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had impelled me to write Tragic Con and was going to California with her quest. But I doubt if she understood. mother for the winter. That letter made The thing got lost in the clouds for her. me feel very strange, of course. But I In the end I asked her to read the book was thinking only of losing Eveline. I over again, and when she had read the didn't realize how Clewesbury and Conlast page to decide if Clewesbury's inter gress Avenue would interpret her action. pretation could possibly be the right one. It didn't occur to me that it would con“I suppose I was too proud to upbraid firm everything gossip had said about
It was not until a month later, when some cousins of mine in town told me the talk about me, that I realized the position I was in.
“I confess that for several days I had a distinct struggle with myself, then, trying to decide whether ethics demanded that I keep silent and make no explanations. It did seem a bit ironical that, because I had tried to write a fine book and been robbed of my wife by a friend, I should be universally considered a scoundrel. In the end, however, I decided that to add more talk to all the welter of meanness there already was would be not only unfair to Eveline, but would accomplish no practical result. People would distort anything I said into all sorts of contemptible images
just as they had done with her or try to influence her. I knew that Tragic Conquest. The best thing for me a man had but two things in his life to do was to take my medicine, keep his wife and his work. But if she really myself from becoming bitter, and try to thought me capable of such a thing after hang on to what philosophy of life I all our years of intimacy, no words of had left. So I wrote to Fred Comyn and mine could have any effect upon her. to my mother, and asked them to keep I could only go to New York and let silent and let the thing blow over for her decide for herself.
good. "It didn't occur to me then that peo
“I couldn't begin to tell you, of ple's gossip could follow me to New course, of the letters I received, of the York. I didn't think of it even when I old friends I met on Fifth Avenue and got Eveline's letter in Twelfth Street a in theaters to have them cut me, of week later, saying she felt sick at heart the hundred unpleasant moments that
fell to my lot during that year you used went out, every night after I went to to come over to the Twelfth Street apart- bed and wondered what Eveline was ment. But I deliberately shut it out of doing, every time a new review of the my mind while I concentrated on my book came along. Like an ever-present second book. In that, I felt, lay my ghost the thing was to me, peering over salvation. I would disregard the hints my shoulder while I wrote, leering at me I saw in the newspapers, the unpleasant from the fireplace while I thought, jumpencounters I had in Atlantic City and ing up and down on the typewriter keys Boston, the awkward evenings I spent in while I made my descriptions in the new the houses of acquaintances—and work. book. His Own Kind, as I had already named “But I did not even realize myself that second book, would be as free from how omnipresent, how fatally influential bitterness,
undisturbed by any it had been until I went away for a week thought of cynical revenge as I could to Atlantic City and came back to the keep it. It would be a fitting companion Twelfth Street apartment to begin the for Tragic Conquest.
second eight chapters. I sat before my “I didn't realize the effect my experi- fire reading the completed part on that ences had had upon me until I came late afternoon, rather curious to see how actually to draft the story. I wrote the the whole section would seem read at first chapter of that one evening in Sep once and after I had been away for a tember—from seven-thirty until about while. half past three. When it was done I “Well, they were no good. Absolutely read it all over-and was struck by the no good. The whole story was invisible. resemblance of the hero's remarks to the I had put upon paper a lot of senseless kind of things that Fred Comyn says. drivel. The only fine thing in all the
“Next day I read it once more very pages reminded me irresistibly of a scene carefully. There were many points of from Amelia Bond's life in Clewesbury. resemblance. After all, there was no I reached for my blue pencil to cut that use getting into another such mess if it out, and the inescapable implication of could be avoided by merely changing the whole story I had written so far some of the hero's remarks in the first flashed across my mind. Why, all this chapter. Why shouldn't I rewrite it part of the story could be interpreted as here and there?
