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only a dozen words,- she employed a primitive the lights of the polite world. She knew, of directness that startled and confounded. course, what was right in this connection, what
The Duchess drooped. The careless and might properly be expected, demanded. Her scornful little laugh that she attempted ended intimate acquaintance with light opera and suddenly in something like a mortified sob. lighter fiction made it impossible for anything Tempo-Rubato - to fall back upon a conve- to quench her ideal - an ideal involving a gay nient metaphor - placed an instant hand on and graceful comrningling of festoons and the hilt of his sword, while the other devil - arches, of bonfires and hurrahs, a complaisant not the laughing one — began to glitter in his and unanimous throng before the inn,- a eye. He had not, perhaps, the clearest idea in throng in gay bodices and sturdy leggings, the world in whose behalf the weapon was to with a ready tendency to drink healths with be wielded, but it was foreign to his nature to cheers and to flaunt gaily streaming ribbons play passively the part of spectator: choice of with an airy abandon; but she was willing to acsides was not so urgent as exercise of activ- cept whatever offered at present until enlightenity. But there are times when the most eager ment might dawn upon these well-disposed but warrior must chafe under inactivity, when uninformed mountaineers, and they could be even the brawniest arm is paralyzed by circum- shown what was to be done and given some stance. For though the Chatelaine turned on idea of how to do it. It pleased her well enough, him a lofty look which flashed him far beyond then, that a score of men, young and old, colthe pale of any possible alliance with her, it lected in the street, should have parted for the was a look the fierceness of which forbade at passage of their vehicle, and have ranged themthe same time his open championship of the selves almost involuntarily in two irregular lines, opposing side. However, she gave him scant and have uncovered with every evidence of reopportunity for either. She passed rapidly on, spect and good will. It gave her considerable and he was left, with a feeling of admiring satisfaction, too, when a group of half a dozen wonder, to reflect that it was this girl whom little girls came trudging up to the château he, only three months before, had presumed with a big nosegay of homely and belated to treat with something but little removed from flowers, and shuffled their feet with a helpless an amused and condescending indulgence.
awkwardness until the Chatelaine's gracious acceptance relieved them of their embarrass
ment and sent them away with a proud and LA TRINITÉ: MIRAGE.
smiling satisfaction. Nor did she find it amiss
when, the next morning, a wheezy old dame The road up the Val Trinité begins with the shuffled in with a basket of eggs and a pair of suave and persuasive promise of chestnut and stockings of her own knitting. There was matelaurel, and ends in actuality with a dozen riven rial in all this, and promise. pines at the jagged and splintered base of a great To the place itself she gave the same qualiglacier. The track runs between rugged slopes fied approval. If position was half the battle, as the bases of which are littered with moss- she had heard, the battle was half won, for the covered boulders and with scaly rocks over- château stood on a rugged eminence a hundred grown with thickets of rhododendrons, crosses feet above the village, and commanded a wide and recrosses a brawling torrent whose excesses sweep of snowy peaks that rose above serried become more unbounded with the advance of ranks of somber pines. But that its own actual every half-mile, and passes through a dozen features, external and internal, were equal to scattered hamlets the inhabitants of which crowning the campaign with victory was not so change almost imperceptibly from Italian to certain. Should she be able to produce any German, but whose names remain obstinately broad and taking effects in a place so small, so French. And it was over this road that a car- simple, so domestic, so generally practicable riage jolted one afternoon late in September, for the ordinary living of to-day? Could she carrying the Chatelaine, her guest, and her hope for stateliness in apartments so circumduenna, old Mamzelle Margot, who had con- scribed? Was there really any opportunity for ducted her charge from La Trinité to Neu- the grandiose with furnishings so meager, so chatel, and who had now come down from the familiar? Would it be possible to produce any mountains to lead her home again.
