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well enough with the crispness of the waves, the blue freshness of the atmosphere, and the stainless coverings of the lofty peaks around them. He looked into the clear, unclouded face of the Chatelaine, and smiled drolly as he realized that the rôle descending upon him required for its complete and sympathetic interpretation a horn, a huddle of sheep, an echoing rock, and a gaping traveler with a centime in his pocket. There was no Paris, no Rome; all the world was only one amphibious Arcady.
They separated at Flüelen. Tempo-Rubato moved onward toward the Bristenstock, while the Governor and the Chatelaine devoted a few hours at Altdorf to quieting Miss West's uneasy doubts about the historic actuality of William Tell. And in the evening, after their return, they accompanied her to the Kursaal, whither she was impelled by a strong but unacknowledged desire to test the actuality of Mile. Pasdenom, whom she half suspected of having drawn Count Fin-de-Siècle from Paris, and who was on the eve of her first appearance in Lucerne. Before they reached the theater an instrumental clamor advised them that the overture was well under way, and they had barely taken their seats when the curtain rose, and the Chatelaine's first operatic performance was initiated with the spectacle of a dozen young-girls?-yes, girls, ranged across the stage in the dress and posture of scullions, who began to sing and to beat time on pots and pans. The Governor was much taken with this auspicious opening; he had not seen an opera bouffe for twenty years, and he settled himself down to a study of the modern guise which this form of amusement has assumed. But Aurelia West saw no great novelty here, and before the first chorus was concluded she had taken time to make a hurried survey of the program. The name was easy enough to find. There it was in big, black letters "Mlle. Eugénie Pasdenom." And Mlle. Eugénie Pasdenom would make her first appearance in Lucerne in the great part which she had created in Paris and had played there over a hundred and fifty times-the part of- No, no, no, no! Impossible, incredible, outrageous! It could not be! But it could be, it was the part of the Duchesse des Guenilles.
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, good attendance. And they had thought he meant a villa or a palace. A palace-yes; one like Claude Melnotte's—an empty nothing of stage scenery. And all his picturesque posing had been merely a full-dress rehearsal in open air, and all his compliments but the insolent persiflage of a player off on a day or two of leave. Ah! but that woman-that woman! She was likely to appear at any moment; she might be standing in the wings now waiting for her cue. Would she have the first entrance or the second? Might it not, oh, might it not be even as late as the third? Or could not some crowning mercy hold her off until almost the finale itself? How could she explain to the Chatelaine? What would the Governor think?
But Mlle. Pasdenom came on just as the exigencies of the piece required, and with absolute disregard of the feelings of the suffering Aurelia. There was a burst of harmony, a little more blatant than usual, from the trombones and the fiddles and the rest, and Aurelia, knowing full well what it meant, shut her eyes tight-tight. And when she opened them the star had stepped out with an airy boldness, and had taken possession of the stage and the house. Of her identity there could be no possible doubt; the distance was so short, the glare of the footlights so searching, that no costuming, however clever, could have concealed it. The one look that Miss West gave was enough, and for the rest of the time she sat with her eyes on the program, listening now and then to mademoiselle's feint at singing, and judging from her searching accents that a good deal of broad, extravagant acting was going on. She knew that the Chatelaine and her guardian had made the same discovery, and she felt the movements with which both had turned toward her looks of inquiry that her own eyes had been unable to meet. Her heart was beating, her head was bursting, her eyes were on the point of overflowing, and when the curtain had descended on the hurly-burly of the first finale she asked to go. The Governor had more than satisfied his curiosity, the Chatelaine had not been much impressed by the merits of the performance nor by the tone of the place, and they all left at once.
On the following afternoon the Governor was seated idly on one of the benches in front of the Lion Monument. The place was chill and dusky, and a tiny stream of water dribbled dolefully down the scarred face of the rock. Presently a soft step came along the path behind him, and a little black hand lightly touched his elbow. With the black gloves went a black gown, a black wrap, a black sunshade, and a large jet cross the full penitentials,
as one might say, of opera bouffe. There was a large resignation in the eyes, and a touching little tremor in the voice. The Duchess had hoped that her new friends would be pleased to remain through the piece, since it was so difficult to do one's self complete justice in the first act of a first performance on a new stage; doubly difficult when the place was so small, the arrangements so familiar and impromptu, the audience so distracted by competing interests in the salons outside. If they had given her only a few moments' grace, it might have come to seem quite credible to them that ladies of some consideration should more than once have complimented her upon her art, and have even expressed a desire to follow in her footsteps. Ah, well, she had never before appeared in the provinces; never, assuredly, in a mere spot for summer-gathering; the piece was taken less seriously than in the capital; there was a certain relaxation, a certain informality, a perplexing cosmopolitan commingling-too many targets to hit with one poor little arrow.
She smiled wistfully in the good old Governor's face, and sat down on the other end of the bench.
