pursued ; " or rather, your eyes have never been opened to
anything of the kind. The nineteenth century is nothing
to you ; its special opportunities and demands and charac-
teristics would revolt you if they were made clear to your
intelligence. If I tell you I am before everything a man of
my time, I suppose this seems only a cynical confession of
all the weaknesses and crimes you have already attributed
to me ? It shall not always be so ! Why, what are you,
after all, Miriam ? Twenty-three, twenty-four â which is it ?
Why, you are a child still ; your time of education is before
you. You are a child come to Italy to learn what can be
made of life ! "
She averted her face, but smiled, and not quite so coldly
as of wont. She could not but think of Cecily, whose wordb
a few days ago had been in spirit so like these, so like them
in the ring of enthusiasm.
" Some day," Elgar went on, exalting himself more and
more, "you shall wonder in looking back on this scene
between us â wonder how you could have been so harsh to
68 THE EMANCIPATED.
me. It is impossible that you and I, sole brother and
sister, should move on constantly diverging paths. Tell me
â you are not really without some kind of faith in my
abilities ? "
" You know it has always been my grief that you put them
to no use."
" Very well. But it remains for you to learn what my
powers really are, and to bring yourself to sympathize with
my direction. Ton are a child â there is my hope. You
shall be taught â yes, yes ! Your obstinacy shall be over-
come ; you shall be made to see your own good ! "
" And who is to be so kind as to take charge of my educa-
tion ? " Miriam asked, without looking at him, in an idly
" Why not old Ma^llai'd ? " cried Eeuben, breaking suddenly
into jest. " The tutorship of children is in his line."
Miriam showed herself offended.
" Please don't speak of me. I am willing to hear what
you purpose for yourself, but don't mis my name with it."
Elgar resumed the tone of ambition. Whether he had in
truth definite literary schemes could not be gathered from
the rhetoric on which he was borne. His main conviction
seemed to be that he embodied the spirit of his time, and
would ere long achieve a work of notable significance, the
fruit of all his experiences. Miriam, though with no sign
of strong interest, gave him her full attention.
" Do you intend to work here ? " she asked at length.
" I can't say. At present I am anything but well, and I
shall get what benefit I can from Naples first of all. I
suppose the sun will shine again before long ? This sky is
He stood up, and went to the windows ; then came back
with uncertain step.
" You'll tell the Spences I've been ? "
" I think I had better. They will know, of coui'se, that I
have had a visitor."
MIRIAM'S BROTHER. 69
" Should I see them ? " he asked, with hesitation.
" Just as you please."
" I shall have to, sooner or later. Why not no-w ? "
" I'll go and see if they are at leisure."
During her absence, Elgar examined the books on the
table. He turned over each one with angry mutterings.
The chapel plans were no longer lying about ; only yester-
day Miriam had rolled them up and put them away â
temporarily. Before the " St. Cecilia " he stood in thought-
ful observation, and was still there when Miriam returned.
She had a look of uneasiness.
"IVfiss Doran and her aunt are with Mrs. Spence,
" Oh, in that case " he began carelessly, with a wave
of the arm.
" But they will be glad to see you."
" Indeed ? I look rather seedy, I'm afraid."
" Take off your overcoat."
" I'm all grimy. I came here straight from the railway."
" Then go into my bedroom and make yourself pre-
A few moments sufiBced for this. As she waited for his
return, Miriam stood with knitted brows, her eyes fixed on
the floor. Reuben reappeared, and she examined him.
" You're bitterly ashamed of me, Miriam."
She made no reply, and at once led the way along the
Mrs. Spence had met Reuben in London, since her
marriage ; by invitation he came to her house, but neglected
to repeat the visit. To Mrs. Lcssingham he was personally
a stranger. But neither of these ladies received the honour
of much attention from him for the first few moments after
he had entered the room ; his eyes and thoughts were
occupied with the wholly unexpected figure of Cecily Doran.
In his recollection, she was a slight, pale, shy little girl.
'JO THE EMANCIPATED.
fond of keeping in corners witli a book, and seemingly
marked out for a life of dissenting pi^tiy and provincial
surroundings. She had interested him little in those days,
and seldom did anything to bring herself under his notice.
