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tentment. Her husband asks advice. He is “ Is she old or young?” immensely rich. I advise poverty, but he thinks “I decline to say. You will be amused and that worse than ennui. There are no moral puzzled.” tonics for these people. You shall and you This time Mrs. Vincent was mouse-colored, must are not in their drug-shops. That is the and clad in some stuff of silvery sheen where malaria of excessive wealth.
it caught the light. The flowers were vivid Case 131. “This will interest you,” I said, orchids, which looked like embroidered jokes “ in the light of our recent talk. It is the last or grotesque floral caricatures. I shall trouble you with.”
“I want first,” she said, “ to talk a little - at thirty-five marries a woman of for- about your character doctor. Is not every tune and attractions, an only child. By degrees true and clever physician more or less what he she insists with tears and entreaties on absorb- tries to be?” ing his life in her own. He cannot leave her “ Yes." a day without difficulty ; has by degrees given “And people confess to you?" - up his sports, his outdoor pursuits, and at last “Ah, too much— too much !” is driven or decoyed into abandoning his busi- She was silent a moment, and then said: “I ness, which is not a necessity, as she is rich ought to hesitate about putting burdens on one and lavishly generous. Her capacity for at- already weighted heavily, but it so chances that tachment is abnormally strong. Her case is a woman — indeed, women I esteem need one of jealousy carried to the extent of hating help which you know how to give. And oh, a rival in his pursuits or his tastes. She must I meant to explain, but here comes Mrs. Leigh.” be his life and adequate. This implies vast be- As she spoke a large, handsome woman enlief in herself. Of other women she is not jeal- tered. She was known to me by name, and, in ous. Under this narrowing of existence he is fact, was one of my kindred, but so far back as failing in health of mind and body, and thinks to give me no claim of distinct relationship. himself a traitor to her. He is dissatisfied with Nor had we ever met, because she had been a too merely emotional life. The woman some- for many years in Europe. times absorbs the man; the man rarely cap- After I had been presented, she and Mrs. tures the totality of the woman. Either is Vincent fell into talk, and thus gave me a unwholesome. He consults me. I predict for chance to observe that the newcomer was him a sad failure unless he consents to declare clearly a woman somewhat peculiar and posihis independence and is willing to discipline tive, who had seen much of many societies, and her into happiness. He will be unlikely to was evidently of a not rare type of the woman take my advice.
of the world. At this point Clayborne broke in with a Presently Mrs. Vincent said: “I promised yawn. “Really, my dear North,” he said, to talk to Dr. North of your difficulty, but per“ how much more of this is there?” haps, as he is here, and you too, it were better
I laughed. “This is by no means all, but I you said to him directly what you want." shall not ask you to hear more. There is ma- “I would rather have done so through you, terial for a dozen novels in these notes." my dear. But, in fact, I am troubled. I dis
- That is an admirable reason for going no trust my own opinions, and I want to be just further. I never read novels. I tried to once, to my daughter." but I found that it made me desire to go beyond “I am at your service,” I said. facts in my own work.”
“You do not know my daughter Alice ? Of * To go beyond facts?” said St. Clair. “It course you could not.” seems to me that imagination controlled by “Suppose you state your difficulty.” reason ought to be indispensable to the true “ Alice is twenty-four- Do tell him, my historian."
dear. My opinion is worthless." - Oh, your picturesque historian? We know “Gladly,” said Mrs. Vincent. “ Alice is a him. Good night, Mrs. Vincent."
woman of unusual force of character. As life With this our evening ended. But as I went has gone on she has acquired a strong belief out Mrs. Vincent said: “Come in to-morrow; that a woman of fortune and intellect (for she is I want you to help a friend of mine. It is and more than merely intelligent) should have some it is not a medical question.”
distinct career. She has seen much of the gay I said I would come, and, turning, noticed a world, and it does not satisfy her cravings. Like queer smile on the features of Vincent. Hamlet, neither men nor women delight her.
And now, coming home to live, she has grown
depressed and unhappy. Occupations without XVI.
definite aims dissatisfy her, and while she perYou are good to come so early,” said our forms every duty to her home circle and to sohostess." Sit down."
ciety, which she measurably likes, she has a
strong sense that these do not competently fill ceases to be interesting to some women. If the her life. No one knows better than I what this position has in it nothing ridiculous to a woman, means. I had once this disease, and pretty then she is either in danger or is a mere cobadly — the hunger for imperative duties." quette.”