But she was not complaining, he should understand, of her reception. No; that had been fair: not exactly what she had been accustomed to, but fair-fair. Still it was triste to be so far from home, to have none of one's associates about one, to miss the reassuring sound of a friendly hand at just the desired moment. It would take little, perhaps, to induce her to forego this Swiss tour even now; but, then, there was poor papa
It was one of the Duchess's favorite fancies that a father, somewhere, was dependent upon her for support. The Governor knew that it was a very common thing to have a father, and he had no motive for refusing such an appendage here. He accordingly vouchsafed her a look of kindly sympathy, without considering too curiously the precise grounds for it. The Duchess, who always dressed her parts, no matter how she sang them, was now fluttering a little black-edged handkerchief in one pathetic hand. It was the grand opera that had always been her dream; but what would you? — she could accomplish merely what her gifts permitted. Properly, one was to be judged not entirely by what one actually did, but in part by what one would wish to do. Why must she find a bar rigidly set for artists in her genre, when no great difficulties were made for others who, while on a higher plane, were less — should she say it?-less capable than herself? Why must she sometimes hear herself spoken of slightingly, disparagingly? Why, monsieur? Because she had allowed freedom 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 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 a union of beauty, talent, and logic.
Here was out delay.
Was it too much to hope that he would accept tickets for that evening's performance? They would then see her in a piece of a somewhat different character,- a more sedate character,- a higher character, one might perhaps be pleased to say. Her associates would then have been refreshed by another day in his delightful country, would be more at home in the house; his niece (as the Duchess guessed it) would then be enabled to form a more favorable opinion of the operatic art.
firm ground at last, and the Governor placed his foot upon it withIt 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 wayside flowers. But the text that came to him in one of their morning walks through the embowered back streets of Constance was offered not by a single flower, but by a whole window-sill of them. This window-sill belonged to a humble little house, the doorway of which was festooned with vines, and was reached by a short path that passed between banks of homely flowers. Above the door the word "Druckerei" was painted on the stucco of the mouse-colored front; and when Aurelia West noticed that Zeitgeist had taken off his glasses, and was thoughtfully rubbing them, she was able to interpret the sign. She knew something was coming, and she drew the Chatelaine back into the shade to wait for it.
But it turned out to be only a very little affair, after all. The Baron, while in America, had had occasion to visit one or two printingestablishments, and was simply about to request mademoiselle to accept this tiny shop as typical of the Old World,-the world of small things, the world of quiet and contentment and domesticity, as distinguished from the noise, and grime, and bustle, and shrieking publicity of her own America. Where, in all her broad country, could anything like this be found? Where could she show a family pursuing its vocation with such a quiet content and moderation, such a complete regard for its own idiosyncrasies, such a tender respect for its own tastes and preferences? Suppose they entered: they would find no dimmed light, no fouled air, no grime and clangor, no hectoring overseer, no tyrannical and wrong-headed "union," no superfluous wear, tear, and irritation, no suppression of the graces and amenities of ordinary life for the mere sake of a "businesslike" appearance; and yet he would venture that they would find the work of the place adequately done. Après vous, mesdemoiselles.
The place was in charge of a wholesome, rosy-cheeked boy of sixteen, who came forward with the pleased awkwardness proper to his age, and with whom the Chatelaine was presently talking in a free, off-hand way in his own native German. The shop had its proper outfit of type and forms and cases, and was as neat, orderly, and individualized as the foresight of Zeitgeist had anticipated. On a sort of little counter a few bits of work awaited sending out: a pile of carefully trimmed handbills betrayed the interest felt by a certain Bendel in kalbsleber and other commodities; and a hundred betrothal cards, deftly arranged in a little packet, foreshadowed, by the sample left on top, the coming bliss of one Wilhelm and one Margarethe. By the side of these a few small sheets of proof fluttered in the draft made by the open window, and the Chatelaine noticed, as she stopped to
put them in better order, that the text was in French. And did he speak French, then? she inquired of the youth at her elbow. Yes, gracious lady; but this was the work of his elder brother - he and his father were both away today. The manuscript had been left there yesterday by a French gentleman who was staying at the Konstanzer-Hof, and who had wanted to see how these few pages were going to look in print. Our friends glanced from the proofs to one another, and when they encountered Fin-de-Siècle that evening on the Seestrasse, it was without any great feeling of surprise.
He came toward them dressed in a noticeable traveling-suit, his eyes on the ground and his hat over his eyes. The âme of which he was making an étude appeared to be in sore straits. All at once he stubbed his toe, and though he now carried neither a nosegay nor a hand-bag, the departure from the Gare de l'Est passed once more before Aurelia's eyes, and she mentally registered a slip for which both the cup and the lip had now been found. She also privately confessed a little slip of her own: it was not she that he had followed to Switzerland. Nor was it the Pasdenom that he was now following through Switzerland. While surely, so far as the Chatelaine was concerned —
Fin-de-Siècle met the Governor, too, next day, and frankly avowed that his new theme was one full of interest; it was growing within him every day, and he had now come to the point where it was necessary for him to overflow in ink merely for his own relief. Nor was he backward in spinning a few more phrases as to the aims, materials, and method of his art. His plan, of which he seemed exceedingly proud, was simple enough-close observation, accurate transcription, nothing more. But the observation of his school, monsieur, was more than close; it was searching-yes, it was even remorseless; it spared nothing, since everything served its purpose equally. And when the master transferred the image from his mind's eye, and fixed it on those quires and reams of sensitized paper, with what cool dexterity, what calm, scientific precision, was the feat accomplished! No passion, monsieur, no preferences; above all, no fancy. The masters did not aim at romance for this generation; they were preparing historical data for the next. They were not devisers of trifling tales for an idle hour; they were erecting the pedestals due them as the leaders of a vast movement. Fiction was the great art of our day, as was music in the days of Mozart and Gluck, or painting in the days of Lippi and Ghirlandaio, or architecture in the great days of Chartres and Amiens.
The Governor had read a good many tales in his time, but he had never taken quite so top-lofty a view of the art of story-writing; and