« AnkstesnisTęsti »
grams as mementos of the coronation-very pretty, with Russian pictures, and greetings in Slavonic characters. I saw Count Hans Wildezek with his roll under his arm to take back to Vienna.
Yesterday, Saturday, June 2 (May 21), was the great popular fête on the Hodinskoye Polye, an open space beyond the exhibition buildings (out in the country really), where big reviews take place, and which will be used for the review of all the troops in Moscow next Saturday. Yesterday it was covered by a still greater army of muzhiks, tightly packed together. Not an inch of the wide plain seemed to be unoccupied. As far as the eye could reach, to the very horizon, there was nothing but heads, heads, heads. I could n't have pictured so many people in the world as I saw before me. I thought it gave one an idea of the day of judgment. I suppose not. But as every face of that endless crowd turned to greet the Emperor as he came into his pavilion, it was a most impressive sight. One could n't help thinking what power there was in such a mass with anything to rouse it. But the people seemed wonderfully well disposed and quiet, as if they said to themselves, «Our little father, the Czar, is feasting us; we must be good children.» We neither saw nor heard of any disturbance; but one of the servants reports that five people were killed by the pressure of the crowd.
The numbers on the Hodinskoye Polye were reckoned at more than 500,000. Mr. T came up to me with an important face. «The five hundred thousandth basket has just been given out," he said. For each person received a little basket with a loaf of bread, a meat pie, a sweet pie, a bag of sweeties, and a brown mug with the arms of the imperial donor upon it. I envied them the mug, I must say, but there were none left over. Some of the muzhiks with mercenary souls would sell theirs, but ask four, five, and ten rubles; and some are noble and say, "I cannot sell it; it is the gift of the Czar.» Besides these baskets there were huge vats of drinkables on the ground, enormous things that giants could have quaffed from, and into which anybody might dip his mug; there were greased poles with prizes at the top-so fine as silver watches; there were big open theaters; and there was, besides these and many other things, a procession showing the return of spring and its gifts, when we saw the monster who had held the earth in thrall through the long winter led to execution, and the big knife that laid him low. All this the people
seemed to enjoy, but in their own quiet way. The cheering was faint, very faint; and the rows of old believers,» ticketed and numbered, who had the honor of standing next to the pavilion, scarcely opened their lips. Mama said since to one of the young American naval officers who are here: «How lacking in heartiness the Russian cheering is, is n't it? Just think of it compared with English or American!» «Why, madam,» he answered, «it's a moan.» And so it is. The popular fête would have been long if it had not been so interesting to watch the people. Five hundred thousand! I should have said millions.
To-day we have been talking it all over, and wondering if we have anything so interesting to see as the things we have seen. Some dashing Cossack manoeuvers this afternoon (Sunday), that I was sorry to miss.
Sunday, June 10 (May 29). MONDAY came the second court ball, that morning the fête of the Preobrajenski regiment; Tuesday, the diplomatic state dinner at the palace; Thursday, the consecration of St. Saviour's Church, built in commemoration of the deliverance of 1812-a magnificent service. The French embassies, actual and special, refused to go, which was a matter for them to decide. But we hear that the French consul's wife, not content with a silent disapproval, went to the church all in black, and was refused admittance, as was her husband. To Russians, who lay aside even deep mourning to come to their friends on a «name-day » in light colors, this was indeed an insult. Stupid woman! I believe more every day that the English are the only people who know how to be beaten. Friday, nothing; we went sight-seeing on our own account to the Kremlin, where our guide, Prince S told us that he had been in charge of 4000 servants. Saturday, review of 50,000 troops in a cloud of dust; and end of the coronation festivities.
PAPA and I have been to church; that is, to the German church, in which our service is held when its own is over at twelve o'clock. There were not many people,-fifty or sixty, perhaps,—and all as far apart as possible. An English church is in process of building in Moscow, and from the plans that we've seen, it will be big and rather handsome.
The coronation may be said to be quite, quite over.
