POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE.
JULY, 1878. VOLUME XXII.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1878, by J.B. LIPPINCOTT & Co., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
HERE AND THERE IN OLD BRISTOL.
The streets of Bristol are, in a modern point of view, narrow and uninviting, yet if the visitor have a liking for the picturesque he will find much to interest him. There are plenty of streets crammed with old-time houses, thrusting out their upper stories beyond the lower, and with their many-gabled roofs seeming to heave and rock against the sky. If they lack anything in interest, it is that no local Scott has arisen to throw over them a glamour of romance which might make more tolerable the odors wherein they vie with the Canongate of sweet memory.
Nor is the throng which fills the Bristol streets wholly prosaic in its aspect, for the quaint garb of ancient charities holds its own against the modern tailor. Such troops of charity-children taking their solemn walks! Such long lines of boys in corduroy, such streams of girls in pug bonnets, stuff gowns and white aprons, as pour forth from the schools and almshouses to be found in every quarter of the city! The Colston boys are less frequently seen, because the school has been removed to one of the suburbs, yet now and then one of their odd figures meets the eye. They wear a muffin cap of blue cloth with a yellow band around it and a yellow ball on its apex; a blue cloth coat with a long plaited skirt; a leathern belt, corduroy knee-breeches and yellow worsted stockings. Just such, in outside garb, was Chatterton a century ago, and thus he is represented on his monument near Redcliff church.
You are perhaps gazing skyward at some lordly campanile when a sudden rush of feet and hum of voices comes around the corner, and the dark street is all aglow. These are the Red Maids, who walk the earth in scarlet gowns, set off by white aprons: they owe the bright hues of their existence to Alderman Whitson, who died in 1628, leaving funds to the mayor, burgesses and commonalty of the city of Bristol, "to the use and intent that they should therewith provide a fit and convenient dwelling-house for the abode of one grave, painful and modest woman of good life and conversation, and for forty poor women-children (whose parents, being freemen and burgesses of the said city, should be deceased or decayed); that they should therein admit the said woman and forty poor women-children, and cause them to be there kept and maintained, and also taught to read English and to sew and do some other laudable work toward their maintenance; ... and should cause every one of the said children to go and be apparelled in red cloth, and to give their attendance on the said woman, to attend and wait before the mayor and aldermen, their wives and others their associates, to hear sermons on the Sabbath and festival days, and other solemn meetings of the said mayor and aldermen and their wives," etc. etc. These maids are admitted between the ages of eight and ten, and at eighteen are placed at service.
Other aspects of Bristol are brought out in Pope's description of it in a letter to Mrs. Martha Blount. After describing his drive from Bath and his crossing the bridge into Bristol, he continues: "From thence you come to a key along the old wall, with houses on both sides, and in the middle of the street, as far as you can see, hundreds of ships, their masts as thick as they can stand by one another, which is the oddest and most surprising sight imaginable. This street is fuller of them than the Thames from London Bridge to Deptford, and at certain times only the water rises to carry them out; so that at other times a long street full of ships in the middle and houses on both sides looks like a dream." ... "The city of Bristol is very unpleasant, and no civilized company in it; only, the collector of the customs would have brought me acquainted with merchants of whom I hear no great character. The streets are as crowded as London, but the best image I can give you of it is, 'tis as if Wapping and Southwark were ten times as big, or all their people ran into London. Nothing is fine in it but the square, which is larger than Grosvenor Square, and well builded, with a very fine brass statue in the middle of King William on horseback; and the key, which is full of ships, and goes round half the square. The College Green is pretty and (like the square) set with trees. There is a cathedral, very neat, and nineteen parish churches."
It is quite as curious to note what Pope omits as what he mentions. He is much taken with a commonplace square, and with the mingling of ships and houses (which is truly effective), but the modern traveller would find the chief beauty of the city in its Gothic architecture, to which Pope gives one line—"a cathedral, very neat, and nineteen parish churches." Let the visitor ascend any one of the hills which overhang Bristol, and a beautiful scene at once bursts upon his view: this is due to the pre-eminent beauty of the church-towers, the great stone lilies of the fifteenth century soaring above the dingy town; each,
For holy service built, with high disdain Surveys this lower stage of earthly gain;
and a hard struggle they have to hold their own against the menacing chimney-stacks of manufacturing England. All the poetry and aspiration of the past seems contending, shoulder to shoulder, in thick air with the material interests of the present.
Strolling about through the grimy streets, one's eye is caught by the sign "Quakers' Friars," and following up the narrow court to seek the meaning of this odd combination of opposing ideas, one comes to the Friends' school, occupying the remnant of a former priory of Black Friars. It is a spot intimately associated with recollections of the early Friends. In 1690 the father of Judge Logan of Pennsylvania was master of this school. Adjoining the school is the Friends' meeting-house, built in 1669 on what was then an open space near the priory, where George Fox often preached; and within the walls of the meeting-house this Quaker father took upon himself the state of matrimony. A local bard is inspired to sing:
Many years ago, six hundred or so, The Dominican monks had a praying and eating house Just on the spot where a little square dot On the Bristol map marks the old Quakers' meeting-house.
A different scene it was once, I ween: No monk is now heard his prayers repeating; And the singers and chaunters and black gallivanters Had never a thought of "a silent meeting."
The streets near by, called Callowhill, Philadelphia and Penn streets, recall the residence here of William Penn in 1697, after his marriage with Hannah, daughter of Thomas Callowhill and granddaughter of Dennis Hollister, prominent merchants of Bristol. These streets are believed to have been laid out and named by Penn on land belonging to Hollister. Another Friend was Richard Champion, the inventor of Bristol china and the friend of Burke. Champion's manufactory was not commercially a success, but his ware is now highly prized, and some few remaining pieces of a tea-service, presented by Mr. and Mrs. Champion to Mrs. Burke at the time the latter's husband was returned member for Bristol, have brought thrice their weight in gold.
In Castle street, not far from Quakers' Friars, stands a profusely ornamented mansion, now St. Peter's Hospital. The eastern portion is of considerable antiquity: the western was rebuilt in 1608. In the fifteenth century the older portion was the residence of Thomas Norton, a famous alchemist, who, according to Fuller, "undid himself and all his friends who trusted him with money, living and dying very poor about the year 1477." Norton's ill-success was, however, in his own belief, the success of others. He declared that a merchant's wife of Bristol had stolen from him the elixir of life. "Some suspect her" (says Fuller) "to have been the wife of William Cannings, contemporary with Norton, who started up to so great and sudden wealth—the clearest evidence of their conjecture." The person here intended is no other than the great Bristol merchant William Canynge the younger, who was five times mayor and one of the rebuilders of Redcliff church. His ships, which crowded the quays of Bristol, were a more evident source of wealth than any cunningly devised elixir except in the eyes of a disappointed dreamer. The reflection that in this quaint old house was enacted a history like to that of Balthazar Claes lends to it a strange fascination.
The church of St. Mary Redcliff is, as ever, intimately associated with the name and genius of Chatterton: no saint in the calendar could have shed over it such an interest; and beautiful as it is, "the pride of Bristowe and the Westerne Land," how many visit it for its beauty alone? This is rather hard for the clericals: they are unwilling to forget that Chatterton was an impostor and a suicide; and to have their church surrounded by a halo from such a source! bah! They have done what they could by removing his monument from consecrated ground and depriving it of its inscription.
In an old chest left to moulder in a room over the north porch of this church Chatterton professed to find the Rowley manuscripts. In this room, "here, in the full but fragile enjoyment of his brief and illusory existence, he stored the treasure-house of his memory with the thoughts that, teeming over his pages, have enrolled his name among the great in the land of poetry and song. Happy here, ere his first joyous aspirations were repressed—ere the warm and genial emotions of his heart were checked—before time had dissipated his idle dreams, and neglect, contempt and distress had fastened on his mind, and hurried him onward to his untoward destiny."
This church is one of the finest examples of the Perpendicular Gothic: it has been carefully restored, the work extending over thirty years. The most interesting monuments are those of William Canynge the younger, the great Bristol merchant, who lies buried here with his wife, his almoner, his brewer, his cook and other servants—a goodly family party: the cook is indicated by a knife and skimmer rudely cut upon a flat stone. There are two effigies of Canynge—one in his robes as mayor, the other in priest's robes; for in his latter years, after the death of his wife, he took orders, and died in 1474 dean of Westbury.
The memorial of Admiral Sir William Penn, father of the founder of Pennsylvania, is a conspicuous object in the nave—a mural tablet decorated with his helmet, cuirass, gauntlets, sword, and tattered banners taken from the Dutch. Near it—a singular object in a church—is the rib of a whale which is believed to date from the year 1497, there being an entry in the town records of that year: "Pd. for settynge upp ye bone of ye bigge fyshe," etc.; and as Sebastian Cabot had then just discovered Newfoundland, it may have been one of the trophies of his voyage. But it long had a very different history: its origin being forgotten, there grew up a legend that it was the rib of a dun cow of gigantic build who gave milk to the whole parish of Redcliff, and whose slaughter, by Guy, earl of Warwick, threw all the milkmaids out of employment. It was in Redcliff church that both Southey and Coleridge were married.
The cathedral, "very neat," as Pope expresses it, would be a great treasure in New York, but in England, where Gothic structures so abound, it is far surpassed by several in its vicinity. It has suffered much from iconoclasts, both those who destroy and those who restore. The completion of the nave is now being rapidly pushed forward, and will be followed by that of the towers—good evidence that the Gothic revival in England has not yet spent its force. In its present condition the general effect of the building is disappointing, although there are many admirable details. The chapter-house and the archway below the church are fine relics of its Norman period. In the choir is the tomb of Bishop Butler, author of the Analogy, for twelve years bishop of this diocese. There is also a tablet to his memory, erected in 1834, with an inscription by Southey. Among the monuments one finds two names which shine, it may be said, by reflected light—that of Mrs. Draper, Sterne's "Eliza," and Lady Hesketh, Cowper's devoted friend and cousin. A bust of Southey finds a place here as a tribute of respect in his native town; and the name of Sydney Smith comes to mind, who was a prebendary of this cathedral.
