Puslapio vaizdai


Schlern, and Croda Malcora — a landscape extinguish him by an account of a huge carain words alone. Already they saw those lofty vansary in the remote regions of buttes and and rugged valleys, hedged in by cloven pre- sage-brush, where, five hundred miles from anycipices and rimmed with a raggedness of es- where, she had found the electric light, a full carped battlements, and imaged to themselves orchestra, the telephone, and all the delicacies a sèrried succession of pale and isolated peaks of every season. But he had not been greatly starting out dim and haggard through the impressed; he had rejoined that it was the dawn, or glaring crudely in the dazzling sun- general average that counted, and that a civillight, or glowing threateningly in the red Alush ization which grew up out of the ground was of sunset, or rising bare and desolate and spec- one thing, while a civilization fetched from tral in the ghastly pallors of the moonlight. afar on a mortar-board and slapped on with a Meanwhile the Governor nervously handled trowel was another. Nowhere in her country, his little hammer, and Zeitgeist was supposed except in a few leading establishments in the to busy himself about the roads and the inns. great centers, had he found acceptable fare and

Their week in the Dolomites was to be not attention, and nowhere was civility a certainty; a promenade, but a scramble - a thing as- an uncouth, insolent “independence” upset all

sumed by the mountaineering Zeitgeist and calculations, and really nullified many an outunderstood well enough by the Governor and lay; even those who would behave not always the Chatelaine, but not dreamed of by the could. Whereas on the Continent every little luxurious Aurelia, who smoothly inferred a place, however remote, however humble, could succession of drives in properly equipped ve- offer palatable fare, cleanliness, and courtesy. hicles, and a regular series of four-franc dinners All this she remembered, and, remembering, at table d'hôte-certainly nothing less than rebelled, though still she did not openly comthree. So by the time they had reached Cor- plain. And on the morrow they left for another tina, and had sat down to dinner (as persons place—a worse one. of distinction) on the landing, Aurelia began For just after breakfast tidings of the most to experience a silent but deep-set sense of in- distasteful nature came to greet the Governorjury Rocchetta, indeed, rose invitingly across from Auronzo, too, their objective point. It had the valley; Tofana had graciously cast away been their plan to pass around the great pyraits portentous cloud-drapery; Malcora opened mid of Antelao on to Cadore and the Titian wide its glacial and mysterious amphitheater: country generally, but the new intelligence debut all that went for nothing. For they had cided him to push at once over the mountains driven into town in a rasping, rattling, mud- to Caprile instead, in quite the opposite direcbespattered something, drawn by a pony and tion. The word was brought by a strapping a mule, and their meager dinner of broth and young peasant, who had been tramping and lettuce-heads and omelets was placed before scrambling across the mountains since daythem on a rough table which no friendly will- light, and who had been impelled to this exeringness, no anxiety to please, could smoothly tion by a visitor now at his native place - a cover or adequately fill. She looked protest- forestiere, in general; a Frenchman, in particuingly toward the complacently unconscious lar; an elderly individual of a very exacting Zeitgeist, at once the general of the expedition and peremptory disposition ; a stout walker and its commissary, as if to ask why she should and a mighty wielder of the geological hamever have been brought to this rude and be- mer; a man of scowls and pursed lips and nighted place. Poor child! she utterly failed severely sudden turns of the head; in other to realize that she was dining in state in the words, the worthy Saitoutetplus of Neuchâtel, capital of the district, on the line of the only whose message was that he was now in the highway by which the region was traversed, Dolomites, that he had been trying to catch and she was mercifully spared the knowledge up with the Governor for the last three days, that what she had already undergone was in- and that he might be looked for in Cortina deed only a promenade compared with that within the next twenty-four hours. she was yet to undergo.

