Paul Patoff


EARLY on the following morning John Carvel came to my room. He looked less anxious than on the previous night, but he was evidently not altogether his former self.

“ Would you care to drive to the station and meet those boys ? ” he asked, cheerfully.

The weather was bright and frosty, and I was glad enough of an excuse for being alone for half an hour with my friend. I assented, therefore, to his proposition, and presently we were rattling along the hard road through the park. The hoar-frost was on the trees and on the blue-green frozen grass beneath them, and on the reeds and sedges beside the pond, which was overspread with a sheet of black ice. The breath flew from the horses’ nostrils in white clouds to right and left, and the low morning sun flashed back from the harness, and made the little icicles and laces of frost upon the trees shine like diamonds.

“ Carvel,” I said presently, as we spun past the lodge, through the great iron gates, “ I am not inquisitive, but it is easy to see that there is something going on in your house which is not agreeable to you. Will you tell me frankly whether you would like me to go away ? ”

“Not for worlds,” my companion ejaculated, and he turned a shade paler as he spoke. " I would rather tell you all about it — only ” — He paused.

“ Don’t,” said I. “ I don’t want to know. I merely thought you might prefer to he left free of outsiders at present.”

“ We hardly look upon you as an outsider, Griggs,” said John, quietly. “ You have been here so much and we have been so intimate that you are almost like one of the family. Besides, you know this young nephew of my wife’s, Paul Patoff ; and your knowing him will make matters a little easier. I am not at all sure I shall like him.”

“ I think you will. At all events, I can give you some idea of him.”

“ I wish you would,” answered John.

“ He is a thorough Russian in his ideas and an Englishman in appearance, — perhaps you might say he is more like a Scotchman. He is fair, with blue eyes, a brown mustache, and a prominent nose. He is angular in his movements and rather tall. He has a remarkable talent for languages, and is regarded as a very promising diplomatist. His temper is violent and changeable, but he has excellent manners and is full of tact. I should call him an extremely clever fellow in a general way, and he has done wisely in the selection of his career.”

“ That is not a bad description. Is there anything against him ? ”

“ I cannot say ; I only knew him in Persia, — a chance acquaintance. People said he was very eccentric.”

“ Eccentric ? ” asked John. “ How ? ”

“ Moody, I suppose, because he would sometimes shut himself up for days, and see nobody unless the minister sent for him. He used to beat his native servants when he was in a bad humor, and was said to be a reckless sort of fellow.”

“I hope he will not indulge his eccentricities here. Heaven knows, he has reason enough for being odd, poor fellow. We must make the best of him,” continued John hurriedly, as though regretting his last remark, “ and you must help us to amuse him and keep him out of mischief. Those Russians are the very devil, sometimes, as I have no doubt you know, and just at present our relations with them are not of the best; but, after all, he is my nephew and one of the family, so that we must do what we can for him, and avoid trouble. Macaulay likes him, and I dare say he likes Macaulay. They will get on together very well.”

“Yes — perhaps so — though I do not see what the two can have in common,” I answered. “ Macaulay can hardly have much sympathy for Patoff’s peculiarities, however much he may like the man himself.”

“Macaulay is very young, although he has seen something of the world. He has not outgrown the age which mistakes eccentricity for genius and bad temper for boldness. We shall see, — we shall see very soon. They will both hate Cutter, with his professorial wisdom and his immense experience of things they have never seen. How do you like him yourself ? ”

“ Without being congenial to me, he represents what I would like to be myself.”

“ Would you change with him, if you could ? ” asked John.

“ No, indeed. I, in my person, would like to be what he is in his, — that is all. People often talk of changing. No man alive would really exchange his personality for that of another man, if he had the chance. He only wishes to adorn what he most admires in himself with those things which, in his neighbor, excite the admiration of others. He meditates no change which does not give his vanity a better appearance to himself, and his reputation a dash of more brilliant color in the popular eye.”

“ Perhaps you are right,” said John. “ At all events, the professor has qualities that any man might envy.”

We reached the station just as the train ran in, and Macaulay Carvel and Patoff waved their hats from the carriage window. In a moment we were all shaking hands upon the platform.

“Papa, this is cousin Paul,” said Macaulay, and he turned to greet, me next. He is a good-looking fellow, with rather delicate features and a quiet, conscientious sort of expression, exquisite in his dress and scrupulous in his manners, with more of his mother’s gentleness than of his father’s bold frankness in his brown eyes. His small hand grasped mine readily enough, but seemed nerveless and lacking in vitality, a contrast to Paul Patoff’s grip. The Russian was as angular as ever, and his wiry fingers seemed to discharge an electric shock as they touched mine. I realized that he was a very tall man, and that he was far from ugly. His prominent nose and high cheek-bones gave a singular eaglelike look to his face, and his cold, bright eyes added to the impression. He lacked grace of form, but he had plenty of force, and though his movements were sometimes sudden and ungainly he was not without a certain air of nobility. His brown mustache did not altogether hide the half-scornful expression of his mouth.

“ How is everybody ? ” asked Macaulay Carvel of his father. “ We shall have a most jolly Christmas, all together.”

“Well, Mr. Griggs,” said Patoff to me, “ I did not expect, when we parted in Persia, that we should meet again in my uncle’s house, did you ? You will hardly believe that this is my first visit to England, and to my relations here.”

“ You will certainly not be taken for a foreigner here,” I said, laughing.

“Oh, of course not. You see my mother is English, so that I speak the language. The difficulty for me will lie in learning the customs. The English have so many peculiar habits. Is Professor Cutter at the house ? ”

“ Yes. You know him ? ”

“ Very well. He has been my mother’s physician for some time.”

“ Indeed — I was not aware that he practiced as a physician.” I was surprised by the news, and a suspicion crossed my mind that the lady at Weissenstein might have been Patoff’s mother. Instantly the meaning of the professor’s warning flashed upon me, — I was not to mention that affair in the Black Forest to Carvel. Of course not. Carvel was the brother-in-law of the lady in question. However, I kept my own counsel as we drove rapidly homewards. The sun had risen higher in the cloudless sky, and the frozen ground was beginning to thaw, so that now and then the mud splashed high from under the horses’ hoofs. The vehicle in which we drove was a mail phaeton, and Macaulay sat in front by his father’s side, while Patoff and I sat behind. We chatted pleasantly along the road, and in half an hour were deposited at Carvel Place, where the ladies came out to meet us, and the new cousin was introduced to every one. He seemed to make himself at home very easily, and I think the first impression he produced was favorable. Mrs. Carvel held his hand for several seconds, and looked up into his cold blue eyes as though searching for some resemblance to his mother, and he met her gentle look frankly enough. Chrysophrasia eyed him and eyed him again, trying to discover in him the attributes she had bestowed upon him in her imagination ; he was certainly a bold-looking fellow, and she was not altogether disappointed. She allowed her hand to linger in his, and her sentimental eyes turned upwards towards him with a look that was intended to express profound sympathy. As for Paul, he looked at his aunt Chrysophrasia with a certain surprise, and he looked upon Hermione with a great admiration as she came forward and put out her hand. John Carvel stood near by, and I thought his expression changed as he saw the glance his nephew bestowed upon his daughter. I slipped away to the library, and left the family party to themselves. Professor Cutter had not yet appeared, and I hoped to find him. Sure enough, he was among the books. Three or four large volumes lay open upon a table near the window, and the sturdy professor was turning over the leaves, holding a pencil in his mouth and a sheet of paper in one hand, the image of a student in the pursuit of knowledge. I went straight up to him.

