Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“
[ocr errors]

not fitting, sir. The last train passed St. Ulrich been the protector of Schloss Egmont). The at eight. When you missed that train you must dog crouches and licks it. have known your only alternative was to walk. "And still, Jeanne, still, I mistrust the man," Jeanne, come in."

says Ange, when a few minutes later her lantern The girl obeys, lingeringly. At the same is feebly piercing the gloom of an upper stairmoment Wolfgang makes a strategic backward case; Wolfgang safely imprisoned, according to movement that enables him to plant one foot his own suggestion, in the oak study. “Turk's within the threshold of Schloss Egmont.

instinct ? Oh, half the robberies going are "I must throw myself on your compassion, brought about through the connivance of houseMamselle Ange,” he remarks boldly. · For to- dogs. Mr. Wolfgang is not what he seems! night, such fraction of night as remains between Even Frau Pastor Meyer—and she has traveled this and dawn, I ask your hospitality.”

about the world—I won't talk of her breeding, Mr. Wolfgang-sir ! the servants have gone but she is a pious woman, versed in the depravto rest—every habitable room in the Schloss is ity of our fallen nature-even the Frau Pastor full.” A look of absolute ludicrous terror is on noticed the fineness of his linen. What should Ange's face, the lamp in her hand trembles. “I a Latin master do with cambric fronts ? Why, have been here over thirty years," she goes on in his laundress's bill alone must eat up half his a hollow voice, “and I never was placed in such earnings. Take my word for it, child, when a false position yet. You can walk down to St. Count Paul returns, Mr. Wolfgang's day will be Ulrich, surely? Make your way to the Bahnhof, over. There will not be room for them both knock up the station people—"

under the roof of Schloss Egmont." “And be taken for an escaped socialist,” in- At which prophecy Jeanne Dempster holds terrupts the master, “ rewarded with a revolver- her peace. shot for my pains. In these days of fraternal equality one does not care to run risks toward the small hours of the morning."

CHAPTER XI. Ange's cheeks turn green. She is a woman deeply read in police history, and on the instant

A HEART. (so she afterward makes confession) the heroes of a dozen stories of midnight violence rise, red- “ HEROES,” says the proverb, “are not heroes handed, before her vision. What does she know to their valets." Goddesses, if one may generof this soi-disant master, or of his antecedents? alize from a solitary example, are in no wise Who should answer for his intentions? What goddesses to their female friends. were the occupants of the Schloss—a handful of In other classes, other manners. Had Vivian women, a servant-lad, a London dandy-if it been born, as Beauties used to be, in the purple came to a conflict with a band of annihilist des- of notoriety, she might have bowed more graceperadoes, armed to the teeth?

fully to her honors, have submitted with finer “My best Mamselle Ange,” says Wolfgang, self-respect to her dethronement. Beauty, at one in the tone of easy command that, despite his time, was a good deal a matter of family connecsordid surroundings, so well becomes him, “I tion. There were certain houses in which a comrespect your scruples. You are the guardian of plexion, a throat, a line of feature, were held to Schloss Egmont, and you shrink, naturally, from be hereditary. The future “toast” knew over affording shelter at midnight to questionable what kingdom she should hold sway before she characters."

left the nursery; was trained to rule, rather than “To questionable characters !" repeats Jeanne conquer, in the schoolroom-grew accustomed Dempster indignantly.

to bear a crown, even before her slender shoul“But it is possible for you to perform an act ders were adequate to the weight. of charity with circumspection. Put me in Paul's Vivian is a usurper.

Partly by accident, study. By locking a couple of inner doors you partly by sheer self-assertion, not a little—so frocan shut me completely off from the rest of the ward is the æsthetic taste of over-civilized manhouse. I shall depart through the window by through the fact that she is not beautiful, has she daybreak, and the only thing I could possibly won her perilous way to greatness whereunto she carry away with me would be young Von Eg- was not born; and her success, of its very nature, mont's portrait."

has hardened, vulgarized her. Ange has no choice but to consent. Wolf

She was elected a beauty—ah, that bitter past gang assists in barring the front door. As they tense !—by so powerful a clique, had backers in pass the bottom of the staircase he holds out his places so high, that mothers the most watchful, hand to Turk the mastiff (gray and toothless wives the most circumspect, were forced to innow, but who for more than a dozen years has scribe her on their visiting list. “An outsider, a

[ocr errors]

photograph celebrity—the talk of the clubs——the driving, to dine out seven consecutive days in Folly of the moment"—these, and other harder each week, and generally attend all the races, names, the members of her own sex who loved four-in-hand meetings, Twickenham dinners, and her not might bestow upon Lord Vauxhall's In- garden-parties going. vention. They could not, dared not, while her But, then, this was in London ! star was still in the ascendant, exclude her from There is something really pathetic in the pertheir houses.

