Puslapio vaizdai
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Von Egmont's return for visiting her grave who sun's last beams fall round and yellow upon the lies below us there?

fir-stems. It seems to Jeanne in this palpitating "I chose because there was no joyfuller thing light, this tremulous stillness, as though Nature for me to do,” is Jeanne's answer. “No one herself held her breath. wants me in Schloss Egmont. I have no place “You heard all.” The master's voice comes in the merry-making. And my visit to Wendo- to her as from a sweet, partially familiar world of lin's Malva has done me good,” she adds, with dreams. “I half suspected as much when you an effort. “It has reminded me that sorrowful told me in the ballroom that you would not bear lives come to an end, ‘that even the weariest the weight of my perjuries on your soul. You river'--you taught me that line once, sir; you heard all, and I have nothing more to add, for were jealous, you said, that Heine had not writ- you know—that I love you! It was forced on ten it—that even the weariest river winds some- me,” he goes on, like one who would fain settle where safe to the sea.'

some moot point of conscience with himself, “to Her deep eyes fill, the wild-rose color dies take Miss Vivash into my confidence. She showed from out her delicate cheeks.

a good-natured interest in my prospects, and our “ Jeanne, my child,” says Wolfgang, stealing talk so shaped itself that I had no choice but to his arm around the girl's slight shoulder, am speak to her of my hopes—my hopes of winning not I your friend? Are you so changed by asso- Jeanne Dempster's heart. If you heard all, child, ciation with smart people, by stories of silks you must know that Miss Vivash's forecasts as and scandals, of court balls and Twickenham to my fate were unfavorable. Was she right" dinners, as to count my friendship for nothing?" (and the tremble of strong emotion is in Wolf

“Friendship," she repeats, with drooping lids, gang's voice), “or was I?' " with lips over-ready to surrender. “Ah, Herr But Jeanne answers not. In thought she Wolfgang, if I could think, could believe-" passes again through that hour's physical torture Then the scene of which she was an unwilling when she believed Wolfgang to be false. She witness at Badenweiler thrills through her brain; sees the error into which blinded jealousy beshe turns upon him with an abrupt flash of in- trayed her; realizes, with rapture so keen as to dignation. “But you have not the right to speak be wellnigh pain, that she has not, has never had, to me like this. No, sir, you have not the right! a rival in his affection. You can not, honestly, be Miss Vivash's suitor “If—if you care for me a very little, you have one day, and the next-"

found a strange way, during the past week, of “I have never been Miss Vivash's suitor,” in- showing your regard, Herr Wolfgang." terrupts Wolfgang firmly, “ and never shall be “ I might make a like remark, Miss Dempster. while she and I inhabit the same planet. Through Oh, the lonely walks with Sir Christopher (that blind accident, a mischievous caprice of Paul von first walk, on the night of his arrival, not forgotEgmont's sister, I have been thrown into Miss ten), the dances with Sir Christopher, the pretty Vivash's society. I have not once forgotten, I speeches from Sir Christopher, that I have been hope, the distance that lies between us. As to forced to endure !” being her suitor, Fräulein Jeanne, what could She turns aside; the consciousness of a heart have put a notion so extravagant into your stirred by new instincts painting her face. head?”

“May not Sir Christopher Marlowe have “ Your own language and hers,” answers taken pity on me because he saw that I was negJeanne Dempster, unhesitatingly. “There shall lected ?" be no more secrets, sir, between you and me. I · And is there not some English saying about will make full confession of the truth. The pity being near akin to love?” other night at Badenweiler, when you and Miss “As much love as Sir Christopher can give Vivash walked together under the veranda, I was belongs to Lady Pamela Lawless!” cries Jeanne, there, hidden-and I heard all! It was scarcely with a deeper blush. It will be long before the my fault at first. You—you came upon me so scene under the dripping Badenweiler lime-trees suddenly I had not time to think about being ceases to occasion her some retrospective twinges honorable, and afterward I felt too miserable, too of remorse.“Whatever my sins have been in covered with shame, to show myself. Yes, and the past, they are punished, and by you, sir. Is I heard all! Now, believe as badly of me as not my name effaced from the theatricals ? you choose.”

