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well enough with the crispness of the waves, the blue freshness of
They separated at Flüelen. Tempo-Rubato moved onward toward the
She caught her breath again. She felt her cheeks; they were on fire. She glanced stealthily right and left at her companions, but they were both trying to catch the opening bit of dialogue that gave the clue to the situation. The situation, indeed! What was that situation compared with her own ? The awfulness of this forced itself upon her instantly, overwhelmingly; and she saw in a flash what a blind, foolish, silly child she had been. Had she not read in the “Figaro” the day before her own departure that the Pasdenom was on the point of leaving for Switzerland by special train? And her uncle's nervous haste had bundled her on board of that train. Why had that odious man offered her that glass of kirschwasser at Chaumont? Because he had taken her for one of the troupe — some new member, perhaps, added to meet an emergency. Why had they been so uncivil to her in the Pasdenom's compartment? Because she had been so rude to him in the other one. And if some of them were actors, why not all of them ? And if the “ Duchesse des Guenilles " was but a name borrowed from the theater, who was that bold man on the steamer who called himself the “ Marquis of TempoRubato ?” What marquises were there on the stage? There was the one in “ Linda," but he was old. Was there another—younger—in “ Madame Angot?” But that was no matter; the impudent fellow had presumed to bandy words with her Chatelaine. He had told her that he had a little albergo on the Lake of Como, where he should be in September, and that if they came to find themselves driven that way by stress of weather, they would find,
as the old formula ran, good beds, good wine, as one might say, of opera bouffe. There was good attendance. And they had thought he a large resignation in the eyes, and a touching meant a villa or a palace. A palace—yes; little tremor in the voice. The Duchess had one like Claude Melnotte's.
an empty no- hoped that her new friends would be pleased thing of stage scenery. And all his picturesque to remain through the piece, since it was so dirposing had been merely a full-dress rehearsal ficult to do one's self complete justice in the in open air, and all his compliments but the first act of a first performance on a new stage; insolent persiflage of a player off on a day or doubly difficult when the place was so small, two of leave. Ah! but that woman- that the arrangements so familiar and impromptu, woman! She was likely to appear at any mo- the audience so distracted by competing interment; she might be standing in the wings now ests in the salons outside. If they had given her waiting for her cue. Would she have the first only a few moments' grace, it might have come entrance or the second ? Might it not,oh, might to seem quite credible to them that ladies of it not be even as late as the third? Or could not some consideration should more than once have some crowning mercy hold her off until almost complimented her upon her art, and have even the finale itself ? How could she explain to expressed a desire to follow in her footsteps. the Chatelaine ? What would the Governor Ah, well, she had never before appeared in the think?
provinces; never, assuredly, in a mere spot for But Mlle. Pasdenom came on just as the summer-gathering; the piece was taken less seexigencies of the piece required, and with ab- riously than in the capital; there was a certain solute disregard of the feelings of the suffer- relaxation, a certain informality, a perplexing ing Aurelia. There was a burst of harmony, cosmopolitan commingling - too many tara little more blatant than usual, from the trom- gets to hit with one poor little arrow. bones and the fiddles and the rest, and Aurelia, She smiled wistfully in the good old Goverknowing full well what it meant, shut her eyes nor's face, and sat down on the other end of the tight— tight. And when she opened them the bench. star had stepped out with an airy boldness, and But she was not complaining, he should unhad taken possession of the stage and the house. derstand, of her reception. No; that had been Of heridentity there could be no possible doubt; fair: not exactly what she had been accusthe distance was so short, the glare of the foot- tomed to, but fair — fair. Still it was triste to lights so searching, that no costuming, how- be so far from home, to have none of one's asever clever, could have concealed it. The one sociates about one, to miss the reassuring sound look that Miss West gave was enough, and for of a friendly hand at just the desired moment. the rest of the time she sat with her eyes It would take little, perhaps, to induce her to on the program, listening now and then to forego this Swiss tour even now; but, then, mademoiselle's feint at singing, and judging there was poor papa — from her searching accents that a good deal of It was one of the Duchess's favorite fancies broad, extravagant acting was going on. She that a father, somewhere, was dependent upon knew that the Chatelaine and her guardian had her for support. The Governor knew that it made the same discovery,and she felt the move- was a very common thing to have a father, and ments with which both had turned toward he had no motive for refusing such an appenher looks of inquiry that her own eyes had dage here. He accordingly vouchsafed her a been unable to meet. Her heart was beating, look of kindly sympathy, without considering her head was bursting, her eyes were on the too curiously the precise grounds for it. The point of overflowing, and when the curtain had Duchess, who always dressed her parts, no matdescended on the hurly-burly of the first finale ter how she sang them, was now fluttering a she asked to go. The Governor had more than little black-edged handkerchief in one pathetic satisfied his curiosity, the Chatelaine had not hand. It was the grand opera that had always been much impressed by the merits of the per- been her dream ; but what would you ? she formance nor by the tone of the place, and they could accomplish merely what her gifts perall left at once.
