« VorigeDoorgaan »
cers, and the sugar out of the cupboard. “Yes,” he answered. “I hope I did
Tell me about yourself ; you look a little pot vex you. I could not bear to think better. Do you feel better?”
that you were to be put to the extra ex“ You know I have no illusions about pense because of me. But I see you are myself," he said with strange indifference, vexed.” as he placed the cups and saucers and the “ No," she answered, smiling frankly at sugar-bowl on the table. “I have only a him. “ If I were vexed at that, I should few months to live, and when I got out to not be able to understand any kind of Australia, it suddenly struck me what a poetry and chivalry. You have always fool I was to take all the trouble of going been good to me, and I have never been a there, just for the sake of prolonging my credit to you. But you must not say that life for a few paltry months. After all
, my failure was owing to you, for it was what are a few months in the long-ruo? entirely owing to my own stupidity and to Surely it is better to have the shorter time my over-fatigue. Siill I was disappointed. with the surroundings one cares for, and One always does hope for success. And near the work to which one has given one's it is a serious thing for any one working whole life. There is some comfort in for a livelihood to be kept back a whole being near the work, even if one cannot year. And I lost the chance of an apdo it."
pointment which was to depend on my He held the teapot for her to pour the success in the Intermediate Science.” boiling water into, and then she drew her “I did not answer your letter which anchair nearer to the table.
nounced your failure,” he said, “because “And then," he continued, " I thought I felt that there was nothing to be said on how selfish my choice was. There I was, the subject. But, you know, there are out in Australia, doing no one any good, other failures in the world. Look at my and at least, if I were at home, I might be own." giving the best of my help to those who “Ah! do not say that,” she said eagerly; might be glad to bave such help., .,1tno one who has done good work, as you seemed such an utter waste of my abili. have done, can be said to have failed." ties, such an utter waste of all my study.
“ But I have had no time,” he said iming. And then I thought of you.' patiently.
She was leaning back in her armchair, " What is time?" she asked, smiling and did not look up, even at his last sadly. “You yourself said that a few words.
months more or less made no difference." “And then I thought of you," he re- “ But that is when a man is doomed," peated, “and I remembered how you he said. " When he is doomed, the worked all the day, and how you studied sooner he goes the better. But, for my against such odds, with all your high- own part, I seemed to be played out before school teaching to do as well. And the I had a chance of playing myself in. It is idea seized me, that I should like to help maddening to have opportunity, and talyou, and see you safely through your ex- ent, and ambition, and to be denied time amination this time."
and strength. And then to think of the Again she pushed the hair back from many people in the world who do not her forehead, and still she did not look up. make the best use of their strength, and She seemed to be thinking.
who complain of time hanging heavily on “ I took your failure to heart, last year," them. Good God ! if one might take from he said, as he balanced his tea-spoon on them both time and strength!" his finger. “I believe I gave careless He pushed the teacup impatiently away lessons, for at times I felt almost too ill to from him. “But there now!” he said. teach well. I never thought that you had “ I hate grumblers, and I have not come a genius for mathematics; but all the to talk about myself. I want to hear what same, I felt as though you had failed be. you have been doing in my absence. By cause of me. And I wish you to pass, the way, you had done one of those probbecause, when you have once taken your lems most disgracefully; indeed I think degree, or even part of it, your whole po- your mistake there was unpardonable.” sition in the teaching world will be altered, As he spoke, he showed her the correcand you will not have to drudge.”
tions he had inade. “ You ought to have “Mr. Annerley,” she said suddenly, known better than this," he said ; “it is “soon after you had gone, I went to the a careless piece of work, enough to disNew College to pay in my fees. I found hearten any teacher.” I had been forestalled. You paid them for “I do not want to excuse myself," she me, did you not ?"
said ; " but lately I have been so worried
and overwrought, that my own private spirited man would have resented. But I study has suffered in consequence.” never thought it worth while to be agitated
"But you redeemed yourself here,” he about, or disappointed with, men or things. said, pointing to the problem which had Humanity might be unsatisfactory, but I met with his approval. “That is really never found hyperbolæ unsatisfactory. Deatly and elegantly done, enough to en- Ellipses were always my consistent courage any teacher. Ah! I am glad I friends." have come home. I am going to make Gertrude Hurst laughed. “Perhaps it you help me to fulfil my one remaining all depended on the way in which the ambition.”
hyperbolæ and ellipses were treated," she “And what is that?" she asked. said. “ Perhaps you understand them bet.
