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OUIDA'S NEW TALE. 0Til MA 11 < <. CHAPTER XL. The next day Othmar called upon Rosselin, and, ffithout preface, said to him abruptly: You bad better tell the Due de Bethune all I have told you about your pupil. I do not know Whether he will believe it or not, but it is wholly intolerable for us to allow him to suppose, as he may Suppose from appearances, that there are relations between myself and her which have no existence in fact." Rosselin listened and made no reply. Othmar continued with impatience: J I do not know what he thinks, but he probably thinks something entirely and grossly unjust to her. He is a man of honour; he will respect con- ffidence if it be placed in him." Why not tell him yourself? He is, I believe. Very intimate in your houses." He is no especial friend of mine. He is often at my house, it is true, but personally I have no intimacy with him whatever." Rosselin hesitated then he summoned his Courage and said frankly: Pardon me, but it is not the Due de Bethune Or any other man who has any concern with the position which you have created for yourself and for my pupil; the only person for whom itcan have any vital interest, or who can exercise any influ- ence over it, is the Countess Othmar, to whom you Vill not speak of it." Othmar coloured; he was greatly annoyed. Be was conscious also that Rosselin was right in what he said. If my wife heard of her from others, I would tell her how she came there," he said, with some embarrassment. "But I can assure you that though M. de B6thune might believe in the facts as you know them, she would not do so. She never believes in any single motives. She would suppose that I tried to gloss over with sentiment & mere vulgar amour." Men's natures," he added bitterly," are often as simple, and straight, and frank as a dog's, because, like dogs, we are stupid and trustful; but the tnind of a woman of culture is far too critical in its survey and too intricate in its own motives ever to accredit us with the intellectual honesty we Possess. It Is a quality so stupid that it seems to 'Women as incredible as it is uninteresting." Rosselin grew in his turn impatient. You, too, appear to me," he said bluntly," t,o be too fond of Pascal's esprit de finesse, jugement de sentiment (spirit of super-refining, judgment of sentimentality). Intellectual analysis is very interesting, no doubt, but I never knew it serve in the least to solve the prosaic difficulties of active life. You cannot govern circumstances with theories." In himself he thought: You create a position in the frankness of your generosity which you perceive becomes equivocal 10 its aspect to others; you earnestly desire to Prevent its appearing so; yet you do not take the one measure which would secure to it immunity from suspicion." I have an idea," he continued aloud, that the best way to test her talents and prepare thn ^orld for the appreciation of them would be for her to recite at some great house, to be seen and beard by some choice audience. Why not in incurs ? Why not to your friends ?" "In mine ? To my acquaintances ?" •« Why not ? It is, in my opinion, the easiest and most propitious way in which a beginner can try her powers. It is less alarming than a public stage, and the verdict given is more discriminating and of greater value afterwards. The majority Of neophytes have no such chance possible. They 'nay go where they can begin in the provinces; t'ike anything they can get. But when it can be done there is no question but that to make an Olltry into the world in the best society is an im- measurable benefit to any aspirant. It is to be famous at once if successful; whilst, if unsuccess- ful, the failure is passed over as the caprice of the host at whose house the neophyte is tried. As you are disposed to do anything for her, it seems to me that it would cost you little to ask Madame ^addge to permit the representation of some Saynete, or soma short piece like the Luthier de at one of her great winter entertain- ments. She likes novelty and I believe she often bas dramatic representations both in Paris and at Amy6t." "She has them certainly," said Othmar with "Oyne constraint. Rosselin looked from under his eyelids at him. "Then what objection is there ? You have said that madame your wife, first of all of us, saw kirnething like genius in Damaris Berarde. She '*Oklld not refuse to allow her prophecy to be broved true under her own auspices." "No; I do not suppose that she would refuse." "If you would dislike that she should be that is another matter," said Rosselin with ,Otne impatience, whilst to himself he thought, You have made a secret of this thing, and you find what a burdensome and stupid thing a secret 18, especially when it is one that circumstances 4re certain to take out of our hands, whether we ^ill or no." I have no dislike to your project," replied Othmar with hesitation; but," he added more frankly," I must tell you that my wife is not in the lenet likelv to take interest twice in the same