페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

move.

Her tongue felt like a leaden weight in were none of your business—my work her mouth.

and my love. To do that, Marcia, to “Georgie is better."

anybody is to trespass on the inalienable “Yes."

rights of the individual. Take the ques“She is all but well."

tion of my work first. You know nothing “Yes.”

about medicine, yet you did not even “The wedding is in June.”

think it necessary to consult me with This time she could not speak at all; regard to your friend. You decided that she could not even see him. Her hands the problem was insoluble except in one went out to bim in a mute appeal that way, and you called upon me to solve he should understand what she would

it in that way.

But to me Georgie's say—her love, her suffering, her grati- condition was not unprecedented; it intude, her homage. And he did not dicated a fairly cominon form of hys

teria, and I have dealt with it accord“There is nothing to thank me for, ingly. Marcia,” he said. “I have not done “What Georgie wanted was a huswhat you asked.”

band. For a time, it is true, she was “Not done?” Her hands dropped. under the impression that only one par

“No. You had no right to ask it. I ticular husband could satisfy her, but have set my judgment against yours, that delusion has yielded easily enough and the event has, as it happens, proved to the treatment of placing before her me right; I am here to tell you about it. several other possible husbands. Last But if it had proved me wrong, I should night, at the dance I gave in the hope in the same circumstances do the same of clinching the matter, my diagnosis thing to-morrow. I want you to under was proved correct. Georgie is engaged stand that quite clearly.” There was no to young Dallington, a senior student of anger, no triumph in his voice, only that mine, with very few brains and a good uninflected steadiness with which he deal of money. But if it hadn't been always spoke.

Dallington it would certainly quite soon “I don't-understand anything,” she have been somebody else. protested.

“There remains, Marcia, the question “I will tell you.

From the first, of my love for you. You may reject that Marcia, I saw that your scheme was love for any reason that seems to you idiotic, unworkable. All it could have sufficient; you have rejected it. But I done was to make three people unhappy am at liberty to go on loving you as long instead of one. But I also saw that it as I live, to remain unmarried for love was no use telling you so. For what of you, if I choose. That is no business would have happened then? Deadlock of yours, and I do not admit your right I refusing to marry Georgie; you refus of interference. You claimed that right, ing to marry me. And so ad infinitum. and so there is nothing more to be said. Isn't that so?"

Only, if some day you should see that “I-suppose so," she answered, un you were wrong—that your terms were certainly.

too high-you would, I know, revise “Suppose?” His steady eyes de- them; for you have a sense of justice. manded more of her; with an effort she In that case, Marcia, I trust you to

give me a sign. I am yours, you know, “Yes, it is true," she amended. for always-yours or no one's. Good

“Thank you. I was forced, therefore, by." to take another way; I was justified in Before that before the threat of his taking another way—the way not of going-she found herself somehow on her argument, but of proof. For you had feet. For she loved him; she knew attempted to control two matters that now for the first time what love was.

gave it.

It was the tremor, the longing, the glow "Oh yes-yes!" she assured him. “I that she had felt before; but it was also know. You're modern-modern to your this strange rapture, this proud confi adorable finger tips that I first fell in dence based on a new thing on the love with. You'll refuse ever to be top bedrock of respect. . . . (She had not dog in the good old-fashioned waybeen able to do what she liked with him! however desirable it might be for me." She had met her match!) And instantly She sighed elaborately. “Well, I must on the thought came panic lest she content myself, I suppose, with the should, after all, lose what was now knowledge that I'm not top dog, either doubly dear.

never was, where you are concerned “Nigel!”—he stopped and turned, but never shall be. And that, after all, is an he made no responsive movement as she almost insane pleasure in itself, isn't it? came toward him—“I revise my terms. -never, never to have to be top dog Immediately. Thankfully. Abjectly. any more! It's like—” She fell into Will—will that do-Petruchio?"

