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The World's Greatest Books, Vol VIII
by Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton, Eds.
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All night he was haunted by those eyes. The skilfully constructed barriers were broken down at last; he was in a shiver and a fever, and the next day he went to Mihalevitch, from whom he learnt that her name was Barbara Paulovna Korobyin. Mihalevitch offered to introduce him; Lavretsky blushed, muttered something unintelligible, and ran away. For five whole days he struggled with his timidity; on the sixth he got into a new uniform and placed himself at Mihalevitch's disposal.

Paul Petrovitch Korobyin was a retired major-general. With the intention of improving his pecuniary position, he devised a new method of speculating with public funds—an excellent method in itself—but he neglected to bribe in the right place. Information was laid against him, and as a result of the subsequent inquiry he was advised to retire from active service. In Moscow he lived the life of a retired general on 2750 roubles a year.

His daughter at this time was nineteen years old, and the general found her expenses an ever-increasing tax upon his slender resources. He was therefore glad to throw no obstacle in Lavretsky's way—having discovered that he was wealthy—when, six months after their first meeting, he proposed for his daughter's hand.

Barbara Paulovna had much practical sense, and a very great love of comfort, together with a great faculty of obtaining it for herself. What charming travelling knick-knacks appeared from various corners of the luxurious carriage that she had purchased to convey them to Lavretsky's country home! And how delightfully she herself made coffee in the morning! Lavretsky, however, was not disposed to be observant at that time: he was blissful, drunk with happiness; he gave himself up to it like a child; indeed, he was as innocent as a child, this young Hercules. Not in vain was the whole personality of his young wife breathing with fascination; not in vain was her promise to the senses of a mysterious luxury of untold bliss: her fulfilment was richer than her promise.

Barbara Paulovna had no mind to establish herself permanently at Lavriky. The idea of staying in that out-of-the-way corner of the steppes never entered her head for an instant. In September she carried her husband off to St. Petersburg, where they passed two winters; the summer they spent at Tsarskoe Selo. They made many acquaintances, went out, and entertained a good deal, and gave the most charming dances and musical evenings. Barbara Paulovna attracted guests as fire attracts moths.

Fedor Ivanitch did not altogether like such a frivolous life. He was unwilling to enter the government service, as his wife suggested; still, he remained in St. Petersburg for her pleasure. He soon discovered, however, that no one hindered him from being alone; that it was not for nothing that he had the quietest and most comfortable study in St. Petersburg; that his tender wife was ever ready to aid him to be alone.

In the course of time a son was born to them, but the poor child did not live long—it died in the spring, and in the summer Lavretsky took his wife abroad. One summer and autumn they spent in Germany and Switzerland, and for the winter they went to Paris.

In Paris Barbara Paulovna made herself a little nest as quickly and as cleverly as in St. Petersburg. She soon drew round herself acquaintances—at first only Russians, afterwards Frenchmen with very excellent manners and fine-sounding names. All of them brought their friends, and la belle Mme. de Lavretsky was soon known from Chausee d'Antin to Rue de Lille.

Fedor Ivanitch still busied himself with study, and set to work translating a well-known treatise on irrigation. "I am not wasting my time," he thought; "it is all of use; but next winter I must, without fail, return to Russia and get to work." An unexpected incident broke up his plans.

II.—Separation

Lavretsky had the most absolute confidence in his wife's every action and thought. She was always as calm, affectionate, and confidential with him as she had been from the first. It was therefore with a feeling of stupefaction that, going one day into her boudoir during her absence, he picked up from the floor a note that disclosed her infidelity. He read it absent-mindedly, and did not understand what he had read. He read it a second time—his head began to swim, the ground to sway under his feet.

He had so blindly believed in her; the possibility of deception, of treason, had never presented itself to his mind. He could not understand. This young Frenchman, almost the most insignificant of all his wife's acquaintances! The fear was borne in upon him that perhaps she had never been worthy of the trust he had reposed in her. To complete it all, he had been hoping in a few months to become a father.

All that night he wandered, half-distraught, about the streets of Paris and in the open country beyond. In the morning he went to an hotel and sent the incriminating note to his wife, with the following letter:

"The enclosed scraps of paper will explain everything to you. I cannot see you again; I imagine that you, too, would hardly desire an interview with me. I am assigning you fifteen thousand francs a year; I cannot give more. Send your address to the office of the estate. Do what you please. Live where you please. I wish you happiness!"

A long letter came back in reply: it put the finishing touch—his last doubts vanished. She did not attempt to defend herself; her only desire was to see him; she besought him not to condemn her irrevocably.

Three days later Lavretsky left Paris. For a time he followed his wife's movements, as chronicled in Paris society papers. He learnt that a daughter had been born to him. Finally a tragi-comic story was reported with acclamation in all the papers; his wife played an unenviable part in it. Barbara Paulovna had become a notoriety. He ceased to follow her movements. Scepticism, half formed already by the experiences of his life and by his education, took complete possession of his heart, and he became indifferent to everything.

Four years passed by till he felt himself able to return to his own country and to meet his own people. He went to the town of O——, where lived his cousin, Marya Dmitrievna Kalitin, with her two daughters, Elizabeth and Helena, and her aunt, Marfa Timofyevna Petrov.

III.—A New Friendship

Lavretsky stayed a few days in O—— before going to take up his residence, as he proposed doing, at Vassilyevskoe, a small estate of his some twenty miles distant. Mounting the steps of Kalitin's house to say good-bye before departing, he met Elizabeth coming down.

"Where are you going?" he asked.

"To service. It is Sunday."

"Why do you go to church?"

Lisa looked at him in silent amazement.

"I beg your pardon; I did not mean to say that. I have come to say good-bye to you; I am starting for my village in an hour."

"Well, mind you don't forget us," said Lisa, and went down the steps.

"And don't forget me. And listen," he added; "you are going to church; while you are there, pray for me too."

Lisa stopped short and turned to face him. "Certainly," she said, looking straight at him; "I will pray for you too. Good-bye."

In the drawing-room he found Marya Dmitrievna alone. She began to gossip about a young man whom he had met the previous day, Vladimir Nikolaitch Panshin.

"I will tell you a secret, my dear cousin: he is simply crazy about my Lisa. Well, he is of good family, has a capital position, and is a clever fellow; and if it is God's will, I for my part shall be well pleased." She launched into a description of her cares and anxieties and maternal sentiments. Lavretsky listened in silence, turning his hat in his hands. Finally he rose, took his leave, and went upstairs to say good-bye to Marfa Timofyevna.

"Tell me, please," he began; "Marya Dmitrievna has just been talking to me about this—what's his name?—Panshin? What sort of man is he?"

"What a chatterbox she is, Lord save us! She told you, I suppose, as a secret that he has turned up as a suitor, and so far, there's nothing to tell, thank God! But already she's gossipping about him."

"Why thank God?"

"Because I don't like the fine young gentleman; and so what is there to be glad of in it?

"Well, shall we see you again soon?" the old lady asked, as he rose to depart.

"Very likely, aunt; it's not so far, you know."

"Well, go, then, and God be with you. And Lisa's not going to marry Panshin; don't you trouble yourself—that's not the sort of husband she deserves."

* * * * *

Lavretsky lived alone at Vassilyevskoe, and often rode into O——— to see his cousins. He saw a good deal of Lisa's music-master, an old German named Christopher Theodor Lemm, and, finding much in common with him, invited him to stay for a few days.

"Maestro," said Lavretsky one morning at breakfast, "you will soon have to compose a triumphal cantata."

"On what occasion?"

"On the nuptials of M. Panshin and Lisa. It seems to me things are in a fair way with them already."

"That will never be," cried Lemm.

"Why?"

"Because it is impossible."

"What, then, do you find amiss with the match?"

"Everything is amiss, everything. At the age of nineteen Lisavetta is a girl of high principles, serious, of lofty feelings, and he—he is a dilettante, in a word."

"But suppose she loves him?"

"No, she does not love him; that is to say, she is very pure in heart, and does not know herself what it means—love. Mme. de Kalitin tells her that he is a fine young man, and she obeys because she is quite a child. She can only love what is beautiful, and he is not—that is, his soul is not beautiful...."

It sometimes happens that two people who are acquainted but not on intimate terms all of a sudden grow more intimate in a few minutes. This was exactly what came to pass with Lavretsky and Lisa. "So he is like that," was her thought as she turned a friendly glance at him. "So you are like that," he, too, was thinking. And thus he was not very much surprised when she began to speak to him about his wife.

"You will forgive me—I ought not to dare to speak of it to you... but how could you... why did you separate from her?"

Lavretsky shuddered. He looked at Lisa and sat down beside her. "My child," he began, "do not touch on that woman; your hands are tender, but it will hurt me just the same."

"I know," Lisa continued as though she had not heard. "I know she has been to blame. I don't want to defend her; but what God has joined, how can you put asunder? You must forgive, if you wish to be forgiven."

"She is perfectly contented with her position, I assure you. But her name ought never to be uttered by you. You are too pure. You are not capable of understanding such a creature."

"Then, if she is like that, why did you marry her?"

Lavretsky got up quickly from his seat. "Why did I marry her? I was young and inexperienced; I was deceived, I was carried away by a beautiful exterior. I knew no women, I knew nothing. God grant that you may make a happier marriage."

