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Again, in 1872, he writes after his return from a visit to Cauterets, taken in the interest of his health.
I was not able to work in the several excursions and ascensions made in the neighborhood, where it was very beautiful. One is so surprised by these grand aspects that it would be necessary to remain a long time before finding the interpretation capable of rendering them. I am going to finish the season at Auvers. There is nothing like one's natural every-day surroundings where one really takes pleasure. The pictures we do then feel the effect of our home-life, and the sweet sensations we experience in it.
Thus the fields and orchards amid which he opened his life were alike the inspiration of his noblest works, and the peaceful accompaniments of its close. He had spoken
of being laid away at Auvers, but it was especially desired that he should go to Père-laChaise. The services were held at the church of Notre Dame de Lorette, February 21, 1878, amid a large following of his friends, pupils, and admirers. Geffroy-Dechaume, Steinheil, Lavieille, and Vollon were pall-bearers. In finishing his discourse at the cemetery, the Marquis de Chennevières, Director of Fine Arts, said, after referring to Daubigny's forerunners: "Of those whom I have named, Daubigny came the last, but was neither the least convinced, the least in love with nature, nor the least sincere."
Brilliant technicians have been and are plentiful in French art, but the intellectual power and the original force of such a painter as Daubigny are qualities that cannot be transferred, and no one has since filled the place his death left vacant.
Robert J. Wickenden.
A LONELY sail in the vast sea-room
I have put out for the port of gloom.
The voyage is far on the trackless tide,
The headlands blue in the sinking day
The fading gulls, as they dip and veer,
The great winds come, and the heaving sea,
The cry of her heart is lone and wild,
Beautiful, weariless mother of mine,
In the drift of doom I am here, I am thine.
Beyond the fathom of hope or fear,
Swept on in the wake of the stars, in the stream
BY S. WEIR MITCHELL, M. D., AUTHOR OF "IN WAR TIME," ETC.
T. CLAIR'S tea was postponed, and as the weeks ran by I often saw Miss Leigh at Mrs. Vincent's, and now and then at her own house. No more was said by me as to her plans. I less and less liked the subject, and when she approached it I merely put the matter aside, saying that it was too late to consider it this year because the college courses were half over, and would she let it rest for a time? But at last Mrs. Leigh, who was irrepressible, urged me to speak again to her daughter, and, seeing that it was as well to make an end of it, I put her off until I could talk once more with Mrs. Vincent.
I learned, of course, that Miss Leigh's plan for a fresh departure in life had become widely known through her mother's freedom of talk, and I did what I could to contradict the gossip. Yet, somehow, the thing haunted me. I seemed to see this handsome, high-minded girl with her exquisite neatness and delicacies of sentiment and manner amidst the scenes and work which belong to the life of the student of medicine. And was I not also a man essentially refined and sensitive? Had it hurt me? I knew it had not. But it is terribly true that a man may do and be that which is for him inconsistent with his ideal of the highest type of womanhood. He may puzzle himself mad with the logic of the thing, and be beaten utterly by its poetry.
At last I found leisure to see Mrs. Vincent. "Do not forget St. Clair's tea," she said; "and come early. It will be amusing. I really made him do it. And the Leighs. Mrs. Leigh told me of your talk. Do you like her ? "
"Yes and no. May I speak? She did seem to me hard and-"
"Oh, only in talk. If one has any real trouble, she is angelic. She likes you. But, then, she likes success, as I do. Yes, strange as it may seem to you, she would make an admirable mother-in-law."
"I should be pitiful of the man," said I. "No. If he were morally weak she would rule him for his good, because in all worldly
ways, and in business matters, no one is more shrewd; and if he were a man of eminence and force, she would give up once for all. She has no real fight in her, none at all." I smiled.
"Oh, you may laugh." "I only smiled."
"Yes, I know." And she set her large eyes on me watchfully. "Now, suppose by any chance our friend St. Clair were to lose his heart to my friend Miss Alice?" "Impossible."
"Not at all. He comes here every day to talk about her. Now, with Alice's good sense and efficiency, and her mother's"Pardon me, what?"
"Oh, her mother's desire to settle Alice, and then Alice's fortune. Now do you not see how very wise a thing it would be ?"
"Are you jesting?" I said seriously.
