Puslapio vaizdai


it were complaining in its sleep. sion natural to a young man, but Sharper, and with a melancholy wail, Nicolas was always reserved. It was an owl hooted. The night was still not strange that he should hide his but there was a restlessness in it, as feelings, and his actions were perfectly of unknown forces which stir before satisfactory. He always stood by they act.

Maude's side as if he was prepared to After breakfast next day Nicolas do what she liked and enjoyed being came. Joy saw him first, but she in her presence. remembered that it was not she who They were both thorough sportsmen must run down the drive and open and they spent all their time riding, the gates for Moonlighter any more. shooting, and fishing. When it was She hurried up to the nursery, where dry enough and they wanted to be at Patch was sitting, and they sewed home, they played tennis valiantly on together all the morning.

the lawn, and chaffed each other in the Joy went down for lunch and saw family circle round the tea-table. Nicolas alone for a moment in the The marriage was to be in six weeks, garden, close by the hall-door. She and Joy found her whole time and said, “Nick, I'm so glad!” but she felt energy absorbed in helping her mother a little breathless as she said it. She with the arrangements and finishing held out both her hands to him, but Maude's trousseau. Nick took only one of them, and even It was to be a big county wedding, that he dropped almost as soon as he and they were to have a large recephad touched it. He looked at her tion afterward. Nicolas was going to with a curious sternness without at retire from the army.

retire from the army. His father had tempting to smile.

died a few months previously, and he

a "Are you glad?” he asked. “Very had become the owner of a large, “

a , well, then; so am I.” And he turned rather scattered estate. Nicolas was away from Joy and went straight into going to be his own bailiff and keep the house.

the stag hounds for the Exmoor Hunt. It was perfectly easy for her to avoid It was just the kind of life Nicolas Nicolas in the weeks that followed. liked, but no one would have guessed Indeed, she had no opportunity to do this fact from the expression his eyes anything else. Nicolas avoided her. had in repose. Maude was as near He never looked at her or spoke to her the height of human happiness as any if he could possibly help it. It made mortal ever reaches. She came in and Joy feel very sad. She had believed out of rooms as if she was conferring a it possible that a new love could not favor by her presence, her pink face altogether sink an old relationship, grew almost solemn with importance, and she had not thought it would be and there is very little doubt she so difficult to have less and still keep would have patronized Mrs. Featherthat less alive. But this new Nicolas stone if she had dared. She treated had no need for her at all. She seemed Joy as if she were a younger and not to exist for him even as a shadow. wholly insignificant being, to whom

Nicolas was a most kind and atten- Providence intended her to be benevtive lover. There was perhaps neither olently disposed. the enthusiasm nor the pride of posses- Mr. Featherstone had recovered


from the nefarious way in which he fat dove. Apparently the raven was considered the engagement had taken missing, but a guinea-pig came out place; he would never quite forgive the size of a wolf. Then the giraffe Nicolas for not having married Joy, appeared, whose neck Nicolas had but he felt an increased appreciation mercifully restored to him, and it for Maude because she was marrying was just as she stood him up to see if Nicolas.

he was perfectly himself that Nicolas Nicolas was the most suitable match opened the door and came in. He said: in the neighborhood, and he made, "Oh, they told me Maude was here, unasked, extremely handsome settle and then stopped as if there was ments.

nothing more to say, looking at the In the case of my death," Mr. animals. Featherstone remarked with the sym- He was standing by the nursery pathetic gloom no other subject in- door holding the handle in his hand spired in him, “at least one of my as if he was afraid of letting go. children will be provided for.”

“No, she is n't here," said Joy, It was a week before the marriage. carefully; “but, Nicolas, I'm glad it's Patch had gone down for her tea, but only me. I wanted to say something Joy still sat in the nursery, where she to you. had been putting finishing touches to He came forward and stood near Maude's wedding dress. She was her, looking at the giraffe as if he was tired of sewing, but she did not want fascinated by it. His eyes for the to go down to tea; she had heard first time since she had come back people drive up and a clamor of half- did not look hard. strange voices in the hall. Patch “These are our old animals, you would bring her up something by and know,” said Joy after a pause. "Do by, and when she was rested she would you remember the peacock's tail? finish off Maude's new caps.

You helped me dye the feathers blue She went to the nursery cupboard when the old ones came off, and Roseand pulled out their old Noah's ark.

mary cried.” Mrs. Featherstone had told her, if she "I remember," said Nicolas in a thought it was in good enough repair, curious, dry voice. she might give it to the twins. There "I can't find the zebra,” Joy went were no such Noah's arks to be found on a little breathlessly. "Can you in modern toy-shops; each animal was think what happened to it?" covered with actual hair, and all were "I think we buried it in the garden small, but beautiful, copies of the under the pink may-tree,” said Nicooriginals.

las, “as a sin offering, because we liked Nicolas had had a peculiar gift for it the best and had stolen old Honeymending animals, and whenever he man's apples. I don't remember uncame over to play, necks, legs, and burying it." arms recovered their natural attitudes. Nicolas knelt down by the windowJoy stood the animals out one by one seat and pulled out of the ark a chicken upon the window-sill. There was a the same size as a spotted leopard lifelike monkey, a peacock with real with which it had got inextricably feathers on its tail, and a very large, mixed.