“Professor Cutter,” I said, “ you asked me last night whether I had ever heard anything more of the lady with whom I met you at Weissenstein. I have heard of her this morning.”

The scientist took the pencil from his mouth, and thrust his hands into his pockets, gazing upon me through the large round lenses of his spectacles. He glanced towards the door before he spoke.

“ Well, what have you heard?” he asked.

“ Only that she was Paul Patoff’s mother,” I answered.

“ Nothing else ? ”

“ Nothing.”

“ And how did you come by the information, if you please ? ” he inquired.

“Very simply. Paul Patoff volunteered to tell me that you had been his mother’s physician for some time. I remembered that you warned me not to speak of the Weissenstein affair to our friend Carvel; that was natural enough, since the lady was his sister-in-law. She did not look at all like Paul, it is true, but you are not in the habit of playing physician, and it is a thousand to one that you have attended no one else in the last year who is in any way connected with John Carvel.”

The learned doctor smiled.

“ You have made a very good guess, Mr. Griggs,” he said. “ Paul Patoff is a silly fellow enough, or he would not have spoken so plainly. Why do you tell me that you have found me out ? ”

“ Because I imagine that you are still interested in the lady, and that you had better be informed of everything connected with the case.”

“ The case — yes —it is a very singular case, and I am intensely interested in it. Besides, it has very nearly cost me my reputation, as well as my life. I assure you I have rarely had to do with such a case, nor have I ever experienced such a sensation as when I went over the cliff at Weissenstein after Madame Patoff.”

“ Probably not,” I remarked. “ I never saw a braver thing more successfully accomplished.”

“ There is small courage in acting under necessity,” said the professor, walking slowly across the room towards the fire. “ If I had not rescued my patient, I should have been much more injured than if I had broken my neck in the attempt. I was responsible for her. What would have become of the ‘ great neurologist,’ the celebrated ‘ mad-doctor,’ as they call me, if one of the few patients to whom I ever devoted my whole personal attention had committed suicide under my very eyes ? You can understand that there was something more than her life and mine at stake.”

“ I never knew exactly how it happened,”I replied. “ I was looking out of my window, when I saw a woman fall over the balcony below me. Her clothes caught in the crooked branches of a wild cherry-tree that grew some ten feet below ; and as she struggled, I saw you leaning over the parapet, as if you meant to scramble down the face of the cliff after her. I had a hundred feet of manilla rope which I was taking with me to Switzerland for a special expedition, and I let it down to you. The people of the inn came to my assistance, and we managed to haul you up together, thanks to your knowing how to tie the rope around you both. Then I saw you downstairs for a few minutes and you told me the lady was not hurt. I left almost immediately. I never knew what led to the accident.”

Professor Cutter passed his heavy hand slowly over his thick gray hair, and looked pensively into the fire.

“ It was simple enough,” he said at last. “ I was paying our bill to the landlord, and in doing so I turned my back upon Madame Patoff for a moment. She was standing on a low balcony outside the window, and she must have thrown herself over. Luckily she was dressed in a gown of strong Scotch stuff, which did not tear when it caught in the tree. It was the most extraordinary escape I ever saw.”

“ I should think so, indeed. But why did she want to kill herself ? Was she insane?”

“Are people always insane who try to kill themselves ? ” asked the professor, eying me keenly through his glasses.

“ Very generally they are. I suppose that she was.”

“That is precisely the question,” said the scientist. “ Insanity is an expression that covers a multitude of sins of all kinds, but explains none of them, nor is itself explained. If I could tell you what insanity is, I could tell you whether Madame Patoff was insane or not. I can say that a man possesses a dog, because I can classify the dogs I have seen all over the world. But supposing I had never met any specimen of the canine race but a King Charles spaniel, and on seeing a Scotch deerhound in the possession of a friend was told that the man had a ‘ dog: ’ I should be justified in doubting whether the deerhound was a dog at all in the sense in which the tiny spaniel — the only dog I had ever seen — represented the canine race in my mind and experience. The biblical ‘ devil,’ which ‘ possessed ’ men, took as many, shapes and characteristics as the genus ‘ dog ’ does : there was the devil that dwelt in tombs, the devil that tore its victim, the devil that entered into swine, the devil that spoke false prophecies, and many more. It is the same with insanity. No two mad people are alike. If I find a person with any madness I know, I can say he is mad ; but if I find a person acting in a very unusual way under the influence of strong and protracted emotion, I am not justified in concluding that he is crazy. I have not seen everything in the world yet. I have not seen every kind of dog, nor every kind of devil, nor every kind of madness.”

“You choose strange illustrations,” I said, “but you speak clearly.”

“ Strange cases and strange examples. Insanity is the strangest phase of human nature, because it is the least common state of humanity. If a majority of men were mad, they would have a right to consider themselves sane, and sane men crazy. Your original question was whether, when she attempted suicide, Madame Patoff were sane or not. I do not know. I have known many persons to attempt to take their lives when, according to all their other actions, they were perfectly sane. The question of their sanity could be decided by placing a large number of sensible people in similar circumstances, in order to see whether the majority of them would kill themselves or not. That sort of experiment is not likely to be tried. I found Madame Patoff placed in very extraordinary circumstances, but I did not know her before she was so placed. The case interests me exceedingly. I am still trying to understand it.”

“ You speak as though you were still treating it,” I remarked.

“ A physician, in his imagination, will continue to study a case for years after it has passed out of his treatment,” answered my companion. “ I must go and see Paul, however, since he was good enough to mention me to you.” Whereupon Professor Cutter buttoned up his coat and went away, leaving me to my reflections by the library fire.

