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again enveloped them. These scamper- in plum-colored cloth, a yellow plush rug ing figures, bizarre and ravishing, these trailing over the tufted cushions, some sildust-adulterated scents of musk and roses, ver objects gleaming in a rack between the these sounds of kisses snatched in corners doors. This limousine, once the equipage amid scufflings and squeals, distorted like of the American Baroness di Campoforthe fumes of a too-dangerous wine the mio, still had the appearance of a dainty inspiration that one had caught back there little boudoir. from the immaculate stars. Thallie clung Thallie, her foot already on the step, fast to Reginald's arm, as if, assailed from drew back. The motor-car did not look every side by a half-comprehended men- at all as she had thought it would. And ace, she knew no refuge so safe as the in a flash her intuition told her that this beloved. He, when he felt her warm and tête-à-tête with Reginald was also liable yielding pressure, quickened his pace with to exceed her expectations. a swift access of virility. "By George!" "Hurry up!" he urged, his hand inhe thought, "let one of these monkeys so sistent on her arm. much as look at her, and I 'll knock his "No! no! A stranger's automobile--" head clear off!”
"I tell you he's a friend of mine. I've A wide staircase fell away before them, stayed at his house. It 's Campoformio, choked with masqueraders. Setting his that I stopped with out by Quarto.” shoulder to the crowd, he dragged her "Then-then-go ask him. Let 's go down the steps. In this press, which gave back and ask him if he minds—’ out a heat of many glowing bodies, the “What nonsense !” smell of alcohol, sachets, tobacco, and She saw the indignation in his face, moist Alesh was as enervating as the steam quailed, became limp. His hands-or
of Circe's caldron. A tipsy Greek war- was it terror lest he might hate her otherrior suspected the charms concealed by wise ?-drove Thallie forward. She hudThallie's domino, and risked an amorous dled into the farthest corner of the limouwhisper. Though she blushed to her sine. The plum-colored upholstery disforehead, she made no sign of protest, for pelled an odor of stale cigarette-smoke fear that a brawl might keep them from which recalled to her the studio in Via the park.
de' Bardi. At the foot of the staircase she saw the The door slammed shut. At the lowthin little man in the pig's head of papier- ered window appeared the chauffeur's mâché, his shirt-bosom stained with the broad face. champagne that Fava had thrown over “The Cascine !" him. Flattened beside the entrance to the “The Cascine? Ah, Signorino, but the foyer, indifferent to the jostling of the Cascine would be closed." mob, he looked at her steadily through "Impossible! I
the Cascine his bestial disguise. Now, however, she Park.” found him more uncanny than absurd, “Yes, Signorino, the Cascine Park. sort of symbol posted at the door, a fig- The gates are shut at night.” ure, with its brutish head-gear and its Thallie expelled a long breath.
But foppish evening dress befouled with wine, Reginald cried : that seemed to propose an almost sinister "Drive there, anyway! I 'll find out riddle.
for myself." But Reginald drew her eagerly into the The chauffeur took his seat. The vagfoyer, where Campoformio's chauffeur abonds, having received no tips, raised an was waiting for them.
ironical cheer. The automobile rushed The motor-car stood thrumming at the off toward the park. Street lights, sailing curb, Half a dozen shabby idlers sprang
by, flashed over the two figures, rigid forward to hold the door. The interior
from suspense. of the limousine was revealed, upholstered On each side the house-fronts fell
away; the avenue expanded into a square; "Who 's this?" demanded Reginald of ahead loomed the tall stone towers of the the chauffeur. Cascine gate. The motor-car glided to a “The gate-keeper, Signorino." standstill: the rays of its lamps, illumin- “He has the keys?” ing a distant mass of ilex-leaves, were “No! no!" pleaded Thallie, then shrank strained through iron bars.
into the corner. "Behold, Signorino!" the chauffeur ex- The chauffeur inquired: claimed, with a triumphant gesture.
"Hast thou the keys, old one?" Thallie leaned toward Reginald im- His grimace maliciously expanding, the ploringly.
wraith repeated to Reginald, in the rough"You see, it 's really closed.”
est dialect of Florence: “You seem far from sorry!"
"Impossible to-night, my little prince. "Please don't be angry with me!" The park is shut."
"So," he muttered, "I was mistaken But Reginald produced a fifty-lire note. in your wishes."
The ancient, who had seemed, a mo“Ah, if you could understand !"
ment since, beyond desire of every sort, “Then, if the gates had been open ?" now showed in his filmy eyes a gleam of
"Yes,” she assented, with a febrile cupidity. Yet he only wavered, shaking eagerness. “Yes, if the gates had been his head, groaning excuses, mumbling of open; but they 're not.”
the danger he would run, until a second “We'll take another drive.
bank-note had been added to the first. minutes we can reach San Miniato.” Then, with a last despairing oath that he In a stifled voice she protested :
was ruined, he snatched the money and "San Miniato is n't the Cascine. To- hobbled to the bars. morrow we'll come here.
