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The Impressions Of A Cousin by Henry James



  • PART I.
  • PART II.
  •  

    PART I.

     

    NEW YORK, April 3, 1873.—There are moments when I feel that she has asked too much of me—especially since our arrival in this country. These three months have not done much toward making me happy here. I don't know what the difference is—or rather I do; and I say this only because it's less trouble. It is no trouble, however, to say that I like New York less than Rome; that, after all, is the difference. And then there's nothing to sketch! For ten years I have been sketching, and I really believe I do it very well. But how can I sketch Fifty-third street? There are times when I even say to myself, How can I even endure Fifty-third street? When I turn into it from the Fifth Avenue, the vista seems too hideous: the narrow, impersonal houses, with the dry, hard tone of their brown-stone, a surface as uninteresting as that of sand-paper; their steep, stiff stoops, giving you such a climb to the door; their lumpish balustrades, porticoes, and cornices, turned out by the hundred and adorned with heavy excrescences,—such an eruption of ornament and such a poverty of effect! I suppose my superior tone would seem very pretentious if anybody were to read this shameless record of personal emotion; and I should be asked why an expensive up-town residence is not as good as a slimy Italian palazzo. My answer, of course, is that I can sketch the palazzo and can do nothing with the up-town residence. I can live in it, of course, and be very grateful for the shelter; but that doesn't count. Putting aside that odious fashion of popping into the “parlours" as soon as you cross the threshold,—no interval, no approach,—these places are wonderfully comfortable. This one of Eunice's is perfectly arranged; and we have so much space that she has given me a sitting-room of my own—an immense luxury. Her kindness, her affection, are the most charming, delicate, natural thing I ever conceived. I don't know what can have put it into her head to like me so much; I suppose I should say into her heart, only I don't like to write about Eunice's heart—that tender, shrinking, shade-loving, and above all fresh and youthful organ. There is a certain self-complacency, perhaps, in my assuming that her generosity is mere affection; for her conscience is so inordinately developed that she attaches the idea of duty to everything,—even to her relations to a poor, plain, unloved and unlovable third cousin. Whether she is fond of me or not, she thinks it right to be fond of me; and the effort of her life is to do what is right. In matters of duty, in short, she is a real little artist; and her masterpiece (in that way) is coming back here to live. She can't like it; her tastes are not here. If she did like it, I am sure she would never have invented such a phrase as the one of which she delivered herself the other day,—"I think ones life has more dignity in ones own country.” That's a phrase made up after the fact. No one ever gave up living in Europe because there is a want of dignity in it. Poor Eunice talks of one s own country as if she kept the United States in the back-parlour. I have yet to perceive the dignity of living in Fifty-third street. This, I suppose, is very treasonable; but a woman isn't obliged to be patriotic. I believe I should be a good patriot if I could sketch my native town. But I can't make a picture of the brown-stone stoops in the Fifth Avenue, or the platform of the elevated railway in the Sixth. Eunice has suggested to me that I might find some subjects in the Park, and I have been there to look for them. But somehow, the blistered sentiers of asphalt, the rockwork caverns, the huge iron bridges spanning little muddy lakes, the whole crowded, cockneyfied place, making up so many faces to look pretty, don't appeal to me—haven't,. from beginning to end, a discoverable “bit”. Besides, it's too cold to sit on a camp-stool under this clean-swept sky, whose depths of blue air do very well, doubtless, for the floor of heaven, but are quite too far away for the ceiling of earth. The sky over here seems part of the world at large; in Europe it's part of the particular place. In summer, I dare say, it will be better; and it will go hard with me if I don't find somewhere some leafy lane, some cottage-roof, something in some degree mossy or mellow. Nature here, of course, is very fine, though I am afraid only in large pieces; and with my little yard-measure (it used to serve for the Roman Campagna!) I don't know what I shall be able to do. I must try to rise to the occasion.

    The Hudson is beautiful; I remember that well enough; and Eunice tells me that when we are in villeggiatura we shall be close to the loveliest part of it. Her cottage, or villa, or whatever they call it (Mrs. Ermine, by the way, always speaks of it as a “country-seat"), is more or less opposite to West Point, where it makes one of it's grandest sweeps. Unfortunately, it has been let these three years that she has been abroad, and will not be vacant till the first of June. Mr. Caliph, her trustee, took upon himself to do that;—very impertinently, I think, for certainly if I had Eunice's fortune I shouldn't let my houses—I mean, of course, those that are so personal. Least of all should I let my “country-seat”. It's bad enough for people to appropriate one's sofas and tables, without appropriating one's flowers and trees and even one's views. There is nothing so personal as one's horizon,—the horizon that one commands, whatever it is, from one's window. Nobody else has just that one. Mr. Caliph, by the way, is apparently a person of the incalculable, irresponsible sort. It would have been natural to suppose that, having the greater part of my cousin's property in his care, he would be in New York to receive her at the end of a long absence and a boisterous voyage. Common civility would have suggested that, especially as he was an old friend, or rather a young friend of both her parents. It was an odd thing to make him sole trustee; but that was Cousin Leticia's doing: “she thought it would be so much easier for Eunice to see only one person.” I believe she had found that effort the limit of her own energy; but she might have known that Eunice would have given her best attention, everyday, to twenty men of business, if such a duty had been presented to her. I don't think poor Cousin Letitia knew very much; Eunice speaks of her much less than she speaks of her father, whose death would have been the greater sorrow if she dared to admit to herself that she preferred one of her parents to the other. The number of things that the poor girl doesn't dare to admit to herself! One of them, I am sure, is that Mr. Caliph is acting improperly in spending three months in Washington, just at the moment when it would be most convenient to her to see him. He has pressing business there, it seems (he is a good deal of a politician—not that I know what people do in Washington), and he writes to Eunice every week or two that he will finish it up in ten days more, and then will be completely at her service; but he never finishes it up,—never arrives. She has not seen him for three years; he certainly, I think, ought to have come out to her in Europe. She doesn't know that, and I haven't cared to suggest it, for she wishes (very naturally) to think that he is a pearl of trustees. Fortunately, he sends her all the money she needs; and the other day he sent her his brother,—a rather agitated (though not in the least agitating) youth, who presented himself about lunch-time, Mr. Caliph having (as he explained) told him that this was the best hour to call. What does Mr. Caliph know about it, by the way? It's little enough he has tried! Mr. Adrian Frank had, of course, nothing to say about business; he only came to be agreeable, and to tell us that he had just seen his brother in Washington—as if that were any comfort! They are brothers only in the sense that they are children of the same mother; Mrs. Caliph having accepted consolations in her widowhood, and produced this blushing boy, who is ten years younger than the accomplished Caliph. (I say accomplished Caliph for the phrase. I haven't the least idea of his accomplishments. Somehow, a man with that name ought to have a good many.) Mr. Frank, the second husband, is dead, as well as herself, and the young man has a very good fortune. He is shy and simple, colours immensely, and becomes alarmed at his own silences; but is tall and straight and clear-eyed, and is, I imagine, a very estimable youth. Eunice says that he is as different as possible from his step-brother; so that, perhaps, though she doesn't mean it in that way his step-brother is not estimable. I shall judge of that for myself, if he ever gives me a chance.

    Young Frank, at any rate, is a gentleman, and in spite of his blushes has seen a great deal of the world. Perhaps that is what he is blushing for: there are so many things we have no reason to be proud of. He staid to lunch, and talked a little about the far East,—Babylon, Palmyra, Ispahan, and that sort of thing,—from which he is lately returned. He also is a sketcher, though evidently he doesn't show. He asked to see my things, however; and I produced a few old water-colours, of other days and other climes, which I have luckily brought to America,—produced them with my usual calm assurance. It was clear he thought me very clever; so I suspect that in not showing he himself is rather wise. When I said there was nothing here to sketch, that rectangular towns won't do, etc., he asked me why I didn't try people. What people? the people in the Fifth Avenue? They are even less pictorial than their houses. I don't perceive that those in the Sixth are any better, or those in the Fourth and Third, or in the Seventh and Eighth. Good heavens! what a nomenclature! The city of New York is like a tall sum in addition, and the streets are like columns of figures. What a place for me to live, who hate arithmetic! I have tried Mrs. Ermine; but that is only because she asked me to: Mrs. Ermine asks for whatever she wants. I don't think she cares for it much, for though it's bad, it's not bad enough to please her. I thought she would be rather easy to do, as her countenance is made up largely of negatives—no colour, no form, no intelligence; I should simply have to leave a sort of brilliant blank. I found, however, there was difficulty in representing an expression which consisted so completely of the absence of that article, With her large, fair, featureless face, unillumined by a ray of meaning, she makes the most incoherent, the most unexpected remarks. She asked Eunice, the other day, whether she should not bring a few gentlemen to see her—she seemed to know so few, to be so lonely. Then when Eunice thanked her, and said she needn't take that trouble: she was not lonely, and in any case did not desire her solitude to be peopled in that manner,—Mrs. Ermine declared blandly that it was all right, but that she supposed this was the great advantage of being an orphan, that you might have gentlemen brought to see you. “I don't like being an orphan, even for that,” said Eunice; who, indeed, does not like it at all, though she will be twenty-one next month, and has had several years to get used to it. Mrs. Ermine is very vulgar, yet she thinks she has high distinction. I am very glad our cousinship is not on the same side. Except that she is an idiot and a bore, however, I think there is no harm in her. Her time is spent in contemplating the surface of things,—and for that I don't blame her, for I myself am very fond of the surface. But she doesn't see what she looks at, and, in short, is very tiresome. That is one of the things poor Eunice won't admit to herself;—that Lizzie Ermine will end by boring us to death. Now that both her daughters are married, she has her time quite on her hands; for the sons-in-law, I am sure, can't encourage her visits. She may, however, contrive to be with them as well as here, for, as a poor young husband once said to me, a belle-mère, after marriage, is as inevitable as stickiness after eating honey. A fool can do plenty of harm without deep intentions. After all, intentions fail; and what you know an accident by is that it doesn't. Mrs. Ermine doesn't like me; she thinks she ought to be in my shoes—that when Eunice lost her old governess, who had remained with her as “companion", she ought, instead of picking me up in Rome, to have come home and thrown herself upon some form of kinship more cushiony. She is jealous of me, and vexed that I don't give her more opportunities; for I know she has made up her mind that I ought to be a Bohemian: in that case she could persuade Eunice that I am a very unfit sort of person. I am single, not young, not pretty, not well off; and not very desirous to please; I carry a palette on my thumb, and very often have stains on my apron—though except for those stains I pretend to be immaculately neat. What right have I not to be a Bohemian, and not to teach Eunice to make cigarettes? I am convinced Mrs. Ermine is disappointed that I don't smoke. Perhaps, after all, she is right, and that I am too much a creature of habits, of rules. A few people have been good enough to call me an artist; but I am not. I am only, in a small way, a worker. I walk too straight; it's ten years since any one asked me to dance! I wish I could oblige you, Mrs. Ermine, by dipping into Bohemia once in awhile. But one can't have the defects of the qualities one doesn't possess. I am not an artist, I am too much of a critic. I suppose a she-critic is a kind of monster; women should only be criticised. That's why I keep it all to myself—myself being this little book. I grew tired of myself some months ago, and locked myself up in a desk. It was a kind of punishment, but it was also a great rest, to stop judging, to stop caring, for awhile. Now that I have come out, I suppose I ought to take a vow not to be ill-natured.

    As I read over what I have written here, I wonder whether it was worth while to have re-opened my journal. Still, why not have the benefit of being thought disagreeable, the luxury of recorded observation? If one is poor, plain, proud—and in this very private place I may add, clever,—there are certain necessary revenges!

    April 10.—Adrian Frank has been here again, and we rather like him. (That will do for the first note of a more genial tone.) His eyes are very blue, and his teeth very white,—two things that always please me. He became rather more communicative, and almost promised to show me his sketches in spite of the fact that he is evidently as much as ever struck with my own ability. Perhaps he has discovered that I am trying to be genial! He wishes to take us to drive—that is, to take Eunice; for, of course, I shall go only for propriety. She doesn't go with young men alone; that element was not included in her education. She said to me yesterday, “The only man I shall drive alone with will be the one I marry.” She talks so little about marrying that this made an impression on me. That subject is supposed to be a girls inevitable topic; but no young women could occupy themselves with it less than she and I do. I think I may say that we never mention it at all. I suppose that if a man were to read this, he would be greatly surprised and not particularly edified. As there is no danger of any man's reading it, I may add that I always take tacitly for granted that Eunice will marry. She doesn't in the least pretend that she won't; and if I am not mistaken, she is capable of conjugal affection. The longer I live with her, the more I see that she is a dear girl. Now that I know her better, I perceive that she is perfectly natural. I used to think that she tried too much—that she watched herself perhaps, with a little secret admiration. But that was because I couldn't conceive of a girls motives being so simple. She only wants not to suffer—she is immensely afraid of that. Therefore, she wishes to be universally tender—to mitigate the general sum of suffering, in the hope that she herself may come off easily. Poor thing! she doesn't know that we can diminish the amount of suffering for others only by taking to ourselves a part of their share. The amount of that commodity in the world is always the same; it is only the distribution that varies. We all try to dodge our portion; and some of us succeed. I find the best way is not to think about it, and to make little water-colours. Eunice thinks that the best way is to be very generous, to condemn no one unheard.

    A great many things happen that I don't mention here; incidents of social life, I believe they call them. People come to see us, and sometimes they invite us to dinner. We go to certain concerts, many of which are very good. We take a walk every day; and I read to Eunice, and she plays to me. Mrs. Ermine makes her appearance several times a week, and gives us the news of the town—a great deal more of it than we have any use for. She thinks we live in a hole; and she has more than once expressed her conviction that I can do nothing socially for Eunice. As to that, she is perfectly right; I am aware of my social insignificance. But I am equally aware that my cousin has no need of being pushed. I know little of the people and, things of this place; but I know enough to see that, whatever they are, the best of them are at her service. Mrs. Ermine thinks it a great pity that Eunice should have come too late in the season to go out with her; for after this, there are few entertainments at which my protecting presence is not sufficient. Besides, Eunice isn't eager; I often wonder at her indifference. She never thinks of the dances she has missed, nor asks about those at which she still may figure. She isn't sad, and it doesn't amount to melancholy; but she certainly is rather detached. She likes to read, to talk with me, to make music, and to dine out when she supposes there will be “real conversation.” She is extremely fond of real conversation; and we flatter ourselves that a good deal of it takes place between us. We talk about life and religion and art and George Eliot; all that, I hope, is sufficiently real. Eunice understands everything, and has a great many opinions; she is quite the modern young woman, though she hasn't modern manners. But all this doesn't explain to me why, as Mrs. Ermine says, she should wish to be so dreadfully quiet. That lady's suspicion to the contrary notwithstanding, it is not I who make her so. I would go with her to a party every night if she should wish it, and send out cards to proclaim that we “receive”. But her ambitions are not those of the usual girl; or at any rate, if she is waiting for what the usual girl waits for, she is waiting very patiently. As I say, I can't quite make out the secret of her patience. However, it is not necessary I should; it was no part of the bargain on which I came to her that we were to conceal nothing from each other. I conceal a great deal from Eunice; at least I hope I do: for instance, how fearfully I am bored. I think I am as patient as she; but then I have certain things to help me—my age, my resignation, my ability, and, I suppose I may add, my conceit. Mrs. Ermine doesn't bring the young men, but she talks about them, and calls them Harry and Freddy. She wants Eunice to marry, though I don't see what she is to gain by it. It is apparently a disinterested love of matrimony,—or rather, I should say, a love of weddings. She lives in a world of “engagements,” and announces a new one every time she comes in. I never heard of so much marrying in all my life before. Mrs. Ermine is dying to be able to tell people that Eunice is engaged: that distinction should not be wanting to a cousin of hers. Whoever marries her, by the way, will come into a very good fortune. Almost for the first time, three days ago, she told me about her affairs.

