Men and Letters
MARGARET OLIPHANT WILSON OLIPHANT, who died at Wimbledon on the 25th of June, was in many respects the most remarkable woman of our time. No other woman of any time, indeed, has ever written both so much and so well. For nearly half a century, from her twenty-first year to her seventieth, her invention never flagged, nor her industry, nor her ready command of pure and fitting English ; while that which was undoubtedly the highest quality of her mind, and hardly less a moral than an intellectual one, her deep insight into human nature and sympathetic divination of human motive, seemed to grow in strength and gentle assurance as the long, laborious years went by. It was to this quality that her success as a story-teller and her yet more striking success, in some instances, as a biographer was mainly due. She was naturally more analytic than dramatic, but knew where her own weakness lay, and her fine literary conscience led her to fortify herself exactly there; so that the best of her tales are scarcely more remarkable as characterstudies than for ingenuity of plot and liveliness of action. She had that which is so rare among women, even clever ones, that it is often summarily denied them all, — spontaneous and abundant humor ; a humor not dry and sarcastic, as that of her nation is apt to be (for Mrs. Oliphant was a loyal Scotchwoman), and still less having any sub-flavor of bitterness or acidia, but broad, genial, sunshiny, a quality which, more than any other human endowment, helps its possessor to see human things in their true proportions and relations, their large natural masses of light and shade.
Her works were so numerous — about a hundred volumes in all, of fiction, biography, history, and criticism — that one is compelled in a brief notice like this to regard them in classes rather than individually. Her novels are almost all stories of modern English or Scottish life; that life of which the setting is so mellow and harmonious, the class-distinctions so picturesque, the historic background so deep, and the soil so prolific of strong character-types that the artist with a good eye and a moderately well-trained hand works easily at its representation and under specially favorable conditions. “No wonder the English water - colors are good,” we say, or used to say while they were still the height of artistic fashion ; “ all England is a water-color.”
Mrs. Oliphant will probably be thought to have touched the height of her creative and dramatic power in the Chronicles of Carlingford, stories of the quiet, decorous, and yet concentrated life of an old-fashioned English provincial town, in several of which the same characters reappear. In their manner of treatment, midway between the demure conventionalism and half-unconscious drolleries of Miss Austen and the labored intellectuality and excessive research of the more imposing George Eliot, they seem to me among the soundest, sweetest, fairest fruits we have of the unforced feminine intelligence. Mrs. Oliphant was on the summit of her own life and in the ripeness of her power when she wrote these charming tales; and to the same rich years between thirty-five and forty belong also the most moving of her admirable biographies, the Life of Edward Irving and the remarkably brilliant series of literary Studies first published in Blackwood’s Magazine and afterward collected under the title of Historical Sketches of the Reign of George II. The chapter on Queen Caroline, which I have not seen, it must be confessed, for more years than I care to number, remains in my memory as something very near perfection in that style of portraiture.
Mrs. Oliphant was for many years a member of the regular corps of able and accomplished but always anonymous contributors to Maga, and many of her best stories first appeared in the ever welcome pages of the fine old Edinburgh periodical. The name of her novels is legion, and their merits, upon the whole, are wonderfully even, though a few detach themselves from the rest, as excelling in the mingled humor and pathos of their situations, in a well-prepared climax of interest, or in the irresistible effect of a never obtruded moral. Such are The Story of Valentine and his Brother, In Trust, The Greatest Heiress in England, He that Will not when he May, A House divided against Itself, and, in later years, Kirsteen, which lacks but little of the distinction of Stevenson or the local color of Barrie and his followers, and The Cuckoo in the Nest. Each of these titles recalls others, half forgotten in the ungrateful haste of modern life or the breathless pursuit of modern publications, until one doubts, after all, whether one has done more than put on record a personal bias.
I myself attempted in these pages, about a dozen years ago, a rather elaborate review of Mrs. Oliphant’s work as it then stood. I was in the main, I believe, very laudatory ; I dare say impertinently so; but I thought it my duty discreetly to intimate that so enormous a production as hers must needs imply something of haste and carelessness. Her inimitably graceful and amiable acknowledgment of my ambitious critique lies before me, addressed, not to myself, but to Mr. Aldrich, who was then editing The Atlantic Monthly : —
“ I feel inclined to explain that I don’t really work at the breakneck pace my kind reviewer supposes, but am, in fact, very constant, though very leisurely, in my work, . , . and my faults must be set down to deficiencies less accidental than want of time. The occasions, now and then, when I am hurried are those on which I usually do my best. ... I have had a long time to do my work in, and I always feel inclined to apologize for having written so much, or, indeed, sometimes for having written at all. But I have always tried, though never entirely to my own satisfaction, to do the best I know.”