sistency with which her thoughts center on the From their houses-no. But is there any London she has left, the London which, it would law, written or unwritten, forbidding a hostess to seem, continues to drive, dine, dance—to worship, chill as she courtesies, to stab as she smiles ? even, at the shrine of new goddesses, in her ab

Patricia may be forced to admit the Folly of sence! the moment to her ballroom, yet will make that “The whole Beauty question wants ventilatFolly feel, as only Patricias can, over what kind ing,” Lady Pamela will tell her consolingly. of volcano her satin-slippered plebeian feet trip “See how much more fairly things are managed so lightly.

on the turf! Every new Beauty ought to be What exquisite slights, what finished, well- heavily handicapped (a committee of dowagers bred insults must not poor Beauty have submitted might decide upon the penalties and allowances). to from women, even before the slackening hom- and a first favorite, when her day is over, be age of men warned her that the hour of her provided for by act of Parliament.” downfall drew near! How bitterly and oft must "A first favorite had better be pensioned off she have counted up the gains, the losses, that at the end of one season.” Thus Vivian, with a celebrity had cost her! What visions must have bitter laugh. Three months is long enough darkened her pillow of the future, hourly becom- for such a reign. I ought to have had smalling more certain, when the fiat of humiliation pox, or have died, or married, a twelvemonth should have gone forth, and another Lord Vaux- ago.” hall have invented another Vivian, or another “You would, in that case, have possessed exbatch of Vivians—is not imitation the Nemesis actly a twelvemonth's less bracelets, my dear,” of notoriety ?-for the admiration of the town! answers Lady Pamela calmly.

Miss Vivash's success, I repeat, of its very Bracelets! Listening to the two friends, as nature, has hardened, vulgarized her. It has done they discuss this ever-fresh theme, one would more. It has taken away every wholesome, sim- think that human life, with all its complex meaple taste of life from her feverish palate. Lady sure of joy and pain, could be computed by jewPamela Lawless, butterfly though she be, has a elry. thousand ways, more or less wise, of massacring Ovid, wise with the wisdom of his generation, time. Lady Pamela is a good walker, a not un- remarks that certain Roman ladies had birthdays intelligent observer of men and things, finds as often as it suited them. Martial, in an epigenuine pleasure in every kind of outdoor sport gram, reproaches Silva with celebrating eight of -even in the Kegelbahn! Lady Pamela, ere these festivities yearly. A modern London beauty, four-and-twenty hours go by, has settled down in the matter of presents, if in nothing else, throws with perfect resignation to her fortnight's dose the ladies of old Rome into the shade. Quite of Schloss Egmont—and the society of Sir Chris- coolly, Jeanne and Mamselle Ange listening, will topher Marlowe.

Vivian talk of the diamond ring sent her by Prince To poor Beauty all is barren from Dan to This, or the pearl and ruby bracelet presented to Beersheba; the world, in very truth, a doll stuffed her by the Duke of That. Her horse, her ridingwith straw, save where the complexion, the slaves, habit, the opera-tickets, the yachting tours of the parasols, the bonnets of Vivian Vivash are Lady Pamela and herself, have been obtained concerned.

free of cost. “Doubtful,” so the Beauty playShe detests all that the country yields with a fully declares, “ if we have paid our own grocers' detestation worthy of Miss Kilmansegg. Her bills." As for Mr. Chodd-his gifts, not reankles are too weak for these horrible hilly walks turned, it would seem, at the rupture of the enthat surround Schloss Egmont. The smell of gagement, must have been legion. Trinkets, the pine-forests is like a benzone-lamp, reminds silks, laces, all the costliest items in Vivian's posher of cleaned gloves, of village tea-parties. She session are spoken of as Samuel's choice, Samis convinced the sun, should she rashly venture uel's fairing, dear good Samuel's latest peacein it, would bring on an apoplexy. During the offering, u.s. W. If he was thus amenable to season she was strong enough to waltz for four reason as a suitor, what might not consistently or five hours every night of her life; to pass her have been hoped from Mr. Chodd as a husband! mornings on the historic walking gray, in the The loss of her quondam lover occasions Row; to spend her afternoons in shopping or Vivian more fond regret than a surface observer might give her credit for. On the third morning card men, or the reigning beauties are the most after the London visitors' arrival, Jeanne, stop- familiarly criticised. The Rose's parasol was ping before the open door of the improvised expressly manufactured for her use in Lyons" boudoir," discovers poor Beauty in tears; such its device, knots of her emblematic flower, with innocuous tears as may on occasion give safe re- the initials B. R. on a white-moiré ground. Her lief to temper, yet not endanger one's eyelashes bouquet was presented to her, with exquisite or mar one's complexion. It is an art, a science grace, on the course, by Lord Vauxhall. No less in itself, this knowing how and when to weep. a personage than his Serene Transparency,

