account ; against that he resolutely closed his mind. From
Edward Spence he heard that she was delighting herself and
others in a London season. Precisely ; this justified his fore-
thought ; for this she was adapted. But as his wife nothing
of the kind would have been within her scope. He knew him-
self too well. His notion of married life was inconsistent
with that kind of pleasure. As his wife, perhaps she would
have had no desire save to fit herself to him. Possibly;
but that again was a reflection not to be admitted. He had
only to deal with facts. Sufiicient that he could think of
her without a pang, that he could even hope to meet her
again before long. And, best of 11a, no ungenerous feeling
ever tempted him to wish her anything but wholly happy.
Stretched lazily in the Temple of Neptune, he once or twice
looked at his watch, as though the hour in some way con-
cerned him. How it did was at length shown. He heard
voices approaching, and had just time to rise to his feet
before there appeared figures, rising between the columns of
the entrance against the background of hills. He moved
forward, a bright smile on his face. The arrivals were
Edward Spence, with his wife and Mrs. Baske.
All undemonstrative people, they shook hands much as if
they had pai-ted only a week ago.
AT P^STUM. 311
" Done your work ? " asked. Spence, laying his palm, on one
of the pillars, with affectionate greeting,
" All I can do here."
" Can we see it ? " Eleanor inquired.
" I've packed it for travelling."
Mallard took the first opportunity of looking with scrutiny
at Mrs. Baske. Alone of the three, she was changed
noticeably. Her health had so much improved that, if any-
thing, she looked younger; certainly her face had more
distinct beauty. Reserve and conscious dignity were still its
characteristics â€” these were inseparable from the mould of
feature ; but her eyes no longer had the somewhat sullen
gleam which had been wont to harm her aspect, and when
she smiled it was without the hint of disdainful reticence.
Yet the smile was not frequent ; her lips had an habitual
melancholy, and very often she knitted her brows in an
expression of troubled thought. Whilst the others were
talking with Mallard, she kept slightly in the rear, and
seemed to be occupied in examining the different parts of the
In attire she was transformed. No suggestion now of the
lady from provincial England. She was very well, because
most fittingly, dressed ,â€¢ neither too youthfully, nor with
undue disregard of the fact that she was still young ; a
travelling-costume aj^t to the season and the country.
" They speak much of Signor Mal-lard at the osteria,"
said Spence. " Your departure afflicts them, naturally, no
doubt. Do you know whether any other Englishman ever
braved that accommodation ? "
A country lad appeared, carrying a small hamper, wherein
the party had brought their midday meal from Salerno.
" Why did you trouble ? " said Mallard. " We have cheese
and salamc in abundance."
" So I supposed," Spence replied, drily. " I recall the
quality of both. Also the vino di Calahria, which is vil-
lanously sweet. Show us what point of view you chose."
312 THE EMANCIPATED.
For an hour tliey walked aud talked. Miriam alone waa
almost silent, but she paid constant attention to the ruins.
Mallard heard her say something to Eleanor about the dif-
ference between the columns of the middle temple and those
of the so-called Basilica ; three years ago, such a remark
would have been impossible on her lips, and when he glanced
at her with curiosity, she seemed conscious of his look.
They at length opened the hamper, aud seated themselves
near the spot where Mallard had been reclining.
" There's a smack of profanity in this," said Spence.
" The least we can do is to pour a libation to Poseidon,
before we begin the meal."
And he did so, filling a tumbler with wine and solemnly
emptying half of it on to the floor of the cella. Mallard
watched the effect on Mrs. Baske ; she met his look for an
instant and smiled, then relapsed into thoughtfulness.
The only other visitors to-day were a couple of Grermans,
who looked like artists and went about in enthusiastic talk ;
one kept dealing the other severe blows on the chest, which
occasionally made the recipient stagger â€” all in pure joy and
friendship. They measured some of the columns, and in one
place, for a special piece of observation, the smaller man
mounted on his companion's shoulders. Miriam happened
to see them whilst they were thus posed, and the sj^ectacle
struck her with such ludicrous effect that she turned away
to disguise sudden laughter. In doing so, she by chance
faced Mallard, and he too began to laugh. For the first
time since they had been acquainted, they looked into each
other's eyes with frank, hearty merriment. Miriam speedily
controlled herseK, and there came a flush to her cheeks.