Have you not refused to play Leoni to my GiuHer head droops on her breast. She turns lia ?” as though to leave him; but with kindly force The master takes her in his arms. During a Wolfgang's arm holds her close.

few quick breaths he holds her close, as though Ousel and goldhammer by now have piped pausing, with epicurean hesitation, on the brink themselves to rest; the wind sinks lower as the of his own happiness. Then he kisses her.

[ocr errors]

“As we are making a clean confession,” he neck; her dark eyes look up, with infinite tensays presently, “I had better let mine be com- derness in their depths, to his. plete. I am inveterately suspicious by tempera- “For competence, for position, for all that ment, jealous as a Spaniard—as well prepare you Count Paul von Egmont has to offer, I care nobetimes for the future that is in store for you! thing. Miss Vivash may have them, freely. She I grudged that the eyes of a hundred strangers can not take from me the only riches, the only should see my little Jeanne, rouged, travestied, happiness I desire to possess.” making equivocal love-speeches before the foot- Her voice, her glance might set jealousy, even lights. To women of the world, great ladies, more inveterate than Wolfgang's, at rest. reigning beauties, such an exhibition,” says Wolfgang, “comes in the natural order of things. For you I would have none of it—that much I determined on the evening when a certain sim

CHAPTER XIX. ple heart first awoke to vanity, mein Fräulein, in

BEAUTY'S CROWNING TRIUMPH. the moment when I first saw a little figure I love, patched and powdered and painted, in Kit Eight o'clock has struck; the guests are Marlowe's arms. The rest of us will go through assembled; the curtain is in readiness to rise. our parts to admiration, untroubled, certainly, by But the places of honor, in the foremost row of any foolish diffidence, and you will put on your "stalls,” remain unoccupied. Their High Transmuslin frock and coral beads—yes, I will take no parencies, at the Residenz, have not even sent a refusal about those coral beads-sit, Griselda- gentleman-in-waiting to represent them. Paul fashion, in a corner, and listen to our plaudits." von Egmont himself arrives not.

“And not dance throughout the evening, of Miss Vivash, an ideally lovely (stage) Duchcourse, sir? Say. No,' even if Count Paul should ess, in paste brilliants, satins, rouge, is not at the invite me to be his partner?”

smallest pains to dissemble her ill humor from Even if Count Paul should invite you!” her fellow actors. Coquettes have existed, in repeats Wolfgang, with a smile, repressed, ere poets' brains, if nowhere else, who, on occasion, Jeanne has had time to suspect its import. “Ay, would pardon a man the injury they had wrought there will be the crucial temptation. How, if him. “Oft she rejects," wrote Pope of his BeCount Paul should offer himself--not as your linda, “but never once offends.” From the ashes partner in a waltz only? How if he should place of each of Ninon's discarded lovers, we read, Schloss Egmont and all belonging to it, Count arose, phænix-like, a friend! The type is obsoPaul included, at your feet ?"

lete. Modern beauty has her head too full of “Schloss Egmont and all belonging to it will practical business interests to give heed to the be offered to Miss Vivash,” says Jeanne, not finer niceties of generous sentiment. Pass bewithout a certain wistfulness. Count Paul, we yond the stage of concrete admiration, the stage know, is a passionate worshiper of beauty, and I of bracelets, bouquets, and opera-tickets; escape -although Mr. Wolfgang is good enough to care with only a surface-wound or two, as Sir Chrisfor me a little—I have red hair and freckles and topher and Wolfgang have both escaped from thin arms, and might sit as a model, so says Miss Vivian's hands, and she will feel such bitterness Vivash, in the Great Art School of Ugliness. Do toward you as only foiled vanity, frustrated greed you suppose Count Paul would even look at me of conquest, can, in a nature of a certain caliber, in her presence?"