At that moment Marya Dmitrievna came in. Lavretsky did not again succeed in being alone with Lisa, but he looked at her in such a way that she felt her heart at rest, and a little ashamed and sorry for him. Before he left, he had obtained from his cousin a promise that she would come over to Vassilyevskoe one day with her daughters.

When they came Lavretsky made further opportunities to talk with Lisa, while the others were fishing. He led the conversation round to Panshin.

"Vladimir Nikolaitch has a good heart," said Lisa, "and he is clever; mother likes him."

"And do you like him?"

"He is nice; why should I not like him?"

"Ah!" A half ironical, half mournful expression crossed his face. "Well, may God grant them happiness," he muttered as though to himself.

Lisa flushed. "You are mistaken, Fedor Ivanitch. You are wrong in thinking—but don't you like Vladimir Nikolaitch?"

"No, I don't."

"Why?"

"I think he has no heart."

"What makes you think he has no heart?"

"I may be mistaken—time will show, however."

Lisa grew thoughtful. Lavretsky began to talk to her about his daily life at Vassilyevskoe. He felt a need to talk to her, to share with her everything that was passing in his heart; she listened so sweetly, so attentively. Her few replies and observations seemed to him so intelligent....

IV.—Love and Duty

Glancing one day at a bundle of French newspapers that had been lying on the table unopened for a fortnight, Lavretsky suddenly came upon a paragraph announcing "Mournful intelligence: That charming, fascinating Moscow lady, Mme. Lavretsky, died suddenly yesterday."

He hastened over to O——and communicated the news to Lisa, requesting her to keep it secret for a time. They walked in the garden; Lavretsky discussed his newly won freedom.

"Stop!" said Lisa, "don't talk like that. Of what use is your freedom to you? You ought to be thinking of forgiveness."

"I forgave her long ago."

"You don't understand! You ought to be seeking to be forgiven."

"You are right," said Lavretsky after a pause; "what good is my freedom to me?"

"When did you get that paper?" said Lisa without heeding his question.

"The day after your visit."

"And is it possible that you did not shed tears?"

"What is there to weep over now? Though, indeed, who knows? I might perhaps have been more grieved a fortnight sooner."

"A fortnight?" said Lisa. "But what has happened, then, in the last fortnight?"

Lavretsky made no reply, and suddenly Lisa flushed violently.

"Yes, yes! you guess why. In the course of this fortnight I have come to know the value of a pure woman's heart. But I am glad I showed you that paper," Lavretsky continued after a pause; "already I have grown used to hiding nothing from you, and I hope that you will repay me with the same confidence...."

Lavretsky was not a young man; he could not long delude himself as to the nature of the feeling inspired in him by Lisa. He was brought that day to the final conviction that he loved her.

"Have I really nothing better to do," he thought, "at the age of thirty-five, than to put my soul into a woman's keeping again? But Lisa is not like her; she would not demand degrading sacrifices from me; she would not tempt me away from my duties; she would herself incite me to hard, honest work, and we should walk hand in hand towards a noble aim. That's all very fine," he concluded his reflections, "but the worst of it is that she does not in the least wish to walk hand in hand with me. But she doesn't in the least love Panshin either... a poor consolation!"

Painful days followed for Fedor Ivanitch. He found himself in a continual fever. Every morning he made for the post and tore open letters and papers; nowhere did he find confirmation or disproof of the fateful news.

Late one night he found himself wandering aimlessly around the outskirts of O——. Rambling over the dewy grass he came across a narrow path leading to a little gate which he found open. Wandering in, he found, to his amazement, that he was in the Kalitins' garden. In Lisa's room a candle shone behind the white curtains; all else was dark. The light vanished as he looked.

"Sleep well, my sweet girl," he whispered, sitting motionless, his eyes fixed on the darkened window. Suddenly a light appeared in one of the windows of the ground floor, then another. Who could it be? Lavretsky rose... he caught a glimpse of a well-known face. Lisa entered the drawing-room—she drew near the open door, and stood on the threshold, a light, slender figure, all in white.

"Lisa!" broke hardly audibly from his lips. She started, and began to gaze into the darkness. "Lisa!" he repeated louder, and came out of the shadow.

She raised her head in alarm, and shrank back. "Is it you?" she said. "You here?"

"I—I—listen to me," whispered Lavretsky, and seizing her hand he led her to a seat. She followed him unresisting. Her pale face, her fixed eyes, and all her gestures expressed an unutterable bewilderment. Lavretsky stood before her. "I did not mean to come here," he began; "something brought me. I—I love you," he uttered, in involuntary terror. She tried to get up—she could not; she covered her face with her hands.

"Lisa!" murmured Lavretsky. "Lisa," he repeated, and fell at her feet. Her shoulders began to heave slightly.

"What is it?" he urged, and he heard a subdued sob. His heart stood still... he knew the meaning of those tears. "Can it be that you love me?" he whispered, and caressed her knees.

"Get up!" he heard her voice. "Get up, Fedor Ivanitch. What are we doing?"

He got up and sat beside her on the seat.

"It frightens me; what we are doing?" she repeated.

"I love you," he said again. "I am ready to devote my whole life to you."

She shuddered again as though something had stung her, and lifted her eyes towards heaven.

"All that is in God's hands," she said.

"But you love me, Lisa? We shall be happy."

She dropped her eyes. He softly drew her to him, and her head sank on to his shoulder—he bent his head a little and touched her pale lips....

On the following day Lavretsky drove over to Vassilyevskoe. The first thing that struck him on entering was the scent of patchouli, always distasteful to him. There were some travelling trunks in the hall. He crossed the threshold of the drawing-room—a lady arose from the sofa, made a step forward, and fell at his feet. He caught his breath... he leaned against the wall for support.... It was Barbara Paulovna!

A torrent of words told him that, stricken by remorse, she had determined to break every tie with her sins. A serious illness had given rise to the rumour of her death. She had taken advantage of this to give up everything. Would he not spare her for their little daughter's sake?

Lavretsky listened to the flood of eloquence in silence. He did not believe one word of her protestations. His wrath choked him: this blow had fallen so suddenly upon him.

* * * * *

Lisa bent forward in her chair and covered her face with her hands.

"This is how we were to meet again," he brought out at last. It was in Marfa Timofyevna's room that they met once more. Lisa took her hands from her face. "Yes!" she said faintly. "We were quickly punished."

"Punished!" said Lavretsky. "What had you done to be punished?" His heart ached with pity and love. "Yes, all is over before it had begun."

"We must forget all that," she brought out at last. "It is left for us to do our duty. You, Fedor Ivanitch, must be reconciled with your wife."

"Lisa!"

"I beg you to do so: by that alone can you expiate..."

"Lisa, for God's sake!—to be reconciled to her now!"

"I do not ask of you—do not live with her if you cannot. Remember your little girl; do it for my sake."

"Very well," Lavretsky muttered between his clenched teeth; "I will do that; in that I shall fulfil my duty. But you—what does your duty consist in?"

"That I know myself."

Lavretsky started: "You cannot be making up your mind to marry Panshin?"

Lisa gave an almost imperceptible smile—"Oh, no!" she said.

"Now you see for yourself, Fedor Ivanitch, as I told you before, that happiness does not depend on us, but on God."

* * * * *



Smoke

Considered simply as stories, "Fathers and Sons" and "Smoke" are to all intents and purposes independent of each other, yet in important particulars the latter is a sequel to the first. Once on his arrival at St. Petersburg, Turgenev was met with the words, "Just see what your Nihilists are doing! They have almost gone so far as to burn the city." Thus again he took up the question of social reform, and in "Smoke" ("Dim") he views with apprehension the actions of the so-called "intellectuals," who would make themselves responsible for the shaping of future Russia. Charlatans among the leaders of the new thought, and society dilettantism, both came under his merciless lash. In his opinion the men and ideas in the two camps are no more than smoke—dirty, evil-smelling smoke. The entire atmosphere is gloomy, and throughout is only relieved by the character of Irina, the most exquisite piece of feminine psychology in the whole range of Turgenev's novels.

I.—A Broken Idyll

Early in the fifties there was living in Moscow, in very straitened circumstances, almost in poverty, the numerous family of the Princes Osinin. These were real princes—not Tartar-Georgians, but pure-blooded descendants of Rurik. Time, however, had dealt hardly with them. They had fallen under the ban of the Empire, and retained nothing but their name and the pride of their nobility.

The family of Osinins consisted of a husband and wife and five children. It was living near the dog's place, in a one-storied little wooden house with a striped portico looking on to the street, green lions on the gates, and all the other pretensions of nobility, though it could hardly make both ends meet, was constantly in debt at the green-grocer's, and often sitting without firewood or candles in the winter. Though their pride kept them aloof from the society of their neighbours, their straitened circumstances compelled them to receive certain people to whom they were under obligations. Among the number of these was Grigory Mihalovitch Litvinov, a young student of Moscow, the son of a retired official of plebeian extraction, who had once lent the Osinins three hundred roubles. Litvinov called frequently at the house, and fell desperately in love with the eldest daughter, Irina.

Irina was only seventeen, and as beautiful as the dawn. Her thick fair hair was mingled with darker tresses; the languid curves of her lovely neck, and her smile—half indifferent, half weary—betrayed the nervous temperament of a delicate girl; but in the lines of those fine, faintly smiling lips there was something wilful and passionate, something dangerous to herself and others. Her dark grey eyes, with shining lashes and bold sweep of eyebrow, had a strange look in them; they seemed looking out intently and thoughtfully—looking out from some unknown depth and distance. Litvinov fell in love with Irina from the moment he saw her (he was only three years older than she was), but for a long while he failed to obtain not only a response, but even a hearing. She treated him with hostility, and the more he showed his love, the greater was her coldness, the more malignant her indifference. She tortured him in this way for two months. Then everything was transformed in one day.

Worn out by this cold torture, Litvinov was one night about to depart in despair. Without saying good-bye, he began to look for his hat. "Stay," sounded suddenly in a soft whisper. With throbbing heart he looked round, hardly believing his ears. Before him he saw Irina, transformed. "Stay," she repeated; "don't go. I want to be with you."

From that moment of the discovery of her love, Irina was changed. She, who before had been proud and cruel, became at once as docile as a lamb, as soft as silk, and boundlessly kind.

"Ah, love me, love me, my sweet, my saviour," she would whisper to him, with her arms about his neck.

In this new dream of happiness the days flew, the weeks passed; the future came ever nearer with the glorious hope of their happiness, and then, suddenly, an event occurred which scattered all their dreams and plans like light roadside dust. The Court came to Moscow, and the Osinins, despite their poverty, determined to attend the customary great ball in the Hall of Nobility. At first Irina resolutely refused to go, and Litvinov was called in by the prince to use his persuasion.

"Very well, then, I will go," she said, when she had listened to his arguments; "only remember, it is you yourself who desired it."

She spoke so strangely that he feared he had offended her.

"Irina, darling, you seem to be angry."

Irina laughed.

"Oh, no! I am not angry. Only, Grisha..." (She fastened her eyes on him, and he thought he had never before seen such an expression in them.) "Perhaps it must be," she added, in an undertone.

"But, Irina, you love me, dear?"

"I love you," she answered, with almost solemn gravity, and she clasped his hand firmly like a man.

She went to the ball in a simple white dress, wearing a bunch of heliotrope, the gift of her lover. When he called the following day, Litvinov heard from the prince of the impression Irina had created; how all the great noblemen from St. Petersburg, and even the Czar himself, had commented upon her beauty. But Irina herself he did not see. She had a bad headache, the prince explained. The following day he was again denied a sight of her, and as he turned once more from the house he saw a great personage drive up in a magnificent carriage. A dread foreboding seized him. Dull stupefaction, and thoughts scurrying like mice, vague terror, and the numbness of expectation and the weight of crushed tears in his heavy-laden breast, on his lips the forced, empty smile, and a meaningless prayer—addressed to no one....

As he walked down the street his servant touched him on the shoulder, handing him a note. He recognised Irina's writing. He tore open the envelope all at once. On a small sheet of notepaper were the following lines:

"Forgive me, Grigory Mihalovitch. All is over between us; I am going away to Petersburg. I am dreadfully unhappy, but the thing is done. It seems my fate... but no, I do not want to justify myself. My presentiments have been realised. Forgive me, forget me! I am not worthy of you.—Irina. Be magnanimous: do not try to see me."

The blow almost broke Litvinov's heart. A rich cousin of the Princess Osinin, struck by the impression created by the girl at the ball, had taken her to Petersburg, to use her as a pawn in his struggle for power. Utterly crushed, Litvinov threw up the University and went home to his father in the country. He heard of her occasionally, encircled in splendour. Her name was mentioned with curiosity, respect, and envy, and at last came the news of her marriage to General Ratmirov.

II—Temptation

Ten years had passed—ten years during which much had happened to Litvinov. He had served in the Crimea, and, after almost dying of typhus, had been invalided home. Observation had shown him that his father's management of their property was so old-fashioned that it did not yield a tenth of the revenue it might yield in skillful hands. He determined to go abroad to study agriculture and technology, so that he might properly manage the estate. In various parts of Europe, in England as well, he had travelled and studied, and now he found himself at Baden, his work concluded, ready to take up his duties.

He was at Baden for two reasons: first, because he was espoused to his cousin, Tatyana Petrovna Shestov, whom he had grown to dearly love, and who had promised to be his comrade and friend "for better or worse," as the English say. And he was at Baden, also, because Tatyana's aunt, Kapitolina Markovna Shestov, an old unmarried lady of fifty-five, a good-natured, honest, eccentric soul—a democrat, sworn opponent of aristocracy and fashionable society—could not resist the temptation of gazing for once on the aristocratic society which sunned itself in such a fashionable place as Baden.

While he was expecting the arrival of his betrothed, Litvinov found himself compelled to pass his time in the society of his fellow-countrymen—ardent young Russian Liberals of both sexes, bubbling over with new theories and enthusiasm, and ready to talk for hours together on the political and social regeneration of their native country. As far as possible, he avoided their society, and escaped into the solitudes of the mountains. It was during one of these lonely excursions that, feeling hungry, he made his way to the old castle, and, seating himself at one of the little white-painted tables of the restaurant, ordered a light breakfast. While he was seated there, there was a loud tramping of horses, and a party of young Russian generals—persons of the highest society, of weight and importance—arrived, and with much noise and ostentation summoned the obsequious waiters to attend to their wants. Litvinov made haste to drink off his glass of milk, paid for it, and, putting his hat on, was just making off past the party of generals...

"Grigory Mihalovitch," he heard a woman's voice, "don't you recognise me?"

He stopped involuntarily. That voice... that voice had too often set his heart beating in the past... He turned round and saw Irina.

Litvinov knew her at once, though she had changed since he saw her that last time ten years ago, though she had been transformed from a girl into a woman.

"Irina Pavlovna," he uttered, irresolutely.

"You know me? How glad I am! how glad—" She stopped, blushing. "Let me introduce you to my husband."

One of the young generals, Ratmirov by name, almost the most elegant of all, got up from his seat at the introduction, and bowed with a dandified air. Litvinov would have escaped, but Irina insisted on his sitting down. For a time he had to listen to the empty, meaningless talk of the company, hardly able to say a word to Irina. At last his clean plebeian pride revolted. He rose to his feet, somehow took leave of Irina and her husband, and walked rapidly away, trying to brace and soothe his nerves by violent exercise.

"Oh, Tatyana, Tatyana!" he cried passionately to himself. "You are my guardian angel! you only my good genius! I love you only, and will love you for ever, and I will not go to see her. Forget her altogether! Let her amuse herself with her generals."

That very evening Irina sent him a message, asking him to come and see her, and, in spite of all his determinations, he went. She saw him alone in a room in one of the best hotels in Baden. "Grigory Mihalovitch," she cried, as soon as he had closed the door behind him, "here we are alone at last, and I can tell you how glad I am at our meeting, because it... gives me a chance... of asking your forgiveness."

Litvinov started involuntarily at this unexpected reference to old times.

"Forgiveness... for what?" he muttered.

"For what? I wronged you, though of course it was my fate, and I do not regret it. You must tell me you forgive me, or else I shall imagine you feel... de la rancune."

As he looked into her beautiful eyes, shining with tears, Litvinov's senses seemed to swim.

"I will remember nothing," he managed to say; "nothing but the happy moments for which I was once indebted to you."

Irina held out both hands to him; Litvinov clasped them warmly, and did not at once let them go. Something that long had not been secretly stirred in his heart at that soft contact.... They fell into conversation, he learning from her something of her life, she extracting from him in fragments the details of his career. General Ratmirov's arrival put an end to their converse, and Litvinov rose to depart. At the door Irina stopped him.

"You have told me everything," she said, "but the chief thing you have concealed. You are going to be married, I am told."

Litvinov blushed up to his ears. As a fact, he had intentionally not referred to Tatyana.

"Yes, I am going to be married," he said at last, and at once withdrew.

He came away, swearing to himself that he would never see her again. Next day he met her on his way to the mountains, but pretended not to see her. On his return he found her sitting alone on a bench in the fashionable walk. She stopped him, insisting, with an unsteady voice, on speaking to him. He tried to be frank with her, pointing out that their paths lay far apart, that she belonged to a society which he did not understand, that she was above him, beyond him. But her passionate appeal that they should at least be friends melted his determination, and he left her with a promise to call again that very night.

When he returned once more to his rooms, he made a desperate effort to recover his senses. Taking out a picture of Tatyana, he placed it in front of him, and stared at it long and eagerly. Suddenly he pushed it gently away, and clutched his head in both hands.

"All is at an end," he whispered at last. "Irina! Irina!"

He realised in an instant that he was irrevocably, senselessly, in love with her.

"But Tatyana, Tatyana, my guardian, Tatyana, Tatyana!" he repeated, while Irina's shape, as he had seen her last, rose before his eyes with a radiant calm of victory on her marble-white face.

Next day he told her of his love. For answer she threw her arms round his neck and whispered in his ear, "I love you, too.... I love you... and you know it."

"You must go," she went on suddenly, moving away from him and turning impulsively toward the door. "It's dangerous, it's terrible.... Good-bye."

Litvinov stood, like a block of wood, at a distance. Once more she said, "Good-bye, forget me," and, without looking round, rushed away.

As he left the hotel, like a man in a fog, he passed Ratmirov on the stairs. The general lifted his hat unnecessarily high, and wished him a very good day in a voice which was obviously ironical.

He hardly responded to Ratmirov's bow, but rushed back to his lodgings. His head was turning round, and his heart vibrating like a harp-string. He tried to pull himself together. He would fly from her. "If I die for it," he muttered to himself. He packed his bag and trunk with furious energy, determined to go that very night. As he was in the midst of his preparations, a note was brought him from Irina.

"Sooner or later," she wrote, "it must have been. My life is in your hands. If necessary, I will throw up everything and follow you to the ends of the earth. We shall see each other to-morrow, of course. Your Irina."

Two hours later he was sitting in his room on the sofa. His box stood in the corner, open and empty.

III—A Ruined Life

Tatyana and her aunt arrived the following day at twelve o'clock. Litvinov was at the station to meet them—a different Litvinov from the one who a few days before had been so self-confident, so spiritual, so calm and content. His whole appearance, his movements, the expression of his face, had been transformed. Some sensation, unknown before, had come, strong, sweet—and evil; the mysterious guest had made its way to the innermost shrine, and taken possession and lain down in it in silence, but, in all its magnitude, like the owner in a new house. Litvinov was no longer ashamed, he was afraid; he had been vanquished, vanquished suddenly... and what had become of his honesty? The first look at Tatyana, the first look of Tatyana... that was what filled him with terror, that was what he had to live through directly... and afterwards?... afterwards?... Come what may come!

The train steamed in. Tatyana, standing near her aunt, smiled brightly and held out her hand. He helped them to a fly and took a place in it opposite them. He brought himself at last to look at Tatyana. His heart throbbed with involuntary emotion; the serene expression of that honest, candid face gave him a pang of bitter reproach. "So you are here, poor girl," he thought. "You whom I have so longed for, so urged to come, with whom I had hoped to spend my life to the end, you have come, you believe in me... while I... while I..."

But Kapitolina Markoyna gave him no time for musing. She was full of chatter, full of interest in everything that was going on, afire to see all the fine aristocrats, though she abused them soundly.

After doing a round of the sights, Litvinov, his mind always on the rack, led the ladies back to their hotel. As they entered a note was handed to him. He tore open the envelope and read the words within, scribbled in pencil: "Come to me this evening at seven, for one minute, I entreat you. Irina."

After dinner Litvinov escorted the two ladies to their room, and, after standing a little while at the window, with a scowl on his face, he suddenly announced that he had to go out for a short time on business. Tatyana said nothing; she turned pale and dropped her eyes. She was well aware that Litvinov knew that her aunt took a nap after dinner; she had expected him to take advantage of it to remain with her. He had not been alone with her nor spoken frankly to her since her arrival. And now he was going out! What was she to make of it? And, indeed, his whole behaviour all along....

In a few minutes he was with Irina, holding her in his arms.

"I can't live without you, Irina," he whispered; "I am yours for ever and always. I can only breathe at your feet."

He stooped down, all in a tremble, to kiss her hand. Irina gazed at his bent head.

"Then let me say that I, too, am ready for anything; that I, too, will consider no one and nothing. As you decide, so it shall be. I, too, am for ever yours... yours."

He tore himself away with difficulty. He had turned his back on his upright, well-organised, orderly future. The thing was done, but how was he to face his judge? And if only his judge would come to meet him—an angel with a flaming sword; that would be easier for a sinning heart... instead of which, he had himself to plunge the knife in... infamous! but to turn back, to abandon that other, to take advantage of the freedom offered him, recognised as his... No, no! better to die! No, he would have none of such loathsome freedom... but would humble himself in the dust, and might those eyes look down on him with love.

Two hours later he was back again, trying to talk to the girl he determined to deceive. He felt a continual gnawing of conscience; whatever he said, it always seemed to him that he was telling lies, and Tatyana was seeing through it. The girl was paler than usual, and, replying to her aunt, she said she had a little headache.

"It's the journey," suggested Litvinov, and he positively blushed with shame.

"Yes, the journey," repeated Tatyana, letting her eyes dwell for a moment on his face.

In the night, at two o'clock, Kapitolina Markovna, who was sleeping in the same room with her niece, suddenly lifted up her head and listened.

"Tatyana," she said, "you are crying?"

Tatyana did not at once answer.

"No, aunt," sounded her gentle voice; "I have caught cold."

In the course of that dreadful night Litvinov had arrived at a resolution. He determined to tell Tatyana the truth, and in the morning he steeled himself for the interview. He found her alone, and with an effort stumbled out the introductory words of his confession. Tatyana stopped him abruptly in the middle.

"Grigory Mihalovitch," she said in a measured voice, while a deathly pallor overspread her whole face, "I will come to your assistance. You no longer love me, and you don't know how to tell me so."

He flung himself on his knees before her.

"Tatyana," he cried, "could I dream that I should bring such a blow upon you, my best friend, my guardian angel! I have come to tell you that your friend is ruined, that he is falling into the pit, and would not drag you down with him, but save me... no! even you cannot save me. I should push you away; I am ruined, Tatyana, I am ruined past all help."

Tatyana's brow twitched. Her pale face darkened.

"Since you say yourself this passion is unalterable, it only remains for me to give you back your word. I will ask you to leave me. I want to collect myself a little.... Leave me alone... spare my pride."

Uttering these words, Tatyana hurriedly withdrew into an inner room.

He was free now, free to go to Irina! That day Tatyana and her aunt left Baden. There were no barriers between him and his soul's desire. He hastened to Irina's side. He found her turning over some lace in a cardboard box.

"Don't be angry with me, dear one," she said, "for attending to this trash at the present moment. I am obliged to go to a ball at a certain lady's. These bits of finery have been sent me, and I must choose to-day. Ah! I am awfully wretched," she cried suddenly, and she laid her face down on the edge of the box. Tears began falling from her eyes... she turned away; the tears might spoil the lace.

He was uneasy at her tears and tried to comfort her, and she, putting her arms around him, cried to him that she would do whatever he wished. They should be free people. "Let us be free," she said. "The day is ours. A lifetime is ours."

Litvinov spent the next twenty-four hours in making all arrangements for their flight together. He raised as much money as he could, even stooping to try his luck at roulette to increase his hoard. The appointed moment of their departure approached. As he waited impatiently in the hotel hall, a letter was brought him. It was a letter from Irina in French.

"My dear one," she wrote, "I cannot run away with you. I have not the strength to do it. I cannot leave this life; I see the poison has gone too deeply into me. Oh, my dear one, think me a weak, worthless woman, despise, but don't abandon me, don't abandon your Irina.... To leave this life I have not the courage, but live it without you I cannot either. Come soon to me. I shall not have an instant's peace until I see you. Yours, yours, yours—I."

The blood beat like a sledgehammer in Litvinov's head, then slowly and painfully sank to his heart, and was chill as a stone. And so again, again deceit; no, worse than deceit—lying and baseness... and life shattered, everything torn up by its roots utterly, and the sole thing which he could cling to, the last prop, in fragments too. In Litvinov's soul rose, like sudden gusts of wind before a storm, momentary impulses of fury.

He determined to leave Baden at once. Getting a carriage, he took his box to the station. He was just taking his seat in the railway carriage.

"Grigory Mihalovitch... Grigory..." he heard a supplicating whisper behind him.

He started to see Irina standing on the platform, her eyes crying to him to come back—to come back.... He jumped into the carriage, and turning round, he motioned her to a place beside him. She understood him. There was still time. One step, one movement, and two lives made one for ever would have been hurried away into the uncertain distance.... While she wavered, a loud whistle sounded, and the train moved off.

IV.—Love's Reward

A year had passed—a year spent by Litvinov on his father's estate, a year of hard work, a year of devoting the knowledge he had acquired abroad to the betterment of the property. Another year, and his toil began to show its fruit. A third year was beginning. An uncle, who happened to be a cousin of Kapitolina Markovna, and had been recently staying with her, paid them a visit. He brought Litvinov a great deal of news about Tatyana. The next day, after his departure, Litvinov sent her a letter, the first since their separation.

He begged for permission to renew her acquaintance, at least by correspondence, and also desired to learn whether he must forever give up all idea of some day seeing her. Not without emotion he awaited the answer... the answer came at last. Tatyana responded cordially to his overture. "If you are disposed to pay us a visit," she finished up, "we hope you will come; you know the saying, 'even the sick are easier together than apart.'"

With a new lightness of heart, Litvinov set off on his journey. The horses would not go quick enough for him. At last the house was in view... and on the steps Kapitolina Markovna was standing, and, beside herself with joy, was clapping her hands, crying, "I heard him! I knew him first! It's he! it's he! I knew him."

Litvinov dashed into the house... before him, all shamefaced, stood Tatyana. She glanced at him with kind, caressing eyes and gave him her hand. But he did not take her hand. He fell on his knees before her, kissing the hem of her dress. The tears started into her eyes. She was frightened, but her whole face beamed with delight.

"Tatyana," Litvinov cried, "Tatyana, you have forgiven me? Tatyana!"

"Aunt, aunt, what is this?" cried Tatyana, turning to Kapitolina Markovna as she came in.

"Don't hinder him, Tatyana," answered the kind old lady; "you see the sinner has repented."

* * * * *



JULES VERNE

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Jules Verne was born in 1828. He studied law at Paris, but turned to writing almost immediately after completing his education, and brought out his first comedy in 1850. This was followed by several comic operas. However, he is chiefly known by his "scientific romances," of which the first, "Five Weeks in a Balloon," appeared in 1863. "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" is perhaps the best example of Verne's tales of the marvels of invention, and we have to remember that when it was written, in 1873, nobody had yet succeeded in making a boat to travel under water. For that reason it was, in a way, a prophetic book, shadowing forth the wonderful possibilities of human ingenuity in exploring the ocean's unknown depths. Jules Verne died March 24, 1905.

I.—I Join a Strange Expedition

In the year 1866 the whole seafaring world of Europe and America was greatly disturbed by an ocean mystery which baffled the wits of scientists and sailors alike. Several vessels, in widely different regions of the seas, had met a long and rapidly moving object, much larger than a whale, and capable of almost incredible speed. It had also been seen at night, and was then phosphorescent, moving under the water in a glow of light.

There was no doubt whatever as to the reality of this unknown terror of the deep, for several vessels had been struck by it, and particularly the Cunard steamer Scotia, homeward bound for Liverpool. It had pierced a large triangular hole through the steel plates of the Scotia's hull, and would certainly have sunk the vessel had it not been divided into seven water-tight compartments, any one of which could stand injury without danger to the vessel. It was three hundred miles off Cape Clear that the Scotia encountered this mysterious monster. Arriving after some days' delay at Liverpool, the vessel was put into dock, when the result of the blow from the unknown was thoroughly investigated. So many vessels having recently been lost from unknown causes, the narrow escape of the Scotia directed fresh attention to this ocean mystery, and both in Europe and America there was a strong public agitation for an expedition to be sent out, prepared to do battle with, and if possible destroy, this narwhal of monstrous growth, as many scientists believed it to be.

Now I, Pierre Arronax, assistant professor in the Paris Museum of Natural History, was at this time in America, where I had been engaged on a scientific expedition into the disagreeable region of Nebraska. I had arrived at New York in company of my faithful attendant, Conseil, and was devoting my attention to classifying the numerous specimens I had gathered for the Paris Museum. As I had already some reputation in the scientific world from my book on "The Mysteries of the Great Submarine Grounds," a number of people did me the honour of consulting me concerning the one subject then exercising the minds of all interested in ocean travel.

An expedition was also being fitted out by the United States government, the fastest frigate of the navy, the Abraham Lincoln, under command of Captain Farragut, being in active preparation, with the object of hunting out this wandering monster which had last been seen three weeks before by a San Francisco steamer in the North Pacific Ocean. I was invited to join this expedition as a representative of France, and immediately decided to do so. The faithful Conseil said he would go with me wherever I went, and thus it came about that my sturdy Flemish companion, who had accompanied me on scientific expeditions for ten years was with me again on the eventful cruise which began when we sailed from Brooklyn for the Pacific and the unknown.

The crew of the frigate and the various scientists on board were all eagerness to meet the great cetacean, or sea-unicorn. My own opinion was that it would be found to be a narwhal of monstrous growth, for these creatures are armed with a kind of ivory sword, or tusk, as hard as steel, and sometimes nearly seven feet long by fifteen inches in diameter at the base. Supposing one to exist ten times as large as any that had ever been captured, with its tusk proportionately powerful, it was conceivable that such a gigantic creature, moving at a great rate, could do all the damage that had been reported.

There was among our crew one Ned Land, a gigantic Canadian of forty, who was considered to be the prince of harpooners. Many a whale had received its deathblow from him, and he was eager to flesh his harpoon in this redoubtable cetacean which had terrified the marine world.

Week after week passed without any sign that our quest would be successful. Indeed, after nearly four months had gone, and we had explored the whole of the Japanese and Chinese coasts, the captain reached the point of deciding to return, when one night the voice of Ned Land was heard calling:

"Look out there! The thing we are looking for on our weather-beam!"

At this cry the entire crew rushed towards the harpooner—captain, officers, masters, sailors, and cabin-boys; even the engineers left their engines, and the stokers their furnaces. The frigate was now moving only by her own momentum, for the engines had been stopped.

My heart beat violently. I was sure the harpooner's eyes had not deceived him. Soon we could all see, about two cables' length away, a strange and luminous object, lying some fathoms below the surface, just as described in many of the reports. One of the officers suggested that it was merely an enormous mass of phosphorous particles, but I replied with conviction that the light was electric. And even as I spoke the strange thing began to move towards us!

The captain immediately reversed engines and put on full speed, but the luminous monster gained on us and played round the frigate with frightful rapidity. Its light would go out suddenly and reappear again on the other side of the vessel. It was clearly too great a risk to attack the thing in the dark, and by midnight it disappeared, dying out like a huge glow-worm. It appeared again, about five miles to the windward, at two in the morning, coming up to the surface as if to breathe, and it seemed as though the air rushed into its huge lungs like steam in the vast cylinders of a 2,000 horse-power engine.

"Hum!" said I. "A whale with the strength of a cavalry regiment would be a pretty whale!"

II.—The Attack and After

Everything was in readiness to attack with the coming of the dawn, and Ned Land was calmly sharpening his great harpoon, but by six in the morning the thing had again disappeared, and a thick sea-fog made it impossible to observe its further movements. At eight o'clock, however, the mist had begun to clear, and then, as suddenly as on the night before, Ned Land's voice was heard calling: "The thing on the port-quarter!"

There it was, surely enough, a mile and a half away, now a large black body showing above the waves, and leaving a track of dazzling white as its great tail beat the water into foam.

Moving rapidly, it approached within twenty feet of the frigate. Ned stood ready at the bow to hurl his harpoon, and the monster was now shining again with that strange light which dazzled our eyes. All at once he threw the harpoon. It struck on a hard body.

Instantly the light went out and two enormous water-spouts fell on our deck. A frightful shock followed, and the next moment I found myself struggling in the sea. Though a good swimmer, I kept afloat with some difficulty, and great was my joy when I heard the voice of the faithful Conseil, who had jumped in after me. Much stronger than myself, he helped me to remove some of my clothes, and thus we kept afloat until I fainted.

When I regained consciousness, I found myself on the top of what seemed to be a floating island, and there was Ned Land as well as Conseil. We were on the back of the mysterious monster, and it was made of metal! Presently it began to move, and we were afraid it might go below the surface.

Indeed, it seemed to be on the point of submerging, when Land hammered loudly on the metal plates, and in a moment an opening was made and the three of us were drawn inside by eight masked men. A door banged on us, and for half an hour we lay in utter darkness. Then a brilliant electric light flooded the cabin, a room of about twenty feet by ten, and two men entered. One was tall, pale, and dark-eyed, but magnificently proportioned.

Though we spoke to them in French, German, English, and Latin, they did not seem to understand, while their own speech was unintelligible to us. But they gave us clothes and food. After eating the food, which was strange but delicious, we all lay down and slept the sleep of sheer exhaustion.

Next day the tall man, whom I afterwards came to know as Captain Nemo, master of his marvellous submarine boat, came to me, and, speaking in French, said:

"I have been considering your case, and did not choose to speak till I had weighed it well. You have pursued me to destroy me. I have done with society for reasons of my own. I have decided. I give you choice of life or death. If you grant me a passive obedience, and submit to my consigning you to your cabin for some hours or days, as occasion calls, you are safe. You, Monsieur Arronax, have least cause to complain, for you have written on the life of the sea—I have your book in my library here—and will benefit most when I show you its marvels. I love it. It does not belong to despots."

Clearly we could do nothing but submit, and afterwards Captain Nemo showed me his wondrous craft.

III.—Our Life on the Nautilus

It was indeed a thing of marvels; for, besides the dining-room, it contained a large library of twelve thousand volumes, a drawing-room measuring thirty feet by eighteen, and fifteen high. The walls of this apartment were adorned with masterpieces of the great painters, and beautiful marbles and bronzes. A large piano-organ stood in one corner, and there were glass cases containing the rarest marine curiosities which a naturalist could wish to see. A collection of enormous pearls in a cabinet must have been worth millions, and Captain Nemo told me he had rifled every sea to find them.

The room assigned to me was fitted up with every luxury, yet the captain's own apartment was as simply furnished as a monastic cell, but in it were contained all the ingenious instruments that controlled the movements of the Nautilus, as his submarine was named. The electricity was manufactured by a process of extracting chloride of sodium from the sea-water, but the fresh air necessary for the life of the crew could only be obtained by rising to the surface. The engine-room was sixty-five feet long, and in it was the machinery for producing electricity as well as that for applying the power to the propeller.

The Nautilus, Captain Nemo explained, was capable of a speed of fifty miles an hour, and could be made to sink or rise with precision by flooding or emptying a reservoir. In a box, raised somewhat above the hull and fitted with glass ten inches thick, the steersman had his place, and a powerful electric reflector behind him illumined the sea for half a mile in front.

The submarine also carried a small torpedo-like boat, fitted in a groove along the top, so that it could be entered from the Nautilus by opening a panel, and, after that was closed, the boat could be detached from the submarine, and would then bob upwards to the surface like a cork. The importance of this and its bearing on my story will appear in due time.

It was on a desert island that Captain Nemo had carried out the building of the Nautilus, and from many different places he had secured the various parts of the hull and machinery, in order to maintain secrecy.

Deeply interested as I was in every detail of this extraordinary vessel, and excited beyond measure at the wonders which awaited me in exploring the world beneath the waves, I had still the feeling of a prisoner who dared scarcely hope that liberty might some day be obtained. But when the metal plates which covered the windows of the saloon were rolled back as we sailed under the water, and on each hand I could see a thronging army of many-coloured aquatic creatures swimming around us, attracted by our light, I was in an ecstasy of wonder and delight.

Then days would pass without Captain Nemo putting in an appearance, and none of the crew were ever to be seen. But the Nautilus kept on its journey, which, I learned, took us to the Torres Strait, the Papuan coast, through the Red Sea, through a subterranean strait, under the Isthmus of Suez, to the island of Santorin, the Cretan Archipelago, to the South Pole, on whose sterile wastes Captain Nemo reared his black flag with a white "N" upon it, and through the Gulf Stream.

Of the wonders of the deep, those amazing and beautiful specimens of unknown life that passed before my vision on this strange journey, never before seen by the eye of any naturalist, I cannot here enter into particulars. But it must not be supposed, prisoners though we were, that we never emerged from the interior of the Nautilus.

One of my first surprises, indeed, was to be invited by Captain Nemo to accompany him on a hunting expedition in the marine forest that grew about the base of the little island of Crespo, in the North Pacific Ocean. We were told to make a hearty breakfast, as the jaunt would be a long one. This we did, for we had soon become accustomed to the strange food, every item of which was produced by the sea.

For our submarine excursion we were furnished with diving dresses of seamless india-rubber, fitted on the shoulders with a reservoir of stored air, its tubes opening into the great copper helmet. We even had powerful air-guns and electric bullets, which proved weapons of deadly precision. When inside our diving dresses, we could not move our feet on account of the enormous leaden soles, so that we had to be pushed into a compartment at the bottom of the vessel, and the iron doors secured behind us. Water was then pumped in, and we could feel it rising around us, until the compartment was full, when an outer door opened and we stepped on to the floor of the sea.

For some considerable distance we walked along sands of the most perfect smoothness, and then had to make our way over slimy rocks and treacherous masses of seaweed, before we reached the fairy-like forest under the sea, where all the branches of the marvellous growths ascended perpendicularly.

It was indeed a rare experience for me, who had written "The Mysteries of the Great Submarine Grounds," thus to see, at first hand, the life which I had only been able to speculate on before. We captured many rare specimens, and shot a fine sea-otter, the only known quadruped that inhabits the rocky depths of the Pacific. It was five feet long, and its skin was worth a hundred pounds.

IV.—Captain Nemo and the Avenger

So constantly was I enchanted with the wonders of our journey that day succeeded day without my taking note of them; but Captain Nemo, for all his kindness, still remained as mysterious as the Sphinx. One day he became violently agitated after looking through the glass at a point indicated by his lieutenant, and I and my companions were immediately imprisoned in darkness, as we had been when first taken into the Nautilus. When I awoke next morning the captain took me to see a wounded Englishman whose head had been shattered, and on my stating that the man could not live for two hours, the dark eyes of the captain seemed to fill with tears. I thought that night I heard sounds of a funeral hymn, and next day I was taken to a submarine forest of coral, where they buried the man. This was really a little cemetery beneath the sea, as I gathered from the coral cross which had been erected there. Ned Land, unlike me, was soon satisfied with what he had seen of the submarine world, and had now but one thought of escape. We were sailing up the eastern coast of South America, and by May 17 were some five hundred miles from Heart's Content. There I saw, at a depth of more than fifteen hundred fathoms, the great electric cable lying at the bottom of the ocean. The restlessness of poor Ned Land was at its height when he had a glimpse of the American shore; but Captain Nemo bent his course towards Ireland, and then southward, passing within sight of Land's End on May 30.

All the next day the vessel seemed to be making a series of circular movements, in some endeavour to locate a particular spot, and the captain was gloomier than I had ever seen him, having no word for me. The following day, which was beautifully clear, we could make out, some eight miles to the eastward, a large steam vessel flying no flag. Suddenly, after using his sextant, the captain exclaimed: "It is here!"

Presently the Nautilus sank to the bottom of the sea. When at rest the lights were put out and the sliding panels opened. We could now see on our starboard the remains of a sunken vessel, so encrusted with shells that it must have lain there a great many years. As I stood there wondering what might be Captain Nemo's reason for his manoeuvres, he came to my side and, speaking slowly, said:

"That was the Marseillais, launched in 1772. It carried seventy-four guns, and fought gallantly against the Preston, was in action again at the siege of Granada, and in Chesapeake Bay. Then in 1794 the French Republic changed the vessel's name, and it joined a squadron at Brest to escort a cargo of corn coming from America. The squadron fell in with an English man-o'-war, and seventy-two years ago to this very day, on this very spot, after fighting heroically, until its masts were shot away, its hold full of water, and a third of its crew disabled, this vessel preferred sinking, with its 356 sailors, to surrendering. Nailing its colours to the mast, it sank beneath the waves to the cry of 'Long live the Republic!'"

"The Avenger!" I exclaimed.

"Yes, the Avenger. A good name!" said the captain, with a strange seriousness, as he crossed his arms.

I was deeply impressed with his whole bearing while he recalled these facts. It was clearly no common spite against his fellow-men that had shut up Captain Nemo and his crew in the Nautilus.

Already we were ascending, fast leaving the grave of the old Avenger. When we had reached the surface we could see the other vessel steaming towards us. A low boom greeted the Nautilus as its upper part showed above the water. Ned Land, aflame once more with hope of escape, made out the vessel to be a two-decker ram, but she showed no flag at her mizzen. It seemed for a moment there might just be some chance of escape for us three prisoners, and Ned declared he would jump into the sea if the man-o'-war came within a mile of us. Just then another gun boomed out. She was firing at us.

It flashed across my mind at that moment that as those on board the Abraham Lincoln, having once seen the effect of Ned Land's harpoon when it struck the Nautilus, could not but have concluded their enemy was no monster of the deep—though indeed a monster of man's contriving—the warships of all nations would now be on the look-out for the Nautilus, and we on board it could scarcely hope for mercy.

The shot rattled about us as we stood on the opened upper deck of the submarine, and Ned Land, in a mad moment, waved his handkerchief to the enemy, only to be instantly felled by the iron hand of Captain Nemo. Then, frightfully pale, the captain turned towards the approaching man-o'-war, and, in a voice terrible to hear, cried: "Ah, ship of an accursed nation, you know who I am! I do not need to see your colours to know you. Look, and see mine!"

So saying, he unfurled his black flag, and then sternly bade us go below, just as a shell struck the Nautilus, and rebounded into the sea. "You have seen the attack," he said calmly. "I shall sink yonder ship, but not here—no, not here. Her ruins shall not mingle with those of the Avenger."

V.—The Doom of the Oppressor

Having no choice but to obey, we all went below, and the propeller of the Nautilus was soon lashing the water into creamy foam, taking us beyond the range of fire. I held my peace for a time, but, after some deliberation, ventured to go up in the hope of dissuading Captain Nemo from more destruction. His vessel was now coursing round the other ship like a wild beast manoeuvring to attack its prey, and I had scarcely spoken when the captain turned on me fiercely, commanding silence.

"Here I am the law and the judge," he said, almost in a shriek. "There is the oppressor. Through him I have lost all that I have loved, cherished, and venerated—country, wife, children, father, and mother. I saw all perish! All that I hate is represented by that ship! Not another word!"

In the face of such fierce hatred it was useless to try persuasion. I and my companions resolved to attempt escape when the Nautilus made the attack. At six the next morning, being the second day of June, the two vessels were less than a mile and a half apart. Suddenly, as the three of us were preparing to rush on deck and jump overboard, the upper panel closed sharply. Our chance was gone!

Next moment the noise of the water rushing into the reservoir indicated that we were sinking, and in a moment more the machinery throbbed at its greatest speed as the Nautilus shot forward under the sea. Then the whole submarine trembled; there was a shock, and then a rending jar above. The terror of the seas had cut its way through the other vessel like a needle through sailcloth! Horror-stricken, I rushed into the saloon and found Captain Nemo, mute and gloomy, standing by the port panel, which had instantly been slid back, watching with a terrible satisfaction the injured vessel sinking with all its crew beneath the waves. The Nautilus sank with it, so that its terrible captain might lose nothing of the fascinating horror presented by the spectacle of his victims descending to their ocean grave. When we had seen all, he went to his room, and, following him, I saw on the wall the portraits of a woman, still young, and two little children. He looked at them, and as he stretched his arms toward them the fierce expression of hate died away from his face. He sank down on his knees, and burst into deep sobs. I felt a strange horror for this man, who, though he might have suffered terribly, had no right to exact so terrible a vengeance.

The Nautilus was now making its top speed, and the instruments indicated a northerly direction. Whither was it flying? That night we covered two hundred leagues of the Atlantic. Onward we kept our course, the speed never lessening, and for fifteen or twenty days, during which we prisoners never saw the captain or his lieutenant, this headlong race continued.

VI.—Our Escape from the Nautilus

Poor Ned Land was in despair, and Conseil and I had to watch him carefully lest he might kill himself. One morning he said to me:

"We are going to fly to-night. I have taken the reckoning, and make out that twenty miles or so to the east is land. I have got a little food and water, and Conseil and I will be near the opening into the small boat at ten. Meet us there. If we do not escape, they sha'n't take me alive."

"I will go with you," I said. "At least we can die together."

Wishing to verify the direction of the Nautilus, I went to the saloon. We were going N.N.E. with frightful speed at a depth of twenty-five fathoms. I took a last look at all the natural marvels and art treasures collected in this strange museum, a collection doomed to perish in the depths of the ocean with the man who had made it. Back in my own room I donned my sea garments, and placed all my notes carefully about my clothing. My heart was beating so loudly that I feared my agitation might betray me if I met Captain Nemo. I decided it was best to lie down on my bed in the hope of calming my nerves, and thus to pass the time till the hour determined upon for our attempt. Ten o'clock was on the point of striking, when I heard Captain Nemo playing a weird and sad melody, and I was struck with the sudden terror of having to pass through the saloon while he was there. I must make the attempt, and softly I crept to the door of the saloon and softly opened it. Captain Nemo was still playing his subdued melody; but the room was in darkness, and slowly I made my way across it to the library door. I had almost opened this when a sigh from him made me pause.

He had risen from the organ, and, as some rays of light were now admitted from the library, I could see him coming toward me with folded arms, gliding like a ghost rather than walking. His breast heaved with sobs, and I heard him murmur these words, the last of his I heard: "Enough! O God, enough!" Was it remorse escaping thus from the conscience of this mysterious being?

Had I not seen it begin with the tears in his eyes at the death of the Englishman whom he had buried in the coral cemetery, and who was doubtless a victim of one of his acts of destruction?

Now rendered desperate, I rushed into the library, up the central staircase, and so gained the opening to the boat where my companions were awaiting me. Quickly the panel through which we went was shut and bolted by means of a wrench which Ned Land had secured. The opening of the boat was also quickly fastened after we had got inside, and the harpooner had begun to undo from the inside the screws that still fastened the boat to the Nautilus. Suddenly a great noise was heard within the submarine. We thought we had been discovered, and were prepared to die defending ourselves. Ned Land stopped his work for the moment, and the noise grew louder. It was a terrible word, twenty times repeated, that we heard. "The Maelstrom! The Maelstrom!" was what they were crying. Was it to this, then, that the Nautilus had been driven, by accident or design, with such headlong speed? We heard a roaring noise, and could feel ourselves whirled in spiral circles. The steel muscles of the submarine were cracking, and at times in the awful churning of the whirlpool it seemed to stand on end. "We must hold on," cried Land, "and we may be saved if we can stick to the Nautilus."

His anxiety now was to make fast the screws that bound the boat to the submarine, but he had scarcely finished speaking when, with a great crash, the bolts gave way, and the boat shot up, released from the larger vessel, into the midst of the whirlpool. My head struck on its iron framework and with the violent shock I lost all consciousness.

How we escaped from that hideous gulf, where even whales of mighty strength have been tossed and battered to death, none of us will ever know! But I was in a fisherman's hut on the Lofoden Isles when I regained consciousness. My two companions were by my side, safe and sound, and we all shook hands heartily. There we had to wait for the steamer that runs twice a month to Cape North, and in the interval I occupied myself revising this record of our incredible expedition in an element previously considered inaccessible to man, but to which progress will one day open up a way.

I may be believed or not, but I know that I have made a journey of twenty thousand leagues under the sea.

Does the Nautilus still exist? Is Captain Nemo still alive? Was that awful night in the Maelstrom his last, or is he still pursuing a terrible vengeance? Will the confessions of his life, which he told me he had written, and which the last survivor of his fellow-exiles was to cast into the sea in an air-tight case, ever be found?

This I know, that only two men could have a right to answer the question asked in the Ecclesiastes three thousand years ago: "That which is far off and exceeding deep, who can find it out?" These two men are Captain Nemo and I.

* * * * *



HORACE WALPOLE

Castle of Otranto

Horace Walpole, the third son of Sir Robert Walpole, was born in 1717. After finishing his education at Eton and Cambridge, he travelled abroad for some years, principally in Italy, where he seems to have acquired those tastes for which he afterwards became so well known. He returned to England in 1741, and took his seat in parliament, but he had no taste for politics, and six years later he purchased a piece of ground near Twickenham, and made the principal occupation of his life the erection and decoration of his famous mansion—"Strawberry. Hill." "The Castle of Otranto" appeared in 1764. It was described as a "Gothic Story translated by William Marshal Gent, from the original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto." But, emboldened by the success of the work, Walpole in the second edition acknowledged that he himself was the author. The theme of the story was suggested to him by a dream, of which he said, "All I could recover was that I thought myself in an ancient castle, and that on the uppermost baluster of a great staircase I saw a gigantic hand in armour. In the evening I sat down and began to write without knowing in the least what I intended to relate." The tale was the precursor of a whole series of Gothic romances, and for fifty years afterwards English readers were afforded an unfailing supply of the supernatural and the horrible. A more important if less direct achievement of Walpole's was that by "The Castle of Otranto" he heralded the romantic revival that culminated in the masterpieces of Scott. Walpole died on March 2, 1797.



I.—The Helmet

Manfred, Prince of Otranto, had contracted a marriage for his son Conrad with the Marquis of Vicenza's daughter, Isabella. Young Conrad's birthday was fixed for his espousal, and Manfred's impatience for this ceremonial was marked by everyone. His tenants and subjects attributed this haste to the Prince's dread of seeing accomplished an ancient prophecy that the Castle and lordship of Otranto should pass from the present family whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit it. It was difficult to make any sense of this prophecy; yet this mystery did not make the populace adhere the less to their opinion.

On the wedding-day, when the company was assembled in the chapel of the castle, Conrad himself was missing. Manfred, impatient of the least delay, sent an attendant to summon the young Prince. In less than a minute the attendant came back breathless, in a frantic manner, and foaming at the mouth. At last, after repeated questions, he cried out, "Oh! the helmet! the helmet!" Manfred and most of the company ran out into the court, from whence was heard a confused noise of shrieks, horror, and surprise.

What a sight for a father's eyes! Manfred beheld his child dashed to pieces, and almost buried under an enormous helmet, an hundred times more large than any casque ever made for human being, and shaded with a proportionable quantity of black feathers.

The horror of the spectacle, and the tremendous phenomenon before him, took away the Prince's speech. Yet his silence lasted longer than even grief could occasion; and when he spoke, it was observed that his first words were, "Take care of the Lady Isabella."

Manfred then touched and examined the fatal casque, and inquired whether any man knew from whence it could have come? Nobody could give him the least information. At length, however, a young peasant from a neighbouring village observed that the miraculous helmet was exactly like that on the figure in black marble of Alfonso the Good, one of their former Princes, in the Church of St. Nicholas.

"Villain!" cried Manfred in a tempest of rage, "how darest thou utter such treason!"

At this moment there came news from the church that the helmet was missing from Alfonso's statue. Manfred rushed frantically on the young peasant, crying, "Sorcerer! 'tis thou hast done this!" Coming to himself, he gravely declared that the young man was a necromancer, and ordered that he should be kept prisoner under the helmet itself till the church should take cognisance of the affair.

Conrad's mother, the Princess Hippolita, had been carried fainting to her apartments, accompanied by her daughter Matilda, who smothered her own grief in order to assist her afflicted parent, and by Isabella. To his wife and daughter Manfred that day paid no attention; but as the ladies sat together sorrowing at night, a servant of Manfred's arrived and told Isabella that his lord demanded to speak with her.

"I sent for you on a matter of great moment," said he. "Isabella, the line of Manfred calls for numerous supports; and since I cannot give you my son, I offer you myself."

"Heavens!" cried Isabella. "You, my lord! the husband of the virtuous and tender Hippolita!"

"Name not that woman to me!" said Manfred imperiously. "I shall divorce her. My fate depends on having sons."

He seized the hand of Isabella, who shrieked and started from him. At that instant the portrait of his grandfather, which hung in the apartment, uttered a deep sigh and descended from its panel. Manfred in his distraction released Isabella, who had not seen the portrait's movement, and who made towards the door. The spectre marched sedately, but dejectedly, into a chamber on the right hand. Manfred would have followed; but the door was clapped to with violence, nor could he with all his force re-open it.

As Isabella took flight, she recollected a subterraneous passage, which led from the vaults of the castle to the church of St. Nicholas. She determined, if no other means of deliverance offered, to shut herself up forever among the holy virgins, whose convent was contiguous to the cathedral. In this resolution, she seized a lamp that burned at the foot of the staircase, and hurried towards the secret passage.

The lower part of the castle was hollowed into several intricate cloisters, and it was not easy for one under so much anxiety to find the door that opened into the cavern. When in that long labyrinth of darkness a gust of wind extinguished her lamp, words cannot paint the horror of her situation. It gave her a momentary relief to perceive a ray of moonshine gleam from the roof of the vault, which seemed to be fallen in; but as she advanced, she discerned a human form standing close against the wall.

She shrieked, believing it to be the ghost of Conrad. But the figure asked her, in a submissive voice, not to be alarmed. "Sir, whoever you are," she replied, "assist me to escape from this fatal castle."

"Alas!" said the stranger, "what can I do to assist you?"

"Oh!" said Isabella, "help me but to find the trap-door that is hereabout; it is the greatest service you can do me."

With a little searching they found the trap-door; the stranger lifted it, and Isabella descended to some stone steps below. The stranger was about to follow, when the voice of Manfred was heard in the distance. "Make haste or we are ruined!" cried Isabella. But the door slipped out of his hands and fell with a crash. Instantly Manfred, who had heard the noise, hastened up, accompanied by servants with torches.

"It must be Isabella escaping by the subterraneous passage," he cried.

What was his astonishment when the light discovered to him the young peasant whom he had thought confined under the helmet.

"Traitor, how camest thou here?" said Manfred.

"I am no traitor," replied the young man, "and that is how I came here."

He pointed upwards, and Manfred perceived that one of the cheeks of the casque had broken through the pavement of the court, as his servants had let it fall over the peasant, and had made a gap through which the young man had escaped.

"And what noise was that which I heard?" asked Manfred.

"Providence led me to the trap-door," answered the peasant, "but I let it fall."

Manfred removed him to confinement in the castle, and continued his vain search for Isabella.

II.—Father Jerome

On the following morning Manfred went to Hippolita's apartment, to inquire if she knew aught of Isabella. While he was questioning her, word was brought that Father Jerome demanded to speak with him. Manfred ordered him to be admitted.

"Is your business with me or the Princess?" asked Manfred.

"With both," replied the holy man. "The lady Isabella—"

"What of her?" interrupted Manfred eagerly.

—"Is at St. Nicholas altar," replied Jerome.

"That is no business of Hippolita," said Manfred with confusion; "let us retire to my chamber."

"No, my lord," said Jerome firmly; "my commission is to both, and in the presence of both I shall deliver it. But first I must interrogate the Princess, whether she is acquainted with the cause of the lady Isabella's flight."

"No, on my soul," said Hippolita.

"Father," interrupted Manfred, "I am the sovereign here, and will allow no meddling priest to interfere in my domestic affairs."

"My lord," said the friar, "I know my duty, and am the minister of a mightier Prince than Manfred."

Manfred trembled with rage and shame, but Hippolita intervened. "Holy father," said she, "it is my duty to hear nothing that it pleases not my lord I should hear. Attend the Prince to his chamber; I will retire to my oratory."

"Excellent woman!" said the friar. "My lord, I attend your pleasure."

As soon as they had entered the Prince's apartments, Manfred began. "I perceive that Isabella has acquainted you with my purpose. Now hear my resolve. Urgent reasons of state demand that I should have a son. It is in vain to expect an heir from Hippolita. I have made choice of Isabella, and you must bring her back."

"Prince," replied Jerome, "the injuries of the virtuous Hippolita have mounted to the throne of pity. By me thou art reprimanded for thy intention of repudiating her; by me thou art warned not to pursue thy wicked design on Isabella."

"Father, you mistake me," said the Prince. "You know not the bitterest of my pangs. I have had scruples on the legality of our union; Hippolita is related to me in the fourth degree. It is true, we had a dispensation. But I have been informed that she had been contracted to another. Ease my conscience of this burden by dissolving our marriage."

For some time the holy man remained absorbed in thought. At length, conceiving some hopes from delay, he professed to be struck with the Prince's scruples. Manfred was overjoyed at this apparent change.

"Since we now understand one another," resumed the Prince, "I expect that you will satisfy me on one point. Who is the youth that I found in the vault? He must have been privy to Isabella's flight. Is he her lover?"

The friar conceived it might not be amiss to sow the seeds of jealousy in Manfred's mind, so that he might be prejudiced against Isabella, or have his attention diverted to a wrong scent. With this unhappy policy, he answered in a manner to confirm Manfred's fears.

"I will fathom to the bottom of this intrigue," cried Manfred in a rage; and, quitting Jerome abruptly, he hastened to the great hall, and ordered the peasant to be brought before him.

The young man, finding that his share in Isabella's flight had been discovered, boldly told the truth of his adventure in the vault.

"And on a silly girl's report," said Manfred, "thou didst hazard my displeasure!"

"I fear no man's displeasure," said the peasant, "when a woman in distress puts herself under my protection."

Matilda was passing through a latticed gallery at the upper end of the hall, when her attention was drawn to the prisoner. The gallantry of his last reply interested her in his favour. His person was noble, handsome, and commanding; but his countenance soon engrossed her whole care.

"Heavens!" she said to herself softly, "is he not the exact resemblance of Alfonso's picture?"

"Take him to the court-yard, and sever his head from his body!" was the sentence of Manfred.

Matilda fainted. Father Jerome, horrified at the catastrophe his imprudence had occasioned, begged for the prisoner's life. But the undaunted youth received the sentence with courage and resignation. In the court-yard he unbuttoned his collar, and knelt down to his prayers. As he stooped, his shirt slipped down below his shoulder and disclosed the mark of a bloody arrow.

"Gracious heavens!" cried Jerome, "it is my child! my Theodore!"

"What may this mean? how can it be thy son?" said Manfred.

"Spare him, good Prince! He is my lawful son, born to me when I was Count of Falconara; Sicily can boast of few houses more ancient—is it possible my lord can refuse a father the life of his long-lost child?"

"Return to thy convent," answered Manfred after a pause; "conduct the Princess hither; obey me in what else thou knowest; and I promise thee the life of thy son."

"Rather let me die a thousand deaths!" cried Theodore.

Ere Manfred could reply, a brazen trumpet, which hung without the gate of the castle, was suddenly sounded.

III.—The Knight of the Sword

It was announced that a herald sought to speak with Manfred, who ordered him to be admitted.

"I came," said the herald, "from the renowned and invincible Knight of the Gigantic Sabre. In the name of his lord, Frederic, Marquis of Vicenza, he demands the Lady Isabella, daughter of that Prince whom thou hast barely got into thy power; and he requires thee to resign the principality of Otranto, which thou hast usurped from the said Lord Frederic, the nearest of blood to the last rightful lord, Alfonso the Good. If thou dost not instantly comply with these just demands, he defies thee to single combat to the last extremity."

Injurious as this challenge was, Manfred reflected that it was not his interest to provoke the Marquis. He knew how well founded the claim of Frederic was. Frederic's ancestors had assumed the style of Princes of Otranto; but Manfred's family had been too powerful for the house of Vicenza to dispossess them. Frederic had taken the cross and gone to the Holy Land, where he was wounded, made prisoner, and reported to be dead. Manfred had bribed Isabella's guardians to deliver her up to him as a bride for Conrad, hoping to unite the claims of the two houses.

"Herald," said Manfred, "tell thy master that ere we liquidate our differences with the sword, I would hold converse with him. Bid him welcome to the castle."

In a few minutes the cavalcade arrived. Pages and trumpeters were followed by foot-guards; then came knights with their squires; then an hundred gentlemen bearing an enormous sword, and seeming to faint under its weight; then the knight himself, in complete armour, his face entirely concealed by his visor.

As the knight entered, the plumes on the enchanted helmet in the court-yard were tempestuously agitated, and nodded thrice. The knight gazed on the casque, dismounted, and kneeling down, seemed to pray inwardly for some minutes.

Manfred, during the feast that followed, discoursed to his guests of his claim to Otranto through the will of Alfonso bequeathing his estates to Don Ricardo, Manfred's grandfather, in consideration of faithful services; and he subtly suggested his plan of uniting the houses by divorcing Hippolita and marrying Isabella. But the knight and his companions would not reveal their countenances, and, although they occasionally made gestures of dissent, they hardly ever spoke.

Manfred's discourse was interrupted by the news that Isabella had fled from the convent. The knight was not less disturbed at this than Manfred himself, and, rushing to the door, summoned his attendants to search for her. Manfred also gave orders that she should be found, hoping to secure her for himself and prevent her from falling into the hands of the strangers.

When the company had quitted the castle, Matilda bethought herself of Theodore, who had been placed hastily in confinement. His guards had been by accident included in the general order that had been given by Manfred for the pursuit of Isabella. Matilda stole to his prison, and unbolted the door.

"Fly!" she said; "the doors of thy prison are open; and may the angels of heaven direct thy course!"

"Thou art surely one of these angels!" said the enraptured Theodore. "But dost thou not neglect thine own safety in setting me free?"

"Nay," she answered, "I am Manfred's daughter, but no dangers await me."

"Is it possible? can Manfred's blood feel holy pity?"

"Hasten; I tremble to see thee abide here." Matilda took him to the armoury, and equipped him with a complete suit.

"Yonder behind that forest," she said, "is a chain of rocks, hollowed into caverns that reach the sea-coast. Lie concealed there until thou canst make signs to some vessel to take thee off."

Theodore flung himself at her feet, kissed her hand, vowed to get himself knighted, and entreated her permission to swear himself her knight. But Matilda bade him hasten away, and thus made end of an interview in which both had tasted for the first time the passion of love.

When Theodore had reached the caves and was roving amongst them, he heard steps retreating before him and an imperfect rustling sound. He gave pursuit, and caught a breathless woman who besought him not to deliver her up to Manfred.

"No, Lady Isabella," cried he, "I have once already delivered thee from his tyranny—"

"Art thou the generous unknown whom I met in the vault?" she interrupted. "Surely thou art my guardian angel."

A cry was heard, "Isabella! what ho! Isabella!" The Knight of the Sword approached, and Theodore bade him advance at his peril. Each took the other for an emissary of Manfred; they rushed upon each other, and after a furious combat the knight was wounded and disarmed.

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