    She knows less about them than she believes,—I could see that; but she knows the great matter, which is, that in the course of her twenty-first year, by the terms of her mother's will, she becomes mistress of her property, of which for the last seven years Mr. Caliph has been sole trustee. On that day Mr. Caliph is to make over to her three hundred thousand dollars, which he has been nursing and keeping safe. So much on every occasion seems to be expected of this wonderful man! I call him so because I think it was wonderful of him to have been appointed sole depositary of the property of an orphan by a very anxious, scrupulous, affectionate mother, whose one desire, when she made her will, was to prepare for her child a fruitful majority, and whose acquaintance with him had not been of many years, though her esteem for him was great. He had been a friend—a very good friend—of her husband, who, as he neared his end, asked him to look after his widow. Eunice's father didn't, however, make him trustee of his little estate; he put that into other hands, and Eunice has a very good account of it. It amounts, unfortunately, but to some fifty thousand dollars. Her mothers proceedings with regard to Mr. Caliph were very feminine—so I may express myself in the privacy of these pages. But I believe all women are very feminine in their relations with Mr. Caliph. “Haroun-al-Raschid” I call him to Eunice; and I suppose he expects to find us in a state of Oriental prostration. She says, however, that he is not the least of a Turk, and that nothing could be kinder or more considerate than he was three years ago, before she went to Europe. He was constantly with her at that time, for many months; and his attentions have evidently made a great impression on her. That sort of thing naturally would on a girl of seventeen; and I have told her she must be prepared to think him much less brilliant a personage to-day. I don't know what he will think of some of her plans of expenditure,—laying out an Italian garden at the house on the river, founding a cot at the children's hospital, erecting a music-room in the rear of this house. Next winter Eunice proposes to receive; but she wishes to have an originality, in the shape of really good music. She will evidently be rather extravagant, at least at first. Mr. Caliph, of course, will have no more authority; still, he may advise her as a friend.

    April 23.—This afternoon, while Eunice was out, Mr. Frank made his appearance, having had the civility, as I afterward learned, to ask for me, in spite of the absence of the padronina. I told him she was at Mrs. Ermines, and that Mrs. Ermine was her cousin.

    “Then I can say what I should not be able to say if she were here,” he said, smiling that singular smile which has the effect of showing his teeth and drawing the lids of his eyes together. If he were a young countryman, one would call it a grin. It is not exactly a grin, but it is very simple.

    “And what may that be?” I asked, with encouragement.

    He hesitated a little, while I admired his teeth, which I am sure he has no wish to exhibit; and I expected something wonderful. “Considering that she is fair, she is really very pretty,” he said at last.

    I was rather disappointed, and I went so far as to say to him that he might have made that remark in her presence.

    This time his blue eyes remained wide open. “So you really think so?”

    “Considering that she's fair, that part of it, perhaps, might have been omitted; but the rest surely would have pleased her.”

    “Do you really think so?”

    “Well, 'really very pretty' is, perhaps, not quite right; it seems to imply a kind of surprise. You might have omitted the 'really'”.

    “You want me to omit everything,” he said, laughing, as if he thought me wonderfully amusing.

    “The gist of the thing would remain, 'You are very pretty'; that would have been unexpected and agreeable.”

    “I think you are laughing at me!” cried poor Mr. Frank, without bitterness. “I have no right to say that till I know she likes me.”

    “She does like you; I see no harm in telling you so.” He seemed to me so modest, so natural, that I felt as free to say this to him as I would have been to a good child; more, indeed, than to a good child, for a child to whom one would say that would be rather a prig; and Adrian Frank is not a prig. I could see that by the way he answered; it was rather odd.

    “It will please my brother to know that!”

    “Does he take such an interest in the impressions you make?”

    “Oh, yes; he wants me to appear well.” This was said with the most touching innocence; it was a complete confession of inferiority. It was, perhaps, the tone that made it so; at any rate, Adrian Frank has renounced the hope of ever appearing as well as his brother. I wonder if a man must be really inferior, to be in such a state of mind as that. He must at all events be very fond of his brother, and even, I think, have sacrificed himself a good deal. This young man asked me ever so many questions about my cousin; frankly, simply, as if, when one wanted to know, it was perfectly natural to ask. So it is, I suppose; but why should he want to know? Some of his questions were certainly idle. What can it matter to him whether she has one little dog or three, or whether she is an admirer of the music of the future? “Does she go out much, or does she like a quiet evening at home?” “Does she like living in Europe, and what part of Europe does she prefer?” “Has she many relatives in New York, and does she see a great deal of them?” On all these points I was obliged to give Mr. Frank a certain satisfaction; and after that, I thought I had a right to ask why he wanted to know. He was evidently surprised at being challenged, blushed a good deal, and made me feel for a moment as if I had asked a vulgar question. I saw he had no particular reason; he only wanted to be civil, and that is the way best known to him of expressing an interest. He was confused; but he was not so confused that he took his departure. He sat half an hour longer, and let me make up to him, by talking very agreeably, for the shock I had administered. I may mention here—for I like to see it in black arid white—that I can talk very agreeably. He listened with the most flattering attention, showing me his blue eyes and his white teeth in alternation, and laughing largely, as if I had a command of the comical,—I am not conscious of that. At last, after I had paused a little, he said to me, apropos of nothing: “Do you think the realistic school are—a—to be admired?” Then I saw that he had already forgotten my earlier check,—such was the effect of my geniality,—and that he would ask me as many questions about myself as I would let him. I answered him freely, but I answered him as I chose. There are certain things about myself I never shall tell, and the simplest way not to tell is to say the contrary. If people are indiscreet, they must take the consequences. I declared that I held the realistic school in horror; that I found New York the most interesting, the most sympathetic of cities; and that I thought the American girl the finest result of civilization. I am sure I convinced him that I am a most remarkable woman. He went away before Eunice returned. He is a charming creature—a kind of Yankee Donatello. If I could only be his Miriam, the situation would be almost complete, for Eunice is an excellent Hilda.

    April 26.—Mrs. Ermine was in great force to-day; she described all the fine things Eunice can do when she gets her money into her own hands. A set of Mechlin lace, a rivière of diamonds which she saw the other day at Tiffany's, a set of Russian sables that she knows of somewhere else, a little English phaeton with a pair of ponies and a tiger, a family of pugs to waddle about in the drawing-room—all these luxuries Mrs. Ermine declares indispensable. “I should like to know that you have them—it would do me real good,” she said to Eunice. “I like to see people with handsome things. It would give me more pleasure to know you have that set of Mechlin than to have it myself. I can't help that it's the way I am made. If other people have handsome things I see them more; and then I do want the good of others—I don't care if you think me vain for saying so. I sha'n't be happy till I see you in an English phaeton. The groom oughtn't to be more than three foot six. I think you ought to show for what you are.”

    “How do you mean, for what I am?” Eunice asked.

    “Well, for a charming girl, with a very handsome fortune.”

    “I shall never show any more than I do now.”

    “I will tell you what you do—you show Miss Condit.” And Mrs. Ermine presented me her large, foolish face. “If you don't look out, she'll do you up in Morris papers, and then all the Mechlin lace in the world won't matter!”

    “I don't follow you at all—I never follow you,” I said, wishing I could have sketched her just as she sat there. She was quite grotesque.

    “I would rather go without you,” she repeated.

    “I think that after I come into my property I shall do just as I do now,” said Eunice. “After all, where will the difference be? I have to-day everything I shall ever have. It's more than enough.”

    “You won't have to ask Mr. Caliph for everything.”

    “I ask him for nothing now.”

    “Well, my dear,” said Mrs. Ermine, “you don't deserve to be rich.”

    “I am not rich,” Eunice remarked.

    “Ah, well, if you want a million!”

    “I don't want anything,” said Eunice.

    “That's not exactly true. She does want something, but I don't know what it is.”

    May 2.—Mr. Caliph is really very delightful. He made his appearance to-day, and carried everything before him. When I say he carried everything, I mean he carried me; for Eunice had not my prejudices to get over. When I said to her, after he had gone, “Your trustee is a very clever man,” she only smiled a little, and turned away in silence. I suppose she was amused with the air of importance with which I announced this discovery. Eunice had made it several years ago, and could not be excited about it. I had an idea that some allusion would be made to the way he has neglected her—some apology, at least, for his long absence. But he did something better than this. He made no definite apology; he only expressed, in his manner, his look, his voice, a tenderness, a kind of charming benevolence, which included and exceeded all apologies. He looks rather tired and preoccupied; he evidently has a great many irons of his own in the fire, and has been thinking these last weeks of larger questions than the susceptibilities of a little girl in New York, who happened several years ago to have an exuberant mother. He is thoroughly genial, and is the best talker I have seen since my return. A totally different type from the young Adrian. He is not in the least handsome—is, indeed, rather ugly; but with a fine, expressive, pictorial ugliness. He is forty years old, large and stout, may even be pronounced fat; and there is something about him that I don't know how to describe except by calling it a certain richness. I have seen Italians who have it, but this is the first American. He talks with his eyes as well as with his lips, and his features are wonderfully mobile. His smile is quick and delightful; his hands are well shaped, but distinctly fat; he has a pale complexion and a magnificent brown beard—the beard of Haroun-al-Raschid. I suppose I must write it very small; but I have an intimate conviction that he is a Jew, or of Jewish origin. I see that in his plump, white face, of which the tone would please a painter, and which suggests fatigue, but is nevertheless all alive; in his remarkable eye, which is full of old expressions—expressions which linger there from the past, even when they are not active to-day; in his profile, in his anointed beard, in the very rings on his large pointed fingers. There is not a touch of all this in his step-brother; so I suppose the Jewish blood is inherited from his father. I don't think he looks like a gentleman; he is something apart from all that. If he is not a gentleman, he is not in the least a bourgeois,—neither is he of the artist type. In short, as I say, he is a Jew; and Jews of the upper class have a style of their own. He is very clever, and I think genuinely kind. Nothing could be more charming than his way of talking to Eunice—a certain paternal interest mingled with an air of respectful gallantry (he gives her good advice, and at the same time pays her compliments); the whole thing being not in the least overdone. I think he found her changed—"more of a person,” as Mrs. Ermine says;—I even think he was a little surprised. She seems slightly afraid of him, which rather surprised me—she was, from her own account, so familiar with him of old. He is decidedly florid, and was very polite to me—that was a part of the floridity. He asked if we had seen his step-brother; begged us to be kind to him, and to let him come and see us often. He doesn't know many people in New York, and at that age it is everything (I quote Mr. Caliph) for a young fellow to be at his ease with one or two charming women. “Adrian takes a great deal of knowing; is horribly shy; but is most intelligent, and has one of the sweetest natures! I'm very fond of him—he's all I've got. Unfortunately, the poor boy is cursed with a competence. In this country there is nothing for such a young fellow to do; he hates business, and has absolutely no talent for it. I shall send him back here the next time I see him.” Eunice made no answer to this, and, in fact, had little answer to make to most of Mr. Caliphs remarks, only sitting looking at the floor, with a smile. I thought it proper, therefore, to reply that we had found Mr. Frank very pleasant, and hoped he would soon come again. Then I mentioned that the other day I had had a long visit from him alone; we had talked for an hour, and become excellent friends. Mr. Caliph, as I said this, was leaning forward with his elbow on his knee and his hand uplifted, grasping his thick beard. The other hand, with the elbow out, rested on the other knee; his head was turned toward me, askance. He looked at me a moment with his deep bright eye—the eye of a much older man than he; he might have been posing for a water-colour. If I had painted him, it would have been in a high-peaked cap and an amber-coloured robe, with a wide girdle of pink silk wound many times round his waist, stuck full of knives with jewelled handles. Our eyes met, and we sat there exchanging a glance. I don't know whether he's vain, but I think he must see I appreciate him; I am sure he understands everything.

    “I like you when you say that,” he remarked, at the end of a minute.

    “I'm glad to hear you like me!” This sounds horrid and pert as I relate it.

    “I don't like every one,” said Mr. Caliph.

    “Neither do Eunice and I; do we, Eunice?”

    “I am afraid we only try to,” she answered, smiling her most beautiful smile.

    “Try to? Heaven forbid! I protest against that,” I cried. I said to Mr. Caliph that Eunice was too good.

    “She comes honestly by that. Your mother was an angel, my child,” he said to her.

    Cousin Letitia was not an angel, but I have mentioned that Mr. Caliph is florid. “You used to be very good to her,” Eunice murmured, raising her eyes to him.

    He had got up; he was standing there. He bent his head, smiling like an Italian. “You must be the same, my child.”

    “What can I do?” Eunice asked.

    “You can believe in me—you can trust me.”

    “I do, Mr. Caliph. Try me and see!”

    This was unexpectedly gushing, and I instinctively turned away. Behind my back, I don't know what he did to her—I think it possible he did kiss her. When you call a girl “my child", I suppose you may kiss her; but that may be only my bold imagination. When I turned round he had taken up his hat and stick, to say nothing of buttoning a very tightly fitting coat around a very spacious person, and was ready to offer me his hand in farewell.

    “I am so glad you are with her. I am so glad she has a companion so accomplished—so capable.”

    “So capable of what?” I said, laughing; for the speech was absurd, as he knows nothing about my accomplishments.

    There is nothing solemn about Mr. Caliph: but he gave me a look which made it appear to me that my levity was in bad taste. Yes, humiliating as it is to write it here, I found myself rebuked by a Jew with fat hands! “Capable of advising her well!” he said, softly.

    “Ah, don't talk about advice,” Eunice exclaimed. “Advice always gives an idea of trouble, and I am very much afraid of trouble.”

    “You ought to get married,” he said, with his smile coming back to him.

    Eunice coloured and turned away, and I observed—to say something—that this was just what Mrs. Ermine said.

    “Mrs. Ermine? ah, I hear she's a charming woman!” And shortly after that he went away.

    That was almost the only weak thing he said—the only thing for mere form, for, of course, no one can really think her charming; least of all a clever man like that. I don't like Americans to resemble Italians, or Italians to resemble Americans; but putting that aside, Mr. Caliph is very prepossessing. He is wonderfully good company; he will spoil us for other people. He made no allusion to business, and no appointment with Eunice for talking over certain matters that are pending; but I thought of this only half an hour after he had gone. I said nothing to Eunice about it, for she would have noticed the omission herself, and that was enough. The only other point in Mr. Caliph that was open to criticism is his asking Eunice to believe in him—to trust him. Why shouldn't she, pray? If that speech was curious,—and, strange to say, it almost appeared so,—it was incredibly naïf. But this quality is insupposable of Mr. Caliph; who ever heard of a naïf Jew? After he had gone I was on the point of saying to Eunice, “By the way, why did you never mention that he is a Hebrew? That's an important detail.” But an impulse that I am not able to define stopped me, and now I am glad I didn't speak. I don't believe Eunice ever made the discovery, and I don't think she would like it if she did make it. That I should have done so on the instant only proves that I am in the habit of studying the human profile!

    May 9.—Mrs. Ermine must have discovered that Mr. Caliph has heard she is charming, for she is perpetually coming in here with the hope of meeting him. She appears to think that he comes every day; for when she misses him, which she has done three times (that is, she arrives just after he goes), she says that if she doesn't catch him on the morrow she will go and call upon him. She is capable of that, I think; and it makes no difference that he is the busiest of men and she the idlest of women. He has been here four times since his first call, and has the air of wishing to make up for the neglect that preceded it. His manner to Eunice is perfect; he continues to call her “my child,” but in a superficial, impersonal way, as a Catholic priest might do it. He tells us stories of Washington, describes the people there, and makes us wonder whether we should care for K street and 14½ street. As yet, to the best of my knowledge, not a word about Eunice's affairs; he behaves as if he had simply forgotten them. It was, after all, not out of place the other day to ask her to “believe in him”; the faith wouldn't come as a matter of course. On the other hand he is so pleasant that one would believe in him just to oblige him. He has a great deal of trust-business, and a great deal of law-business of every kind. So at least he says; we really know very little about him but what he tells us. When I say “we,” of course I speak mainly for myself, as I am perpetually forgetting that he is not so new to Eunice as he is to me. She knows what she knows, but I only know what I see. I have been wondering a good deal what is thought of Mr. Caliph “down-town,” as they say here, but without much result, for naturally I can't go down-town and see. The appearance of the thing prevents my asking questions about him; it would be very compromising to Eunice, and make people think that she complains of him—which is so far from being the case. She likes him just as he is, and is apparently quite satisfied. I gather, moreover, that he is thought very brilliant, though a little peculiar, and that he has made a great deal of money. He has a way of his own of doing things, and carries imagination and humour, and a sense of the beautiful, into Wall street and the Stock Exchange. Mrs. Ermine announced the other day that he is “considered the most fascinating man in New York”; but that is the romantic up-town view of him, and not what I want. His brother has gone out of town for a few days, but he continues to recommend the young Adrian to our hospitality. There is something really touching in his relation to that rather limited young man.