The city of Bristol, although essentially a manufacturing and commercial centre, is not deficient in names which have enjoyed a widespread literary reputation. All through the first half of the present century Bristol was associated with the colossal fame of Hannah More, but the idol is long since forgotten, and now, a little more than forty years after her death, many might ask, Who was Hannah More? She was the daughter of the schoolmaster at Stapleton, near Bristol, and was born on the 2d of February, 1745. She was one of five daughters, who by the education received from their father were enabled to set up in Bristol a boarding-school for young ladies which had the luck to become fashionable. Hannah's literary reputation began at the age of seventeen with a pastoral drama, the Search after Happiness, written for, and performed by, the young ladies of the boarding-school. On this slender basis she visited London, was so fortunate as to attract the attention of Garrick, and was by him introduced into his brilliant circle. She must have been at that time both witty and pretty, for Mrs. Montagu and the Reynoldses were delighted with her, Dr. Johnson gave her pet names, and Horace Walpole called her Saint Hannah. Her next great success was her tragedy of Percy, in which Garrick sustained the principal character, and in which Mrs. Siddons afterward appeared. Later on, Mrs. More published some Sacred Dramas, but after the death of Garrick she abandoned dramatic writing, her views leading her to take up what was called, in her day, "strict behavior," of which she now became the apostle. On her literary profits she retired to Cowslip Green, near Bristol, and later on to Barley Wood, where she was joined by her sisters, who were enabled to retire on the handsome profits of their school. But neither "strict behavior" nor anything else could weaken Hannah's hold on her day and generation: her Estimate of the Religion of the Fashionable World went off like hot cakes, and her Thoughts on the Manners of the Great were scrambled for by both great and small—seven large editions in a few months, the second in a week, the third in four hours! How many people now-a-days have read Coelebs, of which twelve editions were printed in the first year, and in all thirty thousand copies of disposed of in America alone? Corinne appeared when Lucilla, the heroine of Coelebs, was at the height of her popularity, and much animated comparison was instituted between Corinne and the rival she has long survived.
The first opposition which Hannah More encountered arose from her efforts to improve the condition of the poor in her neighborhood by education and the formation of benefit societies. The impulse to this movement came from Mr. Wilberforce, who, being on a visit at Barley Wood, was taken on an excursion to Cheddar Cliffs, then, as now, one of the "sights" of the vicinity. Mr. Wilberforce, while admiring the scenery, chanced to fall into conversation with one of the inhabitants, and learned, to his dismay, that the whole beautiful region was sunk in ignorance and vice. This discovery was discussed in full conclave on their return to Barley Wood, and Mrs. More undertook to have a school opened in Cheddar. The school proved a success, and by the aid of the subscriptions which her name brought from far and near she eventually extended the system over nine of the neighboring parishes, sunk in the barbarism of English village-life of that day, of which Cowper's village of Olney was an example. But this work did not go on as smoothly as the sale of Coelebs: it at once aroused opposition from the large class who do not like to see old ruts abandoned, and was branded as Methodism—an epithet that was then freely used as an extinguisher for anything novel, and was a "bugaboo" of whose terrors we can have in this day little conception. Hannah was accused of endeavoring to spread toleration, and a favorite charge against her was that she had partaken of "bread and wine in a meeting-house." In vain her sister Martha explained that she sinned in good company, for many "High-Church people did the same, and one gentleman and lady with ten thousand pounds a year, who have always the Church prayers performed morning and evening in their family." Although the bishop excused her, it was determined that Hannah was to be crushed by a review; but all was of no more avail than in the case of Miss Martineau, which has been recently recalled by her autobiography. Hannah survived it all, and stuck through thick and thin to her triumphant schools and her "strict behavior." A less harmful shaft was hurled by a Bristol wit on an occasion when her clothes took fire and she was saved by the stout quality of her gown:
Vulcan to scorch thy gown in vain essays: Apollo strives in vain to fire thy lays. Hannah! the cause is visible enough: Stuff is thy raiment, and thy writings—stuff.
A curious incident in Hannah More's life was her encounter with Ann Yearsley, the Bristol Milkwoman, of whom some account is given in Southey's Essay upon the Uneducated Poets. A gossiping writer briefly states the case as follows: "This poor woman, as is well known, sold milk, and, from going to water it each morning at the Pierian font, caught at length the poetic fervor. Mrs. Hannah More, whom she served with cream, was struck by the superior merit of her verses, and became her patroness. Mrs. More's name was enough to sell worse poetry, or even worse milk, than Ann Yearsley's. Milton had no such friend, and could not get twenty pounds for Paradise; but Ann Yearsley's book brought her some three hundred guineas. Hannah More, as she was the artificer, wanted also to become the manager, of the milkwoman's little fortune; but the milkwoman thought she was competent to take care of it herself, and wanted to bind her boys out to trades. The lady-patroness was offended at the independence of the protegee, who had been taken from under the milk-pails; Ann Yearsley dared to differ from her benefactor, and was denounced as an ungrateful woman; all Mrs. More's idolaters declared against her, and the whole religious world opened on her in full cry." Lactilla (for so the Mores and Montagus called her) loudly remonstrated: she accused Hannah of being envious of her talents, and announced a new edition of her poems freed from Mrs. More's corruptions. She carried her point, but, deprived of Mrs. More's favor, she quickly sank back into misfortune and obscurity.
The parents of Lord Macaulay were intimate friends of Mrs. More, and in her later years Hannah watched with tender interest the brilliant promise of that extraordinary youth. Young Macaulay was a not infrequent visitor at Barley Wood, and Mrs. More at one time devised her library to him, but afterward withdrew the bequest, owing to her doubts of the "strictness" of Macaulay's views. Poor Macaulay! He failed to win the esteem of two great female writers: the one feared he had no "religion;" the other declared he had no "heart."
As the Misses More began to get on in the seventies, one after the other died, and Barley Wood (or Mauritania, as wags called it) grew desolate. Then occurred the last great event of Hannah's life—her flight from Barley Wood. It suddenly transpired that for three years her eight servants had been in full enjoyment of high life below stairs It was discovered that they had given large orders to tradesmen in her name; they had intercepted sums of money intended for charity, and when the whole household was supposed to be at rest they were supping on presents of game sent to Mrs. More; they had secretly harbored in the house one of their relatives who had lost her place for disreputable conduct: in short, Mrs. Jellaby's household would have been a paradise in comparison with this one. What did Hannah do? She left for ever the home of her life: she ran away! A house was secretly taken at Clifton, and after she had fled the servants received a quarter's wages in advance with immediate dismissal. It must be said for Mrs. More that during her sisters' lifetime she had had nothing to do with the housekeeping; further, she was in very ill health, and had not been down stairs for seven years; but, with all the palliations that may be offered, is it not startling to find that this woman's influence had pervaded the civilized world with the exception of that little corner of it which was to be found under her own roof? This incident, together with the quarrel with Lactilla, suggests that Mrs. More did not exert personally a very strong influence. In regard to her servants she relied upon the deathbed harangue with which Mrs. Martha had consigned her to their care, and her confidence was kept up by the texts of Scripture which they each night carefully repeated to her before retiring to eat her game.
In the heyday of Hannah More's popularity there were living in Bristol or its vicinity three young men who were to bring in the new literary epoch by which Hannah has been forgotten—Coleridge, Southey and Wordsworth. Both Southey and Coleridge were introduced to Mrs. More by Cottle. Southey was invited to pass a day at Cowslip Green: he pleased equally all five of the sisters, and Hannah pronounced him "one of the most elegant and intellectual young men they had seen." In 1814, Cottle conferred a like favor on Coleridge: they went down to Barley Wood, where for the space of two hours Coleridge delighted the five-leaved clover with his brilliant talk, but, unluckily, a titled visitor coming in, the poor philosopher was left to finish his soliloquy alone.
Southey was born in Bristol, at No. 9 Wine street, now the sign of the Golden Key. His father, a draper, carried on his business under the sign of a hare: although all his life a shopkeeper, he had been brought up in the country, and was passionately fond of country sports. He related of his first experience of city life in London that, happening to look out at the shop-door just as a porter was passing with a hare in his hands, it brought the country so vividly before him that he burst into tears, and the impression was so lasting that years after, when opening a shop in Bristol, he took the hare for a sign, having it painted on a pane in the window on each side of the door and printed on the shop-bills. Of Robert Southey's recollections of Bristol there is his own very charming account in the first volume of his Life by his son.
We return to Pope's letter to Mrs. Martha Blount for his description of Clifton: "Passing still along by the river, you come to a rocky way on one side, overlooking green hills on the other: on that rocky way rise several white houses, and over them red rocks; and as you go farther more rocks above rocks, mixed with green bushes, and of different colored stone. This, at a mile's end, terminates in the house of the Hot Well, whereabouts lie several pretty lodging-houses, open to the river with walks of trees. When you have seen the hills seem to shut upon you and to stop any farther way, you go into the house, and looking out at the back door, a vast rock of an hundred feet high, of red, white, green, blue and yellowish marbles, all blotched and variegated, strikes you quite in the face; and, turning on the left, there opens the river at a vast depth below, winding in and out, and accompanied on both sides with a continued range of rocks up to the clouds, of an hundred colors, one behind another, and so to the end of the prospect, quite to the sea. But the sea nor the Severn you do not see: the rocks and river fill the eye, and terminate the view much like the broken scenes behind one another in a play-house.
"Upon the top of those high rocks by the Hot Well, which I have described to you, there runs on one side a large down of fine turf for about three miles. It looks too frightful to approach the brink and look down upon the river; but in many parts of this down the valleys descend gently, and you see all along the windings of the stream and the opening of the rocks, which turns close in upon you from space to space for several miles in toward the sea. There is first, near Bristol, a little village upon this down called Clifton, where are very pretty lodging-houses, overlooking all the woody hills, and steep cliffs and very green valleys within half a mile of the Wells, where in the summer it must be delicious walking and riding, for the plain extends, one way, many miles: particularly, there is a tower that stands close at the edge of the highest rock, and sees the stream turn quite round it; and all the banks, one way, are wooded in a gentle slope for near a mile high, quite green; the other bank all inaccessible rock, of an hundred colors and odd shapes, some hundred feet perpendicular."
The reputation of the Hot Well, whose waters Pope was sent to drink, has utterly collapsed. The Hot Well house was long ago removed to admit a widening of the river, and the well itself is now inaccessible. There is no spa, once of great reputation, that has sunk into such complete oblivion as the Clifton Hot Well: this may be due, in part, to the exaggerated estimate that was formed of the virtue of the water, and to the blamable practice which prevailed of sending patients here at their last gasp as a forlorn hope. Of too many it might be said as in these lines from the epitaph on his wife by the poet Mason in Bristol cathedral:
To Bristol's fount I bore with trembling care Her faded form: she bowed to taste the wave, And died.
The little village of Clifton has now become a handsome suburb, where reside the wealthy successors of the merchant-venturers of Bristol. It is continuous with Bristol, and where the one begins or the other ends is not evident except to the parish authorities. The downs are what they were in Pope's time, with the exception of what is now their most striking feature—the suspension bridge across the chasm. As early as 1753, Mr. Vick, an alderman of Bristol, bequeathed one thousand pounds, to be kept at interest until they should reach ten thousand, when the amount was to be expended upon a stone bridge across the Avon. Nearly eighty years after, in 1830, the fund had reached eight thousand pounds, and it was determined to form a company to push forward the project: a plan for a suspension bridge by Mr. Brunel was accepted at an estimated cost of fifty-seven thousand pounds, and subscriptions were vigorously solicited. On the 27th of August, 1836, the foundation-stone was laid in the presence of the members of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, then holding its sixth annual meeting in Bristol. The work went on slowly for seven years, at the end of which it was abandoned for want of funds, forty-five thousand pounds having been expended, including the legacy of eight thousand. For nearly twenty years the towers and abutments stood, unsightly objects in a lovely scene, until in 1860 the Hungerford suspension bridge in London was taken down, and it was found that its chains might be made use of to carry out the uncompleted plan at Clifton. A new company was formed with a capital of thirty-five thousand pounds, in ten-pound shares, and at length, in December, 1864, the bridge was thrown open to the public. Its span is seven hundred and two feet; height from low water, two hundred and eighty-seven feet. An inscription on one of the piers thus epitomizes its story: "Suspensa vix via fit."
There are many reflections which may be called up by a glance over the brink of the chasm at Clifton. Down this muddy ditch dropped the little Matthew, with the Cabots in command, bound for the discovery of America; borne on the surface of this liquid mud, the Great Western (built at Bristol) found its way to the sea and demonstrated the practicability of steam traffic with America; and if you ask why Bristol now has so little share in that traffic, although reasons as plenty as blackberries will be showered upon you, perhaps you will find as convincing a reason as any in the sight of this narrow and tortuous channel. Now, at last, docks are being built at the mouth of the Avon, and one adapted to the largest vessels was opened on the 24th of February, 1877. The prospects of present success cannot be brilliant in the prevalent depression of the Atlantic trade, yet, to have heard the wild talk in February, one would have thought that the dock had only to open its mouth (or gate) to have the great plums of trade at once fall into it. The company is too wise to expect to catch birds simply by hanging out a cage: every one waits to see what bait they will offer. It is claimed that the passage from New York to Avonmouth may be made in a day less than to the Mersey, and mails and passengers forwarded thence to London in three hours. May we soon have the pleasure of welcoming American friends on Avonmouth Dock!
ALFRED S. GIBBS.
AN ATELIER DES DAMES.
After years of patient endeavor, of hope deferred and heart oftentimes made sick, Paletta found herself at last in Paris. Behind her were years of anxious calculations and shabby economies, a chequered pathway of brilliant ambitions and sombre discouragements. Before her was another vista of several years of art-study in the great capital—a vista arched, she could not but know, by as heavy clouds as had ever darkened her path. Yet she felt, even although she could not see its end, that the forward vista climbed ever upward toward glorious heights, upon which the storms of despair never beat, and where she could more nearly touch upon the divine ideals that ever elude the grasp of even the loftiest of earth's climbers.
And thus she was content. Paletta was yet a little young, it must be said, yet in that blessed youthfulness when the loins are girded with the strength that reduces mountains to molehills and forces the Apollyon of dismay to flee from out every dark valley.
Behold Paletta—twenty-three years of age, with a winy color upon her lips, the faintest perceptible shadow of fading upon the roses of her cheeks, a little anxious wrinkle between her earnest gray eyes, a slight nasal twang in her New England voice, and a fresh flounce upon her old black alpaca dress—the first morning of her experience in an atelier des dames in Paris! She had come down the hill from her dark little room on Montmartre, fancying that the gray December day was crystalline, that the dingy Rue Germain Pillon—with its dirty gamins of both sexes in cropped hair and blouses or white caps and black gowns, its frowsy women slouching in doorways, its succession of odorous cuisines bourgeoises, vile-smelling lavoirs, cheap fruit-shops and plebeian cremeries, its slimy cobblestones, its gutters running not with laughing waters, and sending up scents not of spicy isles ensphered by sun-illumined seas—was a rainbow arch over which she passed with airy tread toward the Krug studio. For had she not at last finished for ever the detestable photograph-coloring which had been a daily crucifixion of all her artistic feelings for years? Had she not at last reached the Enchanted Land for which she had labored and pined for half her life? Had she not clothes enough to last her with patient mendings and persistent remakings for two years? Had she not a thousand dollars at the Credit Lyonnais? And did not that stately entrance before her lead into a spacious courtyard, and that courtyard open upon the famous Atelier des Dames, where, at the feet of celebrated masters of form and color, she was to learn some of the mysteries of the art to which she had vowed her life?
Within the court, before the handsome building whose story after story of immense north windows showed it to be a collection of artists' studios, she found an interesting tableau vivant. A group of chattering models came laughing across the sunny court. In one corner loomed a huge square object surmounted by the conical crown of a Tyrolean hat. Nothing else was visible except a pair of gaitered feet mixed among the legs of a sketching-easel, making the whole seem some queer phenomenal creature which science had not yet classified or named. Before this phenomenon stood—or rather fidgeted—a beautiful Arabian horse with flashing eyes, and limbs clean cut as if by Doric chisel in marble of Pentelicus. This superb animal was held by two grooms, one at his head, the other holding first one foot, then another, as the order to pose the unwilling model fractionally in the attitude of a prancing, curveting Bucephalus came from the square, five-legged, unnamed creature in the corner.
"Ah!" thought Paletta as she followed her shadow over the sunny pavement, "the famous animal-painter Jacques is behind that great square canvas, I know, for I saw him there yesterday painting a struggling sheep."
The large room was closely packed with easels—so closely, indeed, that an inadvertent motion of hand or foot often sent a wave of excitement through the whole atelier. Heads of every color, from youthful flaxen to venerable gray, were bent over their labors. Hecubas and Helens worked side by side; maulsticks everywhere gave the scene the appearance of a winter-denuded thicket; plaster hands, feet and torsos hung upon the walls; bull-headed Nero swelled upon a shelf beside the mutilated Venus which is a revelation of the glory that merely human beauty can attain without a gleam borrowed from the divine; fat Vitellius seemed to snore open-eyed beside lean and wakeful Julius Caesar; a mask of Medusa leaned lovingly upon the shoulder of Dante; Apollo Belvedere smiled upon an ecorche—in atelier parlance "skun man;" finished and unfinished studies of heads, bodies and detached sections of bodies hung from nails in every possible and impossible place. Upon a slightly elevated platform sat the model in his usual street-costume, with oily hair, parted in the middle, falling in long waves upon his shoulders. A spiky circle rested upon his brow, and upon his face was such a stupendous yet futile effort after an expression of divine sweetness and resignation as caused maulsticks to separate themselves every now and then from the denuded thicket and to wabble vaguely about his mouth or play wildly in his hair, accompanied by the commands, "Posez la bouche!" "Posez les yeux!" or, in good American accents, accompanied with a sniff of wrath, "Call him a good Christ? Umph! He'd pose better as a first-class Cheshire cat."
The model's divine smile broadened suddenly into a very human grin.
"Do you understand English, monsieur?" demanded Miss New Haven suspiciously, remembering the freedom with which the personal merits and defects of the French and Italian models were usually discussed in their presence in the Anglo-Saxon tongue.
"A leetle, mademoiselle: I have lived in Londres during two years."
"As artists' model?"
"Oui, mademoiselle. I have made the Jesuses, the St. Johns and the Judases for the great English artists teel I have ennuied myself enormement."
"Because ze artists Anglaise are ze masters vairy difficile, not comme les artists Francais. Zey demand zat ze model pose during two hours sans repose, and zey nevvair give of to drink to ze model."