“And you," I said, much interested —"you “I do not profess to comprehend Alice,” were cured?"
said Mrs. Leigh. “The boys I can manage, and “Yes; by marriage. It is what you call a Maude; but once when Alice was very little she heroic remedy. But not all women marry, and said, “Mama, was the Centurion a woman?' Of Alice has so far been hard, in fact impossible, course I said, .No; and why do you ask so to please. She has my sympathy because I once silly a question?' . Because he just said, “ Do did have ambitions for a distinct career. They this,” and “ Go,” and “Do that," and never are lost now in the perfect gratification which gave any reasons; and that is the way you do.' I have in seeing the growth and increasing use- Of course I punished her, but that was usefulness of my husband's life. It contents me less. Once, after I had put her on bread and fully, but it might not have done so. I pity water for a day, she told me the Bible said. profoundly the large-minded woman who, that man shall not live by bread alone.' So I craving a like satisfaction, finds too late that told her she had water too. When I came to the man in whose life she has merged her own let her out that evening, she said, “I'm so is incapable of living up to her ideals." sorry, mama; I did not think about the water,
"Well,” said Mrs. Leigh, “you are no and I forgot I was a girl; the Bible says a man.' doubt correct, but Alice is Alice, and no one Now we never argue.” else, and Frederick Vincents are not common, I caught Mrs. Vincent's eye for a moment. and”
It was intelligent and telegraphic. I began to “Go on, dear. Best to tell your own story.” feel curious about this reasoning child, and the
“Oh, Alice says she can endure it no longer, woman evolved out of such a childhood. and now she proposes to-really, Anne, it is “I can see,” returned our hostess, “how awful. She wants to study medicine, and, oh, difficult it must have been to manage a being you do not know Alice. She is so determined. like that, and one too, as I recall Alice, so afAt last I promised to inquire about it. It is fectionate and so sensitive." too distressing. And what can I do? I am “O my dear Anne, sensitive hardly exlike a baby when she talks to me. She is so presses it. My children have been brought up obstinate, and then I get tired and say, 'Have on system, and a part of it has been absolute it your own way,' and after that we both cry, certainty of punishment. But if I punished and in two or three days it is all to be gone Ned, and he needed it pretty often, Alice was over again, just as I think I am done with it. in tears for a day, “And, would I punish her?' Marry her! If I only could. And now what And one day she was sure that would hurt do you advise ?” said Mrs. Leigh, turning Ned worse. Well, at last I took her at her
word, and then Ned was in a rage, and deI was a little puzzled, and hesitated. At last clared he would kill himself if I ever struck her I said: “Tell me first, Mrs. Vincent, what do again.” you think of this matter? It is not to be set- “ Struck!” said Mrs. Vincent. “But pariled by my own views. I do not know Miss don me." Leigh, and you do."
“ Oh, they were mere children. I do not “ Yes; but I have tried to put you in pos- at all share your views about education; and session of her peculiarities. Would you say, let then, dear, you have no experience - none." her do as she desires, or would you be posi- “That is true," said Mrs. Vincent, quietly. tive in refusal ? She will yield, but she will She was vastly tender about all little ones, hate it."
as some childless women are. Pausing a mo“ Could I see her ?” I said.
ment, she added: “Our only excuse for talking “ Yes; she is dining out, but will be here so intimately of my dear Alice is because I very soon. She is to call for her mother.” want Dr. North to understand the person for
If, my dear Anne, she knew that we had whom we seek his advice. Few people are as been discussing her — she is capable, the dear little likely to misunderstand us as he.” child, of anything.”
“ Indeed, Anne, if he can see through Alice, “Even of a love-affair,” said Mrs. Vincent, he will be very clever.” merrily.
“No one,” I returned, “ can easily appre“Of anything else but that. Men are de- hend character from mere description, and lightful to Alice until they become interested; you seem to me to have, and to have had, a then, as she says, she becomes disinterested.” very complex nature to deal with.”
