Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

the cheek, the unquestioning trust of upon her face she felt his kisses, and the eyes, were gone. Experience and

she said, pain had done the work of years. It “One week ago he called me his was suffering which had struck out the promised wife. Can this be he ? " first fresh tints of youth. It was like Paul, looking after her, noted the an untimely frost on a Spring flower. slight form, the weary step, the plain There was a tension about the mouth, dress, the white sun-bonnet hiding her a depth in the eyes, never seen there face, and said, before. The dreaming girl had gone “ She is the woman I have promised forever; in her place was the woman. to marry, and she lives in that horrid

“I am sorry, Tilda, you should feel place ! ” troubled about me,” she said, in a He looked at the woman by his side, strangely quiet tone. "I am not as her fair hair gleaming through a net of well as usual. I will ask Mr. Mallane silver thread; at the transparent robe myself, to-morrow, to let me go home of blue, in whose elegant fabric and for a week. I will go and walk a little fashion Paris seemed to have surpassed way now. I think the air will do me itself; at the delicate hands glittering good."

with gems; at the woman whom povEirene had been gone but a few mo- erty and pain and care had never ments, when Paul Mallane knocked at touched, sitting perfectly picturesque the open door below.

in her summer setting of flowers and In the back room Mrs. Goodlove was vines, and he felt the contrast. It is washing the tea-dishes, amid a flock of doubtful if the fairest woman knows quarreling children. The whole air how much she may owe to her graceful of the place was hot as an oven. The and gracious surroundings. It is diffiheat in the front room, with the smell cult for the loveliest of women to realof the last winter's smoke and of yes- ize how much she may lose because her terday's cabbage, was stilling to Paul; beauty struggles into flower in a harsh while Mrs. Goodlove, with her sleeves atmosphere and amid vulgar associaabove her elbows and a greasy apron tions. Eirene, as she stepped into Seth on, began to rattle and roll up a torn Goodlove's odoriferous hall, felt the paper-curtain while she asked him to pang in her heart, without knowing be seated, adding, that she would go one half of her disadvantages. The and see if Eirene was in. By this time beauty of lier soul and of her face had Tilda, who had seen Paul come across been so potent as to command love in the street, leaned over the balusters, defiance of conditions the most repelwhere, through the open door, she ling to a man like Paul Mallane. He looked him directly in the face, and loved Eirene, and did not love the exclaimed, in no dulcet tone,

woman by his side; yet her art, with “ You needn't come here, Paul Mal- the glamor of her accompaniments, lane. Eirene Vale is not in; and if she were powerful enough to hold him from was, she would not see you."

the woman that he loved. Bella saw Thank you,” said Paul, and walked Eirene, and Paul's following and redeliberately out. As he left the house, turning glance, and understood it. Sie he observed Bella in an airy robe of was perfectly aware of her own imazure sitting in the garden veranda mense advantage, and made the most and joined her. Not long after, Eirene, of it. How was Paul to know that the coming down the street, saw the two perfect picture which she made, with sitting there, and they saw her. As she the very effect that it had upon himlooked up, Paul bowed; but there was self, was the result of hours and days a remoteness that could not be meas- of study? for the most diplomatic of ured in the recognition. Had he been men is an unsuspecting infant before on the other side of the earth, he could the small but occult arts of an artful not have seemed further away. Still,

Paul looked at Bella, and saw only the pale, transparent skin, the shy, meet her clandestinely, pursue her, ruin deprecating, appealing air which had her, and forsake her. The world has enchanted him for the last month. She had too many of such pictures. If was no longer arch and tantalizing; Paul Mallane were such a villain, I never mentioned the shop-girl, nor should not be writing about him. It teased him about “a little loveress." would be sad enough for the race that No; she was so utterly drooping and he lived, without perpetuating his picsubmissive, so pleadingly tearful. She ture. Paul Mallane was a man with made him feel all the time that he had the possibility in him of a high nobildone her an injury in not asking her to ity, which his mother, the prevailing marry him; and he was still busy mak- power in his life, had never fed or fosing her amends.

woman,

tered. He is a thoroughly defective “It won't be long before she will be character-one who has missed goodgone,” he said to himself; "then I can ness, as in higher or lower degree we go back and ask my little girl's par

all miss it. The sorrow that he wrought don. I'll tell her just how it has been; came from the defects and discrepancies and she will forgive me, when she sees of his own nature, not from any delibhow much I'm sacrificing to marry her.” erate purpose to do a great wrong. Paul was not in an enviable state of The consummate villain, the piercingmind. No man ever is who is doing eyed gentleman of unutterably diabolhis best to divide himself between two ical attributes, spends his existence women, Through all these days of chiefly in the novel. I never saw him, utter neglect he had not been without therefore I shall not put him in mine. a desire to see Eirene. While seeming There was no end to Tabitha Malutterly oblivious of her, more than lane's projects for the enjoyment of the once he had looked through the closed young people. Every day she planned blinds of his own room to the utterly some new picnic, fishing-party, or exuninviting house across the street, and cursion, all of which Isabella Prescott helplessly wished that there were some pronounced to be “lovely,” and most place where he could visit with Eirene, reviving to her spirits and delicate as he did during the last summer. health. This was delightful to Mrs.