“My one remaining ambition,” he said, ter than humanity. With all due respect half to himself, “is that you should pass to you, I prefer humanity.”. your examination. For this purpose, I • We have never been able to agree on wish you to accept my help in your work, that subject,” he said, smiling. “It is no as long as I am able to give it. I have use whatever to pin one's faith to humanalways had the deepest reverence for you, ity; it is much better to believe in hyperMiss Hurst, and wish all good things to bolæ.” fall to your share. Such knowledge as I “Well, like every one else," she said, have, I should like to leave behiod as a "you are a contradiction to yourself, for legacy to you, to make life easier for you. you are always interesting yourself in huIndependent natures do not care to be un manity. My own case, for instance; if der obligations to any one, I know well; you find every one so disappointing, why but if you would be generous enough to should you take the trouble to interest accept my help, you would make these yourself' in me?' few remaining weeks very beautiful for “ You are something quite apart," he me."
answered quietly. “I regard you very Her hand rested gently on his.
much in the way that I do the choicest " Indeed I accept it," she said quietly. curves. All things considered, I should “I am glad you have come back, for your think you could not be disappointing." companionship was always a pleasure to She shook her head deprecatingly. “To me, Mr. Anderley: And then, too, al- know is the beginning of sorrow," she though you knew how to scold me, you said, as she turned to her exercise-book. also knew how to encourage me.
That is “Well, I shall not have much time to what your pupils have always said of you. know," he said with sad humor; "so just I think it must be a real comfort to you in allow yourself to remain on the list of the your trouble, to know how your pupils choicest curves. Do you mind me sitting have felt for you, and how they have quietly here, while you finish correcting missed you too. The new master at the your books? And then, if you are not too New College had a very difficult position tired, we might perhaps have a mathemat. to fill when he took your place amongst us. ical lesson with which to finish up the Aod though he did his best for us all, he evening And meanwhile I will read one had not that sympathy which makes teach of these treatises on socialism, and try to ing a success, nor that enthusiasm which become interested in all those new the. can turn mathematics into real poetry. If ories. No wonder you are over-tired, if you only knew how we had missed you, you crowd so much into your life. You you must needs have been gratified.” ought to be content with your own per
“You speak very kindly to me,” he an- sonal work." swered, as he shook his head; "but there "I cannot go on correcting books if you is really no comfort in what you say. The go on talking like that,” she said, “and I only comfort is in work, and I envy those am just engaged on two particularly bad who can do it. If they can do it, they are specimens of Latin prose. You always not to be pitied, even if they have lost irritate me when you pretend to take a everything else that people value, such as narrow view of life. Why, if I had not faith, and love, and friendship. I have interests apart from my own personal work, always thought that as long as one could I should be utterly miserable; and bework, nothing else mattered. The little sides, to be interested in anything outside worries of life passed by me unheeded, one's self, saves one from one's self. It simply because I always said: 'Ah, there is always such a difficulty to get away remains my work. I believe I was often from one's self; and that has always considered wanting in proper dignity be seemed to me the loveliest part of Buddh. cause I let things slip which any proper- ( ism. I think it was Buddha who spoke LIVING AGE.
of the 'beresy of individuality. And then tralia; and while it was supposed that he the idea of being merged in one great returned to England because he could not whole is so comforting to those who, like keep away any longer from his mathemat. myself, are tired of individual existence. ics, the real truth was that he could not I think that those rare moments, when one keep away any longer from Gertrude does not feel one's self, ought to be re- Hurst. She was by no means the most corded as the fairest moments of one's promising of his pupils at the New Coi. life — red-letter moments, in fact. Music lege, for mathematics were her weakest sometimes has this effect on us."
point. But there was something in her “Finish your corrections,” he said, frank manner which had won his atten. " and let us get to the mathematics; for I tion; and her eagerness to overcome her am on safe ground there, and you cannot difficulties, and her enthusiasm for work, dispute what I teach you.'
had claimed his interest, and an uncon. So the evening passed away, and he scious kind of sympathy between them trimmed the lamp for her, and pulled down had done the rest. Sometimes they the blinds, and then returned to his post chanced to meet on their way to the New by the fireside. Sometimes he looked College, and as time went on, they had round to see how she was getting on, but learnt to take a quiet pleasure in each he made no movement to disturb her, and other's companionship, although, after all, she could not see the smile of quiet pleas- it was very little they saw of each other. ure which was on his worn face. At last, Whatever his feelings towards her may when she was ready for him, he gave her have become when he got to know her an algebra lesson, and having explained better, his manner was precisely the same away many of her difficulties, set her some as it had always been when she was problems to do, and rose to go.
