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´╗┐Title: The Beautiful Lady
Author: Tarkington, Booth, 1869-1946
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 "The Beautiful Lady" ***

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THE BEAUTIFUL LADY

By Booth Tarkington



Chapter One


Nothing could have been more painful to my sensitiveness than to occupy
myself, confused with blushes, at the center of the whole world as a
living advertisement of the least amusing ballet in Paris.

To be the day's sensation of the boulevards one must possess an
eccentricity of appearance conceived by nothing short of genius; and my
misfortunes had reduced me to present such to all eyes seeking mirth. It
was not that I was one of those people in uniform who carry placards and
strange figures upon their backs, nor that my coat was of rags; on the
contrary, my whole costume was delicately rich and well chosen, of soft
grey and fine linen (such as you see worn by a marquis in the pe'sage
at Auteuil) according well with my usual air and countenance, sometimes
esteemed to resemble my father's, which were not wanting in distinction.

To add to this my duties were not exhausting to the body. I was required
only to sit without a hat from ten of the morning to midday, and from
four until seven in the afternoon, at one of the small tables under
the awning of the Cafe' de la Paix at the corner of the Place de
l'Opera--that is to say, the centre of the inhabited world. In the
morning I drank my coffee, hot in the cup; in the afternoon I sipped it
cold in the glass. I spoke to no one; not a glance or a gesture of mine
passed to attract notice.

Yet I was the centre of that centre of the world. All day the crowds
surrounded me, laughing loudly; all the voyous making those jokes for
which I found no repartee. The pavement was sometimes blocked; the
passing coachmen stood up in their boxes to look over at me, small
infants were elevated on shoulders to behold me; not the gravest or
most sorrowful came by without stopping to gaze at me and go away
with rejoicing faces. The boulevards rang to their laughter--all Paris
laughed!

For seven days I sat there at the appointed times, meeting the eye
of nobody, and lifting my coffee with fingers which trembled with
embarrassment at this too great conspicuosity! Those mournful hours
passed, one by the year, while the idling bourgeois and the travellers
made ridicule; and the rabble exhausted all effort to draw plays of wit
from me.

I have told you that I carried no placard, that my costume was elegant,
my demeanour modest in all degree.

"How, then, this excitement?" would be your disposition to inquire. "Why
this sensation?"

It is very simple. My hair had been shaved off, all over my ears,
leaving only a little above the back of the neck, to give an appearance
of far-reaching baldness, and on my head was painted, in ah! so
brilliant letters of distinctness:

     Theatre

     Folie-Rouge

     Revue

     de

     Printemps

     Tous les Soirs

Such was the necessity to which I was at that time reduced! One has
heard that the North Americans invent the most singular advertising,
but I will not believe they surpass the Parisian. Myself, I say I cannot
express my sufferings under the notation of the crowds that moved about
the Cafe' de la Paix! The French are a terrible people when they
laugh sincerely. It is not so much the amusing things which cause
them amusement; it is often the strange, those contrasts which contain
something horrible, and when they laugh there is too frequently some
person who is uncomfortable or wicked. I am glad that I was born not a
Frenchman; I should regret to be native to a country where they invent
such things as I was doing in the Place de l'Opera; for, as I tell you,
the idea was not mine.

As I sat with my eyes drooping before the gaze of my terrible and
applauding audiences, how I mentally formed cursing words against the
day when my misfortunes led me to apply at the Theatre Folie-Rouge for
work! I had expected an audition and a role of comedy in the Revue; for,
perhaps lacking any experience of the stage, I am a Neapolitan by birth,
though a resident of the Continent at large since the age of fifteen.
All Neapolitans can act; all are actors; comedians of the greatest,
as every traveller is cognizant. There is a thing in the air of
our beautiful slopes which makes the people of a great instinctive
musicalness and deceptiveness, with passions like those burning in
the old mountain we have there. They are ready to play, to sing--or to
explode, yet, imitating that amusing Vesuvio, they never do this last
when you are in expectancy, or, as a spectator, hopeful of it.

How could any person wonder, then, that I, finding myself suddenly
destitute in Paris, should apply at the theatres? One after another,
I saw myself no farther than the director's door, until (having had no
more to eat the day preceding than three green almonds, which I took
from a cart while the good female was not looking) I reached the
Folie-Rouge. Here I was astonished to find a polite reception from the
director. It eventuated that they wished for a person appearing like
myself a person whom they would outfit with clothes of quality in all
parts, whose external presented a gentleman of the great world, not
merely of one the galant-uomini, but who would impart an air to a table
at a cafe' where he might sit and partake. The contrast of this with
the emplacement of the establishment on his bald head-top was to be the
success of the idea. It was plain that I had no baldness, my hair being
very thick and I but twenty-four years of age, when it was explained
that my hair could be shaved. They asked me to accept, alas! not a part
in the Revue, but a specialty as a sandwich-man. Knowing the English
tongue as I do, I may afford the venturesomeness to play upon it
a little: I asked for bread, and they offered me not a role, but a
sandwich!

It must be undoubted that I possessed not the disposition to make any
fun with my accomplishments during those days that I spent under the
awning of the Cafe' de la Paix. I had consented to be the advertisement
in greatest desperation, and not considering what the reality would be.
Having consented, honour compelled that I fulfil to the ending. Also,
the costume and outfittings I wore were part of my emolument. They had
been constructed for me by the finest tailor; and though I had impulses,
often, to leap up and fight through the noisy ones about me and run far
to the open country, the very garments I wore were fetters binding me to
remain and suffer. It seemed to me that the hours were spent not in the
centre of a ring of human persons, but of un-well-made pantaloons and
ugly skirts. Yet all of these pantaloons and skirts had such scrutinous
eyes and expressions of mirth to laugh like demons at my conscious,
burning, painted head; eyes which spread out, astonished at the sight
of me, and peered and winked and grinned from the big wrinkles above
the gaiters of Zouaves, from the red breeches of the gendarmes, the
knickerbockers of the cyclists, the white ducks of sergents de ville,
and the knees of the boulevardiers, bagged with sitting cross-legged at
the little tables. I could not escape these eyes;--how scornfully they
twinkled at me from the spurred and glittering officers' boots! How with
amaze from the American and English trousers, both turned up and creased
like folded paper, both with some dislike for each other but for all
other trousers more.

It was only at such times when the mortifications to appear so greatly
embarrassed became stronger than the embarrassment itself that I could
by will power force my head to a straight construction and look out
upon my spectators firmly. On the second day of my ordeal, so facing
the laughers, I found myself facing straight into the monocle of my
half-brother and ill-wisher, Prince Caravacioli.

At this, my agitation was sudden and very great, for there was no one
I wished to prevent perceiving my condition more than that old Antonio
Caravacioli! I had not known that he was in Paris, but I could have no
doubt it was himself: the monocle, the handsome nose, the toupee',
the yellow skin, the dyed-black moustache, the splendid height--it was
indeed Caravacioli! He was costumed for the automobile, and threw but
one glance at me as he crossed the pavement to his car, which was in
waiting. There was no change, not of the faintest, in that frosted
tragic mask of a countenance, and I was glad to think that he had not
recognized me.

And yet, how strange that I should care, since all his life he had
declined to recognize me as what I was! Ah, I should have been glad to
shout his age, his dyes, his artificialities, to all the crowd, so to
touch him where it would most pain him! For was he not the vainest man
in the whole world? How well I knew his vulnerable point: the monstrous
depth of his vanity in that pretense of youth which he preserved through
superhuman pains and a genius of a valet, most excellently! I had much
to pay Antonio for myself, more for my father, most for my mother.
This was why that last of all the world I would have wished that old
fortune-hunter to know how far I had been reduced!

Then I rejoiced about that change which my unreal baldness produced in
me, giving me a look of forty years instead of twenty-four, so that
my oldest friend must take at least three stares to know me. Also, my
costume would disguise me from the few acquaintances I had in Paris
(if they chanced to cross the Seine), as they had only seen me in the
shabbiest; while, at my last meeting with Antonio, I had been as fine in
the coat as now.

Yet my encouragement was not so joyful that my gaze lifted often. On
the very last day, in the afternoon when my observances were most and
noisiest, I lifted my eyes but once during the final half-hour--but such
a one that was!

The edge of that beautiful grey pongee skirt came upon the lid of my
lowered eyelid like a cool shadow over hot sand. A sergent had just made
many of the people move away, so there remained only a thin ring of
the laughing pantaloons about me, when this divine skirt presented its
apparition to me. A pair of North-American trousers accompanied it,
turned up to show the ankle-bones of a rich pair of stockings; neat,
enthusiastic and humorous, I judged them to be; for, as one may
discover, my only amusement during my martyrdom--if this misery can
be said to possess such alleviatings--had been the study of feet,
pantaloons, and skirts. The trousers in this case detained my
observation no time. They were but the darkest corner of the chiaroscuro
of a Rembrandt--the mellow glow of gold was all across the grey skirt.

How shall I explain myself, how make myself understood? Shall I be
thought sentimentalistic or but mad when I declare that my first
sight of the grey pongee skirt caused me a thrill of excitation, of
tenderness, and--oh-i-me!--of self-consciousness more acute than all my
former mortifications. It was so very different from all other skirts
that had shown themselves to me those sad days, and you may understand
that, though the pantaloons far outnumbered the skirts, many hundreds of
the latter had also been objects of my gloomy observation.