This news at once put the Governor in a She rebelliously stirred her spoon around in tremor. The sensitive old gentleman had not her broth, and recurred with an intensified re- met his colleague since that mortifying fiasco sentment to a little lecture which Zeitgeist had at Aventicum, nor did he feel himself able to once read her for her scant appreciation of the face him even now. He took the presence of fare and of the service of certain villages in the Saitoutetplus among the Dolomites as more Haslithal and around Kandersteg. He had than an unkindness - as something almost asked her to observe how anywhere in Switzer- equaling a cruelty. He had indeed known land, in town or hamlet, in places famous or Saitoutetplus to describe himself as a grandobscure, one was certain of a good meal, well nephew of the great Dolomieu, and had more cooked and civilly served. She had tried to than once heard him refer to a trip through


south Tyrol as among the possibilities; but Cortina hostlers, was handed in to Aurelia as his presence here now could be accounted for the sole representative of their party now on the only on the ground of an ungenerous desire to ground. The handwriting of the address indigloat over a friend whose ardent and imagina- cated great decision and indomitablere solution, tive nature had put him at a disadvantage. So and the last word ended with a big splutter that within an hour the Governor and his friends seemed the mingled symbol of haste, indignahad left Cortina — the cleanly, the cheerful, tion, and a grim sense of ultimate triumph. When the Germanic — for a long course of travel this missive was put into the Governor's hands, among the huddled and disheveled hamlets fear passed on to panic and his flight was turned of Venetia, the Chatelaine seated firmly on into a rout. The persevering Saitoutetplus was a brown horse, Aurelia perched precariously sorry, he wrote, that his first message had aron a sorry sorrel, the Governor straddled on rived at a time when their preparations for dean opinionative mule, and Zeitgeist trudging parture had advanced so far as to make any along on foot with the bearers of the baggage. further delay impracticable; he was anxious to

It was a rigorous and diversified route, and see his friend for a scientific conference of conled them across lofty alps and under melan- siderable importance, and he should therefore choly groves of pine, through whose openings come on at once to Caprile, arriving there next they glimpsed the pale distortions of distant day at noon. The Governor at once informed Dolomites, and at one stage their guide con- Zeitgeist and the Chatelaine that important and demned them to an hour's scramble up the unexpected intelligence made it necessary for rocky bed of a dried-up torrent. It was an him to reach Botzen on the Brenner as soon as ordeal for all of them; and the Governor, possible, -conveying the impression that his since he alone knew why it was all undergone, letter had come from that quarter,—and that was the only one who was sustained by the they must prepare to leave Caprile for Primiero feeling that what he was suffering by moving before ten o'clock the next morning. was much less than what he would have suf- The Governor scouted with an injured infered by remaining at rest. Pelmo and Mar- dignation the idea that Saitoutetplus's persemolata looked down with a stony indifference cution had nothing behind it but a desire to on all this anguish; and when they stopped discuss the geological origins of the Dolomitic at a chalet for the refreshment of milk, only to region. Never would he meet the man if he find the place barred and bolted, and to spy could possibly avoid it; and if he were conthe inhabitants thereof swishing their scythes strained to meet him in the end, still nothing, on the mountain-slopes a thousand feet above nothing in the world, could compel him to agree their heads, the martyred Aurelia seated her- with him. If Saitoutetplus seemed disposed to self on an upturned butter-tub, and openly uphold the coral-reef theory of the formation lamented the lost luxuries of Cortina, whose of the Dolomites, he himself should hold out for cleanly rooms now stretched out like the great the theory of volcanic action, obsolete though state apartments of some palace, whose broths it might be. If Saitoutetplus preferred the voland omelets were a banquet truly fit for canic theory, then he should make up some monarchs, and whose brisk little felt-hatted new theory right out of his own head, -a kellnerinn was a ministering angel indeed. And thunder-and-lightning theory, for instance; a it was sunset when the vast wall of Monte theory of crags splintering and crashing unCivita flashed a rosy signal to them from its der the constant and concentrated fury of a pompous, organ-like front, and the compact thousand thousand forked and jaggedthunand dingy habitations of Caprile appeared in derbolts — a theory, in fact, drawn from the the valley below.

