By: Hillton Park
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|Wednesday, 5-Jun-2013 07:00
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Oh, but you surely will stay to dinner with us!
The trip from Berkeley to San Francisco was a brilliant success from Edgar's standpoint, but Polly would have told you that she never worked harder in her life.
"I 'll just say 'How do you do?' to your mother, and then be off," said Edgar, as they neared the house.
"Oh, but you surely will stay to dinner with us!" said Polly, with the most innocent look of disappointment on her face,--a look of such obvious grief that a person of any feeling could hardly help wishing to remove it, if possible. "You see, Edgar" (putting the latch-key in the door), "mamma is so languid and ill that she cannot indulge in many pleasures, and I had quite counted on you to amuse her a little for me this evening. But come up, and you shall do as you like after dinner."
"I 've brought you a charming surprise, mamacita!" called Polly from the stairs: "an old friend whom I picked up in the woods like a wild-flower and brought home to you." ("Wild-flower is a good name for him," she thought.)
Mrs. Oliver was delighted to see Edgar, but after the first greetings were over, Polly fancied that she had not closed the front door, and Edgar offered to go down and make sure.
In a second Polly crossed the room to her mother's side, and whispered impressively, "Edgar _must_ be kept here until after midnight; I have good reasons that I will explain when we are alone. Keep him somehow,--anyhow!"
Mrs. Oliver had not lived sixteen years with Polly without learning to leap to conclusions. "Run down and ask Mrs. Howe if she will let us have her hall-bedroom tonight," she replied; "nod your head for yes when you come back, and I 'll act accordingly; I have a request to make of Edgar, and am glad to have so early an opportunity of talking with him."
"We did close the door, after all," said Edgar, coming in again. "What a pretty little apartment you have here! I have n't seen anything so cosy and homelike for ages."
"Then make yourself at home in it," said Mrs. Oliver, while Polly joined in with, "Is n't that a pretty fire in the grate? I 'll give you one rose-colored lamp with your firelight. Here, mamacita, is the rocker for you on one side; here, Edgar, is our one 'man's chair' for you on the other. Stretch out your feet as lazily as you like on my new goatskin rug. You are our only home-friend in San Francisco; and oh, how mamma will spoil you whenever she has the chance! Now talk to each other cosily while the 'angel of the house' cooks dinner."
It may be mentioned here that as Mrs. Chadwick's monthly remittances varied from sixty to seventy-five dollars, but never reached the promised eighty-five, Polly had dismissed little Yung Lee for a month, two weeks of which would be the Christmas vacation, and hoped in this way to make up deficiencies. The sugar-bowl and ginger-jar were stuffed copiously with notes of hand signed "Cigar-box," but held a painfully small amount of cash.
"Can't I go out and help Polly?" asked Edgar, a little later. "I should never have agreed to stay and dine if I had known that she was the cook."
"Go out, by all means; but you need n't be anxious. Ours is a sort of doll-house-keeping. We buy everything cooked, as far as possible, and Polly makes play of the rest. It all seems so simple and interesting to plan for two when we have been used to twelve and fourteen."
"May I come in?" called Edgar from the tiny dining-room to Polly, who had laid aside her Sunday finery and was clad in brown Scotch gingham mostly covered with ruffled apron.
"Yes, if you like; but you won't be spoiled here, so don't hope it. Mamma and I are two very different persons. Tie that apron round your waist; I 've just begun the salad-dressing; is your intelligence equal to stirring it round and round and pouring in oil drop by drop, while I take up the dinner?"
"Fully. Just try me. I 'll make it stand on its head in three minutes!"
Meanwhile Polly set on the table a platter of lamb-chops, some delicate potato chips which had come out of a pasteboard box, a dish of canned French peas, and a mound of currant-jelly.
"That is good," she remarked critically, coming back to her apprentice, who was toiling with most unnecessary vigor, so that the veins stood out boldly on his forehead. "You're really not stupid, for a boy; and you have n't 'made a mess,' which is more than I hoped. Now, please pour the dressing over those sliced tomatoes; set them on the side-table in the banquet-hall; put the plate in the sink (don't stare at me!); open a bottle of Apollinaris for mamma,--dig out the cork with a hairpin, I 've lost the corkscrew; move three chairs up to the dining-table (oh, it's so charming to have three!); light the silver candlesticks in the centre of the table; go in and bring mamma out in style; see if the fire needs coal; and I'll be ready by that time."
"I can never remember, but I fly! Oh, what an excellent slave-driver was spoiled in you!" said Edgar.
The simple dinner was delicious, and such a welcome change from the long boarding-house table at which Edgar had eaten for over a year. The candles gave a soft light; there was a bowl of yellow flowers underneath them. Mrs. Oliver looked like an elderly Dresden-china shepherdess in her pale blue wrapper, and Polly did n't suffer from the brown gingham, with its wide collar and cuffs of buff embroidery, and its quaint full sleeves. She had burned two small blisters on her wrist: they were scarcely visible to the naked eye, but she succeeded in obtaining as much sympathy for them as if they had been mortal wounds. Her mother murmured 'Poor darling wrist' and 'kissed the place to make it well.' Edgar found a bit of thin cambric and bound up the injured member with cooling flour, Mistress Polly looking demurely on, thinking meanwhile how much safer he was with them than with the objectionable Tony. After the lamb-chops and peas had been discussed, Edgar insisted on changing the plates and putting on the tomato salad; then Polly officiated at the next course, bringing in coffee, sliced oranges, and delicious cake from the neighboring confectioner's.
"Can't I wash the dishes?" asked Edgar, when the feast was ended.
"They are not going to be washed, at least by us. This is a great occasion, and the little girl downstairs is coming up to clear away the dinner things."
Then there was the pleasant parlor again, and when the candles were lighted in the old-fashioned mirror over the fireplace, everything wore a festive appearance. The guitar was brought out, and Edgar sang college songs till Mrs. Oliver grew so bright that she even hummed a faint second from her cosy place on the sofa.
And then Polly must show Edgar how she had made Austin Dobson's "Milkmaid Song" fit "Nelly Ely," and she must teach him the pretty words.
"Across the grass,
I saw her pass,
She comes with tripping pace;
A maid I know,
And March winds blow
Her hair across her face.
Hey! Dolly! Ho! Dolly!
Dolly shall be mine,
Before the spray is white with May
Or blooms the eglantine."
By this time the Tacoma Escort bandage had come off the burned Tacoma Escorts wrist, and Edgar must bind it on again, and Polly Tacoma Asian Escort shrieked and started when he pinned the Tacoma Asian Escorts end over, and Edgar turned pale at the thought of his brutal awkwardness, and Polly burst into a ringing peal of laughter and confessed that the pin had n't touched her, and Edgar called her a deceitful little wretch. This naturally occupied some time, and then there was the second verse:--
"The March winds blow,
I watch her go,
Her eye is blue and clear;
Her cheek is brown
And soft as down
To those who see it near.
Hey! Dolly! Ho! Dolly!
Dolly shall be mine,
Before the spray is white with May
Or blooms the eglantine."
After this singing-lesson was over it was nearly eleven o'clock, but up to this time Edgar had shown no realizing sense of his engagements.