engender. “Hard to prognosticate. Paul von Egmont, “If I could have foreseen that the thing was like all his race, is of an unreliable, many-sided to end in a contemptible fiasco, I would have temperament. Although his artistic sense may thrown up my part at the eleventh hour.” (Thus have been led captive by a full-cut mouth, a the Goddess, angrily pacing up and down the sweep of throat (and such charms will pose for boards of the extemporized green-room.) *Inyou in Rome, I am told, at five lire the hour), deed, I am by no means certain I shall not do who shall say that the fellow is not true at heart so now.” to his boyish ideal, that he may not wish to take “And our audience?" expostulates Wolfup his life and the best inspiration for art at the gang. “The hundred and fifty spectators who, point where he was faithless to both more than at this moment, await the rising of the curtain ?” a dozen years ago ? Little Jeanne," says Wolf- An audience of dowds and boors !" (The gang, earnestly, “would you have strength to body of the saal is filled with Grass, Gräfins, and withstand the temptation, did it arrive? On one barons—the whole collected High-well-borns of side, a position, name, competence; on the oth- the district. The workmen and smaller bourgeois

of St. Ulrich have, by Paul von Egmont's orders, But Jeanne's arms are round the master's been admitted to the music-gallery.) “Of course,


[ocr errors]


if one were in a first-rate troupe it would be dif- —the people at the Residenz must have heardferent. Even before a set of country bumpkins that I was to act. Don't you remember Mr. one might act, for the pleasure of acting. But Chodd's wrath about him at the Derby? Prince with such a cast as ours !-"

Ernest was on Lord William Frederick's drag, “Thanks for the implied compliment,” cries and poor Samuel would not allow me- Oh” Sir Christopher, from the corner where he and (breaking away from these reminiscences of the Lady Pamela are contentedly rehearsing, or fore- Chodd tragedy), “we must begin at once! now stalling, their coming love-scenes. “The cakes that his Highness is here, it would be in the are eaten, the ale is drunk, Miss Vivash. Still, I worst possible taste to wait. Paul von Egmont remember the day when you and I flattered our- desired, in his last telegram, that the curtain selves on being two of the best amateur actors in should rise punctually at eight, whether he arLondon--or Leamington, which was it?" rived in time or not.-Am I rouged enough, my

The Beauty's pale eyes flash. It was in Leam- dear Pamela ? Are you certain my left patch is ington that Kit Marlowe, not one brief twelve- in its proper place ? —Sir Christopher, you undermonth ago, received the blow that should have stand these things” (turning to her old lover been his death-wound. And Kit Marlowe is with restored affability)—“is not my left patch heart-whole already—nay, if a certain radiant the least fraction imaginable too low?" look on Lady Pamela's face speak true, is already She flies to one of the mirrors in the greenfar upon the road to another and a happier love. room, and holding a taper on high, surveys the

“A thousand pities the cast was changed," artificial snow and rose-bloom of her own face, she resumes. “Little Jeanne's classic pronuncia- eagerly. Sir Christopher Marlowe follows her. tion would have appealed, charmingly, in her final "For anything short of princes, I should say, speech to the gods, our critics.

let the patch stand," he remarks after grave deOh, bray don't do anything for mich! liberation. “For a scion, no matter how remote, Apove all, matam, don't get me a huspand."" of royal blood, I consider the patch one sixteenth

So Miss Vivash imitates, or believes she imi- part of an inch too low." tates, the slightly German accents of Jeanne "Honestly and truly ?" Dempster's voice. The color deepens on Wolf- “On my faith as an Englishman. You must gang's face; but self-control is the habit of his think poorly of my principles, Miss Vivash-you life, and he keeps his temper to admiration. must consider me culpably light-minded, if you