"Did you return to Paris when you ennuied yourself so enormement?" asked a yellow-haired English girl who had painted countless vaporous and ravishing Eurydices and filmy Echoes from broad-waisted, pug-nosed Cockney models, and who always declared that she would recognize a "professional" even among the shining hosts of heaven.
"Non, mademoiselle. I rested at Londres to make la musique."
"Comme ca;" and the Italian made sundry rotary motions of the arm, as if grinding an invisible hand-organ.
"Did you earn more money with the music or as model?" asked Mademoiselle Emilie, the girl-artist from Madrid, with black hair dyed golden, who always swore by Murillo's Virgins, and who did her work dreamily, as if the motions of her hands were timed to the languorous rhythm of some far-off, daintily-touched guitar beneath vine-wreathed balcony and starlit sky.
"In Londres I gained more money as musician. In Angleterre zere is not mooch love of ze Christ, ze St. John and ze Judas. It is not a Catholic country, comme la France, and ze Anglaises aime bettaire ze gods of ze old Greek hommes. In la France zey aime ze true religion, and I gain mooch money, and am in ze Salon many times evairy year, because I am ze best Christ in Paris."
A wail swept up from French, American, English, Swedish, Spanish, Norwegian, Russian and West Indian bosoms.
"We'll embrace the religion and the gods of the old Greek hommes then, or throw ourselves into the profoundest gulfs of infidelity, while we remain in Paris," ejaculated Bostonia in a vigorous stage-aside.
"Have you a wife?" asked Madame Deschamps, a fashionable portrait-painter.
"Oui, madame. Ma femme is Lucreza, whom you know. She has made the nymphs and goddesses for a thousand pictures, but now she is so much fat that the messieurs will have her only for the head, although she still poses for the ensemble in the ateliers des dames."
Here the best Christ in Paris grinned satanically as a polyglot howl went up from among the students.
"That's his tit for the tat of the 'Cheshire cat,'" laughed Madame Lafarge, a French-American Corinne with an all-French moustache.
"We won't have Lucreza again if she is too fat to pose for the nude except in a ladies' studio," snapped the elder Swede.
"Oh, I have forgotten to say zat she has upset ze pail since eight days," chuckled the man.
"Upset the pail?" And twenty pairs of eyes looked full of interrogation-points.
"Giggle! giggle! giggle!" came sputteringly from behind Concordia's easel as she gasped, "Don't you understand? He has improved his English among the Americans in Gerome's studio, and he means she kicked the bucket eight days ago."
"Quelle langue! quelle langue est la langue Americaine!" sniffed the elder Swede, wiping off a brushful of "turps" in her back hair.
Paletta twisted her head so as to peer through the forest of easels at the last speaker.
"What daubs she must make!" she thought, gazing at spectacled green eyes and hay-colored hair a la Chinoise with her fixed idea that "an artistic nature always wrought a semblance of its own beauty upon its outward form."
"What was the Greek religion?" questioned a girlish voice.
Paletta twisted her neck again. "What lovely ideals must blossom upon her canvases!" she thought as she saw a fair vision of rose-tints, creamy texture and sculptured lines ensphered in a halo of golden hair.
"Who is that poor woman who has so mistaken her vocation?" she asked with compassionate gesture toward the coiffure a la Chinoise.
"That? Oh, that's the celebrated Swedish artist, Miss Thingumbobbia, of whom you have heard, of course. She returns to Stockholm next week to paint the king's portrait. Mon Dieu! but I would give all my hair for the genius of her little finger!" answered pretty Mademoiselle Hubert, scraping her palette viciously, as if it were responsible for her artistic inferiority to the gifted Thingumbobbia.
"O-o-o-h!" gasped Paletta. "But who is the sweet creature with golden hair, who looks infused with fair ideals to her very finger-tips?"
"She? Oh, she's Miss Araminta Shoddy from Michigan Avenue, Chicago, who is finishing her education in Paris. She comes here twice a week for drawing-lessons from the antique, and also in pursuit of general information, I should think, judging from her questions. Only yesterday she said, 'Ladies, who can tell me the costume of the Venus de Melos? I have an idea that it would be stunning for my next fancy-dress ball!'"
"Ladies," cried Miss San Francisco, invisible among the easels, "has Professor Manley given out the subject of our composition for next week?"
"Yes," answered a dozen voices—"'The Flight into Egypt.'"
"Oh, Miss Shoddy, Miss Shoddy, will you pose for my Virgin Mother?" cried another dozen.
"Oh, Mees Shoddy, if you will pose for my Madonna I will pose for yours," echoed the Raphaelesque Thingumbobbia.
Just before noon the forest of easels swayed slightly beneath a breeze of excitement. A masculine step was heard at the door. The model's expression became if not divine, at least superhuman. The ladies ceased their chatter, and plied their brushes and crayons with increased diligence. The morning professor entered, and passed from easel to easel, commending this, criticising that, rebuking something else, making a few touches of the brush upon several canvases, crossing others with a network of charcoal-lines to prove inaccuracy of drawing, distributed tres biens and pas mals judiciously, and then with a pleasant "Bon jour, mesdames," passed away, leaving behind him about an equal measure of delight and dismay.
"I hope his bed-clothes will always come up at the foot!" growled Austina, whose canvas looked like a map of a humming-bird's flight done in charcoal.
"Let's all subscribe and buy The Angel a bouquet for Christmas," gushed enthusiastically the British blonde Godsalina, upon whom one of the pas mals had fallen, and who had the true faith of her nation in the efficacy of "tips" for sovereign or beggar.
Then the model stretched his legs, returned to his normal and carnal expression of countenance, and disappeared to return no more till the morrow, leaving the platform vacant awaiting the nude female model who was engaged for the afternoon. The atelier was abandoned to Sophie, the femme de menage, who stirred the fires, gathered stray brushes from the floor, changed the background drapery for the afternoon model, rearranged the easels into afternoon position, and brought out glasses and plates for the ladies, who lunched in the anteroom. And then a looker-on in a Parisian atelier des dames would readily have understood the words, "He's gone, girls!" even were that looker-on deafer than the deafest old woman who ever mistook a thunder-clap for one of her lord's champion snores. In the anteroom conversation ran during lunch in various channels. Some of the ladies discussed the ever-absorbing topic of the price of living, and boasted of marvellous exploits in the way of economy. Other and fewer students, to whom money was as the dust upon the bust of Pallas over the studio-door, talked of the last "first representations" at the Francais, of Croisette's rapidly amplifying figure, of Sarah Bernhardt's unnecessary immodesty in dressing Racine's Andromaque, of the Grant reception at Healy's, of Lefevre's slipperiness of texture, of the lack of the true sentiment of piety in Bouguereau's religious pictures, of the harum-scarum amusements among the Americans at Bonnat's atelier, and the latest gossip of the private studios.
"Want to know where you can buy just h-e-a-venly cheese for a franc a pound?" mumbles young Madame New Jersey with her mouth full of Gruyere.
"Where?" from several excited listeners.
"Over in the Latin Quarter, close by the Rue Jacob Brasserie, where so many American students hold daily symposia."
"I'll go and buy a quarter of a pound this very evening," said Miss Providence energetically.
"I too! I too! et moi aussi!" cried others of the many who lived a la Bohemienne in lofty mansards of maisons meublees, dining at cheap restaurants, breakfasting by aid of spirit-lamps from corners of dressing-tables and lunching on charcuterie in the anteroom of the Krug studio, searching high and low for "cheapness" as for a pearl of great price.
"And pay twelve sous for your omnibus fare!" cried the practical little Illinois maiden, Dixonia.
"Je suis a vous, mesdames," said the favorite model, Alphonse, at the door.
"Alas, sweet Adonis! we have engaged our people for the next three weeks."
"And I am desole, mesdames, that you have not want of me;" and the graceful Alphonse melted away like a snow-wreath in a south wind.
At one o'clock came the sallow Frenchwoman, with the face of a Gorgon and the figure of a Juno, who posed for the ensemble. She stood against the dark crimson background, outlined pure and white like a marvel of Phidian sculpture upon which the Spirit of Life had slightly breathed. So still, so white, so coldly, purely statuesque she seemed, that one sometimes entirely forgot that she was else than the fair statue born from the block of marble at the command of a divine genius, till the chiselled arms were seen to quiver and the sculptured knees to almost bend. Then a reproachful cry ran through the atelier: "Shame! shame! We have forgotten that she was a woman and not a statue, and have kept her posing two hours without a repose."
"How much do you earn by this wearisome business?" asked Paletta pityingly as the tired model, wrapped in a threadbare waterproof, cowered over the stove during "the repose."
"If I pose for a half day of each week like this in an atelier des dames, I earn twenty-five francs a week, but what I earn by posing for artists in private studios depends much upon chance. Sometimes I am needed only for a leg or arm or bust, or even hand: then I earn less of course, for it makes broken hours. I would demand much more from the ateliers des dames had I a handsome face, but always my ensemble is painted with the head of a prettier model where there is any purpose of using me in a picture."
"Do you become often as fatigued as you are now?" continued Paletta.
"Often more so. I have posed for nearly an hour upon one foot with extended arms in a dance of bacchantes, till I have fainted. Oftentimes I am kept in a running position upon one foot, with the other far behind me, in Atalanta's race; sometimes suspended by cords from the ceiling, with arms and legs in horribly uncomfortable positions, till everything seems to spin before me."
"Do you dislike to pose for male artists?" asked Paletta.
"Dislike? Why should I with so fine a figure as this?" answered the woman, throwing off her cloak to resume her pose. "I'd like it better if I had a handsome face, but I'd like it much worse if I had flabby flesh or buniony feet."