This skirt, so unlike those which had passed, presented at once the
qualifications of its superiority. It had been constructed by an artist,
and it was worn by a lady. It did not pine, it did not droop; there was
no more an atom of hanging too much than there was a portion inflated
by flamboyancy; it did not assert itself; it bore notice without
seeking it. Plain but exquisite, it was that great rarity--goodness made
charming.

The peregrination of the American trousers suddenly stopped as they
caught sight of me, and that precious skirt paused, precisely in
opposition to my little table. I heard a voice, that to which the
skirt pertained. It spoke the English, but not in the manner of the
inhabitants of London, who seem to sing undistinguishably in their
talking, although they are comprehensible to each other. To an Italian
it seems that many North-Americans and English seek too often the
assistance of the nose in talking, though in different manners, each
equally unagreeable to our ears. The intelligent among our lazzaroni
of Naples, who beg from tourists, imitate this, with the purpose of
reminding the generous traveller of his home, in such a way to soften
his heart. But there is some difference: the Italian, the Frenchman,
or German who learns English sometimes misunderstands the American: the
Englishman he sometimes understands.

This voice that spoke was North-American. Ah, what a voice! Sweet as the
mandolins of Sorento! Clear as the bells of Capri! To hear it, was like
coming upon sight of the almond-blossoms of Sicily for the first time,
or the tulip-fields of Holland. Never before was such a voice!

"Why did you stop, Rufus?" it said.

"Look!" replied the American trousers; so that I knew the pongee lady
had not observed me of herself.

Instantaneously there was an exclamation, and a pretty grey parasol,
closed, fell at my feet. It is not the pleasantest to be an object which
causes people to be startled when they behold you; but I blessed the
agitation of this lady, for what caused her parasol to fall from her
hand was a start of pity.

"Ah!" she cried. "The poor man!"

She had perceived that I was a gentleman.

I bent myself forward and lifted the parasol, though not my eyes I could
not have looked up into the face above me to be Caesar! Two hands came
down into the circle of my observation; one of these was that belonging
to the trousers, thin, long, and white; the other was the grey-gloved
hand of the lady, and never had I seen such a hand--the hand of an angel
in a suede glove, as the grey skirt was the mantle of a saint made by
Doucet. I speak of saints and angels; and to the large world these may
sound like cold words.--It is only in Italy where some people are found
to adore them still.

I lifted the parasol toward that glove as I would have moved to set a
candle on an altar. Then, at a thought, I placed it not in the glove,
but in the thin hand of the gentleman. At the same time the voice of the
lady spoke to me--I was to have the joy of remembering that this voice
had spoken four words to me.

"Je vous remercie, monsieur," it said.

"Pas de quoi!" I murmured.

The American trousers in a loud tone made reference in the idiom to my
miserable head: "Did you ever see anything to beat it?"

The beautiful voice answered, and by the gentleness of her sorrow for me
I knew she had no thought that I might understand. "Come away. It is too
pitiful!"

Then the grey skirt and the little round-toed shoes beneath it passed
from my sight, quickly hidden from me by the increasing crowd; yet I
heard the voice a moment more, but fragmentarily: "Don't you see how
ashamed he is, how he must have been starving before he did that, or
that someone dependent on him needed--"

I caught no more, but the sweetness that this beautiful lady understood
and felt for the poor absurd wretch was so great that I could have wept.
I had not seen her face; I had not looked up--even when she went.

"Who is she?" cried a scoundrel voyous, just as she turned. "Madame of
the parasol? A friend of monsieur of the ornamented head?"

"No. It is the first lady in waiting to his wife, Madame la Duchesse,"
answered a second. "She has been sent with an equerry to demand of
monseigneur if he does not wish a little sculpture upon his dome as well
as the colour decorations!"

"'Tis true, my ancient?" another asked of me.

I made no repartee, continuing to sit with my chin dependent upon my
cravat, but with things not the same in my heart as formerly to the
arrival of that grey pongee, the grey glove, and the beautiful voice.

Since King Charles the Mad, in Paris no one has been completely free
from lunacy while the spring-time is happening. There is something in
the sun and the banks of the Seine. The Parisians drink sweet and fruity
champagne because the good wines are already in their veins. These
Parisians are born intoxicated and remain so; it is not fair play to
require them to be like other human people. Their deepest feeling is
for the arts; and, as everyone had declared, they are farceurs in their
tragedies, tragic in their comedies. They prepare the last epigram in
the tumbril; they drown themselves with enthusiasm about the alliance
with Russia. In death they are witty; in war they have poetic spasms; in
love they are mad.

The strangest of all this is that it is not only the Parisians who are
the insane ones in Paris; the visitors are none of them in behaviour as
elsewhere. You have only to go there to become as lunatic as the rest.
Many travellers, when they have departed, remember the events they have
caused there as a person remembers in the morning what he has said and
thought in the moonlight of the night.

In Paris it is moonlight even in the morning; and in Paris one falls in
love even more strangely than by moonlight.

It is a place of glimpses: a veil fluttering from a motor-car, a little
lace handkerchief fallen from a victoria, a figure crossing a lighted
window, a black hat vanishing in the distance of the avenues of the
Tuileries. A young man writes a ballade and dreams over a bit of lace.
Was I not, then, one of the least extravagant of this mad people? Men
have fallen in love with photographs, those greatest of liars; was I
so wild, then, to adore this grey skirt, this small shoe, this divine
glove, the golden-honey voice--of all in Paris the only one to pity and
to understand? Even to love the mystery of that lady and to build my
dreams upon it?--to love all the more because of the mystery? Mystery
is the last word and the completing charm to a young man's passion. Few
sonnets have been written to wives whose matrimony is more than five
years of age--is it not so?



Chapter Two


When my hour was finished and I in liberty to leave that horrible
corner, I pushed out of the crowd and walked down the boulevard, my
hat covering my sin, and went quickly. To be in love with my mystery, I
thought, that was a strange happiness! It was enough. It was romance! To
hear a voice which speaks two sentences of pity and silver is to have a
chime of bells in the heart. But to have a shaven head is to be a monk!
And to have a shaven head with a sign painted upon it is to be a pariah.
Alas! I was a person whom the Parisians laughed at, not with!

Now that at last my martyrdom was concluded, I had some shuddering, as
when one places in his mouth a morsel of unexpected flavour. I wondered
where I had found the courage to bear it, and how I had resisted hurling
myself into the river, though, as is known, that is no longer safe, for
most of those who attempt it are at once rescued, arrested, fined, and
imprisoned for throwing bodies into the Seine, which is forbidden.

At the theatre the frightful badge was removed from my head-top and I
was given three hundred francs, the price of my shame, refusing an offer
to repeat the performance during the following week. To imagine such
a thing made me a choking in my throat, and I left the bureau in some
sickness. This increased so much (as I approached the Madeleine, where
I wished to mount an omnibus) that I entered a restaurant and drank a
small glass of cognac. Then I called for writing-papers and wrote to
the good Mother Superior and my dear little nieces at their convent. I
enclosed two hundred and fifty francs, which sum I had fallen behind in
my payments for their education and sustenance, and I felt a moment's
happiness that at least for a while I need not fear that my poor
brother's orphans might become objects of charity--a fear which,
accompanied by my own hunger, had led me to become the joke of the
boulevards.

Feeling rich with my remaining fifty francs, I ordered the waiter to
bring me a goulasch and a carafe of blond beer, after the consummation
of which I spent an hour in the reading of a newspaper. Can it be
credited that the journal of my perusement was the one which may be
called the North-American paper of the aristocracies of Europe? Also, it
contains some names of the people of the United States at the hotels and
elsewhere.

How eagerly I scanned those singular columns! Shall I confess to what
purpose? I read the long lists of uncontinental names over and over, but
I lingered not at all upon those like "Muriel," "Hermione,"
"Violet," and "Sibyl," nor over "Balthurst," "Skeffington-Sligo," and
"Covering-Legge"; no, my search was for the Sadies and Mamies, the
Thompsons, Van Dusens, and Bradys. In that lies my preposterous secret.

You will see to what infatuation those words of pity, that sense of a
beautiful presence, had led me. To fall in love must one behold a face?
Yes; at thirty. At twenty, when one is something of a poet--No: it
is sufficient to see a grey pongee skirt! At fifty, when one is a
philosopher--No: it is enough to perceive a soul! I had done both; I
had seen the skirt; I had perceived the soul! Therefore, while hungry, I
neglected my goulasch to read these lists of names of the United
States again and again, only that I might have the thought that one
of them--though I knew not which--might be this lady's, and that in so
infinitesimal a degree I had been near her again. Will it be estimated
extreme imbecility in me when I ventured the additional confession that
I felt a great warmth and tenderness toward the possessors of all these
names, as being, if not herself, at least her compatriots?

I am now brought to the admission that before to-day I had experienced
some prejudices against the inhabitants of the North-American republic,
though not on account of great experience of my own. A year previously I
had made a disastrous excursion to Monte Carlo in the company of a
young gentleman of London who had been for several weeks in New York and
Washington and Boston, and appeared to know very much of the country.
He was never anything but tired in speaking of it, and told me a
great amount. He said many times that in the hotels there was never a
concierge or portier to give you information where to discover the best
vaudeville; there was no concierge at all! In New York itself, my
friend told me, a facchino, or species of porter, or some such
good-for-nothing, had said to him, including a slap on the shoulder,
"Well, brother, did you receive your delayed luggage correctly?" (In
this instance my studies of the North-American idiom lead me to
believe that my friend was intentionally truthful in regard to the
principalities, but mistaken in his observation of detail.) He declared
the recent willingness of the English to take some interest in the
United-Statesians to be a mistake; for their were noisy, without real
confidence in themselves; they were restless and merely imitative
instead of inventive. He told me that he was not exceptional; all
Englishmen had thought similarly for fifty or sixty years; therefore,
naturally, his opinion carried great weight with me. And myself, to my
astonishment, I had often seen parties of these republicans become all
ears and whispers when somebody called a prince or a countess passed
by. Their reverence for age itself, in anything but a horse, had often
surprised me by its artlessness, and of all strange things in the world,
I have heard them admire old customs and old families. It was strange to
me to listen, when I had believed that their land was the only one
where happily no person need worry to remember who had been his
great-grandfather.

The greatest of my own had not saved me from the decoration of the
past week, yet he was as much mine as he was Antonio Caravacioli's; and
Antonio, though impoverished, had his motor-car and dined well, since
I happened to see, in my perusal of the journal, that he had been to
dinner the evening before at the English Embassy with a great company.
"Bravo, Antonio! Find a rich foreign wife if you can, since you cannot
do well for yourself at home!" And I could say so honestly, without
spite, for all his hatred of me,--because, until I had paid my addition,
I was still the possessor of fifty francs!

Fifty francs will continue life in the body of a judicial person a long
time in Paris, and combining that knowledge and the good goulasch, I
sought diligently for "Mamies" and "Sadies" with a revived spirit.
I found neither of those adorable names--in fact, only two such
diminutives, which are more charming than our Italian ones: A Miss
Jeanie Archibald Zip and a Miss Fannie Sooter. None of the names was
harmonious with the grey pongee--in truth, most of them were no prettier
(however less processional) than royal names. I could not please myself
that I had come closer to the rare lady; I must be contented that the
same sky covered us both, that the noise of the same city rang in her
ears as mine.

Yet that was a satisfaction, and to know that it was true gave me
mysterious breathlessness and made me hear fragments of old songs during
my walk that night. I walked very far, under the trees of the Bois,
where I stopped for a few moments to smoke a cigarette at one of the
tables outside, at Armenonville.

None of the laughing women there could be the lady I sought; and as my
refusing to command anything caused the waiter uneasiness, in spite of
my prosperous appearance, I remained but a few moments, then trudged on,
all the long way to the Cafe' de Madrid, where also she was not.

How did I assure myself of this since I had not seen her face? I cannot
tell you. Perhaps I should not have known her; but that night I was sure
that I should.

Yes, as sure of that as I was sure that she was beautiful!



Chapter Three


Early the whole of the next day, endeavoring to look preoccupied, I
haunted the lobbies and vicinity of the most expensive hotels, unable to
do any other thing, but ashamed of myself that I had not returned to
my former task of seeking employment, although still reassured by
possession of two louis and some silver, I dined well at a one-franc
coachman's restaurant, where my elegance created not the slightest
surprise, and I felt that I might live in this way indefinitely.

However, dreams often conclude abruptly, and two louis always do, as
I found, several days later, when, after paying the rent for my
unspeakable lodging and lending twenty francs to a poor, bad painter,
whom I knew and whose wife was ill, I found myself with the choice of
obtaining funds on my finery or not eating, either of which I was very
loath to do. It is not essential for me to tell any person that when you
seek a position it is better that you appear not too greatly in need
of it; and my former garments had prejudiced many against me, I fear,
because they had been patched by a friendly concierge. Pantaloons suffer
as terribly as do antiques from too obvious restorations; and while I
was only grateful to the good woman's needle (except upon one occasion
when she forgot to remove it), my costume had reached, at last, great
sympathies for the shade of Praxiteles, feeling the same melancholy over
original intentions so far misrepresented by renewals.

Therefore I determined to preserve my fineries to the uttermost; and
it was fortunate that I did so; because, after dining, for three nights
upon nothing but looking out of my window, the fourth morning brought me
a letter from my English friend. I had written to him, asking if he knew
of any people who wished to pay a salary to a young man who knew how to
do nothing. I place his reply in direct annexation:

"Henrietta Street, Cavendish Square, May 14.

"My dear Ansolini,--Why haven't you made some of your relatives do
something? I understand that they do not like you; neither do my own,
but after our crupper at Monte Carlo what could mine do, except provide?
If a few pounds (precious few, I fear!) be of any service to you, let
me know. In the mean time, if you are serious about a position, I
may, preposterously enough, set you in the way of it. There is an old
thundering Yankee here, whom I met in the States, and who believed me a
god because I am the nephew of my awful uncle, for whose career he
has ever had, it appears, a life-long admiration, sir! Now, by chance,
meeting this person in the street, it developed that he had need of
a man, precisely such a one as you are not: a sober, tutorish,
middle-aged, dissenting parson, to trot about the Continent tied to a
dancing bear. It is the old gentleman's cub, who is a species of Caliban
in fine linen, and who has taken a few too many liberties in the land
of the free. In fact, I believe he is much a youth of my own kind with
similar admiration for baccarat and good cellars. His father must return
at once, and has decided (the cub's native heath and friends being too
wild) to leave him in charge of a proper guide, philosopher, courier,
chaplain, and friend, if such can be found, the same required to travel
with the cub and keep him out of mischief. I thought of your letter
directly, and I have given you the most tremendous recommendation--part
of it quite true, I suspect, though I am not a judge of learning. I
explained, however, that you are a master of languages, of elegant
though subdued deportment, and I extolled at length your saintly habits.
Altogether, I fear there may have been too much of the virtuoso in my
interpretation of you; few would have recognized from it the gentleman
who closed a table at Monte Carlo and afterwards was closed himself in
the handsome and spectacular fashion I remember with both delight and
regret. Briefly, I lied like a master. He almost had me in the matter of
your age; it was important that you should be middle-aged. I swore that
you were at least thirty-eight, but, owing to exemplary habits, looked
very much younger. The cub himself is twenty-four.

"Hence, if you are really serious and determined not to appeal to your
people, call at once upon Mr. Lambert R. Poor, of the Hotel d'Iena. He
is the father, and the cub is with him. The elder Yankee is primed with
my praises of you, and must engage someone at once, as he sails in a day
or two. Go--with my blessing, an air of piety, and as much age as you
can assume. When the father has departed, throw the cub into the Seine,
but preserve his pocket-book, and we shall have another go at those
infernal tables. Vale! J.G.S."

I found myself smiling--I fear miserably--over this kind letter,
especially at the wonder of my friend that I had not appealed to my
relatives. The only ones who would have liked to help me, if they had
known I needed something, were my two little nieces who were in my own
care; because my father, being but a poet, had no family, and my mother
had lost hers, even her eldest son, by marrying my father. After that
they would have nothing to do with her, nor were they asked. That
rascally old Antonio was now the head of all the Caravacioli, as was I
of my own outcast branch of our house--that is, of my two little nieces
and myself. It was partly of these poor infants I had thought when I
took what was left of my small inheritance to Monte Carlo, hoping, since
I seemed to be incapable of increasing it in any other way, that number
seventeen and black would hand me over a fortune as a waiter does wine.
Alas! Luck is not always a fool's servant, and the kind of fortune she
handed me was of that species the waiter brings you in the other bottle
of champagne, the gold of a bubbling brain, lasting an hour. After
this there is always something evil to one's head, and mine, alas! was
shaved.

Half an hour after I had read the letter, the little paper-flower
makers in the attic window across from mine may have seen me shaving
it--without pleasure--again. What else was I to do? I could not
well expect to be given the guardianship of an erring young man if I
presented myself to his parent as a gentleman who had been sitting at
the Cafe' de la Paix with his head painted. I could not wear my hat
through the interview. I could not exhibit the thick five days' stubble,
to appear in contrast with the heavy fringe that had been spared;--I
could not trim the fringe to the shortness of the stubble; I should
have looked like Pierrot. I had only, then, to remain bald, and, if
I obtained the post, to shave in secret--a harmless and mournful
imposition.

It was well for me that I came to this determination. I believe it was
the appearance of maturity which my head and dining upon thoughts lent
me, as much as my friend's praises, which created my success with the
amiable Mr. Lambert R. Poor. I witness that my visit to him provided
one of the most astonishing interviews of my life. He was an instance of
those strange beings of the Western republic, at whom we are perhaps too
prone to pass from one of ourselves to another the secret smile, because
of some little imperfections of manner. It is a type which has grown
more and more familiar to us, yet never less strange: the man in costly
but severe costume, big, with a necessary great waistcoat, not noticing
the loudness of his own voice; as ignorant of the thousand tiny things
which we observe and feel as he would be careless of them (except for
his wife) if he knew. We laugh at him, sometimes even to his face, and
he does not perceive it. We are a little afraid that he is too large
to see it; hence too large for us to comprehend, and in spite of our
laughter we are always conscious of a force--yes, of a presence! We jeer
slyly, but we respect, fear a little, and would trust.

Such was my patron. He met me with a kind greeting, looked at me very
earnestly, but smiling as if he understood my good intentions, as one
understands the friendliness of a capering poodle, yet in such a way
that I could not feel resentment, for I could see that he looked at
almost everyone in the same fashion.

My friend had done wonders for me; and I made the best account of myself
that I could, so that within half an hour it was arranged that I
should take charge of his son, with an honourarium which gave me great
rejoicing for my nieces and my accumulated appetite.

"I think I can pick men," he said, "and I think that you are the man I
want. You're old enough and you've seen enough, and you know enough to
keep one fool boy in order for six months."