mitted. Properly, one was to be judged not On the following afternoon the Governor entirely by what one actually did, but in part was seated idly on one of the benches in front by what one would wish to do. Why must she of the Lion Monument. The place was chill find a bar rigidly set for artists in her genre, and dusky, and a tiny stream of water dribbled when no great difficulties were made for others dolefully down the scarred face of the rock. who, while on a higher plane, were less — Presently a soft step came along the path should she say it? — less capable than herbehind him, and a little black hand lightly self? Why must she sometimes hear herself touched his elbow. With the black gloves went spoken of slightingly, disparagingly? Why, a black gown, a black wrap, a black sunshade, monsieur ? Because she had allowed freedom and a large jet cross — the full penitentials, and expansion for the growth and development
of her own nature — like a blossoming branch reaching out eagerly
The Governor gave a little gulp; he was sure of that — quite sure. But why should mademoiselle distress herself by such cruel self-questionings? Suppose that, on the other hand, she had thwarted her natural bent
1 and had dwarfed her growing nature through torturing attempts to conform herself to certain views which, after all, were merely conventional, or to hold herself to a certain standard erected by those who were in no wise inconvenienced by keeping up to it. She should then have soured her nature, embittered her spirit, made her friends sad, irritable, and miserable, and diminished the sum of joy in a world too joyless already. Who, indeed, threw a greater blight on life than those who were too good to allow others to be comfortable ? Ah, monsieur, here was matter for grave consideration. The Governor blinked two or three times at the Lion, and cleared his throat to make
some rejoinder. But simple silence was all that he could oppose to such
able opinion of the operatic art. Here was
firm ground at last, and the Governor placed his foot upon it without delay.
It was impossible, dear mademoiselle ; the young ladies and himself were to leave Lucerne in the morning, and they must devote the evening to friends in town. At another time — in Paris itself, perhaps —
The somber little figure rose to retire. She hoped that Mees West felt the misunderstandings of that journey to be fully cleared away, and she hoped that her best compliments might be presented to the charming Lady Bertha. Adieu, monsieur. She gave him her small, black-gloved hand, and then moved off with a head that drooped plaintively and eyes that studied the borders of the path. And the Governor, left alone, began to feel that there were situations where the margin between discretion and cruelty was very small.
And alone he remained for a quarter of an hour, wrapt in contemplation. He had been an admirer of the old school of acting — the robust, up-and-down school which left no doubt that it was acting; and the subtilities of the new school, in which the real and the simulated appeared to overlap, rather puzzled him. Had he witnessed an exhibition of nature or only a display of art ? Had the woman been in earnest or in jest ? But no answer came; least of all from his companion, who, perhaps, had retired asking the same question of herself.
