaval, the whole town
being uprooted from its foundations and every house uplifted and
overturned, and before the bewildered population could realize what was
happening they were buried beneath the ruins. The shock then changed
into the oscillatory movement, and set all this mass of destruction to
quivering as if it were the dire agony of some living creature. All was
so sudden that few were saved by their own exertions, those who survived
having either been dug out of the ruins afterward or cast forth by the
counter-motion as the earth rocked to and fro in the second shock. It
was as if the city had been lifted up _en masse_, and then thrown back
with the foundations uppermost--upside down, in fact. Don Tomas de la
G---- happened to be in the plaza in front of the church when the shock
came: in the endeavor to steady himself he grasped a tree close by; the
tree was uprooted, throwing him violently forward; then suddenly
reversing its course in an exactly opposite direction, it flung him off
to a great distance, bruising him severely. While clinging to the tree
he beheld the church in front of him, a new and handsome edifice,
literally lifted up bodily into the air and then overturned with an
appalling crash, "not one stone left upon another." If this had occurred
an hour or two previously, hundreds would have perished within the
walls, for there had been religious services in the church until a late
hour, it being the Friday before Holy Week, termed by Spanish Catholics
_Viernes del Concilio_.

Don Tomas de la G---- described the whole scene as something too
terrible for the imagination to conceive. After the stupendous crash
caused by the falling of the houses, for a few moments there ensued an
awful silence: then, amid the impenetrable darkness caused by the cloud
of dust from the fallen walls, which totally obscured the murky light of
a clouded moon, there arose a cry of anguish from those without--a wail
as of one great voice of stricken humanity; then the answering smothered
groan of those buried beneath the ruins--a cry like nothing human,
rising as it did from the very bowels of the earth.

There ensued a scene the harrowing details of which can never be fully
given--the search of the living and uninjured for those dead, dying or
imprisoned ones who lay beneath the great masses of stone and mortar.
Sometimes, in answer to the desperate cries of those outside or already
rescued, smothered, almost inaudible cries for help might be heard, so
faint as to seem scarcely human, and yet growing fainter and fainter
still, until those who were working for the release of the captive
became aware that their labor was in vain, and that only a corpse lay
beneath their feet. No light could be obtained in this stifling Erebus
of dust and darkness: all means of obtaining light had been buried in
the undistinguishable mass, and where lighted lamps were overturned in
the crash they had set fire to beams and rafters in the houses, and
many who escaped being crushed were burned to death. Even proper
instruments were wanting, and the number of persons who had collected to
assist in the work of searching the débris was totally inadequate to the
occasion. Many instances of distress I can vouch for as authentic, as
the victims were intimate friends of my own, and all the individuals I
am about to mention were persons of the highest respectability, the
upper classes having suffered more than the lower, who, living in huts
such as I have described, were generally uninjured.

One of the richest commercial houses in Cua was owned by three German
gentlemen, brothers. The eldest, having married a Spanish American lady
of the place, had lately built himself a magnificent mansion, and one of
his brothers resided with him. The lady was seated between her
brother-in-law and husband when the shock came: a huge beam from the
ceiling fell across her brother-in-law and literally divided him in two,
while the side wall, falling at the same time, buried her husband from
her sight. She herself was saved by the great packages of hemp and
tobacco which fell around her and prevented the wall from crushing her.
Blinded by the darkness and choked by the dust, she yet managed with the
only hand at liberty to tear an opening which allowed her to breathe,
and through which she called for help. Faint accents answered her: they
were the tones of her husband's failing voice. She called to him to have
courage--that she had hopes of release. "No," he replied, "I am dying,
but do not give way. Live for our child's sake." As well as her
agitation and distress would permit she endeavored to sustain him with
words of encouragement, but in vain. About fifteen minutes passed in
this sad colloquy: the replies came more and more slowly, more and more
painfully, and then they ceased: the imprisoned lady comprehended in her
lonely agony that she was a widow. She, a living, breathing woman, fully
conscious of her awful anguish, lay helpless between the stiff and stark
corpses of her husband and brother-in-law, and quite ignorant of the
fate of her infant child, which had been left in another part of the
house. Her cries were heard at last by a muleteer, who made some efforts
to release her, but alone and in the darkness he could accomplish
little. He went in search of aid, but his companions, after he had
returned to the house, refused to endanger their lives, as the shocks
were incessant and a high wall still standing threatened to topple over
upon them at any moment. They even endeavored to dissuade the muleteer
from any further effort, but the good creature replied that he was
indebted to the imprisoned lady for many kindnesses, and that he was
willing to risk his life in her behalf. One or two remained with him,
and they succeeded at last in releasing her, but were obliged to cut her
clothes from her body, as they seemed immovably nailed to the floor, the
Good Samaritan of a muleteer covering her with his own cloak. The bodies
of her husband, brother-in-law, two clerks and several servants were
recovered the next day and buried.

Another lady was found, when the ruins of her house were cleared away,
upon her knees, with her children surrounding her in the same
attitude--all dead! Their bodies were uninjured, so that it is probable
that they were suffocated by the dust of the falling walls. A gentleman
named Benitez, who had been standing at the door of his house, ran into
the centre of the street and fell upon his knees: a little boy from the
opposite doorway rushed in his terror into Benitez's arms. At that
moment the two houses fell, and in this attitude the bodies of the man
and the child were found the following day. A bride of twenty-four hours
was killed with three of her children by a previous marriage. A fourth
child was supposed also to have been killed, but on the third day a
soldier who was passing the house pierced a basket which was among the
ruins with his bayonet out of curiosity, when to his amazement a
childish voice cried out, "_Tengo hambre_" ("I am hungry"), and the
basket being lifted a living child was discovered, thus almost
miraculously saved.

One lady was crushed to death under the weight of the body of her
daughter, who could not move a limb, although she knew her mother was
dying beneath her. A beam had fallen transversely across the daughter,
and in this position she crouched, listening in agony to the
death-struggles of her parent. More, almost, than the bitterness of
death itself must have been the horror of such a situation and the
terrible contact during long hours of silent darkness with a cold, rigid
corpse. This lady belonged to the family of Fonseca-Acosta, one of the
most distinguished in Cua, its head being the eminent physician Dr.
Acosta, now of Paris, one of the favored circle of the ex-queen Isabella
of Spain, with his wife, who was Miss Carroll, a sister of the present
governor of Maryland.

The Acosta family suffered perhaps more than any other, no less than
fourteen of its members having perished, among them Doña Rosa, a still
young and remarkably handsome woman, with her son, a lad of fifteen, and
her baby grandchild. It was to save the life of this grandchild that
Doña Rosa forfeited her own, as she ran into the house to snatch it from
its cradle. Of the same family two little boys had fallen asleep at
their play: one lay upon a sofa, and the other had crept beneath it. The
earthquake literally turned the room upside down, the sofa being
overturned by the falling wall, the child beneath thrown out and killed
by the descending rafters, while the boy who had been sleeping upon it
fell beneath the lounge, and, being thus protected, actually remained in
this position uninjured for the greater part of two days. He had been
numbered with the many dead in that house of sorrow, and was only found
when the mourning survivors were searching for his remains to inter
them--alive, but insensible, and entirely unable to give any account of
what had befallen him.

Every member of the police force, twenty-five in number, was killed,
together with nine prisoners under guard.

