Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

ter-shocks for a little while ; but, unless all signs de- only thereby hasten its doom. Though in Rusceive, the great issue can not be long delayed. The sia concentrated action, for the sake of overcalmest observer is unable to deny the significance throwing a system of government, is surrounded of the electrical flashes occasionally shooting now with greater difficulties than in France, I fully across the atmosphere. It is as if words of doom expect that the day is not far distant when autocwere traced in lurid streaks, breaking here and there racy must either bend by making a concession through the darkened sky. We are strongly re

to the more intelligent popular will, or be utterly minded of the similar incidents which marked the

broken and uprooted. "Terror for Terror!" is summer of 1868 in Spain. Those incidents were

a war-cry of despair; but on such a principle a then scarcely understood abroad; yet they meant

nation's life can not continue. The moment may the subsequent great event of September. Even so there are now signs and portents in France-only come when the tyrant will be driven to bay in fraught with a meaning for Europe at large.

his own palace. And loud and hearty will be

the shout of freemen when that event occursThis was published in December, 1869. In of the men striving for liberty in the great pristhe following year, September, 1870, Bonapartist on-house of the Muscovite Empire itself, as well rule was a thing of the past.

as of all those abroad who have still some pity Czardom, on its part, may play out its last left in their hearts for the woes of a host of card by embarking upon a fresh war. It will down-trodden nations.

KARL BLIND, in the Contemporary Review.

A DIALOGUE ON HUMAN HAPPINESS.

[ocr errors]

IT
I was a morning of magical beauty toward a person than Mrs. Crane, the beauty. Last

the close of February. A breeze breathed June, at a fancy fair in London, Mrs. Crane had inland from the sparkling ripples of the Mediter- sold cigars at ten guineas apiece, and Mrs. Fitzranean as buoyant and fresh as they were; and patrick thought that, though not in her own set, Nice seemed to glance and float in the luminous she was all very well at Nice.” Mrs. Crane, haze that bathed it, like an unreal vision in the too, who by no means despised the appearance depths of an enchanted mirror. Its gay and of respectability, or the company, in public places, motley world, however, was as unenchanted as of unimpeachable people, would by no means let possible ; a long line of carriages, for Monte Mrs. Fitzpatrick pass; and a greeting took place Carlo, was extending, for its benefit, the entire of the most comfortable cordiality. What, howlength of the railway-station; and many were the ever, 'was the latter lady's surprise, on asking if startling toilets to be seen studding the platform, her companion was going to Monaco, to learn and many the complexions of what seemed a that, like herself, she was bound for the Villa preternatural fairness. Among this strange Godwin! “So come with me, my dear,” Mrs. crowd moved the popular Mrs. Fitzpatrick, still Crane added. “We have monopolized a saloonthe confidante of men, although past fifty, and carriage; and there are our party standing in still caressed by every woman whose affection is front of it, with your cousin, Phil Marsham, taking a comfort, or whose acquaintance is a distinction. charge of us.” Her day's prospect was something far less vulgar " Ah, there the boy is !" said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, than the gaming-tables—it was a breakfast with with a smile of meaning, and a familiar nod to Lady Di at the Villa Godwin, close to whose him. “And so, my dear, Phil is another of your lovely gardens is a small station, a mile or two friends, as well as poor Di !" on this side of Monaco. A few other guests Yes,” said Mrs. Crane gayly. “Mr. Phil from Nice were, she knew, going also; and she and I are sworn friends, of a good three weeks' was scanning the crowd, in hopes of detecting standing; and we have hardly a thought that we some of the favored ones. Her sensitive taste don't share by this time. But as for Di, as you was very quickly startled by a dress of purple call her, I never set eyes on her till yesterday, at velvet, embroidered with golden sunflowers; and Monte Carlo, when Mr. Phil and Lady Otho inshe was indulging gently in the reflection so troduced us; and, as we can never let a day pass common with all of us, “What people there are without a turn at the tables, we have been asked in the world !” when the lady of the sunflowers to take the Villa Godwin by the way. We go rapidly came up to her, and proved to be no less on, in the afternoon; dine at Monte Carlo; stay

a

for the concert; then row back in a boat by change came. He put his dreams away from moonlight with Countess Marie, whose singing him, and exchanged them for what he called is the divinest thing I ever heard in my life, and realities. He came out of his seclusion; he gave