Person; and I must also tell you, as I did some Months ago, that she knows nothing of the present existence of your pupil. If you like to tell her, do 80: I give you free permission." I ?" echoed Rosselin. My dear friend, if such a jfteat lady saw a superannuated old actor enter ^er presence she would surely order her lackeys to j^rn him out unheard. I never spoke to Madame J"ad £ ge in my life, though rumour has made me 'eel well acquainted with her." She always treats genius with respect. It is, Perhaps, the only thing she does respect f Are you sure she does not think it escaped r°tti BicStre ? Most grandes dames do." "No; she has too much intellect herself. She is 9r«mde dame, but she is much more besides. She mires talent wherever she finds it; only she 'binks that she finds very little." There she is right enough there is any quantity of mere facility, of mere imitativeness, in ()Ur time, but there is very little which deserves 11 higher name." "And vou believe that Damaris Berardo has "tore than mere talent ?" Yes, I believe it. I may be wrong, but I have Jever been wrong in such judgments, though it pretentious to say so. It is because I elieve that she has this that I am anxious for the ^°rld to first hear of her in such a way that she be spared the vulgar and tedious novitiate *'»ich is generally unavoidable before a dramatic areer; and also I should like to command for her .^ch an audience as may become a title of honour • ° her and a protection against false tongues. It inevitable that your name has been, or will be, FL880ciated with hers. Modern life is one huge I'ass house. If she be first seen at your house, in i^Ur salons, calumny can scarcely attach to your j'iendship for her. Pardon mo if I speak with too ^timate a candour. If I said less, I should feel Myself almost dragged into the base collusion of a Bir Pandarus." Othmar grew pale with anger; he was ^accustomed to familiarity, and the words 'eetned to him wanting in delicacy and in respect. "You are very hopeful I" he said bitterly, "and ^nderfully trustful, my good friend, if you Itr¡agine that in the world we live in she would be J^ured from slander by being seen in my ?rawing-roomB. The only thing they would say, J they were in the mood to say anything, would that I deceived my wife into facilitating my tiours. Society is not so easily persuaded of .ocence as you appear to think, whilst it is i "°foughly persuaded of the Countess Othinar's ^difference to myself. In the impulse of his anger he said what he ould not have said in a cooler moment. He was Rreatly irritated at all which was implied in Ros- felin's latest words, and the allusion to his wife's .^difference to his actions escaped him almost 1,1 voluntarily. I regret if I offend you," said Rosselin, whose eyes read his feelings in his face. I say "at it seems right to me to Say, I know the » °rld has always mauvaise lanyue (an evil tongue). >now it as well as you can doj but there are j ^its to its impudence. I do not believe that the J^est knave of it all would ever dare to say that passed any insult on your wife. It has been well aware of your devotion to her. However, us abandon my idea. We can find some other ^hy, perhaps; the preparation I have given my ruPil has been short and perhaps immature. She .?? wait awhile without injury. You have said, I Jj'nk, that she has means enough of her own to live she lives now ?" "She has means enough. Yes." Without wasting her little substance ? I Ppose her grandfather did not leave her much? j' She has quite sufficient income for her wants ^lieve they are very simple." spoke impatiently and rose. Rosselin, *w8e tact was always the acutest kind, under- ;°d the hint and changed the subject. ^ft to himself, the anger of Othinar soon grew j. and the courtesy of his nature made him vSret his impatience with a man double his and not his equal in station; one, moreover, jji 0 had only spoken honestly thoughts which were ^heless. b suggestion had annoyed him both by what ^sked, which seemed to him difficult, and by implied, which seemed to him offensive, d he repented of his manner of receiving it, and kj founding a person who had warmly answered jv "is own appeal, and had aided him in regard to k iftariswith a sympathy the more noteworthy JjJ!ause it had at first been reluctantly given. 