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where a demi-tasse of coffee cost four cents each, to patrons of the Café Hirsch. cents,
Nevertheless, he felt he had been cheated An awning shaded the tables on the of his proper destiny. Off duty, he passed sidewalk, but did not darken the interior. the doors of fine hostelries with the sensaHere one might sit in comfort by the tions of a man who watches interlopers hour, gazing out through the plate-glass flourishing in a mansion which he should windows at the square, or watching the have inherited. patrons come and go, their heads reflected Mr. Goodchild cast about for words of in mirrors that ran round the walls. Au- comfort. relius soon learned to covet a particular "My dear friend, all your troubles seem corner. His waiter was a German-Swiss to come from wanting something you are named Otto.
not sure would make you happy. As Short, fat, with glistening bald head Epictetus said, 'It is not poverty that and ruddy jowls, Otto made one wonder causes, sorrow, but covetous desires; nor how a man with features all designed for , do riches deliver from fear, but reasoning. jollity could look so woebegone. At first If, therefore, you acquire a habit of glance, one took the perspiration on his reasoning, you will neither desire riches cheeks for tears.
nor complain of poverty.'” He spoke English.
"Ha! All very nice, Mr. Gootschild, "Black coffee, Otto, if you please." for them who has no ambitions ! But
“Black coffee," moaned Otto, and me!" Otto thumped the coffee-stained dragged his heels across the floor to the plastron of his uniform. “Me, who feels buffet. Returning, he laid down the tin in here so sure, if I had got a chance tray, with its cup and saucer, battered already, I vould be great in my profespot and sugar-holder, like one who relin- sion! Alvays it eats me up, that feeling. quishes his last poor treasure at the order I might have turned avay millionaires in of a cruel conqueror.
the high season; yet all I must do is to get "What a day, Otto!"
penny tips from artists!" “Ah!” A groan of despair.
Aurelius could not help sympathizing "The sun of Italy on Italy's monu- with fine dreams in whatever form. ments!”
"It 's true," he responded gently, "that "Ugh! Italy und her monuments, Mr. fate, seems to have been cruel to your asGootschild! I can vish I have never seen pirations. But have faith! Here or herethem. Yes, I can vish I have never been after, we shall all rise to our ideal. Bealive.” And finally he told his tale. sides, the sky is often darkest just before
He had begun as omnibus in a hotel- the sun breaks through. Take my own pension at Vitznau, had spent two years as waiter in a London chop-house, had He described the coming of the legacy fallen heir to three thousand francs, re- which had so changed his life and the gained Switzerland, married, opened a lives of his three daughters. tea-room on the road to Arth. His pas- When he pronounced the words, "a sion had been to own, on Lake Lucerne, hundred thousand dollars," the other such a hotel as is honored with a star by stared as if seeing him then for the first Baedeker, motor-cars before the terrace, a time. That day the waiter's farewell bow string-band playing in the winter-garden, more profound than previously. soirées de gala every Thursday night. But From the threshold of the café, Otto luck had been against him. His wife dy- watched the tall figure in the rusty cuting, he had gone bankrupt. Long service away clear across the square. Four cabin neighboring countries had failed to horses stood in line before the arcade. yield sufficient capital to start again. Fol- Mr. Goodchild fed to each a lump of lowing his will-o'-the-wisp to Italy, now sugar--the four pieces which had been he was carrying pots of coffee, at four served him with his coffee.
He arrived at the pension toward din- were women who attained such moments, ner-time. Frossie and Thallie had not who held at their tongues' ends the secrets yet returned from the churches and the of a nation. lace-shops; but Aglaia, as fresh as a flower But the wife of a diplomatist would in her evening gown, sat under the pal- hardly be permitted a career in opera? metto palm, deciphering Dante in the Nevertheless, she said softly: original, and, without seeming to do so, “What you need is an incentive, an watching the glass corridor.
inspiration." Cyril Bellegram usually regained the Life in the pension had already been pension at this hour.
reduced to a peaceful monotone. Every In the moonlit garden, where fireflies morning, in answer to their ring, the maid, twinkled through the foliage, and blos- Giannina, wearing the same smile, brought soms spread a stronger perfume than by into Aglaia's bedroom the same tray of day, he and Aglaia had come to consider rolls and coffee. She was a stocky, strongthe bench beneath the palmetto as theirs looking woman, prematurely past her alone, by right of nightly use. Here it youth, with sallow skin, large, mischievous was that she, with the shadows lending to black eyes, and the mouth of a comedian. her visage an ambiguous loveliness, drew Her husband was Federico, the middlefrom him confessions never made before aged waiter whose long, smooth-shaven -of youthful dreams which he had for- face would have looked more at home begotten till now, of fancies that come to neath the Jolly Roger than in a diningone in solitude, of the inclinations, lying room. It was Federico who served their deep in the heart, that direct the whole formal meals, arrayed in a dress-suit of seemingly erratic progress of a life. What antiquated pattern, and white cotton he did not disclose she managed to guess. gloves.