Amelia Bond and her supposed infatua“I spent two days doing that, and tion for me in our youthful days! That began on the second chapter, with a was what Clewesbury would say! distinct resolve not to put any of my "Something snapped inside of me, of acquaintance's characteristics into this a sudden. Another Tragic Conquest! By book. For about three months, in fact, God! No! I would avoid that. I kept little else in mind but that re “My impulse was something not to solve. I had terrific difficulties--par- be resisted.
be resisted. I threw the entire eight ticularly in the choice of incidents which chapters into the blazing fire and might be attributed to this person or watched them burn up. I remember I that. I found myself forced to modify told you that I would begin over, use a many of my characters' main features, different plot and characters to put too, for the same reason. It was very across my idea. hard work-much like working always “I did exactly that. In fact, I had it with a crowd peering over one's shoulder well in hand when the Sun's editorial --but I succeeded in doing it.
and my lecture in Hartford made me “You must remember, of course, that resolve to quit New York and society it wasn't as if the results of Tragic Con for good. I never went back to the quest were a fading memory for me. apartment. I simply made my arrangeThey were present for me every time I ments at my bank and sailed for South
VOL. CXLIV.-No. 859,-7
America three days later. I would for as he pulled a waterproof-covered manuget people and their talk entirely, I had script out of the cloak he carried. decided, and write my second book some “Read it to-night and tell me what place where the imps of gossip wouldn't you think of it," he said. “You're the follow me. I got off in Rio de Janeiro only publisher in the world who could and stayed there five months—and tore have it. I've put four years into it, and up twelve chapters one foggy afternoon carried mankind a distinct step farther in the summer.
in its knowledge once it reads the pages. “There isn't much use detailing the But, by God! I defy a human being on rest of the two years. I had a letter in earth to make it a subject of gossip.” Buenos Aires from Eveline saying she He stood up in Madame Bourgnon's had finally decided to try life with Jim. empty café and put on his cloak. That occupied me for some time. But “Come around to my apartment toI have a streak of Yankee doggedness, I morrow night,” he said in a more subsuppose, that makes me hang on to a dued tone as he prepared to depart, and thing once I have begun it. I wandered gave us his address. “Unless I have over about half the globe. I suppose I bored you to extinction.” He smiled that altered the story nineteen or twenty
half smile once more that smile I could times. I invented and cast aside a hun begin to master now!-and bowed to dred characters. But my fear got me Madame, and a moment later was strideach time, in the end-until one day I ing out with a gesture of farewell. got the final idea for that second book. I think Maclay and I both had the
“I spent about six months in Texas same idea instantly. But not until Bissell on that. Some time in British Guiana. had vanished through the heavy doors did I went to Tunis and parts of Africa. I either of us lean forward for the manuended up down in Provence and fin- script. I got it first and took it up with ished the book during my service with curious fingers. The title page was clear the Foreign Legion. But I did it. In
before me. The Wonder Story of the fact, I have done it again. I have writ Ants, I read, “With introduction by ten a great book.”
Henri Fabre.” He turned to Maclay with his deep “By God! they can't talk!" Floyd eyes alight with a kind of fanatical fire, Bissell had written boldly across the page.
BEHIND THE SCENES IN RED PETROGRAD
BY SIR PAUL DUKES
Mr. Dukes, of the British Secret Intelligence Service, went disguised to Petrograd in 1918 in order to keep the British government privately informed of the march of events. The first installment of his narrative, published last month, described his shifts of living and clandestine methods of communication with various people. He undertakes to effect the escape of Mrs. Marsh, an English woman held prisoner by the Bolsheviks. In this enterprise the “Policeman” and the “Journalist” mentioned in the following pages are enlisted. Dukes also undertakes to release his friend Melnikoff, of whom Zorinsky has private information. The mysterious Zorinsky, who professes to be a counter-revolutionist, gives Dukes frequent assistance and advice, but he remains an enigmatic character and his real intentions are doubtful.—THE EDITORS..
T was shortly before Christmas that meager provisions for themselves or their
the Policeman began to grow nervous families. Old clothing, odds and ends of and excited, and I could see that his every description, crockery, toys, knickemotion was real. His plan for Mrs. knacks, clocks, books, pictures, paper, Marsh's escape was developing, occupy- pots, pans, pails, pipes, post cards—the ing his whole mind and causing him no entire paraphernalia of antiquarian and small concern. Every day I brought him second-hand dealers' shops-could be some little present, such as cigarettes, found here turned out on the pavements. sugar, or butter, procured from Maria. Maria soon found what she wantedAt last I became almost as wrought up a warm cloak which had evidently seen as he was himself, while Maria, whom I better days. The tired eyes of the tall, kept informed, was in a constant state refined lady from whom we bought it of tremor resulting from her fever of opened wide as I immediately paid the anxiety.