One can no more doubt the transparent truth of this than question its beautiful modesty, and one reconsiders, almost abashed, one’s own most confident opinions. If the Life of Edward Irving is the most thrilling of the half dozen biographies which all deserve a permanent place in English literature, both those of Count Charles de Montalembert and of Mrs. Oliphant’s own erratic but most interesting kinsman, Laurence Oliphant, show a larger knowledge of the world and of men and a more exquisite poise of judgment, while that of Jeanne d’Arc, her last effort in the line where she had so rare a gift, is a model in the way of patiently amassed and carefully sifted testimony ; and it is undervalued by certain pedants merely because the author firmly declines to advance any rationalizing theory or hasty explanation of the mystic and spiritual side of the Maid’s extraordinary career.
Herself, Mrs. Oliphant, had faith in faith as St. Augustine had love for love. And this brings us to another group of writings which are, at least, among the most original which she produced. The series called collectively Studies of the Unseen began, almost twenty years ago, with the highly imaginative and impressive story of The Beleaguered City, and closed only last winter by a solemn meditation upon the possibilities of a future state, which may have been written with full knowledge that the “last necessity” was near at hand for the author, and the great secret very soon to be disclosed.
The Studies of the Unseen can leave no reader quite indifferent. To some few, I suppose, they have been almost a revelation. To others they are specially touching from the proof they seem to afford of race instincts and the temperamental proclivity to mysticism and “ second sight ” of the long-descended Scot, awakening and gathering strength as life declines. All must acknowledge the immense literary merit of some of them, the serious and reverent courage, the candor, the entire absence of anything hysterical or fancifully sentimental with which the writer’s imagination is disciplined to the most solemn of its possible uses, and the inevitable unknown scrutinized and interrogated.
I have spoken above of the essentially feminine character of Mrs. Oliphant’s great talent, and I return to the point, for it seems to me full of significance and, in a certain way, of admonition. I cannot help thinking that her power of sustained effort and production, her exceptional clearness and sanity of spirit, and the elastic vigor which her faculties retained for threescore years and ten, were due most of all to the fact that her mind was suffered to grow and develop in freedom ; not compelled into any academic groove, nor teased to overpass its native limitations ; that her precious intellectual instincts, in short, were not smothered and slain in the enforced service of an uncertain reason. She was a lady and a writer of that old school which gave a better training in some few essentials than all the new colleges, and a cachet which their diplomas do not confer. She was highly endowed, but found scope and use for all her generous gifts under the antiquated conditions of private and domestic life.
She dwelt, indeed, in so dignified a seclusion that one hesitates even now, when all is over, to pry into the circumstances which she preferred to withhold. We know that her life was a full as well as a long one ; rich in affection, but crowded with care, and that the joy of excellent achievement was often dimmed, for her, by shadows of heavy trouble. She worked always under the pressure of a tyrannous, if not sordid necessity, and she worked bravely, with indomitable spirit and untiring pains. One by one her natural props and comforts were withdrawn, until the death, in 1894, of her last surviving son left her almost alone to confront the spectre of incurable disease. The hour of evensong had struck, and the heroically busy pen might at last be laid aside.
For several years Mrs. Oliphant had lived at Windsor, where her royal neighbor came to know and have a warm regard for her, and had showed her such sympathy when her children died as a mother and a queen may do. Now, at the very moment of the aged sovereign’s jubilee, amid the bells and salvos and loyal acclamations which hailed the longest and most blameless reign in English history, the uncrowned queen received her quiet summons into that far country which she had so often visited in thought, and heard, we may hope, over all the exultant noise abroad, that voice of a yet more satisfying welcome and surpassing commendation, “ Well done, good and faithful servant! ”
Harriet Waters Preston.
CONCERNING A RED WAISTCOAT.
