Puslapio vaizdai

he had an idea that the self-consciousness that busied itself with the rearing of its own pedes tal was not altogether likely to be set upon it by a perverse posterity. And he said so rather tartly. In fact, the second advent of this young Parisian had not given the old gentleman any great pleasure. Nor had his first, for that matter; but then that had had the saving grace of novelty, at least. In truth, here on the quay at Constance, the Governor was not so certain of not appearing to disadvantage as he had been on the terrace of Neuchâtel, for Lucerne had intervened. Nor did he feel at all sure that Aurelia West's haphazard association with Mlle. Pasdenom had justified those headlong and promiscuous introductions on the pier introductions that had enlarged the circle of their acquaintance by so many dubious additions. So he was accordingly disposed to be severe on something, even if that something was only a theory of fiction. It seemed to himand he spoke with the slow laboriousness of one suddenly called upon to formulate the unconscious assumptions of a lifetime-that the great thing in art was not to know, nor even to feel, but to divine. Observation was good, assuredly; sympathy was better, even indispensable: but what, after all, was to be placed before the exercise of the constructive imagination freely working its own way on to its own end?-an imagination that seized on a word, a gesture, a flower, à flash of color, a simple succession of sounds, and by means of a few humble, external facts called out from within such a multiplicity of correlated fancies as resulted at last in a drama, a fresco, a symphony, a cathedral. The genesis of a work of art was the genesis of the echo; one word is spoken and twenty are evoked in reply-only no reverberations were to be looked for from empty nothingness. Or, if fiction must be scientific, let it look to the method of the naturalist, who from a single bone reconstructs and vivifies a complete animal. It was well enough to hold the mirror up to nature; but let it be a compound mirror - one that reflects, and re-reflects, and reflects again till the prosaic outlines of the original subject are increased, strengthened, multiplied, surrounded by the glamour of new presentations and new combinations, and the bare simplicity of the primary image loses its poor identity in the fused intimacies of a thousand secondaries. Fin-de-Siècle listened with an indulgent pity to these antiquated sentiments, in which he detected the same old insistent note of a false romanticism which he was now quite tired of combating. He merely remarked that there was one respect, indeed, in which the coming fiction might well imitate the picture, the symphony, and all the rest. Now, one's apprehension of a picture was practically instantaneous;


one might get a very fair idea of a great church, outside and inside, within ten minutes; one might follow the whole course of a symphony in twenty or thirty; in the case even of a drama one might become familiar with it, outline and detail, in two or three hours. But with a book! to become familiar with that required two or three days, or a week, or a fortnight, or a month, as the art of the writer and the interest of the reader determined. The idea of form suffered, the sense of proportion was dulled, the congruity and cohesiveness of the idea were impaired. No; he himself should never publish a book that might not be completely got around during one afternoon in a garden, or in a single evening over the fire.

The Governor had no objection to bring against this, having seldom read a book that seemed too short. But he had no more idea of following up Fin-de-Siècle's notion than Fin-de-Siècle had shown of following up his. So he merely asked the young man if his work could be carried on satisfactorily in the stir of a large hotel during the height of the season.

Fin-de-Siècle replied that, while he preferred taking his chances with a first-rate theme in a crowd rather than with a second-rate one in solitude, still he was obliged to acknowledge that his situation was not all that could be wished. The Governor came to his aid with a suggestion. A friend of his, a gentleman of means and of high scientific attainments, had a delightful place not more than ten miles outside of the town, where, during the season, he was accustomed to receive a limited number of pensionnaires. The house was a veritable château, and the large grounds were delightfully placed above the shores of the charming Untersee. The family was most agreeable, though rather numerous; yet an author of scientific fiction would know how to use the eccentricities and idiosyncrasies which a wide relationship was sure to embrace, while for a fortnight of quiet retirement no place in the world could be better. He would speak a word in that quarter if his young friend thought he cared to make the experiment. His young friend thought that perhaps he did; the Governor spoke the word; and when he learned that Fin-de-Siècle was actually domiciled at Thorheim he smiled a sly, derisive smile that it were not well to see. This young man was in search of humanity appearing at a disadvantage; well, his wish would be gratified.