But it is impossible to give an adequate description of that night of
horror in Cua by enumerating individual instances of suffering. Those
that I have given are merely a few out of hundreds of others equally
distressing.

The survivors encamped upon the banks of the river Tuy, where they might
well repeat those tender lines of the Psalmist: "By the waters of
Babylon we sat down and wept." Even the discomfort of the heavy rains
which set in could make no impression upon hearts bowed down and crushed
by the terrible calamity which had swept away their all--home, friends,
everything that makes life worth having--at one quick blow. Not a house
was left standing in their beautiful city: even the outlines of the
streets were no longer visible: it was with the greatest difficulty that
any particular building or locality could be recognized.

Tents of various materials were improvised upon the river-side,
sheltering without regard to age, sex or social condition the wounded,
and even the dead. Many were in a state of delirium, some in the agonies
of death, hundreds weeping for their lost friends and relatives, and
many unable to recognize the recovered bodies on account of their having
been burned beyond recognition by the fire caused by the upsetting of
petroleum lamps. For the first two days the bodies were buried in the
usual manner, but on the third decomposition had set in to such an
extent that it was found necessary to burn them. An eye-witness
exclaims: "Of all that I have seen in what was the rich, the beautiful,
the flourishing city of Cua, now a cemetery, nothing has made so
profoundly melancholy an impression upon me as the cremation of the
bodies of the unfortunate victims of the late disaster, tied together
with ropes and dragged forth from the ruins, one over another, the
stiffened limbs taking strange, unnatural attitudes, and upon being
touched by the flames consuming instantly, on account of their advanced
decomposition." The body of a little child was thrown upon this funeral
pile, when suddenly the eyes opened, and the voice cried out, "_Pan!
pan!_" ("Bread! bread!") Imagine the feelings of the spectators at
beholding how nearly the little creature had been immolated!

The explosion and principal strength of the subterranean forces were
concentrated in the town of Cua and within a radius of four or five
leagues (twelve or fifteen miles) around it. Within this distance great
chasms of various widths had opened, all running from east to west. From
some of these streams of a fetid liquid issued, intermingled with a
grayish-tinted earth, which caused many persons to surmise that a
volcano was about to burst forth, especially as the earthquake-shocks
still continued for many days, accompanied by loud subterranean reports.
Although the catastrophe was confined to the valley of the Tuy, the
shocks were felt for many hundred miles in every direction, even as far
as Barquesimeto and other places toward the Cordilleras.

As the population of Cua had entirely deserted the city and encamped
upon the river-side, and as large sums of money and other valuables were
known to be buried beneath the ruins, some heartless, lawless wretches
took advantage of the unprotected state of things, under pretence of
assisting in the work of extricating the victims, to appropriate
everything that they could secrete without being discovered. Only one of
the public officials, General E----, had escaped: the police had
perished. It was a situation where only prompt and stringent measures
could avail. General E----, therefore, with Don Tomas de la G----, whom
I have before mentioned, assumed the responsibility of issuing a most
energetic order of the day, and Don Tomas was commissioned by the
general to draw up the document. In relating the anecdote to me, Don
Tomas avers that the order had to be drawn upon the back of a letter
which he discovered in his pocket, and that great delay was caused by
its being an impossibility to procure ink. A poor black woman, however,
hearing of his perplexity, announced that her son had been learning to
write, and that as her _rancho_ or hut was still standing, the bottle
of ink would probably be found tied to a nail in the wall, as well as
the pen; that is, provided the thieves had not made away with it, of
which she appeared to be somewhat suspicious. She consented to go for
the articles herself, stipulating, however, that Don Tomas and one or
two others should accompany her, believing, apparently, that numbers
would guarantee her against injury from the earthquake. The ink was
found where she had described it, but, unfortunately, no pen. Here was
another dilemma! She bethought herself at last that a neighbor of hers
possessed a pen; so the party was obliged to retrace its steps to the
encampment for further information. The neighbor was sufficiently
generous to lend the pen, but stoutly refused to re-enter the stricken
city. She described its _locale_, however, as being between a rafter and
a _caña_ in the roof at the entrance of her hut. The thieves, it proved
upon investigation, had spared the precious implement, although,
probably, if they had surmised the use to which it was to be put, that
of fulminating destruction to their machinations, they might not have
been so honest. All difficulties having been at length overcome, the
important document was drawn up, and duly published the following
morning by _bando_--that is, by sound of the trumpet, drum and fife--a
body of citizens doing duty in lieu of troops, and the individual with
the most stentorian lungs thundering forth the edict from where the
corner of the streets might have been supposed to be. The proclamation
was to the effect that any person or persons discovered robbing houses
or insulting females should be shot on the spot, without trial or
benefit of clergy. This measure of lynch law had the desired effect, and
proved sufficient to maintain order until the arrival of a corps of
three hundred soldiers sent by the government for that purpose.

As soon as the disaster was made known, General Alcantara, the president
of the republic, sent carts laden with provisions, blankets, shoes,
hats, etc., besides money, and coaches to convey the unfortunate Cuans
to their friends in the adjacent towns. The president also recommended
the unfortunate people of Cua to the generosity of Congress, which was
then in session. A sum of one hundred thousand dollars for rebuilding
the city was immediately voted--a large sum for so impoverished a
nation--and subscriptions from neighboring states, as well as private
ones, have been most liberal. But these are but a drop in the bucket.
Some of the finest plantations in the country surrounded Cua--coffee,
sugar, cocoa, indigo, etc.--all with handsome mansions and expensive
offices, with stores, sugar-mills and steam-engines, many of them worth
from fifty to a hundred thousand dollars. After the disastrous 12th no
one for many miles in the vicinity slept under roof, but all encamped on
the adjacent plains: not even the rainy season, which soon set in with
great violence, sufficed to drive them from their hastily-contrived
shelter. From the 12th of April to the 30th there were ninety-eight or
ninety-nine shocks of earthquake.

In Caracas too the people still continued to sleep in the public
squares, although the capital had hitherto escaped the greatest violence
of the shocks. Various rumors among the most ignorant part of the
population, however, still kept up the general excitement. A certain
astronomer or professor of the occult sciences, a Dr. Briceño by name,
had even the audacity to circulate a paper throughout the city, headed
by the ominous title, "_Vigilemos!_" (_Let us watch!_). He prophesied
that on the 17th of April, at twenty-nine minutes past one, there would
certainly occur a great _cataclismo_, connecting the movements of the
moon with the occurrence of earthquakes, and assuring the populace that
at that hour this heavenly body would be in the precise position to
produce this extraordinary _cataclismo_, whatever that might prove to
be. The public excitement was intense, but the fatal day and hour
arrived, passed, and found the city still safe and unharmed.

  ISABELLA ANDERSON.



OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.

THE HISS AND ITS HISTORY.