heavens above and equally good with one drawn The Governor and Bertha spent the next day from the earth beneath or from the waters unin botanizing up the valley of the Livinalungo, der the earth. But as for anything like an agreewhile Zeitgeist made a solitary feint in the di- ment between them— impossible ! rection of the Marmolata glacier. Aurelia kept The way to Primiero was a long and tangled her room during the entire day, not because it succession of paths, lanes, footpaths, mulewas a close, low-ceiled little place, with a com- tracks, wagon-roads, which led southward with plete command of the noise, odor, and disorder faint hints of Italy in the dim blueness of disof the stable-yard, but in spite of that; and she tant valleys; but for the panic-driven Governor revived her flagging energies on a diet of broth (whose every step was now taken for really no evolved from a pair of skinny and sapless fowls, better reason than that it had a predecessor not because she liked it, but because it was that and so must have a successor) the dominant or nothing. And about half-past four there came feature of the landscape was his redoubtable a rap on the door, and a new misfortune devel- colleague of the college, who started up here, oped when a letter, addressed to the Governor there, and everywhere. As they boated across and brought across the mountains by one of the the lovely lake of Alleghe, the Governor al

VOL. XLIV.-73.

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most looked to see an extended arm raising nealogies, many of them having ranked as noabove the surface of the water, not the sword ble even as late as the last century; they were of the legend, but the vade mecum of the geolo- independent of travelers' coin, keeping open gist; the shadows cast by the lazily floating house less for profit than for public convenience; cumuli upon the broad, screen-like front of Ci- they maintained the tradition of an old-time vita appeared in his eyes as the image of a hospitality, and were to be treated with more stubborn and contentious professor on the ros- consideration-or at least more forbearancetrum; while from every door and window in than she was showing. Aurelia gulped down the piazza at Agordo a determined index-finger this information with a stony fortitude; to suffer seemed threatening to thrust itself, with the in- was bad enough, but to suffer in silence tention of arresting the fleeting philosopher, More suffering awaited her at Primiero, where and of having the whole matter argued out Zeitgeist, whose rôle was not to fetch and carry, then and there.

to defer, and to dance attendance, unburdened On from Agordo the road lay through the himself of the vexation and indignation of a quicksilver country; and Aurelia West, as she month by uttering some very pointed phrases progressed slowly over that bare, scorched, and on the tyranny of the American aristocracy. stifling tract, and experienced the novel sen- Aurelia was in a state of exhaustion approachsation of the perspiration drip, drip, dripping ing collapse,-a situation where invective might from the tip of her nose, reverted longingly to well have given the pas to generosity,—but she the haymakers' chalet up above Caprile. How plucked up enough spirit to declare that there cool the wind had been there, how fresh the was no aristocracy in America; the aristocracy flowers, how pleasant the shade to the north of slavery was dead and gone, the aristocracy of that rude and bedraggled wall, how refresh- of intellect had never existed there, or anywhere ing the milk in its great coarse vessels (for they else, for that matter; and as for the aristocracy had found an attendant peasant at last), how of wealth, that, she had once heard her father glorious the lofty, wide-spread view, how par- say to her stupid brother, was a simple matter ticularly comfortable the seat made by that up- of the here-to-day-and-gone-to-morrow kind. turned tub! The Chatelaine, however, went and might well be trusted to dispose of itself. on steadily and sturdily enough, and Zeitgeist, Zeitgeist regarded her with a sinister satisfacwho was coming to regard Aurelia with con- tion. True, the aristocracy of slavery was as siderable impatience and resentment, had no dead as Pharaoh, and the aristocracy of brains thing but admiration for her companion. Thor- was but a poetic mirage, and the aristocracy of oughgoing and inexorable mountaineer, he was wealth had no stability, since the talent and conceiving a great admiration for a young wo- energy of the American usually worked itself man whose powers were so staying, and who out in a single generation; but why should anywas so fully equal to looking after herself. She body be deceived into imagining that a vast, could disentangle her own stirrups, she could settled, complicated society — a society largely mount her own horse, and she had a knack of urban and daily becoming more so- does not helpfully slinging the tea bottles across her sad- develop privilege, draw lines, and bring on the dle. No hard scrabble could wrench her ankles, elevation of the aristos in one shape or anno steep climb could altogether take her wind. other? The ultimate reaching of such a state If she fancied a flower, she scrambled for it in- was, under ordinary human conditions, unstead of weakly yet imperatively demanding avoidable, and America, so far as his observathat it be brought to her; and a complexion tion went, was now suffering under the rule of whose soft bloom came from within rather than an aristocracy,- novel, indeed, but incredibly from without took no querulous and incessant wide-spread, close-knit, firm-rooted, all-pervaheed of wind and weather.

