« 이전계속 »
“There are three sorts of egoists: those who live themselves and let others live; those who live themselves and don’t let others live : and those who neither live themselves nor let others live.”
“With thoughts and feelings very simple but very strong.”—TotRGUEN EFF. WHE winter passed. The new pupil studied with diligence, and insisted upon learning the beginnings of pianoplaying so thoroughly that the resigned little German master with ear-rings woke up and began to ask her whether she could not go through a course of ten years or so, and become “a real blayer, not like American blayers, who want all to learn de same biece, and blay him mit de loud pedal down.” Sometimes Helen bore her away
to spend a Sunday : but there were no
more New-Year's Days, or occasions for the gray silk. When together at Miss Teller's, the two sat over the dressing-room fire at night, talking with that delightful mixture of confidence and sudden little bits of hypocrisy in which women delight, and which undress seems to beget. The bits of hypocrisy, however, were all Helen's.
She had long ago gathered from Anne
her whole simple history; she was familiar with the Agency, the fort, Miss Lois, Père Michaux, Dr. Gaston, Rast, Tita, and the boys, even old Antoine and his dogs, René and Lebeau. Anne, glad to have a listener, had poured out a flood of details from her lonely homesick heart, going back as far as her own lost mother, and her young step-mother Angélique. But it was not until one of these later midnight talks that the girl had spoken of her own betrothal. Helen was much surprised — the only surprise she had shown. “I should never have dreamed it, Crystal" she exclaimed. “Never!” (Crystal was her name for Anne.) “Why not " “Because you are so—young.” “But it often happens at my age. The fort ladies were married at eighteen and nineteen, and my own dear mother was only twenty.” “You adore this Rast, I suppose 7" “Yes, I like him.” “Nonsense! You mean that you adore him.” “Perhaps I do,” said Anne, smiling. “I have noticed that our use of words is different.”
“And how long have you adored him?” “All my life.” The little sentence came forth gravely and sincerely. Helen surveyed the speaker with a quizzical expression in her narrow brown eyes. “No one ‘adores' all one's life,” she answered. Then, as Anne did not take up the challenge, she paused, and, after surveying her companion in silence for a moment, added, “There is no time fixed as yet for this marriage * “No: Rast has his position to make first. And I myself should be better pleased to have four or five years to give to the children before we are married. I am anxious to educate the boys.” “Bon " said Helen. “All will yet end well, Virginie. My compliments to Paul. It is a pretty island pastoral, this little romance of yours; you have my good wishes.” The island pastoral was simple indeed compared with the net-work of fancies and manoeuvres disclosed by Helen. Her life seemed to be a drama. Her personages were masked under fictitious names: the Poet, the Haunted Man, the Knighterrant, the Chanting Tenor, and the Bishop, all figured in her recitals, to which Anne listened with intense interest. Helen was a brilliant story-teller. She could give the salient points of a conversation, and these only. She colored everything, of course, according to her own fancy; but one could forgive her that for her skillful avoidance of dull details, whose stupid repetition, simply because they are true, is a habit with which many good people are afflicted. The narrations, of course, were of love and lovers: it is always so in the midnight talks of women over the dying fire. Even the most secluded country girl will on such occasions unroll a list as long as Leporello's. The listener may know it. is fictitious, and the narrator may know that she knows it. But there seems to be a fascination in the telling and the hearing all the same. Helen amused herself greatly over the deep interest Anne took in her stories; to do her justice, they were generally true, the conversations only being more dramatic than the reality had been. This was not Helen's fault; she performed her own part brilliantly, and even went over, on occasion, and helped on the other however, to be anything but an ecclesiastical personage. Miss Vanhorn had been filled with profound astonishment and annoyance by Helen's note. She knew Helen, and she knew Miss Teller: what could they want of Anne : After due delay, she came in her carriage to find out. Tante, comprehending her motive, sent Anne up stairs to attire herself in the second dress given by Helen—a plain black costume, simply but becomingly made, and employed the delay in talking to her visitor mellifluously on every conceivable subject save the desired one. She treated her to a dissertation on intaglii, to an argument or two on architecture, and was fervently asking her opinion of certain recently exhibited relics said to be by Benvenuto Cellini, when the door opened and Anne appeared. The young girl greeted her grandaunt with the same mixture of timidity and hope which she had shown at their first interview. But Miss Vanhorn's face stiffened into rigidity as she surveyed her. “She is impressed at last,” thought the old Frenchwoman, folding her hands contentedly and leaning back in her chair, at rest (temporarily) from her labors. But if impressed, Miss Vanhorn had no intention of betraying her impression for the amusement of her ancient enemy; she told Anne curtly to put on her bonnet, that she had come to take her for a drive. Once safely in the carriage, she extracted from her niece, who willingly answered, every detail of her acquaintance with Helen, and the holiday visit, bestowing with her own eyes, meanwhile, a close scrutiny upon the black dress, with whose texture and simplicity even her angry annoyance could find no fault. “She wants to get something out of you, of course,” she said, abruptly, when the story was told; “Helen Lorrington is a thoroughly selfish woman. I know her well. She introduced you, I suppose, as Miss Vanhorn's niece 7" “Oh no, grandaunt. thought.” “What do you know of her thoughts! You continue to go there 7” “Sometimes, on Sundays—when she asks me.” “Very well. But you are not to go again when company is expected; I positively forbid it. You were not brought Vol. LXII.-No. 372.-54