'Ore night he wrote a brief note to Rosselin: -0 i regret my impatience, and apologise for it. doubt you are right in your views. If I can way to comply with them I will do so. ^^nwhile', believe in my friendship and my high £ em." 6 signed the few lines and sent them by a winger to Asnieres. Hi* en Rosselin received them he was sitting by ft, solitary lamp examining the condition of a w. 1 injured copy on vellum of The Birds," 'lch he had picked up at a bookstall on one of quays the day before. He put the manuscript of Q0 and read tho note with its clear signature „ thtnar at the end. graceful amende," he thought. He has a bg t of gold, but his judgment is not so much to t W ^sted" as his feeling's are. He spoke of his <s*n's indifference. What could he expect? You get out of nature what it has not got it. it. tllve-and-twenty years she had lived for L r* self: did he suppose that all in a moment she would forget herself and live for him ? I daresay he did. He was ready to live for her. That sort of mistake is so often made; and it is always the highest nature which makes it." Rosselin lost interest in his Aristophanes for that night. He had a foreboding of some evil. Imaginative minds are like the birds: they know when storms approach. CHAPTER XLI. A week or two later he saw Othmar again enter his little parlour. Othmar made Ministers wait on him, and would keep princes in his ante- chamber with an indifference which gained him the repute of arrogance but he waited himself on Rosselin, a man old, poor, and solitary. These were his eccentricities, which the world hated as it would never have hated any vices in which he might have chosen to indulge. I have come to speak to you of your wishes, which I perhaps dismissed too hastily," lie said, as ne seated himself. You really believe that to be first seen and heard, as you proposed, would benefit your pupil ?" I do not doubt it," replied Rosselin, for the reasons I named to you, and also because to suc- ceed before a choice and cultured audience is the greatest of stimulants, the most certain of prac- tical tests. I do not think that a long novitiate would suit Damaris Berarde. She is of the South her beauty is nearly at its height now she is fully matured in every way; she is of an impe- tuous and sensitive temperament; she is not easily governed; she would never brook the tedium and slavery of the theatres of the provinces she must take the world by storm, mount its throne at a bound or not at all. She would easily be irrevo- cably disgusted and eternally lost to art." Would that be so much a matter for regret ?" What fate can she have otherwise ? You cannot make her a duchesse, she would not consent to be- come a bourgeoise. She is a declassee; you have said it yourself. There are two asylums possible for a declassee: they are Pleasure and Art. I prefer the latter." "Art is quite cruel enough. She will never be able to go back into privacy. What a loss!—What an irreparable loss! And you speak of it as a gain! I speak as I spoke long ago, when first you named her to me. The publicity you lament is the price which is paid for fame. Some do not think the price too high, some do. It is you yourself who wished me to prepare her for an artiste's career. She cannot become a great artiste if she remain in obscurity." Of course not. But it is horrible. Publicity is a kind of violation-" Recompensed like Danae's!" Othmar was silent. He was conscious that a strong personal dislike to her leaving the safe shadow of private life moved him to an exag- gerated objection to her being seen and known by others. When once the world had beheld her she would belong to the world. It might make her triumphant or it might make her wretched, but she wpuld belong to it evermore. Rosselin guessed what he wa.s feeling, and answered his unspoken thoughts. "Yes; she will never go back either to Les Hameaux or to Bonaventure. That is certain. She will belong to all men, in a sense, when once she has sought their suffrages. But what else can be done with her? What else? You would not hear of a conventional marriage for her and a house in the suburbs, and I suppose she would not hear of it either. She is half a poet, half a thing of the open air, like a doe or a swallow. You cannot send her back whence she came. If you could do it in fact, you could not do it in spirit. The soul would never be the same-poor white sea bird of a soul, which comes across the flames of ambition and burns in them! You might set her body down under her orange boughs, under her blue sky, but you could not give her the heart of her childhood. You are a god in your way the only god the nineteenth century knows-a rich man— but to do that is beyond your power." If I had that power I should be a god indeed!" said Othmar bitterly, and the whole sick world would come to me to be cured." He needed not the words of Rosselin to remind him that never would he be able to undo the work nis wife had done in one idle moment of impe- rious caprice. Though the words were harsh and, in a great measure unjust, to him, he did not resent them; he poignantly regretted the fate brought on Damaris, and when he saw her he felt a reproach greater than aay which others could address to him. The breaking up of the happy simplicity of her life had always seemed to him as wanton an act as to shoot a sea bird which falls in the sea. Had he said so to his wife she would have laughed, and have denied all responsibility. She would have declared that fate, in some guise or another, always finds out female children with handsome faces; that Strephon always comes to them, or Faust. But he would not look at it thus. To him it always seemed the cruellest unkindness needlessly to have brought Damaris Berarde and the world together. Why does he dislike