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the sole recommendation of his neutrality.
"And besides," said Father Concha, sitting in the sunlight on his church steps at Ronda, reading to the barber and the shoemaker and other of his parishioners the latest newspaper "and besides he is clever."
He paused, slowly taking a pinch of snuff.
"Where the river is deepest it makes least noise," he added.
The barber wagged his head, after the manner of one who will never admit that he does not understand an allusion. And before any could speak the clatter of horses in the narrow street diverted attention. Concha rose to his feet.
"Ah!" he said, and went forward to meet Conyngham, who was riding with Concepcion at his side.
"So you have come, my son," he said, shaking hands. He looked up into the Englishman's face, which was burnt brown by service under a merciless sun. Conyngham looked lean and strong, but his eyes had no rest in them. This was not a man who had all he wanted.
Without further comment he tracted from inside his smart tunic a letter, the famous letter in a pink envelope, which he handed to Concha. "Yes," said the priest, turning it over; "you and I first saw this in the Hotel de la Marina, at Algeciras, when we were fools not to throw it into the nearest brazier. We should have saved a good man's life, my friend."
He handed the letter back, and thoughtfully dusted his cassock where it was worn and shiny with constant dusting, so that the snuff had naught to cling to.
"And you have got it at last. Holy saints, these Englishmen! Do you always get what you want, my son?"
"Not always," replied Conyngham, with an uneasy laugh; "but I should be a fool not to try." "Assuredly," said
Concha-"assuredly, and you have come to Ronda -to try."
"Are you come to Ronda, or are you passing through?" asked the priest.
"There walks a tragedy," said Concha, in his curt way. "Inside every cassock there walks a tragedy-or villain."
"To Ronda. As I passed the Casa Barenna I made inquiries. The ladies are in the town, it appears."
"Yes; they are with Estella in the house, you know, unless you have forgotten it."
After a pause it was Concha who again broke the silence; Conyngham seemed to be occupied with his own thoughts.
"No," answered Conyngham, getting out of the saddle "no, padre, I have forgotten nothing." Concepcion came forward and led safety. Catalonia is full of such as the horse away.
"And Larralde?" said the priest. "I come from him, from Barcelona," answered Conyngham, "where he is in
"I will walk to the Casa Vincente. Have you the time to accompany me?" said Conyngham.
They walked on in silence, on the shady side of the street, and presently passed and saluted a priest, one of Concha's colleagues in this city of the South.
"I have always time for my neighbor's business," replied Concha, and they set off together.
"You walk stiffly," said Concha. lona." "Have you ridden far?"
"From Osuna, forty miles since daybreak."
"You are in a hurry." "Yes, I am in a hurry."
he. Sir John Pleydell before leaving Spain bought this letter for two hundred pounds, a few months ago, when I was a poor man and could not offer a price for it. But Larralde disappeared when the plot failed, and I have only found him lately in Barce
"In Barcelona?" echoed Concha. "Yes; where he can take a passage to Cuba, and where he awaits Julia Barenna."
"Ah! said Concha, "so he also is
faithful. Because life is not long, my son. That is the only reason. How wise was the great God when he made a human life short."
"I have a letter," continued Conyngham, "from Larralde to the Señorita Barenna."
"So you parted friends in Barcelona, after all, when his knife has been between your shoulders."
"God bless you, my son!" said the priest in Latin, with his careless, hurried gesture of the cross.
After they had walked a few paces moment in hesitation. he spoke again.
"I shall go to Barcelona with her," he said, "and marry her to this man. When one has no affairs of one's own there always remain, for old women and priests, the affairs of one's neighbor. Tell me," he paused and looked fiercely at him under shaggy brows"tell me why you came to Spain?"
"You want to know who and what I am before we reach the Calle Major," said Conyngham.
"I know what you are, amigo mio, better than yourself perhaps."
As they walked through the narrow streets Conyngham told his simple history, dwelling more particularly on the circumstances preceding his departure from England, and Concha listened with no further sign of interest than a grimace or a dry smile here and
fountain. She was asleep in a rocking-chair, with a newspaper on her lap. She preferred the patio to the garden, which was too quiet for one of her temperament. In the patio she found herself better placed to exchange a word with those engaged in the business of the house-to learn, in fact, from the servants the latest gossip, to ask futile questions of them, and to sit in that idleness which will not allow others to be employed. In a word, this was the Señora Barenna, and Concha, seeing her, stood for a
"The mill gains by going, and not by standing still," he said, and added after a pause, "but it is always a mistake to grind another's wheat for nothing."
They were now approaching the old house in the Calle Major, and Conyngham lapsed into a silence which his companion respected. They passed under the great doorway into the patio, which was quiet and shady at this afternoon hour. The servants, of whom there are a multitude in all great Spanish houses, had apparently retired to the seclusion of their Own quarters. One person alone was discernible amid the orange-trees and in the neighborhood of the murmuring
Then, with a signal to Conyngham, he crept noiselessly across the tessellated pavement to the shadow of the staircase. They passed up the broad steps without sound, and without awaking the sleeping lady. In the gallery above the priest paused and looked down into the courtyard, grim face twisted into a queer smile, then at the woman sitting there, at life and all its illusions, perhaps. He shrugged his shoulders and passed on.
