her to be ? And if "
" Why, it's no easy thing to say what views he had on
this subject. The lax man, we know, is often enough severe
with his own womankind. But as you have given me uo
description of what Cecily really is, I can offer no judgment.
Wait till I have seen her. Doubtless she fulfils her promise
of being beautiful ? "
" Yes ; there is no denying her beauty."
"As for her moderniU, why, Mr. Eoss Mallard is a
singular person to take exception on that score."
"I don't know about that. When did I say that the
modern woman was my ideal ? "
" When had you ever a good word for the system which
makes of woman a dummy and a kill- joy ? "
"That has nothing to do with the question," replied
Mallard, preserving a tone of gi-uff impartiality. " Have I
been faithful to my stewardship ? When I consented to
Cecily's — to Miss Doran's passing from Mrs. Elgar's care to
that of Mrs. Lessingham, was I doing right ? '•'
" Mallard, you are a curious instance of the Puritan con-
science surviving in a man whose intellect is liberated. The
note of your character, including your artistic character, is
this conscientiousness. Without it, you would have had
worldly success long ago. Without it, you wouldn't talk
16 THE EMANCIPATED.
nonsense of Cecily Doran. Had you rather ste werfe 60»
operating with Mrs. Baske in a scheme to rebuild all the
chapels in Lancashire ? "
" There is a medium."
" Why, yes. A neither this nor that, an insipid refine-
ment, a taste for culture moderated by reverence for Mrs,
" Perhaps you are right. It's only occasionally that I am
troubled in this way. But I heartily wish the three years
remaining were over."
"And the 'definite good-bye' spoten. A good phrase,
that of yours. What possessed you to come here just now,
if it disturbs you to be kept in mind of these responsibili-
ties ? "
"I should find it hard to tell you. The very sense of
responsibility, I suppose. But, as I said, I am not going to
stay in Naples."
" You'll come and give us a ' definite good-bye ' before you
leave ? "
Mallai'd said nothing, but turned and began to move on.
They passed one of the sentry-boxes which here along the
ridge mark the limits of Neapolitan excise ; a boy-soldier,
musket in hand, cast curious glances at them. After walk-
ing in silence for a few minutes, they began to descend the
eastern face of the hill, and before them lay that portion of
the great gulf which pictures hare made so familiar. The
landscape was still visible in all its main details, still softly
suffused with warm colours from the west. About the cone
of Vesuvius a darkly purple cloud was gathering ; the twin
height of Somma stood clear and of a rich brown. Naples
the many-coloured, was seen in profile, clim'Ving from the
Castel deir Ovo, around which the sea slept, to the rock of
Sant' Elmo ; along the curve of the Chiaia lights had begun
to glimmer. Far withdrawn, the craggy promontory of
Sorrento darkened to profoundest blue j and Capri veiled
itself in mist.
YiLiA Sannazaro had no architectural beauty ; it was a
building of considerable size, irregular, in need of external
repair. Through the middle of it ran a great archway,
guarded by copies of the two Molossian hounds which stand
before the Hall of Animals in the Vatican ; beneath the
arch, on the right-hand side, was the main entrance to the
house. If you passed straight through, you came out
upon a terrace, where grew a magnificent stone-pine and
some robust agaves. The view hence was uninterrupted,
embracing the line of the bay from Posillipo to Cape Minerva.
From the parapet bordering the platform you looked over a
descent of twenty feet, into a downward sloping vineyard.
Formerly the residence of an old Neapolitan family, the villa
had gone the way of many such ancestral abodes, and was
now let out among several tenants.
The Spences were established here for the winter. On the
occasion of his marriage, three years ago, Edward Spence re-
linquished his connection with a shipping firm, which he
represented in Manchester, and went to live in London ; a
year and a half later he took his wife to Italy, where they
had since remained. He was not wealthy, but had means
sufficient to his demands and prospects. Thinking for him-
self in most matters, he chose to abandon money-making at
the jvmcture when most men deem it incumbent upon them
to press their efforts in that direction ; business was repug-
nant to him, and he saw no reason why he should sacrifice
his own existence to put a possible family in more than easy
circumstances. He had the inclinations of a student, but
1 8 THE EMANCIPATED.