“ There is some truth in that,” cried our No; she is simple," said Mrs. Vincent,"and, hostess. “The moment a man is interested he like such people, very direct. Only,- and you
you not ?”
will pardon me, Helen,-Mrs. Leigh and her “ Alice!” said Mrs. Leigh, severely. daughter are people so different that it is not “ And the other man?” said I. easy for them to agree in opinion. In all lesser “Ah, he was really a nice boy of twenty. matters Alice yields. In larger matters she is He confided to me his ambitions. Do you not at times immovable, and,” she added, laugh- know, Dr. North, the sort of fresh shrewdness ing, “as my dear Mrs. Leigh is also, and always a young fellow like that has sometimes? It is immovable"
delightful, and such a pleasant belief that he “Oh,” cried the mama, interrupting her, knows the world.” “excuse me, dear Anne, but that is because I “ That is like Alice. She is always losing am systematic, and system can never be cruel, her heart to some boy in his teens," said the because people know what to expect. I heard mama. Mr. Clayborne say that, and it struck me as “She ought to know Mr. St. Clair," cried very profound."
Mrs. Vincent. “He is in his teens, and always “ Be sure," I replied, not a little amused, will be. And I must be a witch. Indeed, I " that I shall regard all you say as a confidence. uttered no spells, but he always comes just at I must know Miss Leigh personally, and bet- the moment one wants him, unless you expect ter than your talk can make me know her, be- him at dinner.” And so, amidst her laughing fore I advise you, and even then I may decline remarks, she presented St. Clair to Miss Alice to advise, or my advice may be of little use, and her astonished mama. to her, at least.”
St. Clair was utterly regardless of the con“ Too true,” remarked Mrs. Leigh. “I know ventional in many ways, and especially as to her well, and my advice is of very little use.” engagements. He might or might not dine
“I hear the carriage,” said Mrs. Vincent. with you if he had promised to do so, and “This very original consultation had better these failures, due very often to facility of forend here. You were at Baden, Helen, were getfulness, were at times quite deliberate, and
to appearance selfish, or at least self-full. He “ Yes.”
would receive a telegram and leave it unopened “ Did you meet the Falconbergs ? Vincent for a day, and I have seen the drawer of his desk is very much attached to them. You know he filled with unopened letters. carried on a suit for the German embassy Now he was in a long, dark-brown velvet when Count Falconberg was Chargé. Ah, my jacket, and a spotless, thin white flannel shirt, dear Alice, how late you are! The dinner with a low collar and a disheveled red necktie. must have been very pleasant. Where is Ed- As to his hands, they were always perfectly ward ? My old friend Dr. Owen North, Miss cared for, white, and delicate. The crown of Leigh."
brown, wilful curls over the merry eyes went Instantly I knew, as I rose to meet her, well with his picturesque disorder of dress, but that she understood we had been talking of I could see that Mrs. Leigh set him down at her. I read with ease the language of her face. once as a person not of her world. She was as One has these mysterious cognitions as to cer- civilly cool as her daughter was the reverse. tain people, and even the steadying discipline He stood a moment by Miss Alice in her evenof society had as yet failed to enable her to pre- ing dress, a rosy athlete, blue-eyed, gay, happy, serve that entire control of the features which and picturesque, with long Vandyke beard, soft makes its life an easy masquerade. The trace mustache, and an indefinite, careless grace in of annoyed surprise was gone as she said cor- all his ways. The woman was, as to dress and dially: “ I feel that I ought to know you. We outside manner, simply and charmingly concrossed your path in Europe over and over ventional. I have no art in describing faces. years ago, and I used to hear mama regretting Hers was of a clear white, but the richly tinted that we had not met."
lips showed that this was the natural hue of " It was my loss," I returned.
perfect health. As she stood, I saw that this “And was the dinner pleasant? Do tell paleness was not constant. Little isles of color us," said Mrs. Vincent.
came and went, and seemed to me to wander “ Yes and no. Too long. All our dinners about cheek and neck, as if to visit one lovely here are too long. I exhausted one of my feature after another. Yes, she was handsome; neighbors. He was rather ponderous. I tried that was clear by the way St. Clair tranquilly him on a variety of subjects, but at last we regarded her. All beauty of form bewildered hit, by good luck, on the stock-exchange. It him into forgetfulness of surroundings. must be a queer sight, and when we women As he was presented, St. Clair bowed to the are stock-brokers in the year 2000--ah, I matron, shook Mrs. Vincent by both hands, and should like to see what it will be then. I know then, as I said, turned a quiet gaze of delight all about bulls, and bears, and puts, and shorts, on the young woman. and margins, and —”
"I think we must have met before," he said.
