« AnteriorContinua »
and hungry, and never murmur. I like and they all have an impression that, if well-fitting clothes, but rough furs suit Dr. Molke only looks upon them, they me just as well in season. Why, it are safe. So if an old woman but gets would make you laugh fit to kill your- the belly-ache, away goes her son or self to see these Danish workingmen, husband for the Doctor. Perhaps it is — the laborers, you know, with whom I in summer, and the distance may be a sometimes travel, – fellows that can't hundred miles or more. No matter, he
read nor write, poor mechanics, rough gets into his kayak and paddles through : sailors, 'hewers of wood and drawers all sorts of weather, and, at the rate of : of water' generally for this poor settle- seven knots an hour, comes for me.
ment, — who never tasted Burgundy in Glad of the excuse for a change, to say all their lives, and would rather have nothing (and the less perhaps any of us one keg of corn brandy than a tun of it, say on that score the better) of the and who never took their frugal fare off claims of humanity, I send Sophy after anything more tempting than tin. Do Adam (a converted native), and directly you think that these people can, un- along comes Adam with his son Carl ; der any circumstances, be induced to and my medicine and instrument cases, strengthen their limbs with eating blub- my gun and rifle, and a plentiful supply ber or drinking train-oil ? Not a bit of of ammunition, a tent, and some fur it. Do you think they can be induced bedding, a lamp, and other camp fixto sleep outside of their own not overly tures, and a little simple food, are put elegant lodgings, without groaning, and into the boat, and off we go. Perhaps everlastingly desiring to get back again? a gale springs up, and we are forced to Not they."
make a harbor in some little island ; or I could not help asking the Doctor perhaps it falls calm, and we crawl inwhat impelled him to exposure, of to one, under oars. It is sure to be which he had grown so fond.
alive with ducks and geese and snipe. “ The motives are various. I have The shooting is superb. Happen what done a good deal of exploring, have may, come storm or calm or fine weathreached many of the glaciers, have dab- er, though often wet and cold, and frebled in natural history, meteorology, quently in danger, yet I have a grand magnetism, &c., &c., besides making time of it. I may be back in a day, many photographs and geographical sur- two days, a week, or I may be gone a veys, and have sent home to various so- month. Then the winter comes back, cieties and museums many curiosities and I have again to answer another and much information. My name, as
The same traps are put on you know, stands well enough among the sledge, to which are harnessed the the dons of science. But apart from twelve finest dogs in the town,- my own this, my duties require me to travel team, — and, at the wildest pace with about at all times and all seasons. which this wolfish herd can rush along, You must know that everybody in this Adam guides me to my destination. country lives upon the shore, and there. Perhaps it may be early in the winter, fore the settlements are reached only and the ice is in places thin. We very by the sea. In the winter I travel over likely break through, and get wet, and the ice with my dog sledge, and in the are in danger of freezing. Perhaps we summer, when the ice has broken up, I reach a crack which we cannot pass, go from place to place in that little five- and have to hold on, possibly in a hut ton yacht which you saw lying in the of snow, waiting for the frost to build harbor. Sometimes I go from choice, a bridge for us to pass. This is the stopping at the villages, and exhibiting wildest and most dangerous of my exmy professional abilities upon Dane or periences, - this dog-sledging it from native, as the case may be. Often I place to place in the early or late winam sent for. The Greenlanders don't ter, — and I have had many wild adlike to die any better than other people, ventures. In the middle of the winter,
when it is dark pretty much all the morning!” came from out the painted time, and the snow is hard and crisp, chamber, and from beneath the skyand the clear, cold bracing air makes blue canopy a graceful query of the the blood run freely through the veins, night.“What of the night, sleeper ? is the best time for travelling; for then what of the night ?? Then I was we may start a bear, and be pretty quickly out upon the floor, and dressed, sure of catching him before he gets on and in the cosey little room where the rotten ice or across a crack defying us fruits and flowers were hanging on the in the pursuit."
wall, and where the bright face of SoBy this time the sun had begun to phy, and aromatic coffee, and a charmclimb above the hills, and the shadow ing little breakfast, were awaiting us of the cliffs had passed over the town, with a kindly welcome. so we stole back again to the Doctor's Breakfast over, I left the Doctor to house, The Doctor insisted that I expend his skill and knowledge on a should not sleep on board, so we re- patient who had sent to claim his serturned to the study, where I was soon vices, and strolled out over the rocks wrapt in a sound sleep on the Doc- behind the town, — wondering all the tor's “ shake-down,” from which I nev- while at the strangeness of the huer once awoke until there came a loud man fancy and its power on the will ; tapping on the door.
and I reflected, too, and remembered “ Who's there?"
that, in the explanation of the satisfy"Sophy."
ing character of the lise which my new“What's Sophy want?”
found friend was leading, there had “ Breakfast.”
been no clew given to the first great Breakfast indeed! It was hard to motive which had destined such a believe that I was to come back to the finely organized and altogether splendid experiences of life under such a sum- man to such a career. Was he exempt mons, for I had dreamed that I was on from the lot of other mortals, or must a visit to the Man in the Moon, and he too own, like all the rest of us, when was enjoying a genuine surprise at find- we own the truth, that every firm step ing him happy and well contented, seat- we ever made in those days of our eared in the centre of an extinct volcano, ly lives when steps were critical, was with all the riches of the great satellite made to please a woman, to win her gathered round him, hanging in tempt- slightest praise, to heal a wound or ing clusters on its horns.
drown a sorrow of her making ? I But my eyes at length were opened would have given much to have the wide enough to see, near by, the very ter- question answered, for then a thing restrial ruins of our evening's pastime; now mysterious would have become as and if these had left any doubts upon plain as day; but there was no one my mind as to the reality of my present there to heed the question, or to give situation, those doubts would certainly the answer, and I could only wander have been removed by the cheerful on over the rough rocks, wondering voice of the Doctor ; for a loud “ Good more and more.
A STRUGGLE FOR LIFE.
NE morning last April, as I was “I would like to know that man's
passing through Boston Common, story," I said, half aloud, halting in which lies pleasantly between my resi- one of those winding paths which dence and my office, I met a gentleman branch off from the quietness of the lounging along The Mall. I am gener- Pond, and end in the rush and tumult ally preoccupied when walking, and of Tremont Street. often thrid my way through crowded “Would you ?” replied a voice at streets without distinctly observing a my side. I turned and faced Mr. Hsingle soul. But this man's face forced a neighbor of mine, who laughed heartitself upon me, and a very singular face ily at finding me talking to myself. it was.
His eyes were faded, and his “Well,” he added, reflectingly, “ I can hair, which he wore long, was flecked tell you this man's story; and if you with gray. His hair and eyes, if I may will match the narrative with anything say so, were seventy years old, the rest as curious, I shall be glad to hear it." of him not thirty. The youthfulness of " You know him then?” his figure, the elasticity of his gait, and “ Yes and no. I happened to be in the venerable appearance of his head, Paris when he was buried.” were incongruities that drew more than Buried !” one pair of curious eyes towards him. “Well, strictly speaking, not buried; He was evidently an American, — the but something quite like it. If you 've New England cut of countenance is a spare half-hour," continued my interunmistakable, - evidently a man who locutor, “we 'll sit on this bench, and I had seen something of the world ; but will tell you all I know of an affair that strangely old and young.
made some noise in Paris a couple of Before reaching the Park Street gate, years ago.
The gentleman himself, I had taken up the thread of thought standing yonder, will serve as a sort which he had unconsciously broken; of frontispiece to the romance,
yet throughout the day this old young page illustration, as it were.” i man, with his unwrinkled brow and The following pages contain the story
silvered locks, glided in like a phantom that Mr. H— related to me. While between me and my duties.
he was telling it a gentle wind arose; The next morning I again encoun- the miniature sloops drifted feebly tered him on The Mall. He was rest- about the ocean; the wretched owners ing lazily on the green rails, watching flew from point to point, as the deceptwo little sloops in distress, which two tive breeze promised to waft the barks ragged ship-owners had consigned to to either shore; the early robins trilled the mimic perils of the Pond. The now and then from the newly fringed vessels lay becalmed in the middle of elms; and the old young man leaned the ocean, displaying a tantalizing lack on the rail in the sunshine, wearily, litof sympathy with the frantic helpless- tle dreaming that two gossips were disness of the owners on shore. As the cussing his affairs within twenty yards gentleman observed their dilemma, a of him. light came into his faded eyes, then died out, leaving them drearier than Three people were sitting in a chambefore. I wondered if he, too, in his ber whose one large window overtime, had sent out ships that drifted looked the Place Vendôme. M. Dorine, and drifted and never came to port; with his back half turned on the other and if these poor toys were to him, two occupants of the apartment, was types of his own losses.
reading the Moniteur, pausing from
time to time to wipe his glasses, and with its million lights twinkling in the taking scrupulous pains not to glance early dusk, and its sharp spires here towards the lounge at his right, on and there pricking the sky, it seemed which were seated Mademoiselle Do- to Philip as if years had elapsed since ! rine and a young American gentleman, he left the city. On reaching Paris he whose handsome face rather frankly drove to his hotel, where he found sevtold his position in the family. There eral letters lying on the table. He did was not a happier man in Paris that not trouble himself even to glance at afternoon than Philip Wentworth. Life their superscriptions as he threw aside had become so delicious to him that his travelling surtout for a more approhe shrunk from looking beyond to-day. priate dress. What could the future add to his full If, in his impatience to see Madeheart? what might it not take away? moiselle Dorine, the cars had appeared In certain natures the deepest joy has to walk, the fiacre which he had sealways something of melancholy in it, a cured at the station appeared to creep. presentiment, a fleeting sadness, a feel- At last it turned into the Place Vening without a name. Wentworth was dôme, and drew up before M. Dorine's conscious of this subtile shadow, that residence. The door opened as Philnight, when he rose from the lounge, ip's foot touched the first step. The and thoughtfully held Julie's hand to servant silently took his cloak and hat, his lip for a moment before parting with a special deference, Philip thought; A careless observer would not have but was he not now one of the family? thought him, as he was, the happiest “ M. Dorine'' said the servant slowman in Paris.
ly, " is unable to see Monsieur at presM. Dorine laid down his paper and He wishes Monsieur to be shown came forward. “If the house," he
up to the salon." said, “is such as M. Martin describes “Is Mademoiselle it, I advise you to close with him at “ Yes, Monsieur." once. I would accompany you, Philip,
“ Alone?" but the truth is, I am too sad at losing " Alone, Monsieur," repeated the this little bird to assist you in select- man, looking curiously at Philip, who ing a cage for her. Remember, the could scarcely repress an exclamation last train for town leaves at five. Be of pleasure. sure not to miss it; for we have seats It was the first time that such a for M. Sardou's new comedy to-morrow privilege had been accorded him. His night. By to-morrow night,” he added interviews with Julie had always taken laughingly, “ little Julie here will be an place in the presence of M. Doold lady, — 't is such an age from now rine, or some member of the houseuntil then."
hold. A well-bred Parisian girl has The next morning the train bore but a formal acquaintance with her Philip to one of the loveliest spots lover. within thirty miles of Paris. An hour's Philip' did not linger on the stairwalk through green lanes brought him case; his heart sang in his bosom as to M: Martin's estate. In a kind of he few up the steps, two at a time. dream the young man wandered from Ah! this wine of air which one drinks room to room, inspected the conserva- at twenty, and seldom after! He hastory, the stables, the lawns, the strip of tened through the softly lighted hall, woodiand through which a merry brook in which he detected the faint scent sang to itself continually; and, after of her favorite flowers, and stealthily dining with M. Martin, completed the opened the door of the salon. purchase, and turned his steps towards The room was darkened. Underthe station, just in time to catch the neath the chandelier stood a slim black express train.
casket on trestles. A lighted candle, As Paris stretched out before him, a crucifix, and some white flowers were
on a table near by. Julie Dorine was square, ingeniously ventilated from the dead.
ceiling, but unlighted. It contained When M. Dorine heard the indescrib- two sarcophagi : the first held the reable cry that rang through the silent mains of Madame Dorine, long since house, he hurried from the library, and dead; the other was new, and bore on found Philip standing like a ghost in one side the letters J. D., in monogram, the middle of the chamber.
interwoven with fleurs-de-lis. It was not until long afterwards that The funeral train stopped at the gate Wentworth learned the details of the of the small garden that enclosed the calamity that had befallen him. On place of burial, only the immediate relthe previous night Mademoiselle Do- atives following the bearers into the rine had retired to her room in seem- tomb. A slender wax candle, such as ingly perfect health. She dismissed is used in Catholic churches, burnt at her maid with a request to be awak- the foot of the uncovered sarcophagus, ened early the next morning. At the casting a dim glow over the centre appointed hour the girl entered the of the apartment, and deepening the chamber. Mademoiselle Dorine was shadows which seemed to huddle tositting in an arm-chair, apparently gether in the corners. By this flickasleep. The candle had burnt down to ering light the coffin was placed in its the socket; a book lay half open on granite shell, the heavy slab laid over the carpet at her feet. The girl started it reverently, and the oaken door rewhen she saw that the bed had not volved on its rusty hinges, shutting out been occupied, and that her mistress the uncertain ray of sunshine that had still wore
an evening dress. She ventured to peep in on the darkness. rushed to Mademoiselle Dorine's side. M. Dorine, muffled in his cloak, It was not slumber. It was death. threw himself on the back seat of the
Two messages were at once de- carriage, too abstracted in his grief to spatched to Philip, one to the station observe that he was the only occupant at G-, the other to his hotel. The of the vehicle. There was a sound of first missed him on the road, the sec- wheels grating on the gravelled avenue, ond he had neglected to open. On his and then all was silence again in the arrival at M. Dorine's house, the ser- cemetery of Montmartre. At the main vant, under the supposition that Went- entrance the carriages parted company, worth had been advised of Mademoi- dashing off into various streets at a selle Dorine's death, broke the intelli- pace that seemed to express a sense of gence with awkward cruelty, by show- relief. The band plays a dead march ing him directly to the salon.
going to the grave, but Fra Diavolo Mademoiselle Dorine's wealth, her coming from it. beauty, the suddenness of her death, It is not with the retreating carriages and the romance that had in some way that our interest lies. Nor yet wholly attached itself to her love for the young with the dead in her mysterious dream; American, drew crowds to witness the but with Philip Wentworth. funeral ceremonies which took place The rattle of wheels had died out of in the church in the Rue d'Aguesseau. the air when Philip opened his eyes, The body was to be laid in M. Dorine's bewildered, like a man abruptly roused tomb, in the cemetery of Montmartre. from slumber. He raised himself on
*This tomb requires a few words of one arm and stared into the surrounddescription. First there was a grating ing blackness. Where was he? In a of filigraned iron; through this you second the truth flashed upon him. looked into a small vestibule or hall, at He had been left in the tomb! While the end of which was a massive door kneeling on the farther side of the of oak opening upon a short flight of stone box, perhaps he had fainted, and stone steps descending into the tomb. in the last solemn rites his absence The vault was fifteen or twenty feet had been unnoticed.