was untroubled by any desire to distinguisla himself ,
freedom from the demands of" the office meant to him the
possibility of living -where he chose, and devoting to his
books the best part of the day instead of its fragmentary
leisure. His choice in marriage was most happy. Eleanor
Spence had passed her maiden life in Manchester, but with
parents of healthy mind and of more literature than
generally falls to the lot of a commercial family. Pursuing
a natural development, she allied herself with her husband's
freedom of intellect, and found her nature's opportunities in
the life which was to him most suitable. By a rare chance,
she was the broader-minded of the two, the more truly im-
partial. Her emancipation from dogma had been so gradual,
so unconfused by external pressure, that from her present
standpoint she could look back with calmness and justice on
all the stages she had left behind. With her cousin Miriam
she could sympathize in a way impossible to Spence, who,
by-the-bye, somewhat misrepresented his wife in the account
he gave to Mallard of their Sunday experiences. Puritanism
was familiar to her by more than speculation ; in the com-
passion with which she regarded Miriam there was no
mixture of contempt, as in her husband's case. On the
other hand, she did not pretend to read comj^letely her
cousin's heart and mind ; she knew that there was no simple
key to Miriam's character, and the quiet study of its phases
from day to day deeply interested her.
Cecily Doran had been known to Spence from childhood ;
her father was his intimate friend. But Eleanor had only
made the girl's acquaintance in London, just after her mar-
riage, when Cecily was spending a season there with her
aunt, Mi's. Lessingham. Mallard's ward was then little
more than fifteen ; after several years of weak health, she
bad entered upon a vigorous maidenhood, and gave such pro-
uii-,e of free, joyous, aspiring life as could not but strongly
affect the sympathies of a woman like Eleanor. Three
years prior to that, at the time of her father's death, Cecily
CECILY DOR AN. 19
was living witli Mrs. Elgar, a ^iJow, and her daughter
Miriam, the latter on the point of marrying (at eighteen)
one Mr. Baske, a pietistic mill-owner, aged fifty. It then
seemed very doubtful whether Cecily would live to mature
years ; she had been motherless from infancy, and the
difl&culty with those who brought her up was to repress an
activity of mind which seemed to be one cause of her bodily
feebleness. In those days there was a strong affection
between her and Miriam Elgar, and it showed no sign of
diminution in either when, on Mrs. Elgar's death, a year and
a half after Miriam's marriage, Cecily passed into the care of
her father's sister, a lady of moderate fortune, of parts and
attainments, and with a great love of cosmopolitan life. A
few months more and Mrs. Baske was to be a widow, child-
less, left in possession of some eight hundred a year, her
house at Bartles, and a local importance to which she was
not indifferent. With the exception of her brother, away in
London, she had no near kin. It would now have been a
great solace to her if Cecily Doran could have been her com-
panion ; but the young girl was in Paris, or Berlin, or St.
Petersburg, and, as Miriam was soon to learn, the material
distance between them meant little in comparison with the
spiritual remoteness which resulted from Cecily's education
under Mrs. Lessingham. They corresponded, however, and
at first frequently ; but letters grew shorter on both sides,
and arrived less often. The two were now to meet for the
first time since Cecily was a child of fourteen.
The ladies arrived at the villa about eleven o'clock.
Miriam had shown herself indisposed to speak of them,
both last evening, when Mallard was present, and again
this morning when alone with her relatives ; at breakfast
she was even more taciturn than usual, and kept her room
for an nour after the meal. Then, however, she came to
Bit with Eleanor, and remained when the visitors wcro
Mrs. Lessingham did not answer to the common idea of a
20 THE EMANCIPATED.
strong-minded woman. At forty-seven she preserved much
natural grace of bearing, a good complexion, pleasantly
mobile features. Her dress was in excellent taste, tending
to elaboration, such as becomes a lady who makes some
figure in the world of ease. Little wrinkles at the outer
corners of her eyes assisted her look of placid thought-
fulness ; when she spoke, these were wont to disappear, and
the expression of her face became an animated intelligence,
an eager curiosity, or a vivacious good-humour. Her lips
gave a hint of sarcasm, but this was reserved for special
occasions ; as a rule her habit of speech was suave, much
observant of amenities. One might have imagined that she
had enjoyed a calm life, but this was far from being the
case. The daughter of a country solicitor, she married early
— for love, and the issue was disastrous. Above her right
temple, just at the roots of the hair, a scar was discoverable ;
it was the memento of an occasion on which her husband
aimed a blow at her with a mantelpiece ornament, and came
within an ace of murder. Intimates of the household said
that the provocation was great — that Mrs. Lessingham's gift
of sarcasm had that morning displayed itself much too
brilliantly. Still, the missile was an extreme retort, and on
the whole it could not be wondered at that husband and wife
resolved to live apart in future. Mr. Lessingham was, in
fact, an aristocratic boor, and his wife never puzzled so much
over any intellectual difficulty as she did over the question
how, as a girl, she came to imagine herself enamoured of
him. She was not, perhaps, singular in her concernment
with such a personal problem.
