« VorigeDoorgaan »
has come to pick a quarrel with Bell; and large dining-room, in front of the fireplace, that she is likely to grant him everything a young man is standing. He has a timehe asks; and, if she does not, there will be table in his hand, which he is pretending infinite trouble and vexation. I consider to read, and his hat is on his head. He it most provoking-and most thoughtless hastily removes that most important part and inconsiderate on his part-to thrust of an Englishman's attire, when my Lady himself upon us in this way." enters the room, and then he comes forward with a certain apprehension and embarrassed look on his face. If he had been growing nervous about his reception, there was nothing, at all events, to be feared from Queen Titania, who would have welcomed the himself with an effusive courtesy, if only she had regarded it as
"And yet, after all," I say, as she fastens on a bracelet which was given her nearly twenty years ago now, "is there anything more natural? A young man is in love with a young woman
"It is his own fault," she interposes. "Perhaps. So much the worse. He ought all the more to have your compas-her duty. sion, instead of your indignant scorn. Well, she leaves his charming society to go off on a wild rampage through the country. A possible rival accompanies her. The young man is torn asunder with doubts and fears. He writes to her. She does not answer. His anxiety becomes a madness; and forthwith he sets off in pursuit of her. Is there anything in all this to brand him as an outcast from humanity?"
"Oh, Arthur," she says, her whole face lighting up with a gladness which amazed even me, who am accustomed to watch her ways, "I am really delighted to see you. How good of you to come and spend the evening with us on so short a notice. I hope we have not taken you away from any other engagement?"
"No," says the young man, apparently very much touched by this kindness, "and and-it is I who ought to apologize for breaking in on you like this."
"Why, look at the folly of it! If the girl had proper spirit, would it not drive her into refusing him altogether?"
"Foolish, my dear, yes! but not criminal. Now the whole of you seem to look on Arthur as a monster of wickedness, beeause he is anxious to marry the girl he is fond of."
My Lady alters the disposition of the thin tracery of silver cord which runs through the dark masses of her hair, and as she thus manages to shelve the subject, she says
"I suppose we shall have a pleasant time at dinner. Arthur will be fiercely amusing. Plenty of sarcasm going about. Deadly looks of hatred. Jokes as heavy as that one Bell talks of that was carried to the window by four men, and killed a policeman when it tumbled over."
My Lady is gently reminded that this story was told of a German, before the date of Bell's conversion; whereupon she answers coolly
"Oh, I do not suppose that Count von Rosen is like all Germans. I think he is quite an exception - a very creditable exception. I know I have never met anyone the least like him before."
"But heroes were not common in your county, were they?"
They were in yours," says Tita, putting her arm within mine, and speaking with the most gracious sweetness; "and that was why they took no notice of you." We go downstairs. At the head of the
"Then you will spend to-morrow with us also?" says my Lady, quite pleasantly. Indeed, there is nothing like facing the inevitable with a good grace.
"Yes," says Arthur, rather humbly, “if you think I'm not intruding."
"Why, your coming will be quite a relief. I should never have forgiven you if you had been in our neighbourhood without coming to see us."
You might think that this little speech was of the nature of a fib. But it was not, just at that moment. When people are absent, Tita is about as cool, and accurate, and severe in her judgment of them as any woman can be; and she is not disinclined to state her opinion. But once they come near her and especially if she has to play the part of hostess, and entertain themthe natural and exuberant kindness of the woman drives her into the most curious freaks of unconscious hypocrisy. Half an hour before she had been talking of Arthur in a way that would have considerably astonished that young man, if he had known; and had been looking forward with dismay and vexation to all the embarrassments of his visit. Now, however, that he was there
thrown on her mercy as it were she showed him a quite inordinate kindness, and that in the most honest way in the world. A couple of minutes sufficed to convince Arthur that he had at least one firm friend in our household.
He began to look anxiously towards the
door. Presently, a voice that he knew | Republican phenomena that had recently pretty well was heard outside ; and then been manifested in this country.