To-morrow "Make haste !" called the old voice, afternoon—"
quickened by greed and fear. "Make "No doubt!"
haste! Make haste!" And to mock him still more there is- The motor-car, springing through the sued from the park, through the iron bars gateway, was engulfed by the Cascine. that reached across his path, the breeze, Its windows blank, its panels faintly sweet with leaves and moss, that seemed glistening in the starlight, the limousine to blow from regions of eternal spring. pursued a radiant path, as elusive as that
He had opened his mouth to order, which leads to happiness in dreams. "Drive us back," when he saw a figure Ahead, the nocturnal landscape kept leapapproaching through the shadows.
ing forth in unnatural hues and extraorInto the glare of the lamps there sham- dinary forms. But that foliage, just as bled a senile wreck whose military cap the car attained it, faded into obscurity was decked with tattered braid, whose again. And behind, the darkness, swimred-rimmed eyes were surrounded with ming together, blotted everything, as if wrinkles like old sword-cuts, whose nose the phantasmal mingling of leaf and light resembled a potato, whose ragged white had been a visionary's paradise, which mustaches concealed his chin. This crea ceases to exist when one attempts to peneture, advancing with assurance, peered trate its borders. into the limousine. When he caught sight After the automobile had passed by, a of Thallie's shimmering dress and satin vast silence again descended from the mask, the vacuity of his countenance gave heavens and enwrapped the park. place to such a grimace as a ghost might And that progress was noted by other show while contemplating the follies that eyes than those of the impelling universe. enamoured him when he was Aesh and Here and there, amid denuded thickets blood.
pale with statues, from marble benches "L'Hascine è chius'," he croaked. encircled by the graves of last year's flow"The park is shut."
ers, rose the heads of those who had been
able to evade without a bribe the old "To the opera-house, Signorino?" gate-keeper's barrier against nature. A “Eh? Why, yes, I suppose so.” white-haired, ruminant priest, who could As the chauffeur was about to start, not sleep at home, reflected, with the Reginald began to fumble with more worldly wisdom gained from many con- money. fessionals, “In that automobile are two “Remember, Antonio—" persons who may some day repent this The Italian, with a look of reproach, hour, but will never quite regret it.” Far- laid one hand dramatically on his breast. ther on, a poor young poet, who lived for “Ah, Signorino,” he protested. And the most part on dreams of art and love, when he had stuffed this second fee into murmured sadly, "She who rides with his pocket, the faithful Antonio drove him in such an equipage must be very back in dashing style to the Politeama beautiful, or at least must be beautified Fiorentino. by elegance and the occasion. Yet I doubt Now the whole edifice seemed tremif he who rides with her has soul enough bling with excitement. Wild laughter to immortalize this moment even with a and blares of music, the sound of popping couplet. Alas! if only I were he!" And, corks and smashing glass, merged with a near the far end of the park, a cowherd steady roar that issued from the auditofrom the Cascine stables said to his sweet- rium above a torrent of helmets, garlands, heart, with a hoarse laugh: “Like us two, peaked hats, disheveled wigs, and pincheh? But for all their fine little house on
For an instant Reginald wheels no happier to-night than you was amazed to find these revels not only and I !”
still in progress, but more violent than Perhaps not so happy. .
ever. It seemed to him that all this The motor-car was returning. From license ought to be spent by now, and the Piazzale del Re, where the trees fell superseded by remorse. He felt as alien away in a wide circle, one could already here as a young Daniel moving through see the street-lamps twinkling beyond the Babylonian orgies. gates. The wheels revolved more slowly. A girl in the conventional dress of The chauffeur, half turning in his seat, Cleopatra, her gauzy skirts in ribbons, called out:
her vulture head-dress awry, barred his “Signorino, maybe I still have time for way, laid her henna-stained fingers on his one more turn around the park?”
shoulder, demanded half indignantly: The window dropped open.
“Come, now! For me, at least, you will "No; drive to the Pension Schwan- smile?" He pushed by her with a hostile dorf.”
glare. The laughter of the crowd purIn five minutes they were there.
sued him down a corridor. The door of The young man, stepping out upon the the box was before him. Recoiling, turnsidewalk, attempted to help her from the ing on his heel, he hastened toward the limousine. She avoided his hand. Her street. domino floated loose ; her face, at last un- But that would be the act of a fool! masked, gleamed through the shadows It was necessary to go back there to the like alabaster as she ran up the steps. The box, rejoin the people of whom he was door burst open; the white vestibule re- still the host, offer some story. “See here, ceived her. The door slammed shut, fell in Heaven's name, a little common sense !" ajar from that impact, once
After a while he was able to retrace vealed her fluttering domino, which quickly diminished in the depths of the Mr. Goodchild, in his robe of red dim hall. His hand still raised, he stared glazed muslin, still sat in the shadow of toward the spot where she had last been the obese Bulgarian. Camillo and Frosvisible.
sie, oblivious to everything except each Finally he reëntered the limousine, other, were whispering together. Azeglio
and Fava stood languidly tossing con- And Reginald, his shoulders bent in unfetti at the dancers. Here nothing was accustomed lines, continued to stutter: changed.