sive, and ultra-tyrannical,- the aristocracy of On the other hand, Miss West had given him sex. He stopped in the polishing of his specno rest. Her unceasing demands, exactions, ex- tacles, and gave Aurelia a sharp and sudden pectations, all through Switzerland, had buzzed look, as if to ask her what she thought of that. about his head like a swarm of gnats, and her She laid hold of both arms of her chair, and indulgence in the superfine only as far back as braced herself for the next instalment. Caprile had impelled him to tell her that that What was American society, mademoiselle, sort of thing would never do. She had reduced but a magnificent galley in which husbands the willing and painstaking landlady there to a and fathers toiled at the oars, while wives and state of tears by her complaints and criticisms, daughters sat above in perfumed idleness? He and Zeitgeist had been obliged to tell her that had met a gentleman in New York, the posthe chief Dolomite innkeepers were not to be sessor of twenty millions of florins, who had treated in any such fashion. They were per- told him that he was working for his board and sons of some means, position, and consequence; clothes-he seemed to be employing a recogthey were the possessors of immensely long ge- nized phrase. This unfortunate toiled more

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incessantly than his meanest clerk, and had absolutely not a

single pleasure; but his wife and daughters, along with a hundred others like them, resided in a great hotel, without duties, insensible of any obligations, and

unoccupied except by their own diversions. HOTE)

Were not the corridors of society full of young men dancing and dangling after silly little girls with flowers and favors and theatertickets, asking nothing in return but a word or a smile, and sometimes even thankful for a snub? Aurelia nodded silently. Did not woman lead man into the dining-rooms of American hotels ? Did not man wait for woman's permission before bowing to her on the public street ? Was not all culture, all study, all leisure, all the mechanism that worked on toward the amenities and refinements, so completely in the hands of woman that few girls of position and opportunities were able to select a satisfactory husband from their own circle ? Aurelia nodded

again. And yet it was in such a land as that, the veritable paradise of woman, that the abhorrent reptile of female suffrage had reared its hideous head, and had dared to hiss out its demand for “equal rights.” Was it not a shame, mademoiselle ? Was-it-not-a-shame? But the exhausted Aurelia was far beyond the reach of argument, even when emphasized by a smart smack on the top of a table. She was asleep.

They remained at Primiero three or four days. Aurelia was glad enough to understand from the Governor that his correspondent at Botzen would no longer exact such an undue haste from them. Primiero offers a ruined castle perched on a precipitous crag, besides two or three little churches and various reminiscent scraps of history more or

less Venetian, and with these Aurelia and the Chatelaine occupied themselves until the time came to move on to Predazzo- with the history, more especially, since two nights of wild weather had practically laid an embargo on locomotion. Nor had all traces of that wildness vanished by the time set for their departure from Primiero. Mud filled the roadways, mist filled the air, all the woods were full of ominous rushing sounds, and every gully echoed with the grinding and thumping of onward-hurrying stones. The way led across many a foaming torrent and through many a clammy cloud. Now and then they passed a hay-wagon wrecked and abandoned, and more than once the smaller of their donkeys, his legs lost to sight, appeared like some new aquatic creature floating on a stream of mud. And just at the point where the Chatelaine, gathered up in her bedraggled skirts and steadied by the water-soaked Zeitgeist, was running nimbly along a low wall of loosely piled stones, her weaker sister, cowed by the puddle, broke down, added her tears to those of the weeping sky, and sobbed for recollection of the road past the quicksilver-mine, when the way had been so dry, the sun so warm, the air so clear! Nor could she be consoled in any way until

, upon their arrival at Predazzo, they found the diligence for Botzen standing before the inn door. It had just come in, but it would be going back to-morrow; so here was connection with the world at large and deliverance from the wilderness.

The next afternoon, as they drew up before the diligence

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