Brava, Miss Vivash, brava! If Paul von can suspect me even of a jest in such a matEgmont have inherited the family proclivities, he ter!” will be a lover of all things dramatic, a judge of Well-cut clothes; a military order; an inch histrionic talent. Be sure he will appreciate your and a half of brain; and eyelids—a somewhat powers of mimicry to the full !”

inadequate summing up, one would say, of any Even while Wolfgang speaks, the blast from human creature possessing the normal amount of a postilion's horn reëchoes through the avenue; bone, muscle, nerve, and phosphorus. Still, conthe clang of horses' hoofs, the rattling of wheels, sidering the very small rôle Prince Emest Walstir in the court below. A couple of minutes demar has to play in the drama of Beauty's life, later comes the sound of footsteps passing the we may, perhaps, allow Lady Pamela's rapid silgreen-room; there is a creaking of hinges as the houette to pass as a likeness ! doors of the audience-saal are thrown open, and Whatever intellectual qualifications accompathen—a hush! Paul von Egmont, if it be he, is ny his clothes and his order, Ernest Waldemar, welcomed to his father's house with more state at least, is a prince; and, inspired by the delightthan enthusiasm.

ful consciousness of quasi-royal presence, Vivian Lady Pamela and Vivian rush, with one ac- surpasses herself in the performance of her part. cord, from the green-room across the stage. Above all, although she has to play down to the

“A faded-looking lad with well-cut clothes, teaching-man from Freiburg, do the scenes of a military order on his breast, an inch and a half love and jealousy" elicit applause from his Highof brain, and eyelids.” So exclaims Lady Pame- ness's delicately gloved, pearl-gray hands. Tenla, peeping cautiously between the folds of the der, by natural default, Vivian Vivish can not be, curtain. “A couple of faded followers, all bows either before foot-lights or away from them. The and scrapes, and yellow gloves and polished mute, pathetic touches, the fine and subtile tints boots! Can this be the careless Bohemian, the of emotion by which a character like Olympia's prodigal son, the picturesque heir of all the Von can be lifted out of the realms of commonplace, Egmonts !"

are wanting. In effective poses of limb and head, “ It is the young Prince, Ernest Waldemar," in alluring glances, in the sweep of a train, in the cries Vivian, an inflection of newly-awakened furl of a fan, in all the graces of such heroines eagerness in her voice. “He must have heard as Offenbach's and Le Clerc's, the Hyde Park


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Goddess need only remain herself, to be perfec- And the solid walls and towers of Schloss Egtion !

mont are realities. And she, the fairest woman Prince Ernest Waldemar applauds song and the world has seen since the days of the Queen frequently; the gentlemen of the Court who ac- of Sheba, is six-and-twenty, and unwed ! company him applaud; the audience, from the “Et Monsieur Chodd ?" asks the Prince, conhighest Hochwohlgeboren in the front seats, to descending to press the hand that rests upon his the clock-makers and wood-merchants in the gal- arm; “le pauvre Monsieur Chodd ?" (or as his lery, applaud-human nature, in this matter of Highness pronounces the name, Jodd.) “Qu'est following the leader, being much the same in the il devenu ?" Black Forest as in nineteenth-century London. “Mr. Chodd left London an eternity ago," Scarcely in the palmiest days of her first season says Vivian—“Mr. Chodd is making a length(those brief, enchanted days when, under Lord ened tour in Lapland for his health.” Vauxhall's guidance, she learned hourly to shape “ He suffers, as you call it, vom heart comher lips to higher titles, when all the smart town blaint?" asks his Highness. ladies imitated the cut and color of her one pro- Beauty laughs, but uneasily. The mention vincial gown) did Vivian obtain a more genuine of her quondam suitor's name seems like an evil ovation than has befallen her now, a dethroned, omen at this new turning-point of her ever-shiftscepterless queen, and an exile.

