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gave them; for the craft before her was im- everywhere, in places high and low, in season pelled by a young man in the garb (full-rigged, and out, and she was developing a capacity for and more) of a sailor,— widening trousers, a haughty insolence toward hotel-keepers and low, broad-brimmed straw hat, a wide, low- their dependents that almost chilled the old cut, anchor-embroidered collar, a gold-fringed gentleman's blood. But, on the other side, for sash of white silk,- and the passenger was a every inch that she exalted herself in public she lady who lolled back under the same parasol would humble herself a foot in private; and that had illumined the quay at Lucerne, and when the Governor had seen her a few times who lazily admired the quick and supple mus- running about nervously with her mouth full of cularity of her ornately attired companion. pins, and had once encountered her in a dark
Aurelia asked the Governor at lunch if he hallway with a shoe of the Chatelaine's in one considered the salon of their hotel at all adapted hand and a tiny blacking-brush in the other, to the giving of a concert. The Governor sent he saw that Aurelia West was not burning to be out a questioning look full of startled apprehen- the Princess, but only the Princess's devoted sion, as if to inquire what was in the wind now. slave. It was the look of a man who feels the ground There was only one of them left — the Chateshifting beneath his feet- of a man whose re- laine herself. It must be for her, then, that they cent experiences have made it worth his while had given up their quiet and pleasant inn at to wonder what will happen next. He had en- Verona, and had transferred themselves to antered upon this little tour simply as a quiet scien- other, larger, showier, more expensive. It was tific gentleman whose tastes were subdued and for her that Fin-de-Siècle was always being sent whose requirements were extremely moderate, trotting about for carriages and coachmen, that certain that what was good enough for him was Tempo-Rubato would be despatched for ciegood enough for the unexacting Chatelaine, roni and sagrestani to open up famous places and that what would please them both would at distinguishedly unusual hours, and that Aureassuredly suffice for their guest. But at just the lia West had so willingly metamorphosed herpresent moment his status was something of a self into a lady's-maid. It was for her that the puzzle to him. It seemed now and then as if his hotel-keeper at Brescia had bowed down with eyes caught distant glimpses of the flaunting of obsequious devotion, and that the half-dozen banners, as if his ears detected remotely the half- eager waiters had tumbled over one another's smothered clamor of trumpets, as if his nostrils heels; it was for her that the sindaco of Bergamo were being tickled by fumes wafted from in- had driven up to the door of their inn with a visible censers, and there were hours when carriage and pair; it was for her that he himtheir modest little excursion seemed to have self had been left to spend three dismal days a merged into something almost equaling a pro- the Brera at Milan, staring at casts, coins, and gress. And one day, after an hour's quiet cogi- madonnas, while Aurelia organized and led a tation in a retired corner of the garden, he triumphal tour among the shops of the Corso became satisfied as to the identity of the chief and the Galleria. The Governor studiousir figure in this triumphant march-reaching the contracted his eyebrows as he stared through result by a process of elimination. In the first the white walls of Cadenabbia across the late, place, it was not he himself. True, there were and rubbed his nose thoughtfully with his long moments when he felt that the cheeks of the forefinger. Well, after all, the dear child was genius of Fame showed a tendency to distend worth it. themselves unduly on his account; he was But he might have spared himself an uneast daily hearing himself addressed by new and apprehension that the indefatigable Aurelia was ingenious titles supposed fittingly to recognize designing to organize an entertainment at the his eminence, and this eminence had been fur- hotel with the Chatelaine as chief patrones ther confessed by unexpected attentions from and Aurelia, too, might have spared herself an various officials in the minor towns lying be- apprehension that Des Guenilles was intendias tween Verona and Milan. Yet, on the other to duplicate here her performance at Meran;'* hand, he often felt himself degraded almost to the Duchess had dismissed her three or is the level of a lackey: it was fetch and carry, do remaining voices, and, having thus stripped be this and do that—a long and unceasing string self of the last shreds of opéra comique, was in of minor attentions which Aurelia West ex- dulging in a fortnight of unadulterated is pected and demanded, and in which even the preparatory to her autumnal engagemens E Chatelaine, careless of her gray-haired guar- Paris itself. Meanwhile, she was established: dian, completely acquiesced.
