Page images

habit was, with immense energy on the among the illustrious dead. The only subject which occupied his mind for the two portraits of living men were those of moment. The early autumn shadows Prince Bismarck and Mr. Gladstone, both grew long, and presently Mrs. Gladstone rather good. The latter I bought and sent appeared with a wrap, which she put to Mrs. Gladstone, telling her that in this round her husband's neck, and we walked peculiar gallery the Englishman and Geron. At the end of another half-hour she man were thus paired off by themselves. came out of the castle, reminding her hus- It pleased her that it should be so. As the band that it was late. He answered that great Englishman and greater German he was almost ready to go, and again we were never supposed to like each other, walked on. Mrs. Gladstone waited, and there was an interest in seeing them thus soon said, “You know, William, you have bracketed, as it werethe two serving as to speak to-morrow, and it is very damp; pendants, each to the other, in a kind of don't you think you ought to go in?" neutral art-gallery. On this Mrs. Glad“Yes," he replied, “quite time"—then, stone made no remark; she was content with one of those expressions of humor with the tribute to her husband, and renot frequent on his face or in his voice, ferred to it sometimes afterward in a way said to me, softly: “We will take an- which showed how she valued anything reother turn to vindicate our indepen- lated to him. I don't suppose the dish was dence;" and we did. Then Mrs. Glad- rare, but it was rare in England, although stone had her way, and we walked back made in Germany and sold in Paris. to the house.

Over women Mr. Gladstone always had If I hesitate to speak of Mrs. Glad- an extraordinary influence. I speak of stone, it is because I still have an old- his later years, long past the period when fashioned dislike to the needless or casual his relations with women could give rise mention in print of the names of women to comment, if they ever did. This influwho do not take part in public life. But ence he appeared to exert unconsciously I felt it to be impossible to leave the wife —not as if he cared to, or made the least wholly out of these reminiscences of the effort to bring them under his sway. husband. Lord Rosebery, in his eulogy The tremendous personality of the man in the House of Lords on Mr. Gladstone, was quite enough to impress them; said: “ The most melancholy feature of these delicate beings seemed to feel themMr. Gladstone's end was the solitary and selves in the presence of a great natural pathetic figure which for sixty years had force--it might be Niagara, or it might shared all his sorrows and all his joys, be Vesuvius, or some other-in any case, shared his triumphs and cheered him in it was a force not to be resisted. Among his defeats, and who by her vigilance had many instances I select one. sustained and prolonged his life. The There was in London an American occasion ought not to pass without letting lady of high social position and much Mrs. Gladstone know that she is in our charm, both of appearance and character, thoughts."

who, like some other Americans in LonIt is probably true that Mr. Gladstone don, was of strong Tory sympathies. It had made it a condition with reference to was during that period after the first his burial in Westminster Abbey or else- home-rule bill when Mr. Gladstone unwhere that his wife should lie by his side. derwent a social eclipse - when great Certainly her memory will entwine itself ladies closed their doors in his face, with his. Nothing can be truly written when he was seldom asked to dine or for about his private life if she be wholly the evening, and when language was forgotten. And, quite independently of used about him seldom applied before or her relations to him and her life-long de- since to any man of his eminence in pubvotion to him, Mrs. Gladstone has high lic life. This American lady was one of qualities and a noble womanly character those who took extreme views of his powhich entitle her to a great place among litical conduct, and could scarce mention the women of her time.

his name without a disparaging epithet. In a bric-à-brac shop in Paris I once She asked me one afternoon if I would found a collection of large brass dishes, dine with her the next evening. I said with portraits of celebrities in repoussé- I should be delighted. “But do you Charlemagne (possibly not authentic), mind meeting Mr. Gladstone?" queried Francis I., Napoleon, and various others she. I answered that I did not mind meeting anybody, and that there was no- whether of oratory, or manner of conductbody whom I better liked meeting than ing business, or whatever rule or custom Mr. Gladstone. “But," I went on,“ how there may be which the House establishes happens it that you, of all women, are for itself. But Mr. Gladstone was his having Mr. Gladstone? You have al- own standard. He created his own atways disliked him, and I have known mosphere, lifted the House to a bigher you refuse to meet him.” She laughed level, and spoke with a voice of authority pleasantly. “Oh, since I saw you last I to which they yielded. In private life have been staying at —," she named his methods varied, but they seldom vathe house of one of Mr. Gladstone's lieu- ried in this particular. He did not tenants, “and I am completely fascinated catch the note, he gave it; and the rest by him.” She added, after a second, “I danced, if they could, to the tune which do not admit that I ever said anything he called. against him."

While at Brechin Castle, Mr. Gladstone I went to the dinner next evening, played two or three rubbers of whist each a dinner of some sixteen persons. Mr. evening. I played against him the first Gladstone sat next his hostess, though evening, when Lady Dalhousie was his he did not take her in to dinner. I found partner, and the second evening with him. myself opposite to him. He began early The same trait was evident whether you to discuss, of all subjects in the world, were partner or adversary. He played international copyright, just then before his own hand with very little regard to Congress. He asked me many questions his partner's. Whist was not a game he about the bill and its probable fate, and cared much for or played often, but when the state of American public opinion, he played it he gave his whole mind to and finally went off into technical mat- the game, as to anything else which he ters of a rather abstruse kind. This last- undertook. His play was anything but ed during a great part of dinner, and he orthodox. Of rules he took little heed, said little to his hostess, who, for her and he did things which would have scanpart, said little to her partner, but listen- dalized Cavendish or Clay. It was evied to Mr. Gladstone. When we rejoined dent that he thought out his whist as he the ladies in the drawing-room she said, went along; constructed, or reconstruct"Did you ever know Mr. Gladstone so ed, the science of the game for himself; charming as he was all through dinner, never led a card without a clear reason in or his talk so delightful?” She knew his own mind for leading it; never forgot about as much of international copyright a card; took no chances; trumped all as she did of differential calculus, and doubtful tricks, whether himself strong or cared as much. But she was in a mood weak in trumps, and almost never led a to find her new hero delightful had he trump till late in the hand. He never discoursed to her in Greek.

found fault with his partner. Such matI always thought it one secret of Mr. ters as signalling for trumps, or echoing, Gladstone's power that he chose his sub- or other conventional language of the jects to please himself. Lesser men, if game he ignored. If he had played long they have tact, strive to talk on matters enough, he might have invented them which they suppose likely to be interest- over again for himself, as Pascal did the ing to their listeners. Not so Mr. Glad- axioms and propositions of Euclid. stone. Often as I have heard him talk, All through his game was an interestseldom did he adapt himself to his au- ing study; an expression of his intellect dience. The audience had to adapt them- and of character. It was always so with selves to him, and did. It was an exten- him. He could do nothing in a commonsion of the method which he employed in place way. His flexibility of mind showed the House of Commons, and alone, or al- itself in this as in other things. He could most alone, among great members of Par- lead from a short suit or from a long suit, liament, practised with success. There is according to circumstances, just as he had not anywhere else on earth a body so first opposed and then advocated nearly jealous of its own prerogatives as the every cause in public life with which his House of Commons, nor one which in- name is connected. And each time he sists so strenuously that each member had persuaded himself that the short or shall conform to the general standard, long suit was the only one to play.





[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

S ber engagement had happened in the Middleton's birthday, or something. Aren't

you glau ?" cessful in keeping it secret; and so, when she “Awfully !" went to Mrs. Middleton's dinner, she found her “That shows wbat wonderful control you shadow appointed to take her down. Tbis de- bave over your features; one would never Jighted Serena; for to be really engaged to a have guessed it. Would you mind giving me person and yet appear only to flirt with him is some salt! Oh! why did you spill it? Now complicated, and so was ber nature. As for we shall bave to quarrel.” ber shadow, he was unreasoningly bappy. Her shadow, having bided his time, began

“Now," said Serena, turning to him when again : the first polite remarks were over with her “ Wbat did you meanright-hand neighbor, " you see the advantages “Probably nothing, but I don't remember. of not announcing one's engagement from the Do you want to quarrel with nie so soon ?" house-tops. You never would bave been al- “No; I simply want to know what you lower to sit beside me if Mrs. Middleton bad meant." known.”

Serena gave a little sigh of resignation "It's an idiotic custom, when every body and leaned back in her chair with ber hands knows I'd rather be next you."

folded in her lap. “That's the reason they feel it their duty “Well, I suppose I meant they might think to foil yon; and then, perbaps, it's a little out that being always engaged to one person could of consideration for me."

grow monotonous." Do you mean --" began ber shadow, but “It's the usual arrangement.” Serena became suddenly absorbed in conver- “I know, but I're often wondered that there sation with her other neighbor, and he had has been no modern improvement made in to content himself with bis own conclusions. it." When at last she turned to him again her mind “It would have to be so extremely modern." was on other things.

“I don't know. Now, for instance," Serena “Did you know,” she asked, “that there's pursued, rearranging her wineglasses with to be a surprise dance after dinner? It's Mrs. great intentness, “ I'm very fond of you."

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed]



[ocr errors]

“ Then your manners are almost as deceitful cluded corner on the landing of the ball as my features, aren't they !!!

stairs. Serena's lips curved in an unwilling smile. She was listening there to a number of re“Of course I like you, only I think one onght markalıly foolish nothings, and trying not to to be allowed a little vacatiou-say Sundays think of other things, when another dimly outoff, or an evening now and then. One would lined couple seated themselves on the stairs bereturn to it with so much more zest."

low them. With a sudden intuition she knew “When you had those, you'd probably striko the man to be her shadow, and all at once ber for an eight-lour law," her shadow prophesied, eyes saw clearly in spite of the dusk. The youth gloomily.

beside her babbled on, quite unaware of her “ You don't take it seriously,” Serena ob. lack of interest, while Serena sat with hier gaze jected. “If you would only cousider it imper- and mind fastened on the unconscious couple sonally, you'd see at once low reasonable it before her. They laughed gayly, and then

The more I think of it, the more it ap- seemed to dispute about something; at last peals to me."

the girl took one of the flowers from her gown " Then for goodness' sake don't think!" and leaned forward to put it in the man's Serena gazed at him with mild reproachful- coat.

Serena, to the surprise of her ususpecting I have to think; and it seems to me that partner, snddenly rose white and straight in the only way to prove a thing to try it.” the dimness, and with a murmured “I beg Her shadow saw his impending doom, but your pardon," slie stepped like a dividing fate from long experience he knew the uselessness between the two, who started apart to let her of struggling against it. “So, to-nigbt," Se- pass. Her escort followed bewildered, asking rena continued, cheerfully," I shall take a holi- anxiously if she were ill. day."

Serena turned savagely on him. “No, I'm “ You mean that for this evening yon cease not ill, thank you," she said, “but one can't to be engaged to me ?"

stay on the stairs forever, you know," and “ Exactly."

then she danced away with a new partner, “And you intend to act as if you were per leaving him to wonder how he had offended fectly tree ?" he asked, tortured by the mem- her. ories of past sufferings, and a desire to kuow It was at the very end of the dance that Sethe worst.

rena's shadow suddenly reappeared, aud before “I shall be, for this evening."

she kuew what bad happened she found her“Serena," be besought her, “ don't do it! I self being waltzed off into the ball. After deknow you won't like it, and it will drive me positing lier in a corner bo sank beside her, mall."

asking, “Do you find it as delightful as you "I am doing it as a scientific experiment," expected it to be ?" Serena explained, severely. “Just think how Serena looked severely through him to the many more people would become engaged if wall beyond. “I suppose I was foolish," she they were sure of a little relief now and then. said, coldly," but I never expected yc. to outAs auutie says, ' It's my duty.' How strange rage the conventions so openly." it is that one's duty is so seldom agreeable to “Really I didn't propose it, you know. Still, other people!" Serena shook her head sadly as long as you had decideil on it, there was over the perversity of things.

nothing left for me but to obey.

But did you At the dance which followed the dinner she find it successful !" seemed bent upon enjoying her freedom to the “Yes, though not exactly in the way I had full, and perhaps, at first, the evident fact of supposed it would be,” she said, dreamily. her sladow's not enjoying it as much as slie Her shadow dropped his scoffing manner. did gave a wicked edge to lier pleasure. If, as “Did you find that you missed me a little? I the evening wore on, she found the delights almost died of it." of liberty were not quite all her memory haul Serena turned on him in measureless scorn. painted them, she managed not to show it, “You were truly inconsolable.

The success but flirted on with rather more abandon than of my experiment was beyond iny liopes in would be commendable even in a disengaged showing me how without conscience you are. girl.

I should never have supposed you would trifle Her shadow soon disappeareil, inable, ap- with a girl in that way when you were already parently, to support the agonies of watching engaged." her, and Serena began weasily to acknowledge Her shadow drer a long breath of surto herself a growing inability to listen to what prise. “But I wasn't engaged--for the evenher partners were saying, with an irresistible ing." turning of her eyes towards the cloor as if Why not ?" inquired Serena, severely. watching for some one. To stifle the whis- Yon arranged it yourself, that we should pers of a more than usually guilty conscience, take a holiday; and if I don't object to the and to suppress these extraordinary symptoms, way you belaved, I don't really see why you she plunged deeper into reckless flirtation, should trample on my innoceut amusements." and even allowed herself to be lured to a se- "The way in which I belavcıl," Serena re

[ocr errors]

plied, loftily, “bas nothing whatever to do with “But surely you said you were going to take the matter. I was not engaged.”

a night off.” “ Tben neither was I."

“Oh yes, but that's entirely different. I may Serena looked at him, her eyes wide open sometimes cease to be engaged to you, but I in surprised contempt. “I never said anything thought of course it was understood that you about your not being engaged."

were always engaged to me."


THE AUTHOR AND THE TRAIN-BOY. Desert Drama, by Conan Doyle, just ont-" The distinguished anthor was travelling, continued the boy. with all the dignity of bis three names and “Read it !" retorted the distinguished allgreat reputation, from New York to Boston. thor, for the third time. It was a bot day, and the train-boy, with his And then the train-boy, in despair, banded stores of fresh broken mixed candies, his news- out the latest work of the distinguished author papers and periodicals, and all the latest nov- himself. els, feeling that something should be done to The Pink Brigadier of Fortune, by Warmitigate the sufferings of the sixteen or twen- rington Peters Rensbaw ?" said the train-boy. ty soul in the parlor-car, was unusually at- “Wrote it !" said the distinguished author, tentive. He distributed several boxes of chew- seeing his chance. ing-gum, copies of the funny papers, bottles The train-boy, like the worm, turned. Fixof lavender salts, and boxes of marshmallows ing his eye firmly upon the distinguished auover the laps of the wayfarers with great pro- thor's face, and with bis lip curling with confusion. This every one except the distin- temptuous indignation, le cried, gnished author permitted withont protest. “Aw-don't get gay!" The latter, however, showed signs of being resentful, in so marked and irritating a fashion, too, tbat the boy became even more

TO THE EDITOR OF ANY COMIC PAPER. anxious to secure him as a customer. So wben Curious the work you do, he came through the cars shouting, “ All the Always reading fun and chaff, latest novels—all the latest novels-- Peter Stir

Pun and parody. Do you ling, Anthony Hope's latest; Soldiers of For

Ever laugh? tune, The Red Badge of Have a novel, sir ?"

Always jokes—more old than new; be decided to make a special effort to win the

Always puns—so very vile! patronage of the distinguished author, and so

What a funny life! Do you be stopped at his side.

Sometimes smile ? Peter Stirling," he said, handing out a copy of that fortunate volume.

Are you not made mournful through "Read it!" ejaculated the distinguished au- Such an effort to supply thor, shortly, turning away and gazing out of

Jokes to other folks! Don't you the window.

Often sigh? Phroso—” the boy began again, dexterous

Do you find the wit you woo ly slipping a copy thereof out of the tower of

In the daytime haunts your sleep? literature in his bands.

If you dream of it, don't you “Reail it !” spapped the distinguished au

Daily weep? tbor, with a prond, disdainful gestire.


« PreviousContinue »