" You may laugh," said Spence, observing them, " but
when did you see two Englishmen abroad who did them-
selves so much honour ? "
" True enough," replied Mallard. " One supposes that
Englishmen with brains are occasionally to be found in
Italy, but I don't know where they hide themselves."
AT P^STUM. 313
" You will meet one iu Eome in a few days," rcmarlced
Eleanor, " if you go on with us â€” as I liope you intend
" Yes, I shall go with you to Eome. "VVho is the man ? "
" Mr. Seaborne â€” your most reverent admirer."
"Ah, I should like to know the fellovr."
Miriam looked at him and smiled.
" You know Mr. Seaborne ? " he inquired of her, abruptly.
" He was with us a fortnight in Athens."
As they were idling about, after their lunch. Mallard kept
near to Miriam, but without speaking. He saw her stoop to
pick up a piece of stone ; presently another. She glanced at
" Bits of Psestum," he said, smiling ; " perhaps of Posei-
donia. Look at the field over there, where the oxen are ;
they have walled it in with fragments dug up out of the
earth, â€” the remnants of a city,"
She just bent her head, in sign of symj)athy. A minute
or two after, she held out to him the two stones she had
" How cold one is, and how warm the other ! "
One was marble, one travertine. Mallard held them for a
moment, and smiled assent ; then gave them back to her.
She threw them away.
When it was time to think of departure, they went to the
inn ; Mallard's baggage was brought out and put into the
carriage. They drove acxoss the silent plain towards
Salerno. In a pause of his conversation with Spence,
Mallard drew Miriam's attention to the unfamiliar shape of
Capri, as seen from this side of the Sorrento promontory.
She looked, and murmured an affirmative.
" You have been to Amalfi ? " he asked.
" Yes ; we went last year."
" I hope you hadn't such a day as your brother and I
spent there â€” incessant pouring rain."
" No ; we had perfect weather."
314 THE EMANCIPATED.
At Salerno tliej caught a train wh'.cli enabled tliem to
reach Naples late iu the evening. Mallard accompanied his
friends to their hotel, and dined with them. As he and
Spence were smoking together afterwards, the latter com-
municated some news which he had reserved for privacy.
" By-the-bye, we hear that Cecily and her aunt are at
Florence, and are coming to Rome next week."
" Elgar with them ? " Mallard asked, with nothing more
than friendly interest.
" No. They say he is so hard at work that lie couldn't
" What work ? "
" The same I told you of last year."
Mallard regarded him with curious inquiry.
" His wife travels for her health ? "
" She seems to be all right again, but Mrs. Lessingham
judged that a change was necessary. Won't you use the
opportunity of meeting her ? "
" As it comes naturally, there's no reason why I shouldn't.
In fact, I shall be glad to see her. But I should have pre-
ferred to meet them both together. What faith do you put
in this same work of Elgar's ? "
" That he is working, I take it there can be no doubt, and
I await the results with no little curiosity. Mrs. Lessing-
ham writes vaguely, which, by-the-bye, is not her habit.
Whether she is a believer or not, we can't determine."
" Did the child's death afPect him much ? "
"I know nothing about it."
They smoked in silence for a few minutes. Then Mallard
observed, without taking the cigar from Iiis lips :
" How much better Mrs. Baske looks ! "
" Naturally the change is more noticeable to you than to
us. It has come very slowly. I dare say you see other
changes as well ? "
Spence's eye twinkled as he spoke,
" I was prepared for them. That she should stay abroad
AT P^STUM. 3TS
witli yo'Li all tliis time is iu itself significant. Where does
she propose to live when you are back in England ? "
" Why, there hasn't been a word said on the subject.
Eleanor is waiting ; doesn't like to ask questions. We shall
have our house in Chelsea again, and she is verv welcome to
shai'e it with us if she likes. I think it is certain she won't
go back to Lancashire ; and the notion of her living with
the Elgars is improbable."
" How far does the change go ? " inquired Mallard, with
" I can't tell you, for we are neither of us in her confidence.
But she is no longer a precisian. She has read a great deal ;
most of it reading of a very substr rtial kind. Not at all
connected with religion ; it would be a mistake to suppose
that she has been going in for a course of modem criticism,
and that kind of thing. The Greek and Latin authors she
knows very fairly, in English or French translations. What
would our friend Bradshaw say ? She has grappled with
whole libraries, of solid historians. She knows the Italian
poets. Really, no common case of a woman educating herself
at that age."