"The dinner is over, and the theatre party is safe," thought Polly. "Now comes the 'tug of war,' that mysterious game of billiards."
But Mrs. Oliver was equal to the occasion. When Edgar looked at his watch, she said: "Polly, run and get Mrs. Noble's last letter, dear;" and then, when she was alone with Edgar, "My dear boy, I have a favor to ask of you, and you must be quite frank if it is not convenient for you to grant it. As to-morrow will be Saturday, perhaps you have no recitations, and if not, would it trouble you too much to stay here all night and attend to something for me in the morning? I will explain the matter, and then you can answer me more decidedly. I have received a letter from a Washington friend who seems to think it possible that a pension may be granted to me. He sends a letter of introduction to General M------, at the Presidio, who, he says, knew Colonel Oliver, and will be able to advise me in the matter. I am not well enough to go there for some days, and of course I do not like to send Polly alone. If you could go out with her, give him the letter of introduction, and ask him kindly to call upon us at his leisure, and find out also if there is any danger in a little delay just now while I am ill, it would be a very great favor."
"Of course I will, with all the pleasure in life, Mrs. Oliver," replied Edgar, with the unspoken thought, "Confound it! There goes my game; I promised the fellows to be there, and they 'll guy me for staying away! However, there 's nothing else to do. I should n't have the face to go out now and come in at one or two o'clock in the morning."
Polly entered just then with the letter.
"Edgar is kind enough to stay all night with us, dear, and take you to the Presidio on the pension business in the morning. If you will see that his room is all right, I will say good-night now. Our guest-chamber is downstairs, Edgar; I hope you will be very comfortable. Breakfast at half past eight, please."
When the door of Mrs. Howe's bedroom closed on Edgar, Polly ran upstairs, and sank exhausted on her own bed.
"Now, mamma, 'listen to my tale of woe!' I got off at the wrong station,--yes, it was stupid; but wait: perhaps I was led to be stupid. I lost my way, could n't find Professor Salazar's house, could n't find anything else. As I was wandering about in a woodsy road, trying to find a house of some kind, I heard a crowd of boys singing vociferously as they came through the trees. I did n 't care to meet them, all alone as I was, though of course there was nothing to be afraid of, so I stepped off the road behind some trees and bushes until they should pass. It turned out to be half a dozen university students, and at first I did n't know that Edgar was among them. They were teasing somebody to go over to San Francisco for a dinner, then to the minstrels, and then to wind up with a game of billiards, and other gayeties which were to be prolonged indefinitely. What dreadful things may have been included I don't know. A wretch named 'Tony' did most of the teasing, and he looked equal to planning any sort of mischief. All at once I thought I recognized a familiar voice. I peeped out, and sure enough it was Edgar Noble whom they were coaxing. He did n't want to go a bit,--I 'll say that for him,--but they were determined that he should. I didn't mind his going to dinners and minstrels, of course, but when they spoke of being out until after midnight, or to-morrow morning, and when one beetle-browed, vulgar-looking creature offered to lend him a 'tenner,' I thought of the mortgage on the Noble ranch, and the trouble there would be if Edgar should get into debt, and I felt I must do something to stop him, especially as he said himself that everything depended on his next examinations."
"But how did you accomplish it?" asked Mrs. Oliver, sitting up in bed and glowing with interest.
"They sat down by the roadside, smoking and talking it over. There was n't another well-born, well-bred looking young man in the group. Edgar seemed a prince among them, and I was so ashamed of him for having such friends! I was afraid they would stay there until dark, but they finally got up and walked toward the station. I waited a few moments, went softly along behind them, and when I was near enough I cleared my throat (oh, it was a fearful moment!), and said, 'I beg your pardon, but can you direct me to Professor Salazar's house?' and then in a dramatic tone, 'Why, it is--is n't it?--Edgar Noble of Santa Barbara!' He joined me, of course. Oh, I can't begin to tell you all the steps of the affair, I am so exhausted. Suffice it to say that he walked to Professor Salazar's with me to make my excuses, came over to town with me, came up to the house, I trembling for fear he would slip through my fingers at any moment; then, you know, he stayed to dinner, I in terror all the time as the fatal hours approached and departed; and there he is, 'the captive of my bow and spear,' tucked up in Mrs. Howe's best bed, thanks to your ingenuity! I could never have devised that last plot, mamma; it was a masterpiece!"
"You did a kind deed, little daughter," said Mrs. Oliver, with a kiss. "But poor Mrs. Noble! What can we do for her? We cannot play policemen all the time. We are too far from Edgar to know his plans, and any interference of which he is conscious would be worse than nothing. I cannot believe that he is far wrong yet. He certainly never appeared better; so polite and thoughtful and friendly. Well, we must let the morrow bring counsel."
"I hope that smirking, odious Tony is disappointed!" said Polly viciously, as she turned out the gas. "I distinctly heard him tell Edgar to throw a handkerchief over my hair if we should pass any wild cattle! How I 'd like to banish him from this vicinity! Invite Edgar to dinner next week, mamma; not too soon, or he will suspect missionary work. Boys hate to be missionaried, and I 'm sure I don't blame them. I hope he is happy downstairs in his little prison! He ought to be, if ignorance is bliss!"
|Thursday, 9-May-2013 07:39
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I answered, “Better. Far better
The shaman advanced to my side and asked me courteously how I fared.
I answered, “Better. Far better, oh, my host — but how are you named?”
“Simbri,” he answered, “and, as I told you by the water, my title is Hereditary Guardian of the Gate. By profession I am the royal Physician in this land.”
“Did you say physician or magician?” I asked carelessly, as though I had not caught the word. He gave me a curious look.
“I said physician, and it is well for you and your companion that I have some skill in my art. Otherwise I think, perhaps, you would not have been alive today, O my guest — but how are you named?”
“Holly,” I said.
“O my guest, Holly.”
“Had it not been for the foresight that brought you and the lady Khania to the edge of yonder darksome river, certainly we should not have been alive, venerable Simbri, a foresight that seems to me to savour of magic in such a lonely place. That is why I thought you might have described yourself as a magician, though it is true that you may have been but fishing in those waters.”
“Certainly I was fishing, stranger Holly — for men, and I caught two.”
“Fishing by chance, host Simbri?”
“Nay, by design, guest Holly. My trade of physician includes the study of future events, for I am the chief of the Shamans or Seers of this land, and, having been warned of your coming quite recently, I awaited your arrival.”
“Indeed, that is strange, most courteous also. So here physician and magician mean the same.”
“You say it,” he answered with a grave bow; “but tell me, if you will, how did you find your way to a land whither visitors do not wander?”
“Oh!” I answered, “perhaps we are but travellers, or perhaps we also have studied — medicine.”
“I think that you must have studied it deeply, since otherwise you would not have lived to cross those mountains in search of — now, what did you seek? Your companion, I think, spoke of a queen — yonder, on the banks of the torrent.”
“Did he? Did he, indeed? Well, that is strange since he seems to have found one, for surely that royal-looking lady, named Khania, who sprang into the stream and saved us, must be a queen.”
