1839-1908 Ouida.

Ouida, illustrated (Volume 3) online

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C H A N D O S.












- ifgi

Two Vows 5


CHAP. I. Pythias, or Mephistopheles ? 10

II. " La Comte et sa Queue " 16

III. A Prime Minister at Home 36

IV. The Queen of Lilies 42

V. Po6sie du Beau Sexe 62

VI." The Many Years of Pain that Taught me Art " 62

VII. Latet Anguis in Herba 73

III. A Jester who Hated both Prince and Palace 86


I. Under the Waters of Nile 96

II. The Dark Diadem 105

1 1 1. Butterflies on the Pin 113

IV. " Straight was a Path of Gold for him " 119

V. Clarencieux 122

VI. The Poem among the Violets 140

VII. The Poem as Women read it 146

VIII. In the Rose Garden 148

IX. The Watcher for the Fall of Ilion 159


I." Spes et Fortuna Valete " 169

II." Tout est Perdu, fors 1'Honneur" 182

III. The Love of Woman 197

IV. The Last Night among the Purples 202

V. The Death of the Titan 208

VI. " And the Spoilers came down" 214

VII. The Few who were Faithful 222

VIII. The Crowd in the Cour des Princes 234


I. " Facilis descensus Averni " 250

II. " Where all Life dies, Death lives " 258

III. In the Net of the Retiarius 270

IV. " Sin shall not have Dominion over You " 284


I. In Exile 291

II. In Triumph 295


I. " Primavera ! Gioventu dell' Anno ! " 299

1 1. Castalia 302

III. "Gioventu ! Primavera della Vita !" 312

IV. " Seigneur ! ayez Pitie " 319


I. "Do well unto Thyself, and Men will speak good of Thee " 332

II. The Throne of the Exile 341

III. " He who endures conquers" , 353

IV. " Oui a Offens6 ne Pardonne Jamais " ^64

V. " Ne Chercher qu'un Regard, qu'une Fleur qu'un Soleil " 368

VI. " Nihil Humani a me Ahenum Puto" 379

V 1 1 " Pale Comme un Beau Soir d' Automne " 397

V1IL " Record one Lost Soul more" 411

VOL. Hi. (3)



I. The Claimant of the Porphyry Chamber 4*3

II. " Magister de Vivis Lapidibus" 43

III. "To tell of Spring-tide Past 437

IV "To Thine Own Self be True" 442

V. The Codes of Arthur 452

VI. Et tu, Brute ! f*

VI I. Liberia 473

VII I. Lex Talionis 494

IX." King over Himself " 55


I. Our Corps, and who Composed it : ' "i ^ 2 4

II. How Sunshine, Pearl, and Rosebud shot at Bull's-eyes and hit other Marks. .. 531

III. How a Silver Bugle sounded Different Notes, and Randolph lost a Pony-race. 537


IV. How Randolph and I Sinned and Confessed it, and how We got Pardon

.and Penance 547

V. How Spiritualistic Agency was Brought in for Material Purposes 554


I. The Lion of the Chaussee d' Antin 565

II. Nina Gordon 570

III. Le Lion Amoureux" , 576

IV. Mischief 582

V. More Mischief and an End 589


I. Fitz Goes down by the Express, and Makes an Acquaintance En Route 601

II. Beau Begins one Canvass and Fitz another 608

IlI..-r-Gupid Gives Beau more Trouble than all the Blues 613

IV. The Radkal Candidate beats the Popular Preacher out of the Field 620

V. Fitz wins one Election and loses another 626


I. Over the Hills and Far Away 638

II. We Bag Blackcock and Mark Belles 643

III. The Little Diamond in the Desert 651

IV. The Gpwan of the Moors Grows more Attractive than the Game 661

V. The Light on the Moors shines again for Dyneley 668

A LINE IN THE "DAILY." ...._ 675

C H A N D O S,



IT was the sultry close of a midsummer night in the heart of London.

In all the narrow streets about Westminster, and stretching downward to
the dens of the City or the banks of the river, there were the roar of traffic and
the glare of midnight; the throngs were jostling each other, the unscreened
gas-jets of the itinerant stalls were flaring yellow in the stillness of the air, the
screaming of ballad-singers pierced shrilly above the incessant noise of wheels,
the shouting of coster-mongers, butchers, oyster-venders, and fried-fish-sellers
added its uproar to the pandemonium, and the steam and stench of hot drinks
and of rotting vegetables blent with the heaviness of smoke borne down by the
heat and the tempestuous oppression of the night. Above, the sky was dark,
and little illumined by the crescent of a young and golden moon; but across
the darkness now and then, across the narrow strip that piled roofs and towering
spires and crushed-up walls alone gave sight of, a falling star shot swiftly down
the clouds, in fleeting memento and reminder of all the glorious world of
forest and of lake, of rushing river and of deep fern-glade, of leafy shelter
lying cool in mountain-shadows, and of sea-waves breaking upon wet brown
rocks, which lay beyond, and were forgotten here in the stress of trade, in the
strife of crowds, in the cramped toil of poverty, and in the wealth of mingled
nations. Few in town that night looked up at the shooting star as it flashed its
fiery passage above the dull, leaden, noxious, gas-lit streets; none, indeed,
except perhaps here and there a young dreamer, with threadbare coat and mad
but sweet ambitions for all that was impossible, or some woman, young,
haggard, painted, half drunk, whose aching eyes were caught by it, and whose
sodden memory went wearily back to a long-buried childhood, when the stars
were out over the moorland of a cottage home, and childish wonder had
watched them rise over the black edge of ricks through the little lozenge of the
lattice, and sleep had come under their light, happily, innocently, haunted by



no terrors, to the clear music of a mother's spinning-song. Save these, none
thought of the star as it dropped down above the jagged wilderness of roofs:
the crowd was looking elsewhere, to the lighted entrance of the Lower House.
The ministers who sat in the Commons were about to leave, after a night of
unusual national interest.

The multitude had gathered thickly, swollen by every passer-by who, drawn
into the vortex, had hung on the outskirts of the concourse, and stopped in turn
to pause and stare, and hear the gossip of St. Stephen's. There had been, as it
was known, a powerful and heated debate, a political crisis of decisive eminence,
of some peril, moreover, to the country, from a rash war policy which had
been urged upon the existing ministry, which must, it had been feared, have
resigned to escape stooping to measures forced on it by the opposition; the
false position had been avoided by the genius of one man alone; the government
had stood firm, and had vanquished its foes, through the mighty ability of its
chief statesman, one who, more fortunate than Pitt in the brilliant success of
his measures at home and abroad, was often called, like Pitt, the Great

Yet it was a title, perhaps, that scarcely suited him; for he was patrician to
the core, patrician in pride, in name, in blood, and in caste, though he dis-
dained all coronets. You could not have lowered him; also, you could not
have ennobled him. He was simply and intrinsically a great man. At the
same time, he was the haughtiest of aristocrats, too haughty, by all the Bour-
bon and Plantagenet blood of his line, ever to stoop to the patent of a present,,
earldom or a marquisate of the new creation.

The crowds pressed closest and densest as one by one of his colleagues ap-
peared, passing to their carriages; and his name ran breathlessly down the
people's ranks: they trusted him, they honored him, they were proud of him, as
this country, so naturally and strongly conservative in its instincts, however radi-
cal it be in its reasonings, is proud of its aristocratic leaders. They were ready to
cheer him to the echo the moment he appeared; specially ready to-night,
for he had achieved a signal victory, and the populace always cense success.
At last he came, a tall and handsome man, very fair, and of splendid bear-
ing, about fifty years of age, and with a physiognomy that showed both the
habit and the power of command. He was satiated to weariness with public
homage; but he acknowledged the greetings of the people as they rang on the
night air with kindly, if negligent, courtesy, the courtesy of a grand seigneur.
At his side was a boy, his only son, a mere child of some seven years. In-
dulged in his every inclination, he had been taken to the House that evening
by a good-natured peer, to a seat under the clock, and had for the first time
heard his father speak, heard, with his eyes glittering, and his cheeks flushed,
and his heart beating, in a passionate triumph and an enthusiastic love much


beyond his years; with a silent vow, moreover, in his childish thoughts, to go and
do likewise in his manhood.

" That boy will be a great man, if if he dosen't have too much genius,"
the old peer who sat beside him had said to himself, watching his kindling eyes
and his breathless lips, and knowing, like a world-wise old man of business as
he was, that the fate of Prometheus is the same in all ages, and that it is medioc-
rity which pays.