" Would you mind telling me what her age is ? "
" Twenty-seven, last February. To-day she has been
mute ; generally, when we are in interesting places, she rather
likes to show her knowledge â€” of course we encourage hei
to do so. A blessed form of vanity, compared with certain
things one remembers! "
" She looks as if she had by no means conquered peace of
mind," observed Mallard, after another silence.
" I don't suppose she has. I don't even know whether
she's on the way to it."
" How about the chapel at Bartlcs ? "
Spence shook his head and laughed, and the dialogue came
to an end.
The next morning all started for Rome.
3i6 THE EMANCIPATED.
LEARNING AND TEACHING.
Easteu was just gone by. The Spenees had timed their
arrival in Rome so as to be able to spend a few days with
certain friends, undisturbed by bell-clanging and the rush of
trippers, before at length returning to England. Their
hotel was in the Babuino. Mallard, who was uncertain
about his movements during the next month or two, went to
quarters with which he was familiar in the Via Bocca di
Leone. He brought his Psestum picture to the hotel, but
declined to leave it there. Mallard was deficient in those
properties of the showman which are so necessary to an
artist if he would make his work widely known and sell it
for substantial sums ; he hated anything like private
exhibition, and dreaded an offer to purchase from any one
who had come in contact with him by way of friendly
"I'm not satisfied with it, now I come to look at it again.
It's nothing but a rough sketch."
" But Seaborne will be here this afternoon," urged Spence.
" He will be grateful if you let him see it."
" If he cares to come to my room, he shall.'*,
Miriam made no remark on the picture, but kept looking
at it as long as it was uncovered. The temples stood in the
light of early morning, a wonderful, indescribable light,
perfectly true and rendered with great skill.
"Is it likely to be soon sold ? " she asked, when the
artist had gone off with his canvas.
" As likely as not, he'll keep it by him for a year or two, tiU
he hates it for a few faults that no one else can perceive or
LEARNING AND TEACHING. 3^7
be taught to understand," was Mr. Spence's reply. " I wish I
could somehow become possessed of it. But if I hinted such
a wish, he would insist on my taking it as a present. An
impracticable fellow, Mallard. He suspects I want to sell
it for him ; that's why he won't leave it. And if Seaborne
goes to his room, ten to one he'll be received with growls of
This Mr. Seaborne was a man of letters. Spence had
made his acquaintance in Rome a year ago ; they conversed
casually in Piale's reading-room, and Seaborne happened to
say that the one English landscape-painter who strongly
interested him was a little-known man, Eoss Mallard. His
own work was mostly anonymous ; he wrote for one of the
quarterlies and one of the weekly reviews. He was a little
younger than Mallard, whom in certain respects he
resembled ; he had much the same way of speaking, the
same reticence with regard to his own doings, even a slight
similarity of feature, and his life seemed to be rather a
When the two met, they behaved precisely as Spence pre-
dicted they would â€” with reserve, almost with coldness. For
all that, Seaborne paid a visit to the artist's room, and in a
couple of hours' talk they arrived at a fair degree of mutual
understanding. The next day they smoked together in an
odd abode occupied by the literary man near Porto di
Ripetta, and thenceforth were good friends.
The morning after that, Mallard went early to the Vatican.
He ascended the Scala Regia, and knocked at the little red
door over which is written, " Cappella Sistina." On enter-
ing, he observed only a gentleman and a young girl, who
stood in the middle of the floor, consulting their guide-book ;
but when he had taken a few steps forward, he saw a lady
come from the far end and seat herself to look at the ceiling
through an opera-glass. It was Mrs. Baske, and he
approached whilst she was still intent on the frescoes. The
pausing of his footstep close to her caused her to put down
3i8 THE EMANCIPATED.
the glass and regard Mm. Mallard noticed the sudden
change fiom cold remoteness of countenance to pleased
recognition. The brightening in her eyes was only for a
moment ; then she smiled in her usual half-absent way, and
received him formally.
"You are not alone ? " he said, taking a place by her as
she resumed her seat.
"Yes, I have come alone." And, after a pause, she
added, " We don't think it necessary always to keep to-
gether. That would become burdensome, I often leave
them, and go to places by myself."
Her look was still turned upwards. Mallard followed its
" Which of the Sibyls is your favourite ? " he asked.
