his dainty hand or shaking his ambrosial hair. Elgar was
very stiff from his ascent of Vesuvius, and he too found
that " the foam of life " had an unpleasant after-taste,
suggestive of wrecked fortunes and a dubious future. Mal-
lard was only a little gruffer than his wonted self.
. " I am going on at once to Sorrento," he said, meeting Elgar
afterwards in the garden. " To-morrow I shall cross over
the hills to Positaao and Amalfi. Suppose you come with
me ? "
The other hesitated.
" You mean you are going to walk ? "
" IS'o. I have traps to carry on from the station. We
should have a carriage to Sorrento, and to-morrow a donkey
for the baggage."
They paced about, hands in pockets. It was a keen morn-
ing ; the tramontana blew blusterously, causing the smoke
of Vesuvius to lie all down its long slope, a dense white
cloud, or a vast turbid torrent, breaking at the foot into foam
and spray. The clearness of the air was marvellous.
Distance seemed to have no power to dim the details of the
landscape. The Apennines glistened with new-fallen snow.
" I hadn't thought of going any further just now," said
Elgar, who seemed to have a difficulty in simply declining the
invitation, as he wished to do.
" What should you do, then ? "
" Spend another day here, I think, â€” I've only had a few
hours among the ruins, vou know, â€” and then go back to
" What to do there ? " asked Mallard, bluntly.
" Give a little more time to the museum, and see more of
CAPTIVE TRAVELLERS. 107
" Better come on with. me. I shall be glad of your com-
It was said with, decision, but scarcely with lieai-tiness.
Elgar looked about him vaguely.
"To tell you the truth," he said at last, " I don't care to
incur much expense."
" The expenses of what I proj^ose are trivial/'
" My traps are at Naples, and \ have kept the room there.
No, I don't see my way to it, Mallard."
The artist turned away. He walked about the road for
ten minutes. â€” Very well ; then he too would return to Naples.
Why ? "What was altered ? Even if Elgar accompanied
him to Amalfi, it would only be for a few days ; there was no
preventing the fellow's eventual return â€” his visits to the villa,
perhaps to Mrs. Gluck's. Again imbecile and insensate |
What did it all matter ?
He stopped short. He would sit down and write a letter
to Mrs. Baske. â€” A pretty complication, that ! What grounds
for such a letter as he meditated ?
The devil ! Had he not a stronger will than Reuben
Elgar ? If he wished to carry a point with such a weakling,
was he going to let himself be thwarted r* Grant it was help
only for a few days, no matter ; Elgar should go with him.
He walked back to the garden. Good; there the fellow
loitered, obviously irresolute.
" Elgar, you'd better come, after all," he said, with a grim
smile. " I want to have some talk with you. Let us pay
our shot, and walk on to the station."
" What kind of talk. Mallard ? "
" Various. Get whatever you have to carry ; I'll see to the
" But how can I go on without a shirt ? "
" I have shirts in abundance. A truce to your obstacles.
Mar(;h ! "
And before very long they were side by side in the vehicle,
jo8 THE EMANCIPATED.
speeding along the level road towards Castellammare and the
mountains. This exertion of native energy had been bene-
ficial to Mallard's temper ; he talked almost genially. Elgar,
too, had subdued his restiveness, and began to look forward
with pleasure to the expedition.
" I only wish this wind would fall ! " he exclaimed. "It's
cold, and I hate a wind of any kind."
" Hate a wind ? You're effeminate ; you're a boulevardier.
It would do you good to be pitched in a gale about the coast
of Skye. A fellow of your temperament has no business in
these relaxing latitudes. You want tonics."
" Too true, old man. I know myself at least as weU as
you know me."
" Then what a contemptible creature you must be ! If a
man knows his weakness, he is inexcusable for not overcom-
" A preposterous contradiction, allow me to say. A man
is what he is, and will be ever the same. Have you no tine,
ture of philosophy ? You talk as though one could govern
" And you, very much like the braying jackass in the field
Mallax-d had a savage satisfaction in breaking all bounds
of civility. He overwhelmed his companion with abuse,
revelled in insulting comparisons. Elgar laughed, and
stretched himself on the cushions so as to avoid the wind as
much as possible.