    May 11.— Mrs. Ermine is in high spirits; she has met Mr. Caliph,—I don't know where,—and she quite confirms the up-town view. She thinks him the most fascinating man she has ever seen, and she wonders that we should have said so little about him. He is so handsome, so high-bred; his manners are so perfect; he's a regular old dear. I think, of course ill-naturedly, several degrees less well of him since I have heard Mrs. Ermine's impressions. He is not handsome, he is not high-bred, and his manners are not perfect. They are original, and they are expressive; and if one likes him, there is an interest in looking for what he will do and say. But if one should happen to dislike him, one would detest his manners and think them familiar and vulgar. As for breeding, he has about him, indeed, the marks of antiquity of race; yet I don't think Mrs. Ermine would have liked me to say,. “Oh, yes, all Jews have blood!” Besides, I couldn't before Eunice. Perhaps I consider Eunice too much; perhaps I am betrayed by my old habit of trying to see through millstones; perhaps I interpret things too richly—just as (I know) when I try to paint an old wall I attempt to put in too much “character”; character being in old walls, after all, a finite quantity. At any rate, she seems to me rather nervous about Mr. Caliph: that appeared after a little when Mrs. Ermine came back to the subject. She had a great deal to say about the oddity of her never having seen him before, of old; “for after all,” as she remarked, “we move in the same society—he moves in the very best.” She used to hear Eunice talk about her trustee, but she supposed a trustee must be some horrid old man with a lot of papers in his hand, sitting all day in an office. She never supposed he was a prince in disguise. “We've got a trustee somewhere, only I never see him; my husband does all the business. No wonder he keeps him out of the way if he resembles Mr. Caliph.” And then, suddenly, she said to Eunice, “My dear, why don't you marry him? I should think you would want to.” Mrs. Ermine doesn't look through millstones; she contents herself with giving them a poke with her parasol. Eunice coloured, and said she hadn't been asked; she was evidently not pleased with Mrs. Ermine's joke, which was, of course, as flat as you like. Then she added in a moment—"I should be very sorry to marry Mr. Caliph, even if he were to ask me. I like him, but I don't like him enough for that.”

    “I should think he would be quite in your style,—he's so literary. They say he writes,” Mrs. Ermine went on.

    “Well, I don't write,” Eunice answered, laughing.

    “You could if you would try. I'm sure you could make a lovely book.” Mrs. Ermines amiability is immense.

    “It's safe for you to say that—you never read.”

    “I have no time,” said Mrs. Ermine, “but I like literary conversation. It saves time, when it comes in that way. Mr. Caliph has ever so much.”

    “He keeps it for you. With us he is very frivolous,” I ventured to observe.

    “Well, what you call frivolous! I believe you think the prayer-book frivolous.”

    “Mr. Caliph will never marry any one,” Eunice said, after a moment. “That I am very sure of.”

    Mrs. Ermine stared; there is never so little expression in her face as when she is surprised. But she soon recovered herself. “Don't you believe that! He will take some quiet little woman, after you have all given him up.”

    Eunice was sitting at the piano, but had wheeled round on the stool when her cousin came in. She turned back to it and struck a few vague chords, as if she were feeling for something. “Please don't speak that way; I don't like it,” she said, as she went on playing.

    “I will speak any way you like!” Mrs. Ermine cried, with her vacant laugh.

    “I think it very low.” For Eunice this was severe. “Girls are not always thinking about marriage. They are not always thinking of people like Mr. Caliph—that way.”

    “They must have changed then, since my time! Wasn't it so in yours, Miss Condit?” She's so stupid that I don't think she meant to make a point.

    “I had no time, Mrs. Ermine. I was born an old maid.”

    “Well, the old maids are the worst. I don't see why it's low to talk about marriage. It's thought very respectable to marry. You have only to look round you.”

    “I don't want to look round me; it's not always so beautiful, what you see,” Eunice said, with a small laugh and a good deal of perversity, for a young woman so reasonable.

    “I guess you read too much,” said Mrs. Ermine, getting up and setting her bonnet-ribbons at the mirror.

    “I should think he would hate them!” Eunice exclaimed, striking her chords.

    “Hate who?” her cousin asked.

    “Oh, all the silly girls.”

    “Who is 'he', pray?” This ingenious inquiry was mine.

    “Oh, the Grand Turk!” said Eunice, with her voice covered by the sound of her piano. Her piano is a great resource.

    May 12.—This afternoon, while we were having our tea, the Grand Turk was ushered in, carrying the most wonderful bouquet of Boston roses that seraglio ever produced. (That image, by the way, is rather mixed; but as I write for myself alone, it may stand.) At the end of ten minutes he asked Eunice if he might see her alone—"on a little matter of business.” I instantly rose to leave them, but Eunice said that she would rather talk with him in the library; so she led him off to that apartment. I remained in the drawing-room, saying to myself that I had at last discovered the fin mot of Mr. Caliph's peculiarities, which is so very simple that I am a great goose not to have perceived it before. He is a man with a system; and his system is simply to keep business and entertainment perfectly distinct. There may be pleasure for him in his figures, but there are no figures in his pleasure—which has hitherto been to call upon Eunice as a man of the world. To-day he was to be the trustee; I could see it, in spite of his bouquet, as soon as he came in. The Boston roses didn't contradict that, for the excellent reason that as soon as he had shaken hands with Eunice, who looked at the flowers and not at him, he presented them to Catherine Condit. Eunice then looked at this lady; and as I took the roses I met her eyes, which had a charming light of pleasure. It would be base in me, even in this strictly private record, to suggest that she might possibly have been displeased; but if I cannot say that the expression of her face was lovely without appearing in some degree to point to an ignoble alternative, it is the fault of human nature. Why Mr. Caliph should suddenly think it necessary to offer flowers to Catherine Condit—that is a line of inquiry by itself. As I said some time back, it's a part of his floridity. Besides, any presentation of flowers seems sudden; I don't know why, but it's always rather a coup de théàtre. I am writing late at night; they stand on my table, and their fragrance is in the air. I don't say it for the flowers; but no one has ever treated poor Miss Condit with such consistent consideration as Mr. Caliph. Perhaps she is morbid: this is probably the Diary of a Morbid Woman; but in such a matter as that she admires consistency. That little glance of Eunice comes back to me as I write; she is a pure, enchanting soul. Mrs. Ermine came in while she was in the library with Mr. Caliph, and immediately noticed the Boston roses, which effaced all the other flowers in the room.

    “Were they sent from her seat?” she asked. Then, before I could answer, “I am going to have some people to dinner to-day; they would look very well in the middle.”

    “If you wish me to offer them to you, I really can't; I prize them too much.”

    “Oh, are they yours? Of course you prize them! I don't suppose you have many.”

    “These are the first I have ever received—from Mr. Caliph.”

    “From Mr. Caliph? Did he give them to you?” Mrs. Ermines intonations are not delicate. That “you” should be in enormous capitals.

    “With his own hand—a quarter of an hour ago.” This sounds triumphant, as I write it; but it was no great sensation to triumph over Mrs. Ermine.

    She laid down the bouquet, looking almost thoughtful. “He does want to marry Eunice,” she declared in a moment. This is the region in which, after a flight of fancy, she usually alights. I am sick of the irrepressible verb; just at that moment, however, it. was unexpected, and I answered that I didn't understand.

    “That's why he gives you flowers,” she explained. But the explanation made the matter darker still, and Mrs. Ermine went on: “Isn't there some French proverb about paying one's court to the mother in order to gain the daughter? Eunice is the daughter, and you are the mother.”

    “And you are the grandmother, I suppose! Do you mean that he wishes me to intercede?”

    “I can't imagine why else!” and smiling, with her wide lips, she stared at the flowers.

    “At that rate, you, too, will get your bouquet,” I said.

    “Oh, I have no influence! You ought to do something in return—to offer to paint his portrait.”

    “I don't offer that, you know; people ask me. Besides, you have spoiled me for common models!”

    It strikes me, as I write this, that we had gone rather far—farther than it seemed at the time. We might have gone farther yet, however, if at this moment Eunice had not come back with Mr. Caliph, who appeared to have settled his little matter of business briskly enough. He remained the man of business to the end, and, to Mrs. Ermine's evident disappointment, declined to sit down again. He was in a hurry; he had an engagement.

    “Are you going up or down? I have a carriage at the door,” she broke in.

    “At Fifty-third street one is usually going down;” and he gave his peculiar smile, which always seems so much beyond the scope of the words it accompanies. “If you will give me a lift, I shall be very grateful.”

    He went off with her, she being much divided between the prospect of driving with him and her loss of the chance to find out what he had been saying to Eunice. She probably believed that he had been proposing to her, and I hope he mystified her well in the carriage.

    He had not been proposing to Eunice; he had given her a check, and made her sign some papers. The check was for a thousand dollars, but I have no knowledge of the papers. When I took up my abode with her, I made up my mind that the only way to preserve an appearance of disinterestedness was to know nothing whatever of the details of her pecuniary affairs. She has a very good little head of her own, and if she shouldn't understand them herself, it would be quite out of my power to help her. I don't know why I should care about appearing disinterested, when I have in quite sufficient measure the consciousness of being so; but, in point of fact, I do, and I value that purity as much as any other. Besides, Mr. Caliph is her supreme adviser, and of course makes everything clear to her. At least I hope he does. I couldn't help saying as much as this to Eunice.

    “My dear child, I suppose you understand what you sign. Mr. Caliph ought to be—what shall I call it?—crystalline.”

    She looked at me, with the smile that had come into her face when she saw him give me the flowers. “Oh, yes, I think so. If I didn't, it's my own fault. He explains everything so beautifully that it's a pleasure to listen. I always read what I sign.”

    Je l'espère bien!” I said, laughing.

    She looked a little grave. “The closing up a trust is very complicated.”

    “Yours is not closed yet? It strikes me as very slow.”

    “Everything can't be done at once. Besides, he has asked for a little delay. Part of my affairs, indeed, are now in my own hands; otherwise I shouldn't have to sign.”

    “Is that a usual request—for delay?”

    “Oh, yes, perfectly. Besides, I don't want everything in my own control. That is, I want it some day, because I think I ought to accept the responsibilities, as I accept all the pleasures; but I am not in a hurry. This way is so comfortable, and Mr. Caliph takes so much trouble for me.”

    “I suppose he has a handsome commission,” I said, rather crudely.

    “He has no commission at all; he would never take one.”

    “In your place, I would much rather he should take one.”

    “I have asked him to, but he won't!” Eunice said, looking now extremely grave.

    Her gravity, indeed,—was so great that it made me smile. “He is wonderfully generous!”

    “He is, indeed.”

    “And is it to be indefinitely delayed—the termination of his trust?”

    “Oh, no; only a few months, till he gets things into shape, as he says.”

    “He has had several years for that, hasn't he?”

    Eunice turned away; evidently our talk was painful to her. But there was something that vaguely alarmed me in her taking or, at least, accepting the sentimental view of Mr. Caliph's services. “I don't think you are kind, Catherine; you seem to suspect him,” she remarked, after a little.

    “Suspect him of what?”

    “Of not wishing to give up the property.”

    “My dear Eunice, you put things into terrible words! Seriously, I should never think of suspecting him of anything so silly. What could his wishes count for? Is not the thing regulated by law—by the terms of your mothers will? The trust expires of itself at a certain period, doesn't it? Mr. Caliph, surely, has only to act accordingly.”

    “It is just what he is doing. But there are more papers necessary, and they will not be ready for a few weeks more.”

    “Don't have too many papers; they are as bad as too few. And take advice of some one else—say of your cousin Ermine, who is so much more sensible than his wife.”

    “I want no advice,” said Eunice, in a tone which showed me that I had said enough. And presently she went on, “I thought you liked Mr. Caliph.”

    “So I do, immensely. He gives beautiful flowers.”

    “Ah, you are horrid!” she murmured.

    “Of course I am horrid. That's my business—to be horrid.” And I took the liberty of being so again, half an hour later, when she remarked that she must take good care of the check Mr. Caliph had brought her, as it would be a good while before she should have another. “Why should it be longer than usual?” I asked. “Is he going to keep your income for himself?”

    “I am not to have any till the end of the year—any from the trust, at least. Mr. Caliph has been converting some old houses into shops, so that they will bring more rent. But the alterations have to be paid for—and he takes part of my income to do it.”

    “And pray what are you to live on meanwhile?”

    “I have enough without that; and I have savings?”

    “It strikes me as a cool proceeding, all the same.”

    “He wrote to me about it before we came home, and I thought that way was best.”

    “I don't think he ought to have asked you,” I said. “As your trustee, he acts in his discretion.”

    “You are hard to please,” Eunice answered.

    That is perfectly true; but I rejoined that I couldn't make out whether he consulted her too much or too little. And I don't know that my failure to make it out in the least matters!

    May 13.—Mrs. Ermine turned up to-day at an earlier hour than usual, and I saw as soon as she got into the room that she had something to announce. This time it was not an engagement. “He sent me a bouquet—Boston roses—quite as many as yours! They arrived this morning, before I had finished breakfast.” This speech was addressed to me, and Mrs. Ermine looked almost brilliant. Eunice scarcely followed her.

    “She is talking about Mr. Caliph,” I explained.

    Eunice stared a moment; then her face melted into a deep little smile. “He seems to give flowers to every one but to me.” I could see that this reflection gave her remarkable pleasure.

    “Well, when he gives them, he's thinking of you,” said Mrs. Ermine. “He wants to get us on his side.”

    “On his side?”

    “Oh, yes; some day he will have need of us!” And Mrs. Ermine tried to look sprightly and insinuating. But she is too utterly fade, and I think it is not worth while to talk any more to Eunice just now about her trustee. So, to anticipate Mrs. Ermine, I said to her, quickly, but very quietly—

    “He sent you flowers simply because you had taken him into your carriage last night. It was an acknowledgment of your great kindness.”

    She hesitated a moment. “Possibly. We had a charming drive—ever so far down-town.” Then, turning to Eunice, she exclaimed, “My dear, you don't know that man till you have had a drive with him!” When does one know Mrs. Ermine? Every day she is a surprise!

    May 19.—Adrian Frank has come back to New York, and has been three times at this house—once to dinner, and twice at tea-time. After his brothers strong expression of the hope that we would take an interest in him, Eunice appears to have thought that the least she could do was to ask him to dine. She appears never to have offered this privilege to Mr. Caliph, by the way; I think her view of his cleverness is such that she imagines she knows no one sufficiently brilliant to be invited to meet him. She thought Mrs. Ermine good enough to meet Mr. Frank, and she had also young Woodley—Willie Woodley, as they call him—and Mr. Latrobe. It was not very amusing. Mrs. Ermine made love to Mr. Woodley, who took it serenely; and the dark Latrobe talked to me about the Seventh Regiment—an impossible subject. Mr. Frank made an occasional remark to Eunice, next whom he was placed; but he seemed constrained and frightened, as if he knew that his step-brother had recommended him highly and felt it was impossible to come up to the mark. He is really very modest; it is impossible not to like him. Every now and then he looked at me, with his clear blue eye conscious and expanded, as if to beg me to help him on with Eunice; and then, when I threw in a word, to give their conversation a push, he looked at her in the same way, as if to express the hope that she would not abandon him. There was no danger of this, she only wished to be agreeable to him; but she was nervous and preoccupied, as she always is when she has people to dinner—she is so afraid they may be bored,—and I think that half the time she didn't understand what he said. She told me afterward that she liked him more even than she liked him at first; that he has, in her opinion, better manners, in spite of his shyness, than any of the young men; and that he must have a nice nature to have such a charming face;—all this she told me, and she added that, notwithstanding all this, there is something in Mr. Adrian Frank that makes her uncomfortable. It is, perhaps, rather heartless; but after this, when he called two days ago, I went out of the room and left them alone together. The truth is, there is something in this tall, fair, vague, inconsequent youth, who would look like a Prussian lieutenant if Prussian lieutenants ever hesitated, and who is such a singular mixture of confusion and candour—there is something about him that is not altogether to my own taste, and that is why I took the liberty of leaving him. Oddly enough, I don't in the least know what it is; I usually know why I dislike people. I don't dislike the blushing Adrian, however,—that is, after all, the oddest part. No, the oddest part of it is that I think I have a feeling of pity for him; that is probably why (if it were not my duty sometimes to remain) I should always depart when he comes. I don't like to see the people I pity; to be pitied by me is too low a depth. Why I should lavish my compassion on Mr. Frank, of course passes my comprehension. He is young, intelligent, in perfect health, master of a handsome fortune, and favourite brother of Haroun-al-Raschid. Such are the consequences of being a woman of imagination. When, at dinner, I asked Eunice if he had been as interesting as usual, she said she would leave it to me to judge; he had talked altogether about Miss Condit! He thinks her very attractive! Poor fellow; when it is necessary he doesn't hesitate, though I can't imagine why it should be necessary. I think that au fond he bores Eunice a little; like many girls of the delicate, sensitive kind, she likes older, more confident men.