She has no such
down from your island to attend evening parties. You hear me?” 4 * Yes.” “Perhaps you are planning for a situation here at Moreau's next winter 7” said the old woman, after a pause, peering at Anne suspiciously. “I could not find it, grandaunt; I could only teach in a country school.” “At Newport, or some such place, then o' “I could not get a position of that kind.” “Mrs. Lorrington could help you.” “I have not asked her to help me.” “I thought perhaps she had some such idea of her own,” continued Miss Vanhorn. “You can probably prop up that fife-like voice of hers in a way she likes; and besides, you are a good foil for her, with your big shoulders and bread-andmilk face. You little simpleton, don't you know that to even the most skillful flirt a woman friend of some kind or other is necessary as background and support?” “No, I did not know it,” said Anne, in a disheartened voice. “What a friend for Helen Lorrington No wonder she has pounced upon you ! You would never see one of her manoeuvres, although done within an inch of you. With your believing eyes, and your sincerity, you are worth your weight in silver to that straw-faced mermaid. But, after all, I do not interfere. Let her only obtain a good situation for you next year, and pay you back in more useful coin than fine dresses, and I make no objection.” She settled herself anew in the corner of the carriage, and began the process of extracting a seed, while Anne, silent and dejected, gazed into the snow-covered street, asking herself whether Helen and all this world were really as selfish and hypocritical as her grandaunt represented. But these thoughts soon gave way to the predominant one, the one that always came to her when with Miss Vanhorn— the thought of her mother. “During the summer, do you still live in the old country house on the Hudson, grandaunt o' Miss Vanhorn, who had just secured a seed, dropped it. “I am not aware that my old country house is anything to you,” she answered, tartly, fitting on her flapping glove-fingers, and beginning a second search.
A sob rose in Anne's throat; but she
quelled it. Her mother had spent all her life, up to the time of her marriage, at that old river homestead.
Soon after this, Madame Moreau sent out cards of invitation for one of her musical evenings. Miss Vanhorn's card was accompanied by a little note in Tante's own handwriting.
“The invitation is merely a compliment which I give myself the pleasure of paying to a distinguished patron of my school” (wrote the old French lady). “There will be nothing worthy of her ear—a simple school-girls' concert, in which Miss Douglas (who will have the kind assistance of Mrs. Lorrington) will take part. I can not urge, for so unimportant an affair, the personal presence of Miss Vanhorn; but I beg her to accept the inclosed card as a respectful remembrance from
“That will bring her,” thought Tante, sealing the missive, in her old-fashioned way, with wax. She was right; Miss Vanhorn came. Anne sang first alone. Then with Helen: “Isn't that Mrs. Lorrington 7" said a voice behind Miss Vanhorn. “Yes. My Louise tells me that she has taken up this Miss Douglas enthusiastically—comes here to sing with her almost every day.” “Who is the girl?” Miss Vanhorn prepared an especially rigid expression of countenance for the item of relationship which she supposed would follow. But nothing came; Helen was evidently waiting for a more dramatic occasion. She felt herself respited; yet doubly angry and apprehensive. When the song was ended, there was much applause of the subdued drawingroom kind—-applause, however, plainly intended for Helen alone. Singularly enough, Miss Vanhorn resented this. “If I should take Anne, dress her properly, and introduce her as my niece, the Lorrington would be nowhere,” she thought, angrily. It was the first germ of the idea. It was not allowed to disappear. It grew and gathered strength slowly, as Tante and Helen intended it should; the two friendly conspirators never relaxed for a day their efforts concerning it.
Anne remained unconscious of these manoeuvres; but the old grandaunt was annoyed, and urged, and flattered, and menaced forward with so much skill that it ended in her proposing to Anne, one day in the early spring, that she should come and spend the summer with her, the children on the island to be provided for meanwhile by an allowance, and Anne herself to have a second winter at the Moreau school, if she wished it, so that she might be fitted for a higher position than otherwise she could have hoped to attain. “Oh, grandaunt!” cried the girl, taking the old loosely gloved hand in hers. “There is no occasion for shaking hands and grandaunting in that way,” said Miss Vanhorn. “If you wish to do what I propose, do it; I am not actuated by any new affection for you. You will take four days to consider; at the end of that period, you may send me your answer. But, with your acceptance, I shall require the strictest obedience. And—no allusion whatever to your mother.” “What are to be my duties 7" asked Anne, in a low voice. “Whatever I require,” answered the old woman, grimly. At first Anne thought of consulting Tante. But she had a strong under-current of loyalty in her nature, and the tie of blood bound her to her grandaunt, after all: she decided to consult no one but herself. The third day was Sunday. In the twilight she sat alone on her narrow bed, by the window of the dormitory, thinking. It was a boisterous March evening; the wildest month of the twelve was on his mad errands as usual. Her thoughts were on the island with the children; would it not be best for them that she should accept the offered allowance, and go with this strange grandaunt of hers, enduring as best she might her cold severity ? - Miss Lois's income was small; the allowance would make the little household comfortable. A second winter in New York would enable her to take a higher place as teacher, and also give the self-confidence she lacked. Yes; it was best. But a great and overwhelming loneliness rose in her heart at the thought of another long year's delay before she could be with those she loved. Rast's last letter was in her pocket; she took it out, and held it in her hand for comfort. In