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work of a young man who, while he promises great things, must as yet confine himself within somewhat narrow limits both as regards dramatic movement and range of characterization. One misses, for instance, the wealth of close living characterization in Shakespeare. But four characters are at all carefully drawn; the rest are mere shadows. Then the plot is kept studiously free from those secondary intrigues and episodes which so add to the richness and interest of the older dramatist. Again, Shakespeare gives us not merely the plot, but a comprehensive picture of the time—its very life and thought, the questions and conflicts which then set men at variance. But here there is none of all that. The one deep ethical problem is sufficient, and fascinating enough it proves as the plot thickens.
Without foolishly belauding it, the play deserves the highest commendation. While filled with passages of rare power and beauty, it maintains throughout a level of excellence that is exceedingly high. There is no bathos, and but little that is commonplace. The poet holds himself well in hand, never talks at the top of his voice and gives the impression always of self control and power in reserve.
I know of few more moving passages, than the cry of the lonely Lucrezia.
Several of the critics rank the play with those of Shakespeare, but this is adulation run wild. "Paolo and Francesca" is an admirable work and of uncommon merit. It is, however, the
'My husband dead and childless left, My thwarted woman-thoughts have inward turned,
And that vain milk like acid in me eats. Have I not in my thought trained little feet To venture, and taught little lips to move Until they shaped the wonder of a word?
I am a woman, and this very flesh
Eternal yearning, answered by the wind,
A peril-do you hear, Giovanni ?—O!
That is a true cry from a heart, sick with the yearning of a great desire unsatisfied. In contrast, note the lyrical swing and power of the picture of two souls in an ecstasy of satisfied love, defying alike human and divine vengeance. The passage indeed is a bold absolvitur pronounced by the young poet from the penalty to which the stern justice of Dante dooms the pair in the Inferno.
"What can we fear, we two? O God, Thou seest us Thy creatures bound Together by that law which holds the stars In palpitating cosmic passion bright; By which the very sun enthrals the earth, And all the waves of the world faint to the
Even by such attraction we two rush Together through the everlasting years. Us, then, whose only pain can be to part, How wilt Thou punish? For what ecstasy Together to be blown about the globe! What rapture in perpetual fire to burn Together!-where we are is endless fire. There centuries shall in a moment pass, And all the cycles in one hour elapse! Still, still together, even when faints Thy sun, And past our souls Thy stars like ashes fall, How wilt Thou punish us who cannot part? Franc. I lie out on your arm and say your
The closing scene has been criticized as too quiet and restrained after the intense passion immediately before, but here again Mr. Phillips has preferred classical to more modern models, and the result justifies his decision. He scorns the factitious aid of the curtain at the supreme moment, and sinks to a quieter key at the close. After killing the lovers, Giovanni breaks into a wild frenzy, but grows gradually calm and closes in a tone of sad reverie.
In his madness he calls all the servants and sends some to bring in the bodies, then as he rushes wildly about, he cries:
Lead her aside :
I hear the slow pace of advancing feet. (Enter servants bearing in Paolo and Francesca dead upon a litter.)
Ah! ah! ah!
Break not out in lamentation! A pause.... The servants set down the litter.) Luc. (Going to litter.) I have borne one child, and she has died in youth! Gio. (Going to litter.) Not easily have we three come to this
We three who now are dead. Unwillingly They loved, unwillingly I slew them. Now I kiss them on the forehead quietly. (He bends over the bodies and kisses them on the forehead. He is shaken.)
What ails you now?
She takes away my strength. I did not know the dead could have such hair. Hide them. They look like children fast asleep!
(The bodies are reverently covered over.)
E. R. Peacock.
AT THE GUARDHOUSE.*
A BARRACK-ROOM LOVE STORY. By P. Y. Black.
THE girl looked up at the sky petulantly. She kept in the shadow as much as possible, but the moon tonight was at the full, the sky was nearly cloudless, and thus her errand was rendered the more perilous. It was June, yet far above the small plateau on which the army post was built, snow lingered on the silent mountain peaks. These glimmered in the moonlight of a silvery whiteness, illusive and unearthly, as if the great and solemn summits were now, while men slept, the watching-place of guardian angels. The mountains leaped suddenly from the plateau, blackly boulder-flanked, with depths of dark and lowering woods. In a still deeper black was marked the line of the canyon's descent, where the melting snows of thousands of winters had bitten into the rock with deathless ferocity. At one solitary point upon that inky line, the girl noted where the moonbeams gleamed upon a cataract, whose foam sparkled in the light, a diamond set in ebony. Thence the waters tumbled down, until, from the roar of rage their tired voices softened and sank to the querulous babble of the creek as it ran below the bank on which she stood.
The girl delayed cautiously in the shadow of the last house on the creek's side, within the limits of the post. At last there fell upon her anxious ears the call of the trumpeter at the adjutant's office, almost immediately followed by the bugles at the flag-staff, with the first call for tattoo. She ran to the edge of the shadow, then tripped across the stepping-stones and vanished in the woods which covered the island formed by the fork* Copyrighted, 1900, by P. Y. Black.
ing of the stream just above the post.
It stretched a mile in length, of varying breadth. Over its whole surface a tangle of thicket spread and scrubby oaks, so that even by daylight a wanderer would be completely hidden in its recesses from the people of the post. By night a battalion could have scattered over it and remained unsuspected. The girl pushed her way boldly forward, undeterred by the silence of the thickets, the solitude and the darkness. She followed a rough and stony path as if she were certain of her road. Still, when she reached a little spring which bubbled in clear space just beside the path, she hesitated, put down the basket she had been carrying on her arm, and bent forward, listening intently. But from the thicket about her no sound came. The girl put her fingers in her mouth like a boy, and from her lips came one long, soft whistling note. A bird sprang from a bush near her, and aroused some others by its flight, otherwise there was no response. The girl stamped her foot angrily.