- ominous conjunction - the Lieutenant Now what conceivable connection is and Bell entered together. Von Rosen there between the irritation of an anxious had held the door open for his companion, lover and Republicanism? Master Arthur so that Bell advanced first towards our had never alarmed any of us by professing visitor. Her face was quite calm and a wild opinions on that subject or on any trifle reserved; and yet every one could other. We never knew that the young see that as she shook hands with the man had any political views, beyond a young man, there was a timid, half-con- sort of nebulous faith in the Crown and cealed look of pleasure and welcome in the Constitution. Consider, therefore, our her eyes. He, on his part, was gloomily amazement when, at this moment, he ceremonious. He scarcely took any no- boldly and somewhat scornfully announced tice of the greeting which the Lieutenant himself a Democrat, and informed us that carelessly addressed to him. He accom- the time was come for disinissing old supanied us over to the table, and took a perstitions and destroying the last monopseat on the right hand of Tita, with a si-olies of feudalism. There would be a lence that portended evil. We were likely heavy account to settle with the aristocto have a pleasant evening.
racy that bad for generations made laws Had he possessed a little more worldly to secure its own interests, and tied up the prudence or savoir faire, he would now land of the country so that an idle populahave made some light excuse for his being tion had to drift into the big towns and present. He ought, for furm's sake, to become paupers. All this was over. New have given us to understand that, as he times were at hand. England was ripe was obliged to be in Oxford, he had for a new revolution; and woe to them come on by rail to pay a3 a visit. But as that tried to stem the tide! it was, no explanation was forthcoming. The explanation of which outburst was Our Apemantus had apparently dropped merely this — that Arthur was so angry from the skies. He looked very uncom- and impatient with the state of things imfortable; and replied in monosyllables mediately around him, that he was pozto the various and continuous remarks sessed with a wild desire to upset and dethat Tita addressed to him. He had never stroy something. And there is nothing so spoken to Bell, who sat next him, and who easy to upset and destroy, in rhetoric, as was herself silent. Indeed, the constraint the present political basis of this country. and embarrassment from which she was Well, we looked at the lad. His face suffering began to vex the Lieutenant, who was still aglow; and there was something strove in vain to conquer it by every of triumph as well as of fierceness in it. means in his power.
The hero of the old Silesian song, when The barometer steadily fell. The at- his sweetheart has forgotten the vows she mosphere grew more and more gloomy, made, and the ring she gave him is broken until a storm of some sort was inevitable. in two, would like to rush away into The anxious efforts of Queen Tita to in- battle, and sleep by camp-fires, under the troduce some cheerfulness were touching still night. But nothing half so ordinary to see; and as for Bell, she joined in the would do for our fire-eater, who, because talk about our journey, and what we had he could not very well kill a Prussian lieuseen, in a series of disconnected observa- tenant, must needs attack the British tions that were uttered in a low and timid Crown. Was there any one of us four tone, as if she was afraid to draw down inclined to resent this burst of sham herolightning from the thunder-clouds. Lieu- ics? Was there not in it something of tenant von Rosen had at first addressed a the desperation of wretchedness that was word or two to our guest; but finding the far more entitled to awaken compassion ? labour not productive, he had dropped Had Arthur been less in love, he would him entirely out of the conversation. have been more prudent. Had he controlled Meanwhile Arthur had drunk a glass or his emotions in that admirable fashion two of sherry. He was evidently nettled with which most of our young gentlemen at finding the Lieutenant almost monopo- now-a-days seem to set about the business lizing attention; for Tita herself had given of choosing a wife, he would not have up in despair, and was content to listen. made himself absurd. There was someVon Rosen was speaking as usual of the thing almost pitiable in this wild, incohedifferences between English and German rent, ridiculous effort of a young man to ways, and social aims, and what not, until do or say something striking and picturat last he drifted into some mention of the esque before the eyes of a girl whose
affections he feared were drifting away, sentimental melancholy; and when he did from him.
manage to speak to Bell, he addressed her The Lieutenant, to whom this outbreak in a wistful and pathetic manner, as iť she way particularly addressed, took the affair were some one on board a vessel and he very good-naturedly. He said, with a saw her gradually going away from him, smile
her friends, and her native land. One “Do you know who will be the most little revelation, nevertheless, comforted disappointed, if you should have a Repub- him greatly; and lovers apt to magnify lic in England ? Why, the Republicans their misfortunes will note that he might that are very anxious for it just now. have enjoyed this solace long before if Perhaps some of them are very respectable only he had exercised the most ordinary men — yes, I believe that ; but if I am frankness. not wrong, the men who make the great “You got a letter I sent you to Oxfuss about it in your nation are not like ford, I suppose ?” he said, with a studied that. Agitators - is not that what you carelessness. call them? And, if you have England a • Yes," said Bell, with a little conscious Republic, do you think the government of colour in her face, as she bent down her the country will be given to those noisy eyes. persons of the present ? No – that is not “I am glad I had the chance of seeing possible, I think. When the Republic you to-night,” he continued, with the same comes, if it does come at all — and I do effort at self-possesion, “because I – I fannot know how much force is in this dem- cied you might be unwell — or some accionstration all your great men, your dent happened — since you did not send well-educated men, your men of good po- the telegram I begged of you.”. sition and good breeding and good feeling Here an awful moment of silence inter
- they will all come forward, as they do vened. Everybody trembled for Bell's renow, to see that the country is properly ply, which might provoke the catastrophe governed. And what will become of the we had been seeking to postpone. present Republicans, who are angry be- “ It was only yesterday forenoon I got cause they cannot get into Parliament, and your letter,” Bell says, apparently feelwho wish for a change that they may be- ing the silence uncomfortable ; and come great persons ? When you take and I meant to have answered it toaway the Crown, they will not all be night kings, I think: there is too much of good Oh, you were going to answer it?” sense in this country, and of public spirit, he says with his face suddenly getting that makes your best men give up their bright. own comfort to look after the government Yes,” she says, looking up with some - and so it will be then."