ing career. And still her triumph is incomplete! Just as in London there was ever one drawing-room into It stands in the evening's programme that which the very highest bribery and corruption the fiddlers, honest members of the St. Ulrich could not gain her admittance, one painter who Philharmonic, shall begin their labors at ten. Alsought not to immortalize her in his pictures, one ready the band-master, hot and important, is editor whose columns were closed to the mention at his post in the music-gallery; already a preof her charms, so, to-night, one drop is wanting liminary scraping of strings is warning old genin the cup of her success. The craving heart of tlemen to look for whist-tables, and young ones Vivian Vivash is dissatisfied ; yes, even when, the to look for partners—when Hans, his cheeks redperformance over, she walks around the ballroom der than the facings of his livery, makes his way on Prince Ernest Waldemar's arm. One drop is toward the dais at the upper end of the dancingwanting in the cup-Paul von Egmont is not saal. He whispers a hurried message to Mamhere to swell the list of her worshipers ! selle Ange, at this moment doing the honors, in Is she sure of him?

all the glory of her ribbons and flounces, to the Poor Beauty has lost so many things within Prince. Ere another minute passes, the news the last few weeks, has felt so much ground that Paul von Egmont has arrived begins to circrumble away beneath her feet, that she is pre- culate with electric speed through the ballroom; pared for misadventure-prepared for every cruel and soon, from the avenue and gardens without, transformation in that ficklest of all human pos- rises a shout, loud, prolonged, sonorous—a true sessions, man's favor! Sir Christopher, the most Black Forest “ Hoch!" to the like of which the Quixotic once of lovers, consoled, and by her own gray old walls have not echoed since the day familiar friend — Sir Christopher, who but for when the Countess Dolores was first brought Will-o'-the-wisp visions of strawberry - leaves, home to the palatinate, a bride. would have given over his happiness, his honor, A thrill goes through every feminine breast in to her keeping! Mr. Chodd's half million lost the assemblage-from the most venerable of the for the sake of a Twickenham dinner and of Fräuleins von Katzenellenbogen, down to little Lord Vauxhall ! Even Wolfgang's valueless Jeanne in her confirmation frock and coral beads. heart in the possession of little red - haired Mamselle Ange, ludicrously irresolute, hovers Jeanne !

suspended, like Mohammed's coffin, between the How if Von Egmont's romantic worship dais and the door. Her heart yearns to welcome should end—in a sketch for the next Munich Ex- Paul, the boy whose smile she would recognize hibition, or a copy, say, of impassioned German among a thousand yet will etiquette not suffer verses !—end in the clouds, as, alas! so much her to turn her back upon a prince of the reignartistic admiration of the florid order has already ing family, so long as that prince shall think fit, done! Passing homages, ballroom compliments by word or look, to recognize the fact of her exfrom a prince of royal blood, are sweet. Who istence. knows the smarting sweetness thereof better than Just at this exciting juncture Sir Christopher Vivian Vivash ? But princes of royal blood, Marlowe, still wearing the silks and laces of Cehowever æsthetic in their taste, must look for sario, crosses the ballroom to Jeanne. He is fanwives among kings' daughters. Their prettiest ning himself daintily with his three-cornered velspeeches are such stuff as dreams are made of. vet hat, a rose is in the button-hole of his azure

VOL. VII.-33



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

satin coat, a diamond snuff-box in his left hand. seconds you would have the cruelty to throw me His powdered love-locks, his ruffles, rouge, and over ?” patches, become his accurately handsome face to “The returned prodigal will dance with eva nicety. It would be hard, save on the canvas ery noble lady present before he thinks of meof Boucher or of Watteau, to find a more artisti- if indeed he thinks of me at all,” says Jeanne cally perfect representation of the eighteenth- evasively. century marquis than that presented by Kit Mar- But her pulse, as she speaks, beats high; her lowe. (Possibly the historian of the future may eyes scan the crowds that line the entrance-hall pronounce the difference slight-one of degree, with keenest interest. Her heart's whole love rather than kind—between the Victorian dandy she has given to Wolfgang; she would quit and the frizé, painted petit-maitre of the Re- Schloss Egmont, would start with him, glad gency.) Jeanne bethinks her of Wolfgang's sharer of his poverty, to the ends of the world, Spartan indifference to fashion-books and tai- to-morrow! And still, to-night, she craves—paslors’ shops—not without a certain sense of pride sionately craves for a sight of Paul von Egmont. in the contrast.