"He has gone without-seeing me,' she muttered, and her lip quivered. She picked up the basket and started to go back, when she paused again. From the center of the island there floated through the night the music of a violin. The girl's face instantly changed from anger to relief and joy. She left the path and ran in the direction of the music. In a minute or two she had reached the player, and thrown one arm about his neck, while with the other she snatched away the bow.
"You foolish boy," she whispered. "They will hear you across the creek. Why did you bring the violin anyhow?
They will track you all the better if you are seen carrying it?"
"Could I go without it? ed in surprise. "Did you What time is it Katy ?"
They were silent, clasping each other's hands until the call ended. The violin-player sighed.
"I shall never hear it again," he said, "I hope."
"Well," said the girl practically, "If you don't want to hear the bugles again you must be off at once.
"Not yet, Katy dear," he said. "Give me the bow, and I will play you a farewell-no, not a farewell, only a song to the time when we will meet again."
The girl shook her head, and held the bow away from his reaching hand. The moonlight burst through the leaves above, and shone upon them. He was in the army uniform; his cap bore the band's device. He was very young, almost a boy. His form was slight; his smooth face was lit up by two great, far-a-way, brown eyes. The girl was different. Her wilful face was strong. Her black eyes glowed with passion and purpose; there seemed little in them to respond to the dreaminess of the lad's. Yet now she threw her arm around his neck and patted his cheek affectionately, protectingly.
"Not to me, dear," she whispered. "No, they would let you go but you insulted the adjutant-"
"Well, you told him the nasty truth, which is the same thing, and you know what he is. I am afraid when he finds you missing at tattoo he will send out a detail. That is why I said you must be off at once. I have mapped out your road. You have plenty of money, but you ought to leave the violin behind."
"I couldn't," said he, quietly. "Very well," she said, "but look." From the bottom of the basket she took out some citizen clothes.
"Of course you won't keep to the trails," she said, "but, even on the plain, until you reach the railroad, you must not wear the uniform." "I
"You are my angel," he said. never thought of it-I just wished to go away, to be alone with the violin, far from those those fellows — to be free."
"I know, dear," she said sympathetically, "I know. The army is no place for you. Now you must be off."
"Katy," he said, "couldn't you come too-now, I mean."
She shook her head, and laughed. "When you are settled down, wherever it is, write and I will come-I promise, Noel."
"My dearest, it won't be long."
Before the last note of taps had died sadly away in the hills, there was silent bustle at the stables. Sleepy and growling men were throwing the saddles on the horses, and leading them out, until half a troop was formed. As they came Corp. Healy turned to the sergeant in charge.
"An what the devil's eating the adjutant now, sergeant ?" he asked with
"Deserter," said the sergeant briefly. "Faval of the band."
Healy swore gently.
"A bandsman! The wee man that plays the fiddle? plays the fiddle? Is it him we're making all this fuss about? Begad an' begob there's bin ten good men taken a walk in the year, an' we let 'em go, an' now we're after a half-built man, a
fiddler, whin the blankets is hungry Sergeant Holmes, "To ten yards Let him go."
close distance !" The girl pushed her lover from her, and at last he went. She turned and ran back to the creek. She sank down with a cry of despair. From the upper end of the island came the noise of more horses, of another command in another voice, that of Adjutant Wynn.
"So say I," said the sergeant sullenly. Prepare to mount ! Mount! Right by twos, march! No talking. They left the post and silently trotted down the road to the creek. There they advanced by files, and crossed to the island. One by one they disappeared in the shadows of the scrub oaks.
"Katy, Katy," said the deserter. "I am free, yet not free. Until you come to me my heart must still be in the post with you."
He had eaten, had been in the thicket and changed his clothes, had received his last instructions from the girl on the road he should go, and now they were standing again in the moonlight, and his arms were around her.
They stayed a little while yet, and from across the creek came the hoarse voices of the sentries on post-“ Halfpast ten and all's well."
"Now, Noel, now! You must have a good start. They won't go after you until morning, and by that time you should have bought a horse and be well on the way to the railroad. Goodby, dear, goodby! What! Listen! What was that?"
They separated suddenly, and stood, lips apart, listening. Down the island was a crushing of leaves and crashing of branches and the snort of a horse. The deserter's face blanched, and he threw his arms up despairingly.
"Already!" he cried. "They have suspected it already!"
The girl's face, too, was white, but she did not despair.
"Quick!" she whispered. "Make for the canyon-the mountain! Quick! They will only search the island! Quick! Quick! Fly! O, Noel, fly!" He hesitated. He was bewildered. "But where," he cried, "where is my violin ?"
She took it from the rock and gave it him, impatiently.
"Fly," she said. "Oh, quick, quick, quick!'
The trampling of the horses was now distinctly heard, and the command of
She listened breathlessly, and soon she heard a sharp challenge-" Who goes there? Halt, or you'll be fired on! Faval?"
Mrs. Malone's moods were at most times uncertain, but for weeks she had been without even a temporary relapse into amiability, unless, indeed, toward the morose and taciturn Sergt. Holmes. Katy Malone, her daughter, and First Sergt. Malone, her husband, found it more comfortable to be out of the house as much as possible. It was a month after the capture of Noel Faval when Mrs. Malone found herself alone with Holmes. That happened frequently. The sergeant's visits to Katy's home were the gossip of the post, for Holmes was not popular. Every one knew that his face was honorably scarred by an Indian knife, but chiefly because of his gloom, his unsociability, and the sudden storms of passion which convulsed him when crossed. Fifteen