Puslapio vaizdai

"Then the feeling this garden rouses in me is purely sensuous?"

"Of course. If you were standing there blind and deaf, without the powers of scent and touch, where would your feeling be?"

But what a perfect declaration of hedonism! How simple and how solid was the Vaness theory of existence! Almost Assyrian, worthy of Louis Quinze. And just then the old negro came up. "It 's pleasant settin'," he said in

"You are very discouraging, Mr. his polite and hoarse half-whisper; Vaness."

"No, madam; I face facts. When I was a youngster I had plenty of fluffy aspiration toward I did n't know what; I even used to write poetry."

"Oh, Mr. Vaness, was it good?"

"It was not. I very soon learned that a genuine sensation was worth all the uplift in the world."

"dar ain't no flies yet."

"It's perfect, Richard. This is the most beautiful spot in the world."

"Sure," he answered, softly drawling. "In deh war-time de Yanks nearly burn deh house heah-Sherman's Yanks. Sueh dey did; po'ful angry wi' ol' massa dey was, 'cause he hid up deh silver plate afore he went away.

"What is going to happen when your My ol' fader was de factotalum den. senses strike work?"

"I shall sit in the sun and fade out." "I certainly do like your frankness." "You think me a cynic, of course; I am nothing so futile, Miss Sabine. A cynic is just a posing ass proud of his attitude. I see nothing to be proud of in my attitude, just as I see nothing to be proud of in the truths of existence." "Suppose you had been poor?" "My senses would be lasting better than they are, and when at last they failed, I should die quicker, from want of food and warmth, that 's all."

"Have you ever been in love, Mr. Vaness?"

"I am in love now."

"And your love has no element of devotion, no finer side?"

"None. It wants."

"I have never been in love. But, if I were, I think I should want to lose myself rather than to gain the other." "Would you? Sabine, I am in love with you."

"Oh! Shall we walk on?"

I heard their footsteps, and was alone again, with the old gardener lopping at his shrubs.

De Yanks took 'm, suh; dey took 'm, and deh major he tell my fader to show 'm whar deh plate was. My ol' fader he look at 'm an' say: 'Wot yuh take me foh? Yuh take me foh a sneakin' nigger? No, suh, you kin du wot yuh like wid dis chile; he ain't goin' to act no Judas. No, suh!' And deh Yankee major he put 'm up ag'in' dat tall liveoak dar, an' he say: 'Yuh darn ungrateful nigger! I's come all dis way to set yuh free. Now, whar 's dat silver plate, or I shoot yuh up, sueh!' 'No, suh,' says my fader; 'shoot away. I's neber goin' t' tell.' So dey begin to shoot, and shot all roun' 'm to skeer 'm up. I was a li'l' boy den, an' I see my ol' fader wid my own eyes, suh, standin' thar's bold's Peter. No, suh, dey did n't neber git no word from him. He loved deh folk heah; sure he did, suh."

The old man smiled, and in that beatific smile I saw not only his perennial pleasure in the well-known story, but the fact that he, too, would have stood there, with the bullets raining round him, sooner than betray the folk he loved.

"Fine story, Richard; but very silly, obstinate old man, your father, was n't he?"

He looked at me with a sort of startled anger, which slowly broadened into a grin; then broke into soft, hoarse laughter.

“Oh, yes, suh, sure; berry silly, obstinacious ol' man. Yes, suh, indeed." And he went off cackling to himself.

He had only just gone when I heard footsteps again behind my azalea clump, and Miss Monroy's voice.

"Your philosophy is that of faun and nymph. Can you play the part?"

