Copyright
Annie Edwards.

Vivian the beauty online

. (page 1 of 15)
Online LibraryAnnie EdwardsVivian the beauty → online text (page 1 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


GIFT OF




E 2s*.




WWfc



WWVy^^W^^^^V^^'

il 1 SSiiii^liil^

,V W. v x,v A^wVW L-jVj u /Uw V W/T-^T U . KAA /i,
















3yG^^









APPLETONS' NEW HANDY-VOLUME SERIES.



VIVIAN THE BEAUTY.



BY



MRS. ANNIE EDWARDES,

AUTHOR OF "ARCHIE LOYELL," "OUGHT WE TO VISIT HER?'
" JBT : HEK FACE OH HER FORTUNE ? " ETC.



NEW YORK:
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,

549 AND 551 BKOADWAY.

1880.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE STUDY OP EUCLID . . . .5

II. DUTCH MICHAEL'S HOUR . . . 17

III. A HYDE PABK GODDESS . . . .37

IV.- CHAFF . 52

V. HEINE'S LOVE-SONGS . . . .61

VI. AT TWICKENHAM .... 67

VII. BEWARE ! . . . . . .88

VIII. PAINT, PATCHES, AND POWDER . 95

IX. A VILLAGE MARCHIONESS . . .108

X. HERE, OR ELSEWHERE . . 121

XI. A HEART . . . . . .127

XII. FIRST REHEARSALS .... 142

XIII. LORD VAUXHALL'S INVENTION . . .154

XIV. IN SILK ATTIRE . . . 172

XV. THOSE HORRIBLE PHOTOGRAPHERS ! . .188

XVI. LOST LENORE ..... 201

XVII. EFFACED .212

XVIII. IM WALD 228

XIX. BEAUTY'S CROWNING TRIUMPH . . .240

XX. UPON THE ARM OF A PRINCE 253



4388



VIVIAN THE BEAUTY.



CHAPTER I.

THE STUDY OF EUCLID.

" HE loves me," murmurs Jeanne, " a little
not at all. He loves me."

The sun's rays, setting, translate the dusk ex-
panses of the Schwarzwald into gold ; they turn
to fire the pointed roofs and lozenged windows
of Schloss Egmont ; they kiss with softest bronze
the head of Jeanne Dempster, as she stands, idly
dreaming the dreams of seventeen, in one of the
rose-shadowed, weed-grown terraces of the old
Schloss garden.

A half -demolished daisy is between the little
maid's fingers ; a lesson-book, face downward,
lies on the gravel at her feet.

" Er liebt mich." Despite her English birth,
Jeanne speaks German like a true child of the
Wald ; sweet, incorrect, rippling German, deli-



6 VIVIAN THE BEAUTY.

ciously unlike the classic Hanoverian dialect of
suburban boarding-schools. "Ein wenig nicht.
Er liebt mich "

" Deep, as usual, in Euclid ! " says a man's
voice, close behind her shoulder. " Neither Mam-
selle Ange nor Fraulein Jeanne being visible, I have
brought the implements of study out of doors.
But I would on no account disturb you. It were
pity to break the thread of mathematical calcula-
tion so profound. Choose your own time to be-

gin."

And depositing three or four dingy-looking
schoolbooks, a pewter inkstand, some quill pens,
and a sand-box upon the balustrade of the terrace,
Jeanne's master takes his place on the stone bench
beside which the girl is standing, and proceeds
quietly to light his nleerschaum.

"I don't know a word more of Euclid than
when I first began it, sir." As she makes the con-
fession, Jeanne picks up her lesson-book, Euclid's
" Elements," from the ground. " * Proposition XV.
Theorem : If two straight lines cut one another,
the vertical or opposite angles shall be equal.'
Then why try to prove it ? Why need we go on
with these hideous angles and right angles ? Why
do you insist yes, Mr. Wolf gang, insist on teach-
ing me things that have no use and no beauty ? "

" For the same reason that, were I Mamselle
Ange, I would insist upon your learning to ride
or dance," says Wolfgang coolly ; " to promote



THE STUDY OF EUCLID. 7

the growth of muscle mental muscle in the case
of Euclid. If all girls were taught mathemat-
ics"

" They would turn out beings as superior as
all men ? " interrupts Jeanne, lifting her dark eyes
to the master's face. " The thought encourages
me, Mr. Wolfgang. I will try my best to see the
meaning of Proposition XV., theorem and all, by
next lesson."

A smile, quickly suppressed, comes round the
master's lips.

" The sarcasm, Miss Dempster, is somewhat
personal, considering that I am the only man of
education higher than a woodcutter's who, as yet,
has crossed your path."

"The only man higher than a woodcutter?
Du lieber, and what kind of life do you suppose
that we have led, then, Ange and I ? We spend
a week in Freiburg every summer, sir, and we have
gone through the Kur at Autogast ; and once we
went to Baden-Baden and saw the Emperor start
for the Oos races four black horses he had, and
outriders. And I was so near, his Majesty took off *
his hat to me ! And we went to hear ' Faust ' in
the evening, among a crowd of princes and royal
dukes and Hochwohlgeborens. Mamselle Ange
says I shall be taken to a ball at the Residenz next
year, and we know old Baron von Katzenellenbo-
gen and and the English chaplain's son at Frei-
burg," cries Jeanne, desperately seeking to swell



8 VIVIAN THE BEAUTY.

the list of her male acquaintance by every avail-
able item that memory or imagination can supply.

"Emperors, royal dukes, Hochwohlgeborens,
and the English chaplain's son at Freiburg," re-
peats Wolfgang gravely. " I retract my obser-
vation. Your experience of life and of men has
been vastly wider than I gave you credit for
especially in matters operatic." He glances with
meaning at the petals that strew the terrace pave-
ment. "You were rehearsing Marguerite's solil-
oquy when I interrupted you just now satisfac-
torily, I hope ? "

His tone is one of banter, and the quick blood
springs to little Jeanne's cheek.

" I was rehearsing it, most satisfactorily," she
answers, with all the steadiness she has at com-
mand. "'Erliebtmich.'" Words that in English
would scorch her lips, flow from them without
constraint in the familiar homeliness of German.
" ' Ein wenig nicht.' I had just got to ( Er liebt
mich ' for the third time think of that, the third
time, Mr. Wolfgang when I heard your voice."

" Horrible disillusionment ! To bring you
still more thoroughly from pleasant dreams to dis-
tasteful reality, and, as this is the last lesson you
will have for a week to come, suppose we proceed
to serious work. You are not in a humor for
Euclid, it seems, so I will begin by correcting
your Latin exercise. ' Est finctimus oritoris
poeta,' " opening the page at which, with all the



THE STUDY OF EUCLID. 9

conscientiousness that is in her, his pupil has been
working. " * Oritoris ! ' An error of the gravest
nature at starting. Perhaps you will give me
your attention while I try once more to ex-
plain the use of the dative case after the ad-
jective."

The "serious work" proceeds upon its usual
pattern. After an hour's torture over Latin and
mathematics, the master produces a well-used vol-
ume from his pocket, and begins to read aloud.
Is not English elocution included among the arts
which he has engaged himself (at one mark seven-
ty-five pfennigs the lesson) to teach ? The book
chosen to-night is Shakespeare, the play " Twelfth
Night^' and Jeanne, hopelessly obtuse in the higher
sciences, is moved to sighs, tears, laughter, at the
reader's will. By and by it pleases Wolfgang to
hear such crude judgments as the girl can offer
upon the play " Shakespeare," as he says, " an-
notated by Miss Jeanne Dempster." And then
they hazard a bold review of it from the stand-
point of Teutonic criticism, Mr. Wolfgang's mem-
ory supplying the text of all the notablest trans-
lations into German.

" An Englishman who does not understand our
language can never appreciate Shakespeare," he
observes, with intentional arrogance. "Hear
Heine's rendering of 'She never told her love,'
and say if it be not stronger, sweeter, more musi-
cal, than the original.



10 VIVIAN THE BEAUTY.

4 .... Sie sagte ihre Liebe nie,
Und liess Verheimlichung, wie in der Knospe
Den Wurro, an ihrer Purpur-wange nagen.' "

"No, it is not sweeter," cries little Jeanne
stoutly. " ' Purpur-wange ' is hideous, positively
hideous, to my ears. You pronounce English bet-
ter than I do, sir, except the b's and p's. But, for
all that, you are German at heart. You have not
the English instinct as I have."

" English instinct ! Shakespeare was only first
unearthed, dug up out of the mold of British in-
difference, by Lessing. Without Wieland, Her-
der, Goethe, what would the world know of Shake-
speare ? Why, this very play, this character of
Viola, were never so divinely interpreted as in our
own century by Heine."

For a minute or more Jeanne is silent ; her
delicate grave face rapt in thought, her eyes
fixed on the cloudlets of amethyst and gold that
float, like seraph heads, above the gradually dark-
ening Wald.

" In real life Viola would be a poor kind of
creature," she remarks, with an air of conviction.
" No girl with a grain of sense in her head would
fall in love with a man, duke or no duke, unless
he asked her to marry him first."

" Exactly the criticism I should expect to hear
from you," says Wolfgang. " Girls of seventeen
are simply the most prosaic, heartless, matter-of-
fact section of humanity. Talk of youthful im-



THE STUDY OF EUCLID. 11

agination, fine feeling, the age of romance ! not
one woman in a hundred has a spark of romance
belonging to her, under thirty ! Why, Mamselle
Ange laugh at me as you like, I mean what I say
Mamselle Ange would be a thousand times more
alive to the pathos of Viola's character than you
are."

" Remember the narrowness of my experience,
sir. You told me, a minute ago, that I had never
known a man better educated than a woodcutter,
save yourself."

A just perceptible shade of red crosses Wolf-
gang's dark cheek.

" That puts every question of romance or sen-
timent on one side, does it not ? But your expe-
rience is soon to be widened. Paul von Egmont
and his sister, I hear, after a dozen years' absence,
have decided to show their faces in the Wald
again."

It is Jeanne's turn to change color. From
temple to throat blushes mantle over the child's
pale skin ; her eyes sink beneath Wolfgang's
questioning gaze.

The master has compassion enough to look
away from her. " She loves me a little not "
(picking up a flower that has fallen from Jeanne's
hand and shredding it, petal from petal) "she
loves me not ! " He flings down the stalk with a
certain gesture of impatience. " What better an-
swer could be expected from such an oracle ! Do



12 VIVIAN THE BEAUTY.

you know, Miss Dempster, that the sun is down
that unless I wish you good-by this very instant,
I shall lose my train ? "

"Lose it, sir," says little Jeanne promptly.
" I invite you, in Mamselle Ange's name, to drink
tea with us. Give up dust and heat and engine-
smoke for once, and walk to Freiburg, as every-
body used to do before the railroad was made
across the mountains."

" The invitation is tempting, Fraulein Jeanne.
On an evening like this the very sight of an en-
gine among our Black Forest valleys is an abomi-
nation. Still, I have my evening class in Frei-
burg, my good, studious lads, to whom work
means work ! "

"And Euclid, Euclid. Let the good, studious
lads have a holiday, poor wretches ! They will
be none the duller to-morrow, depend upon it."

"The philosophy is pleasant, if not sound.
' Fais ce que tu aimes, advienne que pourra.' As
I certainly love this garden better than my hot
town lodging," says Wolfgang, "I will risk put-
ting it into practice."

He pauses, transfers his pipe the eternal meer-
schaum from his lips to his breast-pocket, and
with an air half of enjoyment, half of regret,
looks around him.

"Paul von Egmont need not have wandered
far a-field in search of inspiration," he remarks
presently. " Had the lad contented himself with



THE STUDY OF EUCLID. 13

painting pictures of homely Schwarzwald lives,
of homely Schwarzwald landscapes, his work,
at least, might have boasted originality. In Rome,
like so many of our German students, he has be-
come but a pale copyist of greater artists' thoughts.
But that is how men miss their true vocation
their true happiness also nineteen times out of
twenty."

"Count Paul has missed happiness," says
Jeanne, "if the village gossips say true. You
know his story ? "

" Not so well but that it might be good for me
to hear you repeat it, little Jeanne." The famil-
iar epithet seems to escape unawares from Wolf-
gang's lips. "I know one version of the story
only," he adds hastily " not the version given by
the village gossips."

"Well, sir, before Count Paul was one-and-
twenty, he had the misfortune to fall in love.
His sweetheart was a village girl who had sat to
him as a model Wendolin the miller's daughter
Malva."

Jeanne raises her eyes to the master's face, but
Wolfgang has turned sharply away ; his arms are
folded across his breast. " She was the hand-
somest maiden of the Hollenthal. You may see
her portrait, any day you choose, just as Count
Paul painted her, in the altar-piece of St. Ulrich
Church. Some think," says little Jeanne, " that
all her troubles sprang from that picture. No



14 VIVIAN THE BEAUTY.

maiden prospers in earthly love, you know, who
has given her face as a model for the Holy Moth-
er's. But these things are too deep for me. Yes,
she was the handsomest maiden of the Hollenthal,
and the best to this day> tears come into the vil-
lage people's eyes when they speak of Wendolin's
Malva and young Count Paul was to marry her
at Easter. All the Von Egmonts at the Schloss
here were beside themselves with mortification.
Such a crime as a Von Egmont marrying a peas-
ant maiden was not written, Ange says, in the
records of their house. Count Paul had already
determined to be a painter (that in itself was blow
enough to the family pride), and was to go to
Rome for the winter to study. If Malva had
willed, he would have taken her with him as his
bride, but the maiden had self-respect enough to
say no. ' I will win the heart of the Countess and
of her daughter yet,' said Wendolin's Malva.
6 Every good woman is pitiful. When the gra-
cious ladies see me alone, without Count Paul,
when they see how I shall work and learn and fit
myself to be his wife, they will soften toward me.'
" But the gracious ladies," goes on little Jeanne,
" never softened. When young- Count Paul had
been gone about three months, they came one day
in their velvets and furs to Wendolin's house,
bringing with them a letter a letter, so they said,
that had just arrived from a brother artist of
Paul's in Rome, and that it much behooved Malva



THE STUDY OF EUCLID. 15

to listen to. That letter was the maiden's death-
blow."

Wolfgang rises hastily. He crosses to the
farther side of the terrace and stands there, his
back turned toward the western after-glow, his
face veiled in shadow. Overhead the swifts are
circling with happy cries, athwart the sun-colored
heaven. A solitary thrush calls low from the
Wald. The garden, gay with such hardy flowers
as can stand the Black Forest climate, is at the
zenith of its summer bravery. A spirit of fresh-
ness, purity, peace, seems moving, like a visible
presence, over the fair and fragrant earth.

" Finish the maiden's story," says the master,
after a time. " It has an interest for me beyond
what you can understand. Tell me as much as
you know of of Malva's death."

" I know more of her death than of her life,"
says little Jeanne. " Old Fritzel's granddaughter,
blind Lottchen, used to tell me about it. To all
who were sad or stricken, Wendolin's Malva was
good ; and often she would have the blind girl
hold her company for days together, and talk to
her, when the two were alone, of her love and of
her sorrow. ( Count Paul is going to be a great
painter ' this ran through all her thoughts ' and'
he will choose for himself a noble wife. It were
sin and shame, his brother painters say, that he
should marry a peasant maiden because of her
yellow hair and white throat. I should drag him



16 VIVIAN THE BEAUTY.

down to my level ; I should stand between him
and his art ; I should make him unhappy with
mean jealousies I, who would die to please his
least wish, and think death sweet ! ' And then she
would weep at times blind Lottchen could hear
her weeping quietly the whole night long or she
would rise, when she thought the rest of the house
slept, and pray for Count Paul and for strength
to be true to him."

" True ! " repeats Wolfgang, very low. " Have
I not heard that she wrote Yon Egmont a letter,
taking back her plighted troth, declaring that it
was better that both should marry in their own
class of life?"

" That letter was written under the Grafin's di-
rection (she was Paul's step-mother, you know,
sir ; no real mother would so have risked her
son's happiness). And Paul there, say the peas-
ant people, was his sin he took the simple maid-
en at her word. Ange and the Frau Meyer have
heard there were other influences that helped
against poor Malva. Some say there was a great
English lady in Rome, whose flattery drew the
young painter into her train of admirers, and some
say there was an Italian play-actress, and some
say there were both. About all this I know no-
thing. Malva died ; her picture hangs where you
may see it, over St. Ulrich high altar, and her
grave is in the Kirchhof, beside the big yew.
The carved marble cross at her head was placed



DUTCH MICHAEL'S HOUR. 17

there by Count Paul's order. It came from Mu-
nich, and cost more gold than Malva had touched
in all her life. But he never troubled himself to
visit the spot ; he never shed a tear over her
grave. Blind Lottchen kept it fresh with flowers
while she lived, and, now that Lottchen lies there
too, I have planted pinks and rosemary above
them both. I will go to the Kirchhof with you
any evening you choose, sir."

"I have been there already," answers Wolf-
gang shortly. " When I came back to the Wald,
two months ago, the first visit that I paid was to
St. Ulrich churchyard."

"And you saw Malva's grave? It is a fine
marble cross, is it not ? But the Wald people say
a stone-mason's bill can make poor amends for a
broken heart."

" Poor amends, in truth ! " repeats Wolfgang,
with bitter emphasis.

And then there is silence.



CHAPTER II.

DUTCH MICHAEL'S HOUR.

SILENCE profound, yet fraught with inarticu-
late murmurs, just as the air is haunted by im-
palpable odors, from the adjacent forest ; sweet,
dewy silence, such as a city-wearied man might

2



18 VIVIAN THE BEAUTY.

well travel a few hundred miles, now, in this July
weather, to enjoy.

Schloss Egmont lies in one of the remoter val-
leys of the Hollenthal a district curtly hinted at
by guide-books, uninvaded by the great devastat-
ing army of personally-conducted cockney sight-
mongers. Less than two years ago the older
people of St. Ulrich village had never heard a
railway-whistle. No telegraphic wires link its in-
terests with those of the outer world. The church-
clock, set approximately right on Sunday morn-
ings, possesses an hour-hand only. Do not the
storks go and come ? Are there not the season of
resin-gathering, the season of timber-floating, the
rising and setting of God's sun throughout all the
changes of the year ? What need men here with
such finikin apportionments of time as quarters
or minutes ?

The deep discordance of a far-away supper-bell
rouses Jeanne and her master from the reverie
into which both have sunk. For fifteen years or
more that bell has rested in idleness ; no need to
summon Mamselle Ange, the housekeeper, and
Jeanne, the solitary occupants of the Schloss, to
their homely meals. During the past ten days,
however, the prospect of Count Paul's return has
roused the household into a sort of galvanized life.
Dinner-bells, calling no one to dinner, are rung ;
shutters are opened of a morning and closed at
night ; Hans the gardener is learning, in a twenty-



DUTCH MICHAEL'S HOUR. 19

year-old livery, to wait at table ; a flag, moldily
displaying the Yon Egmont quarterings, floats, as
was its wont in palmier times, from the topmost
pepper-pot turret of the house.

As Jeanne and Wolfgang draw near, Mamselle
Ange appears, suddenly, at the central basement
doorway a lamp in one hand, an open letter in
the other. No man has ever definitely made out
if Ange be maid, wife, or widow. It is the cus-
tom throughout the Fatherland to call housekeep-
ers "mamselle," irrespective of age, nation, or
social status ; and Ange, for more than thirty
years, has reigned supreme over the still-room and
kitchens of Schloss Egmont. A Scotchwoman by
descent, Angela Macgregor's youth was spent in
Spain, from which country she accompanied the
Countess Dolores von Egmont to the Schwarz-
wald. From that day to this she has never left
the grand duchy of Baden. " I dislike the coun-
try, the climate, and the language," Mamselle
Ange will tell you in moments of expansion ; " but
I stay here for the sake of Paul and Salome.
Dolores made me promise to be true to the chil-
dren. I have kept my word yes, even when their
father brought home another wife. One may be
allowed to do one's duty, I suppose, without
liking it?"

" The children " have long passed away out of
Ange's sight. Salome, brilliantly married in her
teens, is mistress of a London embassy. Paul,



20 VIVIAN THE BEAUTY.

self -exiled at the age of twenty, divides his home-
less Bohemian life between the different art capi-
tals of Europe. But Ange remains at her post.
"When the boy marries," she declares with a
sigh, " I will take little Jeanne by the hand and
make my way to Inverness. Paul will return with
his bride to Egmont some day, and I shall go
back to my father's house, among my father's peo-
ple, to die."

At the present moment excitement, unwonted,
heightens our good Mamselle Ange's complexion.
Her cap, at no time secure as to its foundations,
is suspended over her left ear ; the points of her
pelerine hang jauntily from the opposite shoulder.
'Tis evident the arrival of the letter-carrier has
broken in upon some mysterious chemistry of the
still-room. A huge checked apron envelops Ange's
person from chin to ankle ; the skirt of her dress
is pinned up in the style called " fishwife " by the
fashion-books ; a pungent odor of raspberries and
vinegar breaks on the sense at her approach.

" Here is a fine prospect before us all," she ex-
claims, or rather soliloquizes, as Jeanne and the
master draw near. " Salome obliged to start for
St. Petersburg on political affairs something
new for our princess to be so dutiful in accom-
panying her husband ! Paul, no one knows
where, in Germany, and a parcel of fashionable
fools coming to Schloss Egmont next Thursday !
Yes, fashionable fools ! " ejaculates Ange, in fiery



DUTCH MICHAEL'S HOUR. 21

staccato. " The celebrated London beauty, Viv-
ian Vivash. . . . What do we want with cele-
brated beauties in the Black Forest? And her
friend a lady of title and her other friend, a
baronet and a maid ! To be entertained by me !
' Trespassers ' (easy enough for Salome to write in
that airy style) ' upon our good Mamselle Ange's
hospitality.' Very great trespassers, indeed ! A
beauty, and her friends, and her maid, just in the
season of the small fruits ! Mr. Wolfgang "
(awakening to the master's presence with a jump ;
our good Mamselle being at once short-sighted
and absent, her existence is passed in a chronic con-
dition of surprise), " I believed you to have started
for Freiburg an hour ago. May I ask you to hold
the inkstand upright I mean to the left ? the ink
leaks when it is held straight. If you will wait a
minute, Mr. Wolfgang, I shall give you something
to carry home with you. My last two bottles of
raspberry vinegar have not turned out as clear as
I could wish."

"Mr. Wolfgang will drink tea with us to-
night," interrupts little Jeanne. " The lesson was
so long I had so many faults in my exercise
that Mr. Wolfgang lost his train, and "

" And will have the pleasure of walking home
by starlight, Mamselle Ange's present of rasp-
berry vinegar in his pocket," remarks Wolfgang,
with composure.

"It is not over-clear, Mr. Wolfgang not to



22 VIVIAN THE BEAUTY.

compare with my company vinegar but it will
make you a nice, wholesome drink during the hot
weeks. And where means are small," says Ange,
with a compassionate shake of the head, " of course
every little is a help."

Jeanne glances in an agony at Wolfgang ;
but the point-blank mention of his poverty has
evidently not disconcerted him. A diverted smile
lights his face : as he follows Mamselle Ange up
the winding stair which leads from the basement
to the parterre floor, he sings, half aloud, the first
bars of "The Wanderer " :

" Tired and worn, as the sun goes down,
The Wanderer enters his native town,
And see ! His old friends pass him by,
So bronzed his cheek. . . ."

"I do not, generally, admit strangers to this
room," cries Mamselle Ange, pushing back an
oaken door on the left side of the landing. " How-


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryAnnie EdwardsVivian the beauty → online text (page 1 of 15)