In the drawing-room they found Julia, who leapt to her feet and hurried across the floor when she saw Conyngham. She stood looking at him breathlessly, her whole history written in her eyes.
"Yes," she whispered, as if he had called her "yes; what is it? Have you come to tell me something?"
"I have come to give you a letter, señorita," he answered, handing her Larralde's missive. She held out her hand and never took her eyes from his face.
Concha walked to the window, the window from whence the alcalde of Ronda had seen Conyngham hand Julia Barenna another letter. The old priest stood looking down into the garden, where, amid the feathery foliage of the pepper-trees and the bamboos, he could perceive the shadow of a black dress. Conyngham also turned away, and thus the two men, who held this woman's happiness in the hollow of their hands, stood listening to the crisp rattle of the paper as she tore the envelope and unfolded
her lover's letter. A great happiness Their attitude toward each other and a great sorrow are alike impossi- was one of mutual respect, which ble of realization. We only perceive feeling should surely be the basis of their extent when their importance love. has begun to wane.
Julia Barenna read the letter through to the end, and it is possible (for women are blind in such matters) failed to perceive the selfishness in every line of it. Then, with the message of happiness in her hand, she returned to the chair she had just quitted, with a vague wonder in her mind, and the very human doubt that accompanies all possessions, as to "It contains the lives of many men, whether the price paid had not been their lives and the happiness of those too high. connected with them," said Conyngham. "That is what you hold in your hand, señorita, as well as my life and happiness."
"I have not read it myself, and am permitted to give it to you on one condition, namely, that you destroy it as soon as you have read it." She looked at it again.
Concha was the first to move. He turned and crossed the room toward Conyngham.
"I see," he said, "Estella in the garden."
And they passed out of the room together, leaving Julia Barenna alone with her thoughts. On the broad stone balcony Concha paused.
"I will stay here," he said. He looked over the balustrade-Señora Barenna was still asleep.
"Do not awake her," he whispered. "Let all sleeping things-sleep."
Conyngham passed down the stairs noiselessly, and through the doorway into the garden.
"And at the end the Gloria is chanted," said Concha, watching him go.
The scent of the violets greeted Conyngham as he went forward beneath the trees planted there in the Moslem's day. The running water murmured sleepily, as it hurried in its narrow channel toward the outlet through the grey wall, from whence it leapt four hundred feet into the Tajo below.
Estella was seated in the shade of a gnarled fig-tree, where tables and chairs indicated the Spanish habit of an out-of-door existence. She rose as he came toward her, and met his eyes gravely. A gleam of sun glancing through the leaves fell on her golden hair, half hidden by the mantilla, and showed that she was pale with some fear or desire.
"Señorita," he said, "I have brought you the letter."
He held it out and she took it, turning over the worn envelope absentmindedly.
She raised her dark eyes to his for a moment, and then their tenderness was not of earth or of this world at all. Then she tore the envelope and its contents slowly into a hundred pieces, and dropped the fluttering papers into the stream pacing in its marble bed toward the Tajo and the oblivion of the sea.
"There, I have destroyed the letter," she said, with a thoughtful little smile; then looking up, she met his eyes.
"I did not want it. I am glad you gave it to me. It will make a difference to our lives, though-I never wanted it."
Then she came slowly toward him.
and authorized them to pass their examinations for the degrees, both of master and bachelor of arts. The legal faculty soon followed this example. A Roumanian, Mlle. Belsesco, and a Frenchwoman, Mlle. Chauvin, were awarded doctors' degrees, and, in 1888, despite the opposition both of students and professors, female medical students received permission to walk the hospitals of Paris. The same thing has happened almost everywhere. In Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Russia and Italy, as well as in the United States, women have full permission to practise medicine.
Hitherto, however, the majority of the German universities have either kept their doors fast closed, or have opened only a sliding panel, by way of signifying that the women were received on sufferance, not as a matter of right. A woman cannot attend the course at the University of Berlin without first satisfying both the minister of public instruction and the acting professor about her motives; and the grace is awarded by preference to foreigners; moreover, they are not permitted either to matriculate or to take degrees. At Jena matters are still worse. The four boards which govern the university refuse to admit women to the lecture-rooms, even as mere auditors, but turn them pitilessly out. Germany still resists; but there are certain signs that she will not resist much longer; that she is beginning to waver. Women will have proved yet once again, that when they will, they will; and that what they will is the will of God.