the other big hotel at the far end of the tox? In the second place, the chief figure of the and was daily doing Cleopatra-on-the-Cvitsa progress was not their guest from Paris. True, as far as circumstances and surroundings te she was showing an increasing disposition to mitted - the resemblance being greatest flaunt her magnificent apparel here, there, and course, on those occasions when Antony w
not required to furnish the motive power as well murmur reminiscent of rebellion, was herself as the devotion.
again. Within a quarter of an hour the sky was But the lake was free to all, and its shores clearly blue, and Tempo-Rubato walked forth were made accessible by frequent steamers. with his guests, accompanied by his parents, Aurelia twice covered the course from Como who were spending a month with him in z'ilto Colico, and once she made a side-excursion leggiatura, and by Fin-de-Siècle, who had down into the arm at the end of which stands sprung up from somewhere or other, and who Lecco; and on all these occasions she passed announced himself as on his way back to Paris. the panorama in review with the ferret-like, The broad, graveled walks trickled with their undeviating gaze of the specialist. The sheer last rivulets, the polished masses of box and fall of mountain-side, and the white tumbling laurel tingled with a million raindrops, the of cascades, she viewed with complete indiffer- white walls of villas and hamlets glistened on ence; the busy activities of quarry and silk- many a remote mountain-slope, and a fullmanufactory were so completely ignored as arched rainbow hung out its flag of truce from even to pass unresented; the fine picturesque. shore to shore. Through this scene Temponess of church-tower and monastery was taken Rubato, fully en prince at last, led the way in unconsciously, if at all, while the crumb- with an air of easy and gracious mastery. The ling walls of untenanted castles and fortresses Chatelaine was simply enchanted by the specseemed to strike her as anachronous to a de- tacle, and did not hesitate so to express herself. gree: but for every distant glint struck by the As for the splendors of the villa itself, they imsun on balustraded terrace, for every glimpse pressed her almost to the verge of discomfort. of pediment or colonnade caught through The pictorial stateliness of the Vintschgau had groves of cedar and magnolia, her eyes were not been without its effect upon her, but the keen indeed. In fact, Aurelia's sole concern difference between that and what she had prein all this was to discover a villa ideally suit- viously experienced had been only one of deable for the enigmatic son of the Duke of gree. Here, now, was a difference of kind; Largo. Before long she did discover it, but never before had she encountered anything not from the deck of the steamer.
so suave, so luxurious, so spaciously serene, so For, on a certain afternoon, one of the in- indolently graceful. Every glimpse of cloudsinuating boatmen of Bellagio, with more heed wreathed mountain-peaks seen down long to profit than to meteorology, had tempted avenues of ilex overawed her; every glance our friends out upon the water at a time when at the blue expanse of waters caught through the prospect for wind and rain seemed more openings in statued and arcaded galleries acted than commonly good. Within half an hour the only as a spur toward the adequate expression prospect became a certainty, and a strong wind of her delight. and a high sea drove them straight to shore. This undisguised appreciation was not at all They effected their haphazard landing at a flight to the taste of Aurelia West, who did not care of broad and easy marble steps which broke to have the Chatelaine show herself so comthrough a long and stately terrace to lead down pletely pleased, so powerfully impressed. She to the water between rows of sculptured vases herself accordingly drew on a weary and halfrioting with flowers, and which led up to ave- disdainful air, as if her own infancy and childnues of box and clipped ilex adorned with hood had been passed in villas of uncommon multifarious statues. And when a brilliant figure splendor, and as if she had tired of all such in white flannels came hastening down one of long years ago. She entered upon a quiet litthese stately paths to assist them in alighting, tle course of