Paletta saw that no question of modesty entered the model's mind, and she went back to her easel to paint the rounded limbs and marble huelessness of fair Dian, chastest of all Olympia's deities, wondering if, after all, what is called modesty does not come as much of habit as of nature—if the veiled face of the Oriental is not as immodest as the unclothedness of the artist's model.
MARGARET B. WRIGHT.
"AUF DEM HEIMWEG."
Thy light streams far, thou gladdening star, O'er vale and forest, tower and town: From land and sea men look to thee, In every clime, as night comes down. But ah! were all the eyes that mark Thy rising, closed in endless dark, Undimmed would glitter still Thy bright unpitying spark!
I heed thee not. In yonder cot, As home I haste, from toil set free, Through dusk and damp the casement-lamp Shines clear across the fields for me. Dear light! dear heart! how well I know, If bitter Death should lay me low, Dark would that casement be, And quenched your winsome glow!
MARY KEELY BOUTELLE.
THROUGH WINDING WAYS.
"I can't reach it," declared Georgy. "You boys are all growing so tall that a girl has to mount on stilts in order to go about with you."
"I will find a log," said I, looking about us.
"Come!" struck in Jack Holt, laughing, "make a footstool of me, Georgy;" and without another word he flung himself flat on his face. She was never loath to put her foot upon any of our necks, figuratively speaking, and now, with a burst of laughter, she took Jack at his word, and planting herself on his shoulders peered down through the coils of Virginia creeper into the cunningly devised bird's nest in the hollow of an oak tree. There were five delicately tinted eggs, and she tried in vain to squeeze her slim hand through the aperture and possess herself of them.
"Getting tired, Jack?" she asked presently.
"No," he answered, his face still kissing the moss: "I don't tire so easily in your service, Georgy."
I felt rather bitter against them both. I would have died to serve this girl, I told myself, yet such an opportunity left me dull and cold. I was always dreaming of doughty deeds to please her, yet if she dropped her handkerchief I could hardly stoop to pick it up.
"Oh, get up, Jack!" cried Harry Dart, whose lip had been curling in angry scorn as he watched the performance: "you are by far too good to be trodden under foot by any girl, let alone Georgy Lenox."
Georgy tripped down from her temporary throne and made Harry a little courtesy. "Do you mean to say that you would not be glad to be trodden under foot by Georgy Lenox?" she asked, laughing and tossing her curls.
He gave a contemptuous shrug: "Wait until I give you an opportunity. Floyd and I don't make fools of ourselves for any girls."
"Come, come, Harry!" said Jack, who had risen from the ground and was now wiping off the earth-stains from his clothes, "don't spoil our day by being disagreeable.—Shall we go on, Georgy?" He gave her a peculiar glance in which there was less of humility than gentle command, and she sprang after him and put her hand within his arm. He did not serve her for rewards as yet, and was used to as many blows as smiles, and this was a rare condescension on her part.
Georgy was fifteen—of the same age as Harry, but considerably younger than Jack, who was two years older than his cousin, while I was the youngest of the three. We had been playmates all our lives, and had each of us found in Georgy Lenox the only girl-friend of our boyhood. She had been a beauty from her infancy, and her wiles had grown with her growth and strengthened with her strength; and now her myriad tricks of mischief, caprice and cruelty were too closely identified with what was most bewitching in her not to have become additional charms for us. In those days, while we were still hobbledehoys, she pleased us the more that she had, with the precocity of her sex, quite outstripped us where all subtle social forces are concerned. Although she could be a hoyden still, it was quite as easy for her to assume the part of an elegant young lady, equipped for society with charming manners, a fastidious taste and indifferent ease. We occasionally laughed at her airs, but inwardly admired her superb assumptions of careless superiority: had she become timid, docile, admiring toward us, I dare say her reign would not have lasted the day out.
Harry flung his arm about me, and we followed Jack and Georgy deeper and deeper into the wood. It was the last Saturday in May, and the fairest day of the year. The thickets were full of mysterious sounds, and one could almost feel the beating of the delicate pulses of the springing, expanding life about us. I knew all the secrets of this forest, and loved no place half so well in Belfield outside of my own home. Nature, too, seemed tenderer of it than of other wildnesses, and had set the seal of her choice upon it with every gift of fern and vine and moss and lichen. No axe had invaded these solitudes for years except to prune away a too riotous undergrowth along the cart-path: the trees grew in grand natural aisles, and to look through the noble colonnade into mysterious vistas of copsewood gloom and stillness was for me to thrill with that blissful agony of youthful emotion which is our first premonition of the unreachable secret that underlies the universe.
"Did you ever think," said Harry to me earnestly, "that you would like to leave the world behind you for ever and live altogether in the woods, with only the trees and birds for company?"
But, dearly although I loved the woods, I could not answer him that I should be willing to resign my home, my mother, my friends and social joys for the life of a hermit.
"It's pleasant to see people," I suggested.
"I'm not sure of that," Harry rejoined with sudden misanthropy. "See what a hard world it is! I feel to-day like Achilles in his tent."
"But I don't like Achilles: he was only sullen because he had lost Briseis. Surely, Harry, you don't mind it that Georgy has gone on with Jack?"
Harry laughed loud and long: "That would be a good joke! As if I cared for Georgy Lenox! But it does make me angry to see Jack so taken up with her. Did you see her new shoes?"
There could be no question of that.
"Jack bought them for her," said Harry with angry emphasis. "He spends all his money on her, and I think it is a shame. She told him at first she could not come to-day, because she had nothing to wear on her feet except thin slippers. What does Jack do but post off to John Edwards and buy her a pair of boots at once!" He paused a moment, then burst out: "Just look at them!"
Georgy had flung her flowers at Jack, and having jumped across the little brook which meandered through the wood, now nodded at him defiantly, tossing her long curls, while her eyes sparkled and her color rose. He too sprang over the stream, with pretended anger, and she gave a little shriek and flew down the path, with him in pursuit. Jack was clumsy and not built for speed, while Georgy had the spring of a fawn; but I suspect she was willing to be caught, for when we next gained a glimpse of them she was sitting on a stump fanning herself with her broad-brimmed hat, which had fallen off, while he was leaning against a tree looking at her.
"He has kissed her—I know he has," Harry whispered to me with a bitter look. "I would die before I would kiss her when she behaved like that!"
I was in a sort of tremor. I was too young to be in love in the ordinary sense of the phrase, but I was aghast at the thought of the bloom of her cheeks and lips being plucked like roses in a hedgerow. She was precious to my imagination, yet, for all her every-day reality, scarcely nearer to my aspirations than Lady Edith Plantagenet or Ellen, Lady of the Lake.
"I don't care," muttered Harry doggedly—"I don't care. I dare say he means to marry her when he grows up, but I don't care."
"Floyd," called out Georgy, "can't you show me another bird's nest?"
Now I knew at least a hundred birds' nests in these woods. All Wednesday afternoon I had nestled here in the thickets and watched the little builders hopping from moss to bough and twig, and had learned all their secrets. I knew that by the great rock just behind where she was sitting was a ledge with shelving sides overhung with moss, and that there, so cunningly wrought and hidden that none but a trained eye could ever have discovered it, was an exquisite nest formed of lichens. Half ashamed of disclosing such a sacred confidence, I led Georgy up to it. Last Wednesday it was barely finished: now there were three eggs in it. It was a wood-pewee's nest, and while I let her peep the mother-bird flew toward us with a shrill pathetic cry.
"Hush, you horrid thing!" cried Georgy to the alarmed bird, that circled about us with cries growing every moment more piercing.—"Is not that perfectly sweet? I never saw anything prettier."
I had only consented that she should give one glance, and I now tried to coax her away; but nothing would content her but to hold two of the eggs in her hand, and while she held them her foot slipped and they fell to the ground, and she trod upon them.
"Oh, Georgy!" I cried angrily, "that is too horribly careless of you: I cannot forgive you."
"The idea!" she returned, laughing. "Do look at him, boys!—as white as a ghost just because I broke those wretched eggs! Look at that furious little bird! I declare it is ready to peck my eyes out! There, madam! now you may go to work and lay some more eggs;" and she took the sole remaining egg from the nest and flung it with wanton cruelty into the thicket.
I was cut to the heart. Both Jack and Harry came up to me, but I shook them off and sat down upon a fallen trunk, and would not say a word in answer to their inquiries or consolations. Presently they wandered down the woods together, and left me there alone. The owners of the despoiled nest kept up a loud, emphatic chirping for a time, which drew all the other birds to discover its cause. I felt as if they looked at me with wonder and resentment in their innocent eyes. But after a time the tumult of sorrow passed and the usual forest sounds returned: the whir of partridge-wings smote the air, and I heard the tender coo of the mother-hen; then the wind rose and blew through the tree-tops, and the blossoming boughs moved restlessly, no longer filtering green sunshine through their transparent leaves, but disclosing a gathering storm in the glimpses I gained of the sky above. I knew a short cut through the wood which led to the hill at the back of my mother's house, and when I heard Harry's voice calling me I sprang like a deer into the covert, and before the rain came had reached home.
Georgy's wanton cruelty had wounded me deeply, but my allegiance to our girl-queen was not easily thrown off; and seizing an umbrella I flew back to the woods to offer it to Georgy, who received it kindly, glad of shelter from the sudden shower. I was as proud of her smile and good-natured thanks as a dog is proud of his master's scant caress after a sound beating.