smiling thought. His eyes searched hers swiftly. The “Yes?" man she had never seen before, the man She laughed. “Oh, I don't knowadored by Colin and his fellows, the nothing much! Well, then, it's like man wbo was wax in things that did not I was thinking of one winter at school; matter, adamant in things that did, one hockey season. As it happened, we vanished in a flash, and the lover took made a very good start-simply couldn't his place. His hands were on her shoul lose anything for several weeks. So ders; he was looking down at her with then, of course, we made up our minds wonder, with something like awe. that we wouldn't lose anything—not a

“Marcia-you mean it? Surrender? single match. And it was terrible-without bitterness, without humilia nerve shattering; the strain got worse tion? And—without delay?"

every week. We did manage to worry She nodded. “But you mustn't get a through the season undefeated, but it swelled head, you know," she warned wasn't really worth it. The next year him, rallying instantly. "If I surrender, we were all secretly delighted when we it's not to you. Anybody may surren lost the very first match." der honorably, mayn't he, to-the “Yes; but, Oh, how do you do, truth?”

Mrs. Silvain?” More than ever he looked at her as Granny Silvain stood in the doorway, at something unbelievable, immeasur- examining them shrewdly. It was too ably precious. “The greatness of you, late to profess that Marcia's cheek had he said below his breath, "the great not been laid against Nigel's waistcoat, ness ... Then, with one of those so she left it there. swift descents that flesh is heir to, his "Well, I suppose I congratulate you eyes troubled. “Tben you didn't mean both?" inferred Granny Silvain. “But, the other, Marcia ?-about-Petruchio? really-talking hockey already! You You know it's not a case of mastery? young people nowadays get through or, at least-only over myself?”

your affairs so expeditiously." She glinted mischief, behind her tears, Marcia made a wry face.

“Some and thrust forth a declamatory arm. affairs, granny, are so painful that one's “'I am the master of my fate,” she glad to get through them." annotated; “I am the captain of “What do you mean, child?” my

Marcia pointed a finger upward in the He pinioned the arm. “Yes, but you direction of Nigel's head. “He denies it, do know you've nothing of that sort to granny.

He
says

he never did and never fear from me?” he insisted. “Tell me. will. But all the same, I have been, and Say it."

you'll be pleased.”

Have been what?”

"Spanked," affirmed Marcia, pen“I'm scared to death of him now, sively. “Spanked so hard, granny, that granny—though appearances are per now I daren't ask him for a single thinghaps a little against me just at the mo not even the most inconsiderable trifle ment. He's capable of anything. And not so much as another kiss—in case I so I'll never, never do it any more.' should be trespassing on the inalienable

“Madcap! What is she talking about, rights of the individ- Thank you, Doctor Ganthony? What has she been?” Nigel!”

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

UNPUBLISHED CHAPTERS FROM THE

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARK TWAIN

PART II

FROM time to time during the last half of his life Mark Twain wrote or dictated chapters of recollections and comment which he classed under the general head of Autobiography. The early attempts were erratic, and not long continued, but in January, 1906, in conjunction with his biographer, he began a series of dictations which continued steadily through that year, and intermittently during the years that followed, to the end of his life. Selections from these dictations which Mark Twain thought might appear with propriety during his lifetime were printed during 1906 and 1907. The greater portion of the manuscript, however, remains unpublished, and contains much of his choicest work.

The Autobiography was not written as a continuous narrative. The author wrote or dictated whatever happened to be in his mind at the moment, regardless of chronology or sequence.

HOW

up later.

no

OW wonderful are the ways of man who was glibly familiar with fiftyProvidence! But I will take that six Chinese dialects. He had to change