    May 24.—He has just made me a remarkable communication! This morning I went into the Park in quest of a “bit,” with some colours and brushes in a small box, and that wonderfully compressible camp-stool, which I can carry in my pocket. I wandered vaguely enough, for half an hour, through the carefully arranged scenery, the idea of which appears to be to represent the earths surface en raccourci, and at last discovered a small clump of birches which, with their white stems and their little raw green bristles, were not altogether uninspiring. The place was quiet—there were no nurse-maids nor bicycles; so I took up a position and enjoyed an hour's successful work. At last I heard some one say behind me, “I think I ought to tell you I'm looking!” It was Adrian Frank, who had recognized me at a distance, and, without my hearing him, had walked across the grass to where I sat. This time I couldn't leave him, for I hadn't finished my sketch. He sat down near me, on an artistically preserved rock, and we ended by having a good deal of talk—in which, however, I did the listening, for I can't express myself in two ways at once. What I listened to was this—that Mr. Caliph wishes his step-brother to “make up” to Eunice, and that the candid Adrian wishes to know what I think of his chances.

    “Are you in love with her?” I asked.

    “Oh, dear, no! If I were in love with her I should go straight in, without—without this sort of thing.”

    “You mean without asking peoples opinion?”

    “Well, yes. Without asking even yours.”

    I told him that he needn't say “even” mine; for mine would not be worth much. His announcement rather startled me at first; but after I had thought of it a little, I found in it a good deal to admire. I have seen so many “arranged” marriages that have been happy, and so many “sympathetic” unions that have been wretched, that the political element doesn't altogether shock me. Of course, I can't imagine Eunice making a political marriage, and I said to Mr. Frank, very promptly, that she might consent if she could be induced to love him, but would never be governed in her choice by his advantages. I said “advantages" in order to be polite; the singular number would have served all the purpose. His only advantage is his fortune; for he has neither looks, talents, nor position that would dazzle a girl who is herself clever and rich. This, then, is what Mr. Caliph has had in his head all this while—this is what has made him so anxious that we should like his step-brother. I have an idea that I ought to be rather scandalized, but I feel my pulse and find that I am almost pleased. I don't mean at the idea of her marrying poor Mr. Frank; I mean at such an indication that Mr. Caliph takes an interest in her. I don't know whether it is one of the regular duties of a trustee to provide the trustful with a husband; perhaps in that case his merit may be less. I suppose he has said to himself that, if she marries his step-brother, she won't marry a worse man. Of course, it is possible that he may not have thought of Eunice at all, and may simply have wished the guileless Adrian to do a good thing, without regard to Eunice's point of view. I am afraid that even this idea doesn't shock me. Trying to make people marry is, under any circumstances, an unscrupulous game; but the offence is minimized when it is a question of an honest man's marrying an angel. Eunice is the angel, and the young Adrian has all the air of being honest. It would, naturally, not be the union of her secret dreams, for the hero of those pure visions would have to be clever and distinguished. Mr. Frank is neither of these things, but I believe he is perfectly good. Of course, he is weak—to come and take a wife simply because his brother has told him to—or is he doing it simply for form, believing that she will never have him, that he consequently doesn't expose himself, and that he will therefore have on easy terms, since he seems to value it, the credit of having obeyed Mr. Caliph? Why he should value it is a matter between themselves, which I am not obliged to know. I don't think I care at all for the relations of men between themselves. Their relations with women are bad enough; but when there is no woman to save it a little—merci! I shouldn't think that the young Adrian would care to subject himself to a simple refusal, for it is not gratifying to receive the cold shoulder, even from a woman you don't want to marry. After all, he may want to marry her; there are all sorts of reasons in things. I told him I wouldn't undertake to do anything, and the more I think of it the less I am willing. It would be a weight off my mind to see her comfortably settled in life, beyond the possibility of marrying some highly varnished brute—a fate in certain circumstances quite open to her. She is perfectly capable—with her folded angels wings of bestowing herself upon the baker, upon the fishmonger, if she was to take a fancy to him. The clever man of her dreams might beat her or get tired of her; but I am sure that Mr. Frank, if he should pronounce his marriage-vows, would keep them to the letter. From that to pushing her into his arms, however, is a long way. I went so far as to tell him that he had my good wishes; but I made him understand that I can give him no help. He sat for some time poking a hole in the earth with his stick and watching the operation. Then he said, with his wide, exaggerated smile—the one thing in his face that recalls his brother, though it is so different,—"I think I should like to try.” I felt rather sorry for him, and made him talk of something else; and we separated without his alluding to Eunice, though at the last he looked at me for a moment intently, with something on his lips which was probably a return to his idea. I stopped him; I told him I always required solitude for my finishing touches. He thinks me brusque and queer, but he went away. I don't know what he means to do; I am curious whether he will begin his siege. It can scarcely be said, as yet, to have begun—Eunice, at any rate, is all unconscious.

    June 6.—Her unconsciousness is being rapidly dispelled; Mr. Frank has been here every day since I last wrote. He is a singular youth, and I don't make him out; I think there is more in him than I supposed at first. He doesn't bore us, and he has become, to a certain extent, one of the family. I like him very much, and he excites my curiosity. I don't quite see where he expects to come out. I mentioned some time back that Eunice had told me he made her uncomfortable; and now, if that continues, she appears to have resigned herself. He has asked her repeatedly to drive with him, and twice she has consented; he has a very pretty pair of horses, and a vehicle that holds but two persons. I told him I could give him no positive help, but I do leave them together. Of course, Eunice has noticed this—it is the only intimation I have given her that I am aware of his intentions. I have constantly expected her to say something, but she has said nothing, and it is possible that Mr. Frank is making an impression. He makes love very reasonably; evidently his idea is to be intensely gradual. Of course, it isn't gradual to come every day; but he does very little on any one occasion. That, at least, is my impression; for when I talk of his making love I don't mean that I see it. When the three of us are together he talks to me quite as much as to her, and there is no difference in his manner from one of us to the other. His shyness is wearing off and he blushes so much less that I have discovered his natural hue. It has several shades less of crimson than I supposed. I have taken care that he should not see me alone, for I don't wish him to talk to me of what he is doing—I wish to have nothing to say about it. He has looked at me several times in the same way in which he looked just before we parted, that day he found me sketching in the Park; that is, as if he wished to have some special understanding with me. But I don't want a special understanding, and I pretend not to see his looks. I don't exactly see why Eunice doesn't speak to me, and why she expresses no surprise at Mr. Franks sudden devotion. Perhaps Mr. Caliph has notified her, and she is prepared for everything—prepared even to accept the young Adrian. I have an idea he will be rather taken in if she does. Perhaps the day will come soon when I shall think it well to say: “Take care, take care; you may succeed!” He improves on acquaintance; he knows a great many things, and he is a gentleman to his finger-tips. We talk very often about Rome; he has made out every inscription for himself, and has got them all written down in a little book. He brought it the other afternoon and read some of them out to us, and it was more amusing than it may sound. I listen to such things because I can listen to anything about Rome; and Eunice listens, possibly because Mr. Caliph had told her to. She appears ready to do anything he tells her; he has been sending her some more papers to sign. He has not been here since the day he gave me the flowers; he went back to Washington shortly after that. She has received several letters from him, accompanying documents that look very legal. She has said nothing to me about them; and since I uttered these words of warning,—which I noted here at the time, I have asked no questions and offered no criticism. Sometimes I wonder whether I myself had not better speak to Mrs. Ermine; it is only the fear of being idiotic and meddlesome that restrains me. It seems to me so odd there should be no one else; Mr. Caliph appears to have everything in his own hands. We are to go down to our “seat,” as Mrs. Ermine says, next week. That brilliant woman has left town herself, like many other people, and is staying with one of her daughters. Then she is going to the other, and then she is coming to Eunice, at Cornerville.

    PART II.

     

    JUNE 8.—Late this afternoon, about an hour before dinner, Mr. Frank arrived with what Mrs. Ermine calls his equipage, and asked her to take a short drive with him. At first she declined—said it was too hot, too late, she was too tired; but he seemed very much in earnest, and begged her to think better of it. She consented at last, and when she had left the room to arrange herself he turned to me with a little grin of elation. I saw he was .going to say something about his prospects, and I determined, this time, to give him a chance. Besides, I was curious to know how he believed himself to be getting on. To my surprise, he disappointed my curiosity; he only said, with his timid brightness:

    “I am always so glad when I carry my point.”

    “Your point? Oh, yes. I think I know what you mean.”

    “It's what I told you that day.”

    He seemed slightly surprised that I should be in doubt as to whether he had really presented himself as a lover. “Do you mean to ask her to marry you?”

    He stared a little, looking graver. “Do you mean to-day?”

    “Well, yes, to-day, for instance; you have urged her so to drive.”

    “I don't think I will do it to-day; it's too soon.”

    His gravity was natural enough, I suppose; but it had suddenly become so intense that the effect was comical, and I could not help laughing. “Very good; whenever you please.”

    “Don't you think it's too soon?” he asked.

    “Ah, I know nothing about it.”

    “I have seen her alone only four or five times.”

    “You must go on as you think best,” I said.

    “It's hard to tell. My position is very difficult.” And then he began to smile again. He is certainly very odd.

    It is my fault, I suppose, that I am too impatient of what I don't understand; and I don't understand this odd mixture of the perfunctory and the passionate, or the singular alternation of Mr. Franks confessions and reserves.

    “I can't enter into your position,” I said. “I can't advise you or help you in any way.”

    Even to myself, my voice sounded a little hard as I spoke, and he was evidently discomposed by it. He blushed as usual, and fell to putting on his gloves:

    “I think a great deal of your opinion, and for several days I have wanted to ask you.”

    “Yes, I have seen that.”

    “How have you seen it?”

    “By the way you have looked at me.”

    He hesitated a moment. “Yes, I have looked at you—I know that. There is a great deal in your face to see.”

    This remark, under the circumstances, struck me as absurd. I began to laugh again. “You speak of it as if it were a collection of curiosities.”

    He looked away now. He wouldn't meet my eye, and I saw that I had made him feel thoroughly uncomfortable. To lead the conversation back into the commonplace, I asked him where he intended to drive.

    “It doesn't matter much where we go—it's so pretty everywhere now.” He was evidently not thinking of his drive, and suddenly he broke out: “I want to know whether you think she likes me.”

    “I haven't the least idea. She hasn't told me.”

    “Do you think she knows that I mean to propose to her?”

    “You ought to be able to judge of that better than I.”

    “I am afraid of taking too much for granted; also, of taking her by surprise.”

    “So that—in her agitation—she might accept you? Is that what you are afraid of?”

    “I don't know what makes you say that. I wish her to accept me.”

    “Are you very sure?”

    “Perfectly sure. Why not? She is a charming creature.”

    “So much the better, then; perhaps she will.”

    “You don't believe it,” he exclaimed, as if it were very clever of him to have discovered that.

    “You think too much of what I believe. That has nothing to do with the matter.”

    “No, I suppose not,” said Mr. Frank, apparently wishing very much to agree with me.

    “You had better find out as soon as possible from Eunice herself,” I added.

    “I haven't expected to know—for some time.”

    “Do you mean for a year or two? She will be ready to tell you before that.”

    “Oh, no—not a year or two; but a few weeks.”

    “You know you come to the house every day. You ought to explain to her.”

    “Perhaps I had better not come so often.”

    “Perhaps not!”

    “I like it very much,” he said, smiling.

    I looked at him a moment; I don't know what he has got in his eyes. “Don't change! You are such a good young man that I don't know what we should do without you.” And I left him to wait alone for Eunice.

    From my window, above, I saw them leave the door; they make a fair, bright young couple as they sit together. They had not been gone a quarter of an hour when Mr. Caliph's name was brought up to me. He had asked for me—me alone; he begged that I would do him the favour to see him for ten minutes. I don't know why this announcement should have made me nervous; but it did. My heart beat at the prospect of entering into direct relations with Mr. Caliph. He is very clever, much thought of, and talked of; and yet I had vaguely suspected him—of I don't know what! I became conscious of that, and felt the responsibility of it; though I didn't foresee, and indeed don't think I foresee yet, any danger of a collision between us. It is to be noted, moreover, that even a woman who is both plain and conceited must feel a certain agitation at entering the presence of Haroun-al-Raschid. I had begun to dress for dinner, and I kept him waiting till I had taken my usual time to finish. I always take some such revenge as that upon men who make me nervous. He is the sort of man who feels immediately whether a woman is well dressed or not; but I don't think this reflection really had much to do with my putting on the freshest of my three little French gowns.

    He sat there, watch in hand; at least, he slipped it into his pocket as I came into the room. He was not pleased at having had to wait, and when I apologized, hypocritically, for having kept him, he answered, with a certain dryness, that he had come to transact an important piece of business in a very short space of time. I wondered what his business could be, and whether he had come to confess to me that he had spent Eunice's money for his own purposes. Did he wish me to use my influence with her not to make a scandal? He didn't look like a man who had come to ask a favour of that kind; but I am sure that if he ever does ask it, he will not look at all as he might be expected to look. He was clad in white garments from head to foot, in recognition of the hot weather, and he had half a dozen roses in his button-hole. This time his flowers were for himself. His white clothes made him look as big as Henry VIII.; but don't tell me he is not a Jew! He's a Jew of the artistic, not of the commercial, type; and as I stood there, I thought him a very strange person to have as one's trustee. It seemed to me that he would carry such an office into transcendental regions, out of all common jurisdictions; and it was a comfort to me to remember that I have no property to be taken care of. Mr. Caliph kept a pocket-handkerchief, with an enormous monogram, in his large, tapering hand, and every other moment he touched his face with it. He evidently suffers from the heat. With all that, il est bien beau. His business was not what had at first occurred to me; but I don't know that it was much less strange.

    “I knew I should find you alone, because Adrian told me this morning that he meant to come and ask our young friend to drive. I was glad of that; I have been wishing to see you alone, and I didn't know how to manage it.”

    “You see it's very simple. Didn't you send your brother?” I asked. In another place, to another person, this might have sounded impertinent; but evidently, addressed to Mr. Caliph, things have a special measure, and this I instinctively felt. He will take a great deal, and he will give a great deal.

    He looked at me a moment, as if he were trying to measure what I would take. “I see you are going to be a very satisfactory person to talk with,” he answered. “That's exactly what I counted on. I want you to help me.

    “I thought there was some reason why Mr. Frank should urge Eunice so to go,” I went on, refreshed a little, I admit, by these words of commendation. “At first she was unwilling.”

    “Is she usually unwilling—and does he usually have to be urgent?” he asked, like a man pleased to come straight to the point.

    “What does it matter, so long as she consents in the end?” I responded, with a smile that made him smile. There is a singular stimulus, even a sort of excitement, in talking with him; he makes one wish to venture. And this not as women usually venture, because they have a sense of impunity; but, on the contrary, because one has a prevision of penalties—those penalties which give a kind of dignity to sarcasm. He must be a dangerous man to irritate.

    “Do you think she will consent, in the end?” he inquired; and though I had now foreseen what he was coming to, I felt that, even with various precautions which he had plainly decided not to take, there would still have been a certain crudity in it, when, a moment later, he put his errand into words. “I want my little brother to marry her, and I want you to help me bring it about.” Then he told me that he knew his brother had already spoken to me, but that he believed I had not promised him much countenance. He wished me to think well of the plan; it would be a delightful marriage.

    “Delightful for your brother, yes. That's what strikes me most.”

    “Delightful for him, certainly; but also very pleasant for Eunice, as things go here. Adrian is the best fellow in the world; he's a gentleman; he hasn't a vice or a fault; he is very well educated; and he has twenty thousand a year. A lovely property.”

    “Not in trust?” I said, looking into Mr. Caliph's extraordinary eyes.

    “Oh, no; he has full control of it. But he is wonderfully careful.”

    “He doesn't trouble you with it?”

    “Oh, dear, no; why should he? Thank God, I haven't got that on my back. His property comes to him from his father, who had nothing to do with me; didn't even like me, I think. He has capital advisers—presidents of banks, overseers of hospitals, and all that sort of thing. They have put him in the way of some excellent investments.”