     "I warrant thee, if I do not act it, they will hiss me."--_Merry
     Wives of Windsor._


Hissing is a custom of great antiquity. Cicero, in his _Paradoxes_, says
that "if an actor lose the measure of a passage in the slightest degree,
or make the line he utters a syllable too short or too long by his
declamation, he is instantly hissed off the stage." Nor was hissing
confined to the theatre, for in one of his letters Cicero refers to
Hortensius as an orator who attained old age without once incurring the
disgrace of being hissed. Pliny notes that some of the lawyers of his
day had paid applauders in court, who greeted the points of their
patron's speech with an _ululatus_, or shrill yell. This Roman manner of
denoting approval seems akin to the practice of the Japanese, who give a
wild shriek as a sign of approbation, and hoot and howl to show their
displeasure. But the sound of the goose--the simple hiss--is the most
frequently-employed symbol of dissent. "Goose" is, in theatrical
parlance, to hiss; and Dutton Cook, in his entertaining _Book of the
Play_, remarks that the bird which saved the Capitol has ruined many a
drama.

The dramatist is of all creative artists the most unfortunate. He can
never present himself directly to his critics; he must be seen through a
medium over which he has but slight control; he must depend wholly on
the actors of his play, and too often he is leaning on a reed. Colman
accused John Kemble of having been the cause of the original failure of
_The Iron Chest_, and Ben Jonson published his _New Inn_ as a comedy
"never acted, but most negligently played by some of the king's
servants, and more squeamishly beheld and censured by others, the king's
subjects, 1629; and now, at last, set at liberty to the readers, His
Majesty's servants and subjects, to be judged of, 1631."

Nor are Colman and Jonson alone in their tribulations. Sheridan was
hissed, and so were Goldsmith and Fielding and Coleridge and Godwin and
Beaumarchais and About and Victor Hugo and Scribe and Sardou, and many
another, including Charles Lamb, who cheerfully hissed his own _Mr. H_.

The operatic composer is even more unfortunate than the dramatist, for
he is dependent not only on the acting but on the singing of his
characters; and he is also at the mercy of the orchestra. Wagner's
_Tannhäuser_ led a stormy life at the Paris opera for a very few
evenings, and its failure the composer has never been willing to let the
world forget. Rossini was more philosophical. On its first performance
the _Barber of Seville_, like the comedy of Beaumarchais, whence its
libretto is taken, was a failure; and when the curtain fell, Rossini,
who had led the orchestra, turned to the audience and calmly clapped his
hands. The anger at this openly-expressed contempt for public opinion
did not prevent the opera from gradually gaining ground, until by the
end of the week it was a marked success. Had it been a failure, the
composer would have borne it easily: Mr. Edwards informs us that when
Rossini's _Sigismondo_ was violently hissed at Venice he sent a letter
to his mother with a picture of a large _fiasco_ (bottle). His _Torvaldo
e Dorliska_, which was brought out soon afterward, was also hissed, but
not so much. This time Rossini sent his mother a picture of a
_fiaschetto_ (little bottle).

Nor is it, in modern times, authors or actors alone who are subject to
the hiss. The orator may provoke it by a bold speech in support of an
unpopular measure or an unpopular man. But here the hisser is not so
safe, nor the hissee--to coin a convenient word--so defenceless. The
orator is not hampered by the studied words of a written part: he has
the right of free speech, and he may retort upon his sibilant
surrounders. Macready records that on one occasion, when Sheil was
hissed, he "extorted the applause of his assailants by observing to
them, 'You may hiss, but you cannot sting.'" Even finer was the retort
of Coleridge under similar circumstances: "When a cold stream of truth
is poured on red-hot prejudices, no wonder they hiss."

Sir William Knighton declares that George II. never entered a theatre
save in fear and trembling from dread of hearing a single hiss, which,
though it were at once drowned in tumultuous applause, he would lie
awake all night thinking about, entirely forgetful of the enthusiasm it
had evoked. He must have felt as Charles Lamb did, who wrote: "A hundred
hisses (hang the word! I write it like kisses--how different!)--a
hundred hisses outweigh a thousand claps. The former come more directly
from the heart." It is hard to entirely agree with Lamb here. Hissing
seems to me to proceed for the most part from ill-temper, or at least
from the dissatisfaction of the head. Applause is often the outburst of
the heart, the gush of a feeling, an enthusiasm incapable of restraint.
No wonder that the retired actor longs for a sniff of the footlights and
for the echo of the reverberating plaudits to the accompaniment of which
he formerly bowed himself off.

Indeed, applause is the breath of an actor's nostrils. Without it good
acting is almost impossible. Actors, like other artists, need
encouragement. Applause gives heart, and, as Mrs. Siddons said, "better
still--breath." Mrs. Siddons's niece has put on record her views, as
valuable as her famous relative's: "'Tis amazing how much an audience
loses by this species of hanging back, even when the silence proceeds
from unwillingness to interrupt a good performance: though in reality it
is the greatest compliment an actor can receive, yet he is deprived by
that very stillness of half his power. Excitement is reciprocal between
the performer and the audience: he creates it in them, and receives it
back again from them."

To one set of actors a hiss takes the place of applause. It is the
highest compliment which can be paid to a "heavy villain," for it bears
witness to the truth with which he has sustained his character.

Sometimes the performer mistakes reproof for approval. An amateur
singer, describing to her father the great success she had achieved at
her first concert, concluded by saying, "Some Italians even took me for
Pasta."--"Yes," corroborated her mother: "before she had sung her second
song they all cried, 'Basta! basta!'" ("Enough! enough!")

Pasta herself is the heroine of an amusing anecdote. She gave her
servant, a simple _contadina_, an order for the opera on a night when
she appeared in one of her greatest parts. That evening the great prima
donna surpassed herself; she was recalled time and again; the audience
were wildly enthusiastic; almost every number was encored. Returning
home, she wearily asked her maid how she had enjoyed the play. "Well,
the play, ma'am, was fine, but I felt sorry for _you_," was the
reply.--"For me, child! And why?"--"Well, ma'am," said the waiting-maid,
"you did everything so badly that the people were always shouting and
storming at you, and making you do it all over again."

There are situations even worse than Pasta's, as Pauline Lucca has
recently discovered in Vienna, where she was fined fifty florins for
violating the law which forbids the recognition of applause. It seems
cruel to mulct a pretty prima donna for condescending to acknowledge an
encore.

Whether or not it be law in Austria to prevent a courtesy and a smile,
rewarding the enthusiasm of an audience, it is certainly law in England
and France that a dissatisfied spectator shall be at liberty to express
his dissatisfaction. It has been held by the Court of Queen's Bench
that, while any conspiracy against an actor or author is of course
illegal, yet the audience have a lawful right to express their feelings
at the performance either by applause or by hisses. The Cour de
Cassation of France has decided in the same way. When Forrest,
therefore, hissed Macready for introducing a fancy dance in _Hamlet_, he
was doing what he had a legal right to do, though the ultimate result
of it was the Astor Place riot and the death of many. In ancient Rome
the right to hiss seems also to have existed in its fulness. Suetonius
in his life of Augustus informs us that Pylades was banished not only
from Rome, but from Italy, for having pointed with his finger at a
spectator by whom he was hissed, and turning the eyes of the whole
audience upon him. But as time passed on, and Nero took the imperial
crown and chose to exhibit it himself to the public on the stage, all
the spectators were bound to applaud under penalty of death.

The French law forbids disturbance of any kind except when the curtain
is up. In France the boisterousness of the Dublin gallery-boy would
hardly be tolerated. The Parisians would have been amazed at a recent
incident of the Irish stage. When Sophocles' tragedy of _Antigone_ was
produced at the Theatre Royal with Mendelssohn's music, the gallery
"gods" were greatly pleased, and, according to their custom, demanded a
sight of the author. "Bring out Sapherclaze," they yelled. The manager
explained that Sophocles had been dead two thousand years and more, and
could not well come. Thereat a small voice shouted from the gallery,
"Then chuck us out his mummy."