Hero-worship is appropriate only to youth. With age one becomes cynical, or indifferent, or perhaps too busy. Either the sense of the marvelous is dulled, or one’s boys are just entering college and life is agreeably practical. Marriage and family cares are good if only for the reason that they keep a man from getting bored. But they also stifle his yearnings after the ideal. They make hero-worship appear foolish. How can a man go mooning about when he has just had a good cup of coffee and a snatch of what purports to be the news, while an attractive and well-dressed woman sits opposite him at breakfast-table, and by her mere presence, to say nothing of her wit, compels him to be respectable and to carry a level head ? The father of a family and husband of a federated club woman has no business with hero-worship. Let him leave such folly to beardless youth.
But if a man has never outgrown the boy that was in him. or has never married, then may he do this thing. He will be happy himself, and others will be happy as they consider him. Indeed, there is something altogether charming about the personality of him who proves faithful to his early loves in literature and art; who continues a graceful heroworship through all the caprices of literary fortune ; and who, even though his idol may have been dethroned, sets up a private shrine at which he pays his devotions, unmindful of the crowd which hurries by on its way to do homage to strange gods.
Some men are horn to be hero-worshipers. Théophile Gautier is an example. If one did not love Gautier for his wit and his good-nature, one would certainly love him because he dared to be sentimental. He displayed an almost comic excess of emotion at his first meeting with Victor Hugo. Gautier smiles as he tells the story ; but he tells it exactly, not being afraid of ridicule. He went to call upon Hugo with his friends Gérard de Nerval and Pétrus Bore!. Twice he mounted the staircase leading to the poet’s door. His feet dragged as if they had been shod with lead instead of leather. His heart throbbed; cold sweat moistened his brow. As he was on the point of ringing the bell, an idiotic terror seized him, and he fled down the stairs, four steps at a time, Gérard and Pétrus after him, shouting with laughter. But the third attempt was successful. Gautier saw Victor Hugo — and lived. The author of Odes et Ballades was just twenty-eight years old. Youth worshiped youth in those great days.
Gautier said little during that visit, but he stared at the poet with all his might. He explained afterwards that one may look at gods, kings, pretty women, and great poets rather more scrutinizingly than at other persons, and this too without annoying them. “ We gazed at Hugo with admiring intensity, but he did not appear to be inconvenienced.”
What brings Gautier especially to mind is the appearance within a few weeks of an amusing little volume entitled Le Romantisme et l’éditeur Renduel. Its chief value consists, no doubt, in what the author, M. Adolphe Jullien, has to say about Renduel. That noted publisher must have been a man of unusual gifts and unusual fortune. He was a fortunate man because he had the luck to publish some of the best works of Victor Hugo, Sainte-Beuve, Théophile Gautier, Alfred de Musset, Gérard de Nerval, Charles Nodier, and Paul Lacroix ; and he was a gifted man because he was able successfully to manage his troop of geniuses, neither quarreling with them himself nor allowing them to quarrel overmuch with one another. Renduel’s portrait faces the title-page of the volume, and there are two portraits of him besides. There are facsimiles of agreements between the great publisher and his geniuses. There is a famous caricature of Victor Hugo with a brow truly monumental. There is a caricature of Alfred de Musset with a figure like a Regency dandy, — a figure which could have been acquired only by much patience and unremitted tightlacing ; also one of Balzac, which shows that that great novelist’s waist-line had long since disappeared, and that he had long since ceased to care. What was a figure to him in comparison with the flesh-pots of Paris!
One of the best of these pictorial satires is Roubaud’s sketch of Gautier. It has a teasing quality, it is diabolically fascinating. It shows how great an art caricature is in the hands of a master.
But the highest virtue of a good new book is that it usually sends the reader back to a good old book. One can hardly spend much time upon Renduel ; he will remember that Gautier has described that period when hero-worship was in the air, when the sap of a new life circulated everywhere, and when he himself was one of many loyal and enthusiastic youths who bowed the head at mention of Victor Hugo’s name. The reader will remember, too, that Gautier was conspicuous in that band of Romanticists who helped to make Hernani a success the night of its first presentation. Gautier believed that to be the great event of his life. He loved to talk about it, dream about it, write of it.
