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‘An odious habit,' she said. “Be in the world and at home seems to insides, you won't learn anything.' terest him vividly. He thinks of some
'Cornelia,' I continued, - not sole thing new to do or to say every mornemnly, you understand, but with my ing of his life. Whatever man or woman lightest touch, - ‘are you as entirely he meets seems to be the one person in happy as we all think you are?' the world that he was hoping to meet at
'You don't imagine I should tell you that moment; but I think he actually if I were not, do you?' she said — also does n't care very much for women, with the light touch. 'Of course I am!' except in their purely decorative as
‘Then I suppose that if I asked you pects. Sometimes he is a little exacting, to outline the personal characteristics but he is generally appreciative; and of, let us say, the sort of man one's he has very nice ways of remembering daughter should choose in order to have birthdays and anniversaries. And then, a high prospect of a happy marriage – in tight places, he always does the right why, then you would just hand me back thing; in a crisis one can rely on him.' a quick sketch of His Excellency, your 'Cornelia,' I said, clipping a row of husband, would n't you?'
flame-weed with my stick, as we quick‘Of course I should,' she replied with. ened our pace, 'I have just passed out hesitation. 'I am proud of Oliver. through a terrible minute. You know He has made a place for himself in that Oliver is the only man in the public life. Men like him — he has world that I envy. I have been checkhosts of men friends; and his relatives ing off each trait of his against my own, are all suitable people. He has been and absolutely the only trait that I able to provide amply and even lavishly have in common with this happinessfor the comfort of his family, and has producing paragon is that my temper, given us the advantage of years of too, has “stormy seasons." foreign travel and residence. He cares “That's too bad,' Cornelia said a good deal for appearances; but so do maliciously, ‘for I don't consider OliI. He likes to live expensively; but he ver's temper his best trait.' knows how to live. And he is never, ‘No, nor do I; you omitted the finest like so many men with careers, too busy virtue of the perfect American husband. to live or to let other people live — unWhat I admire most of all in Oliver is less they can be swept into the stream his sending you into the country for the of the monster's ambition. He is never summer — and his sublime confidence too busy to enjoy what he is doing that he will get you back again in the
‘Astonishing virtue, in the circum- fall.' stances!'groaned my envy.
“The quiet is nice here, is n't it?' And then he is generous to us all — she said; but had n't we better turn and reasonably tolerant, and really about? The sun is slipping into that kind-hearted and sympathetic with peo- indigo cloud-bank.' ple that he likes; and he and the children positively adore each other. I like that in him. His temper has its stormy seasons, but for the most part it We plunged over the ridge by a steep is gay; and even when he is very angry path to the lake, in order to make the he is rather entertaining. He has so short return by the shore. The wind much humor that he seldom bores him- was now blowing hard and the waves self, and so much intelligence that he running high. I began to feel like takseldom bores anyone else. Everything ing it casy, but Cornelia is indefati
said, relenting a there to walk
naciously rewarding self sou
gable. She drew up her shoulders, ‘Yes,' said Cornelia, 'I understand threw back her head, took a deep that. It is something like the religious breath, and went cutting into the wind or sacramental theory of marriage, like a gallant yacht.
is n't it?' "Oh let's slow down a bit,' I called. 'Something like some people's notion 'I've only just begun to understand of it,' I replied. “But please follow this something. Something very impor- argument. Under the illusion that the tant about happiness. It flashed into self is such a being, and only so to be my mind — literally flashed — as you come at, romantic lovers fret themstruck that Samothracian pace north- selves to a fever, and decadent heroes ward.'
and heroines tear each other to bits, 'If it's as important as that -' she and ignorant contemporary husbands said, relenting a little in her stride. and wives separate with bitter recrimi‘But don't you like to walk fast? nations, each charging that the mysNothing makes me so happy.'
teriously rewarding self sought in the 'I have a theory,' I said. “One can't other was not to be found.' walk fast when one has a theory. It’s ‘Well?' a theory for which you are partly, per- 'Well, the reason it was not found is haps mainly, responsible.'
that it was not there. There is no such *Then it is n't horrid, is it?'
secret garden; there is no such mysteri‘Oh no! It is very nice indeed. But ous self to reward the mystics of the even now, while we delay, it has grown romantic quest.' into three theories. In the first place, ‘Don't you think so?' there are no perfect husbands, and 'No,'I said. “I think, up to a certain there is probably only one perfect wife. point, our brutal modern naturalists In the second place, happiness is in have followed truth much more faithneither wives nor husbands, but only in fully than the poets. And I believe the relation between. In the third that in educating our young people we place, people who are unhappy in mar had better follow them to the same riage are so, usually, because they point. My novelist friend is right in don't know how to give themselves to holding to his theory that Judith each other. In the fourth place, — it's O'Grady and the Colonel's lady are four now, — that unhappy ignorance is much the same beneath the skin.' chiefly due to erroneous conceptions of ‘Bah!' cried Cornelia. 'If you say the self.'
