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grows faint, and my faith in woman flick- she might have married any one out of ers, and her present is an agony to me, twenty of them. and her future a despair, the scent of that Then I came. I do not think I was dead rose, withered for twelve years, prettier ; I do not think I was so pretty comes back to me. I know there will be as she was. I was certainly not as hand. spring ; as surely as the birds know it
But I was vital, and I was new, when they see above th snow two tiny, and she was old—they all forsook he nd quivering green leaves. Spring cannot followed me. They worshipped me. It fail us.
was to my door that the flowers came ; it There were other flowers in the box was I had twenty horses offered me when once ; a bunch of white acacia flowers, I could only ride one ; it was for me they gathered by the strong hand of a man as waited at street corners ; it was what I we passed down a village street on a sultry said and did that they talked of. Partly afternoon, when it had rained, and the drops I liked it. I had lived alone all
e ; fell on us from the leaves of the acacia trees. no one ever had told me I was beautiful The flowers were damp; they made mildew and a woman. I believed them. I did marks on the paper I folded them in. Af- not know it was simply a fashion, which ter many years I threw them away. There one man had set, and the rest followed is nothing of them left in the box now, unreasoningly. I liked them to ask me to but a faint, strong smell of dried acacia, marry them, and to say, No.
I despised that recalls that sultry summer afternoon; them. The mother heart had not swelled but the rose is in tbe box still.
in me yet ; I did not know all men were It is many years ago now; I was a girl my children, as the large woman knows of fifteen, and I went to visit in a small when her beart is grown. I was too small up-country town. It was young in those to be tender. I liked my power.
I was days, and two days' journey from the like a child with a new whip, wbich it nearest village ; the population consisted goes about cracking everywhere, not carmainly of men. A few were married, and ing against what. I could not wind it up had their wives and children, but most and put it away. Men were curious creatwere single. There was only one young ures, who liked me, I could never tell why. girl there when I came. She was about Only one thing took from my pleasure ; I seventeen, fair, and rather fully-fleshed ; could not bear that they had deserted her she had large dreamy blue eyes, and wavy for me. I liked her great dreamy blue light hair ; full, rather heavy lips, until eyes, I liked her slow walk and drawl ; she smiled; then her face broke into dim- when I saw ber sitting among men, she ples, and all her white teeth shone. The seemed to me much too good to be among hotel-keeper may have had a daughter, them ; I would have given all their comand the farmer in the outskirts had two, pliments if she would once have smiled at
saw them. She reigned me as she smiled at them, with all her alone. All the men worshipped her. She face breaking into radiance, with her dimwas the only woman they bad to think of. ples and flashing teeth. But I knew it They talked of her on the “ stoep," at the never could be ; I felt sure she hated me ; market, at the hotel ; they watched for that she wished I was dead ; that she her at street corners ; they hated the man wished I had never come to the village. she bowed to or walked with down the She did not know, when we went out ridstreet. They brought flowers to the front ing, and a man who had always ridden door ; they offered her their horses ; they beside her came to ride beside me, that I begged her to marry them when they sent him away ; that once when a man dared. Partly, there was something noble thought to win my favor by ridiculing her and heroic in this devotion of men to the slow drawl before me I turned on him so best woman they knew ; partly there was fiercely that he never dared come before something natural in it, that these men, me again. I knew she knew that at the shut off from the world, should pour at hotel men had made a bet as to which was the feet of one woman the worship that the prettier, she or I, and had asked each otherwise would have been given to man who came in, and that the one who twenty; and partly, there was something had staked on me won. I hated them for mean in their envy of one another. If it, but I would not let her see that I cared she had raised her little finger, I suppose, about what she felt toward me.
She and I never spoke to each other. at her breast. She looked like a queen.
If we met in the village street we bowed I said “ Good-evening,” and turned away and passed on ; when we shook hands we quickly to the glass to arrange my old did so silently, and did not look at each black scarf across my old black dress. other. But I thought she felt my pres- Then I felt a hand touch my hair. ence in a room just as I felt hers.
“ Stand still,” she said. At last the time for my going came.
I I looked in the glass. She had taken was to leave the next day. Some one I the white rose from her breast, and was knew gave a party in my honor, to which fastening it in my hair. all the village was invited.