"Only let me try." Those words had such a fevered ring that in imagination I could see Vaness all flushed, his fine eyes shining, his well-kept hands trembling, his lips a little protruded. There came a laugh, high, gay, sweet. "Very well, then; catch me!" I heard a swish of skirts against the shrubs, the sound of flight, an astonished gasp from Vaness, and the heavy thud, thud of his feet following on the path through the azalea maze. I hoped fervently that they would not suddenly come running past and see me sitting there. My straining ears caught another laugh far off, a panting sound, a muttered oath, a faraway "Cooee!" And then, staggering, winded, pale with heat and vexation, Vaness appeared, caught sight of me, and stood a moment. Sweat was running down his face, his hand was clutching at his side, his stomach heaved-a hunter beaten and undignified. muttered, turned abruptly on his heel, and left me staring at where his fastidious dandyism and all that it stood for had so abruptly come undone.


I know not how he and Miss Monroy got home to Charleston; not in the

same car, I fancy. As for me, I traveled deep in thought, aware of having witnessed something rather tragic, not looking forward to my next encounter with Vaness.

He was not at dinner, but the girl was there, as radiant as ever, and though I was glad she had not been caught, I was almost angry at the signal triumph of her youth. She wore a black dress, with a red flower in her hair, and another at her breast, and had never looked so vital and so pretty. Instead of dallying with my cigar beside cool waters in the lounge of the hotel, I strolled out afterward on the Battery, and sat down beside the statue of a tutelary personage. lovely evening; from some tree or shrub close by emerged an adorable faint fragrance, and in the white electric light the acacia foliage was patterned out against a thrilling, blue sky. If there were no fireflies abroad, there should have been. A night for hedonists, indeed!


And suddenly, in fancy, there came before me Vaness's well-dressed person, panting, pale, perplexed; and beside him, by a freak of vision, stood the old darky's father, bound to the liveoak, with the bullets whistling past, and his face transfigured. There they stood alongside the creed of pleasure, which depended for fulfilment on its waist measurement; and the creed of love, devoted unto death!

"Aha!" I thought, "which of the two laughs last?"

And just then I saw Vaness himself beneath a lamp, cigar in mouth, and cape flung back so that its silk lining shone. Pale and heavy, in the cruel white light his face had a bitter look. And I was sorry, very sorry at that moment for Rupert K. Vaness.


T is interesting to observe that the two races in which highly specialized artistic feeling is almost universal have, despite their antipodal positions on the globe, many common problems and one common blessing. Both Japan and Italy are poor and overpopulated countries, both are handicapped by a shortage of arable land and natural resources, both lack an adequate supply of food and raw materials for manufacturing, both are afflicted by earthquakes and are mountainous; but both are endowed with the peculiar, passionate beauty of landscape which is nature's compensation to volcanic countries-a beauty suggesting that of some vivid and ungoverned woman, brilliant, erratic, fascinating, and even dangerous.

Where nature shows herself a great temperamental artist, her children are likely to be artists, too. Almost all Italians have a highly developed sense of melody, and almost all Japanese possess in a remarkable degree the artist's sense of form.

One day in Tokio I fell to discussing these matters with a venerable art collector, wearing silks and sandals, and thereby hangs a tale.


"What," he asked me, "are the most striking examples of artistic feeling that you have noticed in Japan?"

I told him of two things that I had seen, each in itself unimportant. One was a well-wheel that impressed me as being significant.

The well was in a yard beside a lovely little farm-house, one story high, with walls of clay and timber, and with a thick thatched roof upon the ridge of which a row of purple iris grew. There was a dainty bamboo fence around the farm-yard, with flowering shrubs behind it, and a cherry-tree in blossom. The well-house was thatched, and the pulley-wheel beneath the thatch seemed to focus the entire composition. With us such a wheel would have been a thing of rough cast-iron, merely something for a rope to run over; but this wheel had been fondly imagined before it was created. Its spokes were not straight and ugly, but branched near the rim, curving gracefully into it in such a way as to form the outlines of a cherry-blossom. It was a work of art.

My other item was nothing but a little kettle. I saw it in a penitentiary. It belonged to a prisoner, and

every prisoner in that portion of the institution had one like it. The striking thing about it was that it was an extremely graceful little kettle, made of copper and embellished in relief with a charming design. It, too, was a work of art, and there was to me something pathetic in the evidence it gave that even in this grim place the claims of beauty were not entirely ignored.