Everything in the outdoor world is joyous to- Prince Ludwig of Szczakowa, was plateholder day. A brisk north wind, with a refreshing sense while the Beauty picked her chicken-bones and of coming autumn in its breath, stirs among the consumed her lobster-salad. forests; the sun shines with godlike fervor on “Although mobbed at every turn,” concludes the distant Blauen tops; he shines, with purple the paragraph, “the roughs crying · That's her ! sweetness, in the hearts of Mamselle Ange's that's her!' royalty eying her through operaroses. The burn trills out a never-ending song glasses, a jealous herd of mothers and daughters without words as it runs onward, onward, over criticising her every movement as she walked its bed of moss and stone, toward the Rhine. down the course upon her husband's arm, the

But all is tuneless, sunless, to Beauty. She Boston Rose wore her honors with the quiet unsits at her writing-table—in a morning-wrapper consciousness that already distinguishes her. all too ravishing to be described by this homely Enthusiastic artists 'and poets declare that such historian-a jeweled pen (whose gift? Jeanne a nose and lips have never before been seen out wonders) between her fingers, a monogrammed of marble. In sober prose we may state that no sheet of note-paper outspread before her. All is such living goddess, ‘ripe and real, worth all the tuneless, sunless, to Miss Vivash. The post has beauties of your stone ideal,' has graced Goodbrought her the weekly socials, once the har- wood during the past dozen years, at least." bingers, the bulwarks of her reputation, and Viv- “ It is written by their own sub-editor,” cries ian sees the world through smoke-colored spec- Vivian, throwing the paper from her with distacles.

gust. “ It is the work of Stokes! Could I misA new Beauty has been invented. Hence take his style? Did Stokes not give me scores these tears ! Metistophiles,” “ The Star and of such notices, did he not give me a leader eveGarter Gazette," and other such chameleon-like ry second week, until I refused to get him an injournals of society sing pæans in the new Beau- vitation to Strawberry House? No such godty's favor. What antidote can be offered by dess seen at Goodwood for a dozen years !' And July sunshine, by forest, stream, or garden, to only last July—twelve short months ago—" shaft so poisoned as this?

She turns abruptly to the glass; she analyzes " It is monstrous, the work of a cabal,” Miss the reflection it gives her back. Alas! and at Vivash exclaims, inviting Jeanne, by a glance, to this moment lines are on her forehead, hardness enter, and pushing aside her writing materials is round her lips. It takes no great stretch of with irritation. · And to think that I should prophetic vision to predict what Vivian Vivash have been betrayed by this turncoat, time-serving will be in half another decade. Metistophiles !”” taking up a paper from the “I am not growing old,” so she cries harshly, heap that lies beside her. “One, two, three- and more as though she apostrophized Fate than yes, I have had three copies sent me by different addressed her companion. “I have not changed dear, good-natured friends, afraid, each of them, —'tis impossible I should have changed, and me lest the vile scandal should not reach me fast not eight-and-twenty yet!”. enough. A new Beauty, indeed! As if Beau- Be not over-critical, reader! Can you expect ties, like mushrooms, could spring up in a the most beautiful woman the world has seen for night!"

four hundred years to be grammatical ? She turns the pages impatiently; then, in a “And this notice in ‘The Star and Garter'!" voice that quivers with genuine feeling, begins to taking up another paper, out of whose sheets read the vile scandal aloud. It is a panegyric, drops a lithographed sketch - a short-lipped, foreign to this story, upon some freshly imported high-nosed, drooping-shouldered gem of the dark-eyed American, “ The Boston Rose,” whose aristocracy. “To think that a miserable pennycharms and whose millinery have been the de- a-liner, a man whom we used to have to dinner light of Goodwood. Every detail respecting the out of pity, dares, because I am alone and unlady's dress, manner, speech, and luncheon is protected, to write of me like this ! given with delightful outspokenness; indeed, lit- «• The success of our deposed queen was, tle Jeanne, in her ignorance, can scarce decide from first to last, a success of esteem. Thanks whether the racehorses, the jockeys, the three- to a smile, a pair of shoulders, a friendly artist,

а

[ocr errors]

one.