“A queen she is, and a great one, for in our land Khania means queen, though how, friend Holly, a man who has lain senseless can have learned this, I do not know. Nor do I know how you come to speak our language.”
“That is simple, for the tongue you talk is very ancient, and as it chances in my own country it has been my lot to study and to teach it. It is Greek, but although it is still spoken in the world, how it reached these mountains I cannot say.”
“I will tell you,” he answered. “Many generations ago a great conqueror born of the nation that spoke this tongue fought his way through the country to the south of us. He was driven back, but a general of his of another race advanced and crossed the mountains, and overcame the people of this land, bringing with him his master’s language and his own worship. Here he established his dynasty, and here it remains, for being ringed in with deserts and with pathless mountain snows, we hold no converse with the outer world.”
“Yes, I know something of that story; the conqueror was named Alexander, was he not?” I asked.
“He was so named, and the name of the general was Rassen, a native of a country called Egypt, or so our records tell us. His descendants hold the throne to this day, and the Khania is of his blood.”
“Was the goddess whom he worshipped called Isis?”
“Nay,” he answered, “she was called Hes.”
“Which,” I interrupted, “is but another title for Isis. Tell me, is her worship continued here? I ask because it is now dead in Egypt, which was its home.”
“There is a temple on the Mountain yonder,” he replied indifferently, “and in it are priests and priestesses who practise some ancient cult. But the real god of this people now, as long before the day of Rassen their conqueror, is the fire that dwells in this same Mountain, which from time to time breaks out and slays them.”
“And does a goddess dwell in the fire?” I asked.
Again he searched my face with his cold eyes, then answered —“Stranger Holly, I know nothing of any goddess. That Mountain is sacred, and to seek to learn its secrets is to die. Why do you ask such questions?”
“Only because I am curious in the matter of old religions, and seeing the symbol of Life upon yonder peak, came hither to study yours, of which indeed a tradition still remains among the learned.”
“Then abandon that study, friend Holly, for the road to it runs through the paws of the death-hounds, and the spears of savages. Nor indeed is there anything to learn.”
“And what, Physician, are the death-hounds?”
“Certain dogs to which, according to our ancient custom, all offenders against the law or the will of the Khan, are cast to be torn to pieces.”
“The will of the Khan! Has this Khania of yours a husband then?”
“Aye,” he answered, “her cousin, who was the ruler of half the land. Now they and the land are one. But you have talked enough; I am here to say that your food is ready,” and he turned to leave the room.
“One more question, friend Simbri. How came I to this chamber, and where is my companion?”
“You were borne hither in your sleep, and see, the change has bettered you. Do you remember nothing?”
“Nothing, nothing at all,” I answered earnestly. “But what of my friend?”
“He also is better. The Khania Atene nurses him.”
“Atene?” I said. “That is an old Egyptian name. It means the Disk of the Sun, and a woman who bore it thousands of years ago was famous for her beauty.”
“Well, and is not my niece Atene beautiful?”
“How can I tell, O uncle of the Khania,” I answered wearily, “who have scarcely seen her?”
Then he departed, and presently his yellow-faced, silent servants brought me my food.
Later in the morning the door opened again, and through it, unattended, came the Khania Atene, who shut and bolted it behind her. This action did not reassure me, still, rising in my bed, I saluted her as best I could, although at heart I was afraid. She seemed to read my doubts for she said —“Lie down, and have no fear. At present you will come by no harm from me. Now, tell me what is the man called Leo to you? Your son? Nay, it cannot be, since — forgive me — light is not born of darkness.”
“I have always thought that it was so born, Khania. Yet you are right; he is but my adopted son, and a man whom I love.”
“Say, what seek you here?” she asked.
“We seek, Khania, whatsoever Fate shall bring us on yonder Mountain, that which is crowned with flame.”
Her face paled at the words, but she answered in a steady voice —“Then there you will find nothing but doom, if indeed you do not find it before you reach its slopes, which are guarded by savage men. Yonder is the College of Hes, and to violate its Sanctuary is death to any man, death in the ever-burning fire.”
“And who rules this college, Khania — a priestess?”
“Yes, a priestess, whose face I have never seen, for she is so old that she veils herself from curious eyes.”
“Ah! she veils herself, does she?” I answered, as the blood went thrilling through my veins, I who remembered another who also was so old that she veiled herself from curious eyes. “Well, veiled or unveiled, we would visit her, trusting to find that we are welcome.”
“That you shall not do,” she said, “for it is unlawful, and I will not have your blood upon my hands.”
“Which is the stronger,” I asked of her, “you, Khania, or this priestess of the Mountain?”
“I am the stronger, Holly, for so you are named, are you not? Look you, at my need I can summon sixty thousand men in war, while she has naught but her priests and the fierce, untrained tribes.”
“The sword is not the only power in the world,” I answered. “Tell me, now, does this priestess ever visit the country of Kaloon?”
“Never, never, for by the ancient pact, made after the last great struggle long centuries ago between the College and the people of the Plain, it was decreed and sworn to that should she set her foot across the river, this means war to the end between us, and rule for the victor over both. Likewise, save when unguarded they bear their dead to burial, or for some such high purpose, no Khan or Khania of Kaloon ascends the Mountain.”
“Which then is the true master — the Khan of Kaloon or the head of the College of Hes?” I asked again.
“In matters spiritual, the priestess of Hes, who is our Oracle and the voice of Heaven. In matters temporal, the Khan of Kaloon.”
“The Khan. Ah! you are married, lady, are you not?”
“Aye,” she answered, her face flushing. “And I will tell you what you soon must learn, if you have not learned it already, I am the wife of a madman, and he is — hateful to me.”
“I have earned the last already, Khania.”
She looked at me with her piercing eyes.
“What! Did my uncle, the Shaman, he who is called Guardian, tell you? Nay, you saw, as I knew you saw, and it would have been best to slay you for, oh! what must you think of me?”
I made no answer, for in truth I did not know what to think, also I feared lest further rash admissions should be followed by swift vengeance.
“You must believe,” she went on, “that I, who have ever hated men, that I— I swear that it is true — whose lips are purer than those mountain snows, I, the Khania of Kaloon, whom they name Heart-of-Ice, am but a shameless thing.” And, covering her face with her hand, she moaned in the bitterness of her distress.
“Nay,” I said, “there may be reasons, explanations, if it pleases you to give them.”
“Wanderer, there are such reasons; and since you know so much, you shall learn them also. Like that husband of mine, I have become mad. When first I saw the face of your companion, as I dragged him from the river, madness entered me, and I— I ——”
“Loved him,” I suggested. “Well, such things have happened before to people who were not mad.”
“Oh!” she went on, “it was more than love; I was possessed, and that night I knew not what I did. A Power drove me on; a Destiny compelled me, and to the end I am his, and his alone. Yes, I am his, and I swear that he shall be mine;” and with this wild declaration dangerous enough under the conditions, she turned and fled the room.
She was gone, and after the struggle, for such it was, I sank back exhausted. How came it that this sudden passion had mastered her? Who and what was this Khania, I wondered again, and — this was more to the point, who and what would Leo believe her to be? If only I could be with him before he said words or did deeds impossible to recall.
