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"If you leave me," she said, "I'll kill myself!" and she struck her hands together.
For the moment he was filled, as he often was, with a sense of passionate admiration. It was true he saw her as no other creature had ever seen her before, that so far as such a thing was possible with her, she loved him-loved him with a fierce, unreserved, yet narrow passion.
He had little actual packing to do merely the collecting of a few masculine odds and ends, and then his artistic accompaniments. Nothing was of consequence but these; the rest were tossed together indifferently, but the picture was to be left until the last moment, that its paint might be dry beyond a doubt.
Having completed his preparations he went out. He had the day before him, and scarcely knew what to do with it, but it must be killed in one way or another. He wandered up the mountain and at last lay down with his cigar among the laurels. He was full of a strange excitement which now thrilled, now annoyed him.
He came back in the middie of the afternoon and laughed a rather half-hearted laugh at the excellent Mandy's comment upon his jaded appearance.
"Ye look kinder tuckered out," she said. Ye'd oughtn't ter walked so fur when ye was a-gwine off to-night. Ye'd orter rested."
She stopped the churn-dasher and regarded him with a good-natured air of
"Hev ye seed Dusk to say good-bye to her?" she added. "She's went over the mountain ter help Mirandy Stillins with her soap. She wont be back fur a day or two."
He went into his room and shut the door. A fierce repulsion sickened him. He had heretofore held himself with a certain degree of inward loftiness; he had so condemned the follies and sins of other men, and here he found himself involved in a low and common villainy, in the deceits which belonged to his crime, and which preyed upon simplicity and ignorant trust.
He went and stood before his easel, hot with a blush of self-scorn.
"Has it come to this?" he muttered through his clenched teeth-"to this!"
He made an excited forward movement; his foot touched the supports of the easel, jarring it roughly; the picture fell upon the floor.
For before him, revealed by the picture's fall, the easel held one of the fairest memories he had of the woman he had proved himself too fickle and slight to value rightly.
It was merely a sketch made rapidly one day soon after his arrival and never wholly completed, but it had been touched with fire and feeling, and the face looked out from the canvas with eyes whose soft happiness stung him to the quick with the memories they brought. He had meant to finish it and had left it upon the easel that he might turn to it at any moment, and it had remained there, covered by a stronger rival-forgotten.
He sat down in a chair and his brow fell upon his hands. He felt as if he had been clutched and dragged backward by a powerful arm.
When at last he rose, he strode to the picture lying upon the floor, ground it under his heel and spurned it from him with an imprecation.
"What?" he cried out. "Beck! You! Great God!"
He was, at a certain hour, to reach a particular bend in the road some. miles distant. He was to walk to this place and if he found no one there, to wait.
When at sunset that evening he reached it, he was half an hour before the time specified, but he was not the first at the tryst. He was within twenty yards of the spot when a figure rose from the roots of a tree and stood waiting for him—the girl Dusk with a little bundle in her hand.
She was not flushed or tremulous with any hint of mental excitement; she awaited him with a fine repose, even the glow of the dying sun having no power to add to her color, but as he drew near he saw her look gradually change. She did not so much as stir, but the change grew slowly, slowly upon her face and developed there into definite shape-the shape of secret, repressed dread.
"What is it," she asked when he at last confronted her, "that ails ye?"
She uttered the words in a half whisper, as if she had not the power to speak louder, and he saw the hand hanging at her side close itself.
"What is it that ails ye?"
He waited a few seconds before he answered her.
"Look at me," he said at last," and see." She did look at him. For the space of ten seconds their eyes were fixed upon each other in a long, bitter look. Then her little bundle dropped on the ground.
"Ye've went back on me," she under her breath again. "Ye've went back on me!"
He had thought she might make some passionate outcry, but she did not yet. A white wrath was in her face and her chest heaved, but she spoke slowly and low, her hands fallen down by her side.
"Ye've went back on me," she said. "An' I knew ye would."
He felt that the odor of his utter falseness tainted the pure air about him; he had been false all round,—to himself, to his love, to his ideals, even in a baser way here.
66 Yes," he answered her with a bitterness she did not understand, "I've gone back on you." Then as if to himself, "I could not even reach perfection in villainy."
Then her rage and misery broke forth. "Yer a coward!" she said, with gasps between her words. "Yer afraid! I'd sooner-I'd sooner ye'd killed me-dead!"
Her voice shrilled itself into a smothered shriek, she cast herself face downward upon the earth and lay there clutching amid her sobs at the grass.
He looked down at her in a cold, stunned fashion.
"Do you think," he said hoarsely, "that you can loathe me as I loathe myself? Do you think you can call me one shameful name I don't know I deserve? If you can, for God's sake let me have it."
She struck her fist against the earth. "Thar wasn't a man I ever saw," she said, "that didn't foller after me, 'n' do fur me, 'n' wait fur a word from me. They'd hev let me set my foot on 'em if I'd said it. Thar wasn't nothin' I mightn't hev donenot nothin'. An' now-an' now- " and she tore the grass from its earth and flung it from her.
"Go on," he said. "Go on and say your worst."
Her worst was bad enough, but he almost exulted under the blows she dealt him. He felt their horrible sting a vague comfort. He had fallen low enough surely when it was a comfort to be told that he was a liar, a poltroon and a scoundrel.
The sun had been down an hour when it was over and she had risen and taken up her bundle.
fallen from his lips? And yet he knew that he had not meant to do it.
She turned away and at a distance of a few feet stopped. She gave him a last look-a fierce one in its contempt and anger, and her affluence of beauty had never been so stubborn a fact before.
"Ye think ye've left me behind,” she said. "An' so ye hev-but it aint fur allers. The time'll come when mebbe ye'll see me ag'in."
He returned to New York, but he had been there a week before he went to Rebecca. Finally, however, he awoke one morning feeling that the time had come for the last scene of his miserable drama. He presented himself at the house and sent up his name, and in three minutes Rebecca came to him.
It struck him with a new thrill of wretchedness to see that she wore by chance the very dress she had worn the day he had made the sketch-a pale, pure-looking gray with a scarf of white lace loosely fastened at her throat. Next, he saw that there was a painful change in her, that she looked frail and worn, as if she had been ill. His first words he scarcely heard and never remembered. He had not come to make a defense, but a naked, bitter confession. As he made it low and monotonously, in brief, harsh words, holding no sparing for himself, Rebecca stood with her hand upon the mantel looking at him with simple directThere was no rebuke in her look, but there was weariness. It occurred to him once or twice and with a terribly humiliating pang, that she was tired of him,-tired of it all. "I have lost you," he ended. "And I have lost myself. I have seen myself as I am,—a poorer figure, a grosser one than I ever dreamed of being, even in the eyes of my worst enemy. Henceforth, this figure will be my companion. It is as if I looked at myself in a bad glass, but now, though the reflection is a pitiable one, the glass is true."
"You think," she said, after a short silence, "of going away ?"
"Oh!" she ejaculated, with a soft, desperate sound of pain.
His eyes had been downcast and he raised them.
"Yes," he said, mournfully. "We were to have gone together."
"Yes," she answered, "together."
At the end of the second year, being in
Her eyes were wet.
"I was very happy," she said, "for a little Paris, he went one night to the Nouvelle while." Opéra. Toward the close of the second act he became conscious of a little excited stir among those surrounding him. Every glass seemed directed toward a new arrival who stood erect and cool in one of the stageboxes. She might have been Cleopatra, Her costume was of a creamy satin, she was covered with jewels and she stood up confronting the house, as it regarded her, with sang froid.
She held out her hand.
"But," she added, as if finishing a sentence. "You have been truer to me than you think."
"No-no," he groaned.
"Yes, truer to me than you think-and| truer to yourself. It was I you lovedI! There have been times when I thought I must give that up, but now I know I need not. It was I. Sometime, perhaps,sometime,—not now
Her voice broke, she did not finish, the end was a sob. Their eyes rested upon each other a few seconds, and then he released her hand and went away.
He was absent for two years, and during that time his friends heard much good of him. He lived the life of a recluse and a hard worker. He learned to know his own strength, and taught the world to recognize it also.
Lennox rose hurriedly and left the place. He was glad to breathe the bitterly cold but pure night air. She had made no idle prophecy. He had seen her again!
There hung upon the wall of his private room a picture whose completion had been the first work after his landing. He went in to it and looked at it with something like adoration.
I AM sitting in my study at Moscow. A slow chant shows me that a funeral is approaching. I look out of my window and notice that the pavement has been strewn with bits of fir and hemlock, and soon see four men in long, rusty black gowns and broad-brimmed hats, each carrying a candle in a lantern. Next comes a bare-headed man with a holy picture which he carries in front of him against his breast, the frame being carefully wrapped in white cambric so as to avoid the contact of his hands. Then comes the coffin-lid, borne by two men, and on it a cocked hat and sword, for this it seems is the funeral of an officer. With this are men and boys carrying on velvet cushions the crosses and medals of the deceased. The priests and deacons follow, dressed now in robes of black velvet, trimmed with silver and covered with silver crosses. The deacons have candles and censers, and, together with the choir, are chanting a funeral hymn. | Immediately next, with candle-bearers on either side, is the coffin, carried by the nearest relatives and friends. It is very shallow and open so as to show half of the body of the deceased, with his face uncovered and his hands clasping a cross over his breast. The coffin itself is covered with rich blue
"Sometime," he said, "perhaps now," and the next week he was on his way home.
A RUSSIAN FUNERAL.
and silver brocade, very different from the polished rosewood and the black pall we always see at home. It must be on its way to the church, for when it goes to the graveyard it will be carried on a hearse,—a sort of gorgeous triumphal car, in the form of a temple hung with gold and silver brocade,where it will be raised up on a lofty platform. The relatives and friends then follow, not in a formal procession, but in an irregular and confused crowd. Every one but the lanternbearers in front is bare-headed, and all passers-by uncover themselves as they meet the procession, and crossing themselves, mutter an inaudible prayer. Were it winter, these bare-headed mourners would have handkerchiefs tied over their ears, and as each man seems to prefer a different color, the motley effect would be odd enough.
There is to me something inexpressibly soothing in the Russian services for the dead. From the time when the body is laid out to the funeral, the Psalter, interspersed with prayer, is read aloud day and night in the same room with the corpse. The readers take turns, so that this low, dull, mournful sound never ceases. Twice a day there are prayers in the house by the priest and church-assistants, at which all the friends
of the family are expected to be present. The gentlemen are always in full dress, the ladies in black. All hold lighted candles and stand around the body, which lies on a table in the center of an empty room,-for most of the furniture has been removed, and all the mirrors have, from superstitious motives, been covered up. The chants are very sacred and mournful, and there is one passage, the Everlasting Remembrance," when all kneel and touch their foreheads to the floor. If any are too infirm for this, they at least touch the tips of their fingers to the ground. After praying for the repose of the soul of the deceased and for the forgiveness of his sins, voluntary and involuntary, the priest says: "With the saints let the soul of thy deceased servant Ivan (always naming him), O Lord, rest in peace, and keep him in everlasting remembrance!" This prayer is then taken up by the choir and sung to a very sad air. At this mention of the name of the dead man, it is difficult for the friends to keep dry eyes, and sobbing is infectious. This very repetition of the prayers, this solemn and impressive meeting twice a day of all the friends, acts as a sort of opiate on the feelings, and the mourners reconcile themselves sooner to the fact of death.
The actual funeral ceremony at the church is no less impressive. The cold upturned face in the coffin between the wax-lights in the middle of the church, the clouds of incense, the low prayers, the solemn gospel and epistle, the sweet hymns and weird chants sung by pure voices without admixture or accompaniment of organ or instrument, the lighted tapers in the hands of the standing and kneeling mourners, all produce their peculiar effect. After the mass is said there is a short address or sermon in the case of any one of distinction, and the priest reads aloud a prayer, or rather a form of absolution, a printed copy of which is placed in the folded hands of the dead man,—a custom originating in Kief eight centuries ago. All present then kiss the hand of the deceased; the officiating clergyman pours on the body the wine and oil which had been used in the extreme unction, and sprinkles it with the ashes of the incense, or with simple earth; the lid is placed on the coffin, which is carried to the grave, the accompanying friends usually walking all or a greater part of the distance. There are several cemeteries outside of the city; but most people prefer to be buried in some of the outlying monasteries, if they have the means to afford
a grave there. The grounds of the Donskoi, Semenof and Novo-Devitchi monasteries are full of the tombs of the great and rich of Moscow. Few are pious or fortunate enough to obtain burial in the hallowed soil of the great monastery of Troitza.
On the fortieth day, on the name's day and on the anniversary of the death, often for many years, a commemorative requiem is sung at the monastery or cemetery where the body is buried, and the friends are expected to be present. There is one curious custom observed at these commemorations. The friends stand with lighted tapers about a small black desk on which are candles and a dish containing rice mixed with honey and raisins, which they eat or taste. On these occasions a dinner or lunch is often provided at the house. The Archbishop Benjamin tells us the mystical meaning of this odd dish: "The rice," he says (or, as in ancient times ordained, wheat grain), typifies the deceased Christian, who will hereafter rise again like the buried seed (John xii., 24). The honey implies that on resurrection a sweet and joyful existence awaits us in the kingdom of heaven. The raisins, dried up as they now are, will, on coming up, be beautiful and lovely, as the glorified Christian will be (1 Cor. xv., 43, 44)." In spite of the archbishop's learned explanations the custom remains a pagan one. Brought here from Greece, where it is also fixed in the ceremonies of the church, it is nothing but a remnant of the old sacrifice to the manes of the dead with the fruits of Demeter and Dionysus.
Much as I dislike funerals I have had to see many, and of all kinds, but none, except at times, in the form of the Episcopal church, are to me so beautiful or so pleasant as these Russian funerals. The Presbyterian form is too cold, too black, too still. We bury our dead too much as if we were trying to draw a lesson from the dead, and as if we doubted where the soul had gone. The Catholic service is too grandiose. There is fine music, but the ceremony is too long and too entirely confined to the officiating priest. In the Russian church every one seems to be taking a part in the service, and the dead are treated with a tenderness and love not elsewhere found. The bows and prostrations, the tapers in each one's hands, the kissing the hands, the earth thrown in the coffin with its beautiful symbolic meaning, are marks of affectionate respect, as well as the carrying of the coffin and the earth thrown into the grave by the hands
THE beautiful forests of coral which, in both hemispheres, spread their ever-broadening branches beneath the shallow tropical seas, have always held some peculiar fascination for the mind and fancy of man. One of the graceful old Grecian myths illustrates their combined mineral nature and vegetable form as follows: Perseus, having slain the Gorgons and carried away the head of Medusa, found a heap of branches, upon which he had cast the bleeding trophy, converted by its magical touch into stone, and flushed with the hue of blood. The theories of a later age, while lacking the beauty which clings about those old VOL. XIV.-44.