At once she indicated the Delphic, but without speaking.
" Mine too."
Both fixed their eyes upon the figure, and were silent.
" You have been here very often ? " were Mallard's next
" Last year very often."
" From genuine love of it, or a sense of duty ? " he asked,
examining her face.
She considered before replying.
" Not only from a sense of duty, though of course I have
felt that. I don't love anything of Michael Angelo's, but I
am compelled to look and study. I came here this morning
only to refresh my memory of one of those faces " â€” she
pointed to the lower part of the Last Judgment â€” " and yet
the face is dreadful to me."
She found that he was smiling, and abruptly she added
the question :
" Do you love that picture ? "
" Why, no ; but I often delight in it, I wouldn't have it
always before me (for that matter, no more would I have the
things that I love) , A great work of art may be painful at
all times, and sometimes unendurable."
LEARNING AND TEACHING. 319
" I have learnt to understand that," she said, with some-
thing of humility, "which came upon Mallard as new and
agreeable. " Butâ€” it is not long since that scene represented
a reality to me. I think I shall never see it as you do."
Mallard wished to look at her, but did not.
" I have sometimes been repelled by a feeling of the same
kind," he answered. " Not that I myself ever thought of it
as a reality, but I have felt angry and miserable in
remembering that a great part of the world does. You see
the pretty girl there, with her father. I noticed her awed
face as I passed, and heard a word or two of the man's,
which told me that from them there was no question of art.
Poor child ! I should have liked to pat her hand, and tell
her to be good and have no fear."
" Did Michael Angelo believe it ? " Miriam asked diffi-
dently, when she had glanced with anxious eyes at the pair
of whom he spoke.
"I suppose so. And yet I am far from sure. What
about Dante ? Haven't you sometimes stumbled over his
grave assurances that this and that did really befall him ?
Putting aside the feeble notion that he was a deluded
visionary, how does one reconcile the artist's management of
his poem with the Christian's stern faith ? In any case, he
was more poet than Christian when he wrote. Milton makes
no such claims ; he merely prays for the enlightenment of his
Miriam turned from the great fresco, and again gazed
at the Sibyls and Prophets.
" Do the Stanze interest you ? " was Mallard's next
" Very little, I am sorry to say. They soon weary me."
" And the Loggia ? "
" I never paid much attention to it."
"That surprises me. Those little pictures are my
favourites of all Raphael's work. For those and the Psyche,
I would give everything else."
320 THE EMANCIPATED,
Miriam looked at liim inquiringly.
" Are you again thinking of the subjects ? " he asked.
" Yes. I can't help it. I have avoided them, because I
knew how impossible it was for me to judge them only as
" Then you have the same difficulty with nearly all Italian
pictures ? "
She hesitated ; but, without turning her eyes to him, said
at length :
" I can't easily explain to you the distinction there is for
me between the Old Testament and the New. I was taught
almost exclusively out of the Old â€” at least, it seems so to
me. I have had to study the New for myself, and it helps
rather than hinders my enjoyment of pictures taken from it.
The religion of my childhood was one of bitterness and
violence and arbitrary judgment and hatred."
"Ah, but there is quite another side to the Old Testament
â€” those parts of it, at all events, that are illustrated up in
the Loggia. Will you come up there with me ? "
She rose without speaking. They left the chapel, and
ascended the stairs.
" You are not imder the impression," he said, with a smile,
as they walked side by side, " that the Old Testament is
responsible for those horrors we have just been speaking
" They are in ilmt spirit. My reading of the New omits
everything of the kind."
" So does mine. But we have no justification."
" We can select what is useful to us, and reject what docs
" Yes ; but then "
He did not finish the sentence, and they went into the
pictured Loggia. Here, choosing out his favourites, Mallard
endeavoured to explain all his joy in them. He showed her
how it was Hebrew history made into a series of exquisite
and touching legends ; he dwelt on the sweet, idyllic treat-
LEARNING AND TEACHING. 321
ment, the lovely landscape, the tender idealism througliout,
the perfect adaptedness of gem-like colouring.
Miriam endeavoured to see with his eyes, but did not pre-
tend to be wholly successful. The very names were discor-
dant to her ear.