The master himself might pardon the infidelity. “Will you give me the first waltz of the Through how many lonely bygone years has not evening,” he supplicates, with a bow that surely Paul von Egmont's boyish face been her comLord Vauxhall could not surpass, or has Don- panion, her ideal, I had almost said the god of ald been before me?"

her idolatry? The blush on Jeanne's cheek might rival an A movement begins to vibrate through the April sunrise over the Blauen.

crowd. The musicians play eight bars of the “If by · Donald' you mean Mr. Wolfgang, opening waltz, Prince Emest Waldemar, with you ought to know that he is engaged. On the the stoutest, most noble married lady present, evening you all arrived here, Miss Vivash prom- prepares to lead the ball. The gentlemen of the ised to give him the first dance after the theatri- Court choose their partners and follow. And cals."

then, as the non-dancers clear away, Jeanne dis“ And you think the promise will hold good, covers—not Paul von Egmont, but Wolfgang, now that Von Egmont has arrived ? Well, I, quietly standing beside Mamselle Ange, near the for one, have no false pride," cries Sir Chris- door, with Vivian on his arm. topher, drawing Jeanne's hand under his arm. The master is in evening dress; his head is “ Although merit can not always win the race, held high; some subtile transformation seems to perseverance may insure one's coming in a de- have come over his whole manner and person. cent second, may it not ?"

He exchanges a word, a salutation, with all who “I am not quite sure what you mean by pass him in the crowd. And Beauty smiles on 'second,' says Jeanne, with a glance in the di- him-not as once she smiled, but timidly, imrection of Lady Pamela.

ploringly! Beauty hangs, with eager show of Kit Marlowe's face becomes grave to edifica- interest, on his words. Beauty sighs, turns aside tion.

her face, calls into action her whole artillery of On se range," he observes in the melan- well-used charms for his benefit! choly tone of a man who has been married a Can a Bond Street coat, a cambric cravat, a dozen years. “Who shall say, in the present pair of lavender gloves have wrought this change, instance, through what agency? If it had not or is Miss Vivash tardily repentant ? Does she been for our dance in Badenweiler, my dear, for remember, with compunction, how she strove for our wetting in the thunderstorm, our philosophie Wolfgang's heart, but to break it? Does she à deux under the lime-trees—"

think of the letters she wrote her beloved prin“I should not have lost my voice and my cess, of the dust she wiped from the master's share in the theatricals,” cries Jeanne gayly. “I threadbare sleeve, of the bored hours spent in might have won as many laurels as the best of his society, while she longed, openly and without you. But it is too late now for regrets. No use, disguise, for Paul von Egmont's return? the Wald folks say, in mourning over a harvest Jeanne's beating heart is in a tumult. She that never was sown."

feels herself whirled round, amid an ocean of “ Especially when one's present prospects are laces and tulles and satins, in Sir Christopher's cloudy. Ah! little Jeanne ” (in a sentimental arms. Mingling with her partner's whispered whisper), “rivals gather round me fast. Against gallantries, she hears the rushing of flying footour particular Teuton I am forewarned, but not steps. She sees the lights, the flowers, the garagainst a legion of Teutons—not against royal landed walls, like one who dreams. Confused highnesses, barons, and counts! If the returned foreshadowings of some overwhelming surprise, prodigal—if Paul von Egmont should invite you, some revolution in her fate, are upon her-vivid, suddenly, for this waltz, I wonder in how many despite their incoherency. Her cheeks suffuse;


« AnkstesnisTęsti »