There is a delicious tradition that Mrs. Siddons, when playing in
Dublin, was once interrupted with cries for "Garry Owen! Garry Owen!"
She did not heed for some time, but, bewildered at last and anxious to
conciliate, she advanced to the footlights and with tragic solemnity
asked, "What is Garry Owen? Is it anything I can do for you?"

Actors are not always willing to stand baiting quietly: they turn and
rend their tormentors. Mrs. Siddons herself took leave of a barbarian
audience with the words, "Farewell, ye brutes!" George Frederick Cooke,
describing his own failings, said: "On Monday I was drunk, and appeared,
but they didn't like that and hissed me. On Wednesday I was drunk, so I
didn't appear; and they didn't like that. What the devil would they
have?" Once at Liverpool, when he was drunk and did appear, they didn't
like it. He reeled across the stage and was greeted by a storm of
hisses. With savage grandeur he turned on them: "What! do you hiss
me--me, George Frederick Cooke? You contemptible money-getters, you
shall never again have the honor of hissing me. Farewell! I banish you!"
He paused, and then added, with contemptuous emphasis, "There is not a
brick in your dirty town but is cemented by the blood of a negro."
Edmund Kean treated one of his audiences with less vigor, but with equal
contempt. The spectators were noisy and insulting, but they called him
out at the end of the piece. "What do you want?" he asked.--"You! you!"
was the reply.--"Well, here I am!" continuing after a pause, with
characteristic insolence: "I have acted in every theatre in the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, I have acted in all the principal
theatres throughout the United States of America, but in my life I never
acted to such a set of ignorant, unmitigated brutes as I now see before
me."

  J. B. M.



A NEW TOPIC OF CONVERSATION.


There can be no doubt but what the increase of interest in the
decorative arts has lightened the general tone of society in our cities.
"I buy everything new that I can find," a lady remarked the other day
when her bric-à-brac was praised: "not that I care anything in especial
for this sort of thing, but because it is such a blessing to have
something to talk about." One shudders now to remember the drawing-rooms
of a generation ago--a colorless, cold, negative background for social
life; rich sweeping curtains of damask satin and lace muffling the
windows; impossible sofas and impracticable chairs gilded and elaborated
into the most costly hideousness; an entire suite of rooms utterly
barren of interest; a place given over to the taste of the upholsterer;
nothing on any hand which contained a suggestion of life or emotion,
thought or effort; every sign of occupation banished--nothing tolerated
save the dullest uniformity, which depressed originality into inanity.

No wonder that this barrenness of household resource had its effect upon
women, and that every one complained of the meagre results of ordinary
social intercourse. Now-a-days, when tables are crowded with
bric-à-brac, cabinets laden with porcelain and faïence, and richly-hung
walls brightened with plaques and good pictures, the female mind has
received a fresh impulse, almost an inspiration, which will show clear
results before many years have passed.

Enthusiasm for bric-à-brac and pottery, for embroidery and general
decorative art, is strongest among practical and unimaginative
people--people who know little or nothing of the world of thought opened
by books, and who have hitherto been somewhat disheartened by a
conviction of their own dulness. To them the present mania is an
undoubted lease of the finer uses of intellect, and their mental
horizons have widened until the prose of their lives is brightened into
poetry. Every one now-a-days feels the stirring of the artistic impulse,
and is able in some way to gratify it.

The American mind is always extravagant, and is certain to aim at too
much and leap too high, and in this renaissance of decorative art carry
its admiration of the beautiful and rare entirely too far in one
direction--in the matter of dress at least. The costly velvets and
satins and silks, which outweigh and surpass in beauty those of the
early centuries, are seen on every side cut up and tortured into
intricate and perplexing fashions of toilette. In the olden times these
fabrics were wisely considered too rich to be altered from one
generation to another, but were passed from mother to daughter as an
inheritance. So far as the ornamentation of her own person is concerned,
the American woman is too expensive and prodigal in her ideas, and
wastes on the fashion of the hour what ought to grace a lifetime.

But in turning her talent to the fitting-up of her house the American
woman is apt to be thrifty, ingenious and economical; and since she has
learned what decorative art really is, she works miracles of cleverness
and beauty. And, as we began by saying, it is a real blessing to have a
new topic of conversation. True, there can be nothing more fatiguing to
those who are free from the mania for pottery and porcelain than a
discussion between china-lovers and china-hunters concerning, for
instance, the difference between porcelain from Lowestoft and porcelain
from China. Then, again, in the society of a real enthusiast one is apt
to be bored by a recapitulation of his or her full accumulations of
knowledge. You are shown a bit of "crackle." You look at it admiringly
and express your pleasure. Is that enough? Can the subject be dismissed
so easily? Far from it. "This is _real_ crackle," the collector insists,
with more than a suspicion that you under-value the worth of his
specimen; and then and there you have the history of crackle and the
points of difference between the imitation and the real. And in glancing
at his collection your tongue must not trip nor your eye confound
styles. It requires a literal mind, besides a good memory and practised
observation, to be an expert, and diffused and generalized knowledge
amounts to little.

We have in mental view a lady who five years ago possessed apparently
neither powers of thought nor capacity for expression, but who has,
since she became a collector of china and antique furniture, developed
into a tireless talker. Formerly she sat in her pale gray-and-blue rooms
dressed faultlessly, "splendidly null," and you sought in vain for a
topic which could warm her into interest or thaw out a sign of life from
her. Now her rooms are studies, so picturesquely has she arranged her
cabinets of china, her Oriental rugs and hangings, and her Queen Anne
furniture; and she herself seems a new creature, so transfused is she by
this fine fire of enthusiasm which illuminates her face and warms her
tongue into eloquence. There is no dearth of subjects now. The briefest
allusion to the Satsuma cup on the table beside you, and the lady, well
equipped with matter, starts out on a tireless recapitulation of the
delights and fatigues of collecting. She is a better woman and a much
less dull one from this blossom of sympathy and interest with something
outside of the old meaningless conditions of her life.

We all remember that it was a point of etiquette inculcated in our youth
never to make allusion to the furniture and fittings of the houses where
we paid visits. That rule is far more honored in the breach than in the
observance now-a-days. It would show chilling coldness not to inquire if
our fair friend herself embroidered the curtains of velvet and
mummy-cloth which drape her doors and windows, and if that plaque were
really painted by one of the Society of Decorative Art, and not imported
from Doulton.

It would, in fact, seem as if this initiation in fresh ideas and
aims--which, even if trivial, are higher than the old uncreative forms
of occupation and interest--was an answer to the yearning of the
feminine mind for something to sweep thoughts and impulses into a
current which results in action. And certainly any action which lends
interest, worth and beauty to domestic life, which draws out talent and
promotes culture, is deserving of all encouragement.

  L. W.



THE STORY OF THE TROCADÉRO.