But the distance between Constance and Finde-Siècle's retreat was only a matter of a few miles, a distance that could be covered by rail, or boat, or carriage, and the Governor saw more of this young master than he had hoped to. During one of his early calls at the Insel-Hôtel,

Aurelia West, who could now think of opera bouffe with something like equanimity, told him that she was sorry their stay in Lucerne had been too short to see his friend the marquis in any of his parts; she hoped for an opportunity to become better acquainted with his talents after her return to Paris. Fin-de-Siècle's reply to this was prefaced with a sudden, arch, surprised, insinuating smile, and he regarded her with such a marked increase of consideration as only one thing, she felt, could account for: he must be crediting her with some special, intimate, narrowly restricted information in connection with certain phases of la vie de Paris. Her guess was close, for he murmured with a great effect of secrecy that it was a thing really not to be alluded to. As a matter of fact, Tempo-Rubato had appeared a dozen times or so on the stage of the Folies Dramatiques; but, indeed, such things were scarcely to say themselves—it was all under the rose. Had she ever heard him sing? Oh, but he sanga magnificent baritone. Had she ever seen him ride? He rode like a devil; he had learned in Amerique du Sud,- had she any friends there?— where the Duke owned a rancho. Oh, he could manage anything. Once in-how did they name it ?-in Uruguay he had run away with a railroad train. And only last summer at Bellagio― Miss West had only to hold her tongue to have all her questions answered before they were asked; her mind was set at rest completely in regard to the title and estate of Tempo-Rubato; he was indeed a marchese, he indeed possessed the villa, and that opera bouffe characterization of him by his friend was altogether unjust; impossible that he should be an atheist, and a socialist, and a prospective polygamist!

Fin-de-Siècle was equally full in his details of the life at Thorheim. They were charming, well-disposed people; they appreciated him highly so highly that they had almost opposed his leaving them for a single afternoon in Constance. Their appreciation was so oppressive that they had insisted upon providing a sort of footman to accompany him; they were killing him with kindness. They had a number of friends and acquaintances sojourn ing with them; several of these were exceptionally interesting people. One in particular, a gentleman from Stockholm, almost fascinated him. This guest had the freedom of a large apartment in a disused wing of the château, and had filled the place with models and reliefs of many well-known mountain-peaks and -chains, all his own work, and all done to scale with remarkable neatness and precision. Yet of the real mountains he had an inexplicable dread; nothing in all the world could induce him to set his foot on one. A singular type:

a cobbler going barefoot; a stroller jingling a pocketful of napoleons before a shop-window merely to pass on; a bachelor long and earnestly regarding the beau sexe only to remain a bachelor still. His Swedish friend, however, was in the habit of taking tramps and making excursions through this miniature Alpine world, and nothing pleased him more than to be accompanied by his visitors, whom he received and escorted with the greatest kindness and courtesy. Fin-de-Siècle himself had gotten up an appetite for breakfast that very morning by a twenty-mile walk through the Upper Engadine, and he felt that if the Governor and his party were to steam down the lake in that direction some afternoon, Herr Axenquist would consider their presence a positive honor.