surprise. “You did not suppose I wouldn't " I hope there will be no violent change answer it?” in our time, at least," said Queen Tita. In fact, that was just what he had
“ Madame is anxious about the Church, supposed, considering that she had been I know,” remarked the Lieutenant, with grievously offended by the tone of his great gravity ; but he looked at Bell, and letter. Bell could not altogether conceal a smile. I meant to have let you know how we Arthur, watching them both, noticed that all were, and how far we had got,” says little bit of private understanding; and Bell, conveying an intimation that this sort the gloom on his face visibly deepened. of letter might be sent by anybody to any
This must be said, however, that when body. an embarrassing evening is unavoidable, a Nevertheless, Arthur greatly recovered dinner is the best method of tiding it over. himself after this assurance. She had not The various small incidents of the feast broken off with him, after all.
He exsupply any ominous gaps in the conversa- plained that the letter must have been detion; and there is, besides, a thawing in-layed on the way, or she would have got it fluence in good meat and drink which the the day before. He drank another glass fiercest of tempers finds it hard to with- of champagne, and said, with a laugh, that stand. After the ebullition about Repub- he had meditated surprising us, but that licanism, Arthur had quieted somewhat. the design had failed, for everyone seemed By the time we had got down to the to have expected him. sweets, and perhaps with the aid of a little “I only came down this afternoon; and champagne — the lad never drank much I suppose I must go back on Monday,” he at any time, I ought to say — his anger remarked, ruefully. had become modified into a morose and This looked so very like a request for an
invitation that I was bound to offer him a | only it is very hard to remember. And seat in the phaeton, if he did not mind a as for pronunciation, I know I am very little discomfort. You should have seen wrong." the look of amazement and indignation Well, he certainly had marked forms of which my Lady darted across the table at pronunciation, which I have considered it this moment. Fortunately, Arthur did unnecessary to reproduce in recording his not notice it. He said he was very much talk. He said "I hef" for "I have," and obliged he feared he would have to re-"a goot shawt' for "a good shot." He turn if he went with us for a day or two, also made occasional blunders in accent, he would inconvenience us sadly but through adopting the accent of the Latin he would consider it before Monday morn- word from which the English word is deing. rived. But what were such trifles to the After dinner, Von Rosen got up and main fact that he could make himself unproposed that he and I should go down derstood? to the billiard-room which is in the end of the building abutting on the "how much more clearly Mademoiselle stable-yard and smoke a cigar. Surely speaks than any English lady, or any Enggenerosity could go no further. Arthur lish person I have known yet. It is very looked surprised; and wore quite a pleas-remarkable to me, how I have great diffiant smile on his face when we rose and left.
But perhaps it was merely selfishness that caused our Uhlan to leave the field; for as we two went down the passage, and made our way up to the spacious room, he said
"I am rather sorry for mademoiselle. She does not seem to be very glad to meet her old friend-perhaps because he is not in a good temper. That is why I did say we should go and play billiards - there will be a chance of explanation - and to morrow he will be all right. It is foolish of him to be disagreeable. All this time of dinner, I was thinking to myself how well he might make himself agreeable if he only wished with knowing all the polite phrases with ease, and being able to talk without thinking. For me, that is different, you know. I am bound in by stupid limits; and when I think to say something nice to anyone-then I stop because I know nothing of the words—just like at a wall."
"But this is very strange," he said;
culty to follow people who talk like as if they had several tongues rolling in their mouth and others speak very fastand others let the ends of the words slide away - but Miss Bell, she is always clear, distinct, and very pleasant to hear, and then she never speaks very loud as most of your people do to a foreigner."
Perhaps," I say, "there is a reason for
"Perhaps she takes pains to be very distinct in talking to you, while she manages not to show it. Perhaps other people can notice that she speaks with a little more deliberation to you than to anyone else."
Von Rosen was obviously much struck. "Is that possible?" he said, with his eyes full of wonder. "I have not noticed that she did talk slow to me."