I of whom your cousin could tell you a great deal up his Plato in favor of play; and just as his more than I can; and then we wind up our pro- first master had taught him to despise his riches, ceedings with the Nice fancy ball, which, unless so his second helped him to get rid of half of my foresight fails me, will be of the most curious them. Still his early tastes in a great measure description. But now,” Mrs. Crane went on, clung to him; and though he built the place we “ be a good woman, and tell me all about Lady are now going to on purpose that he might be Di; she has long been a name to me, but nothing near the gaming-tables, yet his library and his more than a name, and I hate going to people's statues will show you that he was a student and houses without knowing something about them a man of taste to the end. And there, for her -I mean about their relations; for else one never mother died early, he taught this child of his. knows where one is, and is sure to commit one's He taught her, or had her taught, Greek and self in one way or another.”

Latin, and some smattering of theology, for the "It seems to me," said Mrs. Fitzpatrick,“ that Godwins are stanch Papists; and he completed Phil Marsham knows too much about too many her education by dragging her with him into ladies. I can answer for it, at any rate, that he half of the fast society in Europe. She is the knows something about poor Di, so you had best strange child of a strange parent; and much of ask him. I must go and speak for a moment to her fate and character seems written in the name dear Lady Otho."

he gave her.” Mrs. Fitzpatrick was always close to the right “And who,” said Mrs. Crane, “may Diotima people. She could not help it. It was not that have been, if you please ?” her heart was bad, but that her instinctive tact “She was a mysterious woman of whom we was exquisite. And now, her hand in another read in Plato-to me the most fascinating of all moment—her gentle, truthful, caressing hand classical characters. Who she was is wrapped was, almost before she knew it, upon Lady Otho's in mystery; but I picture her to myself as a sort muff, and a low coo of confidences had begun of George Sand of antiquity. It was she who instantly.

taught Socrates of the nature of love, of which Once in the saloon-carriage, Mrs. Crane had she is supposed to have been a professor in more her way with Marsham. Who is she?" and ways than one.

Besides that, she is supposed "What is she?" she was saying. “You must to have been a priestess; and the gods loved her tell me all about her. And is she a great friend so well that, at her prayer, they would stay a of yours? I can tell you this much, at any rate: pestilence. Fancy her, half saint and half sinshe looks more like Venus than Diana."

-the wise woman at once of prayer and “Her name is not Diana," said Marsham, pleasure, whom the wisest of the ancients found “ but Diotima."

more wise than himself !” “ Dio—what?" said Mrs. Crane.

“As far as I can understand," said Mrs. “ Diotima,” repeated Marsham slowly. “She Crane, “you are not giving your friend a very is a strange person, with a strange name. You brilliant character." have of course heard of her father, old Lord “As far as what we mean by character goes,” Wastwater?"

said Marsham, "I believe her to be without re“Heard of him ! I knew him too, for my sins. proach; and that, considering the way she has I met him at Sandown the day before he died. been brought up, is wonderful. I would stake He made eyes at me for half an hour incessantly; my life on her honor. But think of the he thanked Heaven that, though he was past has lived, and the strange influences out of which seventy, he was still susceptible to the charms of her thoughts and her tastes have been woven. a pretty woman; and he promised to send me Think of the set of men and women from whom, next week a copy of verses made in my special to a certain extent at least, her tone must have honor."

been taken—the extravagant debtors, the gilded “ Ah!” said Marsham gently; " his career paupers, the reckless love-makers! Her faith was the saddest thing I ever knew in my life. and her conscience, it is true, have kept her He began in a very different way from the way taintless; but in her natural and unregenerate he ended in. He was full of ambition and high heart she is, I think, half pagan and half Boheaims once as a student and a poet. He trans- mian; and, though she does not hate good, yet lated Greek poetry, and he studied Greek philos- naturally she does not fear evil.” ophy; and with his clear, eager eyes, that I have Mrs. Crane, who was herself a gilded pauper, often heard about, he impressed every one as a was for this reason, and perhaps for certain othyouth of the greatest promise. But at thirty his ers, not much pleased by these remarks. “Of

*

[ocr errors]

ner

way she

[ocr errors]

66

course,” she said, “I can not tell who Lady Dio- Di climbs daily, and says her prayers in solitude, tima may have been; but she has certainly lost in a dim, musty twilight, among faint smells of her looks, even if she ever had any."