The fair May day ended in rain, and, as usual on Saturdays, my three mates finished the afternoon with me. Jack took his books and went sturdily at his Greek; Harry drew pictures by the dozen; Georgy was reading Queechy, nestled in my mother's chair by the bay-window; and I was deep in one of the Waverley novels. Banners streamed, bugles blew, spears gleamed, knights jostled in my world. Oh for a wet afternoon again like that twenty-five years ago, with the monotonous patter of rain in my ears, to go back to Coeur de Lion and Edith and Saladin! And not alone the time and the books, and the old high heart with the old longings and resolves, and the old fearless eyes to look out upon the world, but the old companions as well, with their glorious boy-faces, untouched then by any imprint of the base emotions and aims sure almost, a little later, to enter in and defile! The rain pattered ceaselessly; the heavy scent of the lilacs came in through the open windows; the martins screamed about their boxes under the eaves of the stable, and I could hear the twitter of innumerable birds; but with the consciousness of all this I had no thought except of my rapture for Kenneth when the dog sprang at the throat of Conrad.
"Floyd," said Georgy, putting her hand on my arm, "don't you hear the door-bell? Ann went out an hour ago."
Our service was not numerous, and if Ann had gone out, as was her wont when she found a moment's leisure, there was no one to answer the bell but myself. I rose heavily and unwillingly, and walked along the little hall, my eyes still glued upon the page, hardly raising them when I opened, the door until I saw, instead of some indifferent neighbor, a tall gentleman, quite strange to Belfield, who was shutting his dripping umbrella. He was very tall, stately, broad-shouldered, with an impassive but handsome face, and a glance at once quiet and commanding. He regarded me with an amused smile, as if he knew me very well, and something about him gradually renewed a sort of recollection in me.
"How do you do?" he asked as I stood squarely in the doorway staring at him.
"I am quite well, sir," I returned gravely.
"What is your name?" he inquired, laughing.
"James Floyd Randolph," I answered.
"I am James Floyd," said he. "Suppose you invite me in?"
I led the way silently back to the dull, chilly sitting-room, where Jack and Harry still sat at the table, while Georgy was peeping out to catch a glimpse of the new arrival. Mr. Floyd, having put his umbrella in the rack and taken off his hat and overcoat, followed me, casting a look about the room as he entered, as if he missed somebody he expected to see.
"My mother is not at home, sir," I observed, sitting down stiffly on the edge of a chair: "she has gone to spend the afternoon with a sick lady."
"She will return presently?"
"Oh, she will certainly be at home to tea, sir," I answered; and then, remarking that he gave a shrug as he glanced at the wide-open casements, I closed both windows, went to the closet, brought wood and kindlings and built a fire on the hearth.
"You are a boy of much nice discrimination," remarked Mr. Floyd. "Now that you have a temperature not altogether conducive to lumbago, I will venture to sit down. Do you know who I am?"
"Oh yes, sir: you are Mr. James Floyd, the gentleman I was named after."
"Has your mother often spoken of me?"
"Oh yes, sir," I said again, and at once observed that his face brightened up.
"And who are these young people?" he inquired, apparently noticing the group by the table for the first time.
I introduced them, and Mr. Floyd shook hands with Jack, put his hand under Harry's chin and looked keenly into his chiselled, beautiful face; then gave another glance at Georgy, to whom he had first bowed.
"Miss Lenox?" he repeated. "Any relation of George Lenox?"
"Oh yes, sir: I am his daughter," cried Georgy, blushing and dimpling. "I am third cousin to your little girl: Mr. Raymond at The Headlands is my great-uncle."
"Yes, of course. How is your father?"
"Papa is pretty well."
"He was first cousin of my wife," said Mr. Floyd, "and I have met him, I believe."
The door-bell rang again.
"That is Antonio Thorpe," observed Mr. Floyd—"a young friend of mine for whom I want to get board and lodging in Belfield. Can any of you recommend a place? He is a lad of eighteen or nineteen, and will probably study under your own masters."
"Mamma would be very glad to have a boarder," struck in Georgy earnestly. "There is a nice large room for him."
I ushered in the new-comer, a slim fellow of my own height, but looking immeasurably older, with a delicate black moustache and a coat which fitted in a way to shame anything in Belfield.
"Well, well, Tony!" said Mr. Floyd: "you followed quickly upon my footsteps; but all the better, perhaps, as I have already heard of a suitable place for you to settle. This young lady, Miss Lenox, thinks her mother may be able to accommodate you: perhaps she will be good enough to take you home now and introduce you, referring her family to me."
Thorpe bowed with a very finished air, and presently was walking off in the rain with Georgy, holding his umbrella over her in a manner truly Grandisonian. Harry and Jack also went away, and I was left alone with my guardian; for, although I had never seen him since my father's funeral eight years before, my guardian I knew him to be. He called me up to him, flung his arm over my shoulder and looked into my eyes. "My dear boy!" said he in a kind voice, and kissed me on the forehead. "You remember me a little, don't you?" he asked.
"I remember you now very well: at first it seemed all gone from me."
"No wonder. I have been in Europe eight years. My little girl is ten years old, and had never seen me since she was the merest baby. She was afraid of me at first."
But not for long, I was sure of that: nobody, man, woman or child, could look into his face and not love and trust him.
"I want to see your mother," he exclaimed with a sudden flash of expression over his tranquil face. "Your mother is all that is left to me of my youth: I have come back an old man."
I laughed at this, and then we fell to talking of our life in Belfield. I was not a loquacious fellow, but something about Mr. Floyd unloosed my tongue, and after describing our quiet household ways I spoke freely of the Lenoxes and of Jack and Harry. The two boys were cousins, and Harry, having neither father nor mother, lived with the Holts, who were the rich people of our village. My two friends loved me dearly, but still they were more to each other than I could be to either, for they shared the same room, ate at the same table, and had grown into an intimacy wonderful and rare even among brothers. They were Damon and Pythias, Orestes and Pylades; but indeed I doubted if anything in poetry, history or tradition had ever equalled this beautiful and complete friendship. I could not be jealous of it, because each gave me all I needed; and even if, at times, I felt the pang of being a little outside their world, my isolation was made sacred to me by the recollection of the brother I had lost, in whom some time, somewhere, I should regain everything.
Mr. Floyd had a way of listening which made me yearn to tell him every insignificant detail of my life. I knew that he was a man of national reputation, but I hardly cared for that, since he was the pleasantest companion I had ever met. I found myself gossiping to him about our village worthies, making him laugh heartily at their sayings passed into tradition and fable among us boys; for our one-eyed shoemaker and our corpulent grocer, like many other country wits to fortune and to fame unknown, surpassed either Douglas Jerrold or Sydney Smith in quip and drollery. And I did not omit George Lenox, for all Belfield except his wife was in the secret of his affairs, and they were our crowning joke, in which poor George himself joined merrily, although the story was so against himself.
"That girl of his is remarkably pretty," said Mr. Floyd. "Is he, then, so poor? He was well born, liberally educated, and married in a family of high pretensions."
There could be no doubt but what George Lenox had begun better than other men, with enough to live on comfortably in city or country, provided he did not think too much of the necessity for showing his wife that she had not lessened her consequence in marrying him. Nobody could accuse poor Mr. Lenox now-a-days of ambition, or blame him if, in those early days as now, that terrible woman had frankly regarded him as an utter nonentity save in his association with her own destiny. She was a handsome woman, with aquiline nose, a thin, firmly-set mouth, piercing eyes and a magnificent carriage. She was no longer young when she had accepted Mr. Lenox, and by what means she had encompassed his subjugation we were never told: he always shook his head when he alluded to his courtship. "A fellow is wax in a woman's hands," he had sometimes remarked darkly. But after his marriage he had seemed to acquiesce in his wife's belief in her high individual value to the world in general and himself in particular, and had given her the best of everything. Mrs. Lenox knew how to spend money, she had a house in New York and a villa in Belfield; she had running accounts with tradesmen; and not only gave dinner-parties, balls and receptions, but out-dressed her circle with a sort of gorgeous superfluity which made her intimates experience the ignominy of their inferiority. Mr. Lenox resigned himself to the irresistible current of his wife's will, and if he felt inward doubts silenced them as suggestions of morbid distrust in the discretion of a woman whom he knew to be virtuous, and whose price was so much above rubies that sordid calculations ought not to be mentioned in the same breath with her. After a time, however, not even his high faith in the necessity of agreeable issues where she was concerned could blind him to the fact that he had many debts and but a few thousand dollars. He at once invested these thousands in an enterprise which was shortly to make all those interested in it millionaires. But if any one made money out of it, it was not George Lenox, who suddenly found himself reduced to be a pensioner upon his wife, who had twelve thousand dollars invested in railway stock. They removed to their little Gothic cottage in Belfield, and Mrs. Lenox lost what remained of her beauty, her spirits, her temper, but never her ineradicable pride. Within a year her husband had taken her railway stock, sold it and invested it in some speculation which failed ignominiously, as any schemes of his were sure to do. Nothing attracted him which was regulated by average laws of supply answering a demand: all his undertakings required a miracle, an upheaval of popular ideas, to ensure success. He never told his wife of this embezzlement of his: when he lost her property he meditated suicide, and merely staved off the evil day by pretending to pay her dividends regularly; and for this he twice a year implored the assistance of his uncle, Mr. Raymond. The railroad in which Mrs. Lenox had invested was a prosperous one, and occasionally declared an additional stock dividend: it was on these occasions that the reduced lady lost in a degree her usual air of picturesque gloom—that she roused herself to talk about her family and the glories of her youth, the eclat and brilliance of her position, which she had never lost until after marrying her unfortunate husband; and at such times she even regained her courage and made a round of visits, dropping glazed and ancient cards, and retaining in her feebleness all the traditions of her majesty. But this epoch of her revived grandeur was set in painful contrast to poor Lenox's misery. He was commissioned to sell the scrip, which, for him, had no existence, and thus raise money to deck the family in transient brightness. I fancy that at such times, without any waste of rhetoric or balancing of expediencies, he was more in love with suicide than Hamlet or Cato, and that if it had not been for the sympathy and aid of a golden-haired little girl he would have swallowed his death-potion quietly. Georgy was his firm ally against her mother, and helped him shrewdly in many a close pinch; and his rich uncle, Mr. Raymond (Mr. Floyd's father-in-law), rarely refused him provisional aid upon his application, although he was wise enough to decline helping him in any of his fantastic kite speculations.
"And what sort of a girl is this Miss Georgy?" inquired Mr. Floyd. "Has she been injured at all by the somewhat exceptional circumstances of her family?"
"Oh no, sir."
"Is she gentle, generous and open in her ways?"
"She is remarkably pretty."
I assented eagerly to this observation, and he laughed: "There is no doubt in your mind upon that point. If she were in all respects a suitable companion for Helen, I would request that she should be invited to The Headlands. But Tony will find out what she is made of. He will be a new friend for you."
And he told me about this Antonio Thorpe, who had been under his guardianship for six years. He was the son of an Englishman who had married a Spanish girl in the West Indies: the lad was but twelve years old when he was thrown upon the world without parents or near relatives or suitable provision for his maintenance. The elder Thorpe had been a careless, good-natured person, without any distrust of his fellows, and not knowing what to do with his son had thrust him upon Mr. Floyd, who had at some trouble and expense looked after his education. He had entered college the year before, but his conduct had been a little unsatisfactory to the authorities, and his guardian had withdrawn him, and now, in some doubt as to the best course to pursue in regard to his future, wished him to study for a few months quietly at Belfield.
"Your mother will let him visit here, I trust," he went on. "I think he is half a good fellow, and we must forgive the other half, because his mother was the proudest, vainest, silliest little Castilian that ever lived. Tony has got a good deal to contend against."
But the drawbacks to Thorpe's advancement were not so patent to my mind on first acquaintance as his advantages. He had a slight, graceful figure, a little under height, but carried himself with the dignity of a grandee; his eyes were large, dark and languishing; his complexion was a pale olive; while his moustache, black and exquisitely pencilled, was a sign of itself of towering superiority above the rest of us callow youths. That alone would have filled me with envy.
"Ah," exclaimed Mr. Floyd, starting to his feet, "that is your mother, I hope."
I had become too much absorbed in our talk to hear the click of the gate, but now I sprang up and rushed to the door, and, seeing my mother quietly walking up the path, I ran out bareheaded into the rain.
"Oh, mother," I cried, "you cannot guess who has come to spend Sunday with us!"
It seemed to me all at once that some thought of him must have been in her mind, for her color came and went. "I hope it is Cousin James," she replied calmly.
As I took her umbrella from her hand I could see that she was trembling and her lips quivering. I unclasped her cloak and untied her bonnet, and took them from her: she ungloved her hands hastily and smoothed her hair as she went along the hall. Mr. Floyd stood facing her as she entered the sitting-room. "Dear Mary!" said he, and took her in his arms and kissed her.
I felt as if I had been struck a heavy blow. I knew that he had been not only my father's first cousin, but his nearest and dearest friend as well; but, for all that, it was not easy for me to see my mother surrendering herself to that caress. But presently, when I saw that she was crying, I knew that she was thinking only of my father and her long agony of loneliness, and I forgave them both. When she regained her calmness she called me to her with a timid smile and a faint blush.
"This is my boy, James," she said, looking up at Mr. Floyd smiling, but with the tears still on her cheeks. "He is your godson, you remember, and namesake."
"My godson, my namesake, my ward, and my dear friend besides," replied Mr. Floyd, throwing his arm heavily over my shoulder. "I know him already very well, and I like him more than I can tell you."
That same old thrill of feeling goes over me now like a wave as I write. As I stood looking up at him I seemed to grow rich, as if I had suddenly come into my kingdom. I continued to stand leaning against him as he sat down close beside my mother and talked intimately and freely with her. I may have felt a little alien and apart at first, for the days they talked of were the days of long ago, before I could remember. Mr. Floyd's private personal history had been but one short chapter in his long, full and busy life. He was well past thirty before he had married Alice Raymond, the only child of a wealthy merchant: she was but seventeen when he first saw her and fell in love with her. Few people knew whether the twelve short months of his married life were but as a dream to him now, eleven years later, or whether his scant allusions to that time came from a shy tenderness for a memory which was his dearest and most sacred possession. Alice Raymond was but little past eighteen when she died, and even the child she left behind her had never really belonged to Mr. Floyd, but had grown up at her grandfather's at The Headlands while her father had assumed the duties of a mission abroad. Life had denied him little of what men seek as objects in a brilliant and exciting career; but in listening to him now I felt a certainty that he had been a lonely man, and, if not an unhappy one, that his mind was tinged at least with a certain melancholy which lay at the root of all his impulses.
My mother seemed to have grown younger in meeting him. She was always the most beautiful of women to me, with her large, serious brown eyes, her wavy brown hair, her complexion pure and delicate as a young girl's; and indeed she was but twenty years older than myself, thus at this date only thirty-four. But while she talked to Mr. Floyd I observed a change in her: her eyes had lost their pensiveness and calm, and fell before his shyly: the flushes came and went on her cheeks. He told her again and again that in meeting her he found the first realization that he had come back to his home: old Mr. Raymond had seemed to be afraid of him, and little Helen had cried with terror when he first clasped her in his arms and kissed her with unguarded fondness.
"But that was not strange," observed my mother. "Intimate affection is, after all, a habit. Now that you have a chance of having your little girl always with you, she will very soon grow fond of you."
"Oh, but I have no claim to her. She must stay with Mr. Raymond as long as he lives, I suppose. He loved Alice, but he worships Helen. I robbed him of his child once almost against his will, and now that he is so old a man I could not have the heart to do it again."
"But she is your own daughter!" cried my mother, half indignantly.
"But I made my mistake ten years ago. Just then I only cared for what lay beneath a fresh grave at The Headlands: there seemed to be no to-morrow for me—no time when I should get used to such sorrow and find comfort in any one or anything that took Alice's place. I gave up Helen then with absolute indifference: now such coldness seems enigmatical to me."
"You ought to have her with you now."
"It could not be. I asked her this morning if she would come with me: she burst into a passion of weeping, and declared she could not leave her grandfather—that he would die without her; and I verily believe that he would. Well! well! I have got along for ten years without happiness. I have a career, while Mr. Raymond, millionaire though he is, has nothing but Helen. If only my health does not altogether fail!"
"You are not ill, James?"
"The doctors tell me that I have three incurable diseases," returned Mr. Floyd, laughing. "Then I took cold the moment I landed in this horrible climate. I perfectly realize the truth of the Psalmist, who declares that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Physicians dote upon me: I am an admirable field of research. Some people have the ill taste to die without any preliminaries, but I shall not give occasion for any painful surprise. Still, I only tell you this that you may make the most of me. Let me hear about yourself, Mary. If you only knew how often I have thought of you shut away here from the world in this wretched country place, nothing near you not utterly foreign to your tastes and your circles of thought!"
My mother's hand stole into mine, and she met my jealous glance and smiled into my face. "Cousin James does not know what good times we have, does he, Floyd?" said she.
"I forgot for one moment your consolations," said Mr. Floyd. "I saw your boy's mates when I came in: one of them has a powerful face: he looks like a youthful Cato."
"That is Jack Holt," I cried. "He is like Cato: he is strong, severe, just. Whatever he says ought to be done we know must be done, even if the heavens fall."
"And the handsome fellow, who is he? Harry Dart? He looks equal to the heroism of all Plutarch's heroes: he has a beautiful, consecrated face. I hope he will live up to what it tells us now."
Glad and proud although I was to see Mr. Floyd, his coming disturbed me a little. Hitherto I had accepted my life unquestioningly. We had been poor ever since my father's death, and my mother's life had become circumscribed and narrowed down to Belfield. It had seemed to me that no other people in the world were just so happy as my mother and myself. What need had we of a larger house, when the one stately mansion that I was familiar with appeared to me a desert, even with all its fairy-land splendors? Jack Holt's father was too rich a man not to allow his wife all the good things which she coveted, and her parlors, halls and bedrooms were irrefragable proof of the enormities which may be committed with an utter want of taste and tens of thousands of dollars. Both Harry and Jack hated the house, and spent every available moment out of school in our comfortable, well-worn nooks inside and out of doors. My mother used to play to us at twilight, and sing sweet ballads which gave us a state of mind full of the blessed misery which youth loves. Then what gay little waltzes used to rattle off from my mother's fingers! She taught us all to dance, and in the winter dusk we would waltz in turn with Georgy Lenox, the two of us who could not have her as a partner circling with our arms about each other's less slender waists. Then the feasts my mother used to cook for us with her own clever hands have made the greatest banquets seem poor since: she had the gift of performing every feminine task better than any other woman in the world. In short, I had lived the life which undoubtedly comes to many a lad who has no father: my mother appeared to have no thought but of me and my happiness, and not one of my dreams of far-reaching happiness but included her. I realized enough of the exquisite worth of her devotion to me never to cross her wishes: an invisible yet insurmountable barrier separated me from any of the grosser faults of boyhood, for she never let me go from her without her kiss, the clasp of her hand, and her saying, "You will be a good boy, Floyd?"