first price she asked. December 18th dawned bleak and raw. Toward noon Maria and I set out The dingy interior of the headquarters together for a neighboring market place. of the Extraordinary Commission, with We were going to buy a woman's cloak, its bare stairs and passages, is an eerie for that night I was to take Mrs. Marsh place at all times of the year, but never across the frontier.
is its somber, sorrow-laden gloom so inThe corner of the Kuznetchny Pereu tense as on a December afternoon when lok and the Vladimirovsky Prospect dusk is sinking into darkness. While has been a busy place for “speculators” Maria and I made our preparations, ever since private trading was pro there sat in one of the inner chambers at hibited. Even on this bitter winter day No. 2 Gorohovaya, on wooden planks there were the usual lines of wretched which took the place of bedsteads, a people standing patiently, disposing of group of women, from thirty to forty in personal belongings or of food got by number, their faces undistinguishable in foraging in the country. Many of them the growing darkness. The room was were women of the educated class, sell overheated and nauseatingly stuffy, but ing off their last possessions in the effort the patient figures paid no heed, nor to scrape together sufficient to buy appeared to care whether it were hot or
cold, dark or light. A few chatted in The figure disappeared in the doorundertones, but most of them sat mo way. tionless and silent, waiting, waiting, end “Follow me,” said the guard. He lessly waiting.
passed along the corridor and turned The terror hour was not yet-it came down a side passage.
They passed only at seven each evening. Then each others in the corridor, but no one heeded. victim knew that if the heavy door was The guard stopped and pointed with his opened and her name called, she would bayonet. pass out into eternity, for executions "In here?" queried the woman, in surwere carried out in the evening and the prise. The guard was silent. The woman bodies removed at night.
pushed the door open and entered. At seven o'clock, all talk, all action Lying in the corner were a dark-green ceased. The white-faced women sat still, shawl and a shabby hat, with two slips eyes fixed on the heavy folding door. of paper attached. One of them was a When it creaked every figure became pass
in an unknown name, stating the rigid. A moment of ghastly, intolerable holder had entered the building at four suspense, a silence that could be felt, and o'clock and must leave before seven. in the silence-a name. And when the The other had scrawled on it the words, name was spoken, every figure—but one “Walk straight into St. Isaac's Cathe-would imperceptibly relapse. Here dral.” and there a lip would twitch, here and Mechanically she destroyed the secthere a smile would flicker. But no one ond slip, adjusted the shabby hat, and, would break the dead silence. One of wrapping the shawl well round her neck their number was doomed. The figure and face, passed out into the passage. that bore the spoken name would rise, She elbowed others in the corridor, but move slowly, with unnatural gait, tot no one heeded her. At the foot of the tering along the narrow aisle between the main staircase she was asked for her plank couches. Some would look
and pass. She showed it and was motioned some would look down, and some would on. At the main entrance she was again pray, or mutter, “To-morrow, maybe asked for her pass. She showed it and I.” Or there would be a frantic shriek, was passed out into the street. She a brutal struggle, and worse than death looked up and down. The street was would fill the chamber.
empty, and, crossing the road hurriedly, But on this December afternoon the she disappeared round the corner. terror hour was not yet. There were Like dancing constellations the canstill three hours' respite, and the figures dles flickered and flared in front of the spoke low in groups or sat silently wait ikons at the foot of the huge pillars of ing, waiting, endlessly waiting.
the vast cathedral. Halfway up, the “Lydia Marsh!”
columns vanished in gloom. I had alThe hinges creaked, the guard ap ready burned two candles, and, though peared in the doorway, and the name I was concealed in the niche of a pillar, was spoken loud and clearly. “It is not I knelt and stood alternately, partly the terror hour yet,” thought every from impatience, partly that my piety woman, glancing at the twilight through should be patent to any chance observer. the high, dirt-stained windows.
But my eyes were fixed on the little A figure rose from a distant couch. wooden side entrance. How intermin“What can it be?” “Another inter able the minutes seemed. Quarter to pellation?” “An unusual hour!" Low five! voices sounded from
Then the green shawl appeared. It “They've left me alone three days," said looked almost black in the dim darkthe rising figure, wearily. "I suppose now ness. It slipped through the doorway it begins all over again. Well, à bientôt.” quickly, stood still a moment, and