There is no portion of the Paris Exhibition of 1878 which has excited
more attention or attracted more visitors than has the Palace of the
Trocadéro. Yet few of the visitors who pass beneath its lofty portals
ever imagine that the site of the sumptuous edifice is haunted by
historical associations of no slight degree of interest. In fact, before
the palace "rose like an exhalation" at the bidding of the skilled
architects employed by the government few persons knew anything about
the Trocadéro at all. That lofty eminence, incomparably the finest
building-site in Paris, with its graduated slopes gay with flowers and
verdure, has long been a favorite lounging-place for Parisian artisans
when out for a holiday, or for tourists seeking for a good view of the
city and shrinking from the fatigue of climbing to the top of the Arc de
Triomphe. Yet no one seemed to know anything of its history, or even why
a hill in Paris should bear the name of a Spanish fort. And yet, to a
certain extent, the spot is one of genuine historical interest.
Successively a feudal manor, a royal domain, a cloister, and the site of
unrealized projects of the later monarchs of France, religion, ambition,
sorrow and glory have there at different times sought a refuge or a
pedestal.

The Trocadéro occupies a part of the site of the ancient village of
Chaillot, whose existence can be traced back to the eleventh century. In
its earlier days this village was celebrated for its vineyards and
gardens and for its enchanting view; which last charm its site still
retains. It was bestowed by Louis XI. on the historian Philippe de
Comines, from whose heirs the domain was purchased by Catherine de
Medicis. The building-loving queen caused a palace to be erected there,
but of that edifice no trace now remains. After the death of the queen,
Chaillot and its palace became the property of the President Janin, who
probably tore down and rebuilt the royal abode, as he is accused in the
memoirs of the time of being largely possessed by a mania for pulling
down and rebuilding all the mansions in his possession. An engraving of
the edifice as he left it exists in the Bibliothèque Nationale. It shows
a very charming structure in the Renaissance style, erected, apparently,
at a point halfway down the slope, since there are two lines of terraces
behind it, as well as many in front.

The next owner of the domain of Chaillot was François de Bassompierre,
former friend and boon-companion of Henri IV. He did not occupy it very
long, being sent to the Bastile by Cardinal de Richelieu a very few
years after the purchase was completed. During his imprisonment he lent
Chaillot to his sister-in-law, Madame de Nemours. One day Richelieu sent
to the Bastile to request his prisoner to let him occupy Chaillot as a
summer abode. Bassompierre accordingly sent word to his sister-in-law
that she must make way for the all-powerful minister. Richelieu
remained at Chaillot for over six weeks, and declared that the furniture
of the apartments was far finer than anything in that line which the
king possessed.

The sad figure of Henriette Marie, the widowed queen of Charles I. of
England, and youngest daughter of Henri IV., comes next upon the scene.
She it was who, having purchased Chaillot after her return to France,
established there the convent of Les Dames de la Visitation. A chapel
was added to the extensive structure left behind by her father's old
comrade, and it was in that chapel that her funeral sermon was preached
by Bossuet--one of the first of those marvellous pieces of funereal
eloquence which more than aught else have contributed to render his name
immortal.

Next we have a vision of Louise de la Vallière, "like Niobe, all tears,"
flying to the arms of the abbess of the Visitandines for refuge from the
anguish of beholding the insolent De Montespan enthroned in her place.
It took all the eloquence and persuasive powers of Colbert to induce the
fair weeper to return with him to Versailles. She yielded at last, but
not without many sad forebodings that were destined to be only too
perfectly fulfilled. "When I left the king before, he came for me: now,
he sends for me," she sighed. She bade farewell to the abbess, assuring
her that she would speedily return. But when, after three years more of
suffering and humiliation, she finally retired to a convent, she did not
enter that of the Visitandines, but that of the Carmelites, then
situated in the Faubourg St. Jacques.

In 1707 a dispute between the Superior of the Visitandines and the
officers of the king led to the abolition of the feudal privileges of
Chaillot, and it was created a suburb of the city of Paris. Henceforward
the quiet convent belongs no more to history. From the windows of their
cells the nuns could behold the laying out of the Champ de Mars and the
erection of the new military school decreed by Louis XV. But they were
not destined to witness the Festival of the Republic, which took place
on the Champ de Mars, since in 1790 the convent was suppressed and the
nuns dispersed. The buildings still remained, and were devoted to
various public uses till they were swept away to give place to the
gigantic project of the First Napoleon, whose plans, had they been
carried out, would have totally changed that quarter of Paris and
rendered it one of the most beautiful portions of the city.

Percier and Fontaine, the architects of the emperor, have left behind
them a full account of the projects of their imperial master relative to
the heights of Chaillot. Being commissioned to erect a palace at Lyons,
they opposed the idea on account of the difficulty of finding a suitable
site for the projected building, and proposed instead the hill of
Chaillot as being the finest site that it was possible to find in
France. Their proposition was accepted: the buildings then occupying the
height were purchased and torn down, and the works were commenced. The
plan of Napoleon was a grandiose one, including not only the palace, to
which he gave the name of his son, calling it the "Palace of the King of
Rome," but also a series of buildings filling up three out of the four
sides of the Champ de Mars, including two barracks, a military hospital
and a palace of archives, as well as edifices for schools of art and
industry. As to the palace itself, it was to have a frontage of over
fourteen hundred feet on the Quai de Billy--an extent which is about
that of the present Palace of the Trocadéro. The whole of the plain of
Passy, which was but little built upon at that epoch, was to be
transformed into a wooded park stretching to and including the Bois de
Boulogne. The grounds surrounding the palace were to be joined to the
Avenue de Neuilly, to the Arc de Triomphe and to the high road of St.
Germain by wide avenues bordered with trees.

This splendid project was destined never to be realized. Hardly had the
foundations of the palace been laid when the disastrous campaign of
Moscow put an end to the works. Money was wanted for soldiers and
ammunition more than for palaces and parks. After the battle of
Leipsic, Napoleon had the idea of making of his scarcely-commenced
palace a Sans Souci like that of Frederick the Great--a quiet retreat
where he could escape from the toils and cares of empire. But hardly had
the works been recommenced on this diminished basis when the abdication
of the emperor and his exile to Elba came to put a stop to them anew,
and this time a decisive one; for, though a few workmen were employed in
levelling the grounds and building the walls during the Hundred Days,
there was neither spirit nor conviction in the work: the illusions of
other days had fled, and were not to be revived. It was impossible for
even the most sanguine partisans of Napoleon to imagine that the palace
would ever be completed and receive him as a tenant.

Under the Restoration it was decided to utilize the deserted foundations
and to erect thereon a barrack. The laying of the cornerstone of the new
edifice was made the occasion of a solemn festival in honor of the
successes of the French army in Spain. The day chosen was the
anniversary of the taking of the fort of the Trocadéro at Cadiz by the
duc d'Angoulême, and the better to mark the occasion the height on which
the new barrack was to stand was solemnly rebaptized by the name of the
fort in question. The programme of the fête was long and elaborate. It
consisted of a representation of the taking of the Trocadéro, a sham
battle in which twenty battalions of the royal guard took part. Then
came the laying of the cornerstone, which duty was performed by the
dauphin and dauphiness. But the projected barrack of the Bourbons shared
the fate of the palace of Napoleon. It was never built, and for nearly
thirty years the ruins of the abandoned foundations and terraces were
left to be picturesquely clothed with weeds and wild grasses. Only the
name bestowed upon the height remained, and it was still called the
Trocadéro.