a public career for her so much ?" thought Rosselin. I do not think that he cares for her, except in kindness. I do not think he would give her any part of his own life. Passion has died in him, died under the coldness of his wife's nature, as flowers die in frost. This child would give him, I daresay, all the richness and all the heat of her own heart, but he would only give her in return lei cendres tiedes d'un felt iteint (the half-warm cinders of an extinguished fire), and, as he is a man more generous and more sensitive than most, he would never forgive him- self for having sacrificed her to himself. Better for her all the dangers of life in the world than a consuming love for one who would never love her as she loved. Had I been the confessor of Louise de la Valliere, I should have said to her, Remain in the crowds of Versailles if you wish to forget; do not go into solitude.' No woman for- gets who has no one to teach her forgetfulness. Solitude is the nurse of all great passions, because in solitude there is no standard of comparison." Othmar, unaware of his companion's reflections, was lost in thought himself. He felt that he had resigned the direction of her life into Rosselin's hands, and hAd no right to dispute with her guide the course which he deemed most desirable for her. He had sought the counsels and the assistance of a man of genius in a moment of extremity, and he felt that he had no title to dissent from whatever the vast experience of such a man might consider wisest on her behalf. He knew that she could not continue to dwell at Les Hameaux, unseen save by the dogs and the birds and the mild eyes of the cattle, if ever those desires for art and for fame which tormented her were ever to have any fruition. If he had had the power to close the gates of solitude on her he would not have used it he would have felt that he had no right so to use it. He was conscious that he had no title to stand between her and any career which might become possible for her. Since his last visit to her he had felt that he himself occupied too large a place in her life; that his memory coloured all her thoughts too deeply and too warmly; that her whole exis- tence might be his utterly in any way he chose if he would take that gift as easily as a man may gather a half-open rose in the freshness of morning. He bad no vanity of any sort. The many women who had offered themselves to him in his life for sake of the riches which were behind him had taught him humility rather than vanity, for they had been so plainly idolatrous, not of him but of his possessions. He had always doubted his power to make himself beloved for himself alone, and he would willingly have put it to the proof, like the Lord of Burleigh, had it been possi- ble. But even he, little self-appreciation as he had. yet could not doubt that with the lifp of this child whom he had saved from the streets he could do whatsoever he chose. Every expression of her ingenuous nature, every glance of her innocent eyes, every impulse of her ardent and untrained nature, told him that he could, with the first moment he chose, render himself wholly master of her whole existence. He was the god of her dreams and the providence of her waking thoughts. Had he had less charm for women than he pos- sessed, he would still scarcely have failed to be. come, through circumstance, the one person domi- nant over all her mind and senses. Without any self-deception, he could not but be aware that he could become her lover when he chose. Gratitude, imagination, all the fervour of waking passions stirring in a Southern nature as the juices of the vine stir in its tender flowerets; all the favour of opportunity and of circumstance, which idealised her relations with him; and all the impression- ability of the first years of a youth early matured under the heat of Mediterranean snns-all these were combined together to make of him the adora- tion and the arbiter of her life. And he—what had he to give in return for all that glory of the daybreak of the soul ? Not even, as Rosselin had thought, Its cendres tiedes d'un feu iteint. He had wider thought and bolder judgment than the timid and narrow laws which a vast majority of mediocrities had been able to impose ma' it on a sheepish world. Could he have rendered her such feeling as she was ready to give to him, could he have given her the warmth of a genuine passion, the sincerity and the undivided force of a graat emotion, he would not have considered that he sacrificed her to himself if he had kept her in eternal isolation. Great natures and great affections do not need th6 companionship or the suffrages of the world. Its narrow and hollow laws mean nothing to them, and its opinions mean as little. Love is not love if it (tave any remembrance of either. But he could not give her this or anything like this. The great devotion of his life for the woman who had become his wife had left. his heart empty, yet shut to any other visitant. That immeasurable and intense passion had been to him so supreme in its dominance, so voluptuous in its ecstacies, that all other love after it seemed pale as dead flowers beside living ones. Men sometimes say to women that thev have never loved but once, and those women/if they know what men's lives are. laugh, as well they may. Yet the meaning of the words is true enough, and not a mere form of phrase. In the life of every man of higher soul than the vast majority there is some one passion which stands out unrivalled in his memory amidst a host of fleeting fancies, hot desires, dull affections, passing pastimes, which also have in their time been called love by him wrongly. In that one great passion he has attained, enjoyed, realised p what he can never reach again, what no woman who lives will ever be able to make him feel again; and in this sense he is not untruthful when he says that he has only loved but once. Such a love Othmar had known for the one woman who. despite the enemy Time. and the de- caving worm of custom, had still, through her very mutability, cruelty, and negligence, retained a power to wound him and a power to delight him which no living creature could ever rival with him. Even when the chill of her own indifference now spread itself to his own emotions, and he felt life, as it were, grow cold and wintry around him, memory was there to tell him of the sorceries of the past, and even love was still there, which watched her wistfully, and would still have obeved her sign had she made one. What, then, had he to give to Damaris ? I Nothing which was worthy of her. Such base ardours as a creature who is young and beautiful can always awaken in the breast of any man, and a pitying and gentle tenderness any man, and a pitying and gentle tenderness which would be, offered to love, the cruellest of tortures. And then she owed everything on earth to him she was his debtor for the very bread she ate. That one fact seemed to him to stand between her and himself like a white wall of ivory made by hands divine. That she herself did not know the extent of her debt to him made it the more sacred to him. Circumstances being, then, as it was between them, and powerless as he was to feel for her any- thing more than the tenderness and the pity which she had from the first aroused in him, what title had he to stand between her and any possible triumphs and consolations which the world might offer to her? None, he thought. None that any generosity could allow him to claim. He said aloud to Rosselin: wnatever you unnK nesc to ao tor lier, do. Her career will be your creation. If she ever attain greatness she will owe it to you. I do not think that I have any right to interfere either one way or the other. To interest, my wife in what she has forgotten is impossible. You might as well try to gather last year's rain drops. But it is possible that she might be pleased if her predic- tions were proved to her to have been accurate. Con- trive for her to see your pupil before she hears of her. She may perhaps recognise her with interest. I dare not say that she will. But you can make the experiment." It will be difficult," said Rosselin. Not very. You have before now done me the honour to arrange dramatic representations at my house. Whenever the Countess Othmar next wishes for entertainment of that kind, which she is sure to do before long, I will place the arrange- ments for it in your hands. You can then bring forward Damaris B6rarde in any piece you choose. What you wish will, so, be done. She will be seen and heard under my roof; and, if successful, she may—possibly—re-conquer a place in my wife's memory. If she fail she will certainly never do so." "She will not fail," said Rosselin; while he thought to himself, She will not fail, because she will have the stimulant of your wife's presence and the memory of your wife's disdain. She will not fail if I have left in me any of the magnetism which J used to be able to communicate to others." Rosselin was a man of warm feelings and keen sympathies, but the artiste in him dominated the friend. He was so saturated with the love of art that, as he had surrendered all his own existence to its claims, so he unhesitatingly surrendered that of others. The kindest of natures wherever there was no question of art, he almost became cruel where the interests of art were involved, To Othmar the life of a girl seemed too tender and poetic a thing to be given over to the impe- rious exactions of any art; but to Rosselin, though he had at first been unwilling to draw her into its sphere, he became, the moment that he believed he saw genius in her, willing even to hurt her, if by such a hurt such genius could be st ung or scourged into any ampler evidence of its own powers. He thought little of what she might or what she might not suffer if lie brought her into the pre- sence of the woman who represented destiny to her. All he considered was, that no other specta- tor would be so likely to move her, to goad her into the fullest revelations of the resources of her talent. With the future consequences of such a meeting