« AnkstesnisTęsti »
glad to do," he returned. So saying, he cast cents', where were the Leighs and Miss Primback the tent-folds, as the crowd of laughing rose, whom I took in to dinner, and who was, girls fell away a little.
as Vincent confided to me, the final young “ It is Saul in his Tent,' in his madness," I person selected for me by Mrs. Vincent. said.
“Is n't she charming ? " said my hostess in “But, good gracious!" exclaimed Miss Prim. a quiet aside. Her dinner was prospering, and rose, “ it 's a Jew!”
she now found time to turn to me. “I knew “And was he not a Jew ?” said Miss Leigh. you would like her."
“Oh, but in art! A Jew, you know. Why, “ Like!" I said. “She is adorable. The the painters don't dare to make Christ a Jew.” prettiest girl I know, and so intelligent, and so
“ But they should,” said Alice Leigh. “A — well, so full of tact.” I saw in Mrs. Vincent's Prince of the House of Judah. And this face eyes signs of distressed failure. is typical. And a king too. One misses the “ Fred has been talking. I never have a fair ruby courageous of heart. If some one would chance, and you are getting old, too." only read us Saul."
“Will she be like the rath primrose,' etc., We went on talking, not missing St. Clair. think you? Oh, well, I will try again, but just
“ Hush!” said Miss Primrose, “what is that? now De Witt is coaching her about pigeonOh, how too delicious a surprise!" For now we shooting.” heard the sound of strange music, and St. Clair “Look at St. Clair and my dear Alice. Was came from behind the tent in sandals and a there ever a more charming couple ? Between white burnoose. Whether it was prearranged us, now-do not you think --really-” or not I do not know, as he always declined to “I?" I ejaculated. “Do you sincerely want tell. But here was the boy David, with a small, to marry her to that dear fellow? And you who curious harp, his face all aglow under the curl- care for both, and know him.” ing brown hair. The crowd fell back surprised, “You are possessed, I think, about our poet. and St. Clair dropped on one knee, and began He wants just such a person to make him as to recite, or rather to chant, “Saul," with now staid as- well, as you, and I really cannot see and then a strange accompaniment from the why you are called upon to interfere." instrument. The effect of the eager and strong “Dear Mrs. Vincent, did I say I would inyoung face matched well the intensity of dra- terfere ? And how could I? And what is matic power that he threw into the lines of that she to me? A mere acquaintance, and he my wonderful poem. As he ended, there was silence, friend." and then he cried out merrily to Miss Leigh : “Very true; but you can be so irritating some“Was n't it absurd ? I was miles in the desert times. I fancy Mrs. Leigh is quite hurt that you already," and the applause was loud and long. have not been near them for so long. She says As he spoke, I watched Miss Leigh. She re- Alice talks less of the doctor business; but then garded him with an intense interest, her face St. Clair gives her little leisure. What between flushing. A few minutes after it was over he sittings, and visits, and dinners, the man has became back to us in his own garb.
come madly delighted with society, and dance “How good it was that you liked it,” he said - I thought they would never stop at the last to Miss Leigh.
assembly." “ And did I ? How do you know?"
It was all true. I rarely saw St. Clair. I asked “I felt it. I saw. If you had not, I could him one day if he were writing. He said no, he not have done it. You could always make me was living poetry. After dinner I declined Vindo things well.".
cent's cigar, and went up to join the women. “ Indeed. You do me honor. You have I made my peace with Mrs. Leigh very easily. made me know that old friend better. But I “Ah," she said, “dear Alice is quite tranquil see mama is signaling. I must go. We dine nowadays; and by the way, Doctor, we are of out, and never shall I venture on an afternoon kin, you know, and I may ask you, entirely tea again. It would spoil a perfect memory. in confidence,- you won't consider it a libGood-by."
erty,– what kind of person is Mr. St. Clair? Of I stood an instant as if studying the “Saul.” course he is a genius, and wears strange clothes, What annoyed me? Every one went away but not always; and occasionally does surprise laughing and joyous. I heard Mrs. Leigh prais- one." ing it all to St. Clair. And then I went too.
friend." “Oh, of course, and that is why I ask. You see, I am alone, and have to be father and
mother, and it is always well to look ahead. I saw the Leighs now and then, and heard It may come to nothing. Are his habits good ?" from St. Clair that he was making a bas-re- “Really,” I said, “you must ask some one lief of Miss Alice. This he told me at the Vin- else."