" What's the use of going over Tabitha, who declared that the dear there?” he asked. “There's that drag- child must stay till her health should on forever on the watch. And if she be perfectly restored. At the end of were not, it's enough to put the senti- the week Dick took himself off'; but ment out of any man, to try and talk Miss Prescott seemed no nearer departlove amid such a clatter of pots and ing than on the day of her coming. young ones, with more than the seven This evening, Paul's desire to see smells of Cologne pushing through the Eirene, quickened by many pricks of door to knock him over. I might meet conscience, overcame his dislike and her in Lover's Walk every evening, and

dread of the Goodlove house sufficientkeep her poor little heart assured, at ly to impel him to go across the street the expense of all the slander that to see her. The conviction came sudBusyville could concoct,” he said. “But denly to him, the longer he put off an I won't. I won't be a scamp—not to explanation, the harder it would be to her. If I don't keep her sweet heart make it; and that moment he wished from aching, I'll keep her pure name it were over, and that Bella Prescott from blame."

were out of the way. But the atmoI am aware that I am throwing away sphere of the house, and Tilda Stade's a fine opportunity of showing Paul reception, made him feel as if any inMallane to be a villain. According to tercourse with Eirene at present was the way of novels, he should flirt with impossible. He did not believe a word Isabella Prescott, and promise to marry of Tilda's speech, yet something in him her by day; write to Eirene secretly, made him glad that she said what she

VOL, V1.-28

did; it seemed to afford him an excuse up. The long windows of the draw. for his actions.

ing-room were wide open. There was Tilda, having given vent to her tem- no one in it but Paul and Miss Presper, was quite willing to believe that cott, who was sitting before the piano she did it “from a sense of duty;" playing. She was evidently perfectly but the same

sense” did not incline familiar with the opera, for Paul was her to inform Eirene that Paul had not turning over the leaves of her mucalled at the house and inquired for sic. Instead, he was leaning on the her. Presently she went away, and left piano near, gazing intently at her. She Eirene alone with her thoughts, and played on and on, air after air, and all the couple on the opposite veranda, were of an infinite tenderness, implornow growing shadowy in the twilight. ing, pathetically sweet. There were Eirene gave one glance at them, and long pauses between the music, when then took refuge from the sight in the Paul leaned nearer to the player in the dimness of the room.

dim light, and his low tones, with the “How near you seemed to me in soft, tremulous cadences of her speech, . Cambridge, Paul !” she said ; “but wandered out to the motionless watchwithin sound of your voice, with only er in the garden. It is a pretty parlorthe street between us, it seems as if the picture, isn't it?—the handsome young universe divided you and me-as if I gentleman and lady in the luxurious should never speak with you again.” room, sitting in a tender attitude, cer

Soon the piano sent forth the notes tainly, discoursing of music, perhaps ! of the sweetest air in “Martha," and It is not at all a heart-rending scene to the melody drew her involuntarily to describe. Strange it should have transthe window, All that she knew of fixed into a marble whiteness the girl music was in emotion; this in her was in the garden. She was a foolish little a deep interpreter; it thrilled her, girl, you see, and had much better have moved her, filled her with bliss or pain. been up in the Goodlove bed, sound No music had ever seemed so sweet, asleep. It is not much to tell about; and yet so sorrowful, as this, coming in it is only a true soul dying its first to her as she sat alone. It came from death in life, in its first desolation of him, from her; they were enjoying it to- distrust in the being whom it believed gether, and she was shut out. Before she to be truth itself. It is only a young, knew, she felt herself moving towards loving, faithful heart aching out there it. She looked; the night was dark; in the darkness; that is all. no one could see her-no one, not even if she slipped into the garden and lis- “Of course you may go,” said John tened. There, although no one wel. Mallane to Eirene the next morning, as comed her, she would not be so entire- she stood by the desk in his office. ly shut away. She stole softly down “Bless me, child ! what's happened to across the street, and looked around. you? Why didn't you ask me before, Nobody was near. She slipped through if you were sick? You need the mounthe side-gate, on to the turf, crossed it tain-air. Go, and stay as long as you to the old cherry-tree, and then looked please.”

A LITTLE FURTHER ON.

ONCE, in our spring-time rambles, in unforgotten days,
Where frail wild roses brightened the quiet woodland ways,
And lilies of the streamlet, and mandrakes pale and sweet,
And many a nameless blossom, lured on and on our feet;

Thou, love, at length grown weary,

didst

say, “Beneath yon trees I pass to rest a moment; stay thou to gather these ; I go before; yet hasten, for day is well-nigh gone; I'll wait thee on the homeward way, a little further on.”