The Governor pondered. He had no great desire to enter Fin-de-Siècle's new circle, but this offer brought up a point or two worth considering. The Chatelaine, of course, was equal to almost anything, but the amount of actual mountain-climbing to be expected from an old man in his sixties and a young woman fresh from the lapping luxury of Paris could not be great, and this facile substitute really came in quite opportunely. So one afternoon they took the train that skirts the bank of the narrow, river-like, hill-bordered Untersee, and in less than an hour they found themselves in the very heart of the Alpine world. They were hardly within the great gate which gave entrance to the park of Thorheim, when the Chatelaine found her attention forcibly taken possession of by a middle-aged lady who seemed to have been indulging in an aimless stroll through the grounds, and who was so glad to be able to fix her mind on some definite point that her greeting passed the utmost bound of cordiality. She was tall, angular, and faded; her hands played to and fro with a tremulous uncertainty; and the Chatelaine at once recognized her as the English spinster whose intrepid parrot had made the journey to Pontresina. When she learned that our friends had but lately passed through St. Gall, she turned on the Governor and asked eagerly after the whey-cure. Ought she to go to Gais or to Heiden? Had any of his friends ever tried Urnäsch? How did the accommodations compare? Did any of the hotels have their own goats? Was there an English church? Was it best to drink the whey hot or cold? The whey-cure was her plan through September, after which she was to pass on to Vevey or Montreux for the grape-cure-she had heard that the vines promised the greatest yield in years. Yes, she was moving around as actively as ever,-this with a sudden turn and smile in the direction of the Chatelaine,— she was quite the traveler of the family, in fact. Her people had been hoping that she would

remain quietly in one place; some of them had even come from England to see that she was properly accommodated here. Of course it was all very nice and pleasant here on the lake; was it not so, mongsieu'? this with a faded but arch little smile in the direction of Fin-de-Siècle, the air was good, the scenery attractive, their host more than kind, but-well, her brothers hardly knew her, she fancied; she had little faith in the water-cure and less in the air-cure; she should be moving on presently.

They were all moving on, in fact, under the guidance of this amateur of cures, who was actively leading the way up to the house, thrusting hastily culled roses into the ladies' hands, and babbling to all alike in a voluble, barbarous French. Under the porte-cochère they met the proprietor of the place, a kindly, serene old gentleman, who seemed possessed of a patience and composure that nothing appeared likely to disturb, and by him they were presented to the guide who was to pilot them through their Alpine diversions.

The latter was a tall man of thirty-five, more slender than he should have been for his height, and more stooping than seemed proper to the mountaineer. His long hair was pushed back from his forehead, and fell sidewise in two great waves, one yellow, the other snow-white; and his eyes, which may once have shone with a splendid courage, now beamed but dully with the submissive patience of some cowed brute. He seemed a man out of whom all life and color and passion had been washed by the sudden and tremendous sweep of one great wave; but the Governor, who was already beginning to feel the first twinges of that shame and mortification which were soon to pass twenty times the utmost bounds of any annoyance that could possibly be felt by the victim of his ill-considered jest, did not learn their host's sad story till some time after. For the man before them had spent a night on the Schreckhorn in a blinding snowstorm. He had played his game with Nature on her own table and with her own counters, and had come away bankrupt. He presently led the way into his own quarters-his workshop, his studio, his gymnasium, his playground, as he said. It was a large, homely room, the walls of which were covered with maps, photographs, and sketches. In one corner stood a rough work-bench littered with broken bits of clay, half-emptied cans of gypsum, and a dozen fine paint-brushes soaking in a pail of turpentine, while various pieces of work in clay and plaster of Paris were ranged about on tables and shelves,-reliefs of single peaks, or of groups, or of whole mountain-chains, as the case might be,

some of them being small pieces on a large, while others were large pieces on a small, scale. To Zeitgeist, who had done some climb

ing in the Tyrol during the previous summer, their host handed down a compact little model of the Ortler, by means of which the young man was able to recall at once the principal points of his excursion; while La Malade (as Fin-deSiècle briefly termed the Englishwoman), who had followed the party quite as a matter of course, and who seemed perfectly at home in the rarefied atmosphere of the High Alps, suddenly launched herself on the Governor with a relief of the Sentis. The old gentleman, whose discomfort under the inquiring gaze of the Chatelaine was all the time increasing, gave his attention willingly enough to the fountainhead of the whey-cure. It was on these high pastures of the Hüttenalp and the Meglisalp here, mongsieu', and here—that the goats were herded and the whey prepared. And this road, running through the ravine and crossing the brook, was the route used by the goatherds in carrying the whey down to Gais and those other places. Those patches of white on the top, now, were just snow-fields and glaciers; but if mongsieu' would see snow and ice