disparagement by means of crossthe transported Aurelia rose at once to the situa- references to other travel experiences: she drew tion on the wings of ecstasy: here at last was upon the outskirts of Vienna and the environs indeed the villa of Tempo-Rubato, and it was of Paris, where, as she more than intimated, feathe master himself who had come to welcome tures of equal magnificence were not altogether them. Tempo-Rubato knew nothing of this wanting, and she reminded the prostrate Chaecstasy, but he had a sharp sense of atmos- telaine of one or two rather fine things in the pheric conditions; yet with all his haste to get ancestral home of Zeitgeist that found no felthe Governor and his charges under shelter, he lows here. Propped up by such aids as these, had barely done so before the storm broke. the Chatelaine was not completely bowed and
It was sharp and sudden, short yet violent; broken by Tempo-Rubato's grandiose envia gusty roar, an ominous lashing of waters, a ronment; but she went through an ordeal heavy downpour, a touch of thunder and light- which tried to the uttermost their united forning; then the infuriated beauty quieted her titude when the Marchese summoned them heaving bosom and veiled her flashing eyes, subsequently to a grand fête, when moonlight, and bound down her flying hair and stilled her music, fireworks, and what not besides, comangry clamor, and presently Como, save for a bined nearly to vanquish this simple-minded girl and even to modify the nil admirari atti- of Tempo-Rubato's horticultural endeavors, tude of her friend.
was set a small, stone-encircled pond, the surThe Governor found himself at home among face of which was half hidden by the big, iat, the serried nymphs and goddesses of Tem- lustrous leaves of some rare plant which had po-Rubato's freshened elysium,- personages brought all its energies to one surpassing focus whom the old Duke pointed out as well as he of its own—a single, great, white flower of knew how,- and he jotted down with some transcendent purity and splendor. Aurelia's nimbleness one or two little notions that he fan-, hands at this very moment were cumbered cied might do very nicely at Avenches. He with flowers that Tempo-Rubato had presented. even begged from Tempo-Rubato a slight pen- to her,-flowers of but moderate rank, it is cil-sketch of the uncommonly effective landing- true, but distinguished by the giver and his stage, from which to complete his own new giving,—nor had the Chatelaine been altomarmorata, and he carried away a ground-plan gether forgotten by the doting old Duke; but and a perspective view which their host cley- nothing like this prevented Aurelia from fixing erly slap-dashed down on a page torn from his a determined gaze on that one unique and note-book. Fin-de-Siècle, too, scratched down precious blossom a gaze that passed from his own little impression on the sensitive mind Tempo-Rubato to the Chatelaine and back of the old gentleman, when he informed him, again, but began and ended in the center of the at one stage of their progress through the pond-a gaze wide with expectation and progrounds, that he had just despatched his last phetic of demand. And then she spoke — with chapters to Paris. This was done in a tone a slow and distinct deliberation. This magnifmost marked, one sinister and even threat- cent flower, she said, had doubtless been waitening; and the Governor, whose mind some- ing for the coming of the lady on whom it times moved with a bounding intuition that could properly be bestowed. Well, the lady was was little less than feminine, instantly saw him- here (this with a bow toward the Chatelaine self figuring upon the pages of a book, and that was almost a reverence), the Lady of La none too flatteringly either. He sighed and Trinité. shuddered. Were all the rites of hospitality There was a slight pause, and in it was fainty powerless to exorcise the demon of publicity ? heard the whirring of the wings of panic. TemAnd if he himself figured among the dramatis po-Rubato gave a start and a short, nervous persona, how about his associates? If he were laugh, the Duke paled perceptibly, and the the père noble,— or ignoble, as he rather Duchess, with a moist fear in her eyes, laid a feared, - how, then, as to the heroine ? - an detaining hand upon her son's arm; even Fininquiry that he trembled to pursue.
