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force, and finally being carried off to the waiting-room to quiet down and to pull his scattered wits together.
She found herself in a third-class compartment; it was none too clean and it was very crowded. The occupants were both men and women—about half and half. They were not old, nor were many of them exactly young. None of them, taken singly, would have caused a second thought, perhaps; but their associated effect was peculiar. In the mass there was a singularity of attire, a curious, intimate, democratic, though half-smothered, familiarity of association, and a certain noticeable sameness in physiognomy not to be overlooked. Nor did they, on their part, ignore her own attire and physiognomy. They scanned her, studied her -men and women both—with a stealthy, furtive, insistent interest which presently began to annoy and even to alarm her. After a little time one or two of them spoke to her, and with a certain civility; but it was a civility that came more from policy than from good will. And before long they showed less of civility and more of a sense of restraint and injury, and she began to feel that she was the discordant element. This discovery pained her; she had no wish to act as a wet blanket on anybody's holiday. But doubtless these good people would be getting off after another five or ten or fifteen miles, and if she could stand it, they might, too. But they did not get off after five or ten or fifteen miles. They went on as long as she did-and longer.
Presently sounds of joy began to issue from the compartment next behind. There were two or three shrieks of laughter in high female voices, and the tones of a big bass voice, which must have proceeded from a head thrust out of the next window, came bawlingly into theirs. Then there was a noise as of some one pounding on the partition close to her head with a bottlea sign of greeting, as it seemed, to the people locked in with her. She started; but of those around her more frowned than smiled, and she realized bitterly that she was a kill-joy indeed. A large, round-shouldered man, who had not shaved himself that morning, and whose taste in neckwear she could not approve, sat opposite her. He was humming a jerky little tune under his breath, and was accompanying himself by strumming on the window-pane with a set of fingers adorned with a large and valueless ruby. At the first stoppage he ceased his impatient exercise, left the carriage, and forgot to come back again. And a woman, whose oily black hair was laid in great scollops against her temples, and whose full throat was encircled by a coarse-meshed collar of dubious point, looked after him as if she would like to follow.
The forenoon wore on, and other stops now
and then gave Miss West glimpses of other passengers. The most conspicuous of these were certain gentlemen- quite a number of them, too— who were dressed in an exaggeration of the prevailing mode, and who were most active whenever a stop gave easy access to a restaurant or a buffet. They carried little glasses of cognac or kirschwasser, or anything else that offered, and their steps invariably led them to one particular carriage- the first or second ahead of her own. She saw them again and again; and presently it occurred to her that none of the old passengers were leaving the train and that no new ones seemed to have boarded it. Many of the station-masters, too, were showing an interest more personal than was common to that indifferent gild, and that interest followed close on the convoy of kirschwasser and cognac.
The hours dragged on wearily and uncomfortably enough. They passed Nogent, Troyes, Bar-sur-Aube, and in due time they reached Chaumont, where there was a longer wait than usual. Here she saw the window-strummer on the platform, and noticed that he was pointing to her compartment. And presently one of the bearers of kirschwasser came walking down past the long succession of open doors, and paused at hers. He wore a dark, pointed beard, his trousers-legs had the sensuous, undulating swing so dear to the Parisian tailor, and his collar displayed the low cut so beloved by artists of a certain circle. He carried a little glass of liqueur in a hand on which the manicure had exercised an exaggerated care, and he offered his refreshment with a smile whose intent was that of the most attentive assiduity. As he approached her the women opposite bridled most self-consciously, and when she drew back with alarm and offense so plainly in her face that he could only retire with a stare and a shrug, her traveling companions finally lost all patience with her. The people in the next compartment were trolling the drinking-song from "Giroflé-Girofla" with a spirit and precision that quite surprised her, and now the people in her own threw off all restraint, and joined in with them.
She retired into her book, and the loosened tongues around her began to do a little wagging. They talked brokenly, abruptly, of a variety of things that she found herself unable to follow; it seemed to be the phonetic shop-talk of some established but exceptional profession. They spoke now and then of la Duchesse. Once a reference to this personage was attended by the throwing up of a thumb over a shoulder in the direction of the carriage ahead, and Miss West found herself wondering whether it was the Duchess whose thirst was so unquenchable and required such constant ministrations.
