« VorigeDoorgaan »
ter lighted a pipe, went to the window, and began to drum on the panes with his fingers.
Nenila asked; like all selfish men he was a trifle shy. Nenila proposed to her guests a walk in the garden; but
"So I've been talked about there?" she herself went no farther than the
asked Lutschkoff suddenly.
"Yes indeed," replied Kister with a significant look.
"What was said?"
"Why, you were spoken of. They would like to be better acquainted with you."
"Who in particular?"
"How inquisitive you are!" Lutschkoff rang the bell and ordered the servant to saddle his horse. "Where are you going?" "To the riding-ground." "Well, au revoir. So we are to drive over to the Perekatoffs on Wednesday?"
"Yes, for aught I care," replied Lutschkoff lazily, stretching himself. "A queer fellow!" cried Kister, and left the room. On his way home he became absorbed in thought and sighed heavily several times.
When the servant announced the names of Kister and Lutschkoff Marja hurried to the door of the drawingroom, but instantly retreated, went back to her room, and stepped before the mirror. Her heart was throbbing violently. After a while her maid appeared and said she was wanted in the drawing-room. Marja drank a little water, lingered several times upon the stairs, and then went down.
Perekatoff was not at home. Nenila was sitting on the sofa. Lutschkoff had taken his place in a chair and still held his cap in his hands; the cornet sat beside him. As the daughter of the house entered, both men rose, Kister with the pleasant smile peculiar to him, Lutschkoff with a rigid, solemn face. Marja bowed with a shade of embarrassment and then approached her mother.
The first ten minutes were successfully passed. Marja drew a long breath of relief, and began to watch the captain. He made curt, but not entirely calm answers to the questions
balcony. She did not consider it her duty to keep her daughter perpetually in sight and follow her every step, like most provincial mothers.
The walk was a tolerably long one. Marja talked principally with Kister, but dared not glance either at him or Lutschkoff. The captain addressed her several times, and Kister noticed ' that his voice betrayed secret agitation. He talked and laughed continually.
They reached a little stream, and noticed a few paces from the shore a water-lily, whose broad, round leaves seemed resting on the smooth surface. "What a beautiful flower!" cried Marja.
Lutschkoff instantly unbuckled his sword, clung with one hand to the slender bough of a willow, leaned forward over the water, and cut the blossom from its stalk.
"It is deep here, take care!" cried Marja in terror.
Lutschkoff drew the flower ashore with the point of his sword at Marja's feet. She stooped, raised it, and looked at Lutschkoff with a glance beaming with joyous, tender admiration.
"Bravo!" exclaimed Kister. "And I can't swim," said Lutschkoff, carelessly.
This remark did not please Marja. Why did he say that? she thought.
The two visitors stayed till evening. New and strange emotions stirred Marja's soul; she repeatedly sank into a reverie, and a vague doubt was mirrored on her face. Her movements became slower, and she did not avoid her mother's glance, on the contrary she seemed to seek it and ask for counsel. During the evening Lutschkoff paid her several clumsy civilities; but his very awkwardness flattered her childish vanity.
When the two friends, promising to repeat their call in a few days, had taken leave, the young girl went quietly to her own room and gazed
around her a long time with a sort of Kister's situation was astonishment.
Her mother came in as usual, before retiring to rest, embraced and kissed her. Marja opened her lips as if she wished to tell Nenila something, but uttered no words. She wanted to make a confession, but really did not know what she ought to acknowledge. Her soul was deeply stirred.
She had put the flower given her by Lutschkoff in a glass of water and placed it on the night-table. When in bed, she rose cautiously on her left elbow and pressed the fresh, white petals gently to her girlish lips.
"Well," Kister asked his comrade the next morning, "do you like the Perekatoffs? Wasn't I right? Speak!" Lutschkoff remained silent. "Well, man, answer!" "What am I to answer?" "What?"
"Why yes, this-what is her name? this Marja isn't at all amiss."
"Well, you see- -" cried Kister, then suddenly relapsed into silence.
Five days after Lutschkoff himself proposed to his friend to drive over to the Perekatoffs. He would not have ventured to pay the visit alone. If he went without the cornet, he would be obliged to lead the conversation, and he was not equal to such a task.
During the second call paid by the two officers Marja felt much more at ease. She was now glad that she had not troubled her mother with an unconfession. Before dinner asked Lutschkoff was challenged to mount a young untrained horse, and spite of the animal's frantic side bounds, succeeded in completely subduing it.
In the evening he allowed himself a tolerable degree of license and laughed and jested, and though he speedily curbed himself he had made for the moment an unpleasant impression on Marja. She did not yet understand feelings Lutschkoff what actually aroused in her, but every trait she did not like she attributed to his misfortune, his isolated life.