In the month of November, 1895, a Berlin journal contained the announcement that Prof. Erich Schmidt, and the celebrated historian, M. de Treitschke, who has since died, had expelled with violence certain ladies who had ventured to appear in their class-rooms. It was said that M. de Treitschke had even accompanied the execution of his mandate, by sharp and injurious language. It afterward appeared that the facts had been ex
aggerated; but the incident induced a journalist by the name of M. Artnur Kirchoff to make inquiries among more than a hundred professors, chosen from those best known, on the question of the admissibility of women to university courses. Their answers, in writing, have been collected and published; and the volume 1 deserves attention.
We perceive, at the outset, from a cursory examination of the collection, that the pure obstructionists, resolved not to yield the women an inch, and to refuse their requests without ceremony, are extremely rare. I can find but a few who categorically decline all compromise. At their head stands a venerable professor of philology in the University of Göttingen, M. Ferdinand Wüstenfeld, who expresses hin.. self as follows: "I shall soon have completed my eightieth year, and I am forced, in writing you, to employ an amanuensis. Suffice it to say, that I am absolutely opposed to the admission of women to academic studies or to any profession whatever which de mands a learned education." It is permissible at eighty, to have but little liking for novelties, and the ladies will know how to pardon this surly philologian, the unequivocal sentence which he does not take pains to justify. They will owe a deeper grudge to a professor of law at Berlin, M. Gierke, who sums up the matter thus: "We live in serious times. The German people has something better to do. than to make rash experiments in female education. The one thing that concerns us is that our men should be men. It is always a sign of decadence when we are reduced to demanding of the women a virility in which the men are lacking." It is thus that M. Gierke contrives at one stroke, to put up the backs both of his countrymen and country women!
But if the sworn enemies of what they call in Germany the "academic
1 Die akademische Frau: Gutschten hervor
ragender Oniversitäts-professoren über die Befähigung deh Frau zum wisserschaftlichen Studium und Berute: Berlin, 1897. Hugo Steinitz Verlag.
woman" are not numerous, truth compels us to own that she has but few warm and enthusiastic partisans. A certain number endeavor to persuade themselves that her admission will prove advantageous to scientific studies; that the ardor of her zeal will stimulate sluggish brains, and awaken a noble emulation among the bearded youth; that nothing, in short, will make a boy-student work, like the sight of a girl-student working. A larger number seem to fear that the girl will prove a dangerous rival to the boy, if she is ugly; and a deplorable distraction if she is fair. They consider that a pretty girl's face is the book of all others which attracts the most, and instructs the least.
Upon the whole, the mood of most of the professors consulted by M. Kirchoff may be described as one of resignation. They admit that there are streams which never run backwards, and that the man who does not desire to be drowned had better follow the direction of the current. Some put a good face upon it; others submit sadly and with a visible effort. One feels that they are gulping an unpalatable draught. "After all," they say with a profound sigh, "if women will study, who can hinder them? They are bent upon disturbing our peace, and stripping us of a privilege which we held very dear. Beati possidentes. But let us endeavor to be just, and not forget that we are judges in our own cause. We persist in believing that the true vocation of the German woman, and her natural function is to marry, have many children, and bring them up somehow. But the objection is urged that there are more women in our country than men; that there are, in fact, at least a million Allemandes for whom, though never so well disposed to marry, there are no husbands to be had. We do not undertake to supply this deficiency. Let us at least help them, or make a show of helping them to get their own living. After all, those who attempt to earn their bread, in the liberal or scientific professions will always be an exception.
Would it affect the destinies of the German Empire, even if we did have a few female doctors? It is hard to have to yield to an unreasonable caprice; but we live in an age when folly has to be reckoned with; and since it has pleased woman to change the idea she formerly entertained of herself, let us flatter her new fad. She will get over it possibly, sooner than she imagines." Thus, the resigned; not throwing the door wide open, but simply leaving it ajar. It is all the women want. They do not care for being received with enthusiasm. It is enough that they are received. Once inside, they will undertake to arrange the house to suit themselves, and do its honors in their own way.
It must gratify woman to observe that her declared enemies, no less than her friends, almost all admit, in theory, the intellectual equality of the sexes; and if they wish to shut her out of the universities, it is not because they consider her incapable of winning her spurs there. There are some, however, who make reservations, and those who make the largest number are the professors of history. They claim that of all branches of study, woman has the smallest natural disposition for historical research. M. Jacob Caro reproaches her with haying, along with a tendency to minute detail, a passion for chimeras; with failing wholly to grasp the enduring and fatal element in human affairs; and with jumping at the conclusion that social maladies may be cured by artificial means. "To abandon history to women," he cries out, smiting his breast, "would be to proclaim a perpetual revolution." M. Busolt, professor at Kiel, is less tragic. He contents himself with remarking that the essential qualifications of a historian are, "severity of method, exactitude in research, the discernment of hidden causes, accuracy of judgment, general ideas, comprehensive views; all of which gifts have been denied to women." Perhaps he goes just a little too far. I remember once asking Louis Blanc from what