He last saw her when she was about twelve. Now he found
himself in the presence of a beautiful woman, every line of
whose countenance told of instruction, thought, spirit ;
whose bearing was refined beyond anything he had yet
understood by that word ; whose modest revival of old
acqiiaintance made his hand thrill at her touch, and his
heart beat confusedly as he looked into her eyes. With
difficulty he constrained himself to common social necessi-
ties, and made show of conversing with the elder ladies.
He wished to gaze steadily at the girl's face, and connect
past with present ; to revive his memory of six years ago,
and convince himself that such development was possible.
At the same time he became aware of a reciprocal curiosity
in Cecily. When he turned towards her she met his glance,
and when he spoke she gave him a smile of pleased atten-
tiveness. The consequence was that he soon began to speak
freely, to pick his words, to balance his sentences and shun
"I saw Florence and Eome in '76," he replied to a
question from Mrs. Lessingham. " In Eome my travelling
companion fell ill, and we returned without coming further
south. It is wrong, however, to say that I saw anything ;
my mind was in far too crude a state to direct my eyes to
any purpose. I stared about me a good deal, and got some
notions of topography, and there the matter ended for the
" The benefit came with subsequent reflection, no doubt,"
said Mrs. Lessingham, who found one of her greatest
pleasures in listening to the talk of young men with brains.
Whenever it was possible, she gathered such individuals
about her and encouraged them to discourse of themselves,
generally quite as much to their satisfaction as to her own.
MIRIAM'S BROTHER. 71
Already slie had invited with some success the confidence of
Mr. Clifford Marsh, who proved interesting, but not
unfathomable ; he belonged to a class with which she was
tolerably familiar. Eeuben Elgar, she jjerceived at once,
was not without characteristics linking him to that same
group of the new generation, but it seemed probable that
its confines were too narrow for him. There was compara-
tively little affectation in his manner, and none in his
asj)ect ; his voice rang with a sincerity which claimed serious
audience, and his eyes had something more than surface
gleamings. Possibly he belonged to the unclassed and the
unclassable, in which case the interest attaching to him was
of the highest hind.
" Subsequent reflection," returned Elgar, " has, at all
events, enabled me to see myself as I then was ; and I sup-
pose self-knowledge is the best result of travel."
" If one agrees that self-knowledge is ever a good at all,"
said the speculative lady, with her impartial smile.
"To be sure." Elgar looked keenly at her, probing the
Bignificance of the remark. " The happy human being will
make each stage of his journey a phase of more or less
sensual enjoyment, delightful at the time and valuable in
memory. The excursion will be his life in little. I envy
him, but I can't imitate him."
" Why envy him ? " asked Eleanor.
" Because he is happy ; surely a sufficient ground."
" Yet you give the preference to self-knowledge."
â¢â¢ Yes, I do. Because in that direction my own nature
tends to develop itself. But I envy every lower thing in
creation. I won't pi-etend to say how it is with other people
who are forced along an upward path ; in my own case
every step is made with a gi-oan, and why shouldn't I con-
fess it ? "
"To do so enhances the merit of progress," observed Mrs.
" Merit ? I know nothing of merit. I spoke of myself
^^ THE EMANCIPATED.
being forced upwards. If fever I feel that I am slipping
back, I shall state it with just as little admission of shame."
Miriam heard this modern dialogue with grave features.
At Bartles, such talk would have qualified the talker for social
excommunication, and eveiy other pain and penalty Bartles
had in its power to inflict. She observed that Cecily's
interest increased. The girl listened frankly ; no sense of
anything improper appeared in her visage. Nay, she was
about to interpose a remark.
" Isn't there a hope, Mr. Elgar, that this envy of which
you speak will be one of the things that the upward path
leaves behind ? "
" I should like to believe it, Miss Doran," he answered, his
eyes kindling at hers. " It's true that I haven't yet gone
" I like so much to believe it that I do believe it," the girl
" Your progress in that direction exceeds mine."
" Don't be troubled by the compliment," interjected
Eleanor, before Cecily could speak. " There ia no question
Mrs. Lessingham laughed.
The rain still fell, and the grey heavens showed no break-
ing. Shortly after this, Elgar would have risen to take his
leave, but Mrs. Spence begged him to remain and lunch with
them. The visitors from the Mergellina declined a similar
Edward Spence was passing his morning at the Museum.
On his return at luncheon-time, Eleanor met him with the
intelligence that Reuben Elgar had presented himself, and
was now in his sister's room.