They clattered through the streets of Castellammare,
pursued by urchins, crying, " Un sordo, signori ! " Thence
on by the seaside road to Vico Equense, Elgar every now
and then shouting his ecstasy at the view. The hills on this
side of the promontory climb, for the most part, softly and
slowly I'lpwards, everywhere thickly clad with olives and
orange-trees, fig-trees and aloes. Beyond Vico comes a jut-
ting headland ; the road curves round it, clinging close on
the hillside, turns inland, and all at once looks down upon
CAPTIVE TRAVELLERS. 109
the Piano di Sorrento. Instinctively, the companions rose
to their feet, as though any other attitude on the first revela-
tion of such a prospect were irreverent. It is not really a
plain, biit a gently rising wide and deep lap, surrounded by
lofty mountains and ending at a line of sheer cliffs along the
Bea-front. A vast garden planted for Nature's joy ; a plea-
sance of the gods ; a haunt of the spirit of beauty set
between sun-smitten crags and the enchanted shore.
" Heaven be praised that you forced me to come ! " mut-
tered Elgar, in his choking throat.
Mallard could say nothing. He had looked upon this
scene before, but it affected him none the less.
They drove into the tovni of Tasso, and to an inn which
stood upon the edge of a profound gorge, cloven towards the
sea-cliff's. Sauntering in the yard whilst dinner was made
ready, they read an inscription on a homely fountain :
â™¦' Sordibus abstersis, instructo marmore, priscus
Fons nitet, et manat gratior unda tibi."
" Eternal gratitude to our old schoolmasters," cried
Elgar, " who thrashed us through the Eton Latin grammar !
What is Italy to the man who cannot share our feelings as
we murmur that distich ? I marvel that I was allowed to
learn this heathen tongue. Had my parents known what it
would mean to me, I should never have chanted my hie, hsec,
He was at his best this afternoon ; Mallard could scarcely
identify him with the reckless, and sometimes vulgar, spend-
thrift who had been rushing his way to ruin in London. His
talk abounded in quotation, in literary allusion, in high-
spiritâ‚¬'d jest, in poetical feeling. When had he read so
much? What a memory he had ! In a world that consisted
of but one sex, what a fine fellow he would have been !
"What do you think of my sister? " he asked, a propos
of nothing, as they idled about the Capo di Sorrento and ou
the road to Massa.
no THE EMANCIPATED.
" An absurd question."
" You mean that I cannot suppose you would tell me the
" And just as little the untruth. I do not know your
"We had a horrible scene that day I turned up. I
behaved brutally to her, poor girl."
"I'm afraid you have often done so."
" Often. I rave at her superstition ; how can she help it ?
But she's a good girl, and has wit enough if she might use
it. OJi, if some generous, large-brained man would drag her
out of that slough of despond ! â€” What a marriage that was !
Powers of darkness, what a marriage ! "
Mallard was led to no question.
"I shall never understand it, never," went on Elgar, in
excitement. "If you had seen that oily beast! I don't
know what criterion girls have. Several of my acquaintance
have made marriages that set my hair on end. Lives thrown
away in accursed ignorance â€” that's my belief."
Mallard waited for the next words, expecting that they
would torture him. There was a long pause, however, and
what he awaited did not come.
" Do you hate the name Miriam, as I do ? "
" Hate it, no."
" I wonder they didn't call her Keziah, and me Mephi-
bosheth. It isn't a nice thing to detest the memory of one's
parents, Mallard. It doesn't help to make one a well-
balanced man. How on earth did I get my individuality ?
And you mustn't think that Miriam is just what she seems
â€” I mean, there are possibilities in her; I am convinced of it.''
" Did it ever occur to you that your own proceedings
may have acted as a check upon those possibilities ? "
"I don't know that I ever thought of it," said Elgar,
"You never reflected that her notion of the liberated man
is yourself ? "
CAPTIVE TRAVELLERS. in
" You are right, Mallard. I see it. What other example
had she ? "
They walked as far as Massa Lubrense, a little town on
the steep shore ; over against it the giant cliffs of Capri,
every cleft and scar and jutting rock discernible through the
pellucid air, every minutest ruggedness casting its clear-cut
shadow. But the surpassing glory was the prospect at the
Cape of Sorrento when they reached it on their walk back.
Before them the entire sweep of the gulf, from Isehia to
Capri ; Naples in its utmost extent, an unbroken line of
delicate pink, from Posillipo to Torre Annunziata. Far
below their feet the little Ttmrina of Sorrento, with its row
of boats drawn up on the strand ; behind them noble lime-
stone heights. The sea was foaming under the tramontana,
and its foam took colour from the declining sun.