“ He is my
“Oh, then, you mean he is n't a man you newed interest in the woman before me. It can talk about.”
faded when I ceased to see her. It grew up "I could talk about him all night. He is to again when we met and talked. As the idea me as a brother. Ah, Mrs. Vincent," I added - crossed my mind that Mrs. Vincent's schemes “ No; no coffee," and, rising, gave her my seat. might this time be successful I had a sense of * Ask Mrs. Vincent," I said, and strolled to discomfort which I did not stay to analyze, the corner where Miss Leigh was looking over but said at once : some prints.
“ Are there not men who are incomplete “ You are a stranger of late," she said. “And without women ? I most honestly think that all that pleasant friendliness we began with - some noble-minded woman could be the comalas! it is squandered, as they say in the South.” plement of this man's nature. She should be
" I am a busy man,” I said, “and Mrs. Vin- one fixed as to character, resolute, tender, and cent tells me you are as busy a woman.” And absolutely conscientious. If she were beautiful, then, feeling cross and vicious, I added: “And and-well
, if she loved him, he would be at what has become of those grave views of life? his best always. It would be not the poor task Is it still so unsatisfying ?"
of saving a worthless man, but the nobler one She regarded me with a trace of surprised of helping one well worth the helping." curiosity, and then said: “No; I am as I was,
"Ah," she laughed: and some day you will let me tell you my side. I listened pretty patiently to yours. I suppose
“If he be not in word and deed
A king of nature's highest creed, that you men who live amidst life's most se
To be the chancellor of his soul rious troubles get a little — well, stolid as to
Were any but a happy rôle. so small a thing as how a woman of your society, a mere girl, is disturbed about her days, Some women love and learn. Some learn and, and what to make of life, or whether just to let learning, love. It seems to me hard to unit alone and drist.”.
derstand how a woman could with knowledge * And is not happiness everything, and are aforethought undertake such a task. Would not you happy now?"
“ Happy? That is my temperament; and “Oh, I am not a woman." what has that to do with it?"
“Well, it is a pretty problem. Imagine your“ Indeed," I said, “I do not know." self that woman.”
“ Then why talk so ?” she added almost “I cannot. But men and women may marry sharply. “I do not understand you. You with clear ideas of the imperfections of the seemed so fair, and now -"
being they marry, believing that to love all “How comes on the rilievo ?" I said, things are possible.” abruptly turning the talk.
“ I see. But though one might love a man "Oh, well enough."
with a bad temper, or morose, or despotic, one " And my friend, St. Clair; is he not might with more doubt face the qualities which charming ?"
come out of lower forms of moral weakness. * I do not know. The phrase is rather strong. But how serious we are. Why not invite Susan He is interesting. I like him. You should have Primrose to the post of conscience-bearer. Ah, seen his face when I told him I meant to be a here come the men you deserted.” doctor. He looked at me a moment, and then St. Clair joined us, and presently I took my said, Good heavens! and would I cut my hair departure. short, and might he send for me if he were ill, Mrs. Vincent detained me a moment. and would I be expensive as a medical atten- “Really,” she said in an undertone, “ I think santHe was certainly very amusing, but it our friend is — well, and my gentle Alice - you takes two to make a joke as well a quarrel, laughed at me about it at dinner, but now it and I do not like to be laughed at by a man is serious, I think, and how nice it would be. " and she paused.
If Mrs. Leigh speaks to you, do be careful." Well," I said, “ who _"
“She has spoken,” I said. "In some ways I am more of a man than “ And of course I know what you must have he le is undecided, easily led, and expects said.” Any one to indulge him."
Said! I referred her to you." " I assure you that a more delightful friend “Ah, indeed! She must think that odd.” meme could have."
“I do not see why," I answered shortly. + Too Yes, certainly."