The Emperor spent Friday night at the Petrovski Palace, to which he came on his arrival in Moscow; and here, after the re
view yesterday, he took leave of the foreign princes, and, I believe, of the special ambassadors, before starting in the evening for Petersburg and Peterhof. The interview was very cordial, no doubt; for they have all received something or other from his Majesty -a ribbon, a star, or a diamond snuff-box. I am so glad that English diplomatists are out of all this, and that broad red and blue ribbons don't fall over their shoulders just because they happen to be standing in the way.
Monday, June 11 (May 30). ASKED to a monster picnic to-morrow at Prince Youssoupoff's place, twenty-two versts from here. I wonder that there are enough people left for it: for the last few days Moscow has been emptying itself fast into foreign watering-places, or the «terres»
that everybody possesses in Russia; and with the Emperor and Empress's departure on Saturday night the coronation was over even for the jaded officials. Poor creatures! even its recollections seem to weigh upon them; but they always add apologetically, « C'était très beau.» Now for the country to recover; somebody said that would take twenty years. The coronation is generally reported to have cost it 40,000,000 rubles-exactly £4,000,000.
ST. PETERSBURG, June 16 (4). I HAD no idea that I should be so sorry to leave Moscow. The streets looked very dreary on Wednesday without their flags and banners. The coronation seems to have waked the place up to the life and movement of long ago, and now to have left it to sink again into oblivion. Mary Grace Thornton.
SIR GEORGE TRESSADY
•• Mrs Humphry Ward
Author of "Robert Elsmere" "The History of David Grieve"
[BEGUN IN THE NOVEMBER NUMBER.]
Na hot morning at the end of June, some four weeks after the Castle Luton visit, George Tressady walked from Brook street to Warwick Square, that he might obtain his mother's signature to a document connected with the Shapetsky negotiations, and go on from there to the House of Commons.
She was not in the drawing-room, and George amused himself during his minutes of waiting by inspecting the various new photographs of the Fullerton family that were generally to be found on her table. What a characteristic table it was, littered with notes and bills, with patterns from every London draper, with fashion-books and ladies' journals innumerable! And what a characteristic room, with its tortured decorations and crowded furniture, and the flattered portraits of Lady Tressady, in every caprice of costume, which covered the walls! George looked round it all with a habitual distaste, yet not without the secret admission that his own drawing-room was very like it.
His mother might, he feared, have a scene in preparation for him. For Letty, under cover of some lame excuse or other, had persisted in putting off the visit which Lady Tressady had intended to pay them at Ferth during the Whitsuntide recess, and since their return to town there had been no meeting whatever between the two ladies. George, indeed, had seen his mother two or three times; but even he had just let ten days pass without visiting her. He supposed he should find her in a mood of angry complaint; nor could he deny that there would be some grounds for it.
"Good morning, George,» said a sharp voice which startled him as he was replacing a photograph of the latest Fullerton baby. «I thought you had forgotten your way here by now.»>
«< Why, mother, I am very sorry,» he said, as he kissed her; «but I have really been terribly busy, what with two committees and this important debate.>>
«Oh, don't make excuses, pray. And of course-for Letty-you won't even attempt it. I would n't if I were you.>>
Lady Tressady settled herself in a chair with her back to the light, and straightened the ribbons on her dress with hasty fingers. Something in her voice struck George; he looked at her closely.
<< Is there anything wrong, mother? You don't look very well.»>
Lady Tressady got up hurriedly and began to move about the room, picking up a letter here, straightening a picture there. George felt a sudden prick of alarm. Were there some new revelations in store for him? But before he could speak she interrupted him.
«I should be very well if it were n't for this heat,» she said pettishly. «Do put that photograph down, George-you do fidget so! Have n't you got any news for me-anything to amuse me? Oh, those horrid papers! I see. Well, they'll wait a little. By the way, the Morning Post says that young scamp, Lord Ancoats, has gone abroad. I suppose that girl was bought off.»
She sat down again in a shady corner, fanning herself vigorously.