incense; and then meditates on the rusty crosses “Ah!" said Marsham, “very likely you think in the graveyard, and looks out over the endless

But Lady Di is essentially a man's beauty. levels of the sea. How can you,” she said to And even men don't think her a beauty at first. Marsham in a low, tender tone, “speak as you But she has the ambushed charm that does all did of the only woman who has ever really loved the more execution, because at first you do not you ?” perceive it; and still, though her cheeks are Marsham's only reply was a soft, genial laugh, faded, and her eyes have a few faint lines round which showed his cousin at once that her words them, it is 'terrible as an army with banners,' had no meaning for him. Men are very stulying in wait for you among autumnal brush- pid,” she said to herself, softly. " Poor Di! and wood.”

stupid—stupid Philip !” · Men like you, Mr. Marsham,” said Mrs. Meanwhile, under the shadow of mimosas, Crane, with a tone of pique in her voice, are palms, and cypresses, a long, winding carriagevery transparent creatures. You are devoted to drive had brought them to the villa, and there Lady Di, or at least you have been. Indeed, Lady Di received them in a large marble hall. Mrs. Fitzpatrick told me as much, when I was A man, who had been told that her face had a talking to her just now on the platform.” charm lurking in it, might have detected the

“My cousin,” said Marsham, laughing, “is a charm at once; and her general aspect, even if born match-maker; so you must not pay a mo- he had not been told, might have warned him ment's attention to what she says. No, my unconsciously to expect it. Her long, plain dress praise of Lady Di is quite disinterested. It is of tight-fitting gray velvet not only showed all true I have known her very well. But then is the curves of her perfect figure, but her own not that as much as to say that I am not in love knowledge of their perfection also; and there with her?"

was a sense about her as she moved and spoke Marsham said this with such frankly genuine —not indeed of coquetry, she was too serene carelessness that Mrs. Crane's good temper at and too confident for that—but of the subtile once returned to her. "Well, I admit,” she said abandon, perceived like a faint perfume, of a graciously, “ that Lady Di does dress to perfec- woman accustomed, if not to love, at any rate to tion. She has the prettiest boots I ever saw- -(I have love made to her. Nor did at breakfast must ask her where she gets them), and the pret- this impression wear off. Not a word did she tiest hands too; only she never takes her gloves utter about philosophy or Greek poetry; and her off. And, whether she can conquer or no, her only allusion to religion was to say that her Italdress could show any woman that she at least ian concierge hoped to cure his rheumatism by wishes to do so."

applying a painted woodcut of St. Joseph to it. The party were now alighting at the station; She talked much to Marsham, with animation, and, as they were walking down a short reach of but, as Mrs. Fitzpatrick observed, without a sign road to the villa-gates, Mrs. Fitzpatrick again of tenderness. She spoke with gayety and injoined Mrs. Crane and Marsham.

terest of the gossip of Nice and Monte Carlo; “I think, Philip,” she said with a sort of re- she touched on several doubtful histories with a proval in her voice, “I heard you tell Mrs. Crane mixture of familiarity and delicacy; and she won that Lady Di was in heart half a pagan. I must golden opinions of Mrs. Crane, first as to her set your companion right there. Di is as good a wisdom, by saying that marriage was a mistake, Christian as any of us. Her great charm to me and then as to her taste, by describing how she is that she is a Catholic without bigotry. She had once been to a fancy-ball as Rosalind. The believes, I've no doubt, firmly in her own faith. entertainment seemed altogether to be a comIn fact, there is much of it that is so beautiful plete success. Conversation was quick and sparthat a mind like hers must cling to it if possible. kling all round the table; and long before a But she knows that to be good and genuine is of break-up was needful regrets were to be heard more importance than creeds: she does not care that there need be any break-up at all. two straws for the Pope; and she likes a book “He was a wise man, Lady Di,” exclaimed all the better if it has not been written by a Lord Surbiton, a poet, a diplomate, and a dandy Papist. But,” she added, making the others of the last generation, laying a jeweled hand on pause and look behind them a moment, “ do you his heart, and repressing a hollow cough—“he see, high up the hill, among the gray olives, just was a wise man who said that the climax of over the zigzag mule-track, and beyond the civilization was the getting together a certain gleaming cottages, where a little chapel stands, number of knees under one piece of mahogamong its black cypresses? Well, there Lady any."