“But I am rather tired of the subject. I must I lombait at her. A little flush like a faint, go. Good night.” was anotaloud was slowly moving over her "One moment," she said. “I seem to have lah ilmiynal of something. Was it doubt, annoyed you; I certainly do not want to do so.
disainer, or what? I began to feel a re- I am unlucky of late. I can see no reason why
you should object to being asked questions as day, is n't it? Had two hours on the ice at to your friend by Mrs. Leigh. It is plain to us six this morning. Is n't this a success ? " all that St. Clair is in love with Miss Leigh, and It was, and I said so shortly. what more natural than her mother's desire to “What 's the matter ?” he queried of a sudknow something definite as to the man.” den. “You look as you do when I have been
“ And how can I tell her that St. Clair, with in mischief. By all the gods, I have been a all his fine qualities, is unfit to be a husband ?” good boy of late. I gave Claybore money to
“ Then why shift the responsibility of an an- invest for me last week. I have n't been to a swer upon me?"
beer-garden for days. I have even paid my “ Because you think otherwise. I shall tell dinner-calls, idiotic custom. What is it?" him exactly what passed.”
“Nothing. I have to say something un“ Perhaps that is best. It may really be of pleasant." use to him. His character "
“ Then get it over. I loathe suspense, as the “Oh, confound his character! I beg par- fellow said when he was about to be hanged.” don, I did not mean that; I was rude. I must “ Mrs. Leigh has asked me to give her some speak out frankly to Mrs. Leigh, or not speak idea of your character. Oh, confound it! how at all, and I prefer the latter course. I would stiff that sounds. She thinks, as we all do, that rather not discuss it further.”
you are in love with Miss Alice, and, like a “Well, as you please. Good night. You straightforward mama, says, “Is this a good are very cross and most unreasonable." man? Will he be the husband she ought to
“Well, old man, what then?” XXII.
Oh, simply this: Do you want to marry I had never before been so vexed with Mrs. Miss Leigh? If so, I must go on. If not, Vincent. She was apt to meddle gently with you are doing her a wrong, and I need say the affairs of other folks's hearts, and sometimes no more than that.” to retreat bewildered or dismayed at the con- “Is n't she noble-looking ?" he replied. sequences. Moreover, she was subject to acute“ Just look at that head; the color of the hair; attacks of social remorse, and suffered out of the tranquil kindliness of the face; and the proud all proportion to the greatness of the crime. I prettiness of the neck.” must say that I am not an easy quarreler. I am
love her?” I said abruptly. troubled deeply by a cold phrase, or a hasty “Oh, how do I know ? " word, and lie awake repentant upon the rack “Are you really a child, St. Clair? Yes or of self-examination. Therefore it was that our no. How is it with two notes of self-accusation and apology crossed Then I looked from him steadily at the meeach other next day.
dallion. I could not tell why it so touched She said :
me, but, as I looked, my eyes filled. I was MY DEAR FRIEND: I was persistent, and
puzzled at my own causeless emotion. Mean
perhaps - yes, I was unreasonable last night. I while, for this brief moment, he was silent, mean unreasonably persistent. And it may be and then his face, as I turned to it, took on that I am quite wrong. Fred says lam, which will a look I well knew of peculiar sweetness as perhaps comfort you. For although I hate to be he said gently, “Would you like me to love wrong, I hate more to be told I am, even by Fred. her?" I do not understand you, but that does not make • No," I said. me grieve less at having annoyed or hurt you. “ And why not ?" he went on, touching the As to Alice and St. Clair, I shall never say another clay here and there. word, and if I were not afraid of a pledge, I would
would make a bad husband. vow never to be kind to man or woman again unless the man is the friend to whom now 1 excuse would not want to. She is a woman resolute,
You would in a year break her heart. You myself. And if it only were you.
ANNE VINCENT. proud, and firm as to her beliefs, and the duties
to which they bind her. You have no creed. There was also a package, which was a first You are amoral, not immoral. You would hurt edition of “The Urn Burial,” and inside was her all the time, and at last lose her love and written “ I am so sorry. 12.30 P. M. A. V.” and"
And as for me, I had written: “I was rude “Her respect. Do I lose yours sometimes ? last night. Pardon me."
Yes, I know I do; and you mean that you can Then, the day being Sunday, I sulked over fail to respect me and yet cherish my friendmy misdeeds, and went to see St. Clair. I found ship, but that with her love must go with rehim idling in his studio before the bas-relief spect. Is that it ?" of Miss Leigh's head.
