William Starbuck Mayo.

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W. S. MAYO, M.D.,





Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.



205-213 East i2tk -SV.




IT must seem strange, my dear Miss Bilkers, not
only to you, but to members of your set, that I
should venture to connect the name of such a fashion
able girl as yourself with anything so out of fashion
as a dedication, and especially a dedication of what
does not pretend to be a pure work of art ; not
even a novel with a moral, or a novel with a pur
pose ; but simply a tale with a tail, and this tail
without sting or venom, and in no ways distinguish
able except by a few harmless rattles that can hurt
nothing and nobody. It must seem, I say, strange
perhaps presumptuous to you and your excellent
mother, to whom you owe so much of your early
training ; but I have a good reason, in my excessive
admiration not only of your mind and person, but
of your style in general. I have watched you on
many occasions with interest, and you must permit
me to say, with an ever-growing conviction that
there are^ very few girls in society quite equal to


It is admitted that the days of the old-fashioned,
cold, hard, and haughty, but quiet, fine-ladyism have
passed ; and in its place, we have the active, the
aggressive, the impetuously pert and energetically
arrogant style. Of this style, you are, I believe, my
dear Miss Bilkers, one of the most happy examples.
The demonstrative insouciance, if I may be allowed
the expression, with which you twist your lithe figure
through the mazes of the cotillion the insolent vigor
with which you repel the contact of common peo
ple, at ball or party the active contemptuousness
with which you stare down nobodies as they stroll
the piazza of the watering place hotel or still more,
that ineffable expression of combative arrogance that
" slap-your-face-for- two-cents" kind of a look that
beams from every feature as you roll along in your
carriage through Bellevue Avenue, or the drives in
the Park all, all have often excited my admira
tion, and now fully warrant this public tribute of
regard and esteem from your humble friend.








"Nothing but ghosts of ideas."

- 107


"An outside heresy, my dear Mrs. Struggles,"

- 142


"Beautiful, isn't it?"

- 228


. . . 243


- 245


- 247


- 248


- 249


- 251


- - - 368

" I don't want any husband."

Miss JONES' BREAKFAST TABLE, - - - - - -457

"The Doctor does us the honor to propose a conundrum."

MRS. STICHEN'S BOUDOIR, - - . . . . . . 535

"Mr. Hoggs, may I talk plainly?"


"Dere's dem city sixes."


"What's a million without the principle of longevity ?"


"Nous verrons."




JL the announcement, made in all languages, to every
body, by all the maitres-d'' hotel, premiers gar$ons, courriers and
valets de place of Baden. Of course there was a rush, after
dinner, for the promenade, enthusiasm for Austrian mili
tary music being, twenty-five or thirty years ago, almost as
much a test of connoisseurship as in the present day.

Every chair on the colonnade of the Kurhaus, and on
both sides of the public walk, running between the little kiosk
occupied by the band and the thronged portals of the gam
bling salons was filled, and the walk itself was densely crowded
with a gay throng of promenaders. Richly dressed women
beautiful and ugly old and young from every civilized
clime, and gallant and graceful men variously costumed, and
of all ages from tripping youth to shuffling senility, passed
and repassed, bowing and smiling, smirking and gesticula
ting, and exhaling an odor of refined savoir vivre peculiar, in
its intensity, and its entire freedom from any merely moral
or utilitarian smells, to this the greatest bathing-place, with
waters of the least efficacy in Europe.

Have you ever seen at sea, while watching the dark massy


waves rolling on in sullen and resistless power, a handful of
spray dashed upwards and converted into a shower of dia
monds and rubies by a gleam of sun-light ? If so, you have
an image of the spoon-drift of society, as it sparkled and
flashed in the lights, natural and artificial, of a lovely even
ing at Baden.

