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of fiction, or living in the lives of then added, as if suddenly inspired, the many divers characters of that “Come and see me again. Comé great drama which had never been any day-every day — in fact towritten. Suddenly he remembered
I should like to talk to a great trunk full of papers which you." had stood untouched for many “And you will give me someyears. As he was thinking of this thing to do?” cried the young trunk, John finished his confession, man, much elated. and leaned forward in his chair “Ah, yes, to be sure. Something waiting for advice. Mr Damon to do, eh? Come again-yes, come looked at the flushed cheeks and again to-morrow at eleven. W bright eyes before him, and felt must see more of each other. Good that he had found a tonic. He morning.” pulled himself together, and sat up "Good morning," said John, startin his chair.
ingup, as he found himself dismissed. “It is very interesting," he said. “And you will tell me to-morrow
“ But what shall I do?" asked what I am to do?” he asked. Jolin.
“Yes, to - morrow, to - morrow. “ Ah, that is the question,” re- Come to-morrow, come-in fact, at marked the other, solemnly; and eleven."
After his first interview with the said, and he continued to shake his great Mr Damon, my friend was in visitor's hand slowly, as he added, a state of excitement and exaltation. “I have been thinking how we can Again and again he burst forth into get on best. We must not be too praises of his master's silentinfluence. wide, eh? There must be some cenHe was so great and calm. About tral point; something-in fact, somehim was an atmosphere of culture, thing to come back to." and to breathe it was education. In “Something for me to work at ?" such an air, and under such royal suggested John, making a slight eyes, John felt that he too would and respectful effort to become masbecome wise and good. He aspired ter of his own hand. Mr Damon to be a channel, through which the opened his large fingers and allowed sweet waters of culture, springing the imprisoned hand to fall. “I in the bosom of Mr Damon, might have had that trunk brought down be carried abroad into the thirsty here,” he said : “it contains some land. His plan of educating him- papers written by me at various self, that he might benefit others, times on various subjects. You seemed already accomplished ; and might look over them if you like." for one evening he enjoyed a future “Of course I should like it," cried at once sure and noble.
the disciple. “Shall I put them in The next morning, exactly at order ?" eleven, he walked across the dusty “Perhaps that would be best." road as one who trod the air, and “And tell you what is in them ?” entered the opposite house. His “I don't see why not. And then host was ready to receive him, and we