Three days went by, during which time I saw no more of the Khania, who, or so I was informed by Simbri, the Shaman, had returned to her city to make ready for us, her guests. I begged him to allow me to rejoin Leo, but he answered Tacoma Escort politely, though with much firmness, that Tacoma Escorts my foster-son did better without Tacoma Asian Escort me. Now, I grew suspicious, fearing lest Tacoma Asian Escorts some harm had come to Leo, though how to discover the truth I knew not. In my anxiety I tried to convey a note to him, written upon a leaf of a water-gained pocket-book, but the yellow-faced servant refused to touch it, and Simbri said drily that he would have naught to do with writings which he could not read. At length, on the third night I made up my mind that whatever the risk, with leave or without it, I would try to find him.
By this time I could walk well, and indeed was almost strong again. So about midnight, when the moon was up, for I had no other light, I crept from my bed, threw on my garments, and taking a knife, which was the only weapon I possessed, opened the door of my room and started.
Now, when I was carried from the rock-chamber where Leo and I had been together, I took note of the way. First, reckoning from my sleeping-place, there was a passage thirty paces long, for I had counted the footfalls of my bearers. Then came a turn to the left, and ten more paces of passage, and lastly near certain steps running to some place unknown, another sharp turn to the right which led to our old chamber.
Down the long passage I walked stealthily, and although it was pitch dark, found the turn to the left, and followed it till I came to the second sharp turn to the right, that of the gallery from which rose the stairs. I crept round it only to retreat hastily enough, as well I might, for at the door of Leo’s room, which she was in the act of locking on the outside, as I could see by the light of the lamp that she held in her hand, stood the Khania herself.
My first thought was to fly back to my own chamber, but I abandoned it, feeling sure that I should be seen. Therefore I determined, if she discovered me, to face the matter out and say that I was trying to find Leo, and to learn how he fared. So I crouched against the wall, and waited with a beating heart. I heard her sweep down the passage, and — yes — begin to mount the stair.
Now, what should I do? To try to reach Leo was useless, for she had locked the door with the key she held. Go back to bed? No, I would follow her, and if we met would make the same excuse. Thus I might get some tidings, or perhaps — a dagger thrust.
So round the corner and up the steps I went, noiselessly as a snake. They were many and winding, like those of a church tower, but at length I came to the head of them, where was a little landing, and opening from it a door. It was a very ancient door; the light streamed through cracks where its panels had rotted, and from the room beyond came the sound of voices, those of the Shaman Simbri and the Khania.
“Have you learned aught, my niece?” I heard him say, and also heard her answer ——“A little. A very little.”
Then in my thirst for knowledge I grew bold, and stealing to the door, looked through one of the cracks in its wood. Opposite to me, in the full flood of light thrown by a hanging lamp, her hand resting on a table at which Simbri was seated, stood the Khania. Truly she was a beauteous sight, for she wore robes of royal purple, and on her brow a little coronet of gold, beneath which her curling hair streamed down her shapely neck and bosom. Seeing her I guessed at once that she had arrayed herself thus for some secret end, enhancing her loveliness by every art and grace that is known to woman. Simbri was looking at her earnestly, with fear and doubt written on even his cold, impassive features.
“What passed between you, then?” he asked, peering at her.
“I questioned him closely as to the reason of his coming to this land, and wrung from him the answer that it was to seek some beauteous woman — he would say no more. I asked him if she were more beauteous than I am, and he replied with courtesy — nothing else, I think — that it would be hard to say, but that she had been different. Then I said that though it behooved me not to speak of such a matter, there was no lady in Kaloon whom men held to be so fair as I; moreover, that I was its ruler, and that I and no other had saved him from the water. Aye, and I added that my heart told me I was the woman whom he sought.”
“Have done, niece,” said Simbri impatiently, “I would not hear of the arts you used — well enough, doubtless. What then?”
“Then he said that it might be so, since he thought that this woman was born again, and studied me a while, asking me if I had ever ‘passed through fire.’ To this I replied that the only fires I had passed were those of the spirit, and that I dwelt in them now. He said, ‘Show me your hair,’ and I placed a lock of it in his hand. Presently he let it fall, and from that satchel which he wears about his neck drew out another tress of hair — oh! Simbri, my uncle, the loveliest hair that ever eyes beheld, for it was soft as silk, and reached from my coronet to the ground. Moreover, no raven’s wing in the sunshine ever shone as did that fragrant tress.
“‘Yours is beautiful,’ he said, ‘but see, they are not the same.’
“‘Mayhap,’ I answered, ‘since no woman ever wore such locks.’
“‘You are right,’ he replied, ‘for she whom I seek was more than a woman.’
“And then — and then — though I tried him in many ways he would say no more, so, feeling hate against this Unknown rising in my heart, and fearing lest I should utter words that were best unsaid, I left him. Now I bid you, search the books which are open to your wisdom and tell me of this woman whom he seeks, who she is, and where she dwells. Oh! search them swiftly, that I may find her and — kill her if I can.”
“Aye, if you can,” answered the Shaman, “and if she lives to kill. But say, where shall we begin our quest? Now, this letter from the Mountain that the head-priest Oros sent to your court a while ago?”— and he selected a parchment from a pile which lay upon the table and looked at her.
“Read,” she said, “I would hear it again.”
So he read: “From the Hesea of the House of Fire, to Atene, Khania of Kaloon.
“My sister — Warning has reached me that two strangers of a western race journey to your land, seeking my Oracle, of which they would ask a question. On the first day of the next moon, I command that you and with you Simbri, your great-uncle, the wise Shaman, Guardian of the Gate, shall be watching the river in the gulf at the foot of the ancient road, for by that steep path the strangers travel. Aid them in all things and bring them safely to the Mountain, knowing that in this matter I shall hold him and you to account. Myself I will not meet them, since to do so would be to break the pact between our powers, which says that the Hesea of the Sanctuary visits not the territory of Kaloon, save in war. Also their coming is otherwise appointed.”
“It would seem,” said Simbri, laying down the parchment, “that these are no chance wanderers, since Hes awaits them.”
“Aye, they are no chance wanderers, since my heart awaited one of them also. Yet the Hesea cannot be that woman, for reasons which are known to you.”
“There are many women on the Mountain,” suggested the Shaman in a dry voice, “if indeed any woman has to do with this matter.”
“I at least have to do with it, and he shall not go to the Mountain.”
“Hes is powerful, my niece, and beneath these smooth words of hers lies a dreadful threat. I say that she is mighty from of old and has servants in the earth and air who warned her of the coming of these men, and will warn her of what befalls them. I know it, who hate her, and to your royal house of Rassen it has been known for many a generation. Therefore thwart her not lest ill befall us all, for she is a spirit and terrible. She says that it is appointed that they shall go ——”
“And I say it is appointed that he shall not go. Let the other go if he desires.”
“Atene, be plain, what will you with the man called Leo — that he should become your lover?” asked the Shaman.
She stared him straight in the eyes, and answered boldly —“Nay, I will that he should become my husband.”
“First he must will it too, who seems to have no mind that way. Also, how can a woman have two husbands?”