So frankly he spoke of his son, yet not without affection and
confidence. Before I left, he sent for the youth himself, Lambert R.
Poor, Jr.,--not at all a Caliban, but a most excellent-appearing, tall
gentleman, of astonishingly meek countenance. He gave me a sad, slow
look from his blue eyes at first; then with a brightening smile he
gently shook my hand, murmuring that he was very glad in the prospect
of knowing me better; after which the parent defined before him, with
singular elaboration, my duties. I was to correct all things in his
behaviour which I considered improper or absurd. I was to dictate the
line of travel, to have a restraining influence upon expenditures; in
brief, to control the young man as a governess does a child.

To all of his parent's instructions Poor Jr. returned a dutiful nod and
expressed perfect acquiescence. The following day the elder sailed from
Cherbourg, and I took up my quarters with the son.



Chapter Four


It is with the most extreme mortification that I record my ensuing
experiences, for I felt that I could not honourably accept my salary
without earning it by carrying out the parent Poor's wishes. That first
morning I endeavoured to direct my pupil's steps toward the Musee de
Cluny, with the purpose of inciting him to instructive study; but in the
mildest, yet most immovable manner, he proposed Longchamps and the races
as a substitute, to conclude with dinner at La Cascade and supper at
Maxim's or the Cafe' Blanche, in case we should meet engaging company.
I ventured the vainest efforts to reason with him, making for myself
a very uncomfortable breakfast, though without effect upon him of any
visibility. His air was uninterruptedly mild and modest; he rarely
lifted his eyes, but to my most earnest argument replied only by
ordering more eggs and saying in a chastened voice:

"Oh no; it is always best to begin school with a vacation. To
Longchamps--we!"

I should say at once that through this young man I soon became
an amateur of the remarkable North-American idioms, of humour and
incomparable brevities often more interesting than those evolved by the
thirteen or more dialects of my own Naples. Even at our first breakfast
I began to catch lucid glimpses of the intention in many of his almost
incomprehensible statements. I was able, even, to penetrate his meaning
when he said that although he was "strong for aged parent," he himself
had suffered much anguish from overwork of the "earnest youth racquette"
in his late travels, and now desired to "create considerable trouble for
Paris."

Naturally, I did not wish to begin by antagonizing my pupil--an
estrangement at the commencement would only lead to his deceiving me, or
a continued quarrel, in which case I should be of no service to my
kind patron, so that after a strained interval I considered it best to
surrender.

We went to Longchamps.

That was my first mistake; the second was to yield to him concerning
the latter part of his programme; but opposition to Mr. Poor, Jr. had
a curious effect of inutility. He had not in the least the air of
obstinacy,--nothing could have been less like rudeness; he neither
frowned not smiled; no, he did not seem even to be insisting; on
the contrary, never have I beheld a milder countenance, nor heard a
pleasanter voice; yet the young man was so completely baffling in his
mysterious way that I considered him unique to my experience.

Thus, when I urged him not to place large wagers in the pesage, his
whispered reply was strange and simple--"Watch me!" This he conclusively
said as he deposited another thousand-franc note, which, within a few
moments, accrued to the French government.


Longchamps was but the beginning of a series of days and nights
which wore upon my constitution--not indeed with the intensity of
mortification which my former conspicuosity had engendered, yet my
sorrows were stringent. It is true that I had been, since the age of
seventeen, no stranger to the gaieties and dissipations afforded by the
capitals of Europe; I may say I had exhausted these, yet always with
some degree of quiet, including intervals of repose. I was tired of all
the great foolishnesses of youth, and had thought myself done with them.
Now I found myself plunged into more uproarious waters than I had ever
known I, who had hoped to begin a life of usefulness and peace, was
forced to dwell in the midst of a riot, pursuing my extraordinary
charge.

There is no need that I should describe those days and nights. They
remain in my memory as a confusion of bad music, crowds, motor-cars and
champagne of which Poor Jr. was a distributing centre. He could never be
persuaded to the Louvre, the Carnavalet, or the Luxembourg; in truth, he
seldom rose in time to reach the museums, for they usually close at
four in the afternoon. Always with the same inscrutable meekness of
countenance, each night he methodically danced the cake-walk at Maxim's
or one of the Montemarte restaurants, to the cheers of acquaintances of
many nationalities, to whom he offered libations with prodigal enormity.
He carried with him, about the boulevards at night, in the highly
powerful car he had hired, large parties of strange people, who would
loudly sing airs from the Folie-Rouge (to my unhappy shudderings) all
the way from the fatiguing Bal Bullier to the Cafe' de Paris, where the
waiters soon became affluent.

And how many of those gaily dressed and smiling ladies whose bright
eyes meet yours on the veranda of the Theatre Marigny were provided with
excessive suppers and souvenir fans by the inexhaustible Poor Jr.! He
left a trail of pink hundred-franc notes behind him, like a running boy
dropping paper in the English game; and he kept showers of gold louis
dancing in the air about him, so that when we entered the various cafes
or "American bars" a cheer (not vocal but to me of perfect audibility)
went up from the hungry and thirsty and borrowing, and from the
attendants. Ah, how tired I was of it, and how I endeavoured to discover
a means to draw him to the museums, and to Notre Dame and the Pantheon!

And how many times did I unwillingly find myself in the too enlivening
company of those pretty supper-girls, and what jokings upon his head-top
did the poor bald gentleman not undergo from those same demoiselles with
the bright eyes, the wonderful hats, and the fluffy dresses!

How often among those gay people did I find myself sadly dreaming of
that grey pongee skirt and the beautiful heart that had understood!
Should I ever see that lady? Not, I knew, alas! in the whirl about Poor
Jr.! As soon look for a nun at the Cafe' Blanche!

For some reason I came to be persuaded that she had left Paris, that she
had gone away; and I pictured her--a little despairingly--on the borders
of Lucerne, with the white Alps in the sky above her,--or perhaps
listening to the evening songs on the Grand Canal, and I would try to
feel the little rocking of her gondola, making myself dream that I sat
at her feet. Or I could see the grey flicker of the pongee skirt in
the twilight distance of cathedral aisles with a chant sounding from
a chapel; and, so dreaming, I would start spasmodically, to hear the
red-coated orchestra of a cafe' blare out into "Bedelia," and awake to
the laughter and rouge and blague which that dear pongee had helped me
for a moment to forget!

To all places, Poor Jr., though never unkindly, dragged me with him,
even to make the balloon ascent at the Porte Maillot on a windy evening.
Without embarrassment I confess that I was terrified, that I clung to
the ropes with a clutch which frayed my gloves, while Poor Jr. leaned
back against the side of the basket and gazed upward at the great
swaying ball, with his hands in his pockets, humming the strange ballad
that was his favourite musical composition:

     "The prettiest girl I ever saw
     Was sipping cider through a straw-aw-haw!"

In that horrifying basket, scrambling for a foothold while it swung
through arcs that were gulfs, I believed that my sorrows approached a
sudden conclusion, but finding myself again upon the secure earth, I
decided to come to an understanding with the young man.

Accordingly, on the following morning, I entered his apartment and
addresses myself to Poor Jr. as severely as I could (for, truthfully,
in all his follies I had found no ugliness in his spirit--only a
good-natured and inscrutable desire of wild amusement) reminding him
of the authority his father had deputed to me, and having the
venturesomeness to hint that the son should show some respect to my
superior age.

To my consternation he replied by inquiring if I had shaved my head as
yet that morning. I could only drop in a chair, stammering to know what
he meant.

"Didn't you suppose I knew?" he asked, elevating himself slightly on his
elbow from the pillow. "Three weeks ago I left my aged parent in London
and ran over here for a day. I saw you at the Cafe' de la Paix, and even
then I knew that it was shaved, not naturally bald. When you came here I
recognized you like a shot, and that was why I was glad to accept you
as a guardian. I've enjoyed myself considerably of late, and you've been
the best part of it,--I think you are a wonderation! I wouldn't have any
other governess for the world, but you surpass the orchestra when you
beg me to respect your years! I will bet you four dollars to a lead
franc piece that you are younger than I am!"

Imagine the completeness of my dismay! Although he spoke in tones the
most genial, and without unkindness, I felt myself a man of tatters
before him, ashamed to have him know my sorry secret, hopeless to
see all chance of authority over him gone at once, and with it my
opportunity to earn a salary so generous, for if I could continue to
be but an amusement to him and only part of his deception of Lambert R.
Poor, my sense of honour must be fit for the guillotine indeed.

I had a little struggle with myself, and I think I must have wiped some
amounts of the cold perspiration from my absurd head before I was able
to make an answer. It may be seen what a coward I was, and how I feared
to begin again that search for employment. At last, however, I was in
self-control, so that I might speak without being afraid that my voice
would shake.

"I am sorry," I said. "It seemed to me that my deception would not cause
any harm, and that I might be useful in spite of it--enough to earn
my living. It was on account of my being very poor; and there are two
little children I must take care of.--Well, at least, it is over now. I
have had great shame, but I must not have greater."

"What do you mean?" he asked me rather sharply.

"I will leave immediately," I said, going to the door. "Since I am no
more than a joke, I can be of no service to your father or to you; but
you must not think that I am so unreasonable as to be angry with you. A
man whom you have beheld reduced to what I was, at the Cafe' de la Paix,
is surely a joke to the whole world! I will write to your father before
I leave the hotel and explain that I feel myself unqualified--"

"You're going to write to him why you give it up!" he exclaimed.

"I shall make no report of espionage," I answered, with, perhaps, some
bitterness, "and I will leave the letter for you to read and to send, of
yourself. It shall only tell him that as a man of honour I cannot keep a
position for which I have no qualification."