There was a world of good fellowship among the young artists, sculptors, and poets of that day. They took real pleasure in shouting Hosanna to Victor Hugo and to one another. Even Zola, the Unsentimental, speaks of ma tristesse as he reviews that delightful past. He cannot remember it, to be sure, but he has read about it. He thinks ill of the present as he compares the present with “ those dead years.” Writers then belonged to a sort of heroic brotherhood. They went out like soldiers to conquer their literary liberties. They were kings of the Paris streets. “ But we,” says Zola in a pensive strain, “ we live like wolves each in his hole.” I do not. know how true a description this is of modern French literary society, but it is not difficult to make one’s self think that, those other days were the days of magnificent friendships between young men of genius. It certainly was a more brilliant time than ours. It was flamboyant, to use one of Gautier’s favorite words.
Youth was responsible for much of the enthusiasm which obtained among the champions of artistic liberty. These young men who did honor to the name of Hugo were actually young. They rejoiced in their youth. They flaunted it, so to speak, in the faces of those who were without it. Gautier says that young men of that day differed in one respect from yonng men of this day ; modern young men are generally in the neighborhood of fifty years of age.
Gautier has described his friends and comrades most felicitously. All were boys, and all were clever. They were poor and they were happy. They swore by Scott and Shakespeare, and they planned great futures for themselves.
Take for an example Jules Vabre, who owed his reputation to a certain Essay on the Inconvenience of Conveniences. You will search t he libraries in vain for this treatise. The author did not finish it. He did not even commence it, — only talked about it. Jules Vabre had a passion for Shakespeare, and wanted to translate him. He thought of Shakespeare by day and dreamed of Shakespeare by night. He stopped people in the street to ask them if they had read Shakespeare.
He had a curious theory concerning language. Jules Vabre would not have said, As a man thinks so is he, but, As a man drinks so is he. According to Gautier’s statement, Vabre maintained the paradox that the Latin languages needed to be “ watered ” (arroser) with wine, and the Anglo - Saxon languages with beer. Vabre found that he made extraordinary progress in English upon stout and extra stout. He went over to England to get the very atmosphere of Shakespeare. There he continued for some time regularly “ watering ” his language with English ale, and nourishing his body with English beef. He would not look at a French newspaper, nor would he even read a letter from home. Finally he came back to Paris, anglicized to his very galoshes. Gautier says that when they met, Vabre gave him a “ shake hand ” almost energetic enough to pull the arm from the shoulder. He spoke with so strong an English accent that it was difficult to understand him ; Vabre had almost forgotten his mother tongue. Gautier congratulated the exile upon his return, and said, “ My dear Jules Vabre, in order to translate, Shakespeare it is now only necessary for you to learn French.”
Gautier laid the foundations of his great fame by wearing a red waistcoat the first night of Hernani. All the young men were fantastic in those days, and the spirit of carnival was in the whole Romantic movement. Gautier was more courageously fantastic than other young men. His costume was effective, and the public never forgot him. He says with humorous resignation : “ If you pronounce the name of Théophile Gautier before a Philistine who has never read a line of our works, the Philistine knows us, and remarks with a satisfied air, ' Oh yes, the young man with the red waistcoat and the long hair.’ . . . Our poems are forgotten, but our red waistcoat is remembered.” Gautier cheerfully grants that when everything about him has faded into oblivion this gleam of light will remain, to distinguish him from literary contemporaries whose waistcoats were of soberer hue.
The chapter in his Histoire du Romantisme in which Gautier tells how he went to the tailor to arrange for the most spectacular feature of his costume is lively and amusing. He spread out the magnificent piece of cherry-colored satin, and then unfolded his design for a “ pourpoint,” like a “ Milan cuirass.” Says Gautier, using always his quaint editorial we, “ It has been said that we know a great many words, but we don’t know words enough to express the astonishment of our tailor when we lay before him our plan for a waistcoat.” The man of shears had doubts as to bis customer’s sanity.
“ Monsieur,” he exclaimed, “ this is not the fashion ! ”
“ It will be the fashion when we have worn the waistcoat once,” was Gautier’s reply. And he declares that he delivered the answer with a self-possession worthy of a Brummel or “any other celebrity of dandyism.”
It is no part of this paper to describe the innocently absurd and good-naturedly extravagant things which Gautier and his companions did, not alone the first night of Hernani, but at all times and in all places. They unquestionably saw to it that Victor Hugo had fair play the evening of February 25, 1830. The occasion was a historic one, and they with their Merovingian hair, their beards, their waistcoats, and their enthusiasm helped to make it an unusually lively and picturesque occasion.