La Malade abruptly set the Sentis down in the nearest available corner, and turned the Governor around toward a large relief that occupied the middle of the room. It was placed on a table some ten feet long, and represented that part of the vast Alp-chain lying between Monte Turlo and Mont Collon, forming the southern boundary of Switzerland. Before this monument of painstaking care and industry Herr Axenquist now stood with an air of grave courtesy, while the little pointer he held in his hand wavered over the sharp peak of the Matterhorn; and the Chatelaine, whose foot was now on her native heath, indeed, was greatly pleased, and took no trouble to conceal it. Here, chérie Aurélie, was the road down to Châtillon; and there ran the footpath across to Macugnaga; and over on that side, beyond the Col de St. Théodule, was the way down into the Nicolaithal; while here, of a verity, at the very head of this high and narrow valley, was La Trinité itself. Ah, vraiment, La Trinité! And the Chatelaine threw back her head and expanded her nostrils, as if she whiffed the mountain air indeed.

La Malade eagerly jogged the Governor's elbows. There, when had he ever seen anything more truly magnifique? What was more beautiful than those green meadows with that dear little rivulet running through them? Then could anything be more natural than the streaked and spotted brown that represented the rocks of this precipice, just here? And as for the fine dust that coated all the glaciers and snow-peaks, that had been her own suggestion. He should see the sun upon it. She rushed to the window and swept the curtain to one side. Ah, mong

sieu', how it shone, how it glittered, how like the Alps indeed!

The host turned a smile of quiet appeal on the voluble enthusiasm of the Englishwoman. He hoped it would please his visitors to make some excursion or other under his care; he was a tried and trustworthy guide; he would undertake nothing too difficult for even the ladies, and he thought he could promise that none of them would be unduly fatigued. Here were the Tödi, the Bernina; there was Cortina d'Ampezzo, in the Dolomites; or if they preferred they might merely cross the Splügen with him. The Governor, with a clear conscience, would have enjoyed this little flight of fancy beyond measure; as things now were, he said in a hard, determined voice, the occasion was exceptional, and so should the expedition be, too. He favored the best and the most: nothing would please him better than the ascent of Mont Blanc itself. Then he set his collar, and swallowed something.

At this suggestion La Malade gave a little cry of joy, and darted down under a table which had been concealed behind the open door. This, she declared, as her head bumped against the under side of the table, was her favorite expedition; she had been up fourteen times already, but it was every bit as interesting as ever. She whisked the cloth off the model, took hold of two corners of it, and Herr Axenquist laid hold of the other two, and thus the mountain was lifted into place. The host explained with a grave smile that the ascent was properly a matter of two days. It was best to get away from Chamouni at midday, and to spend the night in the inn at the Grands Mulets. The trip, however, might well stand a little compression; they should achieve the entire expedition in that one afternoon. And as the weather was fine and settled one guide might be made to do for the whole party, while anything like a porter could very well be dispensed with altogether. Here, then, was Chamouni; there was the road to the Glacier des Bossons; here, up through the valley of the Nant Blanc, was the path to the Pierre Pointue, on the edge of the Glacier des Bossons itself; higher up, the Pierre à l'Eschelle, with a view of the Dôme du Goûter, and these various other eminences; here we cross the Glacier-and so on to the Grands Mulets. Entrez! Herein! Would they please be seated? such refreshment would now be set forth as the inn afforded.

Fin-de-Siècle whispered delightedly to the Governor that here was an original type in

deed; the Governor winced. The Count smiled and nodded; the Governor groaned.