If Carvel had intended to have a family party in his house at Christmas, including this nephew whom he had never seen, and whose mother had been mad, and the great scientist who had attended her, it seemed strange that he should have asked me as directly as he had done to spend the whole winter under his roof. I had never been asked for so long a visit before, and had never been treated with such confidence and received so intimately as I now was. I could not help wondering whether I was to be told the reason of what was going on, whether, indeed, anything was going on at all, and whether the air of depression and mystery which I thought I observed were not the result of my own imagination, rather than of any actual foundation in fact. The professor might be making a visit for his pleasure, but I knew how valuable his time must be, and I wondered how he could afford to spend it in mere amusement. I remembered John Carvel’s hesitation as we drove to the station that morning, and his evident annoyance when I proposed to leave. He knew me well enough to say, “ All right, if you don’t mind, run up to town for a day or two,” but he had not said it. He had manifested the strongest desire that I should stay, and I had determined to comply with his request. At the same time I was left entirely in the dark as to what was going on in the family, and whispered words, conversations that ceased abruptly on my approach, and many other little signs told me beyond all doubt that something was occurring of which I had no knowledge. Without being inquisitive, it is hard to live in such surroundings without having one’s curiosity roused, and the circumstance of my former meeting with the professor, now so suddenly illuminated by the discovery that the lady whose life he had saved was the sister-in-law of our host, led me to believe, almost intuitively, that the mystery, if mystery there were, was connected in some way with Madame Patoff. As I thought of her, the memory of the little inn, the Gasthof zum Goldenen Anker, in Weissenstein, came vividly back to me. The splash of the plunging Nagold was in my ears, the smell of the boundless pine forest was in my nostrils; once more I seemed to be looking down from the upper window of the hostelry upon the deep ravine, a sheer precipice from the back of the house, broken only by some few struggling trees that appeared scarcely able to find roothold on the straight fall of rock, — one tree projecting just below the foundations of the inn, ten feet lower than the lowest window, a knotted wild cherry, storm-beaten and crooked, — and then, suddenly, something of uncertain shape, huddled together and falling from the balcony down the precipice, — a woman’s figure, caught in the gnarled boughs of the cherry-tree, hanging and swinging over the abyss, while shriek on shriek echoed down to the swollen torrent and up to the turrets of the old inn in an agonized reverberation of horror.

It was a fearful memory, and the thought of being brought into the company of the woman whose life I had seen so risked and so saved was strange and fascinating. Often and often I had wondered about her fate, speculating upon the question whether her fall was due to accident or to the intention of suicide, and I had tried to realize the terrible waking when she found herself saved from the destruction she sought by the man I had seen, — perhaps by the very man from whom she was endeavoring to escape. I was thrown off my balance by being so suddenly brought face to face with this woman’s son, the tall, blue-eyed, awkward fine gentleman, Paul Patoff. I sat by the library fire and thought it all over, and I said to myself at last, “ Paul Griggs, thou art an ass for thy pains, and an inquisitive idiot for thy curiosity.” I, who am rarely out of conceit with myself, was disgusted at my lack of dignity in actually desiring to find out things that were in no way my business, nor ever concerned me. So I took a book and fell to reading. Far off in the house I could hear voices now and then, the voices of the family making the acquaintance of their newfound relation. The great fire blazed upon the broad hearth within, and the wintry sun shone brightly without, and there came gradually upon me the delight of comfort that reigns within a luxurious library when the frost is biting without, and there is no scent upon the frozen fields, — the comfort that lies in the contrasts we make for ourselves against nature ; most of all, the peace that a wanderer on the face of the earth, as I am, can feel when he rests his weary limbs in some quiet home, half wishing he might at last be allowed to lay down the staff and scrip, and taste freely of the world’s good things, yet knowing that before many days the devil of unrest will drive him forth again upon his road. So I sat in John Carvel’s library, and read his books, and enjoyed the cushioned easy-chair with the swinging desk ; and I envied John Carvel his home, and his quiet life, and his defenses against intrusion, saying that I also might be made happy by the trifling addition of twenty thousand pounds a year to my income.

But I was not long permitted to enjoy the undisturbed possession of this temple of sweet dreams, reveling in my imagination at the idea of what I should do if I possessed such a place. The door of the library opened suddenly with a noise of many feet upon the polished floor.

“ And this is the library,” said the voice of Hermione, who led the way, followed by her mother and aunt and Paul; John Carvel brought up the rear, quietly looking on while his daughter showed the new cousin the wonders of Carvel Place.

“ This is the library,” she repeated, “ and this is Mr. Griggs,” she added, with a little laugh, as she discovered me in the deep easy-chair. “ This is the celebrated Mr. Griggs. His name is Paul, like yours, but otherwise he is not in the least like you, I fancy. Everybody knows him, and he knows everybody.”

“ We have met before,” said Patoff, “ not only this morning, but in the East. Mr. Griggs certainly seemed to know everybody there, from the Shah to the Greek consul. What a splendid room ! It must have taken you years of thought to construct such a literary retreat, uncle John,” he added, turning to the master of the house as he spoke.

Indeed, Paul Patoff appeared much struck with everything he saw at Carvel Place. I left my chair and joined the party, who wandered through the rooms and into the great conservatory, and finally gravitated to the drawing-room. Patoff examined everything with an air of extreme interest, and seemed to understand intuitively the tastes of each member of the household. He praised John’s pictures and Mrs. Carvel’s engravings ; he admired Chrysophrasia’s stained-glass window, and her pots, and plates, and bits of drapery; he glanced reverently at Mrs. Carvel’s religious books, and stopped now and then to smell the flowers Hermione loved. He noted the view upon the park from the south windows, and thought the disposal of the shrubbery near the house was a masterpiece of landscape gardening. As he proceeded, surrounded by his relations, remarking upon everything he saw, and giving upon all things opinions which marvelously flattered the individual tastes of each one of the family, it became evident that he was making a very favorable impression upon them.

“ It is delightful to show you things,” said Hermione, “ you are so appreciative.”

“ It needs little skill to appreciate, where everything is so beautiful,” he answered. “ Indeed,” he continued, addressing himself to all present, “ your home is the most charming I ever saw ; I had no idea that the English understood luxury so well. You know that with us Continental people you have the reputation of being extravagant, even magnificent, in your ideas, but of being also ascetics in some measure, — loving to make yourselves strangely uncomfortable, fond of getting very hot, and of taking very cold baths, and of living on raw meat and cold potatoes and all manner of strange things. I do not see here any evidences of great asceticism.”

“ How wonderfully he speaks English ! ” exclaimed Mrs. Carvel, aside, to her husband.

“ I should say,” continued Paul, without noticing the flattering interruption, " that you are the most luxurious people in the world, that you have more taste than any people I have ever known, and that if I had had the least idea how charming my relations were, I should have come from our Russian wilds ten years ago to visit you and tell you how superior I think you are to ourselves.”

Paul laughed pleasantly as he made this speech, and there was a little murmur of applause.

“ We were very different, ten years ago,” said John Carvel. “ In the first place, there was no Hermione then, to do the honors and show you the sights.

She was quite a little thing, ten years ago.”

“ That would have made no difference in the place, though,” said Hermione, simply.

“ On the contrary,” said Paul. “ I am inclined to think, on reflection, that I would have postponed my visit, after all, for the sake of having my cousin for a guide.”