“ How nice dark hair is ; it sets off Now it was midwinter ; there was noth- flowers so.” She stepped back and looked ing in the gardens but a few dahlias and at it. “ It looks much better there !" chrysanthemums, and I suppose that for I turned round and looked at her. two hundred miles round there was not a “ You are so beautiful to nie,” I said. rose to be bought for love or money. “Y.e-s,” she said, slowly ; “ I'm Only in the garden of a friend of mine, in glad." a sunny corner between the oven and the We stood looking at each other. brick wall, there was a rose-tree growing Then they came in and swept us away. which had on it one bud. It was white. All the evening we did not come near to It had been promised to the girl to wear each other. Only once, as she passed, she at the party.
smiled at me. The evening came ; when I arrived and The next morning I left the town. went to the waiting room, to take off my I never saw her again. mantle, I found the girl already there. Years after I heard she had married and She was dressed in a pure white dress, gone to America ; it may or may not be with her great white arms and shoulders —but the rose is in the box stili.—
New showing, her bright hair glittering in the Review. candle-light, and the white rose fastened
BY E. NESBIT.
My garden was lovely to see,
For all things fair,
I had planted there.
Sweet gray and white stocks, and rose and rue,
And clematis white and blue,
When she should come
To give herself to me.
iny heart's hopes lie :
“ 'Tis here we will walk in the July days,
And thank God for this."
I leaned where the jasmine white
Here we will lean,
I and my queen,
She never saw the flowers
The roses, the pinks, and the dark heartsease
Only the jasmine, the lilies, the white, white rose,
They lay round her, touched her close.
And a long, white lily lay in her hand ;
I stand outside,
In the ruined garden solitude-
-As if any one cared
How they fared !
Life's pitiless Lord-
Alas ! alas !
Oh Rose ! my rose !
M. RENAN'S IRONICAL CONCEPTION OF IMMORTALITY,
The more M. Renan is studied, the less dream, a kind of fairy-tale which he can he seems to be in any real sense a re- vary as the colors vary in a bubble, or the ligious teacher at all, unless that spirit of hum of the insects in a garden varies its airy caprice which is of the essence of the attraction for the ear. On Sunday there fairy-tale
be admitted as a constituent was a gathering of the Provençal enthusiof true religion ; and this is just what M. asts at Sceaux, near Paris. The Society Renan wisbes us to believe, and what any who call themselves the Félibres of Paris, one who has any real faith absolutely re- and who hope to revive the Provençal lanpudiates. To us, religion means first of guage as the language of a literature all something whichbinds, something peculiar to the South of France, celebrated which is not elastic to our will, something their anniversary at Sceaux ;. and the which we cannot vary, as we vary our Félibres were generous enough to associate pleasures and our tastes and our lighter rev- with themselves the Bretons who cultivate eries. To M. Renan, apparently, religion, the language and religion of Celtic Britif it is anything, is a midsummer night's tany with the same tender enthusiasm with NEW SERIES. – VOL. LIV., No. 2.
which the Provençals cultivate the lan- me not attack formally the belief in imguage and religion of Languedoc. M. mortality,” he seems to say.
"There is Renan was chosen to deliver an address, enough and too much of serious argument and while saying many true and graceful of that kind. Let me assume it as all things about the local legends and associa- true, and make it seem ridiculous by comtions which, instead of undermining the plimenting these good people with the aslarger petriotism, really fill the larger surance that I should like to be thinking patriotism with new significance, and lend of their fête day and its motley gayeties the passion of home, as it were, to what to all eternity. Human life is a sort of would be otherwise its too abstract con- caprice, sometimes dignified, sometimes ceptions, he indulged himself in talking of grotesque. If it is to have an immortality the immortal life after a fashion which at all, it is just as likely that its more shows clearly enough that the immortal capricious attitudes will be caught and life has no serious meaning for him
at all. stereotyped as any other,—just as a butHe ended thus :-"I am old ; I have terfly is chloroformed and then pinned in reached the time when one ought to a naturalist's collection. I cannot imagine dream of furnishing one's head with the myself immortal, but if I am to be, I thoughts which will occupy it during the think I should be just as likely to be life eternal. That will be so long! It is always dreaming of bright costumes, and I imagine, the last images which will be fairy pageants, and lively masques, and the most tenacious, and which will fill our passionate Southern vocabularies, and all immortal soul during the ages that never ihe vivid romance of chivalry, as of any. end. Well, I have at this moment under thing else. And it is much better to hint my eyes most charming images ; I am to these good people indirectly, of what going to cherish them with the utmost evanescent stuff their religious dreams are care ; I hope to place your festival of made, than to direct any serious assault on 1891 among the subjects on which I shall their religion.” And no doubt it is hardponder through all eternity. Doubtless ly possible to underinine a traditional reM. Renan was not serious. To us, he never ligious belief more effectually than by this seems to be serious when he talks of re- ironic mode of assuming that though the ligion. He treats religious themes with popular belief in human immortality may the same ligbt, airy, and arbitrary touch be true, there is nothing in man that is with which he might