"I am afraid I can't tell you any secrets,» said George, smiling; «for I don't know any. Copyright, 1895, by Mrs. HUMPHRY WARD. All rights reserved.
But it looks as though Mrs. Allison and Maxwell between them had somehow found a way out.»
"How's the mother?»>
«You see, she has gone abroad, too-to Bad Wildheim. In fact, Lord Ancoats has taken her.»>
<<That's the place for heart, is n't it?» said his mother, abruptly. «There's a man there that cures everybody.>>
«I believe so,» said George. «May we come to business, mother? I have brought these papers for you to sign, and I must get to the House in good time.»>
Lady Tressady seemed to take no notice. She got up again restlessly, and walked to the window.
«How do you like my dress, George? Now don't imagine anything absurd! Justine made it, and it was quite cheap.»
George could not help smiling-all the more that he was conscious of relief. She would not be asking him to admire her dress if there were fresh debts to confess to him. "It makes you look wonderfully young,» he said, turning a critical eye, first upon the elegant gown of some soft, pinky stuff in which his mother had arrayed herself, then upon the subtly rouged and powdered face above it. «You are a marvelous person, mother. All the same, I think the heat must have been getting hold of you, for your eyes are tired. Don't racket too much.>>
He spoke with his usual careless kindness, laying a hand upon her arm.
Lady Tressady drew herself away, and turning her back upon him, looked out of the window.
«Have you seen any more of the Maxwells?» she said over her shoulders.
George gave a slight involuntary start. Then it occurred to him that his mother was making conversation in an odd way.
«Once or twice,» he said reluctantly, in reply. They were at the Ardaghs' the other night, of course.»
«Oh, you were there?» Lady Tressady's voice was sharp again. «Well, of course. Letty went as your wife, and you 're a member of Parliament. Lady Ardagh knows me quite well-but I don't count now; she used to be glad enough to ask me.»
«It was a great crush and very hot,» said George, not knowing what to say.
Lady Tressady frowned as she looked out of the window.
said George, smiling. «She seemed as convinced as ever.»
<«<Who sent Mrs. Allison to that place? Barham, I suppose. He always sends his patients there. They say he's in league with the hotel-keepers.>>
George stared. What was the matter with her? What made her throw out these jerky sentences with this short, hurried breath. Suddenly Lady Tressady turned. « George!»
«Yes, mother.>> He stepped nearer to her. She caught his sleeve.
«George,»—there was something like a sob in her voice,-«you were quite right. I am ill. There, don't talk about it. The doctors are all fools. And if you tell Letty anything about it, I'll never forgive you.»>
George put his arm round her, but was not, in truth, much disturbed. Lady Tressady's repertory, alas! had many rôles. He had known her play that of the invalid at least as effectively as any other.
«You are just overdone with London and the heat,» he said. «I saw it at once. You ought to go away.»
She looked up in his face.
«You don't believe it?» she said.
Then she seemed to stagger. He saw a terrible drawn look in her face, and, putting out all his strength, he held her and helped her to a sofa.
«Mother!» he exclaimed, kneeling beside her, «what is the matter? »
Voice and tone were those of another man, and Lady Tressady quailed under the change. She pointed to a small bag on a table near her. He opened it, and she took out a box from which she swallowed something. Gradually breath and color returned, and she began to move restlessly.
<<That was nothing,» she said, as though to herself-nothing-and it yielded at once. Well, George, I knew you thought me a humbug.»>
Her eyes glanced at him with a kind of miserable triumph. He looked down upon her, still kneeling, horror-struck against his will. After a life of acting, was this the truth-this terror which spoke in every movement, and in some strange way had seized upon and infected himself?
He urgently asked her to be frank with him; and with a sob she poured herself out. It was the tragic, familiar story that every household knows. Grave symptoms, suddenly
« Well! And Lady Maxwell-is she as ab- observed, the hurried visit to a specialist, his surd as ever? »
«That depends upon one's point of view,»
verdict and his warnings.
