Page images

exercised on the place, either in fact or fiction, most assuredly none of it, even so much as in a threat, ever attainted her sacred person.

When she was just turned sixteen, Mademoiselle Idalie made up her mind to go into society. Whether she was beautiful or not, it is hard to say. It is almost impossible to appreciate properly the beauty of the rich, the very rich. The unfettered development, the limitless choice of accessories, the confidence, the self-esteem, the sureness of expression, the simplicity of purpose, the ease of execution,-all these produce a certain effect of beauty behind which one really cannot get to measure length of nose, or brilliancy of the eye. This much can be said; there was nothing in her that positively contradicted any assumption of beauty on her part, or credit of it on the part of others.

She was very tall and very thin with small head, long neck, black eyes, and abundant straight black hair,—for which her hair-dresser deserved more praise than she, good teeth of course, and a mouth that, even in prayer, talked nothing but commands; that is about all she had en fait d'ornements, as the modistes say. It may be added that she walked as if the Reine Sainte Foy plantation extended over the whole earth, and the soil of it were too vile for her tread.

Of course she did not buy her toilets in New Orleans. Everything was ordered from Paris, and came as regularly through the custom-house as the modes and robes to the milliners. She was furnished by a certain house there, just as one of a royal family would be at the present day. As this had lasted from her layette up to her sixteenth year, it may be imagined what took place when she determined to make her debut. Then it was literally, not metaphorically, carte blanche, at least so it got to the ears of society. She


took a sheet of note-paper, wrote the date at the top, added “I make my début in November," signed her name at the extreme end of the sheet, addressed it to her dressmaker in Paris, and sent it.

That she was admired, raved about, loved even, goes without saying. After the first month she held the refusal of half the beaux of New Orleans. Men did absurd, undignified, preposterous things for her: and she? Love? Marry? The idea never occurred to her. She treated the most exquisite of her pretenders no better than she treated her Paris gowns, for the matter of that. She could not even bring herself to listen to a proposal patiently; whis. tling to her dogs, in the middle of the most ardent protestations, or jumping up and walking away with a shrug of the shoulders, and “ Bah!”

Well! every one knows what happened after '59. There is no need to repeat. The history of one is the history of all.

It might have been ten years according to some calculations, or ten eternities,—the heart and the almanac never agree about time,—but one morning old Champigny (they used to call him Champignon) was walking along his levee front

when he saw a figure ap. proaching. He had to stop to look at it, for it was worth while. The head was hidden by a green barege veil, which the showers had plentifully besprinkled with dew; a tall thin figure.

She was the teacher of the colored school some three or four miles away. “Ah,” thought Champigny, “some Northern lady on a mission."

Cld Champigny could not get over it that he had never seen her before. But he must have seen her, and, with his abstraction and old age, not have noticed


her, for he found out from the negroes that she had been teaching four or five years there. And he found out alsohow, it is not important—that she was Idalie Sainte Foy Mortemart des Islets. La grande demoiselle! He had never known her in the old days, owing to his uncomplimentary attitude toward women, but he knew of her, of course, and of her family.

Only the good God himself knows what passed in Champigny's mind on the subject. We know only the results. He went and married la grand demoiselle. How? Only the good God knows that too.



WAITMAN BARBE was born at Morgantown, West Virginia, and educated at the State University in that town. Since the year 1884 he has been engaged in editorial and literary pursuits, being now editor of the Daily State Journal. He has already made a reputation as a speaker on literary and educational topics : and his poems, first appearing in periodicals, have now been collected into a volume called “ Ashes and Incense,” the first edition of which was exhausted in six months. It “has put him among the foremost of the young American poets." Edmund Clarence Stedman

of it: “ There is real poetry in the book—a voice worth owning and exercising. I am struck with the beauty and feeling of the lyrics which I have read—such, for example, as the stanzas on Lanier and The Comrade Hills.'"



Ashes and Incense.


(From Ashes and Incense.*) O Spirit to a kingly holding born! As beautiful as any southern morn

That wakes to woo the willing hills,

Thy life was hedged about by ills
As pitiless as any northern night;
Yet thou didst make it as thy “Sunrise" bright.

The seas were not too deep for thee; thine eye
Was comrade with the farthest star on high.

The marsh burst into bloom for thee,

And still abloom shall ever be !
Its sluggish tide shall henceforth bear alway
A charm it did not hold until thy day.

And Life walks out upon the slipping sands
With more of flowers in her trembling hands

Since thou didst suffer and didst sing!

And so to thy dear grave I bring
One little rose, in poor exchange for all
The flowers that from thy rich hand did fall.



MADISON CAWEIN, born at Louisville, Kentucky, of Huguenot descent, is one of our younger poets who seems overflowing with life and fancy. His writings show a wonderful insight into nature and power of expressing her beauties and meanings. The amount of his poetical work is astonishing, and another volume will soon appear, entitled “Intimations of the Beautiful.”

*By permission of the author, and publishers, J. B. Lippincott Co., Phila.


Days and Dreams.
Blooms of the Berry.
Triumph of Music.
Poems of Nature and Love.

Accolon of Gaul and other Poems.
Lyrics and Idyls.
Moods and Memories.
Red Leaves and Roses,


(From Red Leaves and Roses.*)

Above long woodland ways that led
To dells the stealthy twilights tread
The west was hot geranium-red;

And still, and still,
Along old lanes, the locusts sow
With clustered curls the May-times know,
Out of the crimson afterglow,
We heard the homeward cattle low,
And then the far-off, far-off woe

Of “whippoorwill!” of “whippoorwill ! ”

[ocr errors]

Beneath the idle beechen boughs
We heard the cow-bells of the cows
Come slowly jangling towards the house;

And still, and still,
Beyond the light that would not die
Out of the scarlet-haunted sky,
Beyond the evening-star's white eye
Of glittering chalcedony,
Drained out of dusk the plaintive cry

Of “whippoorwill!” of “whippoorwill !”

What is there in the moon, that swims
A naked bosom o'er the limbs,
That all the wood with magic dims?

While still, while still,

Among the trees whose shadows grope
By permission of the author, and publishers, G. P. Putnam's Sons, N, Y.

本 *

« PreviousContinue »