Yes, I had been perfectly happy; and, as I say, it disturbed me to have a doubt suggested that this full, complete existence of mine had not filled my mother's heart as well. Belfield—merely writing the word "Belfield" has a breezy influence over my mind still. Wherever a man has spent his boyhood there linger associations of the cool wind of the hill-top, the sound of the sea audible yet invisible, the hush before a storm, the tumbling of the ice in the river in the spring freshets, the berries that grew on the edge of the wood, the ecstatic thrill of physical strength and delight on the playground where he ran "drinking in the wind of his own speed." But youth is the season not alone of action, but of reverie. Most of our original thinking is done before we are sixteen: after that we acquire so much of other men's experience that our thoughts wear the current stamp. We come into our rich inheritance of the world's accumulated knowledge, and evolve from it the answers to the necessities of our own individual development. As boys we were not cribbed by any exact logic and hard common sense, which must stretch us a little later on a Procrustean bed, and we were free to grow as we would and to stand on the highest level of noble thought and heroic deed. The writers whom we read with avidity were those who ennobled us: in those days youth was the era of a high romanticism, and our authors did not enter the actual world which lay about us, giving us pictures of real life, and with devilish ingenuity teaching us to regard men's actions from the reverse side, and thus detect ignoble traits as the mainspring of human achievement.
More than forty of us went to school together in the stiff white academy which stood on the hill surrounded by a quadrangle of straight poplars. We learned many things there—some from the grim old preceptor, some outside the walls. I had a volume of Plutarch, from which I used to read stories to the boys as we lay on the grassy slopes in the shade, and I often felt a tremor in my voice as I read. It seems to me sometimes that the youth of this day lose some of the grandeur which made our ideals. Our sons read "Oliver Optic" and the magazines, while we used to thrill over the grand words of the men who have ruled the world. Then my mother's teaching was simple, direct and wise, and had become incorporated in every action of my will and impulse of my heart. I was to love and obey my God, never to tell a lie, never to do a mean action, never to be disloyal to a friend nor unfair to a foe. Still, if Harry and I were tolerably good, one of the reasons which acted most powerfully to restrain us from committing faults was our wish to stand well with Jack: he never scolded, never gave advice, but if he were displeased with our conduct we could not eat or sleep. Once Harry committed a trifling error—to call it a wickedness seems a grotesque exaggeration now—and Jack did not like it.
"Of course, Harry," he said coldly, "you can do as you please, but I am disappointed in you."
Harry rushed out of doors, and could not be found all night: he slept on the turf beneath his cousin's window, and the rain drenched him and he took a violent cold.
"You were foolish," observed Jack, smiling coldly.
"But do you forgive me now?"
"I forgive nothing: a bad action is a bad action. But I could not sleep when I did not know where you were: I got up and studied, for I was so tormented."
But Jack was so equable, so gentle! There was never a trace of harshness in his treatment of us. Indeed, it was only in his unfailing rectitude that he surpassed us, for, our senior although he was, he could barely keep up in our classes. Harry was the quickest of the three, but with a mortal hatred of hard study: he had an easy capacity for mastering knowledge without tedious assiduity; and, as he was resolved to be a painter, he held all mental acquirements as subsidiary to his master-passion for gaining dexterity and skill with his pencil. He could have done anything at his books had he expended any high endeavor, but he always let his chances slip by him, and allowed me to carry off the prizes which he might far more easily have won. I was by nature and habit rigidly conscientious, and discontented with myself unless I did my best. I hated cheap successes, and I was shy of praise, as my performances always fell short of my ideals. Mine was no studious disposition, and I had plenty of physical inclination to shirk lessons and lie beneath the forest boughs watching the birds all day; but there were detached lines that I used to repeat to myself aloud over and over again in lonely places, caring far less for their meaning than for the immeasurable music of the words.
I could write many chapters about our life at Belfield, and perhaps of all I have to tell nothing would be so well worth telling. Belfield is a quiet place on the shore of Long Island Sound, placidly sleeping through the summers and autumns beneath the shadows of its immemorial trees. We went to school on the hill: below us was our ancient church built in far-off colonial times, and connected with many a story of Revolutionary times, to which we used to listen greedily: George Lenox had one of which we never tired.
"My grandfather," said he, "went to church the Sunday after the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence, and when the clergyman read the prayers for the royal family he stood up in his pew and cried out that no such prayers must be read in Belfield—that George III.'s name was no longer the name of our friend, but of our worst enemy. The minister rose and shut up his prayer-book forthwith, raised his hand and pronounced the benediction, and the church was closed until the end of the war. We were good Federalists, we were," continued Mr. Lenox, "but we had one staunch Tory and Churchman in our family. After the church was closed my grandfather's family used to attend Presbyterian meeting on the hill, close by where your schoolhouse now stands; but their old dog, Duke, would never go past the church when he followed his master out on Sunday mornings: he would not go to Presbyterian meeting—not he: he stretched himself on the great millstone before the closed church-door."
When Jack, Harry and I sat together on the high "back seat" at school we had a good view down the hill at the weather-stained old church, with its imperishable gilt vane on top of the tall spire. Often enough our vagrant eyes wandered that way, but not that we cared for green slopes or colonial church or venerable weathercock. The truth of the matter was, that we oftentimes saw Georgy Lenox walking along the quiet street under the elms. To tell of our early life in Belfield, and say nothing of the influence which was already moulding the lives of at least two of us, would be to give an incomplete and partial picture. I was an imaginative boy, and Jack was the reverse, yet we were both desperately in love with the same girl. As for Harry, nobody ever decided what he felt toward her. They continually quarrelled when they were together, and Harry sometimes took pains to abuse her in her absence: he never read of an unworthy trait in a woman but he at once pointed its meaning at her. He called us "spoons," etc. for caring about her, yet, all the same, she must have been invested with an endless store of associations in his mind, for his portfolio was full of sketches of her; which seemed to furnish his ideals of feminine beauty. She was not only Rowena, but Rebecca as well (with only a change of complexion), Helen of Troy and Joan of Arc, Cleopatra and the Madonna, Marie Stuart and Elizabeth Tudor. Still, Jack and I each felt that he was not one with us in his devotion to her, and we made no confidences to him respecting her. For Jack and I talked about her incessantly when we were together: when we saw her in the street below us we nudged each other, and together felt the thrill, the inextinguishable rapture, of beholding the sunny gleam of her golden hair and her quick, graceful gait.
We were not rivals. I do not know how the thought of her came to Jack in those early days, but he had a habit of decision, and I dare say had made up his mind that she was to be his wife. He had plenty of pocket-money, and could buy her trinkets, ribbons and gloves: I had no money, and my tribute to her was of flowers and fruits. It was natural to both of us to offer her all we could; and it was equally natural to her to receive our largesse with a smile and laughing thanks if it pleased her, and a cool, indifferent shrug of contempt if it failed to suit her.
I carried the thought of her into all my occupations. Were I planting my mother's flower-beds, were I writing my composition, it was all the same: the question was, "Will it please Georgy?" Not that it mattered; and I well knew that I was a fool for it all, for she was steadily indifferent to any matters in which she had no personal concern, and despised my pains with scant ceremony. I too held in contempt my small efforts to please her, and fell a-dreaming of the wonderful things I was sure to do some time. Not that she was slow in telling us what she wanted, and her demands upon us were not of the sort that appertain to heroic achievements; yet I felt, all the same, that let me once be a hero I must win her approbation. I can remember her sitting in our garden at home under the laburnums, with the greenery making a background for her fresh girl-face. From her babyhood her beauty had been remarked, and at ten years old she was as used to compliments as an old woman of the world. Mrs. Lenox had long since resigned expectation for herself, but she was not yet too hopeless to indulge in passionate belief of a brilliant future for her daughter; and when I used to listen to the gorgeous day-dreams of the two, I felt dejectedly that my own most radiant visions were by comparison the offspring of a lifeless and gloomy fancy. There was nothing problematical or idealistic in their ideas of a happy destiny. What they wanted was, in the first place, money; in the second place, money; thirdly and finally, money. I doubt whether Mrs. Lenox ever resigned herself to the sway of fiction or poetry, but I am sure that had she studied Shakespeare she would have thought Iago's advice to Roderigo shrewdly comprised the worth of all aspiration. She and Georgy longed for dress, jewels and laces; great houses panelled with mirrors and carpeted with velvet; magnificence and pomp and circumstance about their every-day life; horses, carriages, invitations, theatres, operas,—all the pleasures which throng toward people with lined pockets and idle lives. Their wants were innumerable, their taste and fancy a harp of a thousand strings upon which caprice and vanity could play an endless variety of tunes. Mrs. Lenox had once enjoyed the luxuries she still coveted so ardently, yet Georgy, who had never known wealth, or even the easy-assured comforts of life, had instinctively the keener perception of the two for the worth of costly surroundings and possessions. No princess who had breathed perfumes all her life, trod on velvet and been served on gold and silver, could have felt a more vital necessity for luxury than Georgy, who had always lived among shabby things and known few but shabby people. She was born with the looks, manners and tastes of what we call an aristocrat, and her mother worshipped these traits in her. When one day she flung away her dinner because it was not to her liking, and went out of doors and pulled the peaches ripening against the wall, and ate them instead, Mrs. Lenox felt that such fastidiousness foreshadowed a destiny more than common. For her to tear her hats to pieces and cut her dress or apron in shreds because they did not suit her was a frequent caprice, and one we had all laughed at again and again—except Jack, who was thrifty by nature and respected the worth of things like a sensible economist. It was generally he, however, who replaced the ruined garments, and by the time he was sixteen he had attained quite a nice taste in millinery from his frequent purchases for Georgy. Mrs. Lenox always had a fit of weeping when such presents came and were displayed by Georgy as trophies, for she was still too proud not to be cut deeply by every fresh humiliation; but her belief in her daughter's future carried her through the present, and she pacified her scruples in regard to her course with Jack or anybody else who made outlay for her daughter by remembering that all such services would be balanced by and by when the natural order of things had been restored.