“This fellow's leg is n't right," “I've been a fool, my dear," he said he said unsteadily. “Have you any at last, "and I 've got to go on being glue?"

a fool. That 's all there is to it. Joy found some on a shelf, and You 'd have done what I asked you if Nicolas very carefully set to work upon I'd waited. That 's what Julia told the leopard's leg.

me. I suppose it's true?" "What was it you wanted to say to “O Nick,” she said, “she ought n't me?” he asked without raising his to have told you—not now. It is n't head.

any use, is it? I'd do anything in the “Oh, nothing really," Joy explained; world you wanted always—except “nothing now. I was rather upset hurt Maude." before, because you were n't friendly Yes," he said without turning to me, Nicolas, and I—you see, I toward her;“but that's the point, is n't thought I was coming homeit? The only thing I want would hurt

Nicolas bent lower over the leopard's Maude. But we may as well have leg.

the whole thing out now, anyhow. I “What d' you mean?” he asked. thought when I asked you that time You are home, are n't you?

it was me you minded,-my being “Not if you 're not friendly,” said your lover, I mean,-but Julia says it Joy, quickly. She knew now what was n't. She says you were afraid she had wanted to say to him. “You because of Rosemary, and having a see, Nick dear, when the boys marry,

kid that might be ill, and that you'd I sha'n't lose them. Why, I could n't have got over it, and that, anyway, bear it, could I, not to go on being you liked me for myself. Don't mind their sister? And I don't see why I telling me the truth now. I 'll do should n't keep you in the same way. just what you wish. I 'll always do You have always been one of the what you wish, but I want to know." boys, Nick."

O Nick," said Joy, "I thought you Nicolas put down the leopard, knew what I meant then. It is n't any abruptly.

use my saying it. Oh, but of course I I 've heard from Julia," he said, liked you." and without a word of warning he "Enough to marry me?" Nick buried his hard head in Joy's lap and persisted. burst into sobs.

“Enough for anything in the world," Joy knew that Nick never cried, not said Joy, firmly. even when he was only eight years old Nicolas said nothing for a long time; and broke his wrist jumping. His then he said in a low voice: breath came in great gasps, as if he "I suppose you would n't let me kiss were running a race and had been you once?'' beaten. Joy put both her hands over Joy hung her head miserably. She his head and bent over him.

wanted to kiss him, her arms ached to “O Nick!” she whispered, “Nick! hold him close against her heart and

take his pain into her very being; but Nicolas, after a minute or two, got even if she took it, she could not keep up and stood with his back to her, it. He would have to take it away with looking out of the window.

him in the end, and some instinct told

my Nick!"

her that if he held her in his arms, he "Shall I go now, Nick, or wait till would have to take more pain. after the wedding?"

She shook her head without speak- And Nick said: ing, and held out her hand to him. "Oh, the wedding does n't matter. Nick took it, and very gently kissed Better stay till that 's over, of course." each of her fingers. Then he said: Then he remembered about the

"I'd like it for a bit if we did n't leopard's leg, and finished it properly see each other.” And Joy said: before he went down-stairs.

(To be continued)


A black, fathomless night,
Myriads of twinkling stars
Looking down upon a graveyard-
A dark, mysterious graveyard,
Cold, uncanny silent.
And many, many fireflies,
Dancing little fireflies,
Flitting in and out among the tombstones,
Tiny sparks of light
Hovering over tombstones,
Cold, hard tombstones.

Two young lovers,
Beautiful, happy lovers,
Sitting on a dead slab of stone,
Embracing on a spiteful, scorning stone.
And the stars are merrily winking,
And the glow-worms are joyously twinkling.

A loud, devilish laughter,
A derisive, piercing laughter,-
The heart is chilled with fear-
An open groove of earth,
A coverless, gaping grave;
A form,
A white, transparent form,
A shimmering, uncertain form!
A pointing, mocking finger-
And laughter!

Jack London: Man and Husband

From “The Book of Jack London"


TOULD to Heaven that every linity objectively. Asking my reader

pair of men and women could to bear in mind earlier manifestations know the privilege of the il- of his philosophy and emotions toward luminating sort of experience the little women of his adolescence, I

that was Jack's and mine want to record some of the aspects of during the six months before our mar- his mature attitude. riage! By virtue of strenuous work He was not prone to allow women to and play together, by our wedding interfere with the business of life and date in November there was little of adventure. He liked to think of himwhich we did not have a fair inkling as self as in Augustus's class—a man that concerned each other's temperament women could not make or mar. In and idiosyncrasies. For the most part short, he was not a man who lost his the study was smooth sailing, though head easily. "God's own mad lover sometimes it was an adventure beset dying on a kiss" was an appealing line by snags.

to his sense of poesy, but Jack preferred Jack always pleaded not guilty to to live, rather than die, on that kiss. the passion of jealousy, despising and Love, in brief, should be a warm, but deriding it as a low, animal trait, normal, passion that made for fuller which it indubitably is. With an ex- living. At one period, after soaking ceptional capacity for tolerance toward himself in a vast accumulation of almost every human weakness save erotic literature, pro and con, he told disloyalty, he could not harbor any me that he felt himself lucky to have sympathy with that calamity of the been born so rightly balanced physiages, sheer animal jealousy.

cally that no abnormalities of his early "Should you turn from me to another rough days, or contact with the deman if I could not make you happy, cadences of super-civilization, had I'd give that man to you on a silver touched him to his hurt. The alienists platter, my dear," he would declare, interested him intellectually, but he "and say, 'Bless you, my children!' was nicely averse to abnormality of But I don't believe I could send you

any stripe. on a silver platter to another manquite.”

§ 2 What better place than this further I had supposed that there would be to interpret Jack London's relation little of the proprietary in the regard of toward women? I, who have known so broad-minded an individualist. One the clasp of his soul, known him of my own most vital surprises was to at his highest, can yet withdraw from find that Jack was just as adorably that fellowship and regard his mascu- medieval as any other lover in this

« AnkstesnisTęsti »