The gambling salons were nearly empty. There had
been an intermission of an hour or two in the monotonous
"faites votre jeu MessUurs ; le jeu est fait,'" of the croupiers
of the rouge-et-noir, and the game had not yet been opened
for the evening. The wheel of the roulette, however, at the
head of the large conversation salle was in motion. It al
ways is in motion. It is said that the oldest inhabitants of
Baden, those who have lived through many millions of its
revolutions, have never known it to stop. Friction and the
resistance of the air have no effect upon it. On it goes in
violation of the plainest principles of mechanics, in utter
contempt of the most rigid demonstrations of the impossi
bility of perpetual motion, on forever and ever whirling
away yearly the wealth, health, and happiness of thousands.
Whether its drivers and conductors are a different order of
men from the croupiers of the rouge-et-noir is a matter of
doubt ; but certain it is that they never sleep, and require
nothing to eat. There are intermissions with the cards, which
indicate a connection between the impassible shufflers and or
dinary humanity ; but the ball of the roulette is not less regu
lar and continuous in its revolutions than the balls of the
solar system.

It was the hour of ebb in the gambling tide, the time
for the minnows and small fry, the singlo silver-florin
folks who have already repocketed their cure-dents and swal
lowed their pousse-caf is and/#.r verres. Wait an hour and
the big fish will begin to show themselves, the tide will turn,
and a flood, with a rush like the bore in the Hoogly or the
Bay of Funda, will set in and cover the green cloth banks
with a sediment of gold.

Gathered around the roulette are a dozen or so of couriers,


soiis-officiers, and students, with a few ladies' maids and French
milliners, together with three or four staid, quiet heads of fam
ilies, who, at London or New York, would cleem penny points
or sixpenny loo the unpardonable sin ; and who, if compelled
to sit out a night at euchre or vingt-et-un would require, like
Moses at Rephidim, some one to help them hold up their
hands. Besides these there is an English built, clerical-look
ing gentleman in a white neck cloth, who is intently watching
the game with his hand thrust down into his pocket fingering
a florin. " Put it down, my dear sir, just for the fun of the
thing ! it will be so odd ; no one knows you, and you merely
wish to see whether pair will not come up after impair has
been called five times.

Far down at the lower end of the large hall one solitary in
dividual was to be seen. The superior attractions of the rou
lette at the upper end, and of the music and crowd without,
had drawn off all stragglers, and left him in undisturbed pos
session of a sofa, and several hundred square feet of solitude.
He appeared to be, after making all allowance for a carefully
studied toilet, a man of about fifty-five years of age, and was
evidently an invalid. His figure was slight and somewhat
bent, his complexion pale and unhealthy, his cheeks hollow,
his eyes sunken, and his lips bloodless and thin. An enor
mous mustache, dyed a deep black, rested upon the inclined
plane of his projecting front teeth, and, contrasting oddly with
his scanty gray locks, added an expression of fierceness to a
face deeply marked by the play of uncurbed appetites and
passions. Still, there was something in his appearance that
excited interest and commanded respect. An air of exquis
ite refinement and high breeding concealed, at first sight,
almost wholly the natural repulsiveness of his expression, and
served to confirm a conjecture, warranted by his elaborate and
finished, yet quiet, style of dress, that he was a man of high
social position, if not of rank. A practised observer might,
perhaps, have gone still further and have marked him down
as an aristocratic rouu ; old before his time, and bowed with the
weight, not of years, but of days and nights of vice and folly,


He was reclining upon the sofa in an attitude of affected
ease, that but poorly concealed a sense of debility and lassi
tude. He appeared to be lost in thought of no very pleasant
kind, to judge from the frown on his brow, and the impatient
gnawing of his thin lip. But of whatever character his reve
rie, he was roused from it by a servant in a plain suit of
black who, with a letter in his hands, had been peering about
through the different rooms.

The reclining gentleman took the letter with a listless air,
glanced carelessly at the address, and suddenly started from
his recumbent attitude, with a gesture of vexation, and a few
muttered objurgations in French.

" Has any one seen this ? " he demanded of the man.

"No one, Durchlaucht. I have just taken it from the
post. I thought it best to bring it to you at once without
waiting your Excellency's return to the hotel."

" 'Tis very well, Steignitz. I am glad that no one has seen
this address. But you forget that I have forbidden you to
style me Excellency or Durchlaucht. Recollect that I am
plain Monsieur D'Okenheim."

" Permit me to observe," replied Steignitz, " that I see
here almost fifty people who know us."

" True ! I am not such a fool as to think that an incog
nito can be preserved at Baden. But fifty people are not
everybody. I have my reasons for being Monsieur D'Oken
heim to all strangers. Where is Madame ? "

" Der Herr will find her outside, directly in front of this
lower window."