"It is six years since I was in Italy," she said, when
greetings were over, and she had seated herself. "Don't
you envy me my companion, Mrs. Sj^ence ? If anything
could revive one's first enjoyment, it would be the sight of
Cecily was sitting by Miriam, whose hand she had only
just relinquished. Her anxious and affectionate inquiries
CECILY DOR AM. fii
moved Miriam to a smile "whicli seemed ratliet of liidulgence
than warm kindness.
" How little we thought where our nest meeting would
be ! " Cecily was saying, when the eyes of the others turned
upon her at her aunt's remark.
Noble beauty can scarcely be dissociated from harmony
of utterance ; voice and visage are the correspondent means
whereby spirit addresses itself to the ear and eye. One who
had heard Cecily Doran speaking where he could not see
her, must have turned in that direction, have listened
eagerly for the sounds to repeat themselves, and then have
moved forward to discover the speaker. The divinest singer
may leave one unaffected by the tone of her speech. Cecily
could not sing, but her voice declared her of those who
think in song, whose minds are modulated to the poetry,
not to the prose, of life.
Her enunciation had the peculiar finish which is acquired
in intercourse with the best cosmopolitan society, the best
in a worthy sense. Four years ago, when she left Lan-
cashire, she had a touch of provincial accent, — Miriam,
though she spoke well, was not wholly free from it, — but
now it was impossible to discover by listening to her from
what part of England she came. Mrs. Lessingham, whose
admirable tact and adaptability rendered her unimpeachable
in such details, had devoted herself with artistic zeal to her
niece's training for the world ; the pupil's natural aptitude
ensured perfection in the result. Cecily's manner accorded
with her utterance ; it had every charm derivable from youth,
yet nothing of immaturity. She was as completely at her
ease as Mrs. Lessingham, and as much more graceful in her
self-control as the advantages of nature made inevitable.
Miriam looked very cold, very severe, very English, by the
side of this brilliant girl. The thinness and pallor of her
features became more noticeable ; the provincial faults of
her dress were painfully obvious. Cecily was not robust,
but her form lacked no develoi^ment appropriate to her
22 THE EMANCIPATED.
years, and its beauty was displayed by Parisian handiwork.
In this respect, too, sbe had changed remarkably since
Miriam last saw her, when she was such a frail child. Her
hair of dark gold showed itself beneath a hat which Eleanor
Spence kept regarding with frank admiration, so novel it
was in style, and so perfectly suitable to its wearer. Her
gloves, her shoes, were no less perfect ; from head to foot
nothing was to be found that did not become her, that was
not faultless in its kind.
At the same time, nothing that suggested idle expense or
vanity. To dwell at all upon the subject would be a dispro-
portion, but for the note of contrast that was struck. In an
assembly of well-dressed people, no one would have remarked
Cecily's attire, unless to praise its quiet distinction. In the
Spences' sitting-room it became another matter ; it gave
emphasis to differences of character; it distinguished the
atmosphere of Cecily's life from that breathed by her old
"We are going to read together Goethe's * Italienische
Eeise,' " continued Mrs. Lessingham. " It was of quite
infinite value to me when I first was here. In each towa I
tuned my thoughts by it, to nse a phrase which sounds like
affectation, but has a very real significance."
" It was much the same with me," observed Spence.
" Tes, but you had the inestimable advantage of knowing
the classics. And Cecily, I am thankful to say, at least has
something of Latin ; an ode of Horace, which I look at with
fretfuluess, yields her its meaning. Last night, when I was
tired and willing to be flattered, she tried to make me
believe it was not yet too late to learn."
" Surely not," said Eleanor, gracefully.
"But Goethe — you remember he says that the desire
to see Italy had become an illness with him. I know so
well what that means. Cecily will never kuow ; the happi-
ness has come before longing for it had ceased to be a
CECILY DORAI^. 23
It was not so much affection as pride tliat laei' voice
expressed when she referred to her niece ; the same in her
look, which was less tender than gratified and admiring.