“Indeed," she exclaimed.
“I like your making him promise not to “Yes; I am always sure of that about cer- gamble,” said Miss Leigh, gravely. “What a tain people.”
droll story!” “ That is one of St. Clair's fads," I said. “But Meanwhile Mrs. Vincent and the mother as to your table-companions. I know one of had been chatting apart, and now the latter them. His sole pleasure is in stock-gambling." rose. "Come, Alice," she said; and then, with
Ah,” cried Mrs. Vincent, “ I can under- the utmost cordiality, " And, Dr. North, let us stand that, and, indeed, all gambling propen- see you soon, very soon, and often. We are of sities.'
the same blood, you know. Good evening, “ Anne! my dear Anne!” said Mrs. Leigh. Mr. St. Clair; I trust we shall have the pleasure
· Yes; I should like to gamble if one did not of seeing you again.” have to lose, which I should hate, or to win, St. Clair took no note of the difference in which would be worse."
manner to him and to me; I do not think he “And to me it is incomprehensible," said saw it. He was again absorbed in the study Miss Alice. “I dislike chance."
of Alice. “What! the dear god Chance?” said St. "Oh, with great pleasure," he returned. Clair. “I wish I could shuffle life every morn- “ And Fred is in the study, Mrs. Vincent, you ing like a pack of cards."
said? I will join him. Good night." She looked at him steadily. He was always He went up-stairs, while I descended the in earnest. Then she remarked :
staircase with Mrs. Vincent's friends. I put “You like all games of chance ?”
them into their carriage, and went back. Yes; but I never win. I want to think I “Shall I need to apologize ? ” said Mrs. shall win, but I never want to win."
Vincent, when we were again seated. “ And of course you do sometimes ? "
Indeed, no. What a remarkable girl! And Yes, it is like making love. I think I want the mother ?” to win, but I do not, and I am dreadfully afraid “Oh, better than she seems. There is much if I come near to winning."
sense back of her views as to system in educaMiss Alice looked amused and puzzled. tion, and although positive, cruelly tactless, “A rare fancy, I should say. And the money capable, in a word, of incredible social blun—if you do win? Does it not annoy, embar- ders, she is yet a lady, and, moreover, a kindly,
charitable woman. People like her. She is “Oh, I give it away. I prefer to give it back handsome still, as you see. But she is not the to the man; but I tried that once, and found mama for Alice.” that it was looked upon as an insult. I had to “ I did not like her manner to St. Clair," I explain, and it was not very easy."
said. “I should think not,” said I. “I once gam- “ The only defense possible for him is to bied in stocks indirectly, and with a lucky re- know him. Imagine the effect of that jacket sult. A man lost half of his fortune in X. Y. on Mrs. Leigh! It said Bohemia at once." stock. It fell from 40 to 7 in a month. He be- “ And if so, what must be to her social nerves came depressed and threatened to kill himself. the idea of Miss — Dr. Alice, in fact ? Yes; I I did what I could, and assured him that the shrink from it myself,” I continued, “ and I am stock was good and would rise again. I was not sure that I am wise." very young, Miss Leigh, and very sanguine. “At least,” returned Mrs. Vincent, “ it canIn a month he came back and said he was him- not be here a question of right or wrong. There self again, and much obliged for my advice.” is no wickedness in it. She abandons no duty. 666 What advice?' I said.
The brothers are old enough not to need her. "Oh,' he cried, 'you told me the stock The mother and she do not agree. I mean that was good and would rise, and as I knew you they look at life from diverse points of view. were a friend of the president of the road I Really, they both love and admire each other. determined to act upon your confidence, and Only on large occasions do they approach a so I bought at 7 and 9 all the stock I could quarrel, and Alice is as respectful then as she afford to carry.'
is determined.” “ Without a word I left him, and, returning “Not obstinate. Mrs. Leigh is that, I should with the morning paper, said, “The stock is 37. say.” Promise me to sell at once.' He said, Of “Her worst annoyances are what Fred calls course.' Then I made him pledge himself Alice's white mice. She has a curious collecnever again to meddle with stocks." tion of friends, the socially lame, halt, and blind,
“ And he kept his word ?” said Mrs. Vin- who adore her, and to pursue a duty is as much cent.
a temptation to Alice as a pleasant bit of wick“ Yes; and made a dreadful amount of edness is to some other women. You will like money."
her. You are sure to like her.”