de-Siècle gave a quick little gasp. The GorBut this ominous thought would now and ernor should have done as much or more; but then flap its dusky wings about his head as they he simply looked in a fond, doting way upon loitered along through thicket and greenhouse, the Chatelaine, as much intoxicated by th:s for Fin-de-Siècle had fixed a most intent regard flattery, as much uplifted by a sense of coming upon the Chatelaine, and kept it there. Aure- triumph, as were he himself the principal—too lia, never completely certain heretofore of ex- sensitive to the fumes of the ideal to give due emption from a snub from this quarter, now heed to the lees of the actual, however certain found herself swiftly fading into nonentity. She they were to remain behind. As for Aurelia, undertook to revivify her own image in the mind she realized pretty nearly—though not conof this contemptuous youth by reverting to cer- pletely-what she was about; she had entered tain episodes common to the Parisian experi. upon a course of splendid audacity, and this ences of them both; but some of these he step was only a little longer and a little boice ignored, and others he had forgotten, or had than any preceding one; she honestly believe so far forgotten that it would be weariness to her friend conspicuously deserving of the best remember. Aurelia was willing, under certain which could be offered; that blind old min conditions and for certain ends, to humble had allowed his godchild to disparage hersi herself, but she was not yet quite ready to be too long already. humbled by anybody else, and she resolved to Every one turned to the Chatelaine, but she lie in wait until occasion might hold out the made no effort to stay the execution of this prospect of solace to her mortified spirit. high-handed decree. She was modest and rea
Such an occasion offered itself almost im- sonable enough, but she was too human to be mediately - perhaps you will say she made it. above homage, and too inexperienced to DIt was in the largest of the greenhouses - the terpret signs and tokens, however open arc central one — that she found an opportunity at abounding. She should have taken Tempo once to reassert her own importance and to Rubato's strained bow and forced smile noi = exalt still higher the already exalted Chatelaine. a sign of acquiescence eagerly courting encor Under a great octagonal dome of glass, focus agement, but as a plea for the averting a á
ruthless sacrifice. She should have seen, from ing unaware. His glance in return seemed to twenty indications, that this one flower was the imply the uselessness of denying that she was apple of his parents' eyes, and that to pluck it an angel when even the imps from the lower was like quenching the flame in a lighthouse, world acknowledged and proclaimed it. like snatching the halo from some saint. A The complacency of Miss West metamormonth before she would have shrunk back from phosed this dragonade into a tribute and a triso marked an attention, but whiffs of a new at- umph; but she had always been taught to mosphere wasted from afar and laden with adu- expect a great deal of men, to express her lation now tickled her dilated nostrils; a claim expectations unreservedly, and to insist most made not by herself, but by another on her be- vigorously upon their fulfilment. It was her funhalf, might surely hold; so she stood there quiet, damental belief that the young woman was the smiling, acquiescent -- if her look expressed corner-stone of the social edifice,—the raison anything, it expressed a wondering inquiry as d'être of society,- almost its be-all and end-all. to the reason for delay.
The spokes of the social wheel all centered in Tempo-Rubato set his teeth, and moved to her; toward her every function worked, from her ward the edge of the basin. Aurelia advanced many a function proceeded; she both guarded a step, and begged him not to inconvenience the gates and sat on the throne — at least that himself. To pluck the flower was a privilege, was the way it was in America. She knew that and nobody would appreciate this privilege Americanization was the impending fate of more highly than Count Fin-de-Siècle; she Europe, and she felt that she must do her share begged that he would stand back in favor of in this great work. Why did she hold a string his friend. But Fin-de-Siècle, thus suddenly in her hand if she was not to pull it? Why brought forward, did not seem very successful neglect the cultivation of a precious bulb the in summoning up a look to express his sense coming convolutions of which promised to of the honor. He glanced timorously at the out-flower Flora herself? turbid fluid as it revealed itself obscurely be- In the mean while she continued her collectween the curled and huddled pads — a sur- tion of data with regard to remote and nebulous face that gave no precise indication of depth La Trinité. For remote and nebulous indeed and positively no information as to the nature was it coming to seem through the responses of the bottom, which was very likely to be both of its mistress, who met Aurelia's constant and curving and slippery. The Governor chuckled confident interrogations with answers that and encouraged the young man's advance; it seemed cold and meager and almost evasive. was not through fire and water that he was She seemed unable squarely to face Aurelia's asked to go,-hardly water alone; mud, rath- ardent assumption that the splendors of the er,— and it did not become him to stand too Vintschgau and the Brienza were to be equaled long trembling on the brink. Aurelia, with a in a remote and lonely Alpine valley; that mingling of the spiteful and the romantic, taunt- poor, homely La Trinité was to rival Meran ingly assured him that every good and true and Bellagio. She acknowledged her own châknight held himself in readiness to obey the teau, an inn too, a mill, a church, a certain commands of the sex, and that promptness was number of chalets; but her responses were quite half the service. Tempo-Rubato gave audi- unadorned by details. As regarded her own bility to a sardonic smile by means of a short, habitation, she would confess to a turret or two dry laugh, and laid a propelling hand on the (Aurelia had imagined a dozen); there was a shoulder of his hesitating friend. He himself window, yes, which might fitly be termed an was to be a victim, but there was some satis- oriel; as for a courtyard, there was a kind of faction in the thought that he was not to be the inclosure near the stables which might as well only one. He was to suffer, indeed, but with dry be called that as anything else; and as for a feet and an unimpaired self-respect.