Under the Second Empire the laying out of the numerous handsome avenues
which extend around the Arc de Triomphe, and have it for a centre,
necessitated the clearing and levelling of the deserted site. It was at
first proposed to erect there a monument in commemoration of the
victories of Magenta and Solferino, and the plans were actually drawn
up: it was to have consisted of a lofty column, surpassing in its
dimensions any similar monument in Paris. At the base of this column a
fountain and a vast cascade were to be constructed, and the slope was to
have been laid with turf and planted with trees. But this project, too,
came to naught, and the Exhibition of 1867 only impelled the authorities
into grading and laying out the ground, strengthening and repairing the
flights of steps that led to the summit, and embellishing it with
grass-plats and flower-beds. Later, the project was conceived by
Napoleon III. of erecting on the summit of the Trocadéro a Grecian
temple in white marble, destined to receive the busts of the great men
of France with commemorative inscriptions--a project which the downfall
of the Second Empire found unrealized. The ancient site of the village
of Chaillot seemed like one of those spots of which we read in monkish
legends, which are haunted by a demon that destroys the work and blights
the existence of whoever attempts to build upon them. Palace, barracks,
monument and temple alike never existed, and were but the shadowy
precursors of disaster to their projectors. It was reserved for the
Third Republic to break the evil spell, and to crown the picturesque and
historic eminence with an edifice worthy of the beauty of the site and
of its associations with the past.

  L. H. H.



SWISS ENGINEERING.


Switzerland, of all the countries of Europe, presents the most grave and
numerous obstacles to intercommunication. The number and size of the
mountains and glaciers, the depth of the valleys, the torrential
character of the rivers,--everything unites to make the highways cost
enormously in money, while the feats of skill they necessitate are "the
triumph of civil engineers, the wonder of tourists, the despair of
shareholders and the burden of budgets." Among these triumphs are the
viaduct of Grandfey; the railroads that climb the Righi and the
Uetliberg; the Axen tunnel and quay; and the Gotthard tunnel, over nine
miles long--a solid granite bore through a mountain. One that was
honored by a national celebration on the 16th of last August was the
reclaiming from the water of the vast plain called Seeland, the
territory occupying the triangle bounded by the river Aar and the Lakes
of Bienne, Neufchâtel and Morat. It was wholly under water, and had
slowly emerged after many centuries; but despite an extensive system of
drainage the land was never dry enough for serious cultivation. In rainy
years it was even covered with water, making, with the three lakes, a
sheet nearly twenty-five miles square.

The great work celebrated last August was no less than the changing the
bed of the Aar and the lowering of the three lakes mentioned. The Aar in
this region is about the size of the Seine at Paris or of the Hudson at
Troy, but it is subject to sudden floods that are the terror of dwellers
and property-owners along its borders. A Swiss colonel named La Nicca
was the author of the grand scheme for reclaiming Seeland. The
proposition he made was accepted in 1867, and, thanks to the sacrifices
of the citizens in the communes and cantons immediately interested, and
also to a heavy national subsidy, the enterprise was commenced, and so
vigorously and ably prosecuted that in ten years it was finished.

To-day the Aar, turned out of its ancient bed near Aarsberg, runs nearly
west instead of north-east toward Soleure, and empties into Lake Bienne
near its middle. The new bed or canal made for this river is over five
and a half miles long, and some of the way it is three hundred and
twenty-eight feet deep. But this is only a part of the work. Another
vast canal, also over five and a half miles long, at the eastern
extremity of the lake, not far from the pretty village of Bienne,
receives the overflow not only of Lake Bienne, but of Neufchâtel and
Morat, which are all three connected by broad canals, and are now in
communication with the Rhine by steam navigation. The canal at the
eastern extremity of Lake Bienne opens into the Aar some seven miles
below where that river was cut off. It is in fact the bed of the river
Thièle, deepened and reconstructed.

The deepening of the bed of the Thièle, the natural outlet of Lake
Bienne, was effected according to principles that would ensure the
lowering of the water-level of all the three lakes some ten feet! Thus a
vast territory of swampy land, which once bore only reeds, now yields
abundant harvests of grain and fruits. Of course the lowering of these
three lakes had to be effected gradually, for the volume of water
removed--no less than three thousand two hundred and eighty million
cubic feet--represents a stupendous force. By this enterprise the whole
plain of Seeland has become higher than the surface of the lakes, and
consequently drains into them naturally. Already a beautiful village,
Witzwyl, has sprung up, surrounded by some seven hundred and fifty
thousand acres of fine arable land reclaimed from a forbidding,
malaria-exhaling marsh.

  M. H.



LITERATURE OF THE DAY.

     The Ceramic Art: A Compendium of the History and Manufacture of
     Pottery and Porcelain. By Jennie J. Young. New York: Harper &
     Brothers.


"More crockery!" exclaims one aweary of the ceramic craze. "And the
biggest book of all!--the winding-up shower, let us hope," quoth another
non-sympathizer.

This portly octavo, with its four hundred and sixty-four wood-cuts, a
seemingly exhaustive compend of the subject, may indeed be accepted as
the peroratory rain destined to give the soil its last preparation for
the rich growth to follow under a clear and sunny sky. What pen and
print can do to perfect the requisite conditions for a Periclean age of
pottery must by this time have been done. The case is summed up and
stated. The issue rests with the jury of millions who use and admire
burnt clay. Their wants, their sense of beauty and their purse will
render the verdict. We might more safely and properly say that they will
render a number of verdicts, all in their way and sphere just and true,
since in no one of the arts so much as in this of all times and all
nations is it so difficult to subject the infinitude of styles and
fancies to one rigid canon. That the Greek vase is an absolute exemplar
in grace and elegance of form every one hastens to concede. But who
would hesitate to give up a part of what the Greeks have bequeathed us
rather than lose the marvellous filigree in clay of "Henri Deux," the
rich realism of Palissy or the wild and delightful riot of line and
color and unequalled delicacy of manipulation presented to us by the
Japanese? One and the same eye, as highly and soundly educated as you
please, may be charmed almost equally by works of each of these schools
and of others not here named; and that almost without wishing to see the
peculiar merits of each combined and merged in one. A perfect eclectic
vase is not to be expected, if desired, any more than a fruit or a wine
which shall unite the best flavors of all orchards or all vintages. What
can be done is to strive in that direction, as the French cook seeks, by
"composing," to attain in one supreme _plat_ the _ne plus ultra_ of
sapidity. We shall not be able, any more than he, to reach that climax
or to dull the charm of variety. The fusing of the Greek brain and the
Oriental eye and finger in the alembic of Western Europe and the New
World will still continue to be attempted.

Trade, the great amalgamator, is promoting this end. Chinese porcelain
has long been sent to Japan for decoration, the resemblance between the
styles of the two countries, due primarily to race, being thus
increased. American biscuit is sent to England for the like purpose; and
we read with more surprise that the unfinished ware of Dresden seeks
ornamentation in the same country, whence it is returned to be placed
upon the market as true Meissen. A firm of New Yorkers, again, have
migrated to France and built up the beautiful fabric of Limoges with the
aid of French artists. The craftsmen of Japan and China are year by year
borrowing Western forms and methods, as comparison of the ancient and
modern work of those nations will show clearly enough.