great impression with such a plain and homely The Chatelaine's home-coming was a very little band of servants? Well, she must do the simple and unadorned affair, but it involved no best she could. particular disappointment to her romancing She at once entered upon a deft and halffriend, who had fortunately prefigured that very disguised course of manipulation. She advised, little appreciation was to be expected from an suggested, importuned, experimented. She uninstructed peasantry when so little had been changed, shifted, added, took away, renovated, accorded, within her easy recollection, by even reconstructed, made new presentations and
combinations. The Chatelaine, who now for the first time realized what a poor, plain place the home of her fathers really was, interposed no objections; she was quite willing to give full play to a genius who was so much better able than she herself to turn what there was to account; though Aurelia, now spurred on by the full frenzy of the creative spirit, would have exacted full play in any event.
It pained her to find that there was no portrait-gallery. This was one of the things on which her fancy had most fondly insisted, and she determined to make the omission good. There were four or five fair portraits hanging in the most accessible rooms in the lower part of the house, and a determined tour of inspection through various obscure and disused apartments yielded them three or four more, gratifyingly varied as to epoch. She even dragged an unwilling maid up to the eaves and garrets, where, thick with the dust of generations, she brought to light a pair of canvases which she proved to her own satisfaction to date back to the fore part of the seventeenth century. She begged the Chatelaine to allow all these pictures to be brought together in one room, and they spent the greater part of a day together in giving sequence and coherency to this motley collection. History, legend, anecdote, chronological probability, resemblance in nose and chin, the idle gossip and the cloudy recollection of old servants, were all drawn on, and the proud Chatelaine went to bed that night with the family genealogy for seven or eight generations codified, solidified, actual to the eye of the flesh.
Aurelia next attempted an armory. The long record of gallantry and heroism that had culminated at the steamboat-landing at Bellagio deserved and demanded some visible, palpable token; she burned for a long avenue of fame hedged in with monumental stacks of greaves and corselets and pikes and lances crossed. Their search for portraits had developed several rusty old muskets and fowling-pieces, but a most rigid examination of the whole place from cellar to garret brought forth nothing in the way of armor beyond a battered old cuirass. Aurelia, thus balked in her pursuit
: of the stately, fell back on the picturesque. She arranged the fire arms, along with the portraits, in a dingy but spacious apartment, which still made a certain show in the way of wainscoting, and she associated with them the head of a chamois and also the head of a stag, which she induced one of the hostlers to renovate. In this room, which she called the Great Hall
, the cuirass was given a prominent place; she put this relic in facile association with one of the early portraits, and begged the Chatelaine to ascertain by book, document, or tradition at what great battle her heroic ancesto had worn it. They presently found a name and a date; within a hea
the new relative was firmly embedded in the of the traditional livery of the house, so that mind, the heart, and the memory of the last of when they drove down the valley to meet the the race; and before a fortnight had passed she Governor and his companion – Vittorio on had made a dozen facile but proud allusions to the box, Franz and André up behind, and all the great glory of her house. Nor did Aurelia three vivid in the facings that Aurelia's own pause here. She revised the personnel of the needle had stitched into place,- they offered place from Mamzelle Margot down. Mamzelle a spectacle to which the scattered hamlets of constituted something of a stumbling-block in the Val Trinité had had no parallel for sixty the pathway of progress, and Aurelia employed years-one that for the like of which only the considerable finesse in her attempt to raise this oldest of the elder generation of peasantry had sturdy and homely person to the grade of lady- any place in their memories. companion. She established a scheme of prece- The Governor had once before visited La dence among the maids; she ranked the stable- Trinité, some years back, and he was not slow men and gardeners; and she spent considerable in observing the changes that had come betime and thought in contriving a suitable en- tween. He had not been received, then, en velop for the Chatelaine herself. Using one of grand seigneur; no fag had been flung out the Milan gowns as a basis, she created a cos- from the topmost turret (another of Aurelia's tume which she succeeded in persuading this ideas) as they had passed upward from the vilguileless girl was in the height of the present lage; nor had the natural simplicity and bonmode, but which was indeed only a discreet homie of the place been obliged to force its little variation of her own on the fashion of expression through a cumbersome overlayer of the High German Renaissance — of the days stiff formalities. The primitiveness of that early of Maximilian, in fact. It was a garb marked day compared with the ornate complexity of by puffs at shoulder and elbow; it included a the present one as the naive piping of strolling girdle from which hung a bunch of jangling players compares with the strong, broad, deterkeys; and it was finished with a close-fitting mined chord that sometimes begins an overlittle cap of gold mesh worn well on the back ture. Aurelia West, he saw, had collected and of the head. It embodied the typical, the rep- organized the scattered potentialities of harresentative; it was a present token of power, mony, and was now leading them on with an importance, proprietorship; and when men and irresistible sweep, and with a keen eye that took maids alike gazed on this new apparition with in the whole semicircle from double-bass to ketan admiring deference and awe as it trailed in tledrum; while the Chatelaine lay back with slow state through hall and garden, Aurelia felt the pleased passivity of the lady-patroness in that she had not labored in vain.