that again, I shall hate you.' ‘Just what do you mean by the self?' 'And I shall ask to be forgiven,' I she said. “My metaphysical brains are said, “and you will forgive me so weak.'
graciously that I shall sin again. But 'Well, the traditional, romantic, and I'm very serious about this. Judith generally popular conception is that and the lady are very much the same — the self is a very deep and precious beneath the skin. mystery of “the buried life,” an elusive 'I hate you!' Cornelia cried. 'I being hidden away inside, — always in- could stick you full of pins.' side, — in a secret garden of the per- “Beneath the skin,' I continued, sonality, where it murmurs to itself the ‘Judith and the lady consist of closely most delightful and ineffable secrets, similar metabolic apparatus and so which can be communicated to any other forth, and a certain amount of vacant self only in a mystical physical fusion space — and nothing else. And since of selves — or confusion of selves.' the apparatus is the same, there is
that again, Tied Corneth the skidy are
every reason to believe that it functions ‘A man's power to impart his best in essentially the same way in perform self depends,” I said, “on the woman's ing the duties assigned to it by bio- power to receive it.' logical destiny.'
'Of course,' said Cornelia. ‘All that “You are disgusting,' said Cornelia any man, even a genius, asks of his
'If I dwelt too long on the point, I wife is intelligence enough to appreciate should be,' I agreed. “Viscera and him.' vacancy: that is what Judith and the 'No,' I said, 'that is n't true. That lady have beneath the skin. And that is going by. There was a time when is why I think the naturalistic novelists a husband thought of himself as the are foolish if they dwell too long there.' pianist, and of his wife as standing be'Is this your nice theory?
hind him to turn the pages of his music. 'No,'I said, “it is n't; but it is a sort But nowadays we begin to think that of basis for my theory. First, we the ideal concert is by two performers establish the fact that the interesting on perfectly synchronized independand precious and desirable self is n't ent instruments — not soloist and ac"inside.” Then, don't you see, it must companist, but, say, organist and be outside. Well, it is outside. It pianist, each as important as the does n't exist till it gets outside. All other. the differentiation, the distinction, the 'Nonsense!' said Cornelia. “We shall qualities, which you and I value, are never expect that. But we do like our outside and are created by means accompaniment to be applauded when analogous to the means of art. In so we play well — and especially when we far as people — any people, married · don't.' or otherwise, — really give themselves “If there is one subject in the world,' adequately to each other in love or in I said, veering a point, ‘about which I friendship, and impart happiness with am more densely ignorant than another, the gift, they give a self that is ex- it is women, and what they really like.' ternalized, objectified, and tangible — “That's quite true,' she lilted. so to speak — in some form of useful or ‘But I knew a lady once.' - beautiful activity, which occasions no 'Still another lady?' insatiable and consuming fever, but the 'A most exquisite lady. And I often real joy of benefits given and received wondered why, whenever “the idea and the delight of a loveliness that of her life” came into my “study of descends on the contemplative eye like imagination” I invariably saw her in the free grace of God.'
‘Your theory improves,' said Corne- organic part of herself.' lia; “I don't wholly understand it; but ‘Well, it is, is n't it — if one puts a it improves.'
little effort into it, to make it right. It VI
is in the setting - is n't it — that one
has one's opportunity to express what The foam was now running high up you call the self. It is in one's husband, the beach. I splashed straight through children, friends, and one's home and it, in spite of my shoes. But Cornelia, habits and things and so on. lighter footed, danced with it like a ‘Yes, but in the case of this lady partner in some fantastic minuet, re- there was a curious point about the turning to my side and my argument setting. Wherever she was seemed to only when the creamy gliding meander be the centre of the picture. She alebbed.
ways seemed to frame.'
Det have felt her al- theory is that we
'What an attitudinizer she must fine instrument which the rest of us have been!
rarely hear. Perhaps she is right, after 'She was not. It was only, I think, all, in thinking of the art and discipline that she seemed to bring out and ac- of the traditional lady and the tradicentuate everything near her that tional gentleman as the technique by harmonized with her own vibrant and which the true and precious selves of articulate life. When I saw her in her our fellow creatures are most likely to drawing-room, it framed her; and she get themselves expressed.' appeared as fine and finished as if she 'I believe,' said Cornelia, 'your had stepped from a canvas of Wat theory is coming out rather well, and teau's. Her books and pictures and in time for tea.' tapestries became as intimately hers as “My only reason for elaborating my her garments, so that I have felt her al- theory is that it is based upon the most visibly present in that room even practice of a lady whose theory is when she was not there. Sometimes, in infinitely surpassed by her art.' a perverse mood, I have said, “This is 'Is it indeed?' she said. all a pose"; and, trying to go behind When I got the theory built, I was the elaborate expressiveness of her planning to say that I should wish a artificial surroundings and to tease her daughter to choose for her husband out of perfection, I have gone on rough neither one of the sheik-monsters who walks with her in woods and in the of late have been devouring our open, half hoping that she might revert damsels, nor yet the inexpressive and to the inarticulate pathos of Nature. unmodified vestrymen whom you comBut the instant she stepped from the · mended to our admiration this morning, frame of art she stepped into the frame but rather a youth who should have a of the landscape; the greensward spread bit of the old bachelor's conception of itself before her like Ralegh's cloak; what might be in the relation - an old groves offered themselves for a back, bachelor, I mean, who had known, in
the of late have beene - monsters
pen, half hoping that she might
she came up out of the sea, like Botti- ‘Why lug in the old bachelor?' celli's Cytherea, the sea would clothe Cornelia asked — a little cruelly; for her and her pearly radiance appear but we were already at her door. an extension of the lustrous nacre of 'Because,' I said, as she waited on some deep-sea shell.'
the step for my leave-taking, 'because ‘You are fanciful,' said Cornelia. time and meditation and the natural
'I am not fanciful,' I replied. 'I ex- istic novelists have convinced him that, press just as simply as I can with words almost without a pang, he may resign my sense of the quite blessed outward- . to Mr. O'Grady and the Colonel the ness and availability of this lady's self. similarities of Judith and the lady, I don't think she knew it, but — provided only that, from time to time,
'But that shows how ignorant you he may refresh his memory and his are of women,' she said, and swept me senses with the lady's differences.' again sidelong with her gray eyes. “Meaning
‘But whether she knew it or not,' I 'Why, meaning that the kind of man reasoned, 'she possesses a secret of whom a girl like Dorothy should communicating happiness - a kind of choose should know that the passion happiness which I can describe only as hymned by the naturalists is naught, pure serenity at concert pitch. Perhaps sheer naught she was merely born in tune with some 'You really mean that?'
Shay she is now?
be a long time," said heavens.
y needs to troublelia,
- in comparison with the quality of greatly exaggerated. It seemed to me love to be had in its high moments of rather dreadful. It's James Stephens's general joyous awareness of the entire version, is n't it?' radiant life of a fellow being — meeting “Yes,' said Dorothy and, turning the his perceptions and recorded in his golden dusk of her eyes full upon mine, imagination, clothed in color and mo- she added: ‘How old was my mother tion and talk and laughter and fresh when you first knew her?' air, the head turning with frank gay 'About your age, Dorothy. Why do light in the eyes, the lips parted in you ask?' speech, while the springing step goes ‘Was she very different then — from rhythmically over the wide-stretching the way she is now?' earth under sunlight and blue heavens. “She was quite a bit like you, then,'
'It will be a long time,' said Cornelia, I said, '— if I remember. But why do 'before Dorothy needs to trouble her you ask?' head with that. Meanwhile we shall ‘Because,' she said, 'she has marked occupy ourselves with the rudiments. the loveliest passage in this book. And Shall we see you at mail-time to- I can't understand why, because she morrow?'
is n't like that now — not at all like ‘Yes,' I said, “and we'll take up that now.' Oliver's case, perhaps. There's going 'Is n't like what? to be a fine sunset. 'Voirl'
'I mean,' said Dorothy with perfect
lucidity, 'that this passage expresses VII
just the way this boy and I feel. Shall I
read it to you?' As I entered the wood path through “That would n't be quite nice,' I sugthe birches that run down to my own gested,'would it, Dorothy? Good-bye!' cottage, I thought I saw a boyish 'Perhaps not,' she agreed; but as she youngish figure slipping among the moved toward the house she turned trees to the eastward. A moment later, and called after me: ‘But if you want to I met Dorothy walking demurely up read it, you can find it on page onethe path, with a book in her hand, hundred-and-forty.' closed upon one finger.
In my own copy of James Stephens's ‘Watching the sun set?' I asked, Deirdre, I have marked, on page 140, diplomatically.
this passage: – 'No,' she said, 'watching him dis- Lacking him, what could be returned to
her? Her hands went cold and her mouth Watching whom disappear?' I in- dry as she faced such a prospect. quired, being invited.
The youth who was hers. Who had no 'Oh, a boy that I like. We've been terrors for her! Who was her equal in years reading one of mother's new books. and frolic! She could laugh with him and at It's about a girl, Deirdre, who did n't
dre who didn't him. She could chide him and love him. want to marry a king, because there
She could give to him and withhold. She
could be his mother as well as his wife. She was a boy that she liked very much
could annoy him and forgive him. For bebetter — in all ways. And so they
tween them there was such an equality of ran away and lived in the woods — time and rights that neither could dream of and died happily.
mastery or feel a grief against the other. ‘Oh-ho!' I exclaimed. 'I suspect the He was her beloved, her comrade, the very happiness of their death has been red of her heart, and her choice choice.