I have quoted a very few of the good things which one may read in Gautier’s Histoire du Romantisme. The narrative is one of much, sweetness and humor. It ought to be translated for the benefit of readers who know Gautier chiefly by Mademoiselle de Maupin, and that for reasons among which love of literature is perhaps the least influential.
It is pleasant to find that Renduel confirms the popular view of Gautier’s character. M. Jullien says that Renduel never spoke of Gautier hut in praise. “Quel bon garcon ! ” he used to say. “ Quel brave cceur ! ” M. Jullien has naturally no large number of new facts to give concerning Gautier. But there are eight or nine letters from Gautier to Remluel which will be read with pleasure, especially the one in which the poet says to the publisher, “ Heaven preserve you from historical novels, and your eldest child from the smallpox.”
Gautier must have been Loth generous and modest. No mere egoist could have been so faithful in his hero-worship or so unpretentious in his allusions to himself. One has only to read the most superficial accounts of French literature to learn how universally it is granted that Gautier had skillful command of that language to which he was born. Yet he himself was by no means sure that he deserved a master’s degree. He quotes one of Goethe’s sayings, — a saying in which the great German poet declares that after the practice of many arts there was but one art in which he could be said to excel, namely, the art of writing in German ; in that he was almost a master. Then Gautier exclaims, “ Would that we, after so many years of labor, had become almost a master of the art of writing in French ! But such ambitions are not for us ! ”
Yet they were for him ; and it is a satisfaction to note how invariably he is accounted, by the artists in literature, an eminent man among many eminent men in whose touch language was plastic.
Leon H. Vincent
A MATINÉE PERFORMANCE.
It was Saturday afternoon, and the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet was about to be performed. For an elderly person like myself the situation was strange enough. Rows on rows of young girls in their new spring dresses filled the theatre, — blondes and brunettes, city girls and suburban girls, with a sprinkling of country cousins. Hardly a male form dared to show itself in the orchestra chairs, and the average age of the whole audience could scarcely have exceeded nineteen years. Four “ pigtails ” depended immediately in front of me, and at the head of their wearers sat a noble maiden, a chaperon for the nonce, tall and beautifully formed, with brows such as Joan of Arc might have had, — more robust than Juliet, not quite so passionate, but fit to be the mother of heroes.
How grave the youthful audience was ! I confess that I felt almost like an interloper at some sacred ceremony. These girls knew what they were about: they were drawn hither by Nature herself ; they knew that the business in hand was the chief business of their lives. Love and marriage ! Pedagogues and parents might prate about books and accomplishments, about music and culture, the art class and Radcliffe College ; but the owner of the shortest pigtail there knew in her secret heart that Juliet and Juliet’s experience were of more moment to her than all the learning of the schools. And she was right. At twenty, and thereabout, the romance of life is duly appreciated ; at twenty-five or thirty, the man, not the woman, begins to think that the world has something of more value and importance in store for him ; but when he has quaffed the cup of life to the bottom, he realizes that the first taste was the best.
Up rose the curtain, and disclosed the Romeo and the Juliet of the occasion. No need for paint or padding here! There stood the immortal lovers, young and beautiful, as Shakespeare himself might have imagined them. The audience gasped simultaneously. What a voice Juliet had ! — rich, full, young, but with such a melancholy ring in it that every word she spoke presaged the end. Well might she say,—
It is a thought precipitate, the courtship of Romeo and Juliet,—at least it seems so to elderly persons who go cautiously about their affairs; but youth and Shakespeare know better. The pigtails before me exhibited not a quiver of surprise when Juliet cried to the nurse, some twenty minutes after she had first laid eyes on Romeo, —
My grave is like to be my wedding bed.”
Then came the balcony scene. You could have heard the fall of a ribbon, so still was the theatre. Flushed faces and parted lips bent toward the stage, as Juliet’s melodious and pathetic voice spoke those exquisite lines : —
Else would a maiden blush be paint my cheek
For that which thou hast heard me speak tonight.
Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny
What I have spoke : but farewell compliment ! ”
A tear quivered in the young chaperon’s eye as these words dropped like pearls from Juliet’s lips. What better school for a girl could there be than that which Shakespeare keeps? Even Juliet, with all her youthful passion, in spite of her scant fourteen years, has a true woman’s sense of wliat is right and fitting. There are no lines in the whole play more touching than those with which she takes leave of Romeo on that first night: —
I have no joy of this contract to-night;
It is too rash, too unadvis’d, too sudden ;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say, ' It lightens.’ Sweet, goodnight ! ”
Between the acts I felt the strangeness of my situation most acutely, so difficult were the questions put to me. The fact is— I have had no opportunity to mention it till now — I had been sent to the theatre as escort for a girl from the country, no older than Juliet; a tall, blue-eyed, flaxen - haired Anglo-Saxon maiden, — the beauty of a village which lies among the hills of remote New England, fourteen miles from a railroad. Sad was the havoc wrought in her acute but untutored mind by the scenic representation of Romeo and Juliet. At an early period in the play, she wisely conjectured that “ Romeo’s folks could n’t get on with Juliet’s folks.” And it was easy for me to reply that she was quite right. But later, after Romeo had been banished from Verona for killing Tybalt, wliat was I to say, when she inquired with the utmost seriousness, “ Was it wrong for Romeo to kill Tybalt ? ” God knows. Fourteen years of study and thought at a German university would not have enabled me to answer the question, and here was I called upon to settle it offhand! The feudal system, chivalry, the duel, the theory of Honor, and its relation to ethics and to Christianity, — a few trifling matters like these had first to be disposed of before I could pronounce upon Romeo’s conduct. I hesitated, and the blue eyes of rustic Juliet beside me dilated with astonishment. The question was a simple one, — as it seemed to her; why could not I, a person, like Friar Laurence, of “ long-experienced time,” give it a simple answer? At last I replied, with the awkwardness of conscious ignorance, “I don’t know, but the Prince thought he was wrong.” The answer was not satisfactory, and she turned away with a sigh, as if for the first time it occurred to her that perhaps life was more complex than it appeared as she had been wont to view it from her home in North Jay.
As the play progressed and the tragedy began to deepen, a kind of awe settled down upon the youthful audience, now sitting almost in darkness, for the lights bad been extinguished. The pigtails within my view hung tense and rigid, and my young companion frowned, as she endeavored to follow the working of Juliet’s mind.
There is a beautiful simplicity, an utter absence of affectation or self-consciousness, in Juliet’s declaration of what she would rather do than be false to Romeo. An answering fire kindled in the eyes of the youthful chaperon, and the four pigtails in the same row trembled with horror when the climax was reached in these lines : —
And hide me with a dead man in his shroud;
Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble ;
And I will do it without fear or doubt,
To live an unstain’d wife to my sweet love.”
But Juliet was capable not only of courageous action, but of despair ; and that is the last test of an heroic mind. The ordinary person cannot endure to look despair in the face; he shuffles, endeavors to compromise, pretends to himself, against his reason, that the end has not been reached, and takes refuge in any form of evasion that presents itself. Not so with Juliet.
Moreover, it was the peculiarity of the Elizabethan age, — perhaps one should say, of the age of chivalry, — that any high and difficult course of conduct presented itself to the mind of the actor not merely as a matter of duty, but as a matter of honor. This identification of duty with honor gave to conduct an artistic as well as a moral element, and invested human speech and act with an ideal dignity. Thus Juliet exclaimed to Friar Laurence: —
’Twixi my extremes and me this bloody knife
Shall play the umpire, arbitrating that
Which the commission of thy years and art
Could to no issue of true honour bring.”
There lies the moral of the story. Mercutio, Tybalt, Paris, Romeo, and Juliet, all young and vigorous persons, with the world before them, preferred “ true honour ” to life. But Juliet had the hardest part to play. It is probable that Shakespeare in his modesty never dreamed that the words which he puts in the mouth of Montague would come true of himself :
That while Verona by that name is known,
There shall no figure at such rate be set
As that of true and faithful Juliet.”
The audience passed demurely out, after the horrors of the final scene, with a gentle rustle of silken skirts. Outside, the sun still rode high in heaven, and the bells on the electric cars still profaned the air; but the spell which the great poet had cast over the witnesses of the tragedy shut out the light of common day — even to my elderly perceptions — till night had fallen.