her loge. The respite that followed these labors was But the Chatelaine's part presently became not so long as their arduousness required, for a more active one; she was led on to sing the word came shortly from the Governor, who leading rôle, and before an increased audi ce. had lingered behind at the lakes, that he would When Mamzelle Margot came in one morning come on within a day or two and would bring with the intelligence that two gentlemen were Zeitgeist with him. Aurelia immediately shifted stopping below at the inn, Aurelia, whose powthe barrel and resumed her work at the crank. ers of divination were quite equal to her powers Her opening measure related to the convey- of imagination, knew without the telling who ance of these visitors up the Val Trinité. They they were. And when Tempo-Rubato and Finshould be met, and met, too, with a more cred- de-Siècle presented themselves in the dress of itable equipage than the one which had been hunters, she did not need to be informed that found waiting for the Chatelaine and herself— they had worked their way along the mountains an equipage for whose rusty harness and livery- from the shooting-box above Bergamo, and that less coachman she had chidden Margot as se- their ultimate destination was Paris. The idea, verely as she dared. She argued insistently of course,was Tempo-Rubato's. Fin-de-Siècle, from the past glories of the house the presence since his discomfiture at Bellagio, had no desomewhere of some state-coach or other, nor sire to expose himself to any further risk, and did she rest until, in a remote annex to the sta- he was finding their rough scramble over the bles, she found a dusty and battered vehicle mountains a good deal of an ordeal, being whose faint traces of cracked carvings and less the hunter than the mere urban sportsdimmed gildings dated back to the old rococo man. But Tempo-Rubato had pushed all opdays. She herself undertook the rehabilitation position aside. He was determined upon once of the moth-eaten cushions; she insisted to more seeing the Lady of La Trinité; the only Mamzelle Margot, temporarily reduced to her person capable of interesting him was the one old position of housekeeper and general mana- who could jog his imagination. No woman ger, that the harness must be furbished up; and before had ever checked or cowed him; he she asked the Chatelaine what were the colors would view the leopardess in her own lair.
VOL. XLIV.- 122.
The Chatelaine received the newcomers in cade.” She probably had the word before she that great hall which Aurelia West had cre- had the fact. ated for her. Her air, to Tempo-Rubato, seemed There were excursions on foot. These led full of a chill stateliness, yet hardly designed them to other valleys by rough and stony footas the protest of injured dignity. The Chate- paths across rocky ridges, and over the vast laine's indignation, in fact, had been much less glaciers, too, that the mountain sent down into directed against Tempo-Rubato than against the Chatelaine's own valley. On several of the Pasdenom, and her forbidding aspect was these expeditions it was Aurelia's desire that now assumed principally as a help toward hold- her friend, most robust and tireless of walkers, ing her own. She knew that her home, despite should be transported in a chaise-à-porteurs, the embellishments of the revolutionary Aure- a novel experience for the Chatelaine, but one lia, was a poor place still, and far beneath any that, having tried, she was quite willing to possible comparison with the great houses that repeat. Aurelia herself, lest she impair the had entertained her, and she was relying less Chatelaine's distinction by a duplication of upon her material environment than upon her her conveyance, tramped along on foot as inner consciousness. The portraits, the tro- best she might. But she took good care that phies, and the hauteur of Aurelia gave her some Bertha had a cavalier on each side, that she support, it is true; but in the end she was her- should require a good deal of attention, and self, and that was enough.