A maid came in bearing a tray, and the thoughtful mountaineer now regaled his guests with tea and cakes. He also offered fans, for, thanks to La Malade and her new arrangement of the curtains, the temperature, even at this altitude of ten thousand feet, was distinctly warm. This volatile person accepted a fan, but refused the tea, sending the maid back for her own approved beverage. And as she opened her bottle for herself, with the dexterity that comes from long practice, she vented a bit of good-natured sarcasm on the people who would make her believe that all chalybeate waters were alike, and that she might just as well decide to please herself with St. Moritz without sending all the way to Tarasp. But she had not been born yesterday, and if there was one thing she knew more about than another, that thing was mineral springs. Who

had attended to the placing and marking of all the springs and baths on these reliefs if not she herself?— putting them down in colors corresponding to their ingredients: the salt-springs at Aigle, white; the sulphursprings of St. Gervais and Stachelberg, yellow; and so forth. To all of which her entertainer, now in conversation with the Governor, bowed an indulgent acknowledgment over his cup of tea.

The Governor was scanning him closely. To put this grave, composed gentleman under suspicion was unjust; to subject him to restraint was outrageous. If every one who indulged his fancy was mentally deranged, what might people be thinking of himself? If these reliefs around them carried good cause for medical surveillance, how then with regard to the antiquities at Avenches? Nonsense; this man was as clear-headed as anybody else.

Their host rose suddenly and ordered the tea-things out. They must lose no more time, he said. The glacier should be crossed before the sun had got too high. They must press on to the summit. Their real, serious work was just about to begin. He quickly threw open the door of a little cabinet, and passed out an alpenstock to Aurelia West. He thrust an ice-ax into Zeitgeist's hand, and pressed upon the Governor a long coil of rope, which the shamefaced old gentleman received as it had been a penitential scourge. And here were spectacles of colored glass; the glare on the snow was so terrible-terrible. Was all ready? Allons; en avant! With care, mademoiselle! with care!


He seized the Chatelaine by the arm. Beware that crevasse-it was just here that the young English lady had gone down and dragged her guide with her. Be cautious, young sir; this ice-steep was treacherous enough, in truth; but three steps-cut so-were all that was needed. There was no cause for alarm yet; slowly and steadily, and all was well. But what was this, rushing, leaping, tumbling, crashing down, with an ever louder roar? Back, back, monsieur! He pinned the Governor against the wall, and wiped the drops of sweat from his own forehead. Ah-h! it was happily past,-l' avalanche,-and none of them the worse for it. Well, then, here was the Grand Plateau, here the Mur de la Côté, here the Petits Mulets; but the summit, the summit, where was that? Was it in sight for none of them-not one-not one? He ran his hand excitedly through his long, disordered hair. Was it growing darker and colder? Was every one of them benumbed? His eyes shone with a wild glitter, and wandered aimlessly about over the peaks and valleys beneath them. Ah, it was the fog, the cruel, treacherous fog; but hasten, hastenhere was the path, and the refuge was not far ahead. Up, up! No; you must not, shall not lie there. His voice rose to a shrill, strident tone, a tone full of the cutting sweep of the mountain-roaring wind, a tone stung by the tingle of gust-driven ice-particles spinning on and on in remorseless eddies. He suddenly flecked his hand across his face. He gave a short, sharp cry, and clutched Zeitgeist by the arm. Had he felt it too? And did he not know what it meant? They were lost-lost! They should perish there on the mountain, like others before them; for it was the snowthe snow



LAY upon the borderland 'twixt sleep

And drowsy thought dim as a wavering dream;
All consciousness a far, faint, starry beam,
Like glint of torch within a cavern deep.
About me voices rose with windy sweep,
Till all the pulses of the air did seem
Aflame, and bubbling in a liquid stream,
Pouring upon me in one gathered leap.
They raised in me a power uncontrolled-

These mystic voices, rushing madly by;

My feet were set where wheeling planets rolled,

My head upreared within the flaming sky.

A god I was within my human mold,

To trample death, and all his might defy.

Susanna Massey.

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