But the Governor's statement of their future movements had been quite in line with the truth. Their lodgings looked down into the Kursaal grounds, almost, and Aurelia West had had her fill of music — the music of Lucerne.
were always springing up everywhere, like way. put them in better order, that the text was in side flowers. But the text that came to him in one French. And did he speak French, then ? she of their morning walks through the embowered inquired of the youth at her elbow. Yes, graback streets of Constance was offered not by a cious lady; but this was the work of his elder single flower, but by a whole window-sill of brother — he and his father were both away tothem. This window-sill belonged to a humble day. The manuscript had been left there yeslittle house, the doorway of which was festooned terday by a French gentleman who was staying with vines, and was reached by a short path at the Konstanzer-Hof, and who had wanted that passed between banks of homely flowers. to see how these few pages were going to look Above the door the word “ Druckerei” was in print. Our friends glanced from the proofs painted on the stucco of the mouse-colored to one another, and when they encountered front; and when Aurelia West noticed that Fin-de-Siècle that evening on the Seestrasse, Zeitgeist had taken off his glasses, and was it was without any great feeling of surprise. thoughtfully rubbing them, she was able to He came toward them dressed in a noticeinterpret the sign. She knew something was able traveling-suit, his eyes on the ground and coming, and she drew the Chatelaine back into his hat over his eyes. The âme of which he was the shade to wait for it.
making an étude appeared to be in sore straits. But it turned out to be only a very little af- All at once he stubbed his toe, and though he fair, after all. The Baron, while in America, now carried neither a nosegay nor a hand-bag, had had occasion to visit one or two printing- the departure from the Gare de l 'Est passed establishments, and was simply about to re- once more before Aurelia's eyes, and she menquest mademoiselle to accept this tiny shop as tally registered a slip for which both the cup typical of the Old World, the world of small and the lip had now been found. She also prithings, the world of quiet and contentment and vately confessed a little slip of her own: it was domesticity,—as distinguished from the noise, not she that he had followed to Switzerland. and grime, and bustle, and shrieking publicity Nor was it the Pasdenom that he was now folof her own America. Where, in all her broad lowing through Switzerland. While surely, so country, could anything like this be found? far as the Chatelaine was concerned Where could she show a family pursuing its Fin-de-Siècle met the Governor, too, next vocation with such a quiet content and mod- day, and frankly avowed that his new theme eration, such a complete regard for its own was one full of interest; it was growing within idiosyncrasies, such a tender respect for its own him every day, and he had now come to the tastes and preferences? Suppose they entered: point where it was necessary for him to overthey would find no dimmed light, no fouled air, flow in ink merely for his own relief. Nor was he no grime and clangor, no hectoring overseer, backward in spinning a few more phrases as to no tyrannical and wrong-headed “union,” no the aims, materials, and method of his art. His superfluous wear, tear, and irritation, no sup- plan, of which he seemed exceedingly proud, pression of the graces and amenities of ordi- was simple enough - close observation, accunary life for the mere sake of a “ businesslike” rate transcription, nothing more. But the obappearance; and yet he would venture that they servation of his school, monsieur, was more than would find the work of the place adequately close; it was searching — yes, it was even redone. Après vous, mesdemoiselles.
morseless; it spared nothing, since everything The place was in charge of a wholesome, served its purpose equally. And when the masrosy-cheeked boy of sixteen, who came forward ter transferred the image from his mind's eye, with the pleased awkwardness proper to his age, and fixed it on those quires and reams of senand with whom the Chatelaine was presently sitized paper, with what cool dexterity, what talking in a free, off-hand way in his own native calm, scientific precision, was the feat accomGerman. The shop had its proper outfit of type plished! No passion, monsieur, no preferences; and forms and cases, and was as neat, orderly, above all, no fancy. The masters did not aim and individualized as the foresight of Zeitgeist at romance for this generation; they were prehad anticipated. On a sort of little counter a paring historical data for the next. They were few bits of work awaited sending out: a pile of not devisers of trifling tales for an idle hour; carefully trimmed handbills betrayed the inter- they were erecting the pedestals due them as est felt by a certain Bendel in kalbsleber and the leaders of a vast movement. Fiction was other commodities; and a hundred betrothal the great art of our day, as was music in the cards, destly arranged in a little packet, fore- days of Mozart and Gluck, or painting in the shadowed, by the sample left on top, the com- days of Lippi and Ghirlandaio, or architecture ing bliss of one Wilhelm and one Margarethe. in the great days of Chartres and Amiens. By the side of these a few small sheets of proof The Governor had read a good many tales fluttered in the draft made by the open window, in his time, but he had never taken quite so and the Chatelaine noticed, as she stopped to top-lofty a view of the art of story-writing; an,