" In forma pmiperis, presumably," said Spence, raising his
" I can't say, but I fear it isn't impossible. Cecily and
her aunt happened to call this morning, and he had some
talk with them."
MIRIAM'S BROTHER. fi
"Is he very miieli of a blackguard?" inquired licr hus-
" Indeed, no. That is to say, externally and in his con-
versation. It's a decided improvement on oar old impressions
" I'm glad to hear it," was the dry response.
" He has formed himself in some degree. Hints that he
is going to produce literature."
" Of course." Spence laughed merrily. " The last refuge
of a scoundrel."
" I don't like to judge him so harshly, Ned. He has a
" And is Miriam killing the fatted calf ? "
" His arrival seems to embarrass rather than delight
" Depend upon it, the fellbw has come to propose a con-
venient division of her personal property."
When he again appeared, Elgar was in excellent spirits.
He met Spence with irresistible frankness and courtesy ; his
talk made the luncheon cheery, and dismissed thought of
sirocco. It appeared that he had as yet no abode ; his
luggage was at the station. A suggestion that he should
seek quarters under the same roof with Mallard recom-
mended itself to him.
" I feel like a giant refreshed," he declared, in privately
taking leave of Miriam. " Coming to Naples was an inspira-
She raised her lijis to his for the first time, but said
74 THE EMANCIPATED.
THE ARTIST ASTRAY.
From the Strada di Cliiaia, the narrow street winding
between immense houses, all day long congested with the
merry tumult of Neapolitan traffic, where herds of goats and
milch cows placidly make their way among vehicles of every
possible and impossible description; where cocchieri crack
their whips and belabour their hapless cattle, and yell their
" Ahâ h â h ! Ah â hâ h ! " â where teams of horse, ox, and
ass, the three abreast, drag piles of country produce, jingling
their fantastic harness, and primitive carts laden with red-
soaked wine-casks rattle recklessly along ; where bare-footed,
girdled, and tonsured monks plod on their no-business, and
every third man one passes is a rotund ecclesiastic, who
never in his life walked at more than a mile an hour ; where,
at evening, carriages returning from the Villa Nazionale
cram the thoroughfare from side to side, and make one
aware, if one did not previously know it, that parts of the
street have no pedestrians' pavement ; â from the Strada di
Chiaia (now doomed, alas ! by the exigencies of lo sventra-
mento and il risanamento) turn into the public staircase and
climb through the dusk, with all possible attention to where
you set your foot, past the unmelodious beggars, to the Ponte
di Chiaia, bridge which spans the roadway and looks down
upon its crowd and clamour as into a profound valley;
thence proceed uphill on the lava paving, between fruit-
shops and sausage-shops and wine-shops, always in an
atmosphere of fried oil and roasted chestnuts and baked
pine-cones ; and presently turn left into a still narrower
street, with tailors and boot-makers and smiths all at work
THE ARTIST ASTRAY. 75
in the open air ; and pass through the Piazzetta Mondra-
gone, and turn again to the left, but this time downhill ;
then lose yourself amid filthy little alleys, where the scent
of oil and chestnuts and pine-cones is stronger than ever ;
then emerge on a little terrace where there is a noble view
of the bay and of Capri ; then turn abruptly between walls
overhung with fig-ti-ees and orange-trees and lemon-trees, â
and you will reach Casa Eolandi.
It is an enormous house, with a great arched entrance
admitting to the inner court, where on the wall is a
Madonna's shrine, lamp -illumined of evenings. A great
staircase leads up from floor to floor. On each story are
two tenements, the doors facing each other. In 1878, one
of the apartments at the very top â an ascent equal to that
of a moderate mountain â was in the possession of a certain
Signora Bassano, whose name might be read on a brass
plate. This lady had furnished I'ooms to let, and here it
was that Eoss Mallard established himself for the Iq^s days
that he proposed to spend at Naples.
Already he had lingered till the few days were become
more than a fortnight, and still the day of his departure was
undetermined. This was most unwonted waste of time, not
easily accounted for by Mallard himself. A morning of
sunny splendour, coming after much cloudiness and a good
deal of rain, plucked him early out of bed, strong in the
resolve that to-morrow should see him on the road to Amalfi.
He had slept well â an exception in the past week â and his
mind was open to the influences of sunlight and reason.