These trifling observations seemed to please my friend, the art collector. "But," said he, "I think our national love of the beautiful is perhaps most strongly exhibited in our feeling for outdoor beauty-our pilgrimages to spots famous for their scenery, our delight in the cherry-blossom season, the wistaria season, the chrysanthemum season, and by no means least in our gardens."

Undoubtedly he

was right. The

feeling for nature

among his coun

try-men is general,

mystical, poetic.

Almost all Japanese write poetry. The poems of

many emperors, empresses, and statesmen are widely known; and among the most celebrated Japanese poems those to nature in her various aspects are by far the

most numerous. We were strolling in a very lovely private garden as we talked.

"Speaking of poetry and the love of nature," said he, "have you noticed the kimono of our host's daughter?"

I had noticed it. It was a beautiful costume of soft black silk, the hem, in front, adorned with a design of cherryblossoms and an inscription in the always decorative Chinese character. "Do you know what the inscription is?" he asked.

I did not.

"It is a poem of her own," he explained; and presently, when in our stroll we caught up with the young

"With a venerable art collector"

lady, he made me a literal translation, which I in turn made over into English verse:

Farewell, O Capital! I grieve Thy lovely cheery-blooms


to leave.

But now to Kioto must I fare To view the cherry-blossoms there.

We fell to talking of Japanese gardens.

"You must see some of our fine gardens," he said, "before you leave Japan."

I mentioned some I had already seen-the gardens of the crown prince, the prime

minister, Marquis Okuma, Viscount Shibusawa, Baron Furukawa, and others.

I knew, too, of the fondness of the Japanese for minor buildings in their gardens. Thus in the garden of Vis

"But do you understand our theory count Shibusawa, one of the leaders of of the garden?"

I told him what little I then knew: that flowers are not essential to a garden in Japan; that, where used, they are generally set apart in beds, and removed when they have ceased to bloom; that because of the skill of the Japanese in transplanting large trees, a garden of ancient appearance may be made in a few years; that boun

daries are artfully planted out, so that some houses, standing on a few acres of ground in great cities, appear to be surrounded by forests; that small garden lakes are sometimes so arranged as to suggest that they are only arms of large bodies of water concealed from view by wooded headlands; and that optical illusions are often employed to make gardens seem much larger than they are, this being accomplished by a cunning scaling down in the size of the more remote hillocks, trees, and shrubs, increasing the perspective.

Also, I had seen examples of the kare sensui school of landscape gardening-waterless lakes and streams, their beds delineated in sand, gravel, and selected pebbles, and their banks set off by great water-worn stones brought from elsewhere, and by trees and shrubs carefully trained to droop toward the imaginary water-water the more completely suggested by stepping-stones and arched bridges reaching out to little islands, with stone lanterns standing among dwarf pines.

liberal thought in Japan, there is an ancient Korean tea-house of very striking architecture; in that of Dr.

Takuma Dan, general manager of the vast Mitsui interests, a farmhouse several centuries old; in that of Baron Okura, a famous museum of Chinese and Japanese antiquities and art works; and in the gardens of Baron Furukawa and Baron Sumitomo, smaller private museums. Tucked away in the corner of one garden near Kobe I had even seen a little factory in which the finest wireless cloisonné was being made, the owner of that garden having a deep interest in this art and using the productions of his artist-workmen to give as presents to his friends. And of course in many gardens I had seen houses built especially for the cha-no-yu, or tea ceremony.

Moreover, I had been to garden parties at some of which luncheons were served under marquees of bamboo and striped canvas, while at others were offered entertainments consisting of geisha-dancing and juggling. At these parties souvenirs are always given to the guests, fans and kakemono painted by artists on the premises, or bits of pottery which, after being painted, are glazed and fired, and then presented to the guests while they are still warm from the kiln.

"Yes, yes," said my venerable friend, "you have seen a good deal; but as to the history and theory of our gardens, what do you know?"

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