“ Ah, how gracefully these wild northern men can turn a phrase ! ” whispered Chrysophrasia in my ear,—“ so strong and yet so tender ! ” She could not take her eyes from her nephew, and he appeared to understand that he had already made a conquest of the æsthetic old maid, for he took her admiration for granted, and addressed himself to Mrs. Carvel; not losing sight of Chrysophrasia, however, but looking pleasantly at her as he talked, though his words were meant for her sister.

“ It is the whole atmosphere of this life that is delightful, and every little thing seems so harmonious,” he said. “ You have here the solidity of traditional English country life, combined with the comforts of the most advanced civilization ; and, to make it all perfection, you have at every turn the lingering romance of the glorious mediæval life,” with a glance at Miss Dabstreak, “ that middle age which in beauty was the prime of age, from which began and spread all your most glorious ideas, your government, your warfare, your science. Did you never have an alchemist in your family, uncle John ? Surely he found for you the golden secret, and it is his touch which has beautified these old walls ! ”

“ I don’t know,” said John Carvel.

“ Indeed there was ! ” cried Chrysophrasia, in delight. “ I have found out all about him. He was not exactly an alchemist; he was an astrologer, and there are the ruins of his tower in the park. There are some old books upstairs, upon the Black Art, with his name in them, Johannes Carvellius, written in the most enchanting angular handwriting.”

“ I believe there was somebody of that name,” remarked John.

“ They are full of delicious incantations for raising the devil, — such exquisite ceremonies, with all the dress described that you must wear, and the phases of the moon, and hazel wands cut at midnight. Imagine how delightful! ”

“ The tower in the park is a beautiful place,” said Hermione. “ I have it all filled with flowers in summer, and the gardener’s boy once saw a ghost there on All Hallow E’en.”

“ You must take me there,” said Paul, smiling good-humoredly at the reference to the alchemist. “ I have a passion for ruins, and I had no idea that you had any; nothing seems ruined here, and yet everything appears old. What a delightful place ! ” Paul sat far back in his comfortable chair, and inserted a single eyeglass in the angle between his heavy brow and his aquiline nose ; his bony fingers were spotless, long, and white, and as he sat there he had the appearance of a personage receiving the respectful homage of a body of devoted attendants, the indescribable air of easy superiority and condescending goodnature which a Roman patrician might have assumed when visiting the country villa of one of his clients. Everybody seemed delighted to be noticed by him and flattered by his words.

I am by nature cross-grained and crabbed, I presume. I admitted that Paul Patoff, though not graceful in his movements, was a fine-looking fellow, with an undeniable distinction of manner ; he had a pleasant voice, an extraordinary command of English, though he was but half an Englishman, and a tact which he certainly owed to his foreign blood ; he was irreproachable in appearance, in the simplicity of his dress, in the smoothness of his fair hair and well - trimmed mustache ; he appeared thoroughly at home among his newfound relations, and anxious to please them all alike ; he was modest and unassuming, for he did not speak of himself, and he gave no opinion saving such as should be pleasing to his audience. He had all this, and yet in the cold stare of his stony eyes, in the ungainly twist of his broad white hand, where the bones and sinews crossed and recrossed like a network of marble, in the decisive tone with which he uttered the most flattering remarks, there was something which betrayed a tyrannical and unyielding character, — something which struck me at first sight, and which suggested a nature by no means so gentle and amiable as he was willing it should appear.

Nevertheless, I was the only one to notice these signs, to judge by the enthusiasm which Patoff produced at Carvel Place in those first hours of his stay. It is true that the professor was not present, although he had left me on pretense of going to see Paul, and Macaulay Carvel was resting from his journey in his own rooms, in a remote part of the house ; but I judged that the latter had already fallen under the spell of Patoff’s manner, and that it would not be easy to find out what the man of science really thought about the AngloRussian. They probably knew each other of old, and whatever opinions they held of each other were fully formed.

Paul sat in his easy-chair in the midst of the family, and smiled and surveyed everything through his single eyeglass, and if anything did not please him he did not say so. John had something to do, and went away, then Mrs. Carvel wanted to see her son alone, and she left us, too; so that Chrysophrasia and Hermione and I remained to amuse Patoff. Hermione immediately began to do so after her own fashion. I think that of all of us she was the one least inclined to give him absolute supremacy at first, but he interested her, for she had seen little of the world, and nothing of such men as her cousin Paul, who was thirty years of age, and had been to most of the courts of the world in the course of twelve years in the diplomatic service. She was not inclined to admit that knowledge of the world was superiority of itself, nor that an easy manner and an irreproachable appearance constituted the ideal of a man; but she was barely twenty, and had seen little of those things. She recognized their importance, and desired to understand them ; she felt that wonderful suspicion of possibilities which a young girl loves to dwell on in connection with every exceptional man she meets ; she unconsciously said to herself that such a man as Patoff might possibly be her ideal, because there was nothing apparent to her at first sight which was in direct contradiction with the typical picture she had conceived of the typical man she hoped to meet.

Every young girl has an ideal, I presume. If it be possible to reason about so unreasonable a thing as love, I should say that love at first sight is probably due to the sudden supposed realization in every respect of an ideal long cherished and carefully developed in the imagination. But in most cases a young girl sees one man after another, hopes in each one to find those qualities which she has elected to admire, and finally submits to be satisfied with far less than she had at first supposed could satisfy her. As for young men, they are mostly fools, and they talk of love with a vast deal of swagger and bravery, laughing it to scorn, as a landsman talks of seasickness, telling you it is nothing but an impression and a mere lack of courage, till one day the land-bred boaster puts to sea in a Channel steamer, and experiences a new sensation, and becomes a very sick man indeed before he is out of sight of Dover cliffs.

But with Hermione there was certainly no realization of her ideal, but probably only the faint, unformulated hope that in her cousin Paul she might find some of those qualities which her own many-sided nature longed to find in man.

“ You must tell us all about Russia, cousin Paul,” she said, when her father and mother were gone. “ Aunt Chrysophrasia believes that you are the most extraordinary set of barbarians up there, and she adores barbarians, you know.”

“ Of course we are rather barbarous.”

“ Hermione! How can you say I ever said such a thing ! ” interposed Miss Dabstreak, with a deprecating glance at Paul. “ I only said the Russians were such a young and manly race, so interesting, so unlike the inhabitants of this dreary den of printing-presses and steamengines, so ” —

“ Thanks, aunt Chrysophrasia,” said Paul, “ for the delightful ideal you have formed of us. We are certainly less civilized than you, and perhaps, as you are so good as to believe, we are the more interesting. I suppose the unbroken colt of the desert is more interesting than an American trotting horse, but for downright practical use ” —

“ There is such a tremendous talk of usefulness ! ” ejaculated Chrysophrasia, a faint, sad smile flickering over her sallow features.