Next morning they set forth again as Mallard had pro-
posed, their baggage packed on a donkey, a guide with them
to lead the way over the mountains to the other shore. A
long climb, and at the culminating point of the ridge they
rested to look the last on Naples ; thenceforward their faces
were set to the far blue hills of Calabria.
" Yonder lies Psestum," said Mallard, pointing to the dim
plain beyond the Gulf of Salerno; and his companion's eyes
Early in the afternoon they reached the coast at Positauo,
and thence took boat for Amalfi. Elgar was like one pos-
sessed at his first sight of the wonderful old town, nested in
its mountain gorge, overlooked by wild crags ; this relic
saved from the waste of mediaeval glory. When they had
put up at an inn less frequented and much cheaper than the
" Cappuccini," he would not rest until he had used the last
hour of sunlight in clambei'ing about the little maze of
streets, or rather of mountain paths and burrows beneath
houses piled one upon another indistinguishably. Forced
back by hunger, he still lingered upon the window-balcony,
looking up at the hoary riven tower set high above the town
112 THE EMANCIPATED. .
on wliat seems an inaccessible peak, or at the cathedral and
its many-coloured campanile.
How could Mallard help comparing these manifestations
of ardent temper with what he had witnessed in Cecily ?
The resemblance was at moments more than he could endure ;
once or twice he astonished Elgar with a reply of unpro-
voked savageness. The emotions of the day, even more than
its bodily exercise, had so wearied him that he went early to
bed. They had a double-bedded room, and Elgar continued
talking for hours. Even without this, Mallard felt that he
would have been unable to sleep. To add to his torments,
the clock of the cathedral, which was just on the opposite
side of the street, had the terrible southern habit of striking
the whole hour after the chime at each quarter ; by midnight
the clangour was all but incessant. Elgar sank at length
into oblivion, but to his companion sleep came not. Very
early in the morning there sounded the loud blast of a horn,
all through the town and away into remoteness. Signify
what it might, the practical result seemed to be a rousing of
the population to their daily life ; lively voices, the tramp of
feet, the clatter of vehicles began at once, and waxed with
the spread of daylight.
The sun rose, but only to gleam for an hour on clouds and
vapours which it had not power to disperse. The mountain
summits were hidden, and down their sides crept ominously
the ragged edges of mist ; a thin rain began to fall, and
grew heavier as the sky dulled. Having breakfasted, the
two friends spent an hour in the cathedral, which was dark
and chill and gloomy. Two or three old people knelt in
prayer, their heads bowed against column or wall ; remark-
ing the strangers, they came up to them and begged.
"My spirits are disagreeably on the ebb," said Elgar.
" If it's to be a Scotch day, let us do some mountaineering."
They struck up the gorge, intending to pursue the little
river, but were soon lost among asce ats and descents, narrow
stairs, precipitous gardens, and noisy paper-mills. Probably
CAPTIVE TRAVELLERS. I13
no unassisted stranger ever made liis way out of Amalfi on to
tlie mountain slopes. They had scorned to take a guide, but
did so at length in self-defence, so pestered were they by all
but every person they passed ; man, woman, and child beset
them for soldi, either frankly begging or offering a direction
and then extending their hands. The paper-mills were not
romantic ; the old women who came along bending under
huge bales of rags were anything but picturesque. And it
rained, it rained. ,â–º
Wet and weary, they had no choice but to return to the
inn. Elgar's animation had given place to fretfulness ;
Mallard, after his miserable night, cared little to converse,
and would gladly have been alone. A midday meal, with
liberal supply of wine, helped them somewhat, and they sat
down to smoke in their bedroom. It rained harder than
ever ; from the window they could see the old tower on the
crag smitten with white scud.
" Come now," said Mallard, forcing himself to take a
livelier tone, " tell me about those projects of yours. Are
you serious in your idea of writing ? "
" Perfectly serious."
" And what are you going to write ? "
" That I haven't quite determined. lam revolving things.
I hive ideas without number."
" Too many for use, then. You need to live in some such
place as this for a few weeks, and clear your thoughts.
' Company, villanous company,' is the first thing to be
" No doubt you are right."