“ Yes," I said, astonished. “Oh, come in," he said. “Jolly cold, clear “ And you could not, would not, tell her
« Do you
mother all this, and you came to say so to The next evening I was at Mrs. Leigh's. me?"
They were alone - or rather Miss Alice was " That is it."
- for a time. “ Am I a bad boy ? "
“Good evening," I said. “I am very busy, Oh, don't,” I said. “It all hurts me. I see but I have come in just for a little talk, and to trouble ahead."
say good-by.” “And you like her. She is your friend, and “ Yes; Mr. St. Clair told us this morning. He so am I. 'I would have been a weak fool under thinks it quite needless—your going, I mean." like circumstances, and praised you through “ Needless ? He knows nothing at all about thick and thin, right or wrong. Pretty head, it. A man of experience is wanted, and I, unis n't it? Would you like a copy of it? I'll married and without ties, am of the men alone send you one.”
fit for it.” My dear. St. Clair, what are you talking “But you have friends, and sometimes those about ? How can you trifle so ? How do you ties are strong.” suppose she would like that, or Mrs. Leigh ? " “Yes, very.” Hang Mrs. Leigh.”
“ And is is the risk great? You have never “With all my heart; but let us have no non- had the fever. Is there no one who has had it sense about this matter- I mean, as to this head. who can go ?” As to the rest, I have done my duty as to a friend. “No one. And I want a change, too. At Go on, or stop. It does not concern me. I am times life wearies one. You ask why, and I canfree of responsibility.” I was vexed with his in- not tell
. A fresh duty, an absence, winds one decision, and dissatisfied with the rôle I was up, and we go on again.” playing.
“And is your life wearisome? You, who live “ And what do you advise ? Now, really.” for others, who are dear to so many, the rich,
“ How childish you are, St. Clair.” I shrank the poor. Ah, you smile, but you know we are from saying: “Give her up. You are unfit for friends, and I manage to learn all about my her. Women do not resist you. You were made friends." to please for the hour, not the year.” I went A sudden impulse mastered me. “If you on at last quickly: “ If you are honestly in love, were I, would you go?" I have no more to say. Go on, and God help “ Go!" she exclaimed. “Without a doubt." her and you. Perhaps he may, and time may “ And you advise me to go ?” show what a fool I have been."
"I am only a girl," she replied. “ Frankly, Owen,” he returned, “is it of me “ You are my friend." or of her you think?”
“ Thank you; would one say to a soldier, “Of both."
Stay at home'? Yours is a nobler calling. I “ Of whom most?”
do not think the world has bonds would hold Oh, what matters it? I have said enough.” you back.” “ Too much or too little. But do not think “ That was kindly said and true. But you I am not thankful, and more thoughtful than overrate me,- I mean as to what you said a you suppose. Let us drop it. I hear that you moment ago,—and to be overestimated always may go to Charleston about this yellow fever.” humiliates me. I shall think of what you have
Yes; I am asked to go South on a Govern- said, and, please God, will come home safe ment commission to study the outbreak they and happier.” have had. I think I shall go. I saw it once “ You ought to be happy. It seems strange before, and, for various reasons, no one else is to me that you are not. You cannot be comquite as well fitted for this not over-pleasant passed about with doubts as I am, and see dutask.”
ties you must not accept, or a path you may “ It is risky."
not tread.” Very."
“ And are you still tormented ? " “I would n't go. What 's the use?”
“ Yes." “ It is a simple duty. I should like to go away “ And why not go on?” for a while, and it fits in nicely."
" It may appear to you odd, but only one "Darn duty."
statement of yours really disturbed my resoluI laughed, as if darning duty mended mat- tion.” ters, and we parted.
“ And that?"
“ The idea that — that a woman might lose
in the work I look to certain of those nameless XXIII.
graces, those tendernesses, which seem to me What I had said was true. I was out of so much of her honest property.” spirits. My work bored me, and, as has been “I think so, and I have seen you often. We seen, I was peevish and irritable.
have come to be friends. Now, suppose that
you promise me you will not go on in this mat- giene and carelessness, but that I might like ter till I come back. I have much to say about to spend some of his spare cash, and thus exit, and no time in which to say it. I leave to- cused in his cynical way acts of unusual genmorrow."
erosity. * To-morrow ? ”
A week before my return came a letter from “ Yes; but one word more. If I never come Mrs. Vincent. back, of course it releases you." It releases me? It releases me?"