Cecily smiled in return, bnt was not wholly attentive ; her
eyes constantly turned to Miriam, endeavoiu'ing, though
vainly, to exchange a glance.
Mrs. Lessingham was well aware of the difficulty of
addressing to Mrs. Baske any remark on natural topics
which could engage her sympathy, yet to ignore her presence
•'Do you think of seeing Eome and the northei'n cities
when your health is established ? " she inquired, in a voice
which skilfully avoided any presumption of the reply. " Or
shall you return by sea ? "
" I am not a very good sailor," answered Miriam, with
sufficient suavity, " and I shall probably go back by land.
But I don't think I shall stop anywhere."
" It will be wiser, no doubt," said Mrs. Lessingham, " to
leave the rest of Italy for another visit. To see Naples
first, and then go north, is very much hke taking dessert
before one's substantial dinner. I'm a little sorry that
Cecily begins here ; but it was better to come and enjoy
Naples with her friends this winter. I hope we shall spend
most of our time in Italy for a year or two."
Conversation took its natural course, and presently turned
to the subject — inexhaustible at Naples — of the relative
advantages of this and that situation for an abode. Mrs.
Lessingham, turning to the window, expressed her admira-
tion of the view it afforded.
" I think it is still better from Mrs. Baske's sitting-
room," said Eleanor, who had been watching Cecily, and
thought that she might be glad of an opportunity of
private talk with Miriam. And Cecily at once availed her-
self of the suggestion.
" Would you let me see it, Miriam ? " she asked. " If it
is not troublesome "
24 THE EMANCIPATED.
Miriam rose, and they went out togetlier. In sileilce
they passed along the corridor, and when they had entered
her room Miriam walked at once to the window. Then
she half turned, and her eyes fell before Cecily's earnest
" I did so wish to be with you in your illness ! " said the
girl, with affectionate warmth. " Indeed, I would have
come if I could have been of any use. After all the trouble
you used to have with my wretched headaches and ail-
"You never have anything of the kind now," said
Miriam, with her indulgent smile.
" Never. I am in what Mr. Mallard calls aggressive
health. But it shocks me to see how pale you still are,
Miriam. I thought the voyage and these ten days at
Naples And you have such a careworn look. Cannot
you throw off your troubles under this sky ? "
" You know that the sky matters very little to me,
" If I could give you only half my delight ! I was awake
before dawn this morning, and it was impossible to lie still.
I dressed and stood at the open window. I couldn't see
the sun itself as it rose, but I watched the first beams
strike on Capri and the sea ; and I tried to make a drawing
of the island as it then looked, — a poor little daub, but it
will be precious in bringing back to my mind all I felt when
I was busy with it. Such feeling I have never known ; as if
every nerve in me had received an exquisite new sense. I
keeiD saying to myself, * Is this really Naples ? ' Let
us go on to the balcony. Oh, you must be glad with me ! "
Freed from the constraint of formal colloquy, and over-
coming the slight embarrassment "caused by what she knew
of Miriam's thoughts, Cecily x-evealed her nature as it lay
beneath the graces with which education had endowed her.
This enthusiasm was no new discovery to Miriam, but in the
early days it had attached itself to far other things. Cecily
CECILY DOR AN. 25
Bcemed to Lave forgotten that she was ever in sympathy
■with the mood which imjiosed silence on her friend. Her
eyes drank light from the landscape ; her beauty was trans-
figured by passionate reception of all the influences this
scene could exercise upon heart and mind. She leaned on
the railing of the balcony, and gazed until tears of ecstasy
made her sight dim.
" Let us see much of each other whilst we are hero," she
said suddenly, turning to Miriam. " I could never have
dreamt of our being together in Italy ; it is a happy fate,
and gives me all kinds of hope. We will be often alone
together in glorious places. We will talk it over ; that is
better than writing. You shall understand me, Miriam.
You shall get as well and strong as I am, and know what 1
mean when I speak of the joy of living. We shall be
sisters again, like we used to be."
Miriam smiled and shook her head.
" Tell me about things at home. Is Miss Baske well ? "
" Quite well. I have had two letters from her since I was
here. She wished me to give you her love."