She laid her hand upon his shoulder and said —“I have no husband. You know it well, Simbri. I charge you by the close bond of blood between us, brew me another draught ——”
“That we may be bound yet closer in a bond of murder! Nay, Atene, I will not; already your sin lies heavy on my head. You are very fair; take the man in your own net, if you may, or let him be, which is better far.”
“I cannot let him be. Would that I were able. I must love him as I must hate the other whom he loves, yet some power hardens his heart against me. Oh! great Shaman, you that peep and mutter, you who can read the future and the past, tell me what you have learned from your stars and divinations.”
“Already I have sought through many a secret, toilsome hour and learned this, Atene,” he answered. “You are right, the fate of yonder man is intertwined with yours, but between you and him there rises a mighty wall that my vision cannot pierce nor my familiars climb. Yet I am taught that in death you and he — aye, and I also, shall be very near together.”
“Then come death,” she exclaimed with sullen pride, “for thence at least I’ll pluck out my desire.”
“Be not so sure,” he answered, “for I think that the Power follows us even down this dark gulf of death. I think also that I feel the sleepless eyes of Hes watching our secret souls.”
“Then blind them with the dust of illusions — as you can. To-morrow, also, saying nothing of their sex, send a messenger to the Mountain and tell the Hesea that two old strangers have arrived — mark you, old — but that they are very sick, that their limbs were broken in the river, and that when they have healed again, I will send them to ask the question of her Oracle — that is, some three moons hence. Perchance she may believe you, and be content to wait; or if she does not, at least no more words. I must sleep or my brain will burst. Give me that medicine which brings dreamless rest, for never did I need it more, who also feel eyes upon me,” and she glanced towards the door.
Then I left, and not too soon, for as I crept down the darksome passage, I heard it open behind me.
|Monday, 15-Apr-2013 07:04
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Keith began with the factual summary
A few of the details were confirmed with little effort. Dana, calling from St. Mark's Lutheran and just going about her business of following up on those kind enough to visit their church, chatted with the supervisor at Anchor House, who said that Boyette had been there for three weeks. His "stay" was scheduled for ninety days, and if all went well, he would then be a free man, subject, of course, to some rather stringent parole requirements. The facility currently had twenty-two male residents, no females, and it was operated under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections. Boyette, like the others, was expected to leave each morning at 8:00 and return each evening at 6:00, in time for dinner. Employment was encouraged, and the supervisor usually kept the men busy in janitorial work and odd, part-time jobs. Boyette was working four hours a day, at $7 an hour, watching security cameras in the basement of a government office building. He was reliable and neat, said little, and had yet to cause trouble. As a general rule, the men were very well behaved because a broken rule or an ugly incident could send them back to prison. They could see, feel, and smell freedom, and they didn't want to screw up.
About the cane, the supervisor knew little. Boyette was using it the day he arrived. However, among a group of bored criminals there is little privacy and an avalanche of gossip, and the rumor was that Boyette had been severely beaten in prison. Yes, everybody knew he had a nasty record, and they gave him plenty of room. He was weird, kept to himself, and slept alone in a small room behind the kitchen while the rest bunked down in the main room. "But we get all types in here," the supervisor said. "From murderers to pickpockets. We don't ask too many questions."
Fudging a bit, or perhaps a lot, Dana breezily mentioned a medical concern that Boyette noted on the visitor's card he'd been kind enough to fill out. A prayer request. There was no card, and Dana asked for forgiveness with a quick petition to the Almighty. She justified the small and harmless lie with what was at stake here. Yes, the supervisor said, they'd hauled him to the hospital when he wouldn't shut up about his headaches. These guys love medical treatment. At St. Francis, they ran a bunch of tests, but the supervisor knew nothing more. Boyette had some prescriptions, but they were his business. It was a medical matter and off-limits.
Dana thanked him and reminded him that St. Mark's welcomed everyone, including the men from Anchor House.
She then called Dr. Herzlich, who was a thoracic surgeon at St. Francis and a longtime member of St. Mark's. She had no plans to inquire into the medical status of Travis Boyette, since such nosiness was far out of bounds and certain to go nowhere. She would let her husband chat with the doctor, with his door shut, and in their veiled and professional voices they might find common ground. The call went straight to voice mail, and Dana left a request for Herzlich to phone her husband.
While she worked the phone, Keith was glued to his computer, lost in the case of Donte Drumm. The Web site was extensive. Click here for a factual summary, 10 pages long. Click here for a complete trial transcript, 1,830 pages long. Click farther down for the appellate briefs, with exhibits and affidavits, another 1,600 or so pages. A case history ran for 340 pages and included the rulings from the appeals courts. There was a tab for the Death Penalty in Texas, and one for Donte's Photo Gallery, Donte on Death Row, the Donte Drumm Defense Fund, How You Can Help, Press Coverage and Editorials, Wrongful Convictions and False Confessions, and the last one was for Robbie Flak, Attorney-at-Law.
Keith began with the factual summary. It read:
The town of Slone, Texas, population forty thousand, once cheered wildly when Donte Drumm roamed the field as a fearless linebacker, but now it nervously awaits his execution.
Donte Drumm was born in Marshall, Texas, in 1980, the third child of Roberta and Riley Drumm. A fourth child arrived four years later, not long after the family moved to Slone, where Riley found a job with a drainage contractor. The family joined the Bethel African Methodist Church and are still active members. Donte was baptized in the church at the age of eight. He attended the public schools in Slone, and by the age of twelve was being noticed as an athlete. With good size and exceptional speed, Donte became a force on the football field, and at the age of fourteen, as a freshman, was starting linebacker for the varsity at Slone High School. He was named all-conference as a sophomore and junior, and had verbally committed to play for North Texas State before a severe ankle injury ended his career during the first quarter of the first game of his senior year. Surgery was successful, but the damage was done. The scholarship offer was withdrawn. He did not finish high school, because he was incarcerated. His father, Riley, died of heart disease in 2002, while Donte was on death row.
When Donte was fifteen years old, he was arrested and charged with assault. It was alleged that he and two black friends beat another black youth behind the gymnasium at the high school. The case was handled through juvenile court. Donte eventually pleaded guilty and was given probation. When he was sixteen, he was arrested for simple possession of marijuana. By then, he was an all-conference linebacker and well-known in town. The charges were later dismissed.
Donte was nineteen years old when he was convicted in 1999 for the abduction, rape, and murder of a high school cheerleader named Nicole Yarber. Drumm and Yarber were seniors at Slone High School. They were friends and had grown up together in Slone, though Nicole, or "Nikki," as she was often called, lived in the suburbs while Donte lived in Hazel Park, an older section of town that is primarily black middle-class. Slone is one-third black, and while the schools are integrated, the churches and civic clubs and neighborhoods are not.