a

[ocr errors]

a

“Or two pairs of lips,” said Marsham, “on a of the world. Passion,” he coughed out slowly single ottoman."

amid a general silence, “is a great educator; but “Or fifty pairs of hands," said Mrs. Crane, its work only begins when it itself has left us. I “round a single trente-et-quarante table.” have observed, and I think with truth, in one of

“Any savage can love," said Lord Surbiton, my own romances, that a woman of the world “and any savage can gamble ; but it is only civ- should always have been, but should never be, in ilized man that can really talk. And, therefore, love. She should always have had a grief, but a charming and accomplished hostess, who alone she should never have a grievance. She should can make conversation possible, is, properly always be the mistress of a sorrow, but never its speaking, the high-priestess of civilization." servant. The happiness of society, as I have

“Now, come, Lord Surbiton,” said Lady Di, observed in another place, is based on the pains "and let us consider that for a moment. We of private or domestic experience. But our have all of us here to-day been, no doubt, most hours,” he added, “ of such perfect happiness charming. But has one of us uttered a serious are, alas ! as fleeting as they are exquisite ; and, thought, or said a single thing worth remember- as we are most of us on our way to Monte Carlo, ing? Our talk would seem very pointless, I'm your musical clock, Lady Di, warns us that we afraid, if it were written down."

must soon be moving.” Precisely, my dear lady,” said Lord Surbi- I said just now," said Lady Di, “that we ton, “and for this reason : In fine conversation had none of us uttered anything worth rememthe mere words are but a small part of it. The bering. You, Lord Surbiton, have at any rate magic of these depends on that viewless world freed us from that reproach." of association that is born and dies with each "If I have,” said Lord Surbiton, “I am sinspecial day and company. They are like a spell, cerely sorry. The best conversation is never an incantation; they evoke, they do not describe; worth remembering. It is a delicate rose that like other spells, they are effectual only in a will not survive for an instant the stalk it grows charmed circle; and, like other spells to out- on. It is a fine champagne, that sparkles and siders, they are apt to sound mere gibberish. rejoices us for the moment, but whose excellence And this is the reason why fine dialogue in books we are never so sure of as when we find it has can never be what is called natural; for art has left no trace of itself next morning." to concentrate into one mode of expression what “ And if true conversation,” said Marsham, in real life is conveyed to us by a thousand. as the company were rising, “is like good chamAnd, even then, how often the result is a failure ! pagne, true love is like bad. False and true taste What poet's art,” he went on, preparing a sigh, equally well at the moment, and we only detect that made his satin necktie creak—“what poet's the true when we find that it has made our heads art can supply the want of a woman's living ache afterward." eyes, or the personal memory of one's own rela- “Very well put,” said Lord Surbiton, with a tions with her?"

low chuckle, as Marsham was helping him into a Surely,” said Lady Di," if, as you say, any huge overcoat, lined with splendid sables. “You savage can make love, any savage can make eyes are coming with us, Mr. Marsham, are you not?' also. And you, Lord Surbiton, ought to be above Are you ?” murmured Lady Di, who was such savagery."

standing close beside him. “I had hoped you “You mistake me," said Lord Surbiton, who would have staid with me for an hour or two, for had meanwhile been fixing his own hollow eyes I want your help so very much in the library." upon Mrs. Crane. “I said that any savage could Marsham looked doubtful and disappointed; love; not that every savage could make love. but Lady Di was invincible in such small social The latter is a rare social accomplishment. The manoeuvres; and in a few words with Lady former is a universal private misfortune." Otho the whole thing had been settled.

“Yes," said Lady Otho, pensively, with a “And what,” said Mrs. Crane confidentially, charming expression of sadness, “I suppose love “will Countess Marie think of you, Mr. Philip, on the whole does cause more sorrow than hap- when she promised to sing your boat-song topiness. If girls never fell in love, they would night as we came home on the water?" never run away from their husbands, and then “Never fear about that,” said Marsham. half the misery one hears of every year would be “You are to pick me up here at the landingspared one."

stage at the bottom of the garden ; and, mean“And yet, my dear,” said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, while, give my friend my best remembrances, “ life would be a very shallow thing without its and tell her I've staid behind here to discuss sorrows."

theology.” “ All sorrow is experience,” said Lord Surbi- “I thought,” Mrs. Crane whispered, “it was ton, “and goes to make us into men and women flirtation you staid behind for, and not theology!"

a

66

[ocr errors]

a

"I never knew," he answered, “that the

We have traveled far two had much in common. However, I sup

In our winged car pose, on second thoughts, all false and useless

For thee, for thee! things have a certain family likeness."