Our friend St. Clair (she wrote] has been at “Yes. Ah, Mrs. Leigh, good evening," I his wicked worst of late. He told Fred last month said, rising. “I came to say good-by."
that he had been gambling in stocks, and was in “Yes; I saw it in the paper, and Mr. St. Clair absurd. I asked him why he did it, and he replied
debt. The speculations, Fred says, were simply told us. I suppose it is not very dangerous, that it amused him. I cannot make him out of and then, if it is, you are a doctor, and it is late. I ought to say that Mr. Clayborne at once a matter of business after all. If you see the paid some thousands for him, remarking that it Temples, remember me to them. But they was so comfortable to make a fool of one's self must have gone, of course."
now and then. I said that St. Clair puzzled me. When do you return?" said Miss Alice, who He has shut up his studio, declined recklessly had been watching her mother with a grave to complete his contracts, and really told Mrs. face.
Leigh, to her disgust, that he could not finish * In a month, I hope.”
the relief of Alice's face, because work bored
him. I do not think he has been near the Leighs “ If you see any nice feather fans,” said Mrs. since you left. It is too annoying ; I shall never Leigh,“ do spend a few dollars for me. There try to help anybody again. I am furious at the are red ones, really charming.”
thought of how right you were. If you bring “Charming? What is?" said Mrs. Vincent, Mrs. Leigh any fans I will never speak to you entering with her husband. “We missed your any more. call, and Fred and I have been to see you.
I reopen this letter to tell you an astonishing
St. Clair came in on us to-day, You leave to-morrow, your note said. I do piece of news.
and would we tell him wh not call that charming.”
you “Oh, it was fans,” said Mrs. Leigh.
home. Fred said,“Next week.” Upon which he
was so sorry, because he was to sail for Europe in North is to bring me some nice feather fans."
four days, and gone he has. The new statue for “ Indeed! Bring me nothing but yourself. Cleveland has to be cast in Paris. I do not beI am horribly troubled about you. It recalls lieve it. At first I suspected that Alice had said our talk about fear. Are you ever afraid of “No,” but this is not so, for, as I said, he has disease ?"
not been near her, and the last time they were “I ? No-yes. I have always had a slight, here they were on pleasant terms enough. I am a vague dread of this especial malady. I think dying to ask Alice, but she is hardly the girl to I said so. I find that physicians often have put questions to, and, besides – however, you
never appreciated her duly, and I do not want to some such single pet fear.”
" Like a soldier's,” said Miss Leigh, glan- She told me to-day that he had called before cing up at me.“ That alone would make you he left (his first visit in a month) and that he did go.” Mrs. Vincent glanced at her curiously. nothing but talk about you, which amused me.
“We won't talk of it,” said Vincent. “Write Fred sends his love, and I am as always, soon and as often as you can."
Your friend, A. V. “Oh, not to me!” said Mrs. Leigh. “ Is n't
P. S. I hope that St. Clair wrote to you, but I
do not believe he did. That man is capable of it dangerous ?"
any virtue or any vice. Do share with me my "No," I said, laughing. “And now good-by.
exasperation. And this day month, Miss Alice. Good night."
This letter gave me much to think over as XXIV.
I gladly left the roses and jasmines of the luckOf my really perilous commission I have less town, and rolled away northward. I was nothing to say except that it brought some annoyed at St. Clair for the hundredth time, empty honors, and cost my colleague a sharp
but it was like being vexed with some charmattack of the fever. This detained me longer ing, thoroughly spoiled girl, and of course I in Charleston, and I got home early in May,
wrote to him. tired out with nursing and anxiety. I had heard
Arriving late I found a note from Mrs. Leigh, often from home, but, until a week before my
which perplexed me.
She said: departure, nothing of moment. Clayborne from time to time sent me large sums to be used
I am so glad of your return, because I need among the poor of the pest-stricken city. He you. We have had Dr. Simpson since our return, wrote that of course it was all due to bad hy- but really he has not the least respect for my
Vol. XLIV.- 46.