" I will buy some photographs of them to take away," she
" Don't do that ; they are useless. Colour and design are
They stayed not more than half an hour ; then left the
Yatican together, and walked to the front of St. Peter's in
silence. Mallard looked at his watch.
" You are going back to the hotel ? "
" I suppose so."
" Shall I call one of those carriages ? â€” I am going to have
a walk on to the Janiculum."
She glanced at the sky.
" There will be a fine view to-day.**
" Tou wouldn't care to come so far ? '*
"Yes, I should enjoy the walk."
" To walk ? It would tire you too much."
" Oh no ! " replied Miriam, looking away and smiling.
" You mustn't think I am what I was that winter at Naples.
I can walk a good many miles, and only feel better for it."
Her tone amused him, for it became something like that
of a child in self-defence when accused of some childlike
" Then let us go, by all means."
They turned into the Borgo San Spirito, and then went by
the quiet Longara. Mallard soon found that it was neces-
sary to moderate his swinging stride. He was not in the
habit of walking with ladies, and he felt ashamed of himself
when a glance told him that his companion was put to over-
much exertion. The glance led him to observe Miriam's
gait ; its grace and refinement gave him a sudden sensation
(^f keen pleasure. He thought, without wishing to do sc, of
322 THE EMANCIPATED.
Cecily ; Her matchless, maidenly cliarm in m( vement was
something of quite another kind. Mrs. Baske trod the
common earth, yet with, it seemed to him, a dignity that
distinguished her from ordinary women.
There had been silence for a long time. They were alike
in the custom of forgetting what had last been said, or how
" Do you care for sculpture ? " Mallard asked, led to the
inquiry by his thoughts of form and motion.
" Yes ; but not so much as for painting."
He noticed a reluctance in her voice, and for a moment
was quite unconscious of the reason for it. But reflection
quickly explained her slight embarrassment.
" Edward makes it one of his chief studies," she added at
once, looking straight before her. " He has told me what to
read about it."
Mallard let the subject fall. But presently they passed a
yoke of oxen drawing a cart, and, as he paused to look at
them, he said :
" Don't you like to watch those animals ? I can never be
near them without stopping. Look at their grand heads,
their horns, their majestic movement ! They always remind
me of the antique â€” of splendid power fixed in marble.
These are the kind of oxen that Homer saw, and Virgil,"
Miriam gazed, but said nothing.
" Does your silence mean that you can't sympathize with
" No. It means that you have given me a new way of
looking at a thing ; and I have to think."
She paused ; then, with a curious inflectioD of her voice, as
though she were not quite certain of the tone she wished to
strike, whether playful or sarcastic :
" Ton wouldn't prefer me to make an exclamation ? "
"Decidedly not. If you were accustomed to do so, I
should not be exjDressing my serious thoughts."
LEARNING AND TEACHING. 323
The pleasant mood continued with him, and, a smile still
on his face, he asked presently :
"Do you remember telling me that you thought I was
wasting my life on futilities ? "
Miriam flushed, and for an instant he thought he had
offended her. But her reply corrected this impression.
" You admitted, I think, that there was much to be said
for my view."
" Did I ? Well, so there is. But the same conviction
may be reached by very different paths. If we agreed in
that one result, I fancy it was the sole and singular jpoint of
Miriam inquired diffidently :
" Do you still think of most things just as you did then ? "
" Of most things, yes."
" You have found no firmer hope in which to work ? "
" Hope ? I am not sure that I understand you."
He looked her in the face, and she said hurriedly :
"Are you still as far as ever from satisfying yourself?
Does your work bring you nothing but a comparative satis-
faction ? "
" I am conscious of having progressed an inch or two on
the way of infinity," Mallard rephed. " That brings me no
nearer to an end."
" But you liave a purpose ; you follow it steadily. It i
much to be able to say that."
" Do you mean it for consolation ? "
" Not in any sense that you need resent," Miriam gave
answer, a little coldly.
" I felt no resentment. But I should like to know what
sanction of a life's effort you look for, now ? We talked
once, perhaps you remember, of one kind of work being
' higher ' than another. How do you think now on that
She made delay before saying:
" It is long since I thought of it at all. I have been too
324 THE EMANCIPATED.
busy learning the simplest things to trouble about the most
" To learn, then, has been your object all this time. Let
me question you in turn. Do you find it all-sufficient ? "
" No ; because I have begun too late. I am doing now
what I ought to have done when I was a girl, and I have