While national idiosyncrasies the most opposite and the most widely
separated in every sense ally themselves in behalf of progress,
individual effort is encouraged by the reflection that no walk of art
offers a more open field to original genius. Della Robbia, Bernart,
Palissy and Wedgwood each found his own material and created his own
school. Neither of them possessed the facilities, educational or
mechanical, now at the command of hundreds. Neither had as wide or as
eager a market for his productions as the coming artist in clay may
command. Surely, such an artist is at this moment maturing his powers in
some one of the scores of training institutions which have sprung up,
under public or private auspices, within the past quarter of a century.
Thorwaldsen was not a man of great originative genius, and nothing at
all of a potter, troubling himself little about hard or soft paste or
this or the other glaze; but he infused the love of classic form into
the bleakest corners of Scandinavia, and made her youth modellers of
terra-cotta into shapes unexcelled by any imitators of the antique. The
prize awaits him who should, upon such knowledge and discipline, graft a
study of Oriental designs, an eye for color, an independent fancy, and
such minute precision of manual dexterity as seems the hardest thing of
all for the Western to acquire. He will not have, like his great
forerunners, to invent his material. Science does not repress, it
invites and assists him. It offers him mineral colors and modes of
graduating heat unknown to them. All the secrets of porcelain are open
to him; and were they not, Europe did all her best things in ceramics
before she was able to make a porcelain teacup. He may find room for
improvement in material too. Pottery is the most durable of fabrics so
long as it is not broken. But it is fragile, as bronze is not. Why may
not that defect be remedied, as other defects have been by the Japanese
and our bank-note printers in that particularly evanescent texture,
paper? Some day, perhaps, burnt clay will be held together by threads of
asbestos as greenbacks are by threads of silk and the sun-burned
Egyptian bricks were by straw. Malleable glass we have already. Why not
malleable faïence?

The book before us presents the art, its history, its processes and its
results in a manner every way satisfactory. Its account is full without
being prolix. The author's taste is catholic enough. The different
styles are placed before the reader side by side, with an evident
purpose to do justice to all of them. There is little of the jargon of
the connoisseur. Marks are curtly dismissed with the sound dictum that
"the art and not the mark should be studied." Much use is made of the
engravings, which are more closely connected with the text than,
unfortunately, is generally the case in illustrated works. They are
strictly illustrations of it, and serve as good a purpose in that way as
cuts without the aid of color could well do. Nothing is more difficult
to reproduce than a first-class work in clay or porcelain. Color,
drawing, form, surface and texture present a compound of difficulties
not to be completely overcome by the resources of the graver, the camera
and the printer in colors. Only on the shelves of the museum can it be
studied understandingly. It must speak for itself. The chromo undertakes
to duplicate, with more or less success, the painting in oil or fresco,
but the vase is a picture and something more. It is the joint product of
the painter and the sculptor, and the substance whereon they bestow
their labor has a special and varying beauty of its own.

In the pages devoted to the history of American pottery we confess that
we have been chiefly attracted by its antiquities. The specimens given
of remains from all parts of the two continents show at a glance their
common origin. They all come unmistakably from the hands of the same
Indian, civilized or savage. The Moquis, the Mound-builders, the Aztecs
and the Peruvians all wrought their mother, Earth, into the same
fashion, and adorned her countenance, purified by fire, with scrolls and
colors in the same taste. The pigments employed have proved as lasting
as those in the Egyptian tombs, and the forms are often as graceful as
in a majority of the Phoenician vessels found in Cyprus. In the
representation of the human head the Peruvian artist, so far as we may
judge from these relics, excelled his rival of Tyre and Sidon.

That this will become a handbook on the subject of which it treats
cannot be doubted. If we might venture to suggest an amendment to the
second edition, it would be the addition to the illustrations of two or
three figures carefully executed in colors--Greek, Japanese and Sèvres.


     Like unto Like. By Sherwood Bonner. (Library of American Fiction.)
     New York: Harper & Brothers.

Sherwood Bonner has been singularly happy in her choice of a subject for
this, her first novel. She has broken new ground on that Southern soil
which seemed already for literary purposes wellnigh worn out, and she
has touched upon a period in the struggle between North and South which,
so far as we know, has been little treated by novelists. The antagonists
are represented not in the smoke of battle, but at that critical and
awkward moment when the first steps toward reconciliation are being
made. A proud but sociable little Mississippi town is shown in the act
of half-reluctantly opening its doors to the officers of a couple of
Federal regiments stationed within its bounds. The situation is
portrayed with much spirit and humor, as well as with the most perfect
_good_-humor. Thoroughly Southern as the novel is, it is not narrowly
so: its pictures of Southern society are drawn from within, and show its
writer's sympathy with Southern feeling, yet its tone, even in touching
on the most tender spots, is entirely dispassionate, and at the same
time free from any apparent effort to be so.

The first chapter introduces us to a triad of charming girls, whose
careless talk soon turns upon the soldiers' expected arrival in Yariba
and the proper reception to be given them by the Yariba damsels. Betty
Page, Mary Barton and Blythe Herndon are, in a sense, typical girls, and
represent the three orders in which nearly all girlhood may be
classified--namely, frivolous girls, good girls, and clever girls or
girls with ideas. Ideas are represented by Blythe Herndon, whose
outspoken verdict in favor of tolerance and forgetfulness of the past
draws upon her the patriotic indignation of Miss Betty Page. How long
the fair disputants preserve the jewel of consistency forms the _motif_
of the book. Betty dances and flirts, neglects her loyal young Southern
lover--who, we hope, is consoled by Mary--and finally surrenders to a
handsome moustache and the Union with a happy unconsciousness of any
abandonment of her principles. Blythe, with her ardent nature and
youthful attitude of intolerance toward intolerance, is easily attracted
by the intellectual freedom which appears to open before her in the
conversation of an enthusiastic New England radical. Her mind is,
however, not wholly thrown off its balance by this vision of culture:
she awakens to the fact that the breach is wider than she had at first
dreamed, and shrinks from the sacrifice not only of prejudice, but of
first principles and affections, which is demanded of her. Lovers who
are separated by hereditary or political strife have ever been a
favorite theme with poet and romancer. In the majority of instances
these unhappy beings have regarded the barrier between them as a useless
obstacle erected by a perverse Fate in the way of their happiness. But
Mr. Roger Ellis adheres with narrow obstinacy to the least article of
his broad political creed, without a particle of consideration for the
different one in which Blythe has been nurtured. He flourishes the
American flag in his conversation in true stump-orator style, kisses
black babies in the street--when, as Betty Page remarks, no man was ever
known to kiss a white baby if he could help it--and refuses to eat
without the company at table of a little black _protégé_.

Plot there is none in _Like unto Like_, and of incident very little.
Light, often sparkling, conversations and charming bits of description
follow each other in ready succession like beads upon a string. Lack of
incident is atoned for by charm of writing, and in the vivacity of the
scenes the reader disregards the slenderness of the connecting thread,
or perhaps forgets to look for it. The style is easy and pleasant, while
free from the slips to which "easy writers" are so prone. Of bright,
witty sayings a number could easily be gathered as samples, but the
readers would still have to be referred to the book for many more.
Perhaps the main charm of _Like unto Like_ lies in its description of
the quaint life in Southern provincial towns, where the people "all talk
to each other as if they were members of one family," where married
ladies are still called by their friends "Miss Kate," "Miss Janey," or
"Miss Ada," and where, "when a youth and maiden promise to marry each
other, they become possessed immediately with a wild desire to conceal
their engagement from all the world." There clings to the book a
suggestion of that Southern accent which in the mouth of a pretty woman
has such a piquant foreign sound.