“ Usefulness is so remarkably useful,” I remarked.

“ Oh, Mr. Griggs,” exclaimed Hermione, “ what an immensely witty speech ! ”

“ There is nothing so witty as truth, Miss Carvel, though you laugh at it,” I answered, “ for where there is no truth, there is no wit. I maintain that usefulness is really useful. Miss Dabstreak, I believe, maintains the contrary.”

“ Indeed, I care more for beauty than for usefulness,” replied the æsthetic lady, with a fine smile.

“ Beauty is indeed truly useful,” said Paul, with a very faint imitation of Chrysophrasia’s accent, “ and it should be sought in everything. But that need not prevent us from seeing true beauty in all that is truly useful.”

I had a faint suspicion that if Patoff had mimicked Miss Dabstreak in the first half of his speech, he had imitated me in the second portion of the sentiment. I do not like to be made game of, because I am aware that I am naturally pedantic. It is an old trick of the schools to rouse a pedant to desperate and distracted selfcontradiction by quietly imitating everything he says.

“ You are very clever at taking both sides of a question at once,” said Hermione, with a smile.

“ Almost all questions have two sides,” answered Paul, “ but very often both sides are true. A man may perfectly appreciate and approve of the opinions of two persons who take diametrically opposite views of the same point, provided there be no question of right and wrong involved.”

“ Perhaps,” retorted Hermione; “ but then the man who takes both sides has no opinion of his own. I do not like that.”

“ In general, cousin Hermione,” said Paul, with a polite smile, “ you may be sure that any man will make your opinion his. In this case, I submit that both beauty and usefulness are good, and that they need not at all interfere with each other; as for the compliment my aunt Chrysophrasia has paid to us Russians, I do not think we can be said to have gone very far in either direction as yet.” After which diplomatic speech Paul dropped his eyeglass, and looked pleasantly round upon all three of us, as much as to say that it was impossible to draw him into the position of disagreeing with any one present by any device whatsoever.


Professor Cutter and I walked to the village that afternoon. He is a great pedestrian, and is never satisfied unless he can walk four or five miles a day.

His robust and rather heavy frame was planned rather for bodily labor than for the housing of so active a mind, and he often complains that the exercise of his body has robbed him of years of intellectual labor. He grumbles at the necessity of wasting time in that way, but he never omits his daily walk.

” I would like to possess your temperament, Mr. Griggs,” he remarked, as we walked briskly through the park. “ You might renounce exercise and open air for the rest of your life, and never be the worse for it.”

“ I hardly know,” I answered. “ I have never tried any regular method of life, and I have never been ill. I do not believe in regular methods.”

“ That is the ideal constitution. By the bye, I had hoped to induce Patoff to come with us, but he said he would stay with the ladies.”

“ You will never induce him to do anything he does not want to do,” I replied. “ However, I dare say you know that as well as I do.”

“ What makes you say that ? ”

“ I can see it, — it is plain enough. Carvel wanted him to go and shoot something after lunch, you wanted him to come for a walk, Macaulay wanted him to bury himself up-stairs and talk out the Egyptian question, I wanted to get him into the smoking-room to ask him questions about some friends of mine in the East, Miss Dabstreak had plans to waylay him with her pottery. Not a bit of it ! He smiled at us all, and serenely sat by Mrs. Carvel, talking to her and Miss Hermione. He has a will of his own.”

“ Indeed he has,” assented the professor. “ He is a moderately clever fellow, with a smooth tongue and a despotic character, a much better combination than a weak will and the mind of a genius. You are right, he is not to be turned by trifles.”

“ I see that he must be a good diplomatist in these days.”

“ Diplomacy has got past the stage of being intellectual,” said the professor. “ There was a time when a fine intellect was thought important in an ambassador ; nowadays it is enough if his excellency can hold his tongue and show his teeth. The question is, whether the low estimate of intellect in our day is due to the exigency of modern affairs, or to the exiguity of modern intelligence.”

“ Men are stronger in our time,” I answered, “ and consequently have less need to be clever. The transition from the joint government of the world by a herd of wily foxes to the domination of the universe by the mammoth ox is marked by the increase of clumsy strength and the disappearance of graceful deception.”

“ That is true, but the graceful deception continues to be the more interesting, if not the more agreeable. As for me, I would rather be gracefully deceived, as you call it, than pounded to jelly by the hoofs of the mammoth, — unless I could be the mammoth myself.”

“ To return to Patoff,” said I, “ what are they going to do with him ? ”

“ The question is much more likely to be what he will do with them, I should say,” answered the scientist, looking straight before him, and increasing the speed of his walk. “ I am not at all sure what he might do, if no one prevented him. He is capable of considerable originality if left to himself, and they follow him up there at the Place as the boys and girls followed the Pied Piper.”

“ Is he at all like his mother ? ” I asked.

“In point of originality?” inquired the professor, with a curious smile. “ She was certainly a most original woman. I hardly know whether he is like her. Boys are said to resemble their mother in appearance and their father in character. He is certainly not of the same type of constitution as his mother, he has not even the same shape of head, and I am glad of it. But his father was a Slav, and what is madness in an Englishwoman is sanity in a Russian. Her most extraordinary aberrations might not seem at all extraordinary when set off by the natural violence he inherits from his father.”

“ That is a novel idea to me ” I remarked. “ You mean that what is madness in one man is not necessarily insanity in another; besides, you refused to allow this morning that Madame Patoff was crazy.”

“ I did not refuse to allow it; I only said I did not know it to be the case. But as for what I just said, take two types of mankind, a Chinese and an Englishman, for instance. If you met a fair-haired, blue-eyed, sanguine Englishman, whose head and features were shaped precisely like those of a Chinaman, you could predicate of him that he must be a very extraordinary creature, capable, perhaps, of becoming a driveling idiot. The same of a Chinese, if you met one with a brain shaped like that of an Englishman, and similar features, but with straight black hair, a yellow skin, and red eyes. He would have the brain of the Anglo-Saxon with the temperament of the Mongol, and would probably become a raving maniac. It is not the temperament only, nor the intellect only, which produces the idiot or the madman ; it is the lack of balance between the two. Arrant cowards frequently have very warlike imaginations, and in their dreams conceive themselves doing extremely violent things. Suppose that with such an imagination you unite the temperament of an Arab fanatic, or the coarse, brutal courage of an English prize-fighter, you can put no bounds to the possible actions of the monster you create. The salvation of the human race lies in the fact that very strong and brave people commonly have a peaceable disposition, or else commit murder, and get hanged for it. It is far better that they should be hanged, because nobody knows where violence ends and insanity begins, and it is just as well to be on the safe side. Whenever a given form of intellect happens to be joined to a totally inappropriate temperament, we say it is a case of idiocy or insanity. Of course there are many other cases which arise from the mind or the body being injured by extraneous causes ; but they are not genuine cases of insanity, because the evil has not been transmitted from the parents, nor will it be to the children.”