Before going forth for breakfast he had a letter to write, a
brief account of himself addressed to the murky little town
of Sowerby Bridge, in Yorkshire. This finished, he thrcAV
open the big windows, stepped out on to the balcony, and
drank deep draughts of air from the sea. In the street
below was passing a flock of she -goats, all ready to be
milked, each with a Ijell tinkling about her neck. The goat-
herd kept summoning his customers with a long musical
7^ THE EMANCIPATED.
whistle. Mallard leaned over and watched the clean-fleeced,
slender, graceful animals with a smile of pleasure. Then he
amused himself with something that was going on in the
lyDiise opposite. A woman came out on to a balcony high
up, bent over it, and called, " Annina ! Annina ! " until the
call brought another woman on to the balcony immediately
below ; whereupon the former let down a cord, and her
friend, catching the end of it, made it fast to a basket which
contained food covered with a cloth. The basket was drawn
up, the women gossiped and laughed for a while in pleasant
voices, then they disappeared. All around, the familiar
Neapolitan clamour was beginning. Church bells were
ringing as they ring at Naples â a great crash, followed by a
rapid succession of quivering little shakes, then the crash
again. Hawkers were crying fruit and vegetables and fish
in rhythmic cadence ; a donkey was braying obstreperously.
Mallard had just taken a light overcoat on his arm, and
was ready to set out, when some one knocked. He turned
the key in the door, and admitted Reuben Elgar.
" I'm off to Pompeii," said Elgar, vivaciously.
" All right. You'll go to the ' Sole ' ? I shall be there
myself to-morrow evening."
" I'm likelv to stay several days, so we shall have more
They left the house together, and presently parted with
renewed assurance of meeting again on the moi'row.
Mallard went his way thoughtfully, the smile quickly
passing from his face. At a little caffe, known to him of
old, he made a simple breakfast, glancing the while over a
morning newspaper, and watching the children who came to
fetch their due soldi of coffee in tiny tins. Then he strolled
away and supplemented his meal with a fine bunch of grapes,
bought for a penny at a stall that glowed and was fragrant
with piles of fruit. Heedless of the carriage-drivers who
shouted at him and even dogged him along street after
street, he sauntered in the broad sunshine, plucking his
THE ARTIST ASTRA V. 77
grapes and relishing them. Coming out by the sea-shore,
he stood for a while to watch the fishermen drasrffinff in
their nets â picturesqvie fellows with swarthy faces and sun-
tanned legs of admirable outline, hauling slowly in files at
interminable rope, which boys coiled lazily as it came in ; or
the oyster-dredgers, poised on the side of their boats over
the blue water. At the foot of the sea-wall tumbled the
tideless breakers ; their drowsy music counselled enjoyment
of the hour and carelessness of what might come hereafter.
With no definite purpose, he walked on and on, for the
most part absorbed in thought. He passed through the
long grotta of Posillipo, gloomy, chilly, and dank ; then out
again into the sunshine, and along the road to Bag-noli.
On walls and stone-heaps the little lizards darted about,
innumerable ; in vineyards men were at work dismantling:
the vine-props, often singing at their task. From Bagnoli,
still walking merely that a movement of his limbs might
accompany his busy thoughts, he went along by the sea-
shore, and so at length, still long before midday, had come
to Pozzuoli. A sharp conflict with the swarm of guides
who beset the entrance to the town, and again he escaped
into quietness, wandered among narrow streets, between
blue, red, and yellow houses, stopping at times to look at
some sunny upper window hung about with clusters of sorbe
and pomidori. By this time he had won appetite for a more
substantial meal. In the kind of eating-house that suited
his mood, an obscure hettola probably never yet patronized
by Englishman, he sat down to a dish of maccheroni and a
bottle of red wine. At another table were some boatmen,
who, after greeting him, went on with their lively talk in a
dialect of which he could understand but few words.
Having eaten well and drunk still better, he lit a cigar
and sauntered forth to find a place for dreaming. Chance led
him to the patch of public garden, with its shrubs and young
palm-trees, which looks over the little port. Here, when
once he had made it clear to a Buccjcssion (rf rhetox-icul boat-
78 THE EMANCIPATED.
men tliat he was not to be tempted on to the sea, he could
sit as idly and as long as he liked, looking across the sapphire
bay and watching the bright sails glide hither and thither.