His father was a baronet; he had been Even the foods, over which one had to Oxford; he was now an idler. Still, cxclaimed at first, began to lose their tang. he felt at times a strong desire to do The minestrone, the polenta, the risotto, something that might bring him fame, yet the zuppa Inglese, were just like other not be unseemly in an English gentleman.
dishes now. The Goodchilds asked one He could write Latin poetry, draw another if the table was n't failing. horses and dogs, play the piano, speak But now they would have missed inItalian, French, and German, ride, shoot, tensely the roses of the garden, the bizarre fence, dance, mix a punch, name the popes chair-covers in their rooms, the amiable and the kings of Europe backward. In greetings of the servants, even the calls his opinion, these accomplishments fitted of the vegetable-hucksters, that woke them him for nothing but the diplomatic ser
every morning. Sometimes they said, vice.
"It 's a disgrace that we have n't run "Why don't you!" exclaimed Aglaia. down for a few days to Rome or Perugia
She saw the staircases of royal palaces, or Siena!" Yet they kept putting off even lined with lackeys, giving upon vast halls, the least arduous of those excursions, so where the wives of attachés, themselves well were they imbued already with inattired like queens, made deep courtesies ertia of Italy in summer, and with the before a throne. She saw ball-rooms full feeling, still half unconscious, that the of epaulets and jewels, a monarch halt- Pension Schwandorf was every day more ing to pay compliments that would thence- like a home. forth distinguish one from all the rest. Toward mid-afternoon, the doorway She saw a shaded lamp above a desk inlaid of the Nobles' Club on Via Tornabuoni with tortoise-shell, a despatch-box opened was usually graced by half a dozen spickby a confiding husband, papers embel- and-span young men. Among them one lished with broad seals the secret treaty, often saw some army officers. The latter the cipher code, the ultimatum. For there wore tight blue-black jackets, with magenta
collars and cuffs, light-gray trousers, black That night, in her dreams Frossie caps with patent-leather vizors, swords tramped innumerable miles of streets, caught up, by the hilt, in the crook of the through Florence, Milan, Geneva, Paris, left arm. Occasionally they appeared in New York, Zenasville,-all the while brazen helmets, the cross of Savoy em- aware that his eyes were focused, like twin blazoned on the front. They belonged to burning-glasses, on her back. Or was it the Magenta Cavalry, a regiment of lan- the rays reflected from the silvered but
tons of his tight blue-black coat, as if from One day when Frossie passed alone only a double row of tiny search-lights? one of them was lounging in the doorway. If only he had n't worn them! She stole a glance at him. Her own height, with the lean figure of
CHAPTER VI an athlete, he seemed about twenty-eight years old. His skin was of a creamy pal
A TOUCH OF THE SUN IN
VIA TORNABUONI lor. Small black mustaches were brushed straight up from his lips. His eyes re- For a week Frossie avoided the neighminded one of ink-wells, with the sunlight borhood of the Nobles' Club. Even shining into them. His hand poised a cig. at the pension door she looked round her arette half-way to his lips; his face-the nervously. But at last, as her expectancy face of a young knight in a fourteenth- died away, she was aware of losing a cercentury fresco-displayed a look of hom- tain stimulation. Life suddenly seemed age startling in its intensity.
so humdrum, her work so futile! One Frossie's knees grew weak. No one had night, on impulse, she jumped out of bed ever looked at her like that!
and tore up her manuscript. When ThalShe found herself a block away, pro
lie woke at the sound, she explained: ceeding as sedately as before, but trem- "It would never have been a success. bling all over. Mechanically she turned Perhaps I was n't meant to succeed in into the Lungarno, which extended north- literature or anything else.” ward toward the pension.