But it was half-heartedly said, and with a restless glance
towards the window. Mallai-d, in whose heart a sick weari-
ness conflicted with his will and his desire, went on in a
" I want to work here for a time." Work 1 The syllable
was like lead upon his tongue, and the thought a desolation
in his mind. " Write to your sister ; get her to send your
114 THE EMANCIPATED
belongings from Casa Rolandi, together with a ream of
scribbling-paper. I shall be out of doors most of the day,
and no one will disturb you here. Use the opportunity like
a man. Fall to. I have a strong suspicion that it is now
or never with you."
" I doubt whether I could do anything here."
" Perhaps not on a day like this ; but it is liappily
exceptional. Remember yesterday. Were I a penman, the
view from this window in sunlight would make the ink flow
Elgar was mute for a few minutes.
" I believe I need a big town. Scenes like this dispose me
to idle enjoyment. I have thought of settling in Paris for
tlie next six months."
Mallard made a movement of irritation.
" Then why did you come here at all ? Tou say you have
no money to waste."
" Oh, it isn't quite so bad witli me as all that," replied
Elgar, as if he slightly resented this interference with his
Yet he had yesterday, in the flow of his good-humour, all
but confessed that it was high time he looked out for
an income. Mallard examined him askance. The other,
aware of this scrutiny, put on a smile, and said with an air
of self-conquest :
"But you are right; I have every reason to trust your
advice. I'll tell you what. Mallard. To-morrow I'll drive
to Salerno, take the train to Naples, pack my traps, and
relieve Miriam's mind by an assurance that I'm going to
work in your company ; then at once come back here."
I don't see the need of going to Naples. Write a letter.
Here's paper ; here's pen and ink."
Elgar was again mute. His companion, in an access of
intolerable suffering, cried out vehemently :
" Can't you see into yourself far enough to know that you
are paltering with necessity ? Are you such a feeble
CAPTIVE TRAVELLERS. 115
creature that you must be at the mercy of every childish
whim, and ruin yourself for lack of courage to do what you
know you ought to do ? If instability of n.ature had made
such work of me as it has of you, I'd cut my throat just to
prove that I could at least once make my hand obey my
wiU ! "
" It would be but the final proof of weakness," replied
Elgar, laughing. " Or, to be more serious, what would it
prove either one way or the other ? If you cut your throat,
it was your destiny to do so ; just as it was to commit the
follies that led you there. What is all this nonsense about
weak men and strong men ? I act as I am bound to act ;
I refrain as I am bound to refrain. Tou know it well
This repeated expression of fatalism was genuine '
enough. It manifested a habit of his thought. One of the
characteristics of our time is that it produces men who are
determinists by instinct; who, anything but profound
students or subtle reasoners, catch at the floating phrases of
philosophy and recognize them as the index of their being,
adopt them thenceforth as clarifiers of their vague self-
consciousness. In certain moods Elgar could not change
from one seat to another without its being brought to his
mind that he had moved by necessity.
" What if that be true ? " said Mallard, with unexpected
coldness. "In practice we live as though our will were free.
Otherwise, why discuss anything ? "
" True. This very discussion is a part of the scheme of
things, the necessary antecedent of something or other in
your life and mine. I shall go to Naples to-morrow ; I shall
spend one day there ; on the day after I shall be with you
again. My hand upon it. Mallard. I promise ! "
He did so Avith energy. And for the moment Mallard wag
the truer fatalist.
Again they left the inn, this time going seaward. Still in
rain, they walked towards Minori, along the road which is
ii6 THE EMANCIPATED,
cut in tiie mountain-side, liigh above the beach. They
talked about the massive strongholds which stand as monu-
ments of the time when the coast-towns were in fear of
pirates. Melancholy brooded upon land and sea ; the hills
of Calabria, yesterday so blue and clear, had vanished like
a sunny hope.
The morrow revealed them again. But again for Mallard
there had passed a night of much misery. On rising, he
durst not speak, so bitter was he made by Elgar's singing
and whistling. Yet he would not have cared to prevent the
journey to Naples, had it been in his power. He was sick
of Elgar's company ; he wished for solitude. When his
eyes fell on the materials of his art, he turned away in dis-
" You'll get to work as soon as I'm gone," cried Keuben,
He said it to avoid conversation.
" Cheer up, old man ! I shall not disappoint you this
time. You have my promise."
A two-horse carriage was at the door. Mallard looked at
it from the balcony, and was direly tempted. No fear of his
yielding, however. It was not liis fate to scamper whither
desire pointed him.