" Alone ? "
" No, she is attended by Herrn Ledgeral."

Herr D'Okenheim's face was a study the expression was
so peculiar, and so complex. A deep frown corrugated his
forehead, and his shaggy eyebrows were drawn down so as
to almost conceal the pinkish, lustreless eyes they shaded ;
while his heavy mustache was thrown upwards, and the corn
ers of his mouth twisted into a smile of mingled malice and


He waved his hand. Steignitz bowed and depaited to
rejoin Annette, Madame, D'Okenheim's French maid, who
was awaiting him for a stroll in the avenue of Lichtenthal.

Monsieur D'Okenheim, with a trembling hand, broke the
seal of his letter, and began to read. As he read, his frown
grew deeper, and what there had been of a smile, gave place
to an expression of pure rage. He crushed the letter in his
hand, and, starting from his seat, paced up and down with
vivacious, but uncertain step.

Approaching the window, indicated by his servant, he
looked out upon the crowd. His eye lighted at once upon a
gentleman and lady seated directly below him, and again his
face was illumined with an equivocal smile. He stood gazing
at them for some time, one hand crumpling the letter the
other nervously twisting the ends of his long mustache.

" All alike ! yes, all alike ! " he exclaimed. " I really
had begun to believe that there were exceptions, and that
my wife would prove one of them ; but I am rather glad
to be undeceived. I am rather glad at being relieved from
the distinction of possessing such a rara avis as a virtuous

" Virtue ! " he muttered, renewing his walk. " Bah !
what is virtue ? I don't believe a word of it in man or
woman. It is a hybrid a monster an unnatural affirmative,
born of the conjunction of two negatives no passions and no
opportunities. Opportunities and importunities have not
been wanting in her case. She has been too long the com
panion of the Princess of Stacklenberg for that. It must
have been her cold heart that has kept her reputation so far
clear of stain. I had begun to think that it was her clever
ness that, as Shakespeare has it, she ever "put out the fire
of passion with the sap of reason." But cleverness never
saves them. The sap of reason dries up when most needed.
But why has the fire, in her case, never been lighted ? that's
what puzzles me. There was the Count Hunoyd ! I thought
at one time it might be my duty to put a sword through the
handsomest man in Vienna ; but no, she extinguished him


herself without the slightest suggestion from me. And now
well, as the wisest of all poets says :

'" In some breasts passion lies concealed and silent,
Like war's swart posvder in a castle vault,
Until occasion like the lintstock lights it.'

Perhaps the Yankee carries the lintstock.

" Strange ! strange ! " he continued, advancing to the
window, and looking out upon his wife and her companion.
" It must be just the perversity of the sex. Were I a doting,
uxorious, jealous husband, my wife, I do not doubt, would
have counted her lovers by the score ; and now this Yankee
is the first man in whom she has taken any real interest. I
should not have thought that the self-conceited gauky could
have stirred that smooth-polished, well-balanced mechanism
she calls her heart. However, I must tell her of this letter.
It will distress her, I know; but then she knows how and
where to seek for consolation."

Monsieur D'Okenheim seized his hat and stick, and, with
an affected jauntiness of step, sallied from the Kurhaus.
Threading his way, not without difficulty, through the crowd,
he advanced to the couple whose movements he had been

The lady Madame D'Okenheim was a distinguished
looking woman of about eight-and-twenty years of age. She
had a fine, stylish figure, almost perfect, unless perhaps an
imperfection might be found in a decided promise of fat at
forty ; and she had a face which, if not unqualifiedly hand
some, had a great deal of that kind of beauty which is the
exponent of youth and high health large liquid lustrous eyes,
as yet undimmed by gas-light and ball-room glare skin pure
and polished, as yet untinted and unroughened by matutinal
champagne and/#/t! de foie gras pearly teeth, and ruby lips
that spoke only of sound lungs, and a good digestion, and
said nothing about a compressed liver, and an obstructed
portal circulation. Not the highest style of beauty it may be.
Not perhaps beauty at all ; but the highest condition of


beauty, the sine qua non of beauty, the something without
which beauty, unless in some rare cases, don't amount to
much ; or, to mount a metaphor, the animal on which spiritual
and intellectual beauty the beauty of soul and mind gallops
through the avenues of sense into the heart. Of course if
the animal is out of condition, beauty can't ride fast or far.
She is very apt to stop short of the portals of passion, and
" hitch up " at the door of respect and esteem. Let it not be
supposed from this figurative flourish, that Madame D'Oken-
heim was deficient in the beauty of expression. All that is
meant is that she was healthily handsome. A charming
toilet set off all the graces of her person to the best advan
tage, while the effect was very much heightened by an easy
but quiet graciousness of manner, and a certain aura of ban
ten which she seemed to breathe out at every word and move
ment. Her style clearly indicated study in the Viennese
school, which is to manners pretty much what the Venetian
school was to art a happy mingling of vivacity and repose
in the composition, with the flesh tints strong and hearty; the
general tone rich and warm, with a very faithful and substan
tial rendering of sentiment and passion.

Her companion was, perhaps, twenty-three years of
age. He, too, was rather good looking. Tall, and somewhat
lanky in figure, but withal graceful and easy in his bearing,
there was perhaps a little too much of an attempt at elegance
in his general getting up the necessary and pardonable
effect of his recent emancipation from certain puritanic prej
udices, as well as from a certain provincialism in dress,
which at that time still characterized the great commercial
metropolis of America, but which has now so happily disap

The eldest son of Mr. Ledgeral, a reputable New York
merchant, he had been dispatched to Liverpool, a few
months before, for the settlement of some business question,
requiring a confidential agent on the part of Ledgeral, Ship-
pen and Co. His business having been satisfactorily arranged,
young Ledgeral was now enjoying, preparatory to his return


to the dingy counting-house in Burling Slip, a few months' run
upon the continent.

It was at Frankfort that he first made the acquaintance
of Monsieur and Madame D'Okenheim. He was trying to
make himself understood by the custode' of the Wahlzimmer,
or election chamber of the German Emperors, but inasmuch
as he knew not a word of German, and but very little French,
he was turning away with a feeling of profound disgust at the
fellow's stupidity, when a pleasant voice came to his relief
with a " Permit me I will explain," and Madame D'Oken
heim, in alternate English and German, cleared up all diffi
culties. Monsieur D'Okenheim coming up, and he, too, speak
ing English, the conversation was continued. Together they
saw the famous Golden Bull, or Deed, by which Charles IV.
settled the mode of election of the German Emperors, and
visited the Kaisersaal, or banqueting-room, where the Em
perors were waited upon by Kings and Princes. Again they
met, bowed, and spoke, in the Jfudengasse, one of the chief
sights in Frankfort, and at dinner-time, as luck would have it,
Mr. Ledgeral found himself at the table d'hote the vis-a-vis of

Upon his expressing a wish to visit Homburg, a seat in
Monsieur D'Okenheiin's carriage, for next day, was offered
him, and as Madame backed the invitation with a bewitching
smile, and an assurance that she should be charmed to have
his company, it was most gratefully accepted.

Every traveller knows how rapidly an acquaintanceship
ripens under such circumstances : one sight-seeing excursion
having about as much forcing power as a round of dinner or
evening parties and a dozen or two of morning calls. It is
not surprising therefore, that during the ride to Homburg it
should have been found that Baden-Baden was the destina
tion of all parties, and that there was again a seat for Mr.
Ledgeral in Monsieur D'Okenheim's travelling carriage.

There was a freshness of feeling and expression about
the young man that interested Madame D'Okenheim, who,
accustomed since extreme youth to the polished and doubly


refined, but heartless, and dissipated society of mediatized
German Princes, and the haute noblesse of Austria and Hun
gary, was thoroughly blase. His occidentalities had for her
the charm of novelty. They affected her taste very much as
the flavor of a canvas-back duck does the palate of an Euro
pean epicure, as a something dubiously delightful.

There was also a certain degree of mingled verdancy and
shrewdness a kind of Yankee naivete, mixed with a good
proportion of self conceit, that seemed for a time to amuse
Monsieur D'Okenheim, who soon managed, with the skill of
a diplomatist and man of the world, by a few adroit observa
tions and questions to strip the vain and confident youth of
every feeling, sentiment, and plan, leaving his inner man in
a state of nudity which, had he been conscious of, he him
self would have been the first to denounce as ridiculous and
indecent, especially as with all his " 'cuteness," he got not a
rag of Monsieur D'Okenheim's mental habiliments in return.
The process complete, Monsieur took, apparently, but little
further interest in his conversation ; most of the time, while
in the carriage, he seemed to be asleep, or, when stopping
to view a ruin or a landscape, was so apathetic and indif
ferent, so indisposed or unfit for exertion, or so attentive to
Annette, the French maid, or so taken up with the talk of
guides and custodes, that the duty of attendance upon
Madame fell naturally and wholly to the young man.

The approach of Monsieur D'Okenheim, as he picked his
way amid the crowd seated under the colonnade of the Kur-
haus, was unnoticed by the lady or her companion until he
stood before them. A slight start and a suffusion of the
cheek in both were not unobserved by him, but produced no
perceptible effect upon his manner, unless perhaps to increase
the sinister smile with which he addressed them. Raising
his hat and bowing low, he said, in a tone of bland impres-
siveness : " I am sorry to interrupt your conversation, and I
ask a thousand pardons, but, Monsieur Ledgeral, if you will
have the goodness to excuse Madame for ten minutes, I have
a few words to say to her. I have just received a letter, the


contents of which I wish to communicate to her. I shall
detain her but a fe\v minutes, when, Monsieur, if you will
have the goodness to take charge of her again, that is, if
you are not otherwise engaged, you will, I am sure, charm
her and oblige me."

Madame D'Okenheim rose from her seat.

" Shall we find you here upon our return ? " she demanded,
looking back with an inviting smile.

The young man, blushing and bowing, laid his hand upon
his heart with theatric, but not ungraceful, gallantry.

"I am a statue," he said, "until your return."

" As stationary, perhaps ? " she replied, smiling.

" Certainly. But I would not have you think as hard or
as cold. The great English poet of whom we were talking,
says 'the eyes of women are Promethean fires.' I have been
Prometheusized ; my heart has been touched by the heavenly
flame, and although I shall not move, I shall live, and feel,
and hope."

" We shall not keep you long waiting," exclaimed Mon
sieur D'Okenheim, who affected not to hear these remarks,
which, uttered in a low tone, had nevertheless too much of
the penetrating intensity of passion to wholly escape his ear.
" I am anxious to resume my seat at the table within. I feel
that I shall be in luck to-night."

Madame took her husband's proffered arm. A few steps
brought them to the deserted piazza, of the Trinkhalle. Mon
sieur looked cautiously around to see that no one was within

"So/" he exclaimed, pursing up his lips and ejecting
the sound with a prolonged hissing through his closed teeth.
"So/ ma belle, the Yankee's gallantry is improving, I see."

"Yes, he is coming on," replied the lady carelessly.
" He begins to fancy himself a gallant de premiere force, and
to plume himself upon his conquest"

" A conquest ! Yes, after the fashion of the soldier who
captured the Tartar. A real Cadmian victory! You have
heard the phrase 'a victory of Pyrrhus'? 'Another such


success,' said the old king of Epirus, ' and I am ruined ' : in
fact the conquering jackanape is completely in your power now ;
you could make him hang himself with one of your garters."

" I have no wish that my garters should be put to such a
use ! "

" No ? Perhaps you prefer that he should go on conquer
ing and to conquer : may-be he is nearer a conquest of your
heart than I supposed. Come, tell me what progress he has
really made. Has he reached his third parallel ? has he
crowned the crest of the glacis ? is the citadel in danger ? "

" I don't understand barrack-room figures," replied the
lady, contemptuously.

" To be plain then, what do you really think of this lover
of yours ? You know you can trust me. It is a great thing
for a woman to be able to trust her husband in such matters.
Come, tell me, is your own heart wholly untouched ? "

The struggle between a leer and a sneer, for possession
of the speaker's countenance, would have made a study for
the great illustrator of Faust.

" Well, perhaps not," replied Madame D'Okenheim mu

Online LibraryWilliam Starbuck MayoNever again → online text (page 1 of 58)