" I will write to her. And is old Don still alive ? "
" Yes, but very feeble, poor old fellow. He forgets even
to be angry with the baker's boy."
Cecily laughed with a moved playfulness.
" He has forgotten me. I don't like to be forgotten by
any one who ever cared for me."
There was a pause. They came back into the room, and
Cecily, with a look of hesitation, asked quietly, —
" Have you hoard of late from Reuben ? "
Miriam, with averted eyes, answered simply, " No." Again
there was silence, until Cecily, moving about the room, came
to the " St. Cecilia."
" So my patron saint is always before you. I am glad of
that. Where is the original of this pictui'e, Miriam? I
" I never knew."
26 THE EMANCIPATED.
" Oil, I wished to speak to you of Mr. MMllard. You met
him yesterday. Had you miich conversation ? "
" A good deal. He dined with us."
" Did he ? I thought it possible. And do you like him ? "
" I couldn't say until I knew him better."
" It isn't easy to know him, I think," said Cecily,- in a
reflective and perfectly natural tone, smiling thoughtfully.
" But he is a very interesting man, and I wish he would be
more friendly with me. I tried hard to win his confidence
on the journey from Genoa, but I didn't seem to have much
success. I fancy" — she laughed — "that he is still in the
habit of regarding me as a little girl, who wouldn't quite
understand him if he spoke of serious things. When I
wished to talk of his painting, he would only joke. That
annoyed me a little, and I tried to let him see that it did,
with the result that he refused to speak of anything for a
" What does Mr. Mallard paint ? " Miriam asked, half
•' Landscape," was the reply, given with veiled surprise.
" Did you never see anything of his ? "
*' I remember ; the Bradshaws have a picture by him in
their dining-room. They showed it me when I was last in
Manchester. I'm afraid I looked at it very inattentively, for
it has never re-entered my mind from that day to this. But
I was ill at the time."
"His pictures are neglected," said Cecily, "but people
who understand them say they have great value. If he
has anything accepted by the Academy, it is sure to be hung
out of sight. I think he is wrong to exhibit there at all.
Academies are foolish things, and always give most encourage-
ment to the men who are worth least. When there is talk
of such subjects, I never lose an opportunity of mentioning
Mr. Mallard's name, and telling all I can about his work.
Some day I shall, perhajis, be able to help him. I will
insist on every friend of mine who buys pictures fit all
CECILY DOR AN. 27
possessing at least one of Mr. Mallard's ; tlien, perhaps, lie
will condescend to talk with me of serious things."
She added the last sentence merrily, meeting Miriam's
look with the frankest eyes.
" Does Mrs. Lessingham hold the same opinion ? "
" Oh yes ! Aunt, of course, knows far more about art
than I do, and she thinks very highly indeed of Mr. Mallard.
Not long ago she met M. Lambert at a friend's house in
Paris — the French critic who has just been writing about
English landscape — and he mentioned Mr. Mallard with
great respect. That was splendid, wasn't it ? "
She spoke with joyous spiritedness. However modern,
Cecily, it was clear, had caught nothing of the disease of
pococurantism. Into whatever pleased her or enlisted her
sympathies, she threw all the glad energies of her being.
The scornful remark on the Royal Academy was, one could
see, not so much a mere echo of advanced opinion, as a
piece of championship in a friend's cause. The respect with
which she mentioned the name of the French critic, her
exultation in his dictum, were notes of a youthful idealism
which interpreted the world nobly, and took* its stand on
" Mr. Mallard will help you to see Naples, no doubt," said
" Indeed, I wish he would. But he distinctly told us that
he has no time. He is going to Amalfi in a few days, to work.
I begged him at least to go to Pompeii with us, but he
frowned — as he so often does — and seemed unwilling to be
persuaded ; so I said no more. There again, I feel sure he
was afraid of being annoyed by trifling talk in such places.
But one mustn't judge an artist like other men. To be sure,
anything I could say or think would be trivial compared with
what is in Ids mind."
" But isn't it rather discourteous ? " Miriam obsorved
28 THE EMANCIPATED.
" Oil, I could never tliink of it in that way ! An artist is
privileged ; lie must defend his time and his sensibilities.
The common terms of society have no application to him.
Don't you feel that, Miriam ? "
" I know so little of art and artists. But such a claim
seems to me very strange."
" This is one of a thousand things we will talk about.
Art is the grandest thing in the world ; it means everything