The professor marched forward as he gave his lecture on unsoundness of brain, and I strode by his side, silent and listening. What he said seemed very natural, and yet I had never heard it before. Was Madame Patoff such a monster as he described ? It was more likely that her son might be, seeing that he in some points answered precisely to the description of a man with the intellect of one race and the temperament of another; and yet any one would scoff at the idea that Paul Patoff could go mad. He was so correct, so staid, so absolutely master of what he said, and probably of what he felt, that one could not imagine him a prey to insanity.

“ What you say is very interesting,” I remarked, at last, “but, how does it apply to Madame Patoff ? ”

“ It does not apply to her,” returned Professor Cutter. “ She belongs to the class of people in whom the mind has been injured by extraneous circumstances.”

“ I suppose it is possible. I suppose a perfectly sound mind may be completely destroyed by an accident, even by the moral shock from a sorrow or disappointment.”

“ Yes,” said the professor. “ It is even possible to produce artificial insanity, — perfectly genuine while it lasts ; but it is not possible for any one to pretend to be insane.”

“ Really ? I should have thought it quite possible,” said I.

“No. It is impossible. I was once called to give my opinion in such a case ; the man betrayed himself in half an hour, and yet he was a very clever fellow. He was a servant; murdered his master to rob him ; was caught, but succeeded in restoring the valuables to their places, and pretended to be crazy. It was very well managed and he played the fool splendidly, but I caught him.”

“ How ? ” I asked.

“ Simply by bullying. I treated him roughly, and never stopped talking to him, — just the worst treatment for a person really insane. In less than an hour I had wearied him out, his feigned madness became so fatiguing to him that there was finally only a spasmodic attempt, and when I had done with him the sane man was perfectly apparent. He grew too much frightened and too tired to act a part. He was hanged, to the satisfaction of all concerned, and he made a complete confession.”

“ But how about the artificial insanity you spoke of? How can it be produced ? ”

“ By any poison, from coffee to alcohol, from tobacco to belladonna. A man who is drunk is insane.”

“ I wonder whether, if a madman got drunk, he would be sane ? ” I said.

“ Sometimes. A man who has delirium tremens can be brought to his right mind for a time by alcohol, unless he is too far gone. The habitual drunkard is not in his right mind until he has had a certain amount of liquor. All habitual poisons act in that way, even tea. How often do you hear a woman or a student say, ‘ I do not feel like myself to-day, — I have not had my tea ’ ! When a man does not feel like himself, lie means that he feels like some one else, and he is mildly crazy. Generally speaking, any sudden change in our habits of eating and drinking will produce a temporary unsoundness of the mind. Every one knows that thirst sometimes brings on a dangerous madness, and hunger produces hallucinations and visions which take a very real character.”

“ I know, — I have seen that. In the East it is thought that insanity can be caused by mesmerism, or something like it.”

“ It is not impossible,” answered the scientist. “We do not deny that some very extraordinary circumstances can be induced by sympathy and antipathy.”

“ I suppose you do not believe in actual mesmerism, do you ? ”

“ I neither affirm nor deny, — I wait,; and until I have been convinced I do not consider my opinion worth giving.”

“ That is the only rational position for a man of science. I fancy that nothing but experience satisfies you, — why should it ? ”

“ The trouble is that experiments, according to the old maxim, are generally made, and should be made, upon worthless bodies, and that they are necessarily very far from being conclusive in regard to the human body. There is no doubt that dogs are subject to grief, joy, hope, and disappointment ; but it is not possible to conclude from the conduct of a dog who is deprived of a particularly interesting bone he is gnawing, for instance, how a man will act who is robbed of his possessions. Similarity of misfortune does not imply analogy in the consequences.”

“ Certainly not. Otherwise everybody would act in the same way, if put in the same case.”

The professor’s conversation was interesting if only on account of the extreme simplicity with which he spoke of such a complicated subject. I was impressed with the belief that he belonged to a class of scientists whose interest in what they hope to learn surpasses their enthusiasm for what they have already learned, — a class of scientists unfortunately very rare in our day. For we talk more nonsense about science than would fill many volumes, because we devote so much time to the pursuit of knowledge; nevertheless, the amount of knowledge actually acquired, beyond all possibility of contradiction, is ludicrously small as compared with the energy expended in the pursuit of it and the noise made over its attainment. Science lays many eggs, but few are hatched. Science boasts much, but accomplishes little ; is vainglorious, puffed up, and uncharitable ; desires to be considered as the root of all civilization and the seed of all good, whereas it is the heart that civilizes, never the head.

I walked by the professor’s side in deep thought, and he, too, became silent, so that we talked little more until we were coming home and had almost reached the house.

“ Why has Patoff never been in England before ? ” I asked, suddenly.

“ I believe he has,” answered Cutter.

“ He says he has not.”

“ Never mind. I believe he was in London during nearly eighteen months, about four or five years ago, as secretary in the Russian embassy. He never went near his relations.”

“ Why should he say now that he never was in the country?”

“ Because they would not like it, if they knew he had been so near them without ever visiting them.”

“Was his mother with him? Did she never write to her people ? ”

“ No,” said Cutter, with a short laugh, “she never wrote to them.”

“ How very odd ! ” I exclaimed, as we entered the hall door.

“ It was odd,” answered my companion, and went up - stairs. There was something very unsatisfactory about him, I thought; and then I cursed my own curiosity. What business was it all of mine ? If Paul Patoff chose to tell a diplomatic falsehood, it certainly did not concern me. It was possible that his mother might have quarreled with her family, — indeed, in former years I had sometimes thought as much from their never mentioning her; and in that case it would be natural that her son might not have cared to visit his relations when

he was in England before. He need not have made such a show of never having visited the country, but people often do that sort of thing. And now it was probable that since Madame Patoff had been insane there might have been a reconciliation and a smoothing over of the family difficulties. I had no idea where Madame Patoff might be. I could not ask any one such a delicate question, for I supposed she was confined in an asylum, and no one volunteered the information. Probably Cutter’s visit to Carvel Place was connected with her sad state ; perhaps Patoff’s coming might be the result of it, also. It was impossible to say. But of this I was certain : that John Carvel and his wife had both grown older and sadder in the past two years, and that there was an air of concealment about the house which made me very uncomfortable. I have been connected with more than one odd story in my time, and I confess that I no longer care for excitement as I once did. If people are going to get into trouble, I would rather not be there to see it, and I have a strong dislike to being suddenly called upon to play an unexpected part in sensational events. Above all, I hate mystery; I hate the mournful air of superior sorrow that hangs about people who have a disagreeable secret, and the constant depression of long-protracted anxiety in those about me. It spoiled my pleasure in the quiet country life to see John’s face grow every day more grave and Mary Carvel’s eyes turn sadder. Pain of any sort is unpleasant to witness, but there is nothing so depressing as to watch the progress of melancholy in one’s friends ; to feel that from some cause which they will not confide they are losing peace and health and happiness. Even if one knew the cause one might not be able to do anything to remove it, for it is no bodily ill, that can be doctored and studied and experimented upon, a subject for dissertation and barbarous, semi-classic nomenclature; quacks do not pretend to cure it with patent medicines, and great physicians do not write nebulous articles about it in the reviews. There is little room for speculation in the matter of grief, for most people know well enough what it is, and need no Latin words with Greek terminations to express it. It is the breaking of the sea of life over the harbor bar where science ends and humanity begins.