I was going to open the door, bidding him adieu, when he called out to
me.

"Look here!" he said, and he jumped out of bed in his pajamas and came
quickly, and held out his hand. "Look here, Ansolini, don't take it that
way. I know you've had pretty hard times, and if you'll stay, I'll get
good. I'll go to the Louvre with you this afternoon; we'll dine at
one of the Duval restaurants, and go to that new religious tragedy
afterwards. If you like, we'll leave Paris to-morrow. There's a little
too much movement here, maybe. For God's sake, let your hair grow, and
we'll go down to Italy and study bones and ruins and delight the aged
parent!--It's all right, isn't it?"

I shook the hand of that kind Poor Jr. with a feeling in my heart that
kept me from saying how greatly I thanked him--and I was sure that I
could do anything for him in the world!



Chapter Five


Three days later saw us on the pretty waters of Lake Leman, in the
bright weather when Mont Blanc heaves his great bare shoulders of ice
miles into the blue sky, with no mist-cloak about him.

Sailing that lake in the cool morning, what a contrast to the champagne
houpla nights of Paris! And how docile was my pupil! He suffered me to
lead him through the Castle of Chillon like a new-born lamb, and even
would not play the little horses in the Kursaal at Geneva, although,
perhaps, that was because the stakes were not high enough to interest
him. He was nearly always silent, and, from the moment of our departure
from Paris, had fallen into dreamfulness, such as would come over myself
at the thought of the beautiful lady. It touched my heart to find how he
was ready with acquiescence to the slightest suggestion of mine, and,
if it had been the season, I am almost credulous that I could have
conducted him to Baireuth to hear Parsifal!

There were times when his mood of gentle sorrow was so like mine that I
wondered if he, too, knew a grey pongee skirt. I wondered over this so
much, and so marvellingly, also, because of the change in him, that at
last I asked him.

We had gone to Lucerne; it was clear moonlight, and we smoked on our
little balcony at the Schweitzerhof, puffing our small clouds in the
enormous face of the strangest panorama of the world, that august
disturbation of the earth by gods in battle, left to be a land of tragic
fables since before Pilate was there, and remaining the same after
William Tell was not. I sat looking up at the mountains, and he leaned
on the rail, looking down at the lake. Somewhere a woman was singing
from Pagliacci, and I slowly arrived at a consciousness that I had
sighed aloud once or twice, not so much sadly, as of longing to see that
lady, and that my companion had permitted similar sounds to escape him,
but more mournfully. It was then that I asked him, in earnestness, yet
with the manner of making a joke, if he did not think often of some one
in North America.

"Do you believe that could be, and I making the disturbance I did in
Paris?" he returned.

"Yes," I told him, "if you are trying to forget her."

"I should think it might look more as if I were trying to forget that I
wasn't good enough for her and that she knew it!"

He spoke in a voice which he would have made full of ease--"off-hand,"
as they say; but he failed to do so.

"That was the case?" I pressed him, you see, but smilingly.

"Looks a good deal like it," he replied, smoking much at once.

"So? But that is good for you, my friend!"

"Probably." He paused, smoking still more, and then said, "It's a
benefit I could get on just as well without."

"She is in North America?"

"No; over here."

"Ah! Then we will go where she is. That will be even better for you!
Where is she?"

"I don't know. She asked me not to follow her. Somebody else is doing
that."

The young man's voice was steady, and his face, as usual, showed
no emotion, but I should have been an Italian for nothing had I not
understood quickly. So I waited for a little while, then spoke of old
Pilatus out there in the sky, and we went to bed very late, for it was
out last night in Lucerne.

Two days later we roared our way out of the gloomy St. Gotthard and
wound down the pass, out into the sunshine of Italy, into that broad
plain of mulberries where the silkworms weave to enrich the proud
Milanese. Ah, those Milanese! They are like the people of Turin, and
look down upon us of Naples; they find us only amusing, because our
minds and movements are too quick for them to understand. I have
no respect for the Milanese, except for three things: they have a
cathedral, a picture, and a dead man.

We came to our hotel in the soft twilight, with the air so balmy one
wished to rise and float in it. This was the hour for the Cathedral;
therefore, leaving Leonardo and his fresco for the to-morrow, I
conducted my uncomplaining ward forth, and through that big arcade of
which the people are so proud, to the Duomo. Poor Jr. showed few signs
of life as we stood before that immenseness; he said patiently that it
resembled the postals, and followed me inside the portals with languor.

It was all grey hollowness in the vast place. The windows showed not
any colour nor light; the splendid pillars soared up into the air and
disappeared as if they mounted to heights of invisibility in the sky at
night. Very far away, at the other end of the church it seemed, one lamp
was burning, high over the transept. One could not see the chains of
support nor the roof above it; it seemed a great star, but so much all
alone. We walked down the long aisle to stand nearer to it, the darkness
growing deeper as we advanced. When we came almost beneath, both of us
gazing upward, my companion unwittingly stumbled against a lady who was
standing silently looking up at this light, and who had failed to notice
our approach. The contact was severe enough to dislodge from her hand
her folded parasol, for which I began to grope.

There was a hurried sentence of excusation from Poor Jr., followed
by moments of silence before she replied. Then I heard her voice in
startled exclamation:

"Rufus, it is never you?"

He called out, almost loudly,

"Alice!"

Then I knew that it was the second time I had lifted a parasol from the
ground for the lady of the grey pongee and did not see her face; but
this time I placed it in her own hand; for my head bore no shame upon it
now.

In the surprise of encountering Poor Jr. I do not think she noticed that
she took the parasol or was conscious of my presence, and it was but
too secure that my young friend had forgotten that I lived. I think,
in truth, I should have forgotten it myself, if it had not been for the
leaping of my heart.

Ah, that foolish dream of mine had proven true: I knew her, I knew her,
unmistaking, without doubt or hesitancy--and in the dark! How should I
know at the mere sound of her voice? I think I knew before she spoke!

Poor Jr. had taken a step toward her as she fell back; I could only see
the two figures as two shadows upon shadow, while for them I had melted
altogether and was forgotten.

"You think I have followed you," he cried, "but you have no right to
think it. It was an accident and you've got to believe me!"

"I believe you," she answered gently. "Why should I not?"

"I suppose you want me to clear out again," he went on, "and I will; but
I don't see why."

Her voice answered him out of the shadow: "It is only you who make a
reason why. I'd give anything to be friends with you; you've always
known that."

"Why can't we be?" he said, sharply and loudly. "I've changed a great
deal. I'm very sensible, and I'll never bother you again--that other
way. Why shouldn't I see a little of you?"

I heard her laugh then--happily, it seemed to me,--and I thought I
perceived her to extend her hand to him, and that he shook it briefly,
in his fashion, as if it had been the hand of a man and not that of the
beautiful lady.

"You know I should like nothing better in the world--since you tell me
what you do," she answered.

"And the other man?" he asked her, with the same hinting of sharpness in
his tone. "Is that all settled?"

"Almost. Would you like me to tell you?"

"Only a little--please!"

His voice had dropped, and he spoke very quietly, which startlingly
caused me to realize what I was doing. I went out of hearing then, very
softly. Is it creible that I found myself trembling when I reached the
twilit piazza? It is true, and I knew that never, for one moment, since
that tragic, divine day of her pity, had I wholly despaired of beholding
her again; that in my most sorrowful time there had always been a
little, little morsel of certain knowledge that I should some day be
near her once more.

And now, so much was easily revealed to me: it was to see her that the
good Lambert R. Poor Jr., had come to Paris, preceding my patron; it was
he who had passed with her on the last day of my shame, and whom she had
addressed by his central name of Rufus, and it was to his hand that I
had restored her parasol.

I was to look upon her face at last--I knew it--and to speak with her.
Ah, yes, I did tremble! It was not because I feared she might recognize
her poor slave of the painted head-top, nor that Poor Jr. would tell
her. I knew him now too well to think he would do that, had I been even
that other of whom he had spoken, for he was a brave, good boy, that
Poor Jr. No, it was a trembling of another kind--something I do not know
how to explain to those who have not trembled in the same way; and I
came alone to my room in the hotel, still trembling a little and having
strange quickness of breathing in my chest.

I did not make any light; I did not wish it, for the precious darkness
of the Cathedral remained with me--magic darkness in which I beheld
floating clouds made of the dust of gold and vanishing melodies. Any
person who knows of these singular things comprehends how little of them
can be told; but to those people who do not know of them, it may appear
all great foolishness. Such people are either too young, and they must
wait, or too old--they have forgotten!

It was an hour afterward, and Poor Jr. had knocked twice at my door,
when I lighted the room and opened it to him. He came in, excitedly
flushed, and, instead of taking a chair, began to walk quickly up and
down the floor.

"I'm afraid I forgot all about you, Ansolini," he said, "but that girl I
ran into is a--a Miss Landry, whom I have known a long--"

I put my hand on his shoulder for a moment and said:

"I think I am not so dull, my friend!"

He made a blue flash at me with his eyes, then smiled and shook his
head.

"Yes, you are right," he answered, re-beginning his fast pace over the
carpet. "It was she that I meant in Lucerne--I don't see why I should
not tell you. In Paris she said she didn't want me to see her
again until I could be--friendly--the old way instead of something
considerably different, which I'd grown to be. Well, I've just told her
not only that I'd behave like a friend, but that I'd changed and felt
like one. Pretty much of a lie that was!" He laighed, without any
amusement. "But it was successful, and I suppose I can keep it up. At
any rate we're going over to Venice with her and her mother to-morrow.
Afterwards, we'll see them in Naples just before they sail."