manipulate a fairy- not absolutely trivial, nothing in him detale. But he could hardly have shown serving of the eternity with which he is, how little serious he is in dealing with the as a matter of course, credited. And this immortal life, better than by suggesting is what M. Renan sets bimself to show that the spirit is to have its latest thoughts, from beginning to end. At the very openhowever trivial they may be, perpetuated ing of his address, he says that, after havand petrified, as it were, through all ing reflected long on the Infinite which eternity, and that he himself inay perhaps surrounds us,” he has arrived at the conbe occupied during the ages that never clusion that nothing is more certain than end, with the sunny dreams of Provence that we shall never know much about it ; and the language in which the Trouba- “ but an infinite goodness penetrates life, dours sang their rather extravagant songs and I am persuaded that the moments of love and chivalry, or even with the which inan gives to joy ought to count gloomier, but not less arbitrary, traditions among those in which he responds best to and superstitions of Brittany. Doubtless, the views of the Eternal." . And he eviin a graceful way, M. Renan wanted to dently means by joy, joy of the butterfly intimate that the immortal life is a mere kind, the joy which the sun brings to the dream. That exclamation of his concern- creatures who can bask in it, the joy which ing eternity, “Ce sera si long !" betrays picturesque celebrations bring to those who his real drift. And, indeed, that notion love festivity and social gayety, the joy of occupying himself to all eternity with which all literary renaissance brings with picturesque costumes, and the dialect and it in this age, as M. Renan terms it, associations of the most showy, the least “ of the resurrection of the dead." The solid and durable, of all earthly kingdoms, notion of a soul fixed in contemplating to indicates frankly enough the irony of the all eternity the gayeties of an anniversary mood in which he was indulging. “Let celebration of the foundation of a Pro
vençal society, is so plainly ironical, that result ; but the joyous experiences of age we rather suspect that it must have given being to the joyous experiences of youth offence to all the genuine Christians, if as moonlight is to sunlight, or as water is there were any, among
“ the Félibres of to wine, the long immortality of those at Paris.” It was like suggesting that the least who die in old age, will necessarily soul should live forever in the perception be somewhat fåde and tedious, if there is of a sweet scent, or a rich tone, or a grace- an immortality at all. That is what M. ful group, or a fair flower. That is a Renan's language suggests, though he does great descent even from the conception of not say it plainly out. worth by which M. Renan ineasures the What M. Renan ignores is, that all present life of man. Every one,” he serious belief in immortality is founded on says, is worth more or less in proportion the conviction that the human heart craves to the joys which he has tasted in the be- rest on an eternal righteousness and blessedginning of life, to the share of goodness ness the communion with which is by no which he has experienced from those manner of means a light pleasure of that round him." But the share of goodness butterfly order to which he chooses to atwhich men have experienced in the early tribute all the significance of finite immorpart of their life from those round them, tality. The “beatific vision" is a vision involves elements a vast deal richer and for which finite minds can only be prepared deeper than the contemplation of the by suffering or willingness to suffer, -ingayeties of a Provençal celebration ; and deed, by the kind of suffering or willingone perceives, therefore, that M. Renan ness to suffer of which we have had a thinks the sweet thoughts of the eternal divine example. The only preparation life are likely to be made up of material for immortality is experience of a diamuch more trivial and evanescent than the metrically opposite kind from that on experiences upon which the worth of hu- which M. Renan dilates with a sort of man character depends. That is one way in epicurish cynicism as the possible amusewhich he trains his hearers to depreciate ment of a wearisome eternity. To learn the prospect of immortality. The worth to fathom the depth of even the deeper of human life, he says, is to be measured human characters is a process which inby the share it has had in the goodness of volves a great capacity for voluntary sufthose by whom the period of childhood fering.
fering. But to learn to grow up from the has been surrounded; but the worth of human standard of righteousness to the immortality is to be measured by the worth divine, is a process which involves the of the pleasurable images which happen to willing carrying of a cross in the infinite be uppermost in the mind at the close of agony and blessedness of which M. Kenan the human career. Tenderness, goodness, has long ago ceased to believe. Of course, human affections of the highest order, having once reduced our nature to the level enter into the substance of the one ; the in which the capacity for ephemeral gayety capricious amusements which most impress is all in all, he finds no difficulty in makthemselves on old men's memory will de- ing the prospect of immortality look as termine the value of the other. In both absurd for man as it would be for the butcases alike it is the amount of joyous ex- terfly itself.—Spectator. perience which measures the worth of the
THE BALLAD OF MELICERTES.
BY ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE.
IN MEMORY OF THÉODORE DE BANVILLE.
Death, a light outshining life, bids heaven resume
Star by star the souls whose light made earth divine.
Flower by flower, and sun by sun, the fames that shine