"No - she conceals it admirably; but all the same such is the fact. It is not so much slowness as a sort of careful precision of pronunciation that she affects and you ought to be very grateful for such consideration."
"Oh, I think it is very good of her very good indeed — and I would thank her
"Don't do that, or you will have no more of it. And at present my Lady is catching up a trick of talking in the same way."
"But I have remarked that you English always say that to a foreigner, and will not tell him when he is wrong. I know I am often wrong and always about your past tenses - your was loving' and did love,' and 'loved' and like that; and I believe I am very wrong with always saying 'do' and 'did,' for I studied to give myself free speaking English many years ago, and the book I studied with was 'Pepys' Diary,' Then he broke the balls; and by fair because it is all written in the first person, strength of arm screwed the white into the and by a man of good station. Now I find corner pocket. Nobody was more astonyou do not say 'I did think,' but 'I thought,' 'ished than himself, except the marker. It
"It is very kind," said the Lieutenant, turning to the table with rather a thoughtful manner. "You would not have expected a young girl like that to be so reflective of other people."
was, indeed, the first losing hazard he had ever made; never having played before on a table with pockets. His next stroke was not so successful; and so he consoled himself with lighting a Partaga about eight inches in length.
"At all events." he continued, “your language has not the difference of Sie' and 'du,' which is a great advantage. Oh, it is a very perplexing thing sometimes. Suppose you do know a young lady very well, and you have agreed with her in private you shall always call each other 'du;' and then before other people you call her 'Sie' it is very hard not to call her 'du,' by mistake, and then everyone jumps up, and stares at you, and all the secret is known. That is a very terrible thing."
"And please what is the interesting ceremony with which you drink brüderschaft with a young lady? The same as usual? a large jug of becr― your arms intertwined
"No-no-no!" he cried. "It is all a mystery. You shall not know anything of that. But it is very good-it is a very pleasant thing-to have brüderschaft with a young lady - although you drink no beer, and have no ceremonies about it."
"And what did Fräulein Fallersleben's mamma say when you called her daughter 'du' by mistake?" The large empty room resounded with the Lieutenant's laughter.
"That is a good guess. -oh! a very good guess - but not just good enough. For it was she who did call me 'du;' and all the people were surprised-and then some did laugh but she herself-oh! she was very angry with herself, and with me too, and for some time she called me 'Sie' even when we were together, until it was like to be a quarrel. But one more quarrel," added the Lieutenant, with indifference, "was not much matter. It was usually one every day - and then writing of sorrowful letters at the night and next morning some reconciliationSackerment! what is the use of talking of all that nonsense!"
And then once more the ball flew about the table; finally lodging in a pocket, and scoring three for a miss. Indeed, our Uhlan was not at home with our big English tables, their small balls, pointed cues, and perpetual pockets. Even when he got a good chance of a cannon, the smallness of the balls caused him to fail entirely. But he had a very excellent cigar. It was something to be away from the embarrassment that had prevailed at dinner.
Perhaps, too, he enjoyed a certain sense of austere self-satisfaction in having left to Arthur full possession of the field. On the whole he enjoyed himself very well; and then, our cigars being finished, we had a final look at the horses, and then returned to the coffee-room.
"I am afraid," said Von Rosen, with some alarm, "we have been negligent of our duties."
Master Arthur had left some half-hour before. The ladies had retired. Only one or two of the heaviest topers were left in the bar-parlour; the waiters looked as if they considered their week's work fairly over.
"Tell me," said my Prussian friend, as he got his candle, "is that young gentleman coming round here to-morrow?" "Probably he is."
"Do you not think, then, it would be good to hire a vehicle and go away somewhere for a drive all the day before he comes?"
"To-morrow is Sunday." "Well?"
"Do you fancy you would get either Bell or my Lady to go driving on Sunday? Don't you propose such a thing, if you are wise. There is a Cathedral in this town; and the best thing you can do is to study its history and associations early in the morning. You will have plenty of time to think over them to-morrow, inside the building itself."
"Oh, I do not object to that,” he remarked, coolly, as he went upstairs, "and I do not care to have too much driving it is only to prevent Mademoiselle being annoyed, as I think she was at dinner this evening that is all. I suppose we may go for a walk to-morrow after the church-time? And he will come? Very well, he will not harm me, I am sure; but-but it is a pity — that is all."
And with this somewhat mysterious conclusion, the Lientenant disappeared towards his own room.
From The Popular Science Review. THE PHYSIOLOGICAL POSITION OF
BY DR. RICHARDSON, F.R.S.
AT the present moment, the "Alcohol Question," as it is called, is, in various ways, one of the most anxious subjects of out-door controversy. The leaders of the temperance movement, seeing the tide that