“I do already."
turned back along the hall, “ in finding you, “I knew you would. And do make St. Clair and you will please to be a trifle blind while I call. He never will unless you make him.” drop St. Clair's cards on the table. Half a
“I will try. I can at least leave his card.” dozen friends are needed to perform for him
“ Yes; do. Next week, you know, we are all his social duties. He might call on you daily to take tea at his studio. I am to matronize for a week, and then not for six months.” the party. I want Alice to go, and her mother, “ One must have to make large allowances but I will see to that. Only he must call, and for a friend like that,” she said, as we entered then a few words to Mrs. Leigh will settle it. the drawing-room. “ But do you not think that She does what I like, and likes what I do, and that is a part of the capacity for friendship? I is, therefore, a model to all my friends.” mean knowledge with charity."
“ I have no need of the example, but I wish " Assuredly. And with all his shortcomings you had not asked me to meddle in this doctor St. Clair is a man to love. What he needs in business."
life is some woman as tender as she is resolute." “Why?”
“ Alas for the woman!" “I hardly know."
“No. I presuppose the one essential with“And yet, that is unusual with you. I mean, out which the double life is inconceivable — to not to be clear as to your reasons. I am sorry; me, at least. However, this must be left to fate. 1-"
Mrs. Vincent will ask your mother and you to “ Please don't-I am always at your ser- his studio next week. We are to see his statues, vice- always. I will find a chance to talk to and to have tea.” Miss Alice."
“But mama will never go," she returned has“ Pray do; but be careful. I want her to like tily. “I beg pardon, she is engaged, -I mean you. You know I insist on my friends liking there will be some engagement,—and I should one another. And now you must go. I am like to go. Why do not all of you wear brown tired. Fred is up-stairs."
velvet coats ? “ No; I must go home. Good night.” “And have curly hair, and write verses, and
carve statues, and look like young Greek athletes! Ah, Miss Leigh, there are drawbacks
believe me, there are drawbacks. Now a dressI saw none of these people for some days. coat would have made this afternoon tea seem The Leighs were not at home when I called, so easy and so delightful to a matronly kinsand my life went on its usual course of busy woman of mine.” hours. Then I remembered Mrs. Vincent's re- “You see too much,” she cried, laughing. quest, and dropped in on St. Clair at his studio. “Yes; so far as mama is concerned, that beauAsking him casually if he had called on Mrs. tiful, worn velvet jacket was fatal. But perhaps Leigh, he said, “ No,” and to my surprise, Mrs. Vincent will make mama go. She has a “Would I leave his card ?” I said, “Yes; way of smiling mama into or out of anything." with pleasure," and asked him at what hour Then she paused a little and, coloring, said: was his afternoon tea.
“Mama told me last night that she had talked “ Jove!” he exclaimed, “I forgot it. I will with you and Mrs. Vincent about me. Mama see Mrs. Vincent. How do people remember never keeps a secret very long, unless you ask things? I want to have that splendid young her to tell it, and I was sure that I should hear woman; and the mama, I suppose, is a sad ne- of it soon or late, for I knew at once the other cessity. How lucky that you came in.” night that I had been under discussion. Frankly * Best to see Mrs. Vincent soon.”
speaking, I did not like it. Now, if you -- if you “ I will."
were — were a girl, would you have liked it ? " “ Now, at once. Change your dress," – he I watched her with amusement and honest was in his blouse-"and I will drop you there. interest. And make haste."
“ Oh, the delightful possibility of being a I did see him safely into Mrs. Vincent's girl, and of being discussed by you and Mrs. house, knowing very well that it was as likely Vincent! I think I could stand it.” as not that he would have forgotten the whole “ Please do not laugh at me.” matter had I not reminded him in time. Then “ I do not.” I left my carriage and walked to Mrs. Leigh's. “ But you do, and I am serious. I am not As the door opened I met Miss Leigh in the always to be taken lightly. And men are so apt hall, dressed for the street.
to insist that a woman must be anything but “Oh,” she said, “ you are caught and must serious.” come in. I am in no hurry to go out. I am “ But every sermon has a text. About what sorry mama is not at home.”
are you serious ?" "I am at least fortunate,” I said, as we “You know. I-of course mama told me, Vol. XLIV.- 41-42.