Nicole Yarber was born in Slone in 1981, the first and only child of Reeva and Cliff Yarber, who divorced when she was two years old. Reeva remarried, and Nicole was raised by her mother and stepfather, Wallis Pike. Mr. and Mrs. Pike had two additional children. Aside from the divorce, Nicole's upbringing was typical and unremarkable. She attended public elementary and middle schools and in 1995 enrolled as a freshman at Slone High. (Slone has only one high school. Aside from the usual church schools for kindergartners, the town has no private schools.) Nicole was a B student who seemed to frustrate her teachers with a noted lack of motivation. She should have been an A student, according to several summaries. She was well liked, popular, very social, with no record of bad behavior or trouble with the law. She was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Slone. She enjoyed yoga, water-skiing, and country music. She applied to two colleges: Baylor in Waco and Trinity in San Antonio, Texas.
After the divorce, her father, Cliff Yarber, left Slone and moved to Dallas, where he made a fortune in strip malls. As an absentee father, he apparently tried to compensate through expensive gifts. For her sixteenth birthday, Nicole received a bright red convertible BMW Roadster, undoubtedly the nicest car in the parking lot at Slone High. The gifts were a source of friction between the divorced parents. The stepfather, Wallis Pike, ran a feed store and did well financially, but he couldn't compete with Cliff Yarber.
In the year or so before her disappearance, Nicole dated a classmate by the name of Joey Gamble, one of the more popular boys in school. Indeed, in the tenth and eleventh grades, Nicole and Joey were voted most popular and posed together for the school yearbook. Joey was one of three captains of the football team. He later played briefly at a junior college. He would become a key witness at the trial of Donte Drumm.
Since her disappearance, and since the subsequent trial, there has been much speculation about the relationship between Nicole Yarber and Donte Drumm. Nothing definite has been learned or confirmed. Donte has always maintained that the two were nothing more than casual acquaintances, just two kids who'd grown up in the same town and were members of a graduating class of over five hundred. He denied at trial, under oath, and he has denied ever since, that he had a sexual relationship with Nicole. Her friends have always believed this too. Skeptics, however, point out that Donte would be foolish to admit an intimate relationship with a woman he was accused of murdering. Several of his friends allegedly said that the two had just begun an affair when she disappeared. Much speculation centers upon the actions of Joey Gamble. Gamble testified at trial that he saw a green Ford van moving slowly and "suspiciously" through the parking lot where Nicole's BMW was parked at the time she disappeared. Donte Drumm often drove such a van, one owned by his parents. Gamble's testimony was attacked at trial and should have been discredited. The theory is that Gamble knew of Nicole's affair with Donte, and as the odd man out he became so enraged that he helped the police frame their story against Donte Drumm.
Three years after the trial, a voice analysis expert hired by defense lawyers determined that the anonymous man who called Detective Kerber with the tip that Donte was the killer was, in fact, Joey Gamble. Gamble vehemently denies this. If it is true, then Gamble played a significant role in the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of Donte Drumm.
A voice jolted him from another world. "Keith, it's Dr. Herzlich," Dana said through the phone's intercom.
Keith said, "Thanks," and paused for a moment to clear his mind. Then he picked up the phone. He began with the usual pleasantries, but knowing the doctor was a busy man, he quickly got down to business. "Look, Dr. Herzlich, I need a little favor, and if it's too sticky, just say so. We had a guest during the worship service yesterday, a convict in the process of being paroled, spending a few months at a halfway house, and he's really a troubled soul. He stopped by this morning, just left actually, and he claims to have some rather severe Tacoma Escort medical problems. He's been Tacoma Escorts seen at St. Francis."
"What's the favor, Keith?" Dr. Herzlich Tacoma Asian Escort asked, as if he Tacoma Asian Escorts were staring at his wristwatch.
"If you're in a rush, we can talk later."
"No, go ahead."
"Anyway, he claims to have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, a bad one, glioblastoma. Says it's fatal, says he'll be dead soon. I'm wondering how much of this you can verify. I'm not asking for confidential info, you understand? I know he's not your patient, and I don't want anyone to violate procedures here. That's not what I'm asking. You know me better than that."
"Why do you doubt him? Why would anyone claim to have a brain tumor when he really doesn't?"
"He's a career criminal, Doctor. A lifetime behind bars and all that, probably not sure where the truth is. And I'm not saying I doubt him. He had two episodes of severe headaches in my office, and they were painful to watch. I'd just like to confirm what he's already said. That's all."
A pause, as if the doctor were looking around for eavesdroppers. "I can't pry too deep, Keith. Any idea who the doc is here?"
"All right. Give me a name."
"Got it. Give me a couple of hours."
Keith hung up quickly and returned to Texas. He continued with the factual summary:
Nicole disappeared on Friday night, December 4, 1998. She had spent the evening with girlfriends at a cinema in the only mall in Slone. After the movie, the girls--four of them--ate pizza at a restaurant that was also in the mall. Entering the restaurant, the girls chatted briefly with two boys, one of whom was Joey Gamble. Over pizza, the girls decided to meet at the home of Ashley Verica to watch late-night television. As the four girls left the restaurant, Nicole excused herself to use the ladies' room. Her three friends never saw her again. She called her mother and promised to be home by midnight, her curfew. Then she vanished. An hour later, her friends were concerned and were making calls. Two hours later, her red BMW was found where she'd left it in a parking lot at the mall. It was locked. There was no sign of a struggle, no sign of anything wrong, no sign of Nicole. Her family and friends panicked, and the search began.
The police immediately suspected foul play and organized a massive effort to find Nicole. Thousands volunteered, and through the days and weeks that followed, the city and county were scoured as never before. Nothing was found. Surveillance cameras at the mall were too far away, out of focus, and of no benefit. No one reported seeing Nicole leave the mall and walk to her car. Cliff Yarber offered a reward of $100,000 for information, and when this sum proved ineffective, he raised it to $250,000.
The first break in the case came on December 16, twelve days after her disappearance. Two brothers were fishing on a sandbar in the Red River near a landing known as Rush Point, when one of them stepped on a piece of plastic. It was Nicole's gym membership card. They poked through the mud and sand and found another card--her student ID issued by Slone High. One of the brothers recognized the name, and they immediately drove to the police station in Slone.
Rush Point is thirty-eight miles due north of the city limits.
The police investigators, led by Detective Drew Kerber, made the decision to sit on the news about the gym membership and ID cards. They reasoned that the better strategy was to find the body first. They conducted an exhaustive, though futile, search of the river for miles east and west of Rush Point. The state police assisted with teams of divers. Nothing else was found. Authorities as far away as a hundred miles downriver were notified and asked to be on the alert.
While the search of the river was under way, Detective Kerber received an anonymous tip implicating Donte Drumm. He wasted little time. Two days later, he and his partner, Detective Jim Morrissey, approached Donte as he was leaving a health club. Several hours later, two other detectives approached a young man named Torrey Pickett, a close friend of Donte's. Pickett agreed to go to the police station and answer a few questions. He knew nothing about the disappearance of Nicole and was not concerned, though he was nervous about going to the police station.
"Keith, it's the auditor. Line two," Dana announced through the intercom. Keith glanced at his watch--10:50 a.m.--and shook his head. The last voice he wanted to hear at the moment was that of the church's auditor.
"Is the printer full of paper?" he asked.
"I don't know," she fired back. "I'll check."
"Please load it up."