Presently one of the women stooped down, thrust her hand under the seat, and pulled up a package of sandwiches and a bottle of ordinaire. She studied the situation for a moment, and then, with a manner which she could not make non-committal enough to meet her own views, tendered a share in these refreshments to our uncomfortable traveler. Miss West was hungry enough to accept food and drink even at the hands of a duchess's tirewoman or kitchen-maid, and it seemed to be the general sentiment of the compartment, as she bit into her sandwich, that she was coming to her
At the next stop she ventured to alight and to take a few steps up and down, for she felt very tired, cramped, and uncomfortable. The deserter from her own compartment pointed her out to two or three of his fellows, who followed her movements with a curious interest, and now and then some other man from a higher social stratum seemed half prompted to the tender of some civility which in the end he reconsidered and withheld. She glanced along the train. There was one goods-van more than might have been expected from the limited number of carriages, and it was noticeably larger than the average. Yes; the great lady, whoever she might be and wherever going, was moving along en grande tenue, and was carrying her whole household with her. But why not have added a few extra carriages to the train? Why compel one who was accustomed to the drawing-room to travel, as it were, in the kitchen? She looked toward the carriage that she fancied to be occupied by the grande dame herself, but the door was closed, and the kirschwasser was handed in through the half-curtained window by a garçon who came tripping out from the buffet, and who carried back a five-franc piece with the empty glass. How pitiful, thought Miss West, for an elderly lady to become so confirmed in such a habit; though, to be sure, almost every member of the aristocracy had some engaging little eccentricity or other.
The afternoon was wearing on. The long, straight white roads, and the long, straight, interminable poplar-rows of mid-France had been left behind some time since; the country had become broken, hilly, even mildly mountainous—at least there were suggestions of the mountainous that made the passing show worthy of more attention; most of the ducal retainers had dropped off to sleep, lying back in uncomfortable and unprepossessing attitudes; but from somewhere or other above the ceaseless click-click of the wheels came faintly and intermittently the squeaking notes of a violin. Then it seemed as if there might be two of them, and that they were running informally
through a little passage in thirds and sixths; and presently above the dull b-r-r-r from the rails there seemed to beat itself in on her fastdulling ear a familiar snatch from "La Jolie Par -La Jolie-La Jol-" She nodded, caught herself, the train slacked, and they were at Delle, on the Swiss frontier.
She decided to do what she could toward getting the Duchess and her vast establishment through the customs, and so left her compartment once more. But the examinations were not so searching as she had expected, nor was she herself as alertly wide-awake as she had judged; and but for a strong arm, dexterously exercised, she might have been left behind altogether. This arm belonged to a gentleman whom she had seen only once before during the day, but to whom she had assigned a high position in the ducal household—the eldest son, in all probability. He, as the train was moving off, seized her firmly, thrust her into the nearest open door, promptly followed her himself, and gave the door a slam behind them.
She found herself in a first-class compartment, comfortably spaced and luxuriously appointed. The velvet rug was littered with broken biscuits and crumpled rose-leaves, and four people already occupied the four corners: a lady, her maid, and two gentlemen, one of whom held a bird-cage containing a pair of parrakeets, while the other was trying to amuse a pug-dog whose harness was set off with bells and blue ribbons. The third gentleman, her rescuer, signed her to a seat between the dog and the birds, and placed himself between mistress and maid. He was a man who was approaching thirty-he was twenty-eight, let us say. His aspect was one of richness and distinction; his manner had breadth, freedom, mastery. He seemed a patrician who could hold his high estate, or lapse away from it and gain it again, all with equal ease, grace, and elasticity, and wholly uninjured in the opinion of himself or his associates. He had a devil in each eye; one was laughing, the other-not. It was the laughing one that flickered before Aurelia West as he presented her with an off-hand informality, difficult to describe or to endure, to the lady opposite her, whom he simply designated as the Duchess. As to her own identity, that appeared to be understood by everybody, the Duchess included.
In this personage Aurelia West was surprised to find a woman not more than a year or two older than herself, though a first casual glance might have made her four or five. With her feet crossed she lolled back against the quilted head-rest in a costume in which Miss West found ample justification for her own. She wore her hair in a bold, original fashion, which was much too eccentric and unauthorized for
anything like imitation, and her elaborate complexion was applied with a careless frankness that only a very great lady would have dared to employ. She did not suggest the Faubourg St. Germain, by any means; but Compiègne, in the later days of the Empire, was not altogether beyond the pale of consideration. She turned a pair of big, dilated eyes on this new and sudden arrival, made an indifferent effort to extend a hand, and carelessly asked her, in an accent not completely Parisian, how she was standing the journey. Then, with an air of knowing everything and everybody and all about them, she brought back her wandering attention and chained it to her own personality. Her conversation was chiefly with the athlete who had made the immediate continuation of Aurelia West's Swiss journey a possibility. She addressed him sometimes as cher Marquis and sometimes as caro Marchese, and at irregular intervals she mumbled bits of Italian at him without turning her head. Her associates took as much for granted and gave as little heed; the gentleman with the bird-cage was the one who had made the offer of refreshment, and he gave even less. He ignored the newcomer completely, and Aurelia West began to feel even more uncomfortable and out of place than she had felt in her other quarters. She was tolerated only because she was there, and there unavoidably; and the more assured they seemed as to her identity the more uncertain she became about it herself.