"I tell you it 's nothing, absolutely “Where 's Thallie?"
nothing. She won't thank you, you He answered:
know! A headache! The noise and "You see, I 'd have been here much heat-” sooner, but I met some friends. Campo- Nevertheless, Frossie was already in formio”
the doorway. The Magenta Cavalry, , "Campoformio was here just now with with the resignation of good soldiers to Mr. Holland."
the unexpected, were putting on their “Of course. To be sure. So he told pearl-gray capes.
Mr. Goodchild was me. But before that. One after the trying to withdraw his fingers from Prinother! Or else I 'd have been here in- cess Tchernitza's hand, as fat as a pinstantly."
cushion, blazing with sapphires and em"Is Thallie with Mr. Holland, then?" eralds too gorgeous to be real.
“No, the fact is, she did n't feel well. “My daughter, ma'am! She asked me to take her home. You see, but my daughter 's been taken ill! We I'd have been here much sooner —”. don't know yet what it is. We think it 's
Mr. Goodchild, turning pale, asked not cholera-” quickly:
“Cholera! Bah! One moment. My “What ails her? What is the matter day at home is Tuesday. Drop in, and with my daughter?”
I'll finish telling you about the astral Reginald wanted to vault the box-rail colors.” and conceal himself among the dancers. "Yes, yes! the astral colors! I implore Putting on the wretched imitation of a you, ma'am! My daughter!" smile, he managed to get out the words: “Bring her along. You'll meet a “The heat and noise — "
friend of mine who does crystal-gazing, a "What a pity, Monsieur," said Fava, very clairvoyant person. Tuesday, and with a homicidal look, “that you did n't don't forget, because I feel somehow that take my advice!”
you and I are kindred spirits, that we But Mr. Goodchild's hands were trem- have met elsewhere, if not in a previous bling on his knees.
existence, at least on the Ripa-banks of “Young sir, it is not necessary to break Devachân-” bad news to me so slowly.”
But Aurelius, forgetting his 'manners “Really, on my word of honor, it 's for the first time in his life, had rushed only a touch of vertigo."
into the corridor. "Vertigo!" cried the father, leaping to In the street, all scuffling along behis feet. "That might be the beginning tween a walk and a dog-trot, they passed of anything!"
Campoformio's chauffeur, who doffed his "No! no! She asked me particularly cap respectfully. to tell you it was nothing. She 'd rather Aurelius and Frossie darted into the you did n't bother. In fact, she wants to pension. The lieutenants lighted Tosbe alone.”
cana cigars and set out for the cavalry “Because she does n't want to spoil our barracks. Reginald returned slowly to his pleasure,” Frossie retorted, rising. “Come, hotel. Dad."
He locked his bedroom door. He paced “It may be the beginning of cholera," the floor. From time to time he stopped gasped Aurelius, frozen with horror, star- before a looking-glass, stared at his face, ing wildly at them all.
exclaimed in the tones of one newly Azeglio burst out laughing.
roused from intoxication, "What, is it "Calm yourself, Signore. This year there is no cholera anywhere in Italy.” The stimulations of the evening were
dispclled. Even the charm of all these And at last a delicious relief pervaded his weeks had been dissolved. The pinions despondency, with the thought that life of romance, after lifting him high above might hold out opportunities as tempting himself, had shriveled, at the contact of as before. reality, and let him drop back to earth. “When we 're in wrong, we owe it to
On each side, indeed, there had been a ourselves to struggle out." Though he disillusionment and a revulsion so intense repeated that aloud, he still heard the that his past expectations of felicity now voice of conscience, whispering of manappeared insane. He saw between him- kind's traditional obligations. Soon, howself and Thallie an abyss which had ever, lifting his head defiantly, "But she opened in one moment like the fissure of told me with her own lips that she felt an earthquake, which he took for a gulf she could never lay eyes on me again.” eternally impassable.
And this speech of hers, the true causes “No, we were never meant for each of which he did not know enough to other. I must have been crazy to think fathom, became for him the open sesame
What 's more, she knows it now as to liberty. well as I." And as though she were Next morning, while Florence was still there before him, he cried accusingly, dim, Reginald and his baggage left the “You do know it, you ought to have Hotel Alexandra. John Holland, glancknown it from the first, as well as I !" ing down from a window, saw him drive And soon: “They were right, the Ghilla- away. For some time the historian's keen moors. Good Lord! if I 'd taken their gray eyes remained fixed on the summit advice! Or if I were back where I stood of Mont' Oliveto, growing the graver before I ever met her!"
as the illumination of the sunrise spread. Presently the old fancies, that had At the railroad station Reginald caught often come to him before his journey into a train for Naples. As the engine was Italy, returned, in poignant contrast to puffing out of Florence, he thought: the mockery of this night. Somewhere, "After all, decency demands that I amid the darkness, perhaps in the direc- send some plausible excuse from Naplestion of Lake Como, she existed in the a death or something-a sort of loophole. flesh- the sumptuous mistress of his pre- For if I should want to come back —” vious ideals, whose image had been But he knew in his heart that he would dimmed by this blundering infatuation? not come back.
(To be continued)