The boy had a singular; it had been a great characteristic of the great min-
ister's race through all centuries; woman's tenderness and fashionable fancies
were shown in the elegance of his dress, with its velvets and laces and delicate
hues; and the gold of his hair, falling over his shoulders in long, clustering
curls, glittered in the lamp-light as, at his father's recognition of the crowd, he
lifted his cap with its eagle's feather and bowed to them too, a child's bright,
gratified amusement blent with the proud, courtly grace of his father's manner,
already hereditary in him.

The hearts of the people warmed to him for his beauty and for his child-
hood, the hearts of the women especially, and they gave him another and yet
heartier cheer. He bowed like a young prince, to the right and to the left, and
looked up in the grave statesman's face with a happy, joyous laugh; yet still in
his eyes, as they glanced over the throngs, there was the look dreamy, brill-
iant, half wistful, half eager which was beyond his age, and which had made
the old peer fear for him that gift of the gods which the world does not love,
because most unwisely, most suicidally it fears it.

Amongst the crowd, wedged in with the thousands pressing there about the
carriages waiting for the members, stood a woman: she was in mourning-clothes,
that hung sombrely and heavily about her, and a dark veil obscured her feat-
ures. By something in her attitude, something in her form, it would have
been guessed that she had been handsome, not very long since, either, but that
now there was more in her that was harsh, and perhaps coarse, than there was
of any other trait. Her features could not be seen, her eyes alone shone through
the folds of her veil, and were fixed on the famous politician as he came out
from the entrance of the Commons, and on the young boy by his side. Her
own hand was on the shoulder of a child but a few years older, very strongly
built, short, and muscularly made, with features of a thoroughly English type,
that which is vulgarly called the Saxon ; his skin was very tanned, his linen torn
and untidy, his hands brown as berries and broad as a young lion's paws, and
his eyes, blue, keen, with an infinite mass of humor in them, looked steadily
out from under the straw hat drawn over them ; they too were fastened on the
bright hair and the delicate dress of the little aristocrat, with some such look as ?
when a child, Manon Phlippon gave the gay and glittering groups of Versailles
and the young queen whom she lived to drag to the scaffold.


The women's hand weighed more heavily on his shoulder, and she stooped
her head till her lips touched his cheek, with a hoarse whisper,

" There is your enemy ! "

The boy nodded silently, and a look passed over his face, over the sturdy
defiance of his mouth and the honest mischief of his eyes, very bitter, very
merciless, worse in one so young than the fiercest outburst of evanescent rage.

Life was but just opening in him ; but already he had learned man's first
instinct, to hate.

Where they stood, on the edge of the pressing throng, that had left but a
narrow lane for a passage of the ministers, the little patrician was close to the
boy who stared at him with so dogged a jealousy and detestation in his glance ; and
his own large eyes, with a wondering surprise in their brilliance, rested a mo-
ment on the only face that, in a world to him of luxury and love, had ever
looked darkly on him. He paused, the naturally generous and tender temper
in him leading him, unconsciously, rather to pity and to reconciliation than to
offence: he had never seen this stranger before, but his instinct was to woo him
out of his angry solitude. He touched him, with a bright and loving smile,
giving what he had to give.

"You look vexed and tired: take these ! "

He put into his hand a packet of French bonbons that he had been given in
the Ladies Gallery, and followed his father, with a glad, rapid bound, into the
carriage, by whose steps they were. The servants shut the door with a clash,
the wheels rolled away with a loud clatter, swelling the thunder of the busy
midnight streets. The boy in the throng stood silent, looking at the dainty,
costly, enamelled Paris packet of crystallized sweetmeats and fruits. Then,
without a word, he flung it savagely on the ground, and stamped it out under
his heel, making the painted, silvered paper, and the luscious bonbons, a bat-
tered, trampled mass, down in the mud of the pavement.

There was a world of eloquence in the gesture. Rich bonbons rarely
touched his lips, and he was child enough to love them well; but he threw
them out on the trottoir now, as though they had been so much sand.

As his carriage rolled through the streets in the late night, the great states-
man passed his hand lightly over the fair locks of his son. The child had much of
his own nature, of his own intellect, and he saw in his young heir the future
security for the continuance of the brilliance and power of his race.

" You will make the nation honor you for yourself one day, Ernest ? " he
said, gently, as his hand lay on the soft, glittering hair.

There were tears in the child's eyes, and a brave and noble promise and
comprehension in his face, as he looked up at his father.

If I live I will ! "

As they were propelled onward by the pressure of the moving crowd, the


woman and her son went slowly along the heated streets, with the gas-glare of
some fish or meat-shops thrown on them, as they passed, in yellow, flaring
illumination. They were not poor, though on foot thus, and though the lad's
dress was torn and soiled through his own inveterate activity and endless mis-
chief. No pressure of any want was on them: yet his glance followed the
carriage, darted under the awnings before the mansions, and penetrated wher-
ever riches or rank struck him, with the hungry, impatient, longing look of a
starving Rousseau or Gilbert, hounded to socialism for the lack of a sou, a
look very strange and premature on a face so young and naturally so mirthful
and good-humored.

His mother watched him, and leaned her hand again on his shoulder.

" You will have your revenge one day."

" Won't I!"

The schoolboy answer was ground out with a meaning intensity, as he set
his teeth like a young bulldog.

Each had promised to gain a very different aristeia. When they came to
the combat, with whom would rest the victory ?



Yo tocar6 cantando

El musico instrumento sonoroso,
Tu el glorio gozando

Danza, y festSja a Dios que es poderoso,
O gozemos de esta gloria
Por que la humana es transitoria !

Ode of the Flower. IXTILXOCHITL.

Plutus, the god of gold

Is but his steward

. . . no gift to him
But breeds the giver a return exceeding
All use of quittance.




IT was the height of the London season. Town filled. Death had made
gaps in the crowd; but new-comers filled up the rents, and the lost were un-
missed. Brows, that the last year had been stainless as snow, had been
smirched with slander or stained with shame; but the opals crowning them
belied their ancient fame, and did not pale. Light hearts had grown heavy,
proud heads had been bent, fair cheeks had learned to cover care with pearl-
powder, words had been spoken that a lifetime could not recall, links had been
broken that an eternity would not unite, seeds of sin and sorrow had been sown
never again to be uprooted, in the brief months that lay between " last season "
and this phoenix of the new; but the fashionable world met again with smiling
lips, and the bland complaisance, and unutterable ennui, and charming mutual
compliment to go through all the old routine with well-trained faces, befitting
the arena.

It was April. The last carriages had rolled out by the Corner, the last hacks
paced out of the Ride, the last sunlight was fading; epicures were reflecting on
their club dinners, beauties were studying the contents of their jewel-boxes, the
one enjoying a matelote, the other a conquest, in dreamy anticipation; chan-
deliers were being lit for political receptions, where it would be a three-hours
campaign to crush up the stairs; and members waiting to go in on Supply were


improving their minds by discussing a new dancer's ankles, and the extraordi-
nary scratching of Lord of the Isles for the Guineas. The West, in a word,
was beginning its Business, which is Pleasure; while the East laid aside its
Pleasure, which is Business; and it was near eight o'clock on a spring night in

Half a hundred entertainments waited for his selection; all the loveliest
women, of mondes proper and improper, were calculating their chances of
securing his preference; every sort of intellectual or material pleasure waited
for him as utterly as they ever waited for Sulla when the rose-wreaths were on
his hair and Quintius Roscius ready with his ripest wit; and for him as truly as
for Sulla, " Felix " might have described him as the darling of the gods: yet,
alone in his house in Park Lane, a man lay in idleness and ease, indolently
smoking a narghile from a great silver basin of rose-water. A stray sunbeam
lingered here and there on some delicate bit of statuary, or jewelled tazze, or
Cellini cup, in a chamber luxurious enough for an imperial bride's, with its
hangings of violet velvet, its ceiling painted after Greuze, its walls hung with
rich Old Masters and Petits Maitres, and its niches screening some group of
Coysevox, Coustou, or Canova. It was, however, only the " study," the pet
retreat of its owner, a collector and a connoisseur, who lay now on his sofa,
near a table strewn with Elzevirs, Paris novels, MSS., croquis, before-letter
proofs, and dainty female notes. The fading sunlight fell across his face as
his head rested on his left arm. A painter would have drawn him as Alcibia-
des, or, more poetically still, would have idealized him into the Phoebus Lyke-
genes, the light-born, the Sun-god, of Hellas, so singularly great was his
personal beauty. A physiognomist would have said, " Here is a voluptuary,
here is a profound thinker, here is a poet, here is one who may be leader and
chief among men if he will," but would have added, " Here is one who may,
fifty to one, sink too softly into his bed of rose-leaves ever to care to rise in
full strength out of it." Artists were chiefly attracted by the power, men by
the brilliance, and women by the gentleness, of this dazzling beauty: for the
latter, indeed, a subtler spell yet lay in the deep-blue, poetic, eloquent eyes,
which ever gave such tender homage, such dangerous prayer, to their own love-
liness. The brow was magnificent, meditative enough for Plato's; the rich
and gold-hued hair, bright as any Helen's; the gaze of the eyes in rest, thought-
ful as might be that of a Marcus Aurelius; the mouth, insouciant and epicurean
as the lips of a Catullus. The contradictions in the features were the anoma-
lies in the character. For the rest, his stature was much above the ordinary
height; his attitude showed both the strength and grace of his limbs; his age
was a year or so over thirty, and his revery now was of the lightest and laziest:
he had not a single care on him.

There was a double door to his room; he was never disturbed there, either


by servants or friends, on any sort of pretext; his house was as free to all as a
caravanserai, but to this chamber only all the world was interdicted. Yet the
first handle turned, the second turned, the portiere was tossed aside with a
jerk, and the audacious new-comer entered. A gallant retriever lying by the
couch showed fight and growled. Yet the guest was one he saw every day, al-
most every hour, the ami de la maison, the masterly comptroller of the

" My dear Ernest ! you alone at this time of the day ? What a miracle !
I have actually dared to invade your sanctum, your holy of holies ; deuced
pleasant place, too. What is it you do here ? Paint your prettiest picture,
chip your prettiest statuette, make love to your prettiest mistress, write your
novels, study occult sciences, meditate on the Dialectics, seek the Philosopher's
stone, search for the Venetian color-secret, have suppers a la Re'genee to which
you deny even your bosom friends ? or what is it ? On my honor I am very
curious ! "

" Tell me some news, Trevenna," said his host, with an amused smile, in a
voice low, clear, lingering and melodious as music, contrasting forcibly with the
sharp, ringing, metallic tones of his visitor. " How came you to come in here ?
You know "

" I know; but I had a curiosity and a good opportunity: what mortal, or
what morals, ever resisted such a combination ? I am weaker than a woman.
No principle, not a shred. Am I responsible for that ? No; organization and
education. How dark you are here ! May I ring for -lights ? "

" Do you want light to talk by ? " laughed his friend, stretching his hand to
a bell-handle. " Your tongue generally runs on oiled wheels, Trevenna."

" Of course it does. It's my trade to talk; I rattle my tongue as a nigger
singer rattles his bones; I must chat as an organ-grinder grinds. I'm asked
out to dine to talk. If I grew a bore, every creature would drop me; and if I
grew too dull to get up a scandal, I should be very sure never to get a dinner.
My tongue's my merchandise ! "

With which statement of his social status, John Trevenna jerked himself
out of his chair, and, while the groom of the chamber lighted the chandelier,
strolled round the apartment. He was a man of six or eight-and-thirty, short,
a little stout, but wonderfully supple, quick, and agile, a master of all the
science of the gymnasium; his face was plain and irregular in feature, but
bright, frank, full of good humor almost to joviality, and of keen, alert, cul-
tured intelligence, prepossessing through its blunt and honest candor, its merry
smile showing the strong white teeth, its bonhomie, and its look of acute in-
domitable cleverness, a cleverness which is no more genius than an English
farce is wit, but which, sharper than intellect alone, more audacious than talent
alone, will trick the world, and throw its foes, and thrive in all it does, while


genius gets stoned or starves. He loitered round the room, with his eye-glass up,
glancing here, there, and everywhere, as though he were an embryo auctioneer,
and he stopped at last before a Daphne flying from Apollo and just caught by
him, shrouded in rose colored curtains.

" Nice little girl, this ? Rather enticing; made her look alive with that
rose-light; tantalizing to know it's nothing but marble; sweetly pretty, certainly."

" Sweetly pretty ? Good heavens, my dear fellow, hold your tongue ! One
would think you a cockney adoring the moon, or a lady's maid a new fashion.
That Daphne's the most perfect thing Coustou ever did."

" Don't know anything about them ! Never see a bit of difference in them
from the plaster casts you buy for a shilling. Won't break quite so soon, to
be sure. She is pretty, nice and round, and all that; but I don't care a straw
about art. Never could."

" And you are proud of your paganism ? Well, you are not the first per-

Online Library1839-1908 OuidaOuida, illustrated (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 79)