Poor John! It needed something strong indeed to sadden his cheerfulness and deaden his energy. That evening I talked with Hermione in the drawingroom. She looked more lovely than ever, dressed all in white, with a single row of pearls around her throat. Her delicate features were pale and luminous, and her brown eyes brighter than usual, — a mere girl, scarcely yet gone into the world, but such a woman ! It was no wonder that Paul glanced from time to time in admiration at his cousin.

We were seated in Chrysophrasia’s corner, Hermione and I. There was nothing odd in that; the young girl likes me and enjoys talking to me, and I am no longer young. You know, dear friend, that I am forty-six years old this summer, and it is a long time since any one thought of flirting with me. I am not dangerous, — nature has taken care of that, — and I am thought very safe company for the young.

“ Tell me one of your stories, Mr. Griggs. I am so tired this evening,” said Hermione.

“I do not know what to tell you.” I answered. “ I was hoping that you would tell me one of yours, all about the fairies and the elves in the park, as you used to when you were a little girl.”

“I do not believe in fairies any more,” said Hermione, with a little sigh. “I believed in them once, — it was so nice. I want stories of real life now, — sad ones, that end happily.”

“ A great many happy stories end sadly,” I replied, “but few sad ones end happily. Why do you want a sad story ? You ought to be gay.”

“ Ought I ? I am not, I am sure. I cannot take everything with a laugh, as some people can ; and I cannot be always resigned and religious, as mamma is.”

“ The pleasantest people are the ones who are always good, but not always alike,” I remarked. “ It is variety that makes life charming, and goodness that makes it worth living.”

Hermione laughed a little.

“ That sounds very good. — a little goody, as we used to say when we were small. I wonder whether it is true. I suppose I have not enough variety, or not enough goodness, just at present.”

“ Why ? ” I asked. “ I should think you had both.”

“ I do not see the great variety,” she answered.

“ Have you not found a new relation to-day ? An interesting cousin whoh has seen the whole world ought to go far towards making a variety in life.”

“ What should you think of a man, Mr. Griggs, whose brother has not been dead eighteen months, and whose mother is dangerously ill, perhaps dying, and who shows no more feeling than a stone ? ”

The question came sharply and distinctly ; Hermione’s short lip curled in scorn, and the words were spoken through her closed teeth. Of course she was speaking of Paul Patoff. She turned to me for an answer, and there was an angry light in her eyes.

“ Is your cousin’s mother very ill?” I asked.

“ She is not really dying, but she can never get well. Oh, Mr. Griggs,” she cried, clasping her hands together on her knees, and leaning back in her seat, “ I wish I could tell you all about it ! I am sure you might do some good, but they would be very angry if I told you. I wonder whether he is really so hard-hearted as he looks ! ”

“ Oh, no,” I answered. “ Men who have lived so much in the world learn to conceal their feelings.”

“It is not thought good manners to have any feeling, is it ? ”

“ Most people try to hide what they feel. What is the good of showing every one that you are hurt, when nobody can do anything to help you ? It is undignified to make an exhibition of sorrow for the benefit of one’s neighbors.”

“ Perhaps. But I almost think aunt Chrysophrasia is right; the world was a nicer place, and life was more interesting, when everybody showed what they felt, and fought for what they wanted, and ran away with people they loved, and killed people they hated.”

“ I think you would get very tired of it,” I said, laughing. “ It is uncomfortable to live in constant danger of one’s life. You used not to talk so, Miss Carvel; what has happened to you ? ”

“ Oh, I do not know; everything is happening that ought not. I should think you might see that we are all very anxious. But I do not half understand it myself. Will you not tell me a story, and help me to forget all about it ? Here comes papa with Professor Cutter, looking graver than ever ; they have been to see — I mean they have been talking about it again.”

“ Once upon a time there was a ” — I stopped. John Carvel came straight across the room to where we were sitting.

“ Griggs,” he said, in a low voice, “ will you come with me for a moment ? ” I sprang to my feet. John laid his hand upon my arm; he was very pale. “ Don’t look as though anything were the matter,” he added.

Accordingly I sauntered across the room, and made a show of stopping a moment before the fire to warm my hands and listen to the general conversation that was going on there. Presently I walked away, and John followed me. As I passed, I looked at the professor,

who seemed already absorbed in listening to one of Chrysophrasia’s speeches. He did not return my glance, and I left the room with my friend. A moment later we were in his study. A student’s lamp with a green shade burned steadily upon the table, and there was a bright fire on the hearth. A huge writing-table filled the centre of the room, covered with papers and pamphlets. John did not sit down, but stood leaning hack against a heavy bookcase, with one band behind him.

“ Griggs,” he said, and his voice trembled with excitement, “ I am going to ask you a favor, and in order to ask it I am obliged to take you into my confidence.”

“ I am ready,” said I. “ You can trust me.”

“ Since you were here last, very painful things have occurred. In consequence of the death of her elder son, and of certain circumstances attending it which I need not, cannot, detail, my wife’s sister, Madame Patoff, became insane about eighteen months ago. Professor Cutter chanced to be with her at the time, and informed me at once. Her husband, as you know, died twenty years ago, and Paul was away, so that Cutter was so good as to take care of her. He said her only chance of recovery lay in being removed to her native country and carefully nursed. Thank God, I am rich. I received her here, and she has been here ever since. Do not look surprised. For the sake of all I have taken every precaution to keep her absolutely removed from us, though we visit her from time to time. Cutter told me that dreadful story of her trying to kill herself in Suabia. He has just informed me that it was you who saved both her life and his with your rope, — not knowing either of them. I need not tell you my gratitude.”

John paused, and grasped my hand ; his own was cold and moist.

“ It was nothing,” I said. “ I did not even incur any danger ; it was Cutter who risked his life.”

“ No matter,” continued Carvel. “ It was you who saved them both. From that time she has recognized no one. Cutter brought her here, and the north wing of the house was fitted up for her. He has come from time to time to see her, and she has proper attendants. You never see them nor her, for she has a walled garden, — the one against which the hot-houses and the tennis-court are built. Of course the servants know, — everybody in the house knows all about it; but this is a huge old place, and there is plenty of room. It is not thought safe to take her out, and there appears to be something so peculiar about her insanity that Cutter discourages the idea of the ordinary treatment of placing the patient in the company of other insane, giving them all manner of amusement, and so on. He seems to think that if she is left alone, and is well cared for, seeing only, from time to time, the faces of persons she has known before, she may recover.”