[ocr errors]

and a momentary stagnation in the beauty mart, Till now I never knew how little I care for the she awoke one morning, like Lord Byron, to find dingy parks, the hot and glaring streets of Lonherself famous. That the descent of the stick don. The forests are pretty to a degree, exactly has been quick as the uprising of the rocket can the fashionable shade of deep bluish green that surprise no one. The whilom divinity of our is so becoming—you must remember the dress I smoking-rooms, the V. V. of our breast-pins and wore at Lady Flora Walgrave's breakfast? At pipe-bowls, had not, in plain English, and as the present I have not got beyond the dear romantic intelligent foreigner told us from the first, a fea- old garden. The fish-ponds, and juniper-hedges, ture in her face.'

and things do make one feel so à la Watteau ! “And I wish that I were dead-no, I wish It seems a sin to have no aspirant R. A., brush Lord Vauxhall were dead, here at my feet !” The in hand, to paint one. Yesterday I took afterlight that lies in Beauty's eyes is not a pleasant noon tea, merely from artistic sentiment, beside

“But for him and his Twickenham din- a broken dial on the western terrace, and conners—dinners given to ladies of position to-day, soled my solitude by thinking how often you and to Mademoiselle Sara, from the circus, to-mor- Count Paul must have played there when you row-I should not have angered the one man were children. I wore an enchanting tea gown who loved me."

of printed washing silk, on a cream ground over A look of real emotion sweeps across Vivian's blue, the silk made en sacque, with cascade of face. Wound the vanity of a woman of her mold, Auvergne lace, folds of Indian muslin (fitting the and, in nine cases out of ten, she will unaffectedly figure exquisitely), and a cap the same shade, of believe 'tis her heart that suffers.

Pompadour satin. It seems to me, though I have “... I should be rich, I should have the only seen your brother with the eyes of the spirit, world on my side still. During a season and a that I know him better than any of the throng I half, who dared leave me out of anything? I used to dance and ride with in London. How went to all the ambassadors' houses, I used to much more really flattering is his delicate homage sit next the prime minister at dinner. If mem- than all the noisy fulsome praises of the crowd ! bers of reigning families came to London on a But you must promise never to betray mevisit, I was asked to meet them. Myʻname ap- never to let him suspect that I wrote thus ! Alas! peared, as a matter of course, at the concerts I am too romantic, it is the fault of my character. and garden parties—and when the Court went If my heart had been worldly, I should be in a in mourning I wore black. If I had married- very different position at this moment, as you yes, if I had married even a shoddy Mecænas” know. -let us not ask how Beauty pronounces the “ Mamselle Ange, the housekeeper, a quite word !—“I should be in high places at this mo- too delicious old oddity, received a telegram from ment. The American creature is married. To Count Paul this morning, and we are to expect get on in such a horrid, intriguing world, a poor his coming next Saturday. Lady Pamela and helpless woman wants a protector. Thank Heaven, Sir Christopher wish to get up theatricals for the Jeanne," this with trenchant bitterness,“ that you evening of his arrival, and I have been persuaded are out of reach of temptation. Thank Heaven, into saying yes. Had my taste been consulted, on bended knee, for your homely looks. There I would far sooner have met for the first time in was a time,” moans Beauty, “when I thought I the delightful quietness of the country, the budwould rather die than be ugly-yes, and I have ding woods around, the primroses blossoming, said so openly, no matter what fine ladies with the song of the nightingale, or of whatever bird plain faces were listening. I had best change my it is that sings at this season of the year, overopinions now. To be dowdy and virtuous, to head! But poor dear Pamela is as frivolous as have this hideous Black Forest for a background, ever, and Sir Christopherto count the spoons, to chronicle the small beer “Ah, my friend, conscience, I confess, pricks of Schloss Egmont will be my fate, I doubt not, me sorely when I look at Sir Christopher Marand l-oh, I shall have to bear it, yet neither lowe, and think what manner of man he might commit murder nor suicide, if I can!"

have become had Fate been kinder to him. But And motioning to Jeanne to quit her, Miss 'tis folly to remember.' Sir Christopher has an Vivash, with a dreary yawn, returns to her lettere ancient name, an unincumbered estate, and I am writing. Without betrayal of confidence, may a lowly born country girl, raised by accident (as we not glance across her shoulder and read ? some one says, 'Can you help being perfectly

beautiful any more than being perfectly clever, “ SCHLOSS EGMONT IN BADEN. or a perfect fool ? ') out of the ranks. Yes, dearest "MY VERY DEAREST PRINCESS: All that Salome, though the great ones of the earth have you told me of your old home falls short of the taken me up, I never forget my station, or theirs. mark. Schloss Egmont is simply too charming. But I have A Heart! Any woman who marries

m

a

a

without love, according to my code, commits a "I send a thousand diplomatic good wishes crime. And so Sir Christopher knows that I am to ce cher Prince, and I am my Salome's deunchangeable, and tries to pretend, poor thing, votedly attached—VIVIAN.” that he is consoled. Sometimes the fear haunts me that he will turn desperate—at a certain mis