"To Venice with them!" I could not repress crying out.

"Yes; we join parties for two days," he said, and stopped at a window
and looked out attentively at nothing before he went on: "It won't be
very long, and I don't suppose it will ever happen again. The other man
is to meet them in Rome. He's a countryman of yours, and I believe--I
believe it's--about--settled!"

He pronounced these last words in an even voice, but how slowly! Not
more slowly than the construction of my own response, which I heard
myself making:

"This countryman of mine--who is he?"

"One of your kind of Kentucky Colonels," Poor Jr. laughed mournfully.
At first I did not understand; then it came to me that he had sometimes
previously spoken in that idiom of the nobles, and that it had been
his custom to address one of his Parisian followers, a vicomte, as
"Colonel."

"What is his name?"

"I can't pronounce it, and I don't know how to spell it," he answered.
"And that doesn't bring me to the verge of the grave! I can bear to
forget it, at least until we get to Naples!"

He turned and went to the door, saying, cheerfully: "Well, old
horse-thief" (such had come to be his name for me sometimes, and it was
pleasant to hear), "we must be dressing. They're at this hotel, and we
dine with them to-night."



Chapter Six


How can I tell of the lady of the pongee--now that I beheld her? Do you
think that, when she came that night to the salon where we were awaiting
her, I hesitated to lift my eyes to her face because of a fear that it
would not be so beautiful as the misty sweet face I had dreamed would be
hers? Ah, no! It was the beauty which was in her heart that had made me
hers; yet I knew that she was beautiful. She was fair, that is all I
can tell. I cannot tell of her eyes, her height, her mouth; I saw her
through those clouds of the dust of gold--she was all glamour and light.
It was to be seen that everyone fell in love with her at once; that the
chef d'orchestre came and played to her; and the waiters--you should
have observed them!--made silly, tender faces through the great groves
of flowers with which Poor Jr. had covered the table. It was most
difficult for me to address her, to call her "Miss Landry." It seemed
impossible that she should have a name, or that I should speak to her
except as "you."

Even, I cannot tell very much of her mother, except that she was
adorable because of her adorable relationship. She was florid, perhaps,
and her conversation was of commonplaces and echoes, like my own, for
I could not talk. It was Poor Jr. who made the talking, and in spite of
the spell that was on me, I found myself full of admiration and sorrow
for that brave fellow. He was all gaieties and little stories in a way I
had never heard before; he kept us in quiet laughter; in a word, he was
charming. The beautiful lady seemed content to listen with the greatest
pleasure. She talked very little, except to encourage the young man to
continue. I do not think she was brilliant, as they call it, or witty.
She was much more than that in her comprehension, in her kindness--her
beautiful kindness!

She spoke only once directly to me, except for the little things one
must say. "I am almost sure I have met you, Signor Ansolini."

I felt myself burning up and knew that the conflagration was visible.
So frightful a blush cannot be prevented by will-power, and I felt it
continuing in hot waves long after Poor Jr. had effected salvation for
me by a small joke upon my cosmopolitanism.

Little sleep visited me that night. The darkness of my room was luminous
and my closed eyes became painters, painting so radiantly with divine
colours--painters of wonderful portraits of this lady. Gallery after
gallery swam before me, and the morning brought only more!

What a ride it was to Venice that day! What magical airs we rode
through, and what a thieving old trickster was time, as he always
becomes when one wishes hours to be long! I think Poor Jr. had made
himself forget everything except that he was with her and that he must
be a friend. He committed a thousand ridiculousnesses at the stations;
he filled one side of the compartment with the pretty chianti-bottles,
with terrible cakes, and with fruits and flowers; he never ceased his
joking, which had no tiresomeness in it, and he made the little journey
one of continuing, happy laughter.

And that evening another of my foolish dreams came true! I sat in a
gondola with the lady of the grey pongee to hear the singing on the
Grand Canal;--not, it is true, at her feet, but upon a little chair
beside her mother. It was my place--to be, as I had been all day, escort
to the mother, and guide and courier for that small party. Contented
enough was I to accept it! How could I have hoped that the Most Blessed
Mother would grant me so much nearness as that? It was not happiness
that I felt, but something so much more precious, as though my
heart-strings were the strings of a harp, and sad, beautiful arpeggios
ran over them.

I could not speak much that evening, nor could Poor Jr. We were very
silent and listened to the singing, our gondola just touching the others
on each side, those in turn touching others, so that a musician from
the barge could cross from one to another, presenting the hat for
contributions. In spite of this extreme propinquity, I feared the
collector would fall into the water when he received the offering of
Poor Jr. It was "Gra-a-az', Mi-lor! Graz'!" a hundred times, with bows
and grateful smiles indeed!

It is the one place in the world where you listen to a bad voice with
pleasure, and none of the voices are good--they are harsh and worn with
the night-singing--yet all are beautiful because they are enchanted.

They sang some of our own Neapolitan songs that night, and last of all
the loveliest of all, "La Luna Nova." It was to the cadence of it that
our gondoliers moved us out of the throng, and it still drifted on the
water as we swung, far down, into sight of the lights of the Ledo:

     "Luna d'ar-gen-to fal-lo so-gnar--
     Ba-cia-lo in fron-te non lo de-star...."

Not so sweetly came those measures as the low voice of the beautiful
lady speaking them.

"One could never forget it, never!" she said. "I might hear it a
thousand other times and forget them, but never this first time."

I perceived that Poor Jr. turned his face abruptly toward hers at this,
but he said nothing, by which I understood not only his wisdom but his
forbearance.

"Strangely enough," she went on, slowly, "that song reminded me of
something in Paris. Do you remember"--she turned to Poor Jr.--"that poor
man we saw in front of the Cafe' de la Paix with the sign painted upon
his head?"

Ah, the good-night, with its friendly cloak! The good, kind night!

"I remember," he answered, with some shortness. "A little faster,
boatman!"

"I don't know what made it," she said, "I can't account for it, but I've
been thinking of him all through that last song."

Perhaps not so strange, since one may know how wildly that poor devil
had been thinking of her!

"I've thought of him so often," the gentle voice went on. "I felt so
sorry for him. I never felt sorrier for any one in my life. I was sorry
for the poor, thin cab-horses in Paris, but I was sorrier for him. I
think it was the saddest sight I ever saw. Do you suppose he still has
to do that, Rufus?"

"No, no," he answered, in haste. "He'd stopped before I left. He's all
right, I imagine. Here's the Danieli."

She fastened a shawl more closely about her mother, whom I, with a
ringing in my ears, was trying to help up the stone steps. "Rufus,
I hope," the sweet voice continued, so gently,--"I hope he's found
something to do that's very grand! Don't you? Something to make up to
him for doing that!"

She had not the faintest dream that it was I. It was just her beautiful
heart.

The next afternoon Venice was a bleak and empty setting, the jewel
gone. How vacant it looked, how vacant it was! We made not any effort
to penetrate the galleries; I had no heart to urge my friend. For us the
whole of Venice had become one bridge of sighs, and we sat in the shade
of the piazza, not watching the pigeons, and listening very little to
the music. There are times when St. Mark's seems to glare at you with
Byzantine cruelty, and Venice is too hot and too cold. So it was then.
Evening found us staring out at the Adriatic from the terrace of a cafe'
on the Ledo, our coffee cold before us. Never was a greater difference
than that in my companion from the previous day. Yet he was not silent.
He talked of her continually, having found that he could talk of her to
me--though certainly he did not know why it was or how. He told me, as
we sat by the grey-growing sea, that she had spoken of me.

"She liked you, she liked you very much," he said. "She told me she
liked you because you were quiet and melancholy. Oh Lord, though, she
likes everyone, I suppose! I believe I'd have a better chance with her
if I hadn't always known her. I'm afraid that this damn Italian--I beg
your pardon, Ansolini!--"

"Ah, no," I answered. "It is sometimes well said."

"I'm afraid his picturesqueness as a Kentucky Colonel appeals to her too
much. And then he is new to her--a new type. She only met him in Paris,
and he had done some things in the Abyssinian war--"

"What is his rank?" I asked.

"He's a prince. Cheap down this way; aren't they? I only hope"--and Poor
Jr. made a groan--"it isn't going to be the old story--and that he'll be
good to her if he gets her."

"Then it is not yet a betrothal?"

"Not yet. Mrs. Landry told me that Alice had liked him well enough to
promise she'd give him her answer before she sailed, and that it was
going to be yes. She herself said it was almost settled. That was just
her way of breaking it to me, I fear."

"You have given up, my friend?"

"What else can I do? I can't go on following her, keeping up this play
at second cousin, and she won't have anything else. Ever since I grew up
she's been rather sorrowful over me because I didn't do anything but try
to amuse myself--that was one of the reasons she couldn't care for
me, she said, when I asked her. Now this fellow wins, who hasn't done
anything either, except his one campaign. It's not that I ought to have
her, but while I suppose it's a real fascination, I'm afraid there's
a little glitter about being a princess. Even the best of our girls
haven't got over that yet. Ah, well, about me she's right. I've been a
pretty worthless sort. She's right. I've thought it all over. Three days
before they sail we'll go down to Naples and hear the last word, and
whatever it is we'll see them off on the 'Princess Irene.' Then you and
I'll come north and sail by the first boat from Cherbourg.

"I--I?" I stammered.

"Yes," he said. "I'm going to make the aged parent shout with unmanly
glee. I'm going to ask him to take me on as a hand. He'll take you, too.
He uses something like a thousand Italians, and a man to manage them
who can talk to them like a Dutch uncle is what he has always needed. He
liked you, and he'll be glad to get you."

He was a good friend, that Poor Jr., you see, and I shook the hand
that he offered me very hard, knowing how great would have been his
embarrassment had I embraced him in our own fashion.

"And perhaps you will sail on the 'Princess Irene,' after all," I cried.

"No," he shook his head sadly, "it will not happen. I have not been
worth it."



Chapter Seven


That Naples of mine is like a soiled coronet of white gems, sparkling
only from far away. But I love it altogether, near or far, and my heart
would have leaped to return to it for its own sake, but to come to it
as we did, knowing that the only lady in the world was there.... Again,
this is one of those things I possess no knowledge how to tell, and that
those who know do know. How I had longed for the time to come, how I had
feared it, how I had made pictures of it!

Yet I feared not so much as my friend, for he had a dim, small hope,
and I had none. How could I have? I--a man whose head had been painted?
I--for whom her great heart had sorrowed as for the thin, beaten
cab-horses of Paris! Hope? All I could hope was that she might never
know, and I be left with some little shred of dignity in her eyes!

Who cannot see that it was for my friend to fear? At times, with him, it
was despair, but of that brave kind one loves to see--never a quiver of
the lip, no winking of the eyes to keep tears back. And I, although of
a people who express everything in every way, I understood what passed
within him and found time to sorrow for him.

Most of all, I sorrowed for him as we waited for her on the terrace of
the Bertolini, that perch on the cliff so high that even the noises
of the town are dulled and mingle with the sound of the thick surf far
below.

Across the city, and beyond, we saw, from the terrace, the old mountain
of the warm heart, smoking amiably, and the lights of Torre del Greco at
its feet, and there, across the bay, I beheld, as I had nightly so long
ago, the lamps of Castellamare, of Sorrento; then, after a stretch of
water, a twinkling which was Capri. How good it was to know that all
these had not taken advantage of my long absence to run away and vanish,
as I had half feared they would. Those who have lived here love them
well; and it was a happy thought that the beautiful lady knew them now,
and shared them. I had never known quite all their loveliness until I
felt that she knew it too. This was something that I must never tell
her--yet what happiness there was in it!

I stood close to the railing, with a rambling gaze over this enchanted
earth and sea and sky, while my friend walked nervously up and down
behind me. We had come to Naples in the late afternoon, and had found a
note from Mrs. Landry at our hotel, asking us for dinner. Poor Jr. had
not spoken more than twice since he had read me this kind invitation,
but now I heard a low exclamation from him, which let me know who
was approaching; and that foolish trembling got hold of me again as I
turned.

Mrs. Landry came first, with outstretched hand, making some talk
excusing delay; and, after a few paces, followed the loveliest of all
the world. Beside her, in silhouette against the white window lights of
the hotel, I saw the very long, thin figure of a man, which, even before
I recognized it, carried a certain ominousness to my mind.

Mrs. Landry, in spite of her florid contentedness, had sometimes a
fluttering appearance of trivial agitations.

"The Prince came down from Rome this morning," she said nervously, and
I saw my friend throw back his head like a man who declines the
eye-bandage when they are going to shoot him. "He is dining with us. I
know you will be glad to meet him."

The beautiful lady took Poor Jr.'s hand, more than he hers, for he
seemed dazed, in spite of the straight way he stood, and it was easy to
behold how white his face was. She made the presentation of us both
at the same time, and as the other man came into the light, my mouth
dropped open with wonder at the singular chances which the littleness of
our world brings about.

"Prince Caravacioli, Mr. Poor. And this is Signor Ansolini."

It was my half-brother, that old Antonio!



Chapter Eight


Never lived any person with more possession of himself than Antonio; he
bowed to each of us with the utmost amiability; and for expression--all
one saw of it was a little streak of light in his eye-glass.

"It is yourself, Raffaele?" he said to me, in the politest manner, in
our own tongue, the others thinking it some commonplace, and I knew by
his voice that the meeting was as surprising and as exasperating to him
as to me.

Sometimes dazzling flashes of light explode across the eyes of blind
people. Such a thing happened to my own, now, in the darkness. I found
myself hot all over with a certain rashness that came to me. I felt that
anything was possible if I would but dare enough.

"I am able to see that it is the same yourself!" I answered, and made
the faintest eye-turn toward Miss Landry. Simultaneously bowing, I let
my hand fall upon my pocket--a language which he understood, and for
which (the Blessed Mother be thanked!) he perceived that I meant to
offer battle immediately, though at that moment he offered me an open
smile of benevolence. He knew nothing of my new cause for war; there was
enough of the old!

The others were observing us.

"You have met?" asked the gentle voice of Miss Landry. "You know each
other?"

"Exceedingly!" I answered, bowing low to her.

"The dinner is waiting in our own salon," said Mrs. Landry,
interrupting. She led the way with Antonio to an open door on the
terrace where servants were attending, and such a forest of flowers on
the table and about the room as almost to cause her escort to stagger;
for I knew, when I caught sight of them, that he had never been wise
enough to send them. Neither had Poor Jr. done it out of wisdom, but
because of his large way of performing everything, and his wish that
loveliest things should be a background for that lady.

Alas for him! Those great jars of perfume, orchids and hyacinths and
roses, almost shut her away from his vision. We were at a small round
table, and she directly in opposition to him. Upon her right was
Antonio, and my heart grew cold to see how she listened to him.

For Antonio could talk. At that time he spoke English even better than
I, though without some knowledge of the North-American idiom which my
travels with Poor Jr. had given me. He was one of those splendid egoists
who seem to talk in modesty, to keep themselves behind scenes, yet who,
when the curtain falls, are discovered to be the heroes, after all,
though shown in so delicate a fashion that the audience flatters itself
in the discovery.

And how practical was this fellow, how many years he had been developing
his fascinations! I was the only person of that small company who could
have a suspicion that his moustache was dyed, that his hair was toupee,
or that hints of his real age were scorpions and adders to him. I should
not have thought it, if I had not known it. Here was my advantage: I had
known his monstrous vanity all my life.

So he talked of himself in his various surreptitious ways until coffee
came, Miss Landry listening eagerly, and my poor friend making no
effort; for what were his quiet United States absurdities compared to
the whole-world gaieties and Abyssinian adventures of this Othello,
particularly for a young girl to whom Antonio's type was unfamiliar? For
the first time I saw my young man's brave front desert him. His mouth
drooped, and his eyes had an appearance of having gazed long at a bright
light. I saw that he, unhappy one, was at last too sure what her answer
would be.

For myself, I said very little--I waited. I hoped and believed Antonio
would attack me in his clever, disguised way, for he had always hated
me and my dead brother, and he had never failed to prove himself too
skilful for us. In my expectancy of his assault there was no mistake. I
comprehended Antonio very well, and I knew that he feared I might seek
to do him an injury, particularly after my inspired speech and gesture
upon the terrace. Also, I felt that he would, if possible, anticipate
my attempt and strike first. I was willing; for I thought myself in
possession of his vulnerable point--never dreaming that he might know my
own!

At last when he, with the coffee and cigarettes, took the knife in his
hand, he placed a veil over the point. He began, laughingly, with the
picture of a pickpocket he had helped to catch in London. London was
greatly inhabited by pickpockets, according to Antonio's declaration.
Yet, he continued, it was nothing in comparison to Paris. Paris was
the rendezvous, the world's home, for the criminals, adventurers,
and rascals if the world, English, Spanish, South-Americans,
North-Americans,--and even Italians! One must beware of people one had
met in Paris!

"Of course," he concluded, with a most amiable smile, "there are many
good people there also. That is not to be forgotten. If I should dare
to make a risk on such a trifle, for instance, I would lay wager that
you"--he nodded toward Poor Jr.--"made the acquaintance of Ansolini in
Paris?"

This was of the greatest ugliness in its underneath significance, though
the manner was disarming. Antonio's smile was so cheerful, his eye-glass
so twinkling, that none of them could have been sure he truly meant
anything harmful of me, though Poor Jr. looked up, puzzled and frowning.

Before he could answer I pulled myself altogether, as they say, and
leaned forward, resting my elbows upon the table. "It is true," and I
tried to smile as amiably as Antonio. "These coincidences occur. You
meet all the great frauds of the world in Paris. Was it not there"--I
turned to Mrs. Landry--"that you met the young Prince here?"

At this there was no mistaking that the others perceived. The secret
battle had begun and was not secret. I saw a wild gleam in Poor Jr.'s
eyes, as if he comprehended that strange things were to come; but, ah,
the face of distress and wonder upon Mrs. Landry, who beheld the peace
of both a Prince and a dinner assailed; and, alas! the strange and hurt
surprise that came from the lady of the pongee! Let me not be a boastful
fellow, but I had borne her pity and had adored it--I could face her
wonder, even her scorn.

It was in the flash of her look that I saw my great chance and what I
must try to do. Knowing Antonio, it was as if I saw her falling into the
deep water and caught just one contemptuous glance from her before the
waves hid her. But how much juster should that contempt have been if I
had not tried to save her!

As for that old Antonio, he might have known enough to beware. I had
been timid with him always, and he counted on it now, but a man who has
shown a painted head-top to the people of Paris will dare a great deal.

"As the Prince says," replied Mrs. Landry, with many flutters, "one
meets only the most agreeable people in Paris!"

"Paris!" I exclaimed. "Ah, that home of ingenuity! How they paint there!
How they live, and how they dye--their beards!"