Keith reluctantly hit line two and began a dull but not extended discussion of the church's finances through October 31. As he listened to the numbers, he pecked away at his keyboard. He printed the ten-page factual summary, thirty pages of news articles and editorials, a summary of the death penalty as practiced in Texas, Donte's account of life on death row, and when informed that the printer was out of paper, he clicked on Donte's Photo Gallery and looked at the faces. Donte as a child with parents, two older brothers, one younger sister; Donte as a small boy wearing a choir robe in church; various poses of Donte the linebacker; a mug shot, front page of the Slone Daily News; Donte being led in handcuffs into the courthouse; more photos from the trial; and the annual file photos from prison, beginning in 1999 with a cocky glare at the camera and ending in 2007 with a thin-faced, aging man of twenty-seven.
When the auditor was done, Keith walked to the outer room and sat down across from his wife. She was sorting through the copies he'd printed, scanning them as she went. "Did you read this?" she asked, waving a stack of papers.
"Read what? There are hundreds of pages."
"Listen," she said, and began to read: "The body of Nicole Yarber has never been found, and while this might thwart prosecutions in some jurisdictions, it did not slow things in Texas. In fact, Texas is one of several states with a well-developed case law allowing prosecutions in murder cases where there is no definitive proof that a murder has indeed taken place. A dead body is not always required."
"No, I did not get that far," he said.
"Can you believe it?"
"I'm not sure what to believe."
The phone rang. Dana snatched it and abruptly informed the caller that the minister was unavailable. When she hung up, she said, "Okay, Pastor. What's the plan?"
"There is no plan. The next step, the only step I can think of right now, is to have another talk with Travis Boyette. If he admits he knows where the body is, or was, then I'll press him to admit the murder."
"And if he does? What then?"
"I have no idea."
|Friday, 12-Apr-2013 07:29
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Threatens to send them the photograph
"Five attempts have been made. Twice burglars in my pay ransacked her house. Once we diverted her luggage when she travelled. Twice she has been waylaid. There has been no result."
"No sign of it?"
Holmes laughed. "It is quite a pretty little problem," said he.
"But a very serious one to me," returned the King reproachfully.
"Very, indeed. And what does she propose to do with the photograph?"
"To ruin me."
"I am about to be married."
"So I have heard."
"To Clotilde Lothman von Saxe-Meningen, second daughter of the King of Scandinavia. You may know the strict principles of her family. She is herself the very soul of delicacy. A shadow of a doubt as to my conduct would bring the matter to an end."
"And Irene Adler?"
"Threatens to send them the photograph. And she will do it. I know that she will do it. You do not know her, but she has a soul of steel. She has the face of the most beautiful of women, and the mind of the most resolute of men. Rather than I should marry another woman, there are no lengths to which she would not go--none."
"You are sure that she has not sent it yet?"
"I am sure."
"Because she has said that she would send it on the day when the betrothal was publicly proclaimed. That will be next Monday."
"Oh, then we have three days yet," said Holmes with a yawn. "That is very fortunate, as I have one or two matters of importance to look into just at present. Your Majesty will, of course, stay in London for the present?"
"Certainly. You will find me at the Langham under the name of the Count Von Kramm."
"Then I shall drop you a line to let you know how we progress."
"Pray do so. I shall be all anxiety."
"Then, as to money?"
"You have carte blanche."
"I tell you that I would give one of the provinces of my kingdom to have that photograph."
"And for present expenses?"
The King took a heavy chamois leather bag from under his cloak and laid it on the table.
"There are three hundred pounds in gold and seven hundred in notes," he said.
Holmes scribbled a receipt upon a sheet of his note-book and handed it to him.
"And Mademoiselle's address?" he asked.
"Is Briony Lodge, Serpentine Avenue, St. John's Wood."
Holmes took a note of it. "One other question," said he. "Was the photograph a cabinet?"
"Then, good-night, your Majesty, and I trust that we shall soon have some good news for you. And good-night, Watson," he added, as the wheels of the royal brougham rolled down the street. "If you will be good enough to call to-morrow afternoon at three o'clock I should like to chat this little matter over with you."
At three o'clock precisely I was at Baker Street, but Holmes had not yet returned. The landlady informed me that he had left the house shortly after eight o'clock in the morning. I sat down beside the fire, however, with the intention of awaiting him, however long he might be. I was already deeply interested in his inquiry, for, though it was surrounded by none of the grim and strange features which were associated with the two crimes which I have already recorded, still, the nature of the case and the exalted station of his client gave it a character of its own. Indeed, apart from the nature of the investigation which my friend had on hand, there was something in his masterly grasp of a situation, and his keen, incisive reasoning, which made it a pleasure to me to study his system of work, and to follow the quick, subtle methods by which he disentangled the most inextricable mysteries. So accustomed was I to his invariable success that the very possibility of his failing had ceased to enter into my head.
It was close upon four before the door opened, and a drunkenlooking groom, ill-kempt and side-whiskered, with an inflamed face and disreputable clothes, walked into the room. Accustomed as I was to my friend's amazing powers in the use Tacoma Escort of disguises, I had to look three times Tacoma Escorts before I was certain that it was indeed he. With a Tacoma Asian Escort nod he vanished into the bedroom, whence he emerged Tacoma Asian Escorts in five minutes tweed-suited and respectable, as of old. Putting his hands into his pockets, he stretched out his legs in front of the fire and laughed heartily for some minutes.
"Well, really!" he cried, and then he choked and laughed again until he was obliged to lie back, limp and helpless, in the chair.
"What is it?"
"It's quite too funny. I am sure you could never guess how I employed my morning, or what I ended by doing."
"I can't imagine. I suppose that you have been watching the habits, and perhaps the house, of Miss Irene Adler."
"Quite so; but the sequel was rather unusual. I will tell you, however. I left the house a little after eight o'clock this morning in the character of a groom out of work. There is a wonderful sympathy and freemasonry among horsy men. Be one of them, and you will know all that there is to know. I soon found Briony Lodge. It is a bijou villa, with a garden at the back. but built out in front right up to the road, two stories. Chubb lock to the door. Large sitting-room on the right side, well furnished, with long windows almost to the floor, and those preposterous English window fasteners which a child could open. Behind there was nothing remarkable, save that the passage window could be reached from the top of the coach-house. I walked round it and examined it closely from every point of view, but without noting anything else of interest.
"I then lounged down the street and found, as I expected, that there was a mews in a lane which runs down by one wall of the garden. I lent the ostlers a hand in rubbing down their horses, and received in exchange twopence, a glass of half and half, two fills of shag tobacco, and as much information as I could desire about Miss Adler, to say nothing of half a dozen other people in the neighborhood in whom I was not in the least interested, but whose biographies I was compelled to listen to."
"And what of Irene Adler?" I asked.
"Oh, she has turned all the men's heads down in that part. She is the daintiest thing under a bonnet on this planet. So say the Serpentine-mews, to a man. She lives quietly, sings at concerts, drives out at five every day, and returns at seven sharp for dinner. Seldom goes out at other times, except when she sings. Has only one male visitor, but a good deal of him. He is dark, handsome, and dashing, never calls less than once a day, and often twice. He is a Mr. Godfrey Norton, of the Inner Temple. See the advantages of a cabman as a confidant. They had driven him home a dozen times from Serpentine-mews, and knew all about him. When I had listened to all they had to tell, I began to walk up and down near Briony Lodge once more, and to think over my plan of campaign.