merely an unpromising pupil, and nothing “ Thank you for your kindness," she more. She had no idea that when he saw said, as she opened the door for him. “I her looking worried and overworked and feel sure that with your help I shall bave sad, he suffered, and would fain have done no difficulty in passing my examination.” anything to help her. But he went away
"Then you will fulfil my only remaining to Australia without her guessing anything ambition," he said, as he passed down the of this, and even when he came to her last stairs,
night, his manner would have revealed
nothing to her; though the mere fact that II.
he had returned to help her, told her more It was generally understood amongst than any words or any special manner those who knew Elkin Apnerley, that the would have told. And Gertrude Hurst only thing he really cared about was math. began to understand at last. ematics, and the teaching of mathematics. The next day, when she was out teach. He had a very rare gift of teaching, and ing, she found herself thinking constantly had always been considered one of the of Elkin Annerley. While she was thinkablest masters at the New College, where ing of him, he called at her lodgings in he interested himself in an impersonal sort the Marylebone Road, and left the books of way in all his pupils, both men and that they would require for their studies; women. But his kindness to them, and and he who had no notion of comfort for his interest in them, began and ended with himself, looked about the comfortless the mathematics. He was generous of room, wondering how he might improve his time to them at the New College, and it for her. He did not know anything was always willing to correct any extra about women, but he had vague notions exercises which they might wish to bring that they liked cushions and footstools, him. But this being done, he returned to and choice flowers; and there were none the region to which he was supposed to of these luxuries here, but only a little belong, the region of abstract thought, fern, which had answered to Gertrude where the words love, and friendship, and Hurst's loving care. He bought a cushhuman companionship had no formulæ, ion, which he fixed in her easy-chair; and and were therefore unknown quantities. he chose some flowers from a florist's near So after some time, his very kindoess at hand, and arranged them with as much came to be regarded as one of the prop- taste as he could command, in a little vase erties of a strange curve, the eccentricity which he found on the mantel-shelf. Then of which was something out of the ordi- he wrote on a piece of paper that he would nary. Perhaps he was eccentric; but, as call that very evening to give his lesson. a matter of fact, he had just done a most He came punctual to the moment, just ordinary thing in coming home from Aus-/ as though he were going to give a profes.
siopal lecture; and the two, without any edge of most things wears off, whether it
especially Browning and Shelley.
ness; but Gertrude Hurst watched over “ You are not irritable,” she said, though him as well as she could, and tried to be the tears had darted to her eyes at some thoughtful for him in many ways. She of his sharp observations.
spent her half holidays with him, and “But I know better," he said. “I made every effort to be cheerful with bim, should not be able to do much teaching although she was feeling over-worked and DOW. Only, if I am hard on you, it is be. over-anxious, and altogether miserable. cause I am so anxious for you to do really She was in that uosatisfactory state of well."
mind when one analyzes everything So day after day they worked together; life, its objects, its sorrows, and its pleas. and sometimes, when the lesson was over, ures; and having thus come even to anhe would sit by the fire reading the even-alyze its pleasures, she had ceased to ing paper; or, more often than not, staring enjoy anything. Mercifully for her, and into the fire, and sometimes stealing a look for all like her, this state of mind cannot across the table at Gertrude Hurst stoop- last long at a time. There come, even to ing over her papers.
the most parched minds, oases in the “ You seem better to-night,” she would desert of thought, and the heart is once say to him sometimes, and he would smile, more reconciled to life, its objects, its and let her think what she pleased. He sorrows, and its pleasures. Once, when dever complained of his fate. If there she confided to Elkin Annerley her state had been any bitterness in his heart at of mind, in consequence of his having being cut off in the midst of his work and reproved her for carelessness in her work, his ambitions, something had come to he said to her:sweeten bis life. It was not religion, and “Do not attempt to analyze anything if it was not resigoation.
you want to live on happily. Never stop One day when he had been coughing a in the middle of your work and question great deal she said to him: “I think these yourself about the value of that work ; lessons are too much for you, Mr. Aoner. for there is nothing so fatal as that. ley."
Those who do that, are lingerers by the She was sorry at once that she had al- wayside, and they will never reach their lowed him to think that she noticed his destination. Take my advice, Miss growing weakness, for he seemed to be Hurst, and do not worry yourself withi quite annoyed.
thought. If you must think, learn to “ I'm not worse," he said sharply, “and think of nothing." these lessons are mere child's play to me. " But you have not succeeded in doing You surely do not flatter yourself that you that,” said Gertrude. have reached the mountain-tops of mathe- “ Mathematics help me to do that,” he matics, where the brain reels? You are answered ; .at least, I mean to say, that only at the base of the mountain. I tell my reason becomes so occupied with these you it is all child's play to me.”
abstractions, and these indefinite concepSo she did not again allude to his ill-tions are so engaging to my fancy, that my ness, until one night, after the lesson was mind simply cannot contain thoughts of over, she happened to speak of endurance, another genus. I should certainly advise and she told him that his courage would people who are troubled with doubts and always help her to endure. But he shook sorrows and misgivings about things in bis head.
general, to turn to mathematics; for they " Don't mistake it,” he said ; "it is not give comfort by inducing forgetfulness." that people learn to endure; it is that the " I don't believe a word of what you
say,” she answered, as she shut the conic- prove herself to be one of his worthiest section book with a bang. “You sit there pupils. She noticed a great difference in and tell me gravely not to feel and not :o bim, and saw that he was breaking up; think. Is it possible that you do not feel, but he was always cheery, and always said and that you do not think? I would to her: “ I shall live to know my one re. rather think and suffer, than be indifferent. mainiog ambition well fulfilled, and that At least to suffer, whether mentally or is more than most men can say." physically, is life; but indifference of mind, or paralysis of body, is death in
ABOUT the beginning of June he told “Some day,” he said, "you will feel her that he had decided to take rooms in this indifference growing on you, and you Hampstead, and to spend his last few will understand what I mean. Take my weeks under an open sky. “I have such advice, and just go through your life un- a desire to be amongst the green trees," questioningly; and when you have a road he said to her. “I feel that I have missed to cross, just cross it without wondering so many beautiful things in life, which whether it is worth taking the trouble to were there ready for me, if I had only do so. If you stop and hesitate, some known and cared. I am not well enough lumbering wagon will knock you down, to go far away from London, but I shall and that will be the end of you. Come be quite content to sit under the Hampnow, let us return to the mathematics." stead trees, and see the far-lying country,
They went on with their lessons for and hear the singing of the birds, and many weeks, and Gertrude Hurst saw no watch the children playing about. That one else but Elkin Annerley: He took a will amuse me all the day long, for I do great interest in all she did, and always not care to read any more ; indeed I can. liked to hear her chronicle of the day's not read when the fever comes over me.” work - wbether the pupils had been try- So she searched for lodgings for him, ing, and whether she had given a good and found a quaint, old-fashioned house history lesson. Once or twice she told within three minutes' walk of the Heath. him that she thought he did not take suffi. It was situated on a hill leading up to the cient precautions about the cold and the Heath; and he could sit at the window of damp, and that he ought not to go out in the cheerful little sitting-room, and watch the evenings.
the people passing to and fro, and study “Don't talk to me about precautioos,” | all the life, which in this part remote from he said impatiently, “ for I am going to London, seemed to have something free enjoy myself as long as I can, and it is and genial of its own. This alone was an my pleasure to come to you."
endless source of amusement to Elkin But one night after the lesson, he looked Annerley. And then never an evening around her little room, which he had learnt passed but that Gertrude Hurst found to love, and he said:
time to come to see him ; and he still gave 'I shall not see this room again, after her lessons, and still praised her for her to-day. I feel now that I cannot get so progress. She spent the whole of Satfar; but you will come to see me, will you urday and Sunday at Hampstead, and not, and let me help you as long as I can ? brought a pile of exercise-books to corThere are only about six weeks before the rect; and then, when work was finished, examination begins, and I shall be able to they stroiled out together on to the Heath, hold out till that."
chiefly frequenting a beautiful part known “Do you feel worse ? " she asked anx as Judge's Walk. There were three row's iously. “ I thought you looked a little of trees in Judge's Walk, splendid old better, and you will become still better as elms and limes, and one solitary horsethe spring warms into the summer." chestnut; they formed the aisles of a
But he shook his head, and smiled leafy cathedral, lovelier than any cathedral brightly at her. “I have told you many reared by human hands. The sun shone times," he said, " that I have no illusions through the branches, just as in a cathedral about myself. Most consumptive people the sun shines through the jewelled panes ; think they are going to get well; but I and the delicious scent of the limes sto! happen to be an exception. You will through the air, casting fragrance all come to my lodgings, will you not?” around. Elkin Annerley found happiness
After that she went to his rooms, and here every day. had her lessons there; and he was de- “Here I can worship the unknown God," lighted with her progress, especially in he said; "here dogmas are of no account, trigonometry, and said that she would yet and our thoughts, and our hearts' best