“ I trust so, indeed,” I said, earnestly.

We all pray that she may, poor thing! ” rejoined Carvel, very sadly. “ Now listen. Her son, Paul Patoff, arrived this morning, and insisted upon seeing her this afternoon. Cutter said it could do no harm, as she probably would not, recognize him. To our astonishment and delight she knew him at once for her son, though she treated him with a coldness almost amounting to horror. She stepped back from him, and folded her arms, only saying, over and over again, ‘ Paul, why did you come here, — why did you come ? ’ We could get nothing more from her than that, and at the end of ten minutes we left her. She seemed very much exhausted, excited, too, and the nurse who was with her. advised us to go.”

“ It is a great step, however, that she should have recognized any one, especially her own son,” I remarked.

“ So Cutter holds. She never takes the least notice of him. But he has suggested to me that while she is still in this humor it would be worth while trying whether she has any recollection of you. He says that anything which recalls so violent a shock as the one she experienced when you saved her life may possibly recall a connected train of thought, even though it be a very painful reminiscence ; and anything which helps memory helps recovery. He considers hers the most extraordinary case he has ever seen, and he must have seen a great many; he says that there is almost always some hallucination, some fixed idea, in insanity. Madame Patoff seems to have none, but she has absolutely no recognition for any one, nor any memory for events beyond a few minutes. She can hardly be induced to speak at all, but will sit quite still for hours with any book that is given her, turning over the pages mechanically. She has a curious fancy for big books, and will always select the thickest from a number of volumes; but whether or not she retains any impression of what she reads, or whether, in fact, she really reads at all, it is quite impossible to say. She will sometimes answer ‘ yes ‘ or ‘ no ’ to a question, but she will give opposite answers to the same question in five minutes. She will stare stolidly at any one who talks to her consecutively ; or will simply turn away, and close her eyes as though she were going to sleep. In other respects she is in normal health. She eats little, but regularly, and sleeps soundly ; goes out into her garden at certain hours, and seems to enjoy fine weather, and to be annoyed when it rains. She is not easily startled by a sudden noise, or the abrupt appearance of those of us who go to see her. Cutter does not know what to make of it. She was once a very beautiful woman, and is still as handsome as a woman can be at fifty. Cutter says that if she had softening of the brain she would behave very differently, and that if she had become feebleminded the decay of her faculties would show in her face ; but there is nothing of that observable in her. She has as much dignity and beauty as ever, and, excepting when she stares blankly at those who talk to her, her face is intelligent, though very sad.”

“ Poor lady ! ” I said. “ How old did you say she is ? ”

“ She must be fifty-two, in her fiftythird year. Her hair is gray, but it is not white.”

“ Had she any children besides Paul and his brother ? ”

“ No. I know very little of her family life. It was a love match, but old Patoff was rich. I never heard that they quarreled. Alexander entered the army, and remained in a guard regiment in St. Petersburg, while Paul went into the diplomacy. Madame Patoff must have spent much of her time with Alexander until he died, and Cutter says he was always the favorite son. I dare say that Paul has a bad temper, and he may have been extravagant. At all events, she loved Alexander devotedly, and it was his death that first affected her mind.”

John had grown more calm during this long conversation. To tell the truth, I did not precisely understand why he should have looked so pale and seemed so anxious, seeing that the news of Madame Patoff was decidedly of an encouraging nature. I myself was too much astonished at learning that the insane lady was actually an inmate of the house, and I was too much interested at the prospect of seeing her so soon, to think much of John and his anxiety ; but on looking back I remember that his mournful manner produced a certain impression upon me at the moment.

The story was strange enough. I began to comprehend what Hermione had meant when she spoke of Paul’s cold nature. An hour before dinner the man had seen his mother for the first time in eighteen months, — it might be more, for all I knew, — for the first time since she had been out of her mind. I had learned from John that she had recognized him, indeed, but had coldly repulsed him when he came before her. If Paul Patoff had been a warm-hearted man, he could not have been at that very moment making conversation for his cousins in the drawing-room, laughing and chatting, his eyeglass in his eye, his bony fingers toying with the flower Chrysophrasia had given him. It struck me that neither Mrs. Carvel nor her sister could have known of the interview, or they would have manifested some feeling, or at least would not have behaved just as they always did. I asked John if they knew.

“ No,” he answered. “ He told my daughter because he broke off his conversation with her to go and see his mother, but Hermy never tells anything except to me.”

“When would you like me to go?” I asked.

“ Now, if you will. I will call Cutter. He thinks that, as she last saw you with him, your coming together now will be more likely to recall some memory of the accident. Besides, it is better to go this evening, before she has slept, as the return of memory this afternoon may have been very transitory, and anything which might stimulate it again should be tried before the mood changes. Will you go now? ”

“ Certainly,” I replied, and John Carvel left the room to call the professor.

While I was waiting alone in the study, I happened to take up a pamphlet that lay upon the table. It was something about the relations of England with Russia. An idea crossed my mind.

“ I wonder,” I said to myself, “ whether they have ever tried speaking to her in Russian. Cutter does not know a word of the language ; I suppose nobody else here does, either, except Paul, and she seems to have spoken to him in English.”

The door opened, and John entered with the professor. I laid down the pamphlet, and prepared to accompany them.

“ I suppose Carvel has told you all that I could not tell you, Mr. Griggs,” said the learned man, eying me through his glasses with an air of inquiry, and slowly rubbing his enormous hands together.

u Yes, I said. " I understand that we are about to make an experiment in order to ascertain if this unfortunate lady will recognize me.”

“ Precisely. It is not impossible that she may know you, though, if she saw you at all, it was only for a moment. You have a very striking face and figure, and you have not changed in the least. Besides, the moment was that in which she experienced an awful shock. Such things are sometimes photographed on the mind.”

“ Has she never recognized you in any way ? ” I asked.

“ Never since that day at Weissenstein. There is just a faint possibility that when she sees us together she may recall that catastrophe. I think Carvel had better stay behind.”

“ Very well,”said John, " I will leave you at the door.”

Carvel led the way to the great hall, and then turned through a passage I had never entered. The narrow corridor was brightly lighted by a number of lamps ; at the end of it we came to a massive door. John took a little key from a niche in the wall, and inserted it in the small metal plate of the patent lock.

“ Cutter will lead you now,” he said, as he pushed the heavy mahogany back upon its hinges. Beyond it the passage continued, still brilliantly illuminated, to a dark curtain which closed the other end. It was very warm. Carvel closed the door behind us, and the professor and I proceeded alone.

F. Marion Crawford.