They had left Porrentruy and its castle
heights and depths and
fleeting shadows that marks this entrance into Switzerland. At Ste. Ursanne the train crosses
loftily over the picturesque valley of the Doubs, and pauses long enough for a brief look at the quaint old town and its ruined castle set high up on a precipitous steep, and the suddenly doubling river winding far below between its craggy banks. Aurelia West was taking this first glimpse as an earnest of other glories yet to come, and she gave no great heed to the person who stood there with his hand on the carriage door in low-voiced conversation with the Duchess. He was of middle age, and his face expressed a fairly successful union of the practical and the esthetic. He looked, too, as if he had the weight of the universe on his shoulders-the universe plus the Duchess. And the Duchess was adding to the weight by a series of sharp, insistent questions. Where, for example, had he been all this time? Why must he bestow so much time on Mlle. La Rossignole and her needs. Was n't she old and experienced enough to look out for herself? And why had there been no kirschwasser for poor Chou-Chou back there at Porrentruy ?the little beast, meanwhile, thrusting out his pop-eyes and jingling his bells as if insisting on an answer, too. And why-why was it necessary to have the new contralto in this particular compartment? Could no other place have been found for her? And how was anybody to get along with one so glum, so rude, so unsympathetic ?
Eh, Mademoiselle, the new contralto? Mais, oui; surely a place had been found for her- one in his own carriage.
In monsieur's own carriage? Then who, juste ciel! was-? and his puzzled questioner shrugged her shoulder in the direction of the absorbed Aurelia.
There was an exchange of glances and a lifting of eyebrows all around. The man of affairs shut the door and hurried away, leaving his associates to adjust themselves to this altered
state of affairs. The prima donna asso
luta exchanged a few words with the Marquis in Italian, and Miss West presently found herself the object of a slightly increased interest. The less she belonged to them, the more, it seemed, they cared for her; and when they learned that her destination was not Basel, but Neuchâtel, their interest quickened still a little more. For in that event Mademoiselle must change at Delémont, and Delémont was barely
ten miles ahead, a change presently made to the
(To be continued.)
ITALIAN OLD MASTERS. VITTORE CARPACCIO.- 1440 (?) — 1520 (?). ARPACCIO is one of those masters of the great period of Venetian art about whose lives we know the least. We know that he was born in Istria, then one of the possessions of Venice; and we first hear of him as a painter in connection with Lazzaro Bastiani (of whom Vasari makes two persons, brothers of Carpaccio), who was a member of the school of S. Girolamo, in Venice, in 1470. It is a rational conjecture that as the two were friends so close as to be reported by Vasari to be brothers, they were of approximately the same age and could hardly have been admitted painters earlier than thirty. As Cavalcaselle points out, Carpaccio's later works show the decay of his powers, and were painted about 1519; so he may be accepted as having lived till 1520, and to have died at a ripe age, which, for want of any clue, we may guess to be eighty. We have no more precise indications of the date of either his birth or his death. He was a pupil of the elder Vivarini, and afterward of Giovanni Bellini. He is reported to have accompanied Gentile Bellini to Constantinople, to which experience may be attributed his fondness for Oriental costumes in his pictures. The great series of subjects from the life of St. Ursula, now in the Academy at Venice, which gives the best as well as the most favorable conception of his work, was executed after 1490. The series of pictures in S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni, which Ruskin has brought into great prominence in the history of art in Venice, was painted by order of the confraternity of the Hospital of St. George. This confraternity, founded in 1451, received from the prior of the monastery of St. John of Jerusalem a hospice from among the buildings of the priory, and this building having become ruinous, the confraternity replaced it by a more splendid one, with a chapel which was com
pleted in 1501, and dedicated to St. George and St. Trifon, a Dalmatian saint and martyr. An early historian of the principality of Montenegro, then the principality of the Zeta, says that its last sovereign, George Cernoievitch, married a noble Venetian lady, who, tired of the bleak seclusion of the rugged home to which she had come, persuaded her husband to return with her to Venice. Accordingly he took up his permanent abode there, and, finding no orthodox church in the city, had one built which he dedicated to St. George. His name appears for the last time in the records of Cettinje, the capital of Montenegro, in 1495, and his will exists, dated at Milan in 1499. The association of St. George of the Slavonians and St. Trifon, an orthodox and Slavonic saint, with the avowed purpose of making a refuge for the mariners at Dalmatia, which was then as now mainly an orthodox country in its lower provinces, and the coincidence of times and names, leave no room for doubt that S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni is the church of George Cernoievitch, since it is the only one to which we can refer the data. There had been for several generations an alliance between the Zeta and Venice against the Turks. The sea-coast along the part of Dalmatia opposite the Zeta was in the possession of Venice, and the Zetans served as guards to the caravans from the Adriatic across the Balkans to the Black Sea and Trebizond. Before taking a wife from a noble Venetian family, George Černoievitch had been inscribed in the Golden Book of the nobility of the state.
The pictures in S. Giorgio were painted between 1502 and 1508, in the early portion of Carpaccio's most masterly period; but I cannot agree with Ruskin's laudation of the art in them, considered in relation to the other works of Carpaccio, any more than with what seems to me his extravagant praise of the art of Carpaccio in relation to the rest of Venetian art.