Visits from the two friends now recurred with tolerable frequency.
more and more painful. He did not regret what he had done; yet he hoped his time of trial might not last too long. His affection for Marja daily increased, and she was evidently kindly disposed towards him, but to be nothing more than a mediator, favorite, and friend, was too hard and thankless a task for him! People who can become enthusiastic in cold blood say all sorts of things about the sanctity, the purifying and happinessbestowing influence of sorrow, Kister's warm, simple heart found no joy in grief.
One day when Lutschkoff, completely dressed for the visit, called for him, the cornet, to his friend's amazement, frankly told him that he was not going to the Perekatoffs with him. Lutschkoff begged, grew angry, stormed. Kister pleaded a headache and Lutschkoff was obliged to drive off alone.
The bully had changed very much during the last few weeks. He let his comrades alone, and no longer molested even the new-comers into the regiment; though he had not "expanded" morally, as his friend Kister had prophesied, he had really grown calmer. It could not have been said previously that experiences and disappointments had robbed him of his illusions-for he had scarcely seen or experienced anything; so it was no marvel that Marja engrossed his every thought. He had not become more soft-hearted in consequence of this; only the bitterness of his nature had somewhat diminished.
The feelings Marja cherished for him were of a singular character.
She scarcely ever looked him directly in the face, she could not even talk with him. If they chanced to be alone, timid. She she instantly became regarded him as an extraordinary person, to whom she looked up shyly, who stirred her soul because she imagined that she could not understand him and did not deserve his confidence. she thought of him continually with u troubled heart. In Kister's company,
on the contrary, she felt relieved and cheerful, though his presence neither disturbed her nor made her happy. She could chat with him for hours, leaning familiarly on his arm as if he were her brother; she gazed affectionately into his eyes and joined cordia.ily in his laugh; but she rarely thought of him. Lutschkoff's nature was mysterious to the young girl; she felt that his soul was gloomy, "like the forest," and tried to penetrate this strange darkness. So children gaze intently a long time into deep wells, till they at last behold far below at the bottom the black, motionless water.
When Lutschkoff entered the room alone, Marja for a moment was seized with a sort of terror, but this emotion soon gave place to joy. It seemed as though hitherto some misunderstanding had existed between her and Lutschkoff, about which they had never been able to effect an explanation.
Lutschkoff first mentioned why his friend Kister had not accompanied him. The master and mistress of the house expressed their regret; Marja looked incredulously at the captain-she anticipated his farther communications with impatience and expectation.
After dinner they were left alone. Marja, not knowing what she ought to say, seated herself at the piano; her hands ran swiftly and restlessly over the keys; she constantly interrupted her playing in the expectation that Lutschkoff would begin to speak. But the captain understood nothing about music; nay, he did not even like it. Marja began to talk about Rossini, who had just come in fashion, then of Mozart. Lutschkoff answered: "Yes-no -certainly-very pretty," and said no
Marja now commenced to play some brilliant variations upon a theme by Rossini. Lutschkoff listened, did nothing but listen, and when she finally turned towards him his face expressed such unutterable weariness that she suddenly started up and instantly closed the instrument..
Approaching the window she gazed out into the garden a long time. Lutschkoff did not stir from his place, and still kept silence.
Marja's timid shyness at last began to yield to impatience.
"What is the matter?" she thought. "Doesn't he want to talk, or can't he?” It was now Lutschkoff's turn to become timid. He again felt overpowered by the torturing distrust peculiar to him; he was already growing angry. "The devil put it into my head to quarrel with this girl," he muttered.
And yet how easy it would have been to touch Marja's heart at that moment! Whatever this remarkable, though singular man (for as such she regarded him) might have said, she would have understood everything, forgiven everything, believed everything. But this stupid, oppressive silence! Tears of anger filled her eyes.
"If he doesn't want to explain himself, if I am not worthy of his confidence, why does he come here? Or is it, perhaps, that I don't understand how to make him speak?"
And she turned hastily towards him,. gazing at him so enquiringly, so earnestly, that he could not help understanding her glance.
"Marja Serjevna," he stammered, “I -I-I must tell you something.” "Speak," replied Marja quickly. Lutschkoff glanced around him irresolutely.
She could say no more; her voice failed. She grew very pale and rushed out of the room.
Fifteen minutes after Perekatoff, with the affability instilled into hin accompanied Lutschkoff to the anteroom, pressed his hand cordially, and entreated him "not to forget" him and his family. After having thus dismissed his guest, he remarked majestically to one of the servants that he wouldn't do amiss to have his hair cut, and without waiting for an answer he returned with a troubled face to his room, lay down on a sofa, still with the same anxious expression, instantly fell asleep like an innocent child.