Again for me the spring-time arrays the fields in bloom,
And tempts my feet to wander ’midst beauty and perfume;
In vain would they beguile me, for unto thee are given
The ever-blooming gardens and vernal fields of heaven.

And, sick with jealous longing, my heart seems cold and dead,
As if life's charm and freshness with thy dear presence ied,
And, in my restless yearning to go where thou art gone,
I seem to hear thee whisper, “ A little further on.”

In that calm hour I hear it, when Eve is on her way
To close with her cool fingers the weary eye of day,
When, under the soft azure and ’midst the hills of gold
The portals of the West in their crimson pomp unfold.

How oft we gazed together, and questioned if the scene
Were like the heaven we hoped for, so glowing, yet serene,
And deemed through such a gateway God's messengers miglit bring
Souls from earthly bondage to the palace of the King.

Ah! love, before thy vision lies clear that realm of light;
For me are these chill shadows, this drear and lonely night;
The eyes that, dim with weeping, see not the heavenly dawn;
The breaking heart that seeks not its treasure further on.

And yet in hours inspiring, I seem sometimes to feel
Thy presence, e’en as perfume will some near flower reveal;
An influence uplifting, a sense of sympathy
In all that once together was loved by thee and me;

As if the breathing fragrance, as if the wind's low tone,
And rippling waters, whispered thy love was still my own;
And I recall thy bidding to gather by the way
The sweet spring-flowers that clustered beside our path that day,
And feel thou wouldst not have me to walk through life in gloom,
Unmindful of the blessings that in its pathway bloom ;
But gather them like blossoms, ere yet the light be gone,
The wbile I go to join thee, a little further on.

THE PASSION-PLAY AT OBER-AMMERGAU, JULY, 1870. It is scarcely necessary here to relate at their effect upon these, our friends' nalength the various adventures of two tures. And for this reason only do I lovelorn damsels, who left their trunks dare to give you a peep through my and their travelling-companions at Vi spectacles at the Passion-Play of 1870. enna, and started valiantly upon a pil- We had heard at Munich that two of grimage to Ober-Ammergau, or to go the principal actors had been drafted, into the details of their encountering at and were ordered into service; but a Munich another lovelorn one come from petition having been sent the King, he Switzerland to share their fortunes; to permitted the unfortunate peasants to tell how the party gathered unto itself remain till the morning of the 25th, a "great, broad-shouldered, genial Eng and to enact, for the last time in their lishman” and his wife, and how the lives, perhaps, the scenes with which merry quintette proceeded by rail to we are so familiar. We arrived at OberWilheim, whence they rode in an open Ammergau early on the 23d, having carriage to Ober-Ammergau; to relate driven over from Murnau through mountheir queer experiences in little German tains and forests of surpassing beauty. inns, the strange dishes, the predomi. The little village, nestled in the very nating presence of beer, the curious heart of the great rocky hills, was all compounds of smells, the swelling in a stir when we arrived. Mine host feather-beds that usurped the place of was bustling about his inn, at whose sheets and blankets, the skirmishes for hospitable doors wagon-loads of hunrations, the forays after towels, the pud- gry strangers were continually arriving; ding-dishes that did duty as wash-ba- little knots of peasants were standing sins, the constant guerilla warfare waged about discussing the last preparations; upon fleas, the jokes, the laughter, the tidy German servant-girls were rushing thousand airy nothings that pluck the around with four or five full pots of sting from discomfort and turn it into beer in each hand; the children looked jollity; in a word, the difficulties and as if they knew that the success of the the delights of a trip into the Bavarian play depended on their best efforts, Highlands. Indeed, after so much has and the very donkey that they were been written upon the subject, there re- barnessing drooped bis ears as with a mains but one excuse for saying any meek pride in his important rôle of the thing more: the fact that, after all, every

Even Tobit's dog, a very thing that can be written upon a work frowsy animal, by the way, trotted up of art to be of any real value must nec- and down as if he had a good deal on essarily be subjective; it must be the his mind, and could not possibly stop truthful description or representation to talk with common dogs. of the effect of that work of art upon We deposited our modest effects at the mind of the writer. What he learns the inn, and then started out to explore from books or repeats from the words the village and its stores of wood-carvof others is worthless in comparison ings, for which it has always been fawith the careful record of one human mous, but had not gone far when a experience. It is from these varied mysterious elderly person in spectacles points of view that we endeavor to rushed after us in eager haste from an catch a vision of things we have not arbor where he had just before been yet seen; and we ask of the favored calmly sipping beer, and whispered in mortals who have beheld them in the German, with an air of great importflesh, not their size or their color, but ance, “There, look there! that is the

morrow.

« IndietroContinua »