"This Godfrey Norton was evidently an important factor in the matter. He was a lawyer. That sounded ominous. What was the relation between them, and what the object of his repeated visits? Was she his client, his friend, or his mistress? If the former, she had probably transferred the photograph to his keeping. If the latter, it was less likely. On the issue of this question depended whether I should continue my work at Briony Lodge, or turn my attention to the gentleman's chambers in the Temple. It was a delicate point. and it widened the field of my inquiry. I fear that I bore you with these details, but I have to let you see my little difficulties, if you are to understand the situation."
"I am following you closely," I answered.
"I was still balancing the matter in my mind when a hansom cab drove up to Briony Lodge, and a gentleman sprang out. He was a remarkably handsome man, dark, aquiline, and moustached-- evidently the man of whom I had heard. He appeared to be in a great hurry, shouted to the cabman to wait, and brushed past the maid who opened the door with the air of a man who was thoroughly at home.
"He was in the house about half an hour, and I could catch glimpses of him in the windows of the sitting-room, pacing up and down, talking excitedly, and waving his arms. Of her I could see nothing. Presently he emerged, looking even more flurried than before. As he stepped up to the cab, he pulled a gold watch from his pocket and looked at it earnestly, 'Drive like the devil,' he shouted, 'first to Gross & Hankey's in Regent Street, and then to the Church of St. Monica in the Edgeware Road. Half a guinea if you do it in twenty minutes!'
|Monday, 18-Mar-2013 04:28
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The division of poesy
(1) Poesy is a part of learning in measure of words, for the most part restrained, but in all other points extremely licensed, and doth truly refer to the imagination; which, being not tied to the laws of matter, may at pleasure join that which nature hath severed, and sever that which nature hath joined, and so make unlawful matches and divorces of things — Pictoribus atque poetis, &c. It is taken in two senses in respect of words or matter. In the first sense, it is but a character of style, and belongeth to arts of speech, and is not pertinent for the present. In the latter, it is — as hath been said — one of the principal portions of learning, and is nothing else but feigned history, which may be styled as well in prose as in verse.
(2) The use of this feigned history hath been to give some shadow of satisfaction to the mind of man in those points wherein the nature of things doth deny it, the world being in proportion inferior to the soul; by reason whereof there is, agreeable to the spirit of man, a more ample greatness, a more exact goodness, and a more absolute variety, than can be found in the nature of things. Therefore, because the acts or events of true history have not that magnitude which satisfieth the mind of man, poesy feigneth acts and events greater and more heroical. Because true history propoundeth the successes and issues of actions not so agreeable to the merits of virtue and vice, therefore poesy feigns them more just in retribution, and more according to revealed Providence. Because true history representeth actions and events more ordinary and less interchanged, therefore poesy endueth them with more rareness and more unexpected and alternative variations. So as it appeareth that poesy serveth and conferreth to magnanimity, morality and to delectation. And therefore, it was ever thought to have some participation of divineness, because it doth raise and erect the mind, by submitting the shows of things to the desires of the mind; whereas reason doth buckle and bow the mind unto the nature of things. And we see that by these insinuations and congruities with man’s nature and pleasure, joined also with the agreement and consort it hath with music, it hath had access and estimation in rude times and barbarous regions, where other learning stood excluded.
(3) The division of poesy which is aptest in the propriety thereof (besides those divisions which are common unto it with history, as feigned chronicles, feigned lives, and the appendices of history, as feigned epistles, feigned orations, and the rest) is into poesy narrative, representative, and allusive. The narrative is a mere imitation of history, with the excesses before remembered, choosing for subjects commonly wars and love, rarely state, and sometimes pleasure or mirth. Representative is as a visible history, and is an image of actions as if they were present, as history is of actions in nature as they are (that is) past. Allusive, or parabolical, is a narration applied only to express some special purpose or conceit; which latter kind of parabolical wisdom was much more in use in the ancient times, as by the fables of AEsop, and the brief sentences of the seven, and the use of hieroglyphics may appear. And the cause was (for that it was then of necessity to express any point of reason which was more sharp or subtle than the vulgar in that manner) because men in those times wanted both variety of examples and subtlety of conceit. And as hieroglyphics were before letters, so parables were before arguments; and nevertheless now and at all times they do retain much life and rigour, because reason cannot be so sensible nor examples so fit.
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(4) But there remaineth yet another use of poesy parabolical, opposite to that which we last mentioned; for that tendeth to demonstrate and illustrate that which is taught or delivered, and this other to retire and obscure it — that is, when the secrets and mysteries of religion, policy, or philosophy, are involved in fables or parables. Of this in divine poesy we see the use is authorised. In heathen poesy we see the exposition of fables doth fall out sometimes with great felicity: as in the fable that the giants being overthrown in their war against the gods, the earth their mother in revenge thereof brought forth Fame:—
“Illam terra parens, ira irritat Deorum,
Extremam, ut perhibent,
Coeo Enceladoque soroem,
Expounded that when princes and monarchs have suppressed actual and open rebels, then the malignity of people (which is the mother of rebellion) doth bring forth libels and slanders, and taxations of the states, which is of the same kind with rebellion but more feminine. So in the fable that the rest of the gods having conspired to bind Jupiter, Pallas called Briareus with his hundred hands to his aid: expounded that monarchies need not fear any curbing of their absoluteness by mighty subjects, as long as by wisdom they keep the hearts of the people, who will be sure to come in on their side. So in the fable that Achilles was brought up under Chiron, the centaur, who was part a man and part a beast, expounded ingeniously but corruptly by Machiavel, that it belongeth to the education and discipline of princes to know as well how to play the part of a lion in violence, and the fox in guile, as of the man in virtue and justice. Nevertheless, in many the like encounters, I do rather think that the fable was first, and the exposition devised, than that the moral was first, and thereupon the fable framed; for I find it was an ancient vanity in Chrysippus, that troubled himself with great contention to fasten the assertions of the Stoics upon the fictions of the ancient poets; but yet that all the fables and fictions of the poets were but pleasure and not figure, I interpose no opinion. Surely of these poets which are now extant, even Homer himself (notwithstanding he was made a kind of scripture by the later schools of the Grecians), yet I should without any difficulty pronounce that his fables had no such inwardness in his own meaning. But what they might have upon a more original tradition is not easy to affirm, for he was not the inventor of many of them.
(5) In this third part of learning, which is poesy, I can report no deficience; for being as a plant that cometh of the lust of the earth, without a formal seed, it hath sprung up and spread abroad more than any other kind. But to ascribe unto it that which is due, for the expressing of affections, passions, corruptions, and customs, we are beholding to poets more than to the philosophers’ works; and for wit and eloquence, not much less than to orators’ harangues. But it is not good to stay too long in the theatre. Let us now pass on to the judicial place or palace of the mind, which we are to approach and view with more reverence and attention.
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