« AnteriorContinuar »
more than I did; for she was much interested in that which was my particular aim, while I was thinking that a mathematical woman might be too much of an abstract thing for me. When I reached the house, she was standing by the window. The most noticeable features of her countenance were the eyes, which lent to her whole face that intellectual nobility with which all who saw her were impressed ;-eyes which were now green, now brown, always, as it were, changing, and never of any certain color; great, luminous eyes, piercing to the innermost recess of your soul, but tender and loving, sympathetically responsive, and winning from you your most secret secrets by their magnetic charm.
With a quick movement she turned toward me, and stretching out her hands crossed the room to me; yet with an appearance of bashfulness that gave to the first meeting somewhat the air of a formality. She had had the toothache; and that was the subject of our first conversation : I said I would show her to a dentist's office. Truly a pleasing reason for taking a walk through a strange town; but she was not the person to give much time or attention to so small a matter.
It happened at this time that I was trying to work out the plot of my drama The Way to Do Good; but as yet I had not put it down in writing. But ere we had got to the office of the dentist—and here was Sónya's influence in the directing the thoughts of another-I had not only told her all the play, but had myself thought it out in a breadth and a minuteness of detail far beyond what I had ever intended or thought of before.
And this was the beginning of the power which, ever after this, she exercised upon my writings. Her insight, her sympathy with another's thoughts, were of so exceptional a character ; so enthusiastic, so fervent, was her praise when pleased ; so just was her criticism, that I, with my receptive nature, could never get on with my work while her approbation was wanting. Whatever I had at any time, if her criticism was unfavorable, I rewrote ; and nothing was finished till she was pleased. And thus began our collaboration in authorship.-From Sónya Kovalévsky ; translated for the UNIVERSITY OF LITERATURE.
EDWARDS, or EDWARDES, MRS. ANNIE, a British novelist, of whose personal history very little is known except what may be gathered from her works and the criticisms connected with them. “ Her line," said the Nation in 1875, “is the continental English of damaged reputation—the ad. venturers, the gamblers, the escaped debtors, the desperate economists, the separated wives, the young ladies without mammas, who smoke cigarettes and compromise' themselves with moustachioed foreigners. All women at heart, says the familiar axiom, love a rake; whether Mrs. Ed. wards loves hers we cannot say, but she portrays them with a good deal of discretion.” The Athenæum had already said, ten years earlier: “Mrs. Edwards is not true to herself nor to the talents intrusted to her; in writing such novels she is employing them to do mischief to the utmost of her power.” Griswold says that Mudie, of circulating library fame, refused to circulate one of Mrs. Edwards's earlier novels; and expresses the supposition that the rejected book was the Morals of May Fair, her first work, issued in 1857. Of Creeds, which appeared in 1859, the Galaxy said that the motive and action were unnatural and incredible. The World's Verdict (1861) was received as a good story, but rather carelessly arranged. Laura, the heroine, was pronounced by the Spec
tator “a fine specimen of a bad woman-very different from Becky Sharp, but as clever a sketch as the latter is a finished picture.” Miss Forrester (1865) " is unhealthy; it has not the excuse of being a study of morbid anatomy, for the characters are utterly unreal.” Archie Lovell, appearing but a few months later, was hailed as a faithful, brilliant, varied picture of English men and women. Two years later appeared Steven Lawrence, Yeoman; and in 1869 was published Susan Fielding, in whose real heroine, Portia Ffrench, the Round Table saw the typical modern fashionable young lady of English and American society, set as a foil to the virtues of the immaculate Susan, and said: “No one has comprehended the real nature of the fashionable girl of the period more fully than Mrs. Edwards, and her embodiment of this conception in Portia is exceedingly creditable to her powers of mental and moral analysis and her capacity for accurate and forcible portrait painting.” Ought We to Visit Her (1871), according to the Atlantic Monthly,“is one of the best novels which have appeared in a long time.” “Jet scrambles gayly through the debatable land of foreign society, and carries a gleam of youth and innocence with her," was the remark of the Nation when Jet--Her Face or Her Fortune was issued in 1878. To many readers Mrs. Edwards is “the authoress of Vivian the Beauty.” This work was issued in 1879. Vivian herself is an English actress who is tardily introduced into a simply told story of homely life in a German “Schloss.” A Girton Girl (1885) ought to have been called, the Nation thinks, “A Would-be Gir
ton Girl,” or “Why Marjorie Bertrand did not go to Girton.” “The girl never goes to Girton, neither is she the chief personage of the story; nevertheless she is a charming and original girl.” Other works of Mrs. Edwards are A Point of Honor (1863); The Ordeal for Wives (1864); Leah, a Woman of Fashion (1875); The Blue Stocking (1877); The Playwright's Daughter (1886); Pearl Powder (1890); The Adventuress (1894).
LEARNING HIS FATE.
He had spoken no syllable of his passion to Dinah, was too self-distrustful to tell his secret by means so matter-of-fact as a sheet of paper and the post. And so, like many another timid suitor, Geoffrey Arbuthnot elected to play a losing game.
With immense fidelity in his breast, but without a word of explanation, he set off by noon of that day to London-not ignorant that Gaston's eyes and those of Dinah Thurston had already met. A girl's vanity, if not her heart, might well have been wounded by such conduct. In after times Geoffrey Arbuthnot, musing over his lost happiness, would apply such medicine to his sore spirit as the limited pharmacopæia of disappointment can offer. If he had had a man's metal, if instead of flying like a schoolboy, he had said to her, on that evening when Gaston drove past them at the gate. “ Take me or reject me, but choose !” -had he thus spoken, Geoffrey used to think, he might have won her.
To-night, on the Guernsey waste land, with heaven so broad above, with earth so friendly, the past seemed to return to him without effort of his own, and without sting. :
Springing to his feet, Geoffrey resolved to brood over the irrevocable no longer. He emptied the ashes from his pipe, then replaced it, with Dinah's delicate morsel of handiwork, in his pocket. He took out his watch. It was more than time for him to be off ; and after a farewell glance at the campanula-shrouded knolls, Geff started briskly in the direction of Tintajeux
He was dusty and wearied when he drew near the village. The rectory, the seven publichouses of Lesser Cheriton, looked more blankly uninhabited than usual. Some barn-door fowls, a few shiningnecked pigeons, strutted up and down the High Street, its only occupants. When he reached the cottage no one answered his ring. The aunt was evidently absent. Dinah, thought Geoffrey, would be busy among her flowers, or might have taken her sewing to the orchard that lay at the bottom of the garden. He had been told, on some former visit, to go round, if the bell was unanswered, to a side entrance, lift the kitchen latch, and if the door was unbolted, enter. He did so now ; passed through the kitchen, burnished and neat as though it came out of a Dutch picture-through the tiny, cool. smelling dairy, and out into the large shadows of the garden beyond.
Silence met him everywhere. The roses, only budding a fortnight ago, had now yearned into June's deep crimson. The fruit-tree leaves had grown long and grayish, forming an impenetrable screen which shut out familiar perspectives, and gave Geoffrey a sense of strangeness that he liked not. Under the south wall, where the apricots already looked like yellowing, was a turf path leading you fieldward, through the entire length of the garden. Along this path with unintentionally muffled footsteps, Geoffrey Arbuthnot trod. When he reached the hedge that formed the final boundary between garden and orchard a'man's voice fell on his ear. He stopped, transfixed, as one might do to whom the surgeon's verdict of "No Hope” has been delivered with cruel expectedness. The voice was his cousin Gaston's.
Youth, the possibility of every youthful joy, died out in that moment's anguish, from Geff Arbuthnot's heart. But the stuff the man was made of showed itself. More potent than all juice of grape is pain for evoking the best and the worst from human souls. Desolate, bemocked of fate, he turned away, the door of his earthly Paradise shutting on him, walked back to the scholar's attic in John's, whose full loneliness he had never realized till now, and during two hours' space gave way to such abandonment as even the bravé