     His Heart's Desire: A Novel. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co.

We can complain of no lack of plot or paucity of incidents in _His
Heart's Desire_. Were the material less ably handled we should suggest
an unnecessary redundancy, but we hesitate to pronounce superfluous
anything which is so exactly fitted, so neatly dove-tailed into the main
structure, as is each incident and character in the present novel. About
a dozen individual and more or less finished personages contribute their
life-histories to the book, yet each of these lives has some bearing
upon that of the heroine, Nora St. John, and notwithstanding these
intricacies the plot never becomes confused. It has been too firmly
grasped by the author's mind to be a puzzle to the reader's. Its various
ramifications are never allowed to get into a "snarl:" the mystery all
turns upon a single point which we will not spoil the reader's pleasure
by mentioning, and, arrived at the last pages, the various threads of
the story unwind themselves easily and naturally like a single coil. The
same skill is displayed in the management of the characters. Though
drawn with unequal power, many of them being seized with much vividness,
whilst others must be accounted failures, they are well grouped.
Numerous as the figures are, they never crowd or jostle each other, and
elaborated as they are in many cases, all are subordinate to that of
Nora, whose character and story stand out in a strong relief not easy to
obtain upon so varied a background. This character is finely conceived
and drawn with real power, being impressive by the very truth of the
rendering, for she is not invested with any strikingly heroic qualities.
A strong, passionate nature made cold by suffering and the constant
struggle to keep the secret of her one season of passion from rising
again to confront her--a woman of forty, who has no longer any illusions
or pleasure, in whose character intense pride is the only motive-power
left, and even pride is weary of its loneliness and the assaults made
upon it--Nora excites interest, and even pity, by her position and by
the aspect of a strong nature under subdued but real suffering. In the
later pages of the book, and notably in the scene with Mr. Sistare, in
which revelations are made by both, the changes gradual or sudden in her
feelings and thought are portrayed with the delicacy of light and shade,
the picturesqueness and self-forgetfulness, with which a fine actress
renders a part. This dramatic quality is perhaps the most striking trait
in _His Heart's Desire_. Many of its scenes are intensely dramatic, full
of passion, striking in situation, and showing a rather rare
accomplishment--that of conducting a dialogue which shall be equally
brilliant on both sides without resembling a monologue.

In praising this novel so highly we do not forget its faults. But,
though perhaps as numerous as its merits, they are by no means equal to
them in importance. Something of naturalness and simplicity has been
sacrificed to the exigences of the plot; and, while the higher truth is
adhered to in the principal scenes and characters, some of the minor
ones appear to us rather highly colored. By distributing the fatal gift
of beauty with a less lavish hand the author might, we think, have
subdued this color: a few commonplace figures would have added to the
naturalness of the scene.

Sensational the book may be pronounced from a glance through its chain
of incidents, yet neither by its tone nor its writing does it belong to
the class which we call sensational. Its tone is earnest and sincere,
grave social questions being handled with a purity and feeling which
makes the book, in spite of its apparent unconsciousness of purpose, a
distinctly moral one.



_Books Received._


     Books for Bright Eyes, embracing "On the Farm," "More Happy Days,"
     "Mountain-Tops," "One Day in our Long Vacation." By Mrs. M. E.
     Miller. New York: American Tract Society.


     Cross's Eclectic Short-hand: A New System, adapted both to general
     use and to verbatim reporting. By J. George Cross, A. M. Chicago:
     S. C. Griggs & Co.


     The Waverley Dictionary: An Alphabetical Arrangement of all the
     Characters in Sir Walter Scott's Waverley Novels. By May Rogers.
     Chicago: S. C. Griggs & Co.


     The French Revolution. By Hippolyte Adolphe Taine. Translated by
     John Durand. (First Volume.) New York: Henry Holt & Co.


     Maximum Stresses in Framed Bridges. By Professor William Cain,
     A. M., C. E. (Van Nostrand's Science Series.) New York: D. Van
     Nostrand.


     The Ethics of Positivism: A Critical Study. By Giacomo Barzellotti,
     Professor of Philosophy, Florence. New York: Charles P. Somerby.


     Grammar-Land; or, Grammar in Fun for the Children of
     Schoolroom-shire. By M. L. Nesbitt. New York: Henry Holt & Co.


     The Family Christian Almanac for 1879. By Professor George W.
     Coakley. New York: American Tract Society.


     American Colleges: Their Students and Work. By Charles F. Thwing.
     New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.


     A Story or Two from an Old Dutch Town. By Robert Lowell. Boston:
     Roberts Brothers.


     Life and Adventure in Japan. By E. Warren Clark. New York: American
     Tract Society.


     Cupid and the Sphinx. By Harford Flemming. New York: G. P. Putnam's
     Sons.


     The Old House Altered. By George C. Mason. New York: G. P. Putnam's
     Sons.


     The Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus. Boston:
     Roberts Brothers.


     Handsome Harry. By Sarah E. Chester. New York: American Tract
     Society.


     Thanatopsis. By William Cullen Bryant. New York: G. P. Putnam's
     Sons.


     Modern Frenchmen. By Philip Gilbert Hamerton. Boston: Roberts
     Brothers.


     What is the Bible? By J. T. Sunderland. New York: G. P. Putnam's
     Sons.


     Six to One: A Nantucket Idyl. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.


     Sibyl Spencer. By James Kent. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.


     Songs of Italy. By Joaquin Miller. Boston: Roberts Brothers.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] This is the name given from time immemorial to that part of Biscay
that extends from Bilbao to the eastern boundaries of the province of
Santander. It contains fifteen thousand inhabitants, and abounds in
minerals, fruit and grain. The original Basque language, owing to the
constant intercourse with Castile, has yielded to the Spanish, which,
however, is mixed with many Basque words and expressions.

[2] That is, a similarity of the final vowel or last two vowels. Thus,
jardin_e_r_o_s and du_e_ñ_o_ amist_a_d and sac_a_r are considered to
rhyme.

[3] The word _ciego_, "blind man," is also used to denote the blind
ballad-singers with whom the country abounds.

[4] The first four of the above-mentioned volumes, together with the
_Libro de los Cantares_, have been published by Brockhaus in his
_Colleccion de Autores Españoles_, Leipzig, vols. vi., xviii., xix.,
xxvi., and xxxiii.

[5] Special awards of objects of art to competitors in the trials of
agricultural implements in the field:

  McCormick (grand prize), binding reaper, United States.
  Wood, binding reaper, United States.
  Osborne, binding reaper, United States.
  Johnston, reaper, United States.
  Whiteley, mower, United States.
  Dederick, hay-press, United States.
  Mabille, Chicago hay-press, France.
  Meixmoron-Dombasle, gang-plough, France.
  Deere, gang-plough, United States.
  Aveling & Porter, steam-plough, England.
  Albaret, electric light for field-work at night, France.

[6] The cut shows a smaller crane, which has a fixed jib for use on a
permanent or temporary track.

[7] Why this unfortunate fish should be so distinguished I have never
been able to learn, but the saying is universal in the French army.

[8] This is a paraphrase rather than a translation, the patois of the
original being impossible to render exactly.





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