"I? Not at all. I lent Alice his last book, and she is delighted with it. Yesterday she quoted the whole of that poem of his about the storm. If he could only hear her recite it, I-I fancy he would propose on the spot." "May I be there to see!"
"And he is so handsome," she returned.
"The dear fellow would make any woman hopelessly wretched in a year. If I were you (if you are in earnest, which I doubt a little), I would meddle no more with this matter. I never thought you less reasonable."
"And I think I have annoyed you. Why, I cannot quite see. Am I forgiven?
"What is there to forgive? Let us talk about the doctor matter. I told her what I thought."
"No; not all. There are things one cannot discuss fully. But I said I did not believe it was best either for the sick or for society for women to be doctors; that, personally, women lose something of the natural charm of their sex in giving themselves either to this or to the other avocations until now in sole possession of man."
"And I am to think that you mean what you have last said?"
"Yes; most honestly."
"My own mind is hardly clear about it. At all events, it would not trouble Alice Leigh. At least, I don't think it would."
"No; nor any other woman, nor any woman doctor. They fail to realize what they have lost. The man who is sensitive to womanly ways sees it. It is worse than nursing the sick, for even nursing makes some women hard. Were you with us when we discussed the influence of avocations upon men? Their effect upon women is yet to be written."
"I think Alice will study medicine. What men think of her will in no way disturb her. What the one man thinks, or will think, may be quite another thing. I believe I could stop her short by showing her some duty as imperative. And you laughed at me, too. But women have, over and over, given their lives, and lovingly too, to reclaim a sot. Why were it not a better task to keep straight a man of genius like St. Clair? If you fail to convince her-" "Fail! I do not mean to try. Who cares whether one pretty woman more or less studies medicine? I talked to her and to her mother because you desired it, but, really, it is of no great moment."
Mrs. Vincent was playing with a paper-knife. Now she put it down with a certain resoluteness in the small action, and returned: "Of course; that is all true, and let us drop it. What is Alice to me or to you."
There was a false ring in her phrase, and I said, "You do not mean that."
It was a brilliant snow-clad day near to the dusk of early twilight as I met Mrs. Vincent at the door of the studio, a little before the hour set for St. Clair's tea.
"The lilies were enough," she said; "but never, never be so bad to me again."
"Never. I promise." And we went in. St. Clair had opened his stores of Eastern stuffs, and all the dingy chairs and lounges, the camp-stools and benches, in the moldingroom were covered with brocades, priests' robes, and superb Moorish rugs and embroideries.
Two of the statues, now finished in marble, were uncovered, but not that of the Roman lady striking with the cestus. Around this St. Clair had wrapped a vast sheet of worn purple silk heavy with gold fleurs-de-lis. I knew that he was proud of this work, and I wondered a little why it was hidden, but checked myself as I was about to speak. Whether Mrs. Vincent noticed it I did not know. Few things escaped her, but she too said nothing.
"Well," exclaimed St. Clair, "do you like it all? Is n't it pretty? And these flowers? Who sent them? And what shall we do with them?"
"That is easy," cried Mrs. Vincent, and began to throw them on to the white marble bases of the statues, and upon the chairs, and around the tent of heavy crimson stuffs, within which St. Clair's athletic figure of Saul leaned in profound dejection against the tent-pole. On the inner walls of the tent, which filled all the end of the studio, were Eastern weapons and spears, swords and shields, of which he had a curious collection. When we had finished, St. Clair drew the folds of the tent together, and Clayborne and Vincent presently came in.
"And you really have come," said St. Clair. "I?" said Clayborne. "Tea unlimited, and Mrs. Vincent? Of course I came."
'Why did you not uncover the Roman lady?" I said, in an aside to the sculptor. "I do not know. I did not."
"It is not the nude that troubled you?" "Oh, no! We come to be utterly indifferent as to that even in the living, and wonder at the feelings of others about it."
“Then why was it?"
"Would you uncover it? You may." "No."
"And why not?"
"I do not know."
Then his guests began to drop in, men and women, society folks, for every one liked him, and no one took his social failings very seriously. There were half a dozen artists too, and by and by, to my amusement, Mrs. Leigh and her daughter. What Mrs. Vincent had said to the elder woman I never knew, but she was exceeding affable to her host. She put up her eye-glasses, and with a glance at St. Clair, who was faultlessly dressed, began to admire everything and to be largely gracious to everybody. As to St. Clair, he was at his best. His Huguenot blood had long since lost the gravity it brought out of persecution, and there were only the French grace and ease along with the individualized charm which made him always a delightful companion.