«Of course he said at first I ought to give
up everything and go abroad-to this very same place-Bad-what-do-you-call-it? But I told him straight out I could n't and would n't do anything of the sort. I am just eaten up with engagements. And as to staying at home and lying up, that 's nonsense-I should die of that in a fortnight. So I told him to give me something to take, and that was all I could do. And in the end he quite came round, they always do if you take your own line, and said I had much better do what suited me, and take care. Besides, what do any of them know? They all confess they're just fumbling about. Now surgery, of course -that's different. Battye» (Battye was Lady Tressady's ordinary medical adviser) "does n't believe all the other man said. I knew he would n't. And as for making an invalid of me, he sees, of course, that it would kill me at once. There, my dear George; don't make too much of it. I think I was a fool to tell you."
And Lady Tressady struggled to a sitting position, looking at her son with a certain hostility. The frown on her white face showed that she was already angry with him for his emotion-this rare emotion, that she had never yet been able to rouse in him.
He could only implore her to be guided by her doctor-to rest, to give up at least some of the mill-round of her London life, if she would not go abroad. Lady Tressady listened to him with increasing obstinacy and excitability.
"I tell you I know best!» she said passionately, at last. «Don't go on like this; it worries me. Now look here.» She turned upon him with emphasis. «Promise me not to tell Letty a word of this. Nobody shall knowshe least of all. I shall do just as usual. In fact, I expect a very gay season. Three (drums) this afternoon, and a dinner-party -it does n't look as though I were quite forgotten yet, though Letty does think me an old fogy.»
She smiled at him with a ghastly mixture of defiance and conceit. The old age in her pinched face, fighting with the rouged cheeks and the gaiety of her fanciful dress, was pitiful.
«Promise," she said. «Not a word-to
George promised, in much distress. While he was speaking she had a slight return of pain, and was obliged to submit to lie down again.
At least, he urged, «don't go out to-day. Give yourself a rest. Shall I go back and ask Letty to come round to tea?»
Lady Tressady made a face like a spoiled child.
"I don't think she 'll come,» she said. «Of course I know from the first she took an ungodly dislike to me. Though, if it had n't been for me-well, never mind. Yes, you can ask her, George-do. I'll wait and see if she comes. If she comes, perhaps I'll stay in. It would amuse me to hear what she has been doing. I'll behave quite nicely-there!»
And, taking up her fan, Lady Tressady lightly tapped her son's hand with it, in her most characteristic manner.
He rose, seeing from the clock that he should only just have time to drive quickly back to Letty if he was to be at the House in time for an appointment with a constituent which had been arranged for one o'clock.
<< I will send Justine to you as I go out,» he said, taking up his hat, «and I shall hear of you from Letty this evening.»
Lady Tressady said nothing. Her eyes, bright with some inner excitement, watched him as he looked for his stick. Suddenly she said, «George, kiss me!»
Her tone was unsteady. Deeply touched and bewildered, the young man approached her, and, kneeling down again beside her, took her in his arms. He felt a quick, sobbing breath pass through her; then she pushed him lightly away, and, putting up the slim, pinknailed hand of which she was so proud, she patted him on the cheek.
<< There-go along! I don't like that coat of yours, you know. I told you so the other day. If your figure were n't so good you 'd positively look badly dressed in it. You should try another man.>>
TRESSADY hailed a hansom outside, and drove back to Brook street. On the way his eyes saw little of the crowded streets. So far he had had no personal experience of death. His father had died suddenly while he was at Oxford, and he had lost no other near relative or friend. Strange! this grave, sudden sense that all was changed, that his careless, half-contemptuous affection for his mother could never again be what it had been-supposing, indeed, her story was all true. But in the case of a character like Lady Tressady's there are for long recurrent, involuntary skepticisms on the part of the bystander. It seems impossible, unfitting, to grant to such persons le beau rôle they claim. It outrages a certain ideal instinct, even, to be asked to believe that they, too, can yield, in their measure, precisely the same tragic stuff as the hero or the saint.