he had nothing to do, all he thought of was its influence on his pupil. He knew that the wife of Othmar had a fascination for her as strong as hatred, and irresistible as magnetism. It was an electric force which he could not afford to allow to lie latent in the desire he felt, a desire which had grown stronger on him with every week that he had paid hia visits to Lea Hameaux, to compel Damaris into the seizure of that fame which had at first seemed to him a burden too great, a passion too fiorce, for this young daughter of the sun and of the sea. She will ultimately be the mistress of Othmar or of the world," he thought. "I prefer the world. I will do what I can that she shall give herself to it instead of to him. To throw away genius on one human life is to take a planet out of the skies and bury it like a diamond between two human breasts." It was in pursuance of the same belief in what was best for her which had made him wish her the heart of Rachel, not the heart of Dasdea, Koaaelin had surveyed human nature in all its itepeato, and his survey of it had convinced him of one tact, that all the higher and more delicate qualities ot the soul are but so much penalty weight to carry in the race of life. The weight is of gold without alloy; but, nevertheless, whoso carries it losus the race. He, with his fine penetration, perceived that in her was that greater nature which will lose itself in a great love, and throw away all ambition and all possessions as though they were but a dead leaf or a broken crust. In a little while such a love, now strong in her. but scarcely conscious of itself, would become wholly conscious, nnd would take its empire over her whole existence. He wished to oppose to it the only rival with any chance of success-the world. CHAPTER XLII. A row oaya later Rosselin, going to Les Hameaux for his usual recitation with her, found Damaris feverish, restless, and despondent. She had lost, for the time at least, that buoyancy and enthu- siasm which were the most prominent qualities of her nature; she seemed to him listless and taciturn, her eyes had a brooding pain in them, and she took little interest in tho studies of the day. Rosselin heard from the woman of the house that Othmar had been there that week. "It will end as such things always end," ha thought impatiently, '< All the fine sentiments on his side will not enable him to cast nature out of him; and to her, of course, ho must seem an angel from another world, He has stood between her and all the misery of life, A dog which he had saved in such a way would adore him. He is a. man, too, made to charm a. poetic nature, because there is so much of the poet in him, and a melancholy which is in pathetic contrast with his wealth and power. One can always understand that women love Othmar; what one cannot understand is that his wife cares for him so little. And yet, why should I say so ? All the world over one sees familiarity bring indifference, security bring neglect." Aloud he said, with anger, to her: What has come to you ? If you do not mean to become an artiste, and a great artiste, adieu My hours are not likely to be so many On earth that 1 can afford to waste them. What ails you ? Your voice is dull; your face is no mirror for your words. You are not listening. If you have tame moments like this, do not dream of ever moving the world. It is a block of stone; you cannot stir it without putting out all your strength. And even then it will roll back and roll on to you if you relax your efforts. If you give yourself to art you may be great in it, I think but if you love anything-nny pet-son-better than art, do not touch it. Go, and be an ordinary woman like the rest." The words were harsh. The tears started to her eyes as she heard them, and a hot colour rose over her face and throat. She was silent. She never speaks of him. How fine that is thought Rosselin. "Most female creatures at her years babble of what fills their thoughts, as birds chatter of the spring in April." Aloud he said: You will not do any good to-day. You look ill and you are restless. Come with me to Paris I will show you something which will interest you —and the weather is fine though cold. Let us walk to Magny." She went with him in silence. The day was drawing to a close as the train sped through the dark fields of winter and entered Paris. A city was always terrible and hateful to her. She loved air and light and the solitude of sea and land. Crowds hurt her, and the labyrinth of streets had never ceased to oppress and to bewilder her. She felt amidst the walls and roofs as a young eagle feels barred up in a cage. He talked to her of many things with that picturesque detail with which his great knowledge of the city and of the world filled his conversation. He endeavoured to interest and to distract her; ho strove to amuse and arouse her. But he felt that he succeeded but indifferently. Her thoughts were not with him she was silent and she was nervous. (To be Continued,)











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