Vincent and I, of course, did our best, and a happy company wandered about and appropriated the roses, drank St. Clair's Russian tea
and Turkish coffee out of tiny cups, and chattered around the statues, or recognized medallions of familiar faces.
Mrs. Leigh soon fell to my share. "Show me the things," she said. "I had no idea of Mr. St. Clair's force as a sculptor, and yet I remember De Visne in Paris spoke of him with great respect, oh, even with enthusiasm. And what lovely stuffs! Is n't he rich ?"
I glanced at the woman. "No; he is as wasteful as a boy. He could easily make money. He does not care to."
"What a pity. He needs some strong, sensible woman."
It appeared to me that I had heard this before.
"He is not made for Benedict, the married man." Then I repented. "It might depend upon the woman. He is a dear old fellow, and amiable past belief."
"I have great faith in the capacity of women to manage men." This, too, did not sound home-made, and as I soon learned, Mrs. Leigh liked to repeat phrases which pleased her. "And now," she said, "a chair, and a cup of tea, and some time pray talk again to Alice about that fad of hers. An old doctor has so much influence; not that you are so very old either, but, you see, as your cousin I can take liberties. Thanks. Where does the man get his tea? I must ask him."
Presently I got away, and found Miss Leigh talking with Clayborne. She was saying, "I have just finished your book on the 'Influence of the Moor on European Civilization.' We were in Spain two years ago, and now I wish I had read it earlier."
"And you liked it?" inquired Clayborne. "Liked it? I liked it very much. I envied you the power to do it, the pleasure of the search, the joy there must be in such a review of historic or heroic lives. You must have learned Arabic and Spanish."
"Yes; that was easy enough. But I ought to tell you that my friend North says my defect is that I am not a worshiper of heroes."
"No; I saw that sometimes you were cold, when I wanted you to be warm. And Dr. North-I should scarcely take him for a worshiper of heroes. You might improve under criticism," she added, smiling.
"I will remember next time," he said with rare graciousness.
At this moment a woman asked him some absurd question about the statue beside us. I took advantage of it to call Miss Leigh's attention to a piece of embroidery, and began to wander with her to and fro.
"Tell me something," she said, "about the statues. These Greeks. What a poem the group is!"
"Yes. A Western city has ordered it for a memorial of the dead it lost in the war."
She looked at the group in silence, and said presently, " Did you know my elder brother, the one who fell at Antietam ?"
"Yes; I knew him well. I may say he was of earth's best."
She made no answer. Her eyes were full; her face flushed. I said nothing, but moved quietly away to a corner as if to show her some rugs from Fez, and talked volubly until, looking up, she said, "Thank you. And now the statues. What is the one covered up?" "It is a Roman lady. St. Clair does not uncover it."
"He is not pleased with it."
"But I might be. I shall ask him. Here he comes."
No; do not. It is disagreeable."
"But I want to see it," she continued. "You will not, must not. Pardon me." "Must not?" And she looked at me steadily a moment. Then she turned to St. Clair. I was annoyed. I did not want her to see the sensual, cruel abandonment of the woman to the brute man's pose.
"What is your covered statue?" she said. "A woman aping a man. A woman gladiator."
"And Dr. North does not like women to imitate men. If I want to see it, will you not show it?"
"And why not?" cried St. Clair, gaily.
"I am satisfied," she said. "I do not want to see it," and then to me, aside, " Was I very wicked?"
"No; I did not think you would persist. Be satisfied with your victory."
"I am. Be generous, and never remind me of my weakness."
"It was strength, not weakness."
"I am half sorry already. Would you have thought worse of me if I had persisted ?" "Yes."
"You are very frank."
"And you do not like that? If you had been my-my sister, I should have been annoyed with St. Clair and much more imperative."
"You have no sister?"
"No; I am alone in the world. Come, I shall reward you. Ask St. Clair to open the tent."
"And your lordship permits that?" "Please don't, Miss Leigh."
She regarded me with a briefly attentive glance, but said no more until we were beside the sculptor.
"I should like to see your tent," she said. "You can ask me nothing I shall not be