that she received it—all this to the curious The stage being set, and the performers wonder of Zeitgeist. The Chatelaine fell into brought together, Aurelia now proceeded to this new pose quite easily; it did not seem very the play. It was impossible to make this as difficult for her to lean back among her cushimpressive, as ambitious, as she desired, but ions and to nod and beckon and command. here, again, she should do her best. No great Merit must make its demands; humility refête was possible—there was no one to sum- ceived no recompense; a firm and high aumon. The only persons of any consideration dacity not only obtained its dues, but in doing that the community yielded were the priest so set a higher standard for dues more exactand the schoolmaster, and the Chatelaine had ing still. So one of her attendants would be no neighbors. But a dinner could easily be despatched for milk to some chalet more or accomplished; the guests were already on less inaccessible, another would be hurried forhand. It must be small
, but it should be too ward a quarter of a mile to figure out the probstately, too elaborate, for any intrusion of the abilities of some obscure path, and a third would informal, the familiar. The most satisfactory be bound down to an exacting study of the thing that Aurelia had found about La Trinité relative positions of chair, sun, and parasol
. was its service of plate, and she arranged a Even Aurelia herself did not abstain from vamenu fit for the dishes. It was drawn up on rious little offices: the chief priestess, having the best Parisian models, and was partly car- niched the idol and drawn aside the curtain, was ried out by Aurelia's own efforts, for its suc- only too glad to rush out and lead the worship cession of courses, its divisions and subdivi- by her own prostrations. To the very last it sions, went far beyond any notions entertained never occurred to this zealot to ask herseli if in regard to dining by Mamzelle Margot. To- her fellow-worshipers were really devotees, or, gether they explored the cellar for wine in which being such, to what high pitch their adoration the Chatelaine's health might be drunk: a cere- might be pushed before zeal drooped to lassimony for which the Governor (prompted by tude. She did not clearly bear in mind that Aurelia) took the head of the table, and with Fin-de-Siècle was a skeptic rather than a dealacrity. This attention the Chatelaine re- votee, and that but little was needed to turn ceived with no false modesty, no self-depre- the skeptic into a scoffer; she did not perceive cating shrinkings, but with a high and serious that Zeitgeist was no worshiper, but a ceil, sense of acknowledging a just due.
aloof-standing scholar and critic; she did no: Excursions followed. These were for the feel that Tempo-Rubato, while a possible wordisplay of the new equipage, for which Aurelia shiper, yet preferred to select his saint for himdesigned a loftier career than that of mere self and to follow his own rubric. So she went omnibus. These drives, limited in number and on, stifling her little band with the fumes of in length by the weight of the vehicle and the incense, deafening it with the clangor of bells, roughness of the country, made it necessary and driving the half-hearted converts to apos. to furnish saddle-horses for those who could tasy by the maddening monotone of her ntual find no place in the coach. Two animals, of praise. therefore, were sent up from their farm-work Presently came the first signs of relapse: the two or three miles down the valley, and when young men began to question one another. Aurelia referred to the party and its progresses Where, asked Fin-de-Siècle, was that naivete she was accustomed to use the word "caval- so grateful to the jaded man of the world