With the help of sunHght and red wine, he could imagine
that time had gone back twenty centuries â that this was not
Pozzuoli, but Puteoli ; that over yonder was not Baia, but
Baiae ; that the men among the shipping talked to each other
in Latin, and perchance of the perishing Eepublic.
But Mallard's fancy would not dwell long in remote ages.
As he watched the smoke curling up from his cigar, he slipped
back into the world of his active being, and made no effort
to obscure the faces that looked upon him. They were those
of his mother and sisters, thought of whom carried him to
the northern island, now grim, cold, and sunless beneath its
lowering sky. These relatives stiU lived where his boyhood
had been passed, a life strangely unUke his own, and even
alien to his sympathies, but their house was stiU all that he
could call home. "Was it to be always the same ?
Pifteen years now, since, at the age of twenty, he painted
his first considerable landscape, a tract of moorland on the
borders of Lancashire and Yorkshire. This was his native
ground. At Sowerby Bridge, a manufactui'ing town, which,
like many others in the same part of England, makes a blot
of ugliness on country in itself sternly beautiful, his father
had settled as the manager of certain rope-works. Mr.
Mallard's state was not unprosj)erous, for he had invented a
process put in use by his employers, and derived benefit from
it. He was a man of habitual gravity, occasionally severe
in the rule of his household, very seldom unbending to
mirth. Though not particularly robust, he employed his
leisure iu long walks about the moors, walks sometimes pro-
longed till after midnight, sometimes begun long befoi-e
dawn. His acquaintances called him unsociable, and doubt-
less he was so in the sense that he could not find at Sowerby
Bridge any one for whose society he greatly cared. It was
even a rare thing for him to sit down with Ids wife and
THE ARTIST ASTRAY. 79
children for more than a few minutes ; if lie remained in
the house, he kept apart in a room of his own, musing over,
rather than reading, a little collection of books â one of his
favourites being Defoe's " History of the Devil." He often
made ironical remarks, and seemed to have a grim satisfac-
tion when his hearers missed the point. Then he would
chuckle, and shake his head, and go away muttering.
Young Eoss, who made no brilliant ligure at school, and
showed a turn for drawing, was sent at seventeen to the
factory of Messrs. Gilstead, Miles and Doran, to become a
designer of patterns. The result was something more than
his father had expected, for Mr. Doran, who had his abode
at Sowerby Bridge, quickly discovered that the lad was meant
for far other things, and, by dint of personal intervention,
caused Mr. Mallard to give his son a chance of becoming an
A remarkable man, this Mr. Doran. By nature a Bohe-
mian, somehow made into a Yorkshire mill-owner ; a strong,
active, nobly featured man, who dressed as no one in the
factory regions ever did before or probably ever will again â
his usual appearance suggesting the common notion of a
bushranger ; an artist to the core ; a purchaser of pictures
by unknown men who had a future â at the sale of his
collection three Robert Cheeles got into the hands of dealers,
all of them now the boasted possessions of great galleries ;
a passionate lover of music â he had been known to make the
journey to Paris merely to hear Diodati sing; finally, in
common rumour a profligate whom no prudent householder
would admit to the society of his wife and daughters. How-
ever, at the time of young Mallard's coming under his
notice he had been married about a year. Mrs. Doran came
from Manchester ; she was very beautiful, but had slight
education, and before long Sowerby Bridge remarked that
the husband was too often away from home.
Doran and the elder Mallard, having once met, were dis-
posed to see more of each other ; in spite of the difference
8o THE EMANCIPATED.
of social standing, they became intimates, and Mr. Mallard
had at length some one with whom he found pleasure in con-
versing. He did not long enjoy the new experience. In the
winter that followed, he died of a cold contracted on one of
his walks when the hills were deep in snow.
Doran remained the firm friend of the family. Local talk
had inspired Mrs. Mallard with a prejudice against him, but
substantial services mitigated this, and the widow was in
course of time less uneasy at her son's being practically
under the guardianship of this singular man of business.
Mallard, after preliminary training, was sent to the studio
of a young artist whom Doran greatly admired, Cullen
Banks, then struggling for the recognition he was never to
enjoy, death being beforehand with him. Mrs. Mallard was
given to understand that no expenses were involved save those
of the lad's support in Manchester, where Banks lived, and
Mallard himself did not till long after know that his friend