"You look rather pale to-day," said Nenila to her daughter that evening. "Don't you feel well?"
"Perfectly well, mamma."
Nenila drew the shawl closer around her neck.
"You are really very pale. Look at me," she continued with the same motherly solicitude, in which, however, mingled a tone of parental authority; "why, your eyes, too, are not very clear to-day. Marja, you are ill."
"My head aches a little," replied Marja in order to say something.
"You see, I knew it." Nenila laid her hand on Marja's forehead. "But you are not feverish."
Marja stooped and picked up a pin. The mother's hands gently clasped the daughter's slender waist.
"Should you not tell me something?" she asked tenderly, without removing her hands.
"I? No mamma."
Marja's sudden embarrassment had not escaped her mother's eyes.
"Yet I believe Think again." But Marja had already recovered her self-command; instead of answering, she kissed her mother's hand.
"Have you really nothing to tell me?" "No, really I haven't."
after a short silence. "I know you will not try to conceal anything from me?" "No, mamma.”
But a faint flush mounted into Marja's face at the same moment.
"That is noble in you. It would be wicked if you wished to hide anything from me. Surely, Marja, you know how much I love you."
And Marja nestled closely to her mother.
"Well, enough, enough." (Nenila was moving towards her room.)
"Tell me," she continued carelessly, as if her question had no special significance, "what have you been talking about with Captain Lutschkoff to-day?"
"With Captain Lutschkoff?" replied Marja quietly. "Why, about all sorts of things."
"So you like him?"
"What do you mean?"
"Don't you remember how much you desired to make his acquaintance? How uneasy you were?"
Marja turned away and began to laugh.
"He is such a singular man!" remarked Nenila, in an artless tone. Marja wanted to defend Lutschkoff, but bit her tongue just in time.
"Yes, he really is a singular person, a perfect original," she replied, in a tolerably indifferent tone; "but a very brave man."
"Of course. Why didn't the cornet come with him?"
"He was ill. Ah, yes! By the way, he wanted to send me a puppy. Will you allow it?"
"That you would tell me at once if
"I believe you," Nenila answered you ever fell in love."
"Well? Has not the time come?" Marja burst into a loud laugh. "Look at me."
with the tints of western light. Lecky has spoken to you of the political value of history in expanding the range of our vision, and teaching us,
The girl looked her mother boldly in judging the true interests of na
and steadily in the eyes.
"It is impossible!" thought Nenila, regaining her confidence. "How should she be able to deceive me? How did I even get such an idea! She is still a perfect child."
She went away.
"It's really very wrong in me," thought Marja.
From The London Times. INTERNATIONAL PREJUDICE.1
The fields of knowledge explored by the students to whom I have just presented certificates of merit cover so vast an area that it may be deemed strange if, as temporary president of this institute, I should, nevertheless, invite you to-night to the contemplation of a totally different set of phenomena from those which figure in any of the syllabuses which guide your usual studies. The addresses of my predecessors in this chair have been as varied in their choice of topics as the subjects which you here pursue. Sometimes physicists have revealed to you some of the latest secrets of the material world. currents, the ebb and flow, the rising tide of new social forces have been explained to you on other occasions in stirring periods by eloquent lips. The volume of your presidential addresses contains precious mementoes of Froude and Lowell, who have both presented to you studies on democracy-the one, a friendly warning appealing to the past, buttressed with stones cut from the quarries of classical times; the other, a picture brightness, hopeful, buoyant, colored
tions, to look beyond the immediate future. Mr. Lecky declared, and I yield him an enthusiastic assent, that "history is never more valuable than when it enables us, standing as on a height, to look beyond the turmoil of our petty quarrels and to detect in the slow development of the past the great permanent forces which are steadily bearing nations onwards towards improvement or decay." The study of history to my mind is an indispensable element in the education of enlightened citizenship, and especially of such citizenship as aspires to take part in the guidance of an empire such as ours.
But to-night it is to a different form of history, if history it can rightly be called, that I desire to draw your attention. I wish you to reflect on some of those contemporary forces which the past, as Lecky says, is to help us to judge, but about which, as about many events of recent occurrence, too little is known and too little is thought. Ladies and gentlemen, students of the past, you who pass brilliant examinations in the history of the ancient republics, or who could paint in glowing periods the glories of medieval times, the stories of the makers of empires, or of the champions of Churches, you who have saturated yourselves with the chronicles of various nations, what is the latest date, may I ask, down to which, as a rule, you have conducted your studies? There is, I fear, in the case of every generation a gap in their knowledge between the events chronicled by the latest historical text books which are supplied for their educational use and the events of which they themselves have been eye-witnesses. It must, I fear, necessarily be so. There is an interval too late to be taught by books, too early to be known by experience. This immediate past is too little a past to have