    As I write this, I am surprised at my audacity; but, somehow, it didn't seem so great at the time, and he gave absolutely no sign of seeing more in what I said than appeared. He evidently desires the marriage immensely, and he was thinking only of putting it before me so that I, too, should think well of it; for evidently, like his brother, he has the most exaggerated opinion of my influence with Eunice. On Mr. Frank's part, this doesn't surprise me so much; but I confess it seems to me odd that a man of Mr. Caliphs acuteness should make the mistake of taking me for one of those persons who covet influence and like to pull the wires of other people's actions. I have a horror of influence, and should never have consented to come and live with Eunice if I had not seen that she is at bottom much stronger than I, who am not at all strong, in spite of my grand airs. Mr. Caliph, I suppose, cannot conceive of a woman in my dependent position being indifferent to opportunities for working in the dark; but he ought to leave those vulgar imputations to Mrs. Ermine. He ought, with his intelligence, to see one as one is; or do I possibly exaggerate that intelligence? “Do you know I feel as if you were asking me to take part in a conspiracy?” I made that announcement with as little delay as possible.

    He stared a moment, and then he said that he didn't in the least repudiate that view of his proposal. He admitted that he was a conspirator—in an excellent cause. All matchmaking was conspiracy. It was impossible that as a superior woman I should enter into his ideas, and he was sure that I had seen too much of the world to say anything so banal as that the young people were not in love with each other. That was only a basis for marriage when better things were lacking. It was decent, it was fitting, that Eunice should be settled in life; his conscience would not be at rest about her until he should see that well arranged. He was not in the least afraid of that word “arrangement”; a marriage was an eminently practical matter, and it could not be too much arranged. He confessed that he took the European view. He thought that a young girls elders ought to see that she marries in a way in which certain definite proprieties are observed. He was sure of his brother; he knew how faultless Adrian was. He talked for some time, and said a great deal that I had said to myself the other day, after Mr. Frank spoke to me; said, in particular, very much what I had thought, about the beauty of arrangements—that there are far too few among Americans who marry; that we are the people in the world who divorce and separate most; that there would be much less of that sort of thing if young people were helped to choose,—if marriages were, as one might say, presented to them. I listened to Mr. Caliph with my best attention, thinking it was odd that, on his lips, certain things which I had phrased to myself in very much the same way should sound so differently. They ought to have sounded better, uttered as they were with the energy, the authority, the lucidity of a man accustomed to making arguments; but somehow they didn't. I am afraid I am very perverse. I answered—I hardly remember what; but there was a taint of that perversity in it. As he rejoined, I felt that he was growing urgent—very urgent; he has an immense desire that something may be done. I remember saying, at last, “What I don't understand is, why your brother should wish to marry my cousin. He has told me he is not in love with her. Has your presentation of the idea, as you call it—has that been enough? Is he acting simply at your request?”

    I saw that his reply was not perfectly ready, and for a moment those strange eyes of his emitted a ray that I had not seen before. They seemed to say, “Are you really taking liberties with me? Be on your guard; I may be dangerous.” But he always smiles. Yes, I think he is dangerous, though I don't know exactly what he could do to me. I believe he would smile at the hangman, if he were condemned to meet him. He is very angry with his brother for having admitted to me that the sentiment he entertains for Eunice is not a passion; as if it would have been possible for him, under my eyes, to pretend that he is in love! I don't think I am afraid of Mr. Caliph; I don't desire to take liberties with him (as his eyes seemed to call it), or with any one; but, decidedly, I am not afraid of him. If it came to protecting Eunice, for instance; to demanding justice—But what extravagances am I writing? He answered, in a moment, with a good deal of dignity, and even a good deal of reason, that his brother has the greatest admiration for my cousin, that he agrees fully and cordially with everything he (Mr. Caliph) has said to him about it's being an excellent match, that he wants very much to marry, and wants to marry as a gentleman should. If he is not in love with Eunice, moreover, he is not in love with any one else.

    “I hope not!” I said, with a laugh; whereupon Mr. Caliph got up, looking, for him, rather grave.

    “I can't imagine why you should suppose that Adrian is not acting freely. I don't know what you imagine my means of coercion to be.”

    “I don't imagine anything. I think I only wish he had thought of it himself.”

    “He would never think of anything that is for his good. He is not in the least interested.”

    “Well, I don't know that it matters, because I don't think Eunice will see it—as we see it.”

    “Thank you for saying 'we'. Is she in love with some one else?”

    “Not that I know of; but she may expect to be, some day. And better than that, she may expect—very justly—some one to be in love with her.”

    “Oh, in love with her! How you women talk! You, all of you, want the moon. If she is not content to be thought of as Adrian thinks of her, she is a very silly girl. What will she have more than tenderness? That boy is all tenderness.”

    “Perhaps he is too tender,” I suggested. “I think he is afraid to ask her.”

    “Yes, I know he is nervous—at the idea of a refusal. But I should like her to refuse him once.”

    “It is not of that he is afraid; it is of her accepting him.”

    Mr. Caliph smiled, as if he thought this very ingenious.

    “You don't understand him. I'm so sorry! I had an idea that—with your knowledge of human nature, your powers of observation—you would have perceived how he is made. In fact, I rather counted on that.” He said this with a little tone of injury which might have made me feel terribly inadequate if it had not been accompanied with a glance that seemed to say that, after all, he was generous and he forgave me. “Adrian's is one of those natures that are inflamed by not succeeding. He doesn't give up; he thrives on opposition. If she refuses him three or four times, he will adore her!”

    “She is sure, then, to be adored—though I am not sure it will make a difference with her. I haven't yet seen a sign that she cares for him.”

    “Why, then, does she go out to drive with him?”

    There was nothing brutal in the elation with which Mr. Caliph made this point; still, he looked a little as if he pitied me for exposing myself to a refutation so prompt.

    “That proves nothing, I think. I would go to drive with Mr. Frank, if he should ask me, and I should be very much surprised if it were regarded as an intimation that I am ready to marry him.”

    Mr. Caliph had his hands resting on his thighs, and in this position, bending forward a little, with his smile he said, “Ah, but he doesn't want to marry you!”

    That was a little brutal, I think; but I should have appeared ridiculous if I had attempted to resent it. I simply answered that I had as yet seen no sign even that Eunice is conscious of Mr. Frank's intentions. I think she is, but I don't think so from anything she has said or done. Mr. Caliph maintains that she is capable of going for six months without betraying herself, all the while quietly considering and making up her mind. It is possible he is right—he has known her longer than I. He is far from wishing to wait for six months, however; and the part I must play is to bring matters to a crisis. I told him that I didn't see why he did not speak to her directly—why he should operate in this roundabout way. Why shouldn't he say to her all that he had said to me—tell her that she would make him very happy by marrying his little brother? He answered that this is impossible, that the nearness of the relationship would make it unbecoming; it would look like a kind of nepotism. The thing must appear to come to pass of itself, and I, somehow, must be the author of that appearance! I was too much a woman of the world, too acquainted with life, not to see the force of all this. He had a great deal to say about my being a woman of the world. In one sense, it is not all complimentary; one would think me some battered old dowager who had married off fifteen daughters I feel that I am far from all that when Mr. Caliph leaves me so mystified. He has some other reason for wishing these nuptials than love of the two young people, but I am unable to put my hand on it. Like the children at hide-and-seek, however, I think I “burn”. I don't like him, I mistrust him; but he is a very charming man. His geniality, his richness, his magnetism, I suppose I should say, are extraordinary; he fascinates me, in spite of my suspicions. The truth is that, in his way, he is an artist, and in my little way I am also one; and the artist in me recognizes the artist in him, and cannot quite resist the temptation to foregather. What is more than this, the artist in him has recognized the artist in me,—it is very good of him,—and would like to establish a certain freemasonry. “Let us take together the artistic view of life”; that is simply the meaning of his talking so much about my being a woman of the world. That is all very well; but it seems to me there would be a certain baseness in our being artists together at the expense of poor little Eunice. I should like to know some of Mr. Caliph's secrets, but I don't wish to give him any of mine in return for them. Yet I gave him something before he departed; I hardly know what, and hardly know how he extracted it from me. It was a sort of promise that I would, after all, speak to Eunice,—"as I should like to have you, you know.” He remained there for a quarter of an hour after he got up to go: walking about the room with his hands on his hips; talking, arguing, laughing, holding me with his eyes, his admirable face—as natural, as dramatic, and at the same time as diplomatic, as an Italian. I am pretty sure he was trying to produce a certain effect, to entangle, to magnetize me. Strange to say, Mr. Caliph compromises himself, but he doesn't compromise his brother. He has a private reason, but his brother has nothing to do with his privacies. That was my last word to him.

    “The moment I feel sure that I may do something for your brothers happiness—your brothers alone—by pleading his cause with Eunice, that moment I will speak to her. But I can do nothing for yours.”

    In answer to this, Mr. Caliph said something very unexpected: “I wish I had known you five years ago!”

    There are many meanings to that; perhaps he would have liked to put me out of the way. But I could take only the polite meaning. “Our acquaintance could never have begun too soon.”

    “Yes, I should have liked to know you,” he went on, “in spite of the fact that you are not kind, that you are not just. Have I asked you to do anything for my happiness? My happiness is nothing. I have nothing to do with happiness. I don't deserve it. It is only for my little brother—and for your charming cousin.”

    I was obliged to admit that he was right; that he had asked nothing for himself. “But I don't want to do anything for you, even by accident!” I said, laughing, of course.

    This time he was grave. He stood looking at me a moment, then put out his hand. “Yes, I wish I had known you!”

    There was something so expressive in his voice, so handsome in his face, so tender and respectful in his manner, as he said this, that for an instant I was really moved, and I was on the point of saying, with feeling, “I wish indeed you had!” But that instinct of which I have already spoken checked me—the sense that, somehow, as things stand, there can be no rapprochement between Mr. Caliph and me that will not involve a certain sacrifice of Eunice. So I only replied: “You seem to me strange, Mr. Caliph. I must tell you that I don't understand you.”

    He kept my hand, still looking at me, and went on as if he had not heard me. “I am not happy—I am not wise nor good.” Then, suddenly, in quite a different tone, “For God's sake, let her marry my brother!”

    There was a quick passion in these words which made me say, If it is so urgent as that, you certainly ought to speak to her. Perhaps shell do it to oblige you!

    We had walked into the hall together, and the last I saw of him he stood in the open door-way, looking back at me with his smile. “Hang the nepotism! I will speak to her!”

    Cornerville, July 6.—A whole month has passed since I have made an entry; but I have a good excuse for this dreadful gap. Since we have been in the country I have found subjects enough and to spare, and I have been painting so hard that my hand, of an evening, has been glad to rest. This place is very lovely, and the Hudson is as beautiful as the Rhine. There are the words, in black and white, over my signature; I can't do more than that. I have said it a dozen times, in answer to as many challenges, and now I record the opinion with all the solemnity I can give it. May it serve for the rest of the summer! This is an excellent old house, of the style that was thought impressive, in this country, forty years ago. It is painted a cheerful slate-colour, save for a multitude of pilasters and facings which are picked out in the cleanest and freshest white, it has a kind of clumsy gable or apex, on top; a sort of roofed terrace, below, from which you may descend to a lawn dotted with delightful old trees; and between the two, in the second story, a deep veranda, let into the body of the building, and ornamented with white balustrades, considerably carved, and big blue stone jars. Add to this a multitude of green shutters and striped awnings, and a mass of Virginia creepers and wisterias, and fling over it the lavish light of the American summer, and you have a notion of some of the conditions of our villeggiatura. The great condition, of course, is the splendid river lying beneath our rounded headland in vast silvery stretches, and growing almost vague on the opposite shore. It is a country of views; you are always peeping down an avenue, or ascending a mound, or going around a corner, to look at one. They are rather too shining, too high-pitched, for my little purposes; all nature seems glazed with light and varnished with freshness. But I manage to scrape something off. Mrs. Ermine is here, as brilliant as her setting; and so, strange to say, is Adrian Frank. Strange for this reason, that the night before we left town I went into Eunice's room and asked her whether she knew, or rather whether she suspected, what was going on. A sudden impulse came to me; it seemed to me unnatural that in such a situation I should keep anything from her. I don't want to interfere, but I think I want even less to carry too far my aversion to interference; and without pretending to advise Eunice, it was revealed to me that she ought to know that Mr. Caliph had come to see me on purpose to induce me to work upon her. It was not till after he was gone that it occurred to me be had sent his brother in advance, on purpose to get Eunice out of the way, and that this was the reason the young Adrian would take no refusal. He was really in excellent training. It was a very hot night. Eunice was alone in her room, without a lamp; the windows were wide open, and the dusk was clarified by the light of the street. She sat there, among things vaguely visible, in a white wrapper, with her fair hair on her shoulders, and I could see her eyes move toward me when I asked her whether she knew that Mr. Frank wished to marry her. I could see her smile, too, as she answered that she knew he thought he did, but also knew he didn't.

    “Of course, I have only his word for it,” I said.

    “Has he told you?”

    “Oh, yes, and his brother, too.”

    “His brother?” And Eunice slowly got up.

    “It's an idea of Mr. Caliphs as well. Indeed, Mr. Caliph may have been the first. He came here to-day, while you were out, to tell me how much he should like to see it come to pass. He has set his heart upon it, and he wished me to engage to do all in my power to bring it about. Of course, I can't do anything, can I?”

    She had sunk into her chair again, as I went on; she sat there looking before her, in the dark. Before she answered me she gathered up her thick hair with her hands, twisted it together, and holding it in place, on top of her head, with one hand, tried to fasten a comb into it with the other. I passed behind her to help her; I could see she was agitated. “Oh, no, you can't do anything,” she said, after a moment, with a laugh that was not like her usual laughter. “I know all about it; they have told me, of course.” Her tone was forced, and I could see that she had not really known all about it—had not known that Mr. Caliph is pushing his brother. I went to the window and looked out a little into the hot, empty street, where the gas-lamps showed me, up and down, the hundred high stoops, exactly alike, and as ugly as a bad dream. While I stood there, a thought suddenly dropped into my mind, which has lain ever since where it fell. But I don't wish to move it, even to write it here. I staid with Eunice for ten minutes; I told her everything that Mr. Caliph had said to me. She listened in perfect silence—I could see that she was glad to listen. When I related that he didn't wish to speak to her himself on behalf of his brother, because that would seem indelicate, she broke in, with a certain eagerness, “Yes, that is very natural!”

    “And now you can marry Mr. Frank without my help!” I said, when I had done.

    She shook her head sadly, though she was smiling again. “It's too late for your help. He has asked me to marry him, and I have told him he can hope for it—never!”

    I was surprised to hear he had spoken, and she said nothing about the time or place. It must have been that afternoon, during their drive. I said that I was rather sorry for our poor young friend; he was such a very nice fellow. She agreed that he was remarkably nice, but added that this was not a sufficient reason for her marrying him; and when I said that he would try again, that I had Mr. Caliph's assurance that he would not be easy to get rid of, and that a refusal would only make him persist, she answered that he might try as often as he liked, he was so little disagreeable to her that she would take even that from him. And now, to give him a chance to try again, she has asked him down here to stay, thinking apparently that Mrs. Ermine's presence puts us en règle with the proprieties. I should add that she assured me there was no real danger of his trying again; he had told her he meant to, but he had said it only for form. Why should he, since he was not in love with her? It was all an idea of his brother's, and she was much obliged to Mr. Caliph, who took his duties much too seriously, and was not in the least bound to provide her with a husband. Mr. Frank and she had agreed to remain friends, as if nothing had happened; and I think she then said something about her intending to ask him to this place. A few days after we got here, at all events, she told me that she had written to him, proposing his coming; whereupon I intimated that I thought it a singular overture to make to a rejected lover, whom one didn't wish to encourage. He would take it as encouragement, or at all events Mr. Caliph would. She answered that she didn't care what Mr. Caliph thinks, and that she knew Mr. Frank better than I, and knew, therefore, that he had absolutely no hope. But she had a particular reason for wishing him to be here. That sounded mysterious, and she couldn't tell me more; but in a month or two I would guess her reason. As she said this she looked at me with a brighter smile than she has had for weeks; for I protest that she is troubled—Eunice is greatly troubled. Nearly a month has elapsed, and I haven't guessed that reason. Here is Adrian Frank, at any rate, as I say; and I can't make out whether he persists or renounces. His manner to Eunice is just the same; he is always polite and always shy, never inattentive and never unmistakable. He has not said a word more to me about his suit. Apart from this he is very sympathetic, and we sit about sketching together in the most fraternal manner. He made to me a day or two since a very pretty remark; viz., that he would rather copy a sketch of mine than try, himself, to do the place from nature. This, perhaps, does not look so galant as I repeat it here; but with the tone and glance with which he said it, it really almost touched me. I was glad, by the way, to hear from Eunice, the night before we left town, that she doesn't care what Mr. Caliph thinks; only, I should be gladder still if I believed it. I don't, unfortunately; among other reasons, because it doesn't at all agree with that idea which descended upon me with a single jump—from heaven knows where—while I looked out of her window at the stoops. I observe with pleasure, however, that he doesn't send her any more papers to sign. These days pass softly, quickly, but with a curious, an unnatural, stillness, it is as if there was something in the air—a sort of listening hush. That sounds very fantastic, and I suppose such remarks are only to be justified by my having the artistic temperament—that is, if I have it! If I haven't, there is no excuse; unless it be that Eunice is distinctly uneasy, and that it takes the form of a voluntary, exaggerated calm, of which I feel the contact, the tension. She is as quiet as a mouse, and yet as restless as a flame. She is neither well nor happy; she doesn't sleep. It is true that I asked Mr. Frank, the other day, what impression she made on him, and he replied, with a little start and a smile of alacrity, “Oh, delightful, as usual!”—so that I saw he didn't know what he was talking about. He is tremendously sunburnt, and as red as a tomato. I wish he would look a little less at my daubs and a little more at the woman he wishes to marry. In summer, I always suffice to myself, and I am so much interested in my work that if I hope, devoutly, as I do, that nothing is going to happen to Eunice, it is probably quite as much from selfish motives as from others. If anything were to happen to her, I should be immensely interrupted. Mrs. Ermine is bored, par exemple! She is dying to have a garden-party, at which she can drag a long train over the lawn; but day follows day, and this entertainment does not take place. Eunice has promised it, however, for another week, and I believe means to send out invitations immediately. Mrs. Ermine has offered to write them all; she has, after all, du bon. But the fatuity of her misunderstandings of everything that surrounds her passes belief. She sees nothing that really occurs, and gazes complacently into the void. Her theory is always that Mr. Caliph is in love with Eunice,—she opened up to me on the subject only yesterday, because with no one else to talk to but the young Adrian, who dodges her, she doesn't in the least mind that she hates me, and that I think her a goose,—that Mr. Caliph is in love with Eunice, but that Eunice, who is queer enough for anything, doesn't like him, so that he has sent down his step-brother to tell stories about the good things he has done, and to win over her mind to a more favourable view. Mrs. Ermine believes in these good things, and appears to think such action on Mr. Caliphs part both politic and dramatic. She has not the smallest suspicion of the real little drama that has been going on under her nose. I wish I had that absence of vision; it would be a great rest. Heaven knows, I see more than I want—for instance, when I see that my poor little cousin is pinched with pain, and yet that I can't relieve her, can't even advise her. I couldn't do the former even if I would, and she wouldn't let me do the latter even if I could. It seems too pitiful, too incredible, that there should be no one to turn to. Surely if I go up to town for a day next week, as seems probable, I may call upon William Ermine. Whether I may or not, I will.

    July 11.—She has been getting letters, and they have made her worse. Last night I spoke to her—I asked her to come into my room. I told her that I saw she was in distress; that it was terrible to me to see it; that I was sure that she has some miserable secret. Who was making her suffer this way? No one had the right—not even Mr. Caliph, if Mr. Caliph it was, to whom she appeared to have conceded every right. She broke down completely, burst into tears, confessed that she is troubled about money. Mr. Caliph has again requested a delay as to his handing in his accounts, and has told her that she will have no income for another year. She thinks it strange; she is afraid that everything isn't right. She is not afraid of being poor; she holds that it's vile to concern ones self so much about money. But there is something that breaks her heart, in thinking that Mr. Caliph should be in fault. She had always admired him, she had always believed in him, she had always—What it was, in the third place, that she had always done I didn't learn, for at this point she buried her head still deeper in my lap and sobbed for half an hour. Her grief was melting. I was never more troubled, and this in spite of the fact that I was furious at her strange air of acceptance of a probable calamity. She is afraid that everything isn't right, forsooth! I should think it was not, and should think it hadn't been for heaven knows how long. This is what has been in the air; this is what was hanging over us. But Eunice is simply amazing. She declines to see a lawyer; declines to hold Mr. Caliph accountable; declines to complain, to inquire, to investigate in any way. I am sick, I am terribly perplexed—I don't know what to do. Her tears dried up in an instant as soon as I made the very obvious remark that the beautiful, the mysterious, the captivating Caliph is no better than a common swindler; and she gave me a look which might have frozen me if when I am angry I were freezable. She took it de bien haut ; she intimated to me that if I should ever speak in that way again of Mr. Caliph we must part company forever. She was distressed; she admitted that she felt injured. I had seen for myself how far that went. But she didn't pretend to judge him. He had been in trouble,—he had told her that; and his trouble was worse than hers, inasmuch as his honour was at stake, and it had to be saved.

    “It's charming to hear you speak of his honour,” I cried, quite regardless of the threat she had just uttered. “Where was his honour when he violated the most sacred of trusts? Where was his honour when he went off with your fortune? Those are questions, my dear, that the courts will make him answer. He shall make up to you every penny that he has stolen, or my name is not Catherine Condit!”

    Eunice gave me another look, which seemed meant to let me know that I had suddenly become in her eyes the most indecent of women; and then she swept out of the room. I immediately sat down and wrote to Mr. Ermine, in order to have my note ready to send up to town at the earliest hour the next morning. I told him that Eunice was in dreadful trouble about her money matters, and that I believed he would render her a great service, though she herself had no wish to ask it, by coming down to see her at his first convenience. I reflected, of course, as I wrote, that he could do her no good if she should refuse to see him; but I made up for this by saying to myself that I at least should see him, and that he would do me good. I added in my note that Eunice had been despoiled by those who had charge of her property; but I didn't mention Mr. Caliph's name. I was just closing my letter when Eunice came into my room again. I saw in a moment that she was different from anything she had ever been before—or, at least, had ever seemed. Her excitement, her passion, had gone down; even the traces of her tears had vanished. She was perfectly quiet, but all her softness had left her. She was as solemn and impersonal as the priestess of a cult. As soon as her eyes fell upon my letter, she asked me to be so good as to inform her to whom I had been writing. I instantly satisfied her, telling her what I had written; and she asked me to give her the document. “I must let you know that I shall immediately burn it up,” she added; and she went on to say that if I should send it to Mr. Ermine, she herself would write to him by the same post that he was to heed nothing I had said. I tore up my letter, but I announced to Eunice that I would go up to town and see the person to whom I had addressed it. “That brings us precisely to what I came in to say,” she answered; and she proceeded to demand of me a solemn vow that I would never speak to a living soul of what I had learned in regard to her affairs. They were her affairs exclusively, and no business of mine or of any other human being, and she had a perfect right to ask and to expect this promise. She has, indeed—more's the pity; but it was impossible to me to admit just then—indignant and excited as I was—that I recognized the right. I did so at last, however, and I made the promise. It seems strange to me to write it here; but I am pledged by a tremendous vow, taken in this “intimate" spot, in the small hours of the morning, never to lift a finger, never to speak a word, to redress any wrong that Eunice may have received at the hands of her treacherous trustee, to bring it to the knowledge of others, or to invoke justice, compensation, or pity. How she extorted this promise from me is more than I can say: she did so by the force of her will—which, as I have already had occasion to note, is far stronger than mine—and by the vividness of her passion, which is none the less intense because it burns inward and makes her heart glow while her face remains as clear as an angels. She seated herself with folded hands, and declared she wouldn't leave the room until I had satisfied her. She is in a state of extraordinary exaltation, and from her own point of view she was eloquent enough. She returned again and again to the fact that she did not judge Mr. Caliph; that what he may have done is between herself and him alone; and that if she had not been betrayed to speaking of it to me in the first shock of finding that certain allowances would have to be made for him, no one need ever have suspected it. She was now perfectly ready to make those allowances.

    She was unspeakably sorry for Mr. Caliph. He had been in urgent need of money, and he had used hers: pray, whose else would I have wished him to use? Her money had been an insupportable bore to him from the day it was thrust into his hands. To make him her trustee had been in the worst possible taste; he was not the sort of person to make a convenience of, and it had been odious to take advantage of his good-nature. She had always been ashamed of owing him so much. He had been perfect in all his relations with her, though he must have hated her and her wretched little investments from the first. If she had lost money, it was not his fault; he had lost a great deal more for himself than he had lost for her. He was the kindest, the most delightful, the most interesting of men. Eunice brought out all this with pure defiance; she had never treated herself before to the luxury of saying it, and it was singular to think that she found her first pretext, her first boldness, in the fact that he had ruined her. All this looks almost grotesque as I write it here; but she imposed it upon me last night with all the authority of her passionate little person. I agreed, as I say, that the matter was none of my business; that is now definite enough. Two other things are equally so. One is that she is to be plucked like a chicken; the other is that she is in love with the precious Caliph, and has been so for years! I didn't dare to write that the other night, after the beautiful idea had suddenly flowered in my mind; but I don't care what I write now. I am so horribly tongue-tied that I must at least relieve myself here. Of course, I wonder now that I never guessed her secret before; especially as I was perpetually hovering on the edge of it. It explains many things, and it is very terrible. In love with a pickpocket! Merci! I am glad fate hasn't played me that trick.

    July 14.—I can't get over the idea that he to go scot-free. I grind my teeth over it as I sit at work, and I find myself using the most livid, the most brilliant colours. I have had another talk with Eunice, but I don't in the least know what she is to live on. She says she has always her father's property, and that this will be abundant; but that, of course, she cannot pretend to live as she has lived hitherto. She will have to go abroad again and economize; and she will probably have to sell this place—that is, if she can. “If she can” of course means, if there is anything to sell; if it isn't devoured with mortgages. What I want to know is, whether justice, in such a case as this, will not step in, notwithstanding the silence of the victim. If I could only give her a hint—the angel of the scales and sword—in spite of my detestable promise! I can't find out about Mr. Caliph's impunity, as it is impossible for me to allude to the matter to any one who would be able to tell me. Yes, the more I think of it the more reason I see to rejoice that fate hasn't played me that trick of making me fall in love with a pickpocket! Suffering keener than my poor little cousins I cannot possibly imagine, or a power of self-sacrifice more awful. Fancy the situation, when the only thing one can do for the man one loves is to forgive him for thieving! What a delicate attention, what a touching proof of tenderness! This Eunice can do; she has waited all these years to do something. I hope she is pleased with her opportunity. And yet when I say she has forgiven him for thieving, I lose myself in the mystery of her exquisite spirit. Who knows what it is she has forgiven—does she even know herself? She consents to being injured, despoiled, and finds in consenting a kind of rapture. But I notice that she has said no more about Mr. Caliph's honour. That substantive she condemns herself never to hear again without a quiver, for she has condoned something too ignoble. What I further want to know is, what conceivable tone he has taken—whether he has made a clean breast of it, and thrown himself upon her mercy, or whether he has sought refuge in bravado, in prevarication? Not, indeed, that it matters, save for the spectacle of the thing., which I find rich. I should also like much to know whether everything has gone, whether something may yet he saved. It is safe to say that she doesn't know the worst, and that if he has admitted the case is bad, we may take for granted that it leaves nothing to be desired. Let him alone to do the thing handsomely! I have a right to be violent, for there was a moment when he made me like him, and I feel as if he had cheated me too. Her being in love with him makes it perfect; for of course it was in that that he saw his opportunity to fleece her. I don't pretend to say how he discovered it, for she has watched herself as a culprit watches a judge; but from the moment he guessed it, he must have seen that he could do what he liked. It is true that this doesn't agree very well with his plan that she should marry his step-brother; but I prefer to believe it, because it makes him more horrible. And apropos of Adrian Frank, it is very well I like him so much (that comes out rather plump, by the way), inasmuch as if I didn't, it would be quite open to me to believe that he is in league with Caliph. There has been nothing to prove that he has not said to his step-brother, “Very good; you take all you can get, and I will marry her, and being her husband, hush it up, “—nothing but the expression of his blue eyes. That is very little, when we think that expressions and eyes are a specialty of the family, and haven't prevented Mr. Caliph from being a robber. It is those eyes of his that poor Eunice is in love with, and it is for their sake that she forgives him. But the young Adrian's are totally different, and not nearly so fine, which I think a great point in his favour. Mr. Caliph's are southern eyes, and the young Adrian's are eyes of the north. Moreover, though he is so amiable and obliging, I don't think he is amiable enough to endosser his brothers victims to that extent, even to save his brother's honour. He needn't care so much about that honour, since Mr. Caliph's name is not his name. And then, poor fellow, he is too stupid; he is almost as stupid as Mrs. Ermine. The two have sat together directing cards for Eunice's garden-party as placidly as if no one had a sorrow in life. Mrs. Ermine proposed this pastime to Mr. Frank; and as he has nothing in the world to do, it is as good an employment for him as another. But it exasperates me to see him sitting at the big table in the library, opposite to Mrs. E., while they solemnly pile one envelope on top of another. They have already a heap as high as their heads; they must have invited a thousand people. I can't imagine who they all are. It is an extraordinary time for Eunice to be giving a party—the day after she discovers that she is penniless; but of course it isn't Eunice; it's Mrs. Ermine. I said to her yesterday that if she was to change her mode of life—simple enough already, poor thing—she had better begin at once; and that her garden-party under Mrs. Ermines direction would cost her a thousand dollars. She answered that she must go on, since it had already been talked about; she wished no one to know anything—to suspect anything. This would be her last extravagance, her farewell to society. If such resources were open to us poor heretics, I should suppose she meant to go into a convent. She exasperates me, too—every one exasperates me. It is some satisfaction, however, to feel that my exasperation clears up my mind. It is Caliph who is “sold", after all. He would not have invented this alliance for his brother if he had known—if he had faintly suspected—that Eunice was in love with him, inasmuch as in this case he had assured impunity. Fancy his not knowing it—the idiot!

    July 20.—They are still directing cards, and Mrs. Ermine has taken the whole thing on her shoulders. She has invited people that Eunice has never heard of—a pretty rabble she will have made of it! She has ordered a band of music from New York, and a new dress for the occasion—something in the last degree champétre. Eunice is perfectly indifferent to what she does; I have discovered that she is thinking only of one thing. Mr. Caliph is coming, and the bliss of that idea fills her mind. The more people the better; she will not have the air of making petty economies to afflict him with the sight of what he has reduced her to!

    “This is the way Eunice ought to live,” Mrs. Ermine said to me this afternoon, rubbing her hands, after the last invitation had departed. When I say the last, I mean the last till she had remembered another that was highly important, and had floated back into the library to scribble it off. She writes a regular invitation hand—a vague, sloping, silly hand, that looks as if it had done nothing all it's days but write, “Mr. and Mrs. Ermine request the pleasure,” or, “Mr. and Mrs. Ermine are delighted to accept.” She told me that she knew Eunice far better than Eunice knew herself, and that her line in life was evidently to “receive”. No one better than she would stand in a door-way and put out her hand with a smile; no one would be a more gracious and affable hostess, or make a more generous use of an ample fortune. She is really very trying, Mrs. Ermine, with her ample fortune; she is like a clock striking impossible hours. I think she must have engaged a special train for her guests—a train to pick up people up and down the river. Adrian Frank went to town to-day; he comes back on the 23d, and the festival takes place the next day. The festival,—Heaven help us! Eunice is evidently going to be ill; it's as much as I can do to keep from adding that it serves her right! It's a great relief to me that Mr. Frank has gone; this has ceased to be a place for him. It is ever so long since he has said anything to me about his “prospects.” They are charming, his prospects!

    July 26.—The garden-party has taken place, and a great deal more besides. I have been too agitated, too fatigued and bewildered, to write anything here; but I can't sleep tonight,—I'm too nervous,—and it is better to sit and scribble than to toss about. I may as well say at once that the party was very pretty—Mrs. Ermine may have that credit. The day was lovely; the lawn was in capital order; the music was good, and the buffet apparently inexhaustible. There was an immense number of people; some of them had come even from Albany—many of them strangers to Eunice, and protégés only of Mrs. Ermine; but they dispersed themselves on the grounds, and I have not heard, as yet, that they stole the spoons or plucked up the plants. Mrs. Ermine, who was exceedingly champétre,—white muslin and corn-flowers,—told me that Eunice was “receiving adorably", was in her native element. She evidently inspired great curiosity; that was why every one had come. I don't mean because every one suspects her situation, but because as yet, since her return, she has been little seen and known, and is supposed to be a distinguished figure—clever, beautiful, rich, and a parti. I think she satisfied every one; she was voted most interesting, and except that she was deadly pale, she was prettier than any one else. Adrian Frank did not come back on the 23d, and did not arrive for the festival. So much I note without, as yet, understanding it. His absence from the garden-party, after all his exertions under the orders of Mrs. Ermine, is in need of an explanation. Mr. Caliph could give none, for Mr. Caliph was there. He professed surprise at not finding his brother; said he had not seen him in town, that he had no idea what had become of him. This is probably perfectly false. I am bound to believe that everything he says and does is false; and I have no doubt that they met in New York, and that Adrian told him his reason—whatever it was—for not coming back. I don't know how to relate what took place between Mr. Caliph and me. We had an extraordinary scene,—a scene that gave my nerves the shaking from which they have not recovered. He is truly a most amazing personage. He is altogether beyond me; I don't pretend to fathom him. To say that he has no moral sense is nothing. I have seen other people who have had no moral sense; but I have seen no one with that impudence, that cynicism, that remorseless cruelty. We had a tremendous encounter; I thank Heaven that strength was given me! When I found myself face to face with him, and it came over me that, blooming there in his diabolical assurance, it was he—he with his smiles, his bows, his gorgeous boutonnière, the wonderful air he has of being anointed and gilded—he that had ruined my poor Eunice, who grew whiter than ever as he approached: when I felt all this, my blood began to tingle, and if I were only a handsome woman I might believe that my eyes shone like those of an avenging angel. He was as fresh as boutonnière day in June, enormous, and more than ever like Haroun-al-Raschid. I asked him to take a walk with me; and just for an instant, before accepting, he looked at me, as the French say, in the white of the eyes. But he pretended to be delighted, and we strolled away together to the path that leads down to the river. It was difficult to get away from the people—they were all over the place; but I made him go so far that, at the end of ten minutes, we were virtually alone together. It was delicious to see how he hated it. It was then that I asked him what had become of his step-brother, and that he professed, as I have said, the utmost ignorance of Adrian's whereabouts. I hated him; it was odious to me to be so close to him; yet I could have endured this for hours in order to make him feel that I despised him. To make him feel it without saying it—there was an inspiration in that idea; but it is very possible that it made me look more like a demon than like the angel I just mentioned. I told him in a moment, abruptly, that his step-brother would do well to remain away altogether in future; it was a farce, his pretending to make my cousin reconsider her answer.

    “Why, then, did she ask him to come down here?” He launched this inquiry with confidence.

    “Because she thought it would be pleasant to have a man in the house; and Mr. Frank is such a harmless, discreet, accommodating one.”

    “Why, then, do you object to his coming back?”

    He had made me contradict myself a little, and, of course, he enjoyed that. I was confused—confused by my agitation; and I made the matter worse. I was furious that Eunice had made me promise not to speak, and my anger blinded me, as great anger always does, save in organizations as fine as Mr. Caliphs.

    “Because Eunice is in no condition to have company. She is very ill; you can see for yourself.”

    “Very ill? with a garden-party and a band of music! Why, then, did she invite us all?”

    “Because she is a little crazy, I think.”

    “You are very consistent!” he cried, with a laugh. “I know people who think every one crazy but themselves. I have had occasion to talk business with her several times of late, and I find her mind as clear as a bell.”

    “I wonder if you will allow me to say that you talk business too much? Let me give you a word of advice: wind up her affairs at once without any more procrastination, and place them in her own hands. She is very nervous; she knows this ought to have been done already. I recommend you strongly to make an end of the matter.”

    I had no idea I could be so insolent, even in conversation with a swindler. I confess I didn't do it so well as I might, for my voice trembled perceptibly in the midst of my efforts to be calm. He had picked up two or three stones, and was tossing them into the river, making them skim the surface for a long distance. He held one poised a moment, turning his eye askance on me; then he let it fly, and it danced for a hundred yards. I wondered whether in what I had just said I broke my vow to Eunice; and it seemed to me that I didn't, inasmuch as I appeared to assume that no irreparable wrong had been done her.

    “Do you wish yourself to get control of her property?” Mr. Caliph inquired, after he had made his stone skim. It was magnificently said, far better than anything I could do; and I think I answered it—though it made my heart beat fast—almost with a smile of applause.

    “Aren't you afraid?” I asked in a moment, very gently.

    “Afraid of what,—of you?”

    “Afraid of justice—of Eunice's friends?”

    “That means you, of course. Yes, I am very much afraid. When was a man not, in the presence of a clever woman?”

    “I am clever; but I am not clever enough. If I were, you should have no doubt of it.”

    He folded his arms as he stood there before me, looking at me in that way I have mentioned more than once—like a genial Mephistopheles. “I must repeat what I have already told you, that I wish I had known you ten years ago!”

    “How you must hate me to say that!” I exclaimed. “That's some comfort, just a little—your hating me.”

    “I can't tell you how it makes me feel to see you so indiscreet,” he went on, as if he had not heard me. “Ah, my dear lady, don't meddle—a woman like you! Think of the bad taste of it.”

    “It's bad if you like; but your's is far worse.”

    “Mine! What do you know about mine? What do you know about me? See how superficial it makes you.” He paused a moment, smiling almost compassionately; and then he said, with an abrupt change of tone and manner, as if our conversation wearied him and he wished to sum up and return to the house, “See that she marries Adrian; that's all you have to do!”

    “That's a beautiful idea of yours! You know you don't believe in it yourself!” These words broke from me as he turned away and we ascended the hill together.

    “It's the only thing I believe in,” he answered, very gravely.

    “What a pity for you that your brother doesn't! For he doesn't—I persist in that!” I said this because it seemed to me just then to be the thing I could think of that would exasperate him most. The event proved I was right.

    He stopped short in the path—gave me a very bad look. “Do you want him for yourself? Have you been making love to him?”

    “Ah, Mr. Caliph, for a man who talks about taste!” I answered.

    “Taste he d—d!” cried Mr. Caliph, as we went on again.

    “That's quite my idea!” He broke into an unexpected laugh, as if I had said something very amusing, and we proceeded in silence to the top of the hill. Then I suddenly said to him, as we emerged upon the lawn, “Aren't you really a little afraid?”

    He stopped again, looking toward the house and at the brilliant groups with which the lawn was covered. We had lost the music, but we began to hear it again. “Afraid? of course I am! I'm immensely afraid. It comes over me in such a scene as this. But I don't see what good it does you to know.”

    “It makes me rather happy!” That was a fib; for it didn't, somehow, when he looked and talked in that way. He has an absolutely bottomless power of mockery; and really, absurd as it appears, for that instant I had a feeling that it was quite magnanimous of him not to let me know what he thought of my idiotic attempt to frighten him. He feels strong and safe, somehow, somewhere; but I can't discover why he should, inasmuch as he certainly doesn't know Eunice's secret, and it is only her state of mind that gives him impunity. He believes her to be merely credulous; convinced by his specious arguments that everything will be right in a few months; a little nervous, possibly,—to justify my account of her,—but for the present, at least, completely at his mercy. The present, of course, is only what now concerns him; for the future he has invented Adrian Frank. How he clings to this invention was proved by the last words he said to me before we separated on the lawn; they almost indicate that he has a conscience, and this is so extraordinary—

    “She must marry Adrian! She must marry Adrian!”

    With this he turned away and went to talk to various people whom he knew. He talked to every one; diffused his genial influence all over the place, and contributed greatly to the brilliancy of the occasion. I hadn't, therefore, the comfort of feeling that Mrs. Ermine was more of a waterspout than usual, when she said to me, afterward, that Mr. Caliph was a man to adore, and that the party would have been quite “ordinary” without him. “I mean in comparison, you know.” And then she said to me, suddenly, with her blank impertinence: “Why don't you set your cap at him? I should think you would!”

    “Is it possible you have not observed my frantic efforts to captivate him?” I answered. “Didn't you notice how I drew him away and made him walk with me by the river. It's too soon to say, but I really think I am gaining ground.” For so mild a pleasure, it really pays to mystify Mrs. Ermine. I kept away from Eunice till almost every one had gone. I knew that she would look at me in a certain way, and I didn't wish to meet her eyes. I have a bad conscience; for turn it as I would, I had broken my vow. Mr. Caliph went away without my meeting him again; but I saw that half an hour before he left he strolled to a distance with Eunice. I instantly guessed what his business was; he had made up his mind to present to her directly, and in person, the question of her marrying his step-brother. What a happy inspiration, and what a well-selected occasion! When she came back I saw that she had been crying, though I imagine no one else did. I know the signs of her tears, even when she has checked them as quickly as she must have done to-day. Whatever it was that had passed between them, it diverted her from looking at me, when we were alone together, in that way I was afraid of. Mrs. Ermine is prolific; there is no end to the images that succeed each other in her mind. Late in the evening, after the last carriage had rolled away, we went up the staircase together, and at the top she detained me a moment.

    “I have been thinking it over, and I am afraid that there is no chance for you. I have reason to believe that he proposed to-day to Eunice!”

    August 19.—Eunice is very ill, as I was sure she would be, after the effort of her horrible festival. She kept going for three days more; then she broke down completely, and for a week now she has been in bed. I have had no time to write, for I have been constantly with her in alternation with Mrs. Ermine. Mrs. Ermine was about to leave us after the garden-party, but when Eunice gave up, she announced that she would stay and take care of her. Eunice tells me that she is a good nurse, except that she talks too much, and of course she gives me a chance to rest. Eunice's condition is strange; she has no fever, but her life seems to have ebbed away. She lies with her eyes shut, perfectly conscious, answering when she is spoken to, but immersed in absolute rest. It is as if she had had some terrible strain or fatigue, and wished to steep herself in oblivion. I am not anxious about her—am much less frightened than Mrs. Ermine or the doctor, to whom she is apparently dying of weakness. I tell the doctor I understand her condition—I have seen her so before. It will last probably a month, and then she will slowly pull herself together. The poor man accepts this theory for want of a better, and evidently depends upon me to see her through, as he says. Mrs. Ermine wishes to send for one of the great men from New York, but I have opposed this idea, and shall continue to oppose it. There is (to my mind) a kind of cruelty in exhibiting the poor girl to more people than are absolutely necessary. The dullest of them would see that she is in love. The seat of her illness is in her mind, in her soul, and no rude hands must touch her there. She herself has protested—she has murmured a prayer that she may be forced to see no one else. “I only want to be left alone—to be left alone.” So we leave her alone; that is, we simply watch and wait. She will recover—people don't die of these things; she will live to suffer—to suffer always. I am tired to-night, but Mrs. Ermine is with her, and I shall not be wanted till morning; therefore, before I lie down, I will repair in these remarkable pages a serious omission. I scarcely know why I should have written all this, except that the history of things interests me, and I find that it is even a greater pleasure to write it than to read it. If what I have committed to this little book hitherto has not been profitless, I must make a note of an incident which I think more curious than any of the scenes I have described.

    Adrian Frank re-appeared the day after the garden-party—late in the afternoon, while I sat in the veranda and watched the sunset, and Eunice strolled down to the river with Mrs. Ermine. I had heard no sound of wheels, and there was no evidence of a vehicle or of luggage. He had not come through the house, but walked around it from the front, having apparently been told by one of the servants that we were in the grounds. On seeing me he stopped, hesitated a moment, then came up to the steps, shook hands in silence, seated himself near me, and looked at me through the dusk. This was all tolerably mysterious, and it was even more so after he had explained a little. I told him that he was a “day after the fair”; that he had been considerably missed, and even that he was slightly wanting in respect to Eunice. Since he had absented himself from her party, it was not quite delicate to assume that she was ready to receive him at his own time. I don't know what made me so truculent—as if there were any danger of his having really not considered us, or his lacking a good reason. It was simply, I think, that my talk with Mr. Caliph the evening before had made me so much bad blood, and left me in a savage mood. Mr. Frank answered that he had not staid away by accident—he had staid away on purpose; he had been for several days at Saratoga, and on returning to Cornerville had taken quarters at the inn in the village. He had no intention of presuming further on Eunice's hospitality, and had walked over from the hotel simply to bid us good-evening and give an account of himself.

    “My dear Mr. Frank, your account is not clear!” I said, laughing. “What in the world were you doing at Saratoga?” I must add that his humility had completely disarmed me; I was ashamed of the brutality with which I had received him, and convinced afresh that he was the best fellow in the world.

    “What was I doing at Saratoga? I was trying hard to forget you!”

    This was Mr. Frank's rejoinder, and I give it exactly as he uttered it; or, rather, not exactly, inasmuch as I cannot give the tone—the quick, startling tremor of his voice. But those are the words with which he answered my superficially intended question. I saw in a moment that he meant a great deal by them—I became aware that we were suddenly in deep waters; that he was, at least, and that he was trying to draw me into the stream. My surprise was immense, complete; I had absolutely not suspected what he went on to say to me. He said many things—but I needn't write them here. It is not in detail that I see the propriety of narrating this incident; I suppose a woman may be trusted to remember the form of such assurances. Let me simply say that the poor, dear young man has an idea that he wants to marry me. For a moment—just a moment—I thought he was jesting; then I saw, in the twilight, that he was pale with seriousness. He is perfectly sincere. It is strange, but it is real, and, moreover, it is his own affair. For my self when I have said I was amazed, I have said everything; en tête-à-tête with myself, I needn't blush and protest. I was not in the least annoyed or alarmed; I was filled with kindness and consideration, and I was extremely interested. He talked to me for a quarter of an hour; it seemed a very long time. I asked him to go away; not to wait till Eunice and Mrs. Ermine should come back. Of course I refused him, by the way.

    It was the last thing I was expecting at this time of day, and it gave me a great deal to think of. I lay awake that night; I found I was more agitated than I supposed, and all sorts of visions came and went in my head. I shall not marry the young Adrian: I am bound to say that vision was not one of them but as I thought over what he had said to me, it became more clear, more conceivable. I began now to be a little surprised at my surprise. It appears that I have had the honour to please him from the first. When he began to come to see us, it was not for Eunice; it was for me. He made a general confession on this subject. He was afraid of me; he thought me proud, sarcastic, cold, a hundred horrid things; it didn't seem to him possible that we should ever be on a footing of familiarity which would enable him to propose to me. He regarded me, in short, as unattainable, out of the question, and made up his mind to admire me forever in silence. (In plain English, I suppose he thought I was too old, and he has simply got used to the difference in our years.) But he wished to be near me, to see me, and hear me (I am really writing more details than seem worth while); so that when his step-brother recommended him to try and marry Eunice, he jumped at the opportunity to make good his place. This situation reconciled everything. He could oblige his brother, he could pay a high compliment to my cousin, and he could see me every day or two. He was convinced from the first that he was in no danger; he was morally sure that Eunice would never smile upon his suit. He didn't know why, and he doesn't know why yet; it was only an instinct. That suit was avowedly perfunctory; still, the young Adrian has been a great comedian. He assured me that if he had proved to be wrong, and Eunice had suddenly accepted him, he would have gone with her to the altar, and made her an excellent husband; for he would have acquired in this manner the certainty of seeing for the rest of his life a great deal of me! To think of one's possessing, all unexpected, this miraculous influence! When he came down here, after Eunice had refused him, it was simply for the pleasure of living in the house with me; from that moment there was no comedy—everything was clear and comfortable betwixt him and Eunice. I asked him if he meant by this that she knew of the sentiments he entertained for her companion, and he answered that he had never breathed a word on this subject, and flattered himself that he had kept the thing dark. He had no reason to believe that she guessed his motives, and I may add that I have none either; they are altogether too extraordinary! As I have said, it was simply time, and the privilege of seeing more of me, that had dispelled his hesitation. I didn't reason with him; and though once I was fairly enlightened, I gave him the most respectful attention; I didn't appear to consider his request too seriously. But I did touch upon the fact that I am five or six years older than he: I suppose I needn't mention that it was not in a spirit of coquetry. His rejoinder was very gallant; but it belongs to the class of details. He is really in love,—heaven forgive him! but I shall not marry him. How strange are the passions of men!

    I saw Mr. Frank the next day. I had given him leave to come back at noon. He joined me in the grounds, where, as usual, I had set up my easel. I left it to his discretion to call first at the house and explain both his absence and his presence to Eunice and Mrs. Ermine,—the latter especially,—ignorant, as yet, of his visit the night before, of which I had not spoken to them. He sat down be side me on a garden-chair and watched me as I went on with my work. For half an hour very few words passed between us. I felt that he was happy to sit there, to be near me, to see me—strange as it seems! And, for myself there was a certain sweetness in knowing it, though it was the sweetness of charity, not of elation or triumph. He must have seen I was only pretending to paint—if he followed my brush, which I suppose he didn't. My mind was full of a determination I had arrived at, after many waverings, in the hours of the night. It had come to me toward morning as a kind of inspiration. I could never marry him, but was there not some way in which I could utilize his devotion? At the present moment, only forty-eight hours later, it seems strange, unreal, almost grotesque; but for ten minutes I thought I saw the light. As we sat there under the great trees, in the stillness of the noon, I suddenly turned and said to him:

    “I thank you for everything you have told me; it gives me very nearly all the pleasure you could wish. I believe in you; I accept every assurance of your devotion. I think that devotion is capable of going very far; and I am going to put it to a tremendous test, one of the greatest, probably, to which a man was ever subjected.”

    He stared, leaning forward, with his hands on his knees. “Any test—any test—” he murmured.

    “Don't give up Eunice, then; make another trial. I wish her to marry you!”

    My words may have sounded like an atrocious joke, but they represented for me a great deal of hope and cheer. They brought a deep blush into Adrian Franks face. He winced a little, as if he had been struck by a hand whose blow he could not return, and the tears suddenly started to his eyes. “Oh, Miss Condit!” he exclaimed.

    What I saw before me was bright and definite; his distress seemed to me no obstacle, and I went on with a serenity of which I longed to make him perceive the underlying support. “Of course, what I say seems to you like a deliberate insult; but nothing would induce me to give you pain if it were possible to spare you. But it isn't possible, my dear friend; it isn't possible. There is pain for you in the best thing I can say to you; there are situations in life in which we can only accept our pain. I can never marry you; I shall never marry any one. I am an old maid, and how can an old maid have a husband? I will be your friend, your sister, your brother, your mother, but I will never be your wife. I should like immensely to be your brother; for I don't like the brother you have got, and I think you deserve a better one. I believe, as I tell you, in everything you have said to me—in your affection, your tenderness, your honesty, the full consideration you have given to the whole matter. I am happier and richer for knowing it all; and I can assure you that it gives something to life which life didn't have before. We shall be good friends, dear friends, always, whatever happens. But I can't be your wife—I want you for some one else. You will say I have changed—that I ought to have spoken in this way three months ago. But I haven't changed—it is circumstances that have changed. I see reasons for your marrying my cousin that I didn't see then. I can't say that she will listen to you now, any more than she did then; I don't speak of her; I speak only of you and of myself. I wish you to make another attempt, and I wish you to make it, this time, with my full confidence and support. Moreover, I attach a condition to it,—a condition I will tell you presently. Do you think me slightly demented, malignantly perverse, atrociously cruel? If you could see the bottom of my heart, you would find something there which, I think, would almost give you joy. To ask you to do something you don't want to do as a substitute for something you desire, and to attach to the hard achievement a condition which will require a good deal of thinking of and will certainly make it harder—you may well believe I have some extraordinary reason for taking such a line as this. For remember, to begin with, that I can never marry you.”

    “Never—never—never?”

    “Never, never, never!”

    “And what is your extraordinary reason?”

    “Simply that I wish Eunice to have your protection, your kindness, your fortune.”

    “My fortune?”

    “She has lost her own. She will be poor.”

    “Pray, how has she lost it?” the poor fellow asked, beginning to frown, and more and more bewildered.

    “I can't tell you that, and you must never ask. But the fact is certain. The greater part of her property has gone; she has known it for some little time.”

    “For some little time? Why, she never showed any change.”

    “You never saw it, that was all. You were thinking of me,” and I believe I accompanied this remark with a smile—a smile which was most inconsiderate, for it could only mystify him more. I think at first he scarcely believed me.

    “What a singular time to choose to give a large party!” he exclaimed, looking at me with eyes quite unlike his old—or, rather, his young—ones; eyes that, instead of overlooking half the things before them (which was their former habit), tried to see a great deal more in my face, in my words, than was visible on the surface. I don't know what poor Adrian Frank saw—I shall never know all that he saw.

    “I agree with you that it was a very singular time,” I said. “You don't understand me—you can't—I don't expect you to,” I went on. “That is what I mean by devotion, and that is the kind of appeal I make to you: to take me on trust, to act in the dark, to do something simply because I wish it.”

    He looked at me as if he would fathom the depths of my soul, and my soul had never seemed to myself so deep. “To marry your cousin,—that's all? he said, with a strange little laugh.”

    “Oh, no, it's not all: to be very kind to her as well.”

    “To give her plenty of money, above all?”

    “You make me feel very ridiculous; but I should not make this request of you if you had not a fortune.”

    “She can have my money without marrying me.”

    “That's absurd. How could she take your money?”

    “How, then, can she take me?”

    “That's exactly what I wish to see. I told you with my own lips, weeks ago, that she would only marry a man she should love; and I may seem to contradict myself in taking up now a supposition so different. But, as I tell you, everything has changed.”

    “You think her capable, in other words, of marrying for money.”

    “For money? Is your money all there is of you? Is there a better fellow than you—is there a more perfect gentleman?”

    He turned away his face at this, leaned it in his hands, and groaned. I pitied him, but I wonder now that I shouldn't have pitied him more; that my pity should not have checked me. But I was too full of my idea.

    “It's like a fate,” he murmured; “first my brother, and then you. I can't understand.”

    “Yes, I know your brother wants it—wants it now more than ever. But I don't care what your brother wants; and my idea is entirely independent of his. I have not the least conviction that you will succeed at first any better than you have done already. But it may be only a question of time, if you will wait and watch, and let me help you. You know you asked me to help you before, and then I wouldn't. But I repeat it again and again, at present everything is changed. Let me wait with you, let me watch with you. If you succeed, you will be very dear to me; if you fail, you will be still more so. You see, it's an act of devotion, if there ever was one. I am quite aware that I ask of you something unprecedented and extraordinary. Oh, it may easily be too much for you. I can only put it before you—that's all; and, as I say, I can help you. You will both be my children—I shall be near you always. If you can't marry me, perhaps you will make up your mind that this is the next best thing. You know you said that last night, yourself.

    He had begun to listen to me a little, as if he were being persuaded. “Of course, I should let her know that I love you.”

    “She is capable of saying that you can't love me more than she does.”

    “I don't believe she is capable of saying any such folly. But we shall see.”

    “Yes; but not to-day, not to-morrow. Not at all for the present. You must wait a great many months.”

    “I will wait as long as you please.”

    “And you mustn't say a word to me of the kind you said last night.”

    “Is that your condition?”

    “Oh, no; my condition is a very, different matter, and very difficult. It will probably spoil everything.”

    “Please, then, let me hear it at once.”

    “It is very hard for me to mention it; you must give me time.” I turned back to my little easel and began to daub again; but I think my hand trembled, for my heart was beating fast. There was a silence of many moments; I couldn't make up my mind to speak.

    “How in the world has she lost her money?” Mr. Frank asked, abruptly, as if the question had just come into his mind. “Hasn't my brother the charge of her affairs?”

    “Mr. Caliph is her trustee. I can't tell you how the losses have occurred.”

    He got up quickly. “Do you mean that they have occurred through him?”

    I looked up at him, and there was something in his face which made me leave my work and rise also. “I will tell you my condition now,” I said. “It is that you should ask no questions—not one!” This was not what I had had in my mind; but I had not courage for more, and this had to serve.

    He had turned very pale, and I laid my hand on his arm, while he looked at me as if he wished to wrest my secret out of my eyes. My secret, I call it, by courtesy; God knows I had come terribly near telling it. God will forgive me, but Eunice probably will not. Had I broken my vow, or had I kept it? I asked myself this, and the answer, so far as I read it in Mr. Frank's eyes, was not reassuring. I dreaded his next question; but when it came it was not what I had expected. Something violent took place in his own mind—something I couldn't follow.

    “If I do what you ask me, what will be my reward?”

    “You will make me very happy.”

    “And what shall I make your cousin?—God help us!”

    “Less wretched than she is to-day.”

    “Is she 'wretched'?” he asked, frowning as he did before a most distressing change in his fair countenance.

    “Ah, when I think that I have to tell you that,—that you have never noticed it,—I despair!” I exclaimed, with a laugh.

    I had laid my hand on his arm, and he placed his right hand upon it, holding it there. He kept it a moment in his grasp, and then he said, “Don't despair!”

    “Promise me to wait,” I answered. “Everything is in your waiting.”

    “I promise you.” After which he asked me to kiss him, and I did so on the lips. It was as if he were starting on a journey—leaving me for a long time.

    “Will you come when I send for you?” I asked.

    “I adore you!” he said; and he turned quickly away, to leave the place without going near the house. I watched him, and in a moment he was gone. He has not re-appeared; and when I found, at lunch, that neither Eunice nor Mrs. Ermine alluded to his visit, I determined to keep the matter to myself. I said nothing about it, and up to the moment Eunice was taken ill—the next evening—he was not mentioned between us. I believe Mrs. Ermine more than once gave herself up to wonder as to his whereabouts, and declared that he had not the perfect manners of his step-brother, who was a religious observer of the convenances; but I think I managed to listen without confusion. Nevertheless, I had a bad conscience, and I have it still. It throbs a good deal as I sit there with Eunice in her darkened room. I have given her away; I have broken my vow. But what I wrote above is not true; she will forgive me! I sat at my easel for an hour after Mr. Frank left me, and then suddenly I found that I had cured myself of my folly by giving it out. It was the result of a sudden passion of desire to do something for Eunice. Passion is blind, and when I opened my eyes I saw ten thousand difficulties; that is, I saw one, which contained all the rest. That evening I wrote to Mr. Frank, to his New York address, to tell him that I had had a fit of madness, and that it had passed away; but that I was sorry to say it was not any more possible for me to marry him. I have had no answer to this letter; but what answer can he make to that last declaration? He will continue to adore me. How strange are the passions of men!

    New York, November 20.—I have been silent for three months, for good reasons. Eunice was ill for many weeks, but there was never a moment when I was really alarmed about her; I knew she would recover. In the last days of October she was strong enough to be brought up to town, where she had business to transact, and now she is almost herself again. I say almost, advisedly; for she will never be herself;—her old, sweet, trustful self; as far as I am concerned. She has simply not forgiven me! Strange things have happened—things that I didn't dare to consider too closely, lest I should not forgive myself. Eunice is in complete possession of her property! Mr. Caliph has made over to her everything—everything that had passed away; everything of which, three months ago, he could give no account whatever. He was with her in the country for a long day before we came up to town (during which I took care not to meet her), and after our return he was in and out of this house repeatedly. I once asked Eunice what he had to say to her, and she answered that he was “explaining”. A day or two later, she told me that he had given a complete account of her affairs; everything was in order; she had been wrong in what she told me before. Beyond this little statement, however, she did no further penance for the impression she had given of Mr. Caliph's earlier conduct. She doesn't yet know what to think; she only feels that if she has recovered her property there has been some interference; and she traces, or at least imputes, such interference to me. If I have interfered, I have broken my vow; and for this, as I say, the gentle creature can't forgive me. If the passions of men are strange, the passions of women are stranger still! It was sweeter for her to suffer at Mr. Caliph's hands than to receive her simple dues from them. She looks at me askance, and her coldness shows through a conscientious effort not to let me see the change in her feeling. Then she is puzzled and mystified; she can't tell what has happened, or how and why it has happened. She has waked up from her illness into a different world—a world in which Mr. Caliph's accounts were correct after all; in which, with the washing away of his stains, the colour has been quite washed out of his rich physiognomy. She vaguely feels that a sacrifice, a great effort of some kind, has been made for her, whereas her plan of life was to make the sacrifices and efforts herself. Yet she asks me no questions; the property is her right, after all, and I think there are certain things she is afraid to know. But I am more afraid than she, for it comes over me that a great sacrifice has indeed been made. I have not seen Adrian Frank since he parted from me under the trees three months ago. He has gone to Europe, and the day before he left I got a note from him. It contained only these words: “When you send for me I will come. I am waiting, as you told me.” It is my belief that up to the moment I spoke of Eunice's loss of money, and requested him to ask no questions, he had not definitely suspected his noble kinsman, but that my words kindled a train that lay all ready. He went away then to his shame, to the intolerable weight of it, and to heaven knows what sickening explanations with his step-brother! That gentleman has a still more brilliant bloom; he looks to my mind exactly as people look who have accepted a sacrifice; and he hasn't had another word to say about Eunice's marrying Mr. Adrian Frank. Mrs. Ermine sticks to her idea that Mr. Caliph and Eunice will make a match; but my belief is that Eunice is cured. Oh, yes, she is cured! But I have done more than I meant to do, and I have not done it as I meant to do it; and I am very weary, and I shall write no more.

    November 27—.Oh, yes, Eunice is cured! And that is what she has not forgiven me. Mr. Caliph told her yesterday that Mr. Frank meant to spend the winter in Rome.

    December 3.—I have decided to return to Europe, and have written about my apartment in Rome. I shall leave New York, if possible, on the 10th. Eunice tells me she can easily believe I shall be happier there.

    December 7.—I must note something I had the satisfaction to-day to say to Mr. Caliph. He has not been here for three weeks, but this afternoon he came to call. He is no longer the trustee; he is only the visitor. I was alone in the library, into which he was ushered; and it was ten minutes before Eunice appeared. We had some talk, though my disgust for him is now unspeakable. At first, it was of a very perfunctory kind; but suddenly he said, with more than his old impudence, “That was a most extraordinary interview of ours, at Cornerville!” I was surprised at his saying only this, for I expected him to take his revenge on me by some means or other for having put his brother on the scent of his misdeeds. I can only account for his silence on that subject by the supposition that Mr. Frank has been able to extract from him some pledge that I shall not be molested. He was, however, such an image of unrighteous success that the sight of him filled me with gall, and I tried to think of something which would make him smart.

    “I don't know what you have done, nor how you have done it,” I said; but you took a very roundabout way to arrive at certain ends. “There was a time when you might have married Eunice.”

    It was, of course, nothing new that we were frank with each other, and he only repeated, smiling, “Married Eunice?”

    “She was very much in love with you last spring.”

    “Very much in love with me?”

    “Oh, it's over now. Can't you imagine that? She's cured.”

    He broke into a laugh, but I felt I had startled him.

    “You are the most delightful woman!” he cried.

    “Think how much simpler it would have been—I mean originally, when things were right, if they ever were right. Don't you see my point? But now it's too late. She has seen you when you were not on show. I assure you she is cured!”

    At this moment Eunice came in, and just afterward I left the room. I am sure it was a revelation, and that I have given him a mauvais quart d'heure.

    Rome, February 23.—When I came back to this dear place, Adrian Frank was not here, and I learned that he had gone to Sicily. A week ago I wrote to him: “You said you would come if I should send for you. I should be glad if you would come now.” Last evening he appeared, and I told him that I could no longer endure my suspense in regard to a certain subject. Would he kindly inform me what he had done in New York after he left me under the trees at Cornerville? Of what sacrifice had he been guilty; to what high generosity—terrible to me to think of—had he committed himself? He would tell me very little; but he is almost a poor man. He has just enough income to live in Italy.

    May 9.—Mrs. Ermine has taken it into her head to write to me. I have heard from her three times; and in her last letter, received yesterday, she returns to her old refrain that Eunice and Mr. Caliph will soon be united. I don't know what may be going on; but can it be possible that I put it into his head? Truly, I have a felicitous touch!

    May 15.—I told Adrian yesterday that I would marry him if ever Eunice should marry Mr. Caliph. It was the first time I had mentioned his step-brother's name to him since the explanation I had attempted to have with him after he came back to Rome; and he evidently didn't like it at all.

    In the Tyrol, August.—I sent Mrs. Ermine a little water-colour in return for her last letter, for I can't write to her, and that is easier. She now writes me again, in order to get another water-colour. She speaks, of course, of Eunice and Mr. Caliph, and for the first time there appears a certain reality in what she says. She complains that Eunice is very slow in coming to the point, and relates that poor Mr. Caliph, who has taken her into his confidence, seems at times almost to despair. Nothing would suit him better, of course, than to appropriate two fortunes: two are so much better than one. But however much he may have explained, he can hardly have explained everything. Adrian Frank is in Scotland; in writing to him, three days ago, I had occasion to repeat that I will marry him on the day on which a certain other marriage takes place. In that way, I am safe. I shall send another water-colour to Mrs. Ermine. Water-colours or no, Eunice doesn't write to me. It is clear that she hasn't forgiven me! She regards me as perjured; and, of course, I am. Perhaps she will marry him, after all.

     
     
     

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