You see how the poor Ansolini played the buffoon. I knew they feared
it was wine, I had been so silent until now; but I did not care, I was
beyond care.

"Our young Prince speaks truly," I cried, raising my voice. "He is wise
beyond his years, this youth! He will be great when he reaches middle
age, for he knows Paris and understands North America! Like myself, he
is grateful that the people of your continent enrich our own! We need
all that you can give us! Where should we be--any of us" (I raised my
voice still louder and waved my hand to Antonio),--"where should we be,
either of us" (and I bowed to the others) "without you?"

Mrs. Landry rose with precipitousness, and the beautiful lady, very red,
followed. Antonio, unmistakably stung with the scorpions I had set upon
him, sprang to the door, the palest yellow man I have ever beheld, and
let the ladies pass before him.

The next moment I was left alone with Poor Jr. and his hyacinth trees.



Chapter Nine


For several minutes neither of us spoke. Then I looked up to meet my
friend's gaze of perturbation.

A waiter was proffering cigars. I took one, and waved Poor Jr.'s hand
away from the box of which the waiter made offering.

"Do not remain!" I whispered, and I saw his sad perplexity. "I know her
answer has not been given. Will you present him his chance to receive
it--just when her sympathy must be stronger for him, since she will
think he has had to bear rudeness?"

He went out of the door quickly.

I dod not smoke. I pretended to, while the waiters made the arrangements
of the table and took themselves off. I sat there a long, long time
waiting for Antonio to do what I hoped I had betrayed him to do.

It befell at last.

Poor Jr. came to the door and spoke in his steady voice. "Ansolini, will
you come out here a moment?"

Then I knew that I had succeeded, had made Antonio afraid that I would
do the thing he himself, in a panic, had already done--speak evil of
another privately.

As I reached the door I heard him call out foolishly, "But Mr. Poor, I
beg you--"

Poor Jr. put his hand on my shoulder, and we walked out into the dark of
the terrace. Antonio was leaning against the railing, the beautiful lady
standing near. Mrs. Landry had sunk into a chair beside her daughter. No
other people were upon the terrace.

"Prince Caravacioli has been speaking of you," said Poor Jr., very
quietly.

"Ah?" said I.

"I listened to what he said; then I told him that you were my friend,
and that I considered it fair that you should hear what he had to say.
I will repeat what he said, Ansolini. If I mistake anything, he can
interrupt me."

Antonio laughed, and in such a way, so sincerely, so gaily, that I was
frightened.

"Very good!" he cried. "I am content. Repeat all."

"He began," Poor Jr. went on, quietly, though his hand gripped my
shoulder to almost painfulness,--"he began by saying to these ladies, in
my presence, that we should be careful not to pick up chance strangers
to dine, in Italy, and--and he went on to give me a repetition of his
friendly warning about Paris. He hinted things for a while, until I
asked him to say what he knew of you. Then he said he knew all about
you; that you were an outcast, a left-handed member of his own family,
an adventurer--"

"It is finished, my friend," I said, interrupting him, and gazed with
all my soul upon the beautiful lady. Her face was as white as Antonio's
or that of my friend, or as my own must have been. She strained her eyes
at me fixedly; I saw the tears standing still in them, and I knew the
moment had come.

"This Caravacioli is my half-brother," I said.

Antonio laughed again. "Of what kind!"

Oh, he went on so easily to his betrayal, not knowing the
United-Statesians and their sentiment, as I did.

"We had the same mother," I continued, as quietly as I could. "Twenty
years after this young--this somewhat young--Prince was born she
divorced his father, Caravacioli, and married a poor poet, whose bust
you can see on the Pincian in Rome, though he died in the cheapest hotel
in Sienna when my true brother and I were children. This young Prince
would have nothing to do with my mother after her second marriage and--"

"Marriage!" Antonio laughed pleasantly again. He was admirable. "This is
an old tale which the hastiness of our American friend has forced us to
rehearse. The marriage was never recognized by the Vatican, and there
was not twenty years--"

"Antonio, it is the age which troubles you, after all!" I said, and
laughed heartily, loudly, and a long time, in the most good-natured way,
not to be undone as an actor.

"Twenty years," I repeated. "But what of it? Some of the best men in the
world use dyes and false--"

At this his temper went away from him suddenly and completely. I had
struck the right point indeed!

"You cammorrista!" he cried, and became only himself, his hands
gesturing and flying, all his pleasant manner gone. "Why should we
listen one second more to such a fisherman! The very seiners of the bay
who sell dried sea-horses to the tourists are better gentlemen than you.
You can shrug your shoulders! I saw you in Paris, though you thought I
did not! Oh, I saw you well! Ah! At the Cafe de la Paiz!"

At this I cried out suddenly. The sting and surprise of it were more
than I could bear. In my shame I would even have tried to drown his
voice with babblings but after this one cry I could not speak for a
while. He went on triumphantly:

"This rascal, my dear ladies, who has persuaded you to ask him to
dinner, this camel who claims to be my excellent brother, he, for a few
francs, in Paris, shaved his head and showed it for a week to the people
with an advertisement painted upon it of the worst ballet in Paris. This
is the gentleman with whom you ask Caravacioli to dine!"

It was beyond my expectation, so astonishing and so cruel that I could
only look at him for a moment or two. I felt as one who dreams himself
falling forever. Then I stepped forward and spoke, in thickness of
voice, being unable to lift my head:

"Again it is true what he says. I was that man of the painted head. I
had my true brother's little daughters to care for. They were at the
convent, and I owed for them. It was also partly for myself, because I
was hungry. I could find not any other way, and so--but that is all."

I turned and went stumblingly away from them.

In my agony that she should know, I could do nothing but seek greater
darkness. I felt myself beaten, dizzy with beatings. That thing which
I had done in Paris discredited me. A man whose head-top had borne an
advertisement of the Folie-Rouge to think he could be making a combat
with the Prince Caravacioli!

Leaning over the railing in the darkest corner of the terrace, I felt my
hand grasped secondarily by that good friend of mine.

"God bless you!" whispered Poor Jr.

"On my soul, I believe he's done himself. Listen!"

I turned. That beautiful lady had stepped out into the light from the
salon door. I could see her face shining, and her eyes--ah me, how
glorious they were! Antonio followed her.

"But wait," he cried pitifully.

"Not for you!" she answered, and that voice of hers, always before so
gentle, rang out as the Roman trumpets once rang from this same cliff.
"Not for you! I saw him there with his painted head and I understood!
You saw him there, and you did nothing to help him! And the two little
children--your nieces, too,--and he your brother!"

Then my heart melted and I found myself choking, for the beautiful lady
was weeping.

"Not for you, Prince Caravacioli," she cried, through her tears,--"Not
for you!"



Chapter Ten


All of the beggars in Naples, I think, all of the flower-girls and boys,
I am sure, and all the wandering serenaders, I will swear, were under
our windows at the Vesuve, from six o'clock on the morning the "Princess
Irene" sailed; and there need be no wonder when it is known that Poor
Jr. had thrown handfuls of silver and five-lire notes from our balcony
to strolling orchestras and singers for two nights before.

They wakened us with "Addio, la bella Napoli, addio, addio!" sung to the
departing benefactor. When he had completed his toilet and his coffee,
he showed himself on the balcony to them for a moment. Ah! What a
resounding cheer for the signore, the great North-American nobleman! And
how it swelled to a magnificent thundering when another largess of his
came flying down among them!

Who could have reproved him? Not Raffaele Ansolini, who was on his knees
over the bags and rugs! I think I even made some prolongation of that
position, for I was far from assured of my countenance, that bright
morning.

I was not to sail in the "Princess Irene" with those dear friends. Ah
no! I had told them that I must go back to Paris to say good-bye to my
little nieces and sail from Boulogne--and I am sure they believed that
was my reason. I had even arranged to go away upon a train which would
make it not possible for me to drive to the dock with them. I did not
wish to see the boat carry them away from me.

And so the farewells were said in the street in all that crowd. Poor Jr.
and I were waiting at the door when the carriage galloped up. How the
crowd rushed to see that lady whom it bore to us, blushing and laughing!
Clouds of gold-dust came before my eyes again; she wore once more that
ineffable grey pongee!

Servants ran forward with the effects of Poor Jr. and we both sprang
toward the carriage.

A flower-girl was offering a great basket of loose violets. Poor Jr.
seized it and threw them like a blue rain over the two ladies.

"Bravo! Bravo!"

A hundred bouquets showered into the carriage, and my friend's silver
went out in another shower to meet them.

"Addio, la bella Napoli!" came from the singers and the violins, but I
cried to them for "La Luna Nova."

"Good-bye--for a little while--good-bye!"

I knew how well my friend liked me, because he shook my hand with his
head turned away. Then the grey glove of the beautiful lady touched my
shoulder--the lightest touch in all the world--as I stood close to the
carriage while Poor Jr. climbed in.

"Good-bye. Thank you--and God bless you!" she said, in a low voice. And
I knew for what she thanked me.

The driver cracked his whip like an honest Neapolitan. The horses sprang
forward. "Addio, addio!"

I sang with the musicians, waving and waving and waving my handkerchief
to the departing carriage.

Now I saw my friend lean over and take the beautiful lady by the hand,
and together they stood up in the carriage and waved their handkerchiefs
to me. Then, but not because they had passed out of sight, I could see
them not any longer.

They were so good--that kind Poor Jr. and the beautiful lady; they
seemed like dear children--as if they had been my own dear children.


THE END





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