“Oh, dear, no! The madame was very chatty, very communicative. It’s funny I’ve not told you before. She confessed that she was the happiest woman on earth; not only was she married to a grand genius,—for the life of me I can’t see where that comes in!—but he was a good man into the bargain. It appears that his life is made weary by women who pester him with their attentions. Even our princess—yes, the princess; isn’t it shocking?—was a perfect nuisance until Mr. Keroulan assured her that, though he owed much of his success in the world to her, yet he would never betray the trust reposed in him by his wife. What’s the matter, dear, does the motion of the car affect you? It does rock! And he shows her all the letters he gets from silly women admirers—oh, these foreign women and their queer ways! And he tells her the way they make up to him when he meets them in society.”
Ermentrude shivered. The princess also! And with all her warning about the Superman! Now she understood. Then she took the hand of Mrs. Sheldam, and, stroking it, whispered:—
“Auntie, I’m so glad I am going to Havre, going to see Charlie soon.” The lids of her eyes were wet. Mrs. Sheldam had never been so motherly.
“You are a darling!” she answered, as she squeezed Ermentrude’s arm. “But there is some one who doesn’t seem to care much for Havre.” She pointed out Mr. Sheldam, who, oblivious of picturesque Normandy through which the train was speeding, slept serenely. Ermentrude envied him his repose. He had never stared into the maddening mirror which turned poets into Supermen and—sometimes monsters. Had she herself not gazed into this distorting glass? The tune of her life had never sounded so discouragingly faint and inutile. Perhaps she did not posses the higher qualities that could extort from a nature so rich and various as Octave Keroulan’s its noblest music! Perhaps his wife had told the truth to Mrs. Sheldam and had lied to her! And then, through a merciful mist of tears, Ermentrude saw Havre, saw her future.
To wring from man’s
tongue the denial of his existence is proof of
Satan’s greatest power.—PERE RAVIGNAN.
The most learned man and the most lovable it has been my good fortune to know is Monsignor Anatole O’Bourke—alas! I should write, was, for his noble soul is gathered to God. I met him in Paris, when I was a music student. He sat next to me at a Pasdeloup concert in the Cirque d’Hiver, how many years ago I do not care to say. A casual exclamation betrayed my nationality, and during the intermission we drifted into easy conversation. Within five minutes he held me enthralled, did this big-souled, large-brained Irishman from the County Tipperary. We discussed the programme—a new symphonic poem by Rimski-Korsakoff, Sadko, had been alternately hissed and cheered—and I soon learned that my companion mourned a French mother and rejoiced in the loving presence of a very Celtic father. From the former he must have inherited his vigorous, logical intellect; the latter had evidently endowed him with a robust, jovial temperament, coupled with a wonderful perception of things mystical.