"Well, upon my word,” said Mrs. Crane to 'For through our still, wave-dripping grottoes Mrs. Fitzpatrick, as they were strolling slowly to- rang ward the station, " though I have seen many male

A hideous, brazen clang, Airts in my day, I never saw so busy a one as Breaking our noonday dreamings in our peaceMr. Philip, your cousin."

ful sea. “ I'm sorry to hear it, my dear," said Mrs.

With unsandaled feet, Fitzpatrick, with real feeling.

Breathless and fleet, “See, Mr. Marsham," said Lady Di, as she

To our winged car we sprang, brought him into the long, quiet library, “I still

For thee, for thee!'* keep my old tastes, and I still spend half my

"Do you remember that ?" she said, with a morning here. You know this room, don't you?

quiet look at Marsham. “ Listen again, then. It was here I first had the pleasure of meeting You must surely be flattered at hearing your own you. That was six years ago; and I remember verses. You sent me this from Genoa. It is out to this day how I first saw you, as you came of the “ Agamemnon ”; and it is, strangely from your father's yacht, appear between those

enough, the last passage we ever read together : two tall cypresses. You were surprised, were you not, to find a student and a would-be poet

'Woe to the proud house! woe ess in what, at first sight, as you confessed after- To the proud house, and the mighty men thereward, you took for a young Parisian adventur- of! ess? However, I dress more quietly now. Is Desolate are the palaces; for lo, not that your opinion?” She had put on since From them the presence is gone forth of love. breakfast a gray velvet hat that matched her And he is left astonied at his lot, dress, and that made her look five years younger;

And silent-our lone lord; and she leaned back against a bookcase, conscious Dishonored, yet he speaks no swelling word, of an attraction which she felt she exercised.

Stricken, he revileth not. “Ah!” she went on in a few moments, “those Only it seems we have a ghost to king, were happy days. We were brother and sister Our king is changed in such wise-yea, so grown for a whole cloudless fortnight. You were the More sad than any living, fleshly thing : very thing that at that time I wanted—a com- For even like a ghost's to look upon panion of my own age and tastes. Do you

(So deeply, deeply, he see that book in white vellum ? That is the Sickeneth by reason of his desire extreme very Æschylus over which you smiled to find

For her beyond the sea) me poring And now,” she said, as she mo- His goings, to and fro, and gazings seem. tioned him to a chair, “sit down by my writing Nor can his home of marble any more table, and wait patiently while I read you some- Please him, nor all its wealth of wrought device thing."

That found such favor in his eyes of yore; “Good heavens !” cried Marsham, as he Nor precious toil of cunning statuaries watched her take from a drawer a locked manu

Seem any longer fair, script-book, “how well I recollect that dull-blue To those strange, changed, unhappy, hungry binding! You had some scraps of mine inside eyes, it once, I believe—bits of translation I did from Because of that one great love-famine there. the plays we read together."

Also through all the dismal wastes of night She held up her delicate hand to enjoin si

In feverish sleep he sees lence.“ Listen,” she said tenderly; "this is how Many dream-Helens-phantom semblances, the sea-nymphs sang to the bound Prometheus

Sad with a vain delightin his solitude, as they floated up to him, not

Yea, verily, vain, vain ! from a yacht on the blue sea's surface, but from Lo, the man thinketh she hath come again their coral caves far down under it :

In truth, and feels the healing of her face.

When, in a moment, lo, it hath taken flight, Sufferer, fear not ; love hath sent us: Far in the dark, down slumber's secret ways.'

.'"+ Yearning with compassion, we. We have stilled our father's tongue, fain to voice loved to linger on them. Marsham listened

She read the verses beautifully, and as if her prevent us, We have left our clear homes in the blue deep

# “ Prometheus Vinctus," 127–137.
| Æschylus, Agamemnon," 400-415.

sea.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »