Imágenes de páginas

being built it was discovered by actual end. They tend, like despots, to go experiment that the millionaire con- mad. The proportion of them in Amertractors were the best to employ, that ica who suffer from "nervous disease," even if they charged extravagantly, or a habit of drinking contracted by eftheir railways actually did get done, forts to keep down nervous ailment, is while the little people were pausing or extraordinary, is, in fact, described by failing before unexpected obstacles. good medical authority as amounting Suppose a bank has four millions, its to fifty per cent. That is always acdirectors cannot expend three in filling counted for in newspapers as the result up Chat Moss, for they may be robbing of nervous strain, of fierce anxiety, of their shareholders, who trust to their overwork; but we are by no means sure judgment and discretion. But the con- that as unlimited power is known of tractor with four millions can pitch itself to overtax the brain, so an unthree into the swamp, first, because limited command of wealth does not they are his own, and secondly, because weaken the controlling will. The deif his judgment prove faulty, he has sire to do something bigger still masstil enough left for luxury or for be- ters them, they do not get the help ginning again. "If I lose a quarter of a despots do from counsellors, and by and million," said a considerable contrac- by their power of action, rapid and irtor, "over that infernal bridge, I'm responsible action, gets too much for ruined; but if Brassey loses it he'll just their mental strength. We do not care, build it again. That's the use of Bras- it would not, indeed, be right, to give sey;"-and we do not see where the instances; but we are greatly mistaken answer to that rough apology for the if many of the new millionaires are not new millionaire is to be found. There showing a tendency to the special form are big, risky things to be done which of mental weakness which is called are also useful things, and he is, occa- megalomania, or "les grandeurs," a desionally at all events, wanted to do sire to make their houses, their yachts, them. If only one could give million- their pleasaunces, even their activities, aires consciences there would be a bigger than for their own objects it is true place for them in the social fabric, necessary they should be made. They even if they never gave away a penny, become too conscious of their own and were only intent on becoming bil- magnificence, are too completely their lionaires. The trouble is that their con- own pivots, think too largely and consciences die, as those of most con- stantly of their own relation to the querors do, in the very magnitude of world around them. Madness lies in their transactions, which tempt them that direction, and we should not be at to act as if they were powers of nature, all surprised some day to see a mamand sweep on to their ends regardless moth millionaire loose în the world, alike of human misery and of right and and doing mischief on a scale which wrong. would compel more than one country to question whether the right to spend one's own money had not limits which the owner must be prevented by force from passing.

The great danger from millionaires, we suspect, is one which many of our readers, will pronounce fanciful, the danger indicated in Mr. Barnato's sad

Fatigue in Reading.-The increasing part played by reading in the life of civilized man has resulted in the wide prevalence of myopia, astigmatism, and kindred disorders. Myopia would, however, be rare if the eye were never fatigued; so a paper by Harold Griffing and S. I. Franz, in the Psychological Review, on the physical conditions


fatigue in reading, and the best means of avoiding it, should be of service. From their experiments the authors conclude that the size of type is the all-important condition of visual fatigue. No type less than 1.5 mm. in height should be used, the fatigue increasing rapidly even before the size becomes as small as this.

No. 2768-July 24, 1897.


Sixth Series, Volume XV.


I. THE AMULET. Part I. From the Ital-
ian of Neera. Translated for The Living
Age by Mrs. Maurice Perkins,


By Alphonse de Calonne,

Nineteenth Century,


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]


Hamilton Aïdé,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]





From Beginning,

Contemporary Review,
Macmillan's Magazine, .

Fortnightly Review,

Good Words,
London Times,














FOR SIX DOLLARS remitted directly to the Publishers, THe Living Age will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage.

Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, cr by post-office money order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks, and money-orders should be made payable to the order of THE LIVING AGE Co.

Single copies of THE LIVING AGE, 15 cents.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]


Translated for THE LIVING AGE by Mrs. Maurice

On the death of General Maurice de Riche Fournion, a Piedmontais of good family, who had made his first campaign in the Crimea, and afterwards become famous in the wars of Italian Unity, his heirs, distant relations, divided among themselves the knickknacks in his small bachelor apartment. One of them received an oddly shaped portfolio, of embroidered leather, evidently coming from some Eastern bazar. This portfolio, fastened by a faded silken cord, exhaled an odor of attar of rose and fine tobacco. In one corner were engraved two crossed swords surmounted by a rose. Under the satin lining there was a manuscript, a hundred sheets of thin tough paper covered with a nervous handwriting not broad and tall after the fashion of to-day, but thin, fine, not without that innate elegance of which the letters of our great-grandmothers give us some idea.

anything about the persons, or places, or the time in which it was written. After all, perhaps the old man was right and it did not concern us.


[blocks in formation]


I remember the month, it was February, and the day-a splendid day-and the hour. It was the hour when my salon was strangely illuminated through the red silk curtains, the hour when its heavy, almost sombre furniture in this atmosphere of flame, seemed animated by a secret ardor. I was arranging a vase of flowers and my little Alexis seated on the carpet hummed softly in his plaintive voice,

The text was in French. In the margin there were some pencil notes in the general's heavy handwriting. A sheet was added to the manuscript as a sort of preface and explanation; a proof that he valued it, and that, if he had ever made a will, these mysterious papers would never have come to the public eye. This, without a commentary is the my mind. memorandum of the general:

I rise with the sun in the morning, And send up a prayer to God. "Alexis," I said, "be still a moment. I think I hear a step." "It is Pietro."

"I do not think it is Pietro. You know I am expecting our cousin M. de la Querciaia. You will be a good boy, won't you?"

"I like la Querciaia," answered the child, "because there are lots of little birds in the trees."

Just at this moment, Pietro raised the portière. I had never seen my cousin; first he had been at college, and then abroad. I remembered his mother, an angelic creature, who had died a year before, but as for him, I had never seen even his portrait. Nothing but his reputation for cleverness bad reached me, and that only disturbed

Accustomed as I was to an ordinary existence, always alone with my child and Pietro, and Old Ursula, at a distance from any intellectual centre, and from all society, what could I find to say to this clever, well bred young man?

Happily, as I was already standing in the middle of the room, I did not find it very difficult to hold out my hand to him, and Alexis, jumping up from the floor and running to hide himself in my skirts, furnished me with a subject of conversation to begin with. I cannot say whether I thought him attractive or not at first sight, but I am very cer

tain that I did not find him commonplace, and looking at him attentively I saw that he was handsome with a beauty at once proud and gentle.

For his part, he looked at me long and closely, but without impertinence. He did not say a word about my husband. He probably knew that we lived almost entirely apart, but nevertheless he ought to have asked after him, at any rate I thought so. He asked me how I employed myself and if I read much. Read? That surprised me a little. Really as I looked round me I did not see a single book in my parlor. My husband had books in his room but they had never interested me. I told him that Alexis occupied me a good deal; I made all his clothes and worked a little in my flower garden; then I went over the household accounts with Pietro and kept the linen closet in order with Ursula.

"And is that the whole of your life?" he asked, and I felt a touch of scorn in his voice.

"I have also my poor people." "Ah!"

After this exclamation in a cold dry tone, he seemed to think he had made a bad beginning, for he hastened to say something agreeable and leaned over to caress my little boy.

"We have no neighbors, have we?" "No, we two are our only neighbors." I laughed as I said this, and he laughed too, suddenly revealing a different expression of his face and heart. Then my timidity vanished and I began to feel that he really was my kins


"We are the only neighbors in the place, and the last of our family, and yet there must be others, an uncle, if I am not mistaken."

"Yes, but he made a bad marriage. His wife has behaved very badly to us. She is a jealous and ambitious woman. She comes to church on Sunday, just to annoy us and make us give up the


"Ah, I pray you, take no notice of such vulgarities; it seems to me, dear cousin, that neither you nor I have any thing to do with such things."

I blushed at these words, remembering how often I had talked them over with Ursula. He had the good taste not to notice my embarrassment, and I was very grateful to him.

Then he began to speak of his travels, and as I took the opportunity to regret my solitary life, suggesting that one learned a great deal by travelling, he answered: "The only things that are necessary to know can be learned in solitude. Travel certainly adds something, but not what is most important. The most important experiences are those that take place within us."

This also surprised me; I never should have dreamed that a well-bred man could contradict a woman so flatly on his first visit.

"Are you going to stay at la Querciaia for some time?"

"I shall stay a long time. Perhaps I shall settle there altogether, if, for instance, I find the ideal woman, the wife worthy of me."

I opened my eyes very wide, but said nothing, and he added with the smile which made all his words charming, as if a sudden brightness shone upon them,

"Do you think I am very proud? One should be proud; it is the greatest of the virtues."

"I have always heard the very contrary. It is humility that is a virtue.” "A mistake, a mistake."

He saw that he had shocked me, and immediately continued, "You will agree that we ought to realize capabilities, especially when it concerns such a thing as the choice of a companion for our whole lives. Does humility seem a fine thing when it induces us to accept an unworthy inferior being, who will give us children for whom we shall have to blush?"

I looked anxiously at my little Alexis, who was so pretty and so good. The child saw my look of tenderness and apprehension, and held out his arms to me, and I pressed him to my heart, strangely agitated.

"He is a charming little fellow," he said, putting his hand on Alexis' head, "but see, cousin, how your eyes shine

« AnteriorContinuar »