(he meant himself), the only thing capable of trousers, and now they asked him to lay down soothing his wearied spirit? What, asked Zeit- his life. Tempo-Rubato gave a faint sigh of geist, had become of the sturdy helpfulness impatient protest; in this craze to exact tribute which had no need to make a man into a what malign promptings always suggested a lackey, and which no person of sense and capa- tribute that was floral? The Chatelaine rebility could undervalue ? Whither, asked Tem- peated her declaration, and announced that she po-Rubato, had vanished that simple innocence should wish them God-speed as they sallied which even the greatest reprobate among men forth in the morning. admired and respected beyond the vastest store At daylight there came the first, faint fall of of knowledge that woman could amass ? No snow. At ten her guests set out. answers came. Zeitgeist (the others too) in- Fin-de-Siècle's tribute was the first to reach veighed bitterly, as more than once before, La Trinité. It came from Paris. The petals against the tyranny of sex-an importation of his flower were of spun silver; its heart was now establishing itself in his own world. Fin- a pearl. The velvet case inclosing it was of the de-Siècle declared that he had canceled his color of the Chatelaine's new liveries. last chapters, and hardly knew whether he Zeitgeist's offering came next — from the should write others to take their place: what Vintschgau. He sent not a single spray, but a was more discouraging than to discover a sup- dozen, all carefully arranged, labeled, framed, posedly new and lovely type, to fix it, and then a tablet to his own energy and daring. The to find in an altered light or from a shifted point dozen flowers were from a dozen different places,
a of view but a reëxpression of the old and the – formidable peaks, dizzy passes, - but not familiar ? Things such as these, he moaned, one of them had been plucked within twenty drove the artist to despair. Tempo-Rubato miles of La Trinité. sighed sincerely over this great and growing Last of all came Tempo-Rubato's. He sent change, and when, on the occasion of their last a painting, the work of his own hand. In the reunion in the Chatelaine's drawing-room, he immediate foreground his edelweiss, the size of sang, in his own key,
life, blossomed on the corner of a rocky and
inaccessible ledge. The background presented Spirito gentil, nei sogni miei Brillasti un' di e ti perdei,
in a marvelously small space a wide desolation
of jagged peak and dazzling snow-field. In the it was almost in the accents of elegy.
middle distance a single figure — The TempoYes, the time for passing on had come, and Rubato of the Lucerne steamer appeared at Aurelia, within a quarter of an hour after the a sudden rocky angle, but whether in advance ceasing of Tempo-Rubato's song, made her or in retreat it was difficult to say. A wide, imfinal coup. She advanced to the oriel and drew passable chasm separated him from the flower, aside the curtain, and the same white moon- but across it he seemed to flash a mocking light that enveloped her flooded the town and smile of adieu. the valley and touched the great dome of the mountain with a cold and ethereal pallor. She Last summer a wayfarer descended from the extended her hand toward those white and glacial fields above La Trinité, and trudged climbing slopes, and declared that a sprig of downward through the valley. Some four or edelweiss brought thence by each of the three five miles below the château he passed a group would please the castle's lady. And the Chate- of clever-looking young men who were occulaine, robed superbly in the creamy splendors pied with a three-legged instrument constructed of Milan, swept promptly into the moonlight, of brass and mahogany, and who had left a trail and with stately acquiescence in her friend's of stakes behind them. Farther on he passed a suggestion announced that she would highly group of laborers busy on an embankment that prize such parting tokens of regard. There had come to dispute the passage with the brawlwas an instant of silence — silence stabbed by ing stream. A mile lower the gaunt form of a surprise. Zeitgeist heard this almost incredu- great iron truss spanned the river, and from lous and altogether indignant. He remembered beyond the jutting crag that closed the view that the Chatelaine had once plucked for her- came the muffled shriek of a steam-whistle. self a blossom from one of the lower of those He went no farther. slopes, nor had he forgotten the bruised knees In retracing his steps through La Trinité, he and lacerated wrists that had resulted from his paused at the inn, and, looking upat the château, endeavors to gratify Miss West's propensity for inquired after its mistress. She had left the inaccessible flora. Fin-de-Siècle started back valley. The Chatelaine -- her way prepared, almost appalled; they had made him ruin his her path made straight - w now in Paris.