from one to another of them every ten About forty years ago I was a re minutes, and this exercise was so enerporter on the Morning Call of San gizing that it kept him always awakeFrancisco. I was more than that, which was not the case with the reportI was the reporter. There was ers. Next, we visited the higher courts, other. There was enough work for one, and made notes of the decisions which and a little over, but not enough for two had been rendered the day before. All -according to Mr. Barnes's idea, and he the courts came under the head of was the proprietor, and therefore better “regulars.” They were sources of reporsituated to know about it than other torial information which never failed. people. By nine in the morning I had During the rest of the day we raked the to be at police court for an hour and town from end to end, gathering such make a brief history of the squabbles of material as we might, wherewith to fill the night before. They were usually our required column-and if there were between Irishmen and Irishmen, and no fires to report, we started some. At Chinamen and Chinamen, with now and night we visited the six theaters, one then a squabble between the two races, after the other, seven nights in the week, for a change. Each day's evidence was three hundred and sixty-five nights in substantially a duplicate of the evidence the year. We remained in each of those of the day before, therefore the daily places five minutes, got the merest passperformance was killingly monotonous ing glimpse of play and opera, and with and wearisome. So far as I could see, that for a text we 'wrote up” those there was only one man connected with plays and operas, as the phrase goes, it wbo found anything like a compen- torturing our souls every night, from sating interest in it, and that was the the beginning of the year to the end of court interpreter. He was an English- it, in the effort to find something to say

about those performances which we had I don't remember which; but they were not said a couple of hundred times commercially sound. He said that the before. There has never been a time, Call was the paper of the poor; it was from that day to this(forty years), that the only cheap paper. It gathered its I have been able to look at even the livelihood from the poor, and must reoutside of a theater without a spasm of spect their prejudices, or perish. The the dry gripes, as “Uncle Remus” calls Irish were the poor. They were the it-and as for the inside, I know next to stay and support of the Morning Call; nothing about that, for in all this time without them the Morning Call could I have seldom had a sight of it, nor ever not survive a month-and they hated had a desire in that regard which the Chinamen. Such an assault as I had couldn't have been overcome by argu- attempted could rouse the whole Irish ment.

hive, and seriously damage the paper. After having been hard at work from The Call could not afford to publish nine or ten in the morning until eleven articles criticizing the hoodlums for stonat night scraping material together, I ing Chinamen. took the pen and spread this much out I was lofty in those days. I have surin words and phrases, and made it cover vived it. I was unwise, then. I am upas much acreage as I could. It was fear to-date now. Day before yesterday's ful drudgery-soulless drudgery-and New York Sun has a paragraph or two almost destitute of interest. It was an from its London correspondent which awful slavery for a lazy man, and I was enables me to locate myself. The correborn lazy. I am no lazier now than 1 spondent mentions a few of our Amerwas forty years ago, but that is because ican events of the past twelvemonth, , I reached the limit forty years ago. You such as the limitless rottenness of our can't go beyond possibility.

great Insurance Companies, where theft Finally there was an event. One Sun has been carried on by our most distinday afternoon I saw some hoodlums guished commercial men as a profession; chasing and stoning a Chinaman who the exposures of conscienceless graftwas heavily laden with the weekly wash colossal graft-in great municipalities of his Christian customers, and I noticed like Philadelphia, St. Louis, and other that a policeman was observing this large cities; the recent exposure of performance with an amused interest millionfold graft in the great Pennsylnothing more. He did not interfere. I vania railway system—with minor unwrote up the incident with considerable coverings of commercial swindles from warmth and holy indignation. Usually one end of the United States to the I didn't want to read, in the morning, other; and finally to-day's lurid expowhat I had written the night before; it sure, by Upton Sinclair of the most had come from a torpid heart. But this titanic and death-dealing swindle of item had come from a live one. There them all, the Beef Trust, an exposure was fire in it, and I believed it was lit which has moved the President to deerature—and so I sought for it in the mand of a reluctant Congress a law paper next morning with eagerness. It which shall protect America and Europe wasn't there. It wasn't there the next from falling, in a mass, into the hands morning, nor the next. I went up to the of the doctor and the undertaker. Accomposing room and found it tucked cording to that correspondent, Europe away among condemned matter on the is beginning to wonder if there is really standing galley. I asked about it. The an honest male human creature left in foreman said Mr. Barnes had found it the United States. A year ago, I was in a galley proof and ordered its extinc satisfied that there was no such person tion. And Mr. Barnes furnished his existing upon American soil-except reasons—either to me or to the foreman, myself. That exception has since been

[ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »