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from fnadame mh'e, to return with madame
to the salon ; Sir John Farleigh wished to
present Mr. Middleton as the brother of an
old college friend of Sir John's; Marie
" believed " (which meant she had listened)
that Sir John said he considered it "an
agreeable duty," and was much delighted
to have a letter from " his old Oxford com-
rade," introducing this younger brother to
Sir John as the writer's " superior in every-
thing but age" — the very words of the
letter, for Sir John read it aloud !

This great news was received with a
cahnness and reserve exasperating to the
Frenchwoman's feelings, Helen only observ-
ing that " so prosaic an ending deprived
the man of all interest."

Though to Helen Mr. Middleton's for-
mal presentation was "a prosaic ending,"
to him it was an eventful ceremony. Mrs.
Fairfax placed a hand within his, and
after her Helen, and then Alice. Whose
hand was this ? Hers I — yet this was not
ihe! The pretty hand trembled, the soft
gray eyes fell, and the fair cheek crimsoned
under the enlightened eyes bent on the face,
now first unveiled to their gaze.

"What an inexplicable mistake to have



made! Where had it begun? Does she
know that she blushes so deeply ? " spoke
his thoughts in his eyes, as their hands
slowly parted. "You will find Gypsv
quite well," spoke his words through his
lips. Then was formed that oppressive
circle, that formidable council of war, with
which English and American people stultify
visitors, making it equally awkward to be con-
sciously stupid or conspicuously bright ; the
result — pointiess remarks, silent intervals,
leading questions, silly answers. Neither
Mrs. Fairfax nor her daughters possessed
the usual glib tongue of their coimtry-
women. Their new acquaintance also grew
strangely silent, leaving the languid Sir John
to shine as the life of the conversation.

In answer to questions, Middleton con-
fessed himself of many countries and climes.
His father, when a widower, tiuned his
back on America, on his native state, and
on the son of his first marriage ; and invest-
ing a large fortune in the enterprise of
building railroads in Russia, re-married in
that country. Randolph Middleton was
the only child of this marriage, as his
American brother had been of the first
Though inheriting the title and estates of
his mother, he preferred the independence
of his father's nationality and name to the
restraint and surveillance with which the
Russian government honors the members
of its national family. The hope having been
expressed that " Gypsy had behaved well,"
Mr. Middleton related that during the
tedium of awaiting their train, Gypsv had
pounced on his cap as ferociously as though
It had been her legitimate prey of a rat.
In the scuffle for its recovery,* the lining
had been torn away, doing him the good
turn of discovering a lost ring of much
value, which had lain entangled for eight
days in the lining. Alice answered his mean-
ing emphasis with her shy, pretty smile,
and Middleton took his leave, wondering
how much she knew of it.

The life of English and Americans win-
tering in Rome is familiar to all : threading
the long miles of the intricate Vatican gal-
leries of antique art ; visiting churches and
views, pictures, palaces and ruins; excur-
sions by daylight to Tivoli, by moonlight to
the Coliseum ; drives on the Appian way ;
hunts on the Campagna ; rides to the neigh-
boring villas; walks through the quaint
squares and tortuous streets; their carri-
ages pacing the narrow length of the Corso,
or stationed on the Pincian height, sur-
rounded by the loungers who are gathered



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ii8



A SIGH.



there only to talk and stare, while the
really good band is playing music well
worth their attention. These people were
all leading the same lives, going to the
same places; therefore meeting one an-
other at every turn, as Randolph Mid-
dleton and Alice Fairfax met during the
months following the discovery of his still
inexplicable blunder. Alice could have
given the clue to this mystery, had he
found the opportunity he sought for an ef-
fective explanation, but Rome gives little
chance for private interviews; where tourists
were not swarming, there beggars cropped up.
Vainly Middleton planned for a chance .to
replace the lost ring on her finger; vainly
he rehearsed in a day-dream his tale of love
and hope ; they were never alone. When
they stood in the moonlight, looking down
fi-om the topmost circle of the grim Coliseum,
a dozen people stood with them ; in the dark-
ness of the catacombs, torch-bearing guides
marched at their side ; in the bowers of Bor-
gh^se, or the groves of Pamphili, in^gallery,
studio, or church, under the dome of St.
Peter's, in the grounds of the Capitol, some
unconscious intruder forever haunted their
steps.

One morning, these two had drawn apart
firom a gay picnic at the baths of Caracalla.
Alice sat under a broken arch festooned
with vines. Middleton leant against the
wall at her side, and read " Casa Guidi
Windows " aloud. A cool breeze tempered
the sun's heat; the breath of spring soft-
ened the air.

" They met like crowned kings ; " —

there the reading stopped; the hour had
come — the book was closed.

*' Months ago," began Middleton, in a
whisper, "your hand lay accidentally in mine,
taking possession of my heart ; you did not
know this, for you were sleeping all the while."

He was bending down over her drooping
head, and could not see the faint smile
which curved her lips at the masculine credu-
lity of this positive assertion,

"Your ring remained in my keeping,"
continued he. " That fact you know ; how
you know it, I cannot guess. May my hand
replace the ring on yoiu* finger, as some en-
couragement to go on with an explanation
necessary to the happiness of my future life ? "

Middleton drew forth his purse, in which
the star-set diamond out-glittered the gold
coins. Alas ! the sight of that purse brought



fi-om his lurking-place near them a stalwart
beggar, crying " Per Vamor de Dio / " and
before his clamor was appeased, Helen came
gliding toward the disturbed couple. Every-
thing was going wrong : with the coins, rolled
out the ring, bounding to Helen's feet, who
instantly picked it up, exclaiming :

" My lost ring ! "

" Yours ! " echoed Middleton. " Impossi-
ble 1 "

Helen appealed to her sister, who, though
struggling with an inclination to laugh and
an equally strong inclination to cry, answered,

" It is yours," and hastened away.

"Are we pla)dng a * Comedy of Errors ' ? "
cried Middleton. " Miss Fairfax," he con-
tinued, impetuously, "permit me to place
that ring on your finger."

" Thank you, no," was the cold reply; " I
never wear rings."

Middleton's excitement was over. The
hand was aristocratic, and intellectual, and
fair; but ah! it was not the dimpled one
that had nestled in his! He lifted the
reluctant fingers to his lips, then gently
released them; but not before Sir John
Farleigh had been maddened by the sight
of the apparent caress. Middleton dis-
appeared in pursuit of Alice. Sir John,
who was approaching, turned on his heel
and departed. Helen stood quite speech-
less with indignation against both; then
she quiedy put the ring in her pocket, drew
on her glove, and glided off to rejoin the
gay picnickers. When Middleton led Alice
back, Helen was gone, and they stood under
the green-canopied arch, her hand in his, her
eyes downcast, her head pressed to his breast,
and her lips uttering once more the sigh
he loved !

" Now," whispered the lover, " two ques-
tions ! Those tears ? "

" Life itself seemed a sin, and so vague,"
answered Alice. " I was trying to shut
mine up in a convent."

"You dear little saint! and so you changed
seats while I slept, with your unconscious
sister? You sweet little witch! Is there
anything else to confess ! "

" Yes," she murmured. " Mr. Middleton,
I was not asleep all the time ; I woke to
find our hands clasped, and was frightened ;
then you took such good care, and out-
witted the watchful Sir John so cleverly, that
somehow, I began to like you."

" Ah ! since you like me, that is all that I
can desire. And the ring ? "

"/wore Helen's ring."



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THE STARS, 119



WHIP-POOR-WILL.

The Western sky blazed through the trees,

And in the East the dove-light shone;
Low fields of clover to the breeze

Gave out a fragrant monotone;
While sharp- voiced, whirring things beyond

Sent a faint treble through the air,
And discords of the hidden pond

Pulsed like an anthem, deep and rare.
Yet all the twilight range seemed still,

The tumult was so subtie-sweet;

When forth it burst, — clear, slow, complete,
The evening call of

** Whip-poor-will ! "

The yarrow, crowding by the hedge,
Stirred not its specked, uncertain white;

The locust on the upland's edge

Stood tranced agamst the blaze of light.

For now the throbbing air was mute.
Since the wild note had pierced it through,-

That call so clear, so resolute,
So tender, dominant and true.

When, suddenly, across the hill, —

Long, low and sweet, with dreamy fall,
Yet true and mellow, call for call.

Elate, and with a hutnan thrill, —

Came the far answer:

"Whip-poor-will I"



THE STARS.

They wait all day unseen by us, unfelt;

Patient they bide behind the day's full glare;

And we who watched the dawn when they were there
Thought we had seen them in the daylight melt
While the slow sun upon the earth-line knelt.

Because the teeming sky seemed void and bare.

But for light cloudlets in the dazzled air.
We had no thought that there all day they dwelt
Yet were they over us, alive and true,
In tlie vast shades far up above the blue, —
The brooding shades beyond our daylight ken, —

Serene and patient in their conscious light.
Ready to sparkle for our joy again, —

The eternal jewels of the short-lived night.



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ILKA ON THE HILI^TOP,



ILKA ON THE HILL-TOP.



Mr. Julius Hahn and his son Fritz were
on a summer journey in the Tyrol. They
had started from Mayrhofen early in the
afternoon, on two meek-eyed, spiritless farm
horses, and they intended to reach Ginzling
before night-fall.

There was a great blaze of splendor hid-
den somewhere behind the western mount-
ain-tops; broad bars of fiery light were
climbing the sky, and the chilets and the
Alpine meadows shone in a soft crimson illu-
mination. The Zemmbach, which is of a
choleric temperament, was seething and
brawling in its rocky bed, and now and
then sent up a fierce gust of spray, which
blew, like an icy shower-bath, into the faces
of the travelers.

'' Ach, welch verfluchUs Wetter f' cried
Mr. Hahn fretfully, wiping off the stream-
ing perspiration. " 1*11 be blasted if you
catch me going to the Tyrol again for the
sake of being fashionable ! "

" But the scenery, father, the scenery ! "
exclaimed Fritz, pointing toward a great,
sun-flushed peak, which rose in majestic iso-
lation toward the north.

" The scenery — ^bah ! " growled the senior
Hahn. " For scenery, recommend me to
Saxon Switzerland, where you may sit in an
easy cushioned carriage without blistering
your legs, as I have been doing to-day in
this blasted saddle."

" Father, you are too fat," remarked the
son, with a mischievous chuckle.

"And you promise fair to tread in my
footsteps, son," retorted the elder, relaxing
somewhat in his ill-humor.

This allusion to Mr. Fritz's probable cor-
pulence was not well received by the latter.
He gave his horse a smart cut of the whip,
which made the jaded animal start off at a
sort of pathetic mazurka gait up the side of
the mountain.

Mr. Julius Hahn was a person of no small
consequence in Berlin. He was the propri-
etor of the " Haute Noblesse " concert garden,
a highly respectable place of amusement,
which enjoyed the especial patronage of
the oflScers of the Royal Guard. Weiss-
beer, Bairisch, Seidel, Pilzner, in fact all
varieties of beer, and as connoisseurs as-
serted, of exceptional excellence, could be
procured at the " Haute Noblesse;" and the
most ingenious novelties in the way of gas
illuminarion, besides two military bands.



tended gready to heighten the flavor of the
beer, and to put the guests in a festive
humor. Mr. Hahn had begun life in a small
way with a swallow-tail coat and a white
choker, and a napkin on his arm ; his stock
in trade, which he utilized to good purpose,
was a peculiarly elastic smile and bow, both
of which he accommodated with extreme
nicety to the social rank of the person to
whom they were addressed. He could
listen to a conversation in which he was
vitally interested, never losing even the
shadow of an intonation, with a blank
neutrality of countenance which could only
be the result of a long transmission of an-
cestral vacancy. He read the depths of
your character, divined your little foibles
and vanities, and very likely passed his
supercilious judgment upon you, seeming
all the while the personification of uncritical
humility.

It is needless to say that Mr. Hahn
picked up a good deal of valuable informa-
tion in the course of his career as a waiter;
and to him information meant money, and
money meant power and a recognized
place in society. The diplomatic shrewd-
ness which enabled him to estimate the
moral caliber of a patron served him
equally well in estimating the value of an
investment. He had a hundred subterra-
nean channels of information, and his judg-
ment as to the soundness or unsoundness
of a financial enterprise was almost unerr-
ing. His littie secret transactions on the
Bourse, where he had his commissionaires^
always yielded him ample returns ; and
when an opportunity presented itself, which
he had long foreseen, of buying a suburban
garden at a bankrupt sale, he found himself,
at least preliminarily, at the goal of his
ambition. From this time forth, Mr. Hahn
rose rapidly in wealth and power. He kept
his thumb, so to speak, constantly on the pub-
lic pulse, and prescribed amusements as un-
erringly as a physician prescribes medicine,
and usually, it must be admitted, with better
results. The " Haute Noblesse " became the
favorite resort of fashionable idlers, among
whom tiie military element usually prepon-
derated, and the flash of gilt buttons and the
rattle of swords and scabbards could always
be counted on as the unvarying accom-
paniment to the music.

With all his prosperity, however, Mr.



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ILKA ON THE HILL'-TOP.



121



Hahn could not be called a happy man.
He had one secret sorrow, which, until
within a year of his departure for the Tyrol,
had been a source of constant annoyance :
Mrs. Hahn, whom he had had the in-
discretion to marry before he had arrived
at a proper recognition of his own worth,
was not his equal in intellect; in fact,
she was conspicuously his inferior. She
had been chamber-maid in a noble fam-
ily, and had succeeded in marrying Mr.
Hahn simply by the fact that she had
made up her mind not to marry him. Mr.
Hahn, however, was not a man to be baffled
by opposition. When the pert Mariana had
cut him three times at a dancing hall, he be-
came convinced that she was the one thing
in the world which he needed to make his
existence complete. After presenting him
with a son, Fritz, and three rather unlovely
daughters, she had gradually lost all her
pertness (which had been her great charm)
and had developed into a stout, dropsical
matron, with an abundance of domestic
virtues. Her principal trait of character
had been a dogged, desperate loyalty.
She was loyal to her king, and wore his
favorite flowers as jewelry. She was loyal
to Mr. Hahn, too; and no amount of
maltreatment could convince her that he
was not the best of husbands. She adored
her former mistress and would insist upon
paying respectful littie visits to her kitchen,
taking her children with her. This latter
habit nearly drove her husband to distrac-
tion. He stamped his feet, he tore his
hair, he swore at her, and I believe, he even
struck her; but when the next child was
bom, — a particularly wonderful one, — Mrs.
Hahn had not the strength to resist the
temptation of knowing how the new-bom
wonder would impress the Countess von
Markenstein. Another terrible scene fol-
lowed. The poor woman could never un-
derstand that she was no longer the wife
of a waiter, and that she must not be paying
visits to the great folks in their kitchens.

Another source of disturbance in Mr.
Hahn's matrimonial relations was his wife's
absolute refusal to appear in the parquet or
the proscenium boxes in the theater. In
this matter her resistance bordered on the
heroic; neither threats nor entreaties could
move her.

" Law, Julius," she would say, while the
tears streamed down over her plump cheeks,
" the parquet and the big boxes are for the
gentlefolks, and not for humble people like
you and me. I know my place, Julius, and



I don't want to be the laughing-stock of
the town, as I should be, if I went to the
opera and sat where my lady the Countess,
and the other fine ladies sit I should feel
like a fool, too, Julius, and I should cry my
eyes out when I got home."

It may easily be conjectured that Mr.
Hahn's mourning covered a very light
heart when the dropsy finally carried off"
this loving but troublesome spouse. Nor
did he make any secret of the fact that her
death was rather a rehef to him, while on
the other hand he gave her full credit for
all her exceUent qualities. Fritz, who was
in cordial sympathy with his father's ambi-
tion for social eminence, had also learned
from him to be ashamed of his mother, and
was rather inclined to make light of the
sorrow which he actually felt when he saw
the cold earth closing over her.

At the time when he made his summer
exclusion in the Tyrol, Fritz was a stout
blonde youth of two and twenty. His
round, sleek face was not badly modeled,
but it had neither the rough openness
characteristic of a peasant, nor yet that in-
definable finish which only culture can give.
In spite of his jaunty, fashionable attire,
you would have put him down at once
as belonging to what in the Old World is
called " the middle class." His blue eyes
indicated shrewdness, and his red cheeks
habitual devotion to the national beverage.
He was apparently a youth of the sort that
Nature is constantiy tturning out by the
thousand — ^mere weaker copies of progeni-
tors, who by an unpropitious marriage have
enfeebled instead of strengthening the type.
Circumstances might have made anything
of him in a small way ; for, as his counte-
nance indicated, he had no very pronounced
proclivities, either good or bad. He had
spent his boyhood in a gymnasium, where
he had had ^eater success in trading jack-
knives than m grappling with Cicero. He
had made two futile attempts to enter the
Berlin University, and had sett
the conviction that he had i
calling, as his tastes were mi
than scholarly; but, as he wa
rectify this mistake, he had ch<
the Tyrol in search of pleasure
to the Military Academy in s(
tinction.

At the mouth of the grea
Domauberg the travelers paui
mounted. Mr. Hahn called th<
was following behind with a
with baggage, and with his



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122



ILKA ON THE HILL-TOP,



choice repast, consisting of all manner of
cold curiosities, was served on a large flat
rock. The senior Hahn fell to work with
a will and made no pretense of being in-
terested in the somber magnificence of the
Domauberg, while Fritz found time for an
occasional exclamation of rapture, flavored
with caviar, Rhine wine, and paU (U foie
gras.

^^ Achy Gott, Fritz, what stuff" you can
talk 1 " grumbled his father, sipping his Jo-
hannisberger with the air of a connoisseur.

" When I was of your age, Fritz, I had

hush, what is that ? "

Mr. Hahn put down his glass with such
an energy that half of the precious contents
was spilled.

^*Ach, du lieber Gott^^ he cried a moment
later. " WU wunderschon / "

From a mighty cliff" overhanging the road,
about a hundred feet distant, came a long
yodling call, peculiar to the Tyrol, sung in
a superb ringing baritone. It soared over
the mountain peaks and died away some-
where among the Ingent glaciers. And
just as the last faint note was expiring, a
girl's voice, fresh and clear as a dew-drop,
took it up and swelled it and caroled it
until from sheer excess of delight it broke
into a hundred leaping, rolling and warbling
tones, which floated and gamboled away
over the highlands, while soft-winged echoes
bore them away into the wide distance.

" Father," said Fritz, who was now lying
outstretched on a soft Scotch plaid smoking
the most fragrant of weeds ; " if you can
get those two voices to the * Haute No-
blesse,' for the next season, it is ten thou-
sand thalers in your pocket; and I shall
only charge you ten per cent, for the sug-
gestion."

" Suggestion, you stupid ! Why, the
thought flashed through my head the very
moment I heard the first note. But hush —
there they are again."

From the cliff", sung to the air of a Tyrol-
ese folk-song, came this stanza :

Tell me, Ilka on the hill-top,
While the Alpine breezes blow,
Are thy golden locks as mlden
As they were a year ago?
(Yodle) Hohli-ohli-ohli-hoT

Hohli-ohli-ohli-ho ! Hohli-oh !

The eff"ect of the yodle, in which both the
baritone of the cliff" and the Alpine soprano
united, was so melodious that Mr. Hahn
sprang to his feet and swore an ecstatic
oath, while Fritz, fi-om sheer admiring ab-



straction, almost stuck the lighted end of
his cigar into his mouth. The soprano an-
swered :

Tell me, Hansel in the Talley,
While the merry cuckoos crow,
Is thy bristly beard as bristly
As it was a year ago?

Hohli-ohli-ohli-ho I

HohU-ohH-ohU-ho I Hohli-oh !

The yodling refrain this time was arch,
gay — ^fuU of mocking laughter and mirth.
Then the responsive singing continued :

Hdnsel: Tell me, Ilka on the hill-top.

While the crimson glaciers glow,
Are thine eyes as blue and beaming
As they were a year ago?

Both : Hohli-ohli, etc.

Ilka: Hftnsel, Htosel in the valley,
I will tell you, tell you true;
If mine eves are blue and beamings
What is tnat, I pray, to you?

Both: Hohli-ohli, etc

Hdnsel: Tell me. Ilka on the hill-top.
While the blushing roses blow,
Are thy lips as sweet for kissing
As they were a year ago?

Both: Hohli-ohli, etc

Ilka: Naughty H&nsel in the valley,
Naughty Hansel, tell me true.
If my lips are sweet for kissing,
What is that, I pray, to you ?

Both : Hohli-ohli, etc

Hdnsel: Tell me, Ilka on the hill-top,
While the rivers seaward flow,
Is thy heart as true and loving
As it was a year ago?

Both : Hohli-ohli, etc

Ilka: Dearest Hslnsel in the valley,
I will tell you, tell you true.
Yes, my heart is ever loving,
True and lovine unto you !

Both . Hohli-ohli-ohli-ho !

Hohli-ohU-ohli-ho ! Hohli-oh !

For a few moments their united voices
seemed still to be quivering in the air, then
to be borne softly away by the echoes into
the cool distance of the glaciers. A solitary
thrush began to warble on a low branch of
a stunted fir-tree, and a grasshopper raised
its shrill voice in emulation. The sun was
near its setting ; the bluish evening shadows
crept up the sides of the ice-peaks, whose
summits were still flushed with expiring
tints of purple and red.

Mr. Hahn rose, yawned and stretched
his limbs. Fritz threw the burning stump of
his cigar into the depths of the ravine, and
stood watching it with lazy interest while it
fell. The guide cleared away the remnants



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ILKA ON THE HILI^TOP.



123



of the repast and began to resaddle the
horses.

" Who was that girl we heard singing
up on the Alp ? " said Mr. Hahn, with
well-feigned indifference, as he put his foot
in the stirrup and made a futile effort to
mount " Curse the mare, why don't you
make her stand still ? **

" Pardon, your honor," answered the
guide stolidly; "but she isn't used to the
saddle. The girl's name is Ilka on the
Hill-top. She is the best singer in all the
valley."

" Ilka on the Hill- top ! How — where
does she live ? "

" She lives on a farm called the Hill-top,
a mile and a half from Mayrhofen."

•* And the man who answered — is he her
sweetheart ? "

" Yes, your honor. They have grown up
together, and they mean to marry some-
time, when they get money enough to buy
out the old woman."

" And what did you say his name was ? "

" Hansel the Hunter. He is a garnet



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