“Have you heard of this American parvenue, erable time, don't you remember hearing how whom the newspapers are absurdly trying to wildly he played at loo and baccarat ? - and write into celebrity? I saw her at the Opera marry Lady Pamela Lawless. Heaven forbid it! before I left town, a little lean doll, with wideAlthough I can give nothing warmer, the poor open, foolish eyes, the manners of a schoolgirl, little fellow has all my friendship, and I would and a husband who, they say, is a first-rate pisnot see a man I care for marry a milliner's block. tol-shot, and will not allow his wife's photograph A milliner's block, too, without beauty, though to be sold in the shops. My dear, she can come no one living underrates pink and white charms, to no good. These barbarous marital virtues and worships intellect more than me.

might do in California—do for one of the heroes As I have spoken of theatricals, you will ask in Bret Harte's novels. They will never pave about our dramatis persona. Oh, what a falling the way to success in nineteenth-century Lonoff is here—and when one remembers my success

don." with Lady Clearwell's Incomparables, every place gone three weeks beforehand, and stalls got for

CHAPTER XII. the Portuguese princes only through the very highest influence! But I have drunk the Cup of

FIRST REHEARSALS. Eclat to the dregs—my ambition now is a fireside, domestic joy, affection—and I rate such PAUL VON EGMONT's return is fixed for Sat. vanities at their true worth. Ma très chère, we urday. The actors have five days yet before have got, in addition to the three chief actors that them for the erection of their stage, for the oryou know, the housekeeper's adopted daughter, ganization of their footlights, for their scenery, little Jeanne. The child is plain to piquancy; properties, programmes, rehearsals, and quarrels. her lank locks, lean cheeks, and intense 'expres- Quarrets? Who that takes a part in amateur sion would fit her for a model in the art school theatricals but must echo the sentiments of of ugliness. We have also got-tell it not in quaint old proverb-writer Le Clerq? “ J'adore Gath, whisper it not in May Fair—a certain Herr les proverbes." So he makes one of his own Wolfgang, Jeanne's arithmetic master, to take stage personages declare. "C'est la plus belle the part of jeune premier. The poor man is invention. C'est la source de mille tracassaries. awkward and uncomfortable, as might be ex- Aussitôt qu'on les introduit dans une maison on pected from a person in his position; still, as he est assuré de jouir de toutes les divisions, de toutes can speak English decently, one was obliged to les zizanies, les médisances, les calomnies, qui enlist him or give up the idea of theatricals. You règnent ordinairement parmi les acteurs de procan imagine, with what you used to call my pa- fession." trician proclivities, that Herr Wolfgang's soci- “ Unless the cast is revised, I owe it to my ety must be rather a trial to me. However, I think own self-respect to withdraw from the piece,” nothing of myself. All I wish is to insure a bril- says Miss Vivash, with uplifted profile. “My liant home-coming to the brother of my friend. recollections of dearest Blanche Plantagenet, of

“I gather from Mamselle Ange's talk that Lord William Frederick de Vesey—such high Count Paul's tastes are admirably simple. In breeding, such talent—" his boyhood he met with some romantic adven- “Unless I may stick to Cesario, I act nothing," ture, it seems, that for years has made him shun cries Lady Pamela, stoutly determined. “I have the world. (Like the hero in that talented novel ordered my Hessians to be sent over from Lonwe read together, don't you remember, the free- don, and unless I can bring them in, like Mr. thinking Life Guardsman, with fifty thousand a Crummler's pump, I strike.” year, and blonde whiskers, who took to wander- “Ladies,” interposes Ange, in despair, “reing about Europe, the curse of Cain on his brow, member my larder ! self-respect, high breeding, and singing Anacreontic songs in the cafés !) Hessians! I have ordered twenty pair of chickOh, are not these tastes mine? A country life, ens from France, I have ordered pies from Strasa moderate fortune, enough and only enough of burg, and salmon from Geneva. And there is London to give zest to the remaining five months thunder in the air ! ” of the year! One's friends about one, a little “Pity the sorrows of a grand chamberlain," quiet yachting, perhaps, in autumn-ah, dearest chimes in Sir Christopher Marlowe tragically friend, will these placid delights of existence ever _" a grand chamberlain in a yellow-flowered be mine, or

waistcoat, an ill-fitting periwig, an ermine-lined

[ocr errors]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »