Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

it gets. I hope it may please him, but ferocious refection, and sat down at his you shall see."

table. He looked comforted, and not They went back to the publisher's in ill humor. The publisher and the private room and talked awhile. Then poet talked in low tones, as if on busithe small boy came up with some vague ness of their own, and watched him as message about a gentleman — business he returned to his labor.

wants to see you, sir, etc., according The Butcher took the first manuscript to the established programme; all in that came to hand, read a stanza here a vacant, mechanical sort of way, as if and there, turned over the leaves, turned he were a talking-machine just running back and tried again, — shook his head down.

- held it for an instant over the basket, The publisher told the small boy that as if doubtful, — and let it softly drop. he was engaged, and the gentleman He took up the second manuscript, must wait. Very soon they heard The opened it in several places, seemed Butcher's heavy footstep as he went out rather pleased with what he read, and to get his raw meat and vitriol punch. laid it aside for further examination.

“Now, then,” said the publisher, and He took up the third. * Blossoms of led forth the confiding literary lamb the Soul," 'etc. He glared at it in a once more, to enter the fatal door of the

dreadfully ogreish way. Both the lookcritical shambles.

ers-on held their breath.

Gifted Hop“ Hand me your manuscript, if you kins felt as if half a glass more of that please, Mr. Hopkins. I will lay it so warm sherry would not hurt him. that it shall be the third of these that There was a sinking at the pit of his are coming to hand. Our friend here stomach, as if he was in a swing, as is a pretty good judge of verse, and high as he could go, close up the knows a merchantable article about as swallows' nests and spiders' webs. The quick as any man in his line of busi- Butcher opened the manuscript at ranness. If he forms a favorable opinion dom, read ten seconds, and gave a short, of your poems, we will talk over your low grunt. He opened again, read ten propositions."

seconds, and gave another grunt, this Gifted was conscious of a very slight time a little longer and louder. He tremor as he saw his precious manu- opened once more, read five seconds, script deposited on the table under two and, with something that sounded like others, and over a pile of similar pro- the snort of a dangerous animal, cast it ductions. Still he could not help feel- impatiently into the basket, and took ing that the critic would be struck by up the manuscript that came next in his title. The quotation from Gray order. must touch his feelings. The very first Gifted Hopkins stood as if paralyzed piece in the collection could not fail to for a moment. arrest him. He looked a little excited, “Safe, perfectly safe," the publisher but he was in good spirits.

said to him in a whisper. “I'll get it “ We will be looking about here for you presently. Come in and take when our friend comes back," the pub- another glass of wine,” he said, leading lisher said. “He is a very methodical him back to his own office. person, and will sit down and go right “ No, I thank you," he said faintly, to work just as if we were not here. “I can bear it. But this is dreadful, We can watch him, and if he should sir. Is this the way that genius is welexpress any particular interest in your comed to the world of letters ? " poems, I will, if you say so, carry you The publisher explained to him, in up to him and reveal the fact that you the kindest manner, that there was an are the author of the works that please enormous over-production of verse, and him."

that it took a great part of one man's They waited patiently until The Butch- time simply to overhaul the cart-loads er returned, apparently refreshed by his of it that were trying to get themselves

66

66

into print with the imprimatur of his would n't. You have seen the best famous house. "You 're young, Mr. one of them all. He is right about it, Hopkins. I advise you not to try to quite right : you are young, and had force your article of poetry on the better wait. Look here, Gifted, here is market. The B, our friend, there, something to please you. We are going that is, knows a thing that will sell as to visit the gay world together. See soon as he sees it. You are in inde- what has been left here this forenoon.” pendent circumstances, perhaps ? If He showed him two elegant notes so, you can print - at your own ex- of invitation requesting the pleasure of pense whatever you choose. May I Professor Byles Gridley's and of Mr. take the liberty to ask your — profes- Gifted Hopkins's company on Thurssion?”

day evening, as the guests of Mrs. ClyGifted explained that he was “clerk” mer Ketchum, of 24 Carat Place. in a “store,” where they sold dry goods and West India goods, and goods promiscuous.

CHAPTER XXVI. "O, well, then," the publisher said,

MRS. CLYMER KETCHUM'S PARTY. "you will understand me. Do you know a good article of brown sugar MYRTLE HAZARD had flowered out when you see it?"

as beyond question the handsomest girl Gifted Hopkins rather thought he of the season. There were hints from did. He knew at sight whether it was different quarters that she might possia fair, salable article or not.

bly be an heiress. Vague stories were “ just so. Now our friend, there, about of some contingency which might knows verses that are salable and possibly throw a fortune into her lap. unsalable as well as you do brown The young men about town talked of sugar. — Keep quiet now, and I will go her at the clubs in their free-and-easy and get your manuscript for you. way, but all agreed that she was the There, Mr. Hopkins, take your poems, girl of the new crop, —“best filly this - they will give you a reputation in grass," as Livingston Jenkins put it. your village, I don't doubt, which is The general understanding seemed to pleasant, but it will cost you a good be that the young lawyer who had deal of money to print them in a vol- followed her to the city was going to ume. You are very young : you can capture her. She seemed to favor him afford to wait. Your genius is not ripe certainly as much as anybody. But yet, I am confident, Mr. Hopkins. Myrtle saw many young men now, and These verses, are very well for a be- it was not so easy as it would once ginning, but a man of promise like have been to make out who was an esyou, Mr. Hopkins, must n't throw away pecial favorite. his chance by premature publication ! There had been times when Murray I should like to make you a present of Bradshaw would have offered his heart a few of the books we publish. By and hand to Myrtle at once, if he had and by, perhaps, we can work you into felt sure that she would accept him. our series of poets; but the best pears But he preferred playing the safe game ripen slowly, and so with genius. now, and only wanted to feel sure of Where shall I send the volumes ?” her. He had done his best to be

Gifted answered, to parlor No. 6, agreeable, and could hardly doubt that Planet Hotel, where be soon presented he had made an impression. He himself to Master Gridley, who could dressed well when in the city, — even guess pretty well what was coming. elegantly, — he had many of the lesser But he let him tell his story.

social accomplishments, was a good dan* Shall I try the other publishers?” cer, and compared favorably in all such said the disconsolate youth.

matters with the more dashing young “I would n't, my young friend, I fellows in society. He was a better

talker than most of them, and he knew she would see to the rest, - lightmore about the girl he was dealing with ing the rooms, tables, and toilet. He than they could know. “You have only need n't be afraid: all he had to do was got to say the word, Murray,” Mrs. Cly- to keep out of the way. mer Ketchum said to her relative, “and Subdivision of labor is one of the you can have her. But don't be rash. triumphs of modern civilization. LaI believe you can get Berengaria if you bor was beautifully subdivided in this try; and there 's something better there lady's household. It was old Ketchthan possibilities.” Murray Bradshaw um's business to make money, and lic laughed, and told Mrs. Clymer Ketch- understood it. It was Mrs. K.'s busium not to worry about him; he knew ness to spend money, and she knew what he was doing.

how to do it. The rooms blazed with It so happened that Myrtle met Mas- light like a conflagration; the flowers ter Byles Gridley walking with Mr. burned like lamps of many-colored! Gifted Hopkins the day before the par- flame; the music throbbed into the ty. She longed to have a talk with her hearts of the promenaders and tingled old friend, and was glad to have a through all the muscles of the dancers. chance of pleasing her poetical ad- Mrs. Clymer Ketchum was in her mirer. She therefore begged her host- glory. Her point d'Alençon must have ess to invite them both to her party spoiled ever so many French girls' eyes. to please her, which she promised to Her bosom heaved beneath a kind of do at once. Thus the two elegant breastplate glittering with a heavy dew notes were accounted for.

of diamonds. She glistened and sparMrs. Clymer Ketchum, though her ac- kled with every movement, so that the quaintances were chiefly in the world of admirer forgot to question too closely fortune and of fashion, had yet a cer- whether the eyes matched the briltain weakness for what she called clev- liants, or the cheeks glowed like the er people. She therefore always va

Not far from the great lady riegated her parties with a streak of stood Myrtle Hazard. She was dressed young artists and writers, and a liter- as the fashion of the day demanded, but ary lady or two; and, if she could lay she had added certain audacious touches hands on a first-class celebrity, was as of her own, reminiscences of the time happy as an Amazon who had captured when the dead beauty had flourished, a Centaur.

and which first provoked the question “There 's. a demonish clever young and then the admiration of the young fellow by the name of Lindsay,” Mr. people who had a natural eye for effect. Livingston Jenkins said to her a little Over the long white glove on her left before the day of the party. “Better arm was clasped a rich bracelet, of so ask him. They say he's the rising talent quaint an antique pattern that nobody in his line, architecture mainly, but has had seen anything like it, and as some done some remarkable things in the way one whispered that it was “the last of sculpture. There 's some story about thing out,” it was greatly admired by a bust he made that was quite wonder the fashion-plate multitude, as well as ful. I'll find his address for you.” So by the few who had a taste of their Mr. Clement Lindsay got his invita- If the soul of Judith Pride, long tion, and thus Mrs. Clymer Ketchum's divorced from its once beautifully party promised to bring together a moulded dust, ever lived in dim connumber of persons with whom we are sciousness through any of those who acquainted, and who were acquainted inherited her blood, it was then and with each other.

there that she breathed through the Mrs. Clymer Ketchum knew how to lips of Myrtle Hazard. The young girl give a party. Let her only have carte almost trembled with the ecstasy of this blanche for Aowers, music, and cham- new mode of being, soliciting every sense pagne, she used to tell her lord, and with light, with perfume, with melody,

roses.

a

own.

ments.

— all that could make her feel the won- and plain shirt-buttons would be more derful complex music of a fresh life fitted to the occasion. when all its chords first vibrate to- On the morning of the day of the gether in harmony. Miss Rhadaman-. great party Mr. William Murray Bradtha Pinnikle, whose mother was an shaw received a brief telegram, which Apex (of whose race it was said that seemed to cause him great emotion, as they always made an obeisance when he changed color, uttered a forcible exthe family name was mentioned, and clamation, and began walking up and had all their portraits painted with down his room in a very nervous kind halos round their heads), found herself of way. It was a foreshadowing of a extinguished in this new radiance. certain event now pretty sure to hapMiss Victoria Capsheaf stuck to the pen. Whatever bearing this telegram wall as if she had been a fresco on it. may have had upon his plans, he made The fifty-year-old dynasties were dis- up his mind that he would contrive an mayed and dismounted. Myrtle fos- opportunity somehow that very evening silized them as suddenly as if she had to propose himself as a suitor to Myrtle been a Gorgon, instead of a beauty. Hazard. He could not say that he felt

The guests in whom we may have as absolutely certain of getting the right some interest were in the mean time answer as he had felt at some previous making ready for the party, which was periods. Myrtle knew her price, he expected to be a brilliant one; for said to himself, a great deal better than 24 Carat Place was well known for when she was a simple country girl. the handsome style of its entertain- The flatteries with which she had been

surrounded, and the effect of all the Clement Lindsay was a little sur- new appliances of beauty, which had prised by his invitation. He had, how- set her off so that she could not help ever, been made a lion of several times seeing her own attractions, rendered her of late, and was very willing to amuse harder to please and to satisfy. A little himself once in a while with a peep experience in society teaches a young into the great world. It was but an girl the arts and the phrases which all empty show to him at best, for his lot the Lotharios have in common. Murwas cast, and he expected to lead a ray Bradshaw was ready to land his quict domestic life after his student fish now, but he was not quite sure that days were over.

she was yet hooked, and he had a feelMaster Byles Gridley had known ing that by this time she knew every what society was in his earlier time, fly in his book. However, as he had and understood very well that all a made up his mind not to wait another gentleman of his age had to do was to day, he addressed himself to the trial dress himself in his usual plain way, before him with a determination to suconly taking a little more care in his ceed, if any means at his command arrangements than was needed in the would insure success. He arrayed latitude of Oxbow Village. But Gifted himself with faultless elegance : nothmust be looked after, that he should ing must be neglected on such an occanot provoke the unamiable comments sion. He went forth firm and grave as of the city youth by any defect or ex- a general going into a battle where all travagance of costume.

is to be lost or won. He entered the gentleman had bought a light sky-blue blazing saloon with the unfailing smile neckerchief, and a very large breast- upon his lips, to which he set them as pin containing a gem which he was as- he set his watch to a particular hour sured by the vendor was a genuine and minute. stone. He considered that both these The rooms were pretty well filled would be eminently effective articles when he arrived and made his bow of dress, and Mr. Gridiey had some before the blazing, rustling, glistentrouble to convince him that a white tie ing, waving, blushing appearance under

a

The young

which palpitated, with the pleasing ex- a degree of confidence quite equal to citement of the magic.scene over which what a reasonable woman should exits owner presided, the heart of Mrs. pect from a very superior man, her Clymer Ketchum. He turned to Myr- husband. tle Hazard, and if he had ever doubted If Myrtle could have looked through which way his inclinations led him, he the window in the breast against which could doubt no longer. How much only authors are privileged to flatten dress and how much light can a woman their features, it is for the reader to bear? That is the way to measure her judge how far the programme would beauty. A plain girl in a simple dress, have satisfied her. Less than this, a if she has only a pleasant voice, may great deal less, does appear to satisfy seem almost a beauty in the rosy twi- many young women; and it may be that light. The nearer she comes to being the picture just drawn, fairly judged, handsome, the more ornament she will belongs to a model lover and husband. bear, and the more she may defy the Whether it does or not, Myrtle did not sunshine or the chandelier. Murray see this picture. There was a beautiBradshaw was fairly dazzled with the fully embroidered shirt-bosom in front brilliant effect of Myrtle in full dress. of that window through which we have He did not know before what hand- just looked, that intercepted all sight of some arms she had, — Judith Pride's what was going on within. She only famous arms, which the high-colored saw a man, young, handsome, courtly, young men in top-boots used to swear with a winning tongue, with an ambiwere the handsomest pair in New Eng- tious spirit, whose every look and tone land, right over again. He did not know implied his admiration of herself, and before with what defiant effect she would who was associated with her past life light up, standing as she did directly in such a way that they alone appeared under a huge lustre, in full flower of like old friends in the midst of that flame, like a burning azalea. He was cold, alien throng. It seemed as if he not a man who intended to let his sen- could not have chosen a more auspitiments carry him away

from the seri- cious hour than this; for she never ous interests of his future, yet, as he looked so captivating, and her presence looked upon Myrtle Hazard, his heart must inspire his lips with the eloquence gave one throb which made him feel in of love. And she - was not this deevery pulse that this was a woman who lirious atmosphere of light and music in her own right, simply as a woman, just the influence to which he would could challenge the homage of the wish to subject her before trying the proudest young man of her time. He last experiment of all which can stir hardly knew till this moment how much the soul of a woman? He knew the of passion mingled with other and mechanism of that impressionable state calmer motives of admiration. He which served Coleridge so excellently

I love you as truly as such well, a man could ever speak these words,

“ All impulses of soul and sense meaning that he admired her, that he

Had thrilled my guileless Genevieve ; was attracted to her, that he should be The music, and the doleful tale, proud of her as his wife, that he should

The rich and balmy cve," value himself always as the proprietor though he hardly expected such startof so rare a person, that no appendage ling results as happened in that case,to his existence would take so high a which might be taken as an awful warnplace in his thoughts. This implied ing not to sing moving ballads to young also, what is of great consequence to a

ladies of susceptible feelings, unless young woman's happiness in the mar- one is prepared for very serious conseried state, that she would be treated quences. Without expecting that Myrwith uniform politeness, with satisfac- tle would rush into his arms, he did tory evidences of affection, and with think that she could not help listening

could say

« AnteriorContinua »