driveway from the village up to her own grand The Chatelaine received the flower with a portal (Aurelia's expression), there was a road gracious serenity. She did not lay too much on which a coach would be practicable, perstress on Fin-de-Siècle's ruined shoes and mud- haps, though hardly necessary. With these died trousers (he had been obliged to sink on meager particulars the poetess was obliged to one knee to escape falling flat on his back), nor content herself. did her eye dwell too long on the broken pads The matter of the divinity's material envithat remained floating about as witnesses of the ronment remained, then, in abeyance, but of struggle. Aurelia fixed a studiously indifferent the new spirit informing her the delighted Augaze on a plebeian plant which occupied the relia soon received a token convincing enough. nearest ledge, determined to exclude the note. It was near that little open place by the steamworthy and the exceptional. The Duchess boat-landing on which opened the great gates turned toward her son as if to ask what angel — of their own hotel; a place where splendid boatwhat destroying angel — they were entertain- men lounge with the effect of leaning up against
side-scenes, where strapping young wo-
The Chatelaine had never crushed anybody before. She had never felt an impulse to do so, and she might not have been able to follow up such an impulse to a relentless consummation. But now, to Aurelia West, — though Aurelia, remember, could sometimes see more than there was to see, - no one could have seemed more suddenly, more inflexibly, determined to rend, to cast down, to trample upon, to annihilate — more unmistakably risen at last to an eminence which disclosed to her the full knowledge and significance of her place and her powers. But if the Chatelaine had taken an instant to reflect or to discriminate, she might have refrained from a full and ruthless exercise of those powers. The Duchess did, indeed, nod in a familiar fashion to Aurelia, but her manner toward Aurelia's companion was propitiatory, self-derogatory, almost appealing. Certainly, considering the company and the circumstances, this was no place for abject and groveling humility; she could hardly be expected openly to abase herself before Tempo-Rubato. But the Chatelaine was bursting with a capacious indignation — an indignation which even made Aurelia West seem less a victim to this woman than her fellow-conspirator,—and she was far beyond the consideration of finely shaded details. She was of good height,— taller than either her friend or her foe,—and a sense of rectitude turned every inch to its fullest account. There was a great capacity for indignation in her full bosom, and for inflexibility in her squared shoulders. Her well-set, uplifted head was easily equal to the expression of a high degree of pride, and its slow turning to one side raised the expression even a degree higher still; while the nervous concentration of the play of her long fingers on her elbow remained a study for the fascinated Aurelia for a week afterward. Her nose, aquiline and cartilaginous, - like those of a long line of ancestors, persons of probity and consideration, — seemed equal to the expression of any degree of scorn; and her eye, when unveiled, was the eye of the mountaineer, whose penetrating and hawk-like vision is never more steady and steely than when fixed on some small and remote object that is retiring to a remoteness greater still. And when she spoke,