" I have already begun to work out an idea," said Elgar,
as he breakfasted merrily. "I woke in the night, and it
came to me as I heard the bell striking. My mind is always
active when I am travelling ; ten to one I shall come back
ready to begin to write. I fear there's no decent ink pur-
chasable in Amalfi ; I mustn't forget that. By-the-bye, is
there anything I can bring you ? "
" Nothing, thanks."
They went down together, shook hands, and away drove
the carriage. At the public fountain in the little piazza,
where stands the image of Sant' Andrea, a group of women
CAPTIVE TRAVELLERS. 117
were busy or idling, "washing clothes and vegetables and
fish, drawing water in vessels of beautiful shape, chattering
incessantly â€” such a group as may have gathered there any
morning for hundreds of years. Children darted after the
vehicle with their perpetual cry of " Tin sord', signor ! " and
Elgar royally threw to them a handful of coppers, looking
back to laugh as they scrambled.
A morning of mornings, deliciously fresh after the rain,
the air exquisitely fragrant. On the mountain-tops ever so
slight a mist still cUnging, moment by moment fading
against the blue.
" Yes, I shall be able to work here," said Elgar within
himself. " December, January, February ; I can be ready
with something for the spring,"
Clifford Marsh left Pompeii on the same day as his two
chance acquaintances ; he returned to his quarters on the
Mergellina, much perturbed in mind, beset with many
doubts, with divers temptations. " Shall I the spigot
wield ? " Must the ambitions of his glowing youth come to
naught, and he descend to rank among the Philistines ?
For, to give him credit for a certain amount of good sense,
he never gravely contemplated facing the world in the sole
strength of his genius. He knew one or two who had done
so ; before his mind's eye was a certain little garret in
Chelsea, where an acquaintance of his, a man of real and
various powers, was year after year taxing his brain and
heart in a bitter struggle with penury ; and these glimpses
ql Bohemia "yvere far from inspiring Clifford with zeal for
ii8 THE EMANCIPATED.
naturalization. Elated with wine and companionship, he
liked to pose as one who was saci'ificing " prospects " to
artistic conscientiousness ; but, even though he had " fallen
back " on landscape, he was very widely awake to the fact
that his impressionist studies would not supply him with
bread, to say nothing of butter â€” and Clifford must needs
That step-father of his was a well-to-do manufacturer of
shoddy in Leeds, one Hibbert, a good-natured man on the
whole, but of limited horizon. He had married a widow
above his own social standing, and for a long time was con-
tent to supply her idolized son with the means of pursuing
artistic studies in London and abroad. But Mr. Hibbert
had a strong opinion that this money should by now have
begun to make some show of productiveness. Domestic
grounds of dissatisfaction ripened his resolve to be firm with
young Mr. Marsh. Mrs. Hibbert was extravagant ; doubt-
less her son was playing the fool in the same direction.
After all, one could pay too much for the privilege of being
snubbed by one's superior wife and step-son. If Clifford
were willing to "buckle to " at sober business (it was now
too late for him to learn a profession), well and good; he
should have an opening at which many a young fellow would
jump. Othei-wise, let the fastidious gentleman pay his own
Clifford's difficulties were complicated by his relations
with Madeline Dcnyer. It was a year since he had met
Madeline at ISTaples, had promptly fallen in love with her
face and her advanced opinions, and had won her affection
in return. Clifford was then firm in the belief that, if he
actually married, Mr. Hibbert would not have the heart to
stop bis allowance ; Mrs. Denyer had reasons for thinking
otherwise, and her daughter saw the case in the same light.
It must be added that he pi-e3umed the Denyers to be
better off than they really were ; in fact, he was to a great
extent misled. His dignity, if the worst came about, would
THE MARTYR, 119
not have slirunk from moderate assistance at the liands of
his parents-in-law. Madelina knew well enough that
nothing of this kind was possible, and in the end made her
lover's mind clear on the point. Since then the course of
these young people's affections had been anything but
smooth. However, the fact remained that there xi:as
mutual affection â€” which, to be sure, made the matter
Distinctly so since the estrangement which had followed
Marsh's arrival at the boarding-house. He did not take
Madeline's advice to -seek another abode, and for two or
three days Madeline knew not whether to be glad or
offended at his remaining. For two or three days only ;
then she began to have a pronounced opinion on the subject.
It was monstrous that he should stay under this roof and sit
at this table, after what had happened. He had no delicacy ;
he was behaving as no gentleman could. It was high time
that her mother spoke to him.