"What wicked nonsense !" Why had he given her such a look, so "Never mind, Babykins. Go back to passionate, yet so respectful? It was not sleep and forget it.” the stare of a philanderer, but of one who Euphrosyne had long been used to seetook a serious, almost solemn, interest in ing admiration pass her by for Aglaia and her. It was not the expression of a Thallie. She had long believed that her stranger, but rather of one who had seen time for romance would not come till the her many times, had thought about her others were married, since simple flowers, still more often. Of course that was im- that seem charming when viewed by possible.
themselves, may lose attractiveness if Farther on, she paused, pretended to Aanked by more vivid blossoms. But now contemplate a show-case, glanced behind a young man's expressive eyes had apher. He was there, two hundred feet peared to say, "There is something about away, slowly sauntering now, and gazing you that I have n't seen before-someinnocently at the sky!
thing so congenial to me that I must know She felt frightened, then furious. "And who you are.” It was hard for Frossie I thought that he at least looked decent!" to give up that sensation of pride, to feel She marched all the way home without she had been mistaken. once turning her head. But safe in the “His idea of killing time on a dull afpension, she peeped out through the cur- ternoon! And, still, he seemed different tains of the parlor window.
from the rest." From the opposite corner he rapidly The worst of it was that he had seemed scrutinized the house. Then, wheeling, he different from the rest. departed with a quick, lithe stride.
She scorned herself for having remembered his creamy pallor, his crisp, black crossed to a book-shelf which held a long hair, his muscular hand, his lithe figure. row of ponderous volumes. How had she ever noticed so much in a “Behold! They 're all here, including second's glance? Undoubtedly the novel- the one that captured the Nobel Prize. ist's eye for details.
Now, you are young and strong; you shall Every morning Frossie sat down to read them from cover to cover, and tell work at nine o'clock sharp. She put on me what they contain. I have made my her horn spectacles, spread a sheet of pa- door-porter, Domenico, cut all the pages. per, and poised her fountain-pen. Then It 's always best that the pages be cut, at for a long while she stared across the old least, in the books of our friends. Eh, writing-table, out of the open window, at
little book-worm?" the palmetto palm. Giannina, the maid, She questioned Frossie satirically with passing through to Aglaia's room for the
her keen old eyes. breakfast-tray, made a grimace of pity, “I'm afraid I shall have too much and cried in her loud, hoarse voice: work of my own to do.”
“Always studying, Signorina! It 's not “And I am afraid you'll never find good for the young to labor so hard." time to play. But wait till the autumn!
“Better to labor than to think idle I 'll see to it then that you play. · Only thoughts."
yesterday, when I drove to church, three For Frossie was rapidly learning to friends of mine stormed the carriage to speak Italian.
ask when the dances are going to begin In the cool of the afternoon she often again at the Pension Schwandorf. Three went out, exhausted by a long day of vain young men as dashing as ever you saw effort. She wandered down into the city. in your life, and all aristocratic enough One day, in Vieusseux's Library, while for even a stanch little democrat! In fact, looking over the catalogue, she read: the Magenta Cavalry gets all its officers “'The Six Cæsars,' six vols., John Hol- from
from the aristocracy.” She cackled land, author of 'Primitive Latin Relig- craftily at her thoughts. "Your work, ions,' 'Roman Literature,' 'The Etrus- indeed! I 'll settle your work for you, can and Lydian Languages,' 'Mycenæan Mlle. de Staël !” Excavations,' 'Baal, Dionysus, and Mars,' Next day, while she and Aglaia were etc.”
strolling far from the Nobles' Club, FrosJohn Holland was a historian!
sie met him again, face to face. She took home a volume of “The Six Though she looked away at once, she Cæsars" and showed it to Mme. von felt that she had turned pale. This fault, Schwandorf. The latter, in her office- however, was instantly remedied by a boudoir beside the vestibule, was sitting burning blush. Staring before her, she at ease, her yellow frizzes neatly ar- marched on faster and faster, while tears ranged, her wrinkled face well powdered, of mortification filled her eyes. Aglaia, her ample form arrayed in a mauve satin who was wearing new shoes, inquired : house-gown garnished all over with lace. "Are we catching a train?"
"Ah, yes, my dear. What a thorough, “That officer back there." brilliant, valuable work that is! I've al- "That whipper-snapper in the tight ways meant to read it. But at my age, little coat? If I bothered about every inyou know, one falls asleep less quickly sect like him!” when Pierre Louys is describing the an- Frossie pressed her lips together, then cients— for instance, in 'Aphrodite.'” uttered coldly:
Madame threw her cigarette out of the "I only suspected he might try flirting window, laid down a yellow-backed novel
with you." entitled “Histoire Comique,” and put the “Well, what if he did ? I don't think Florentine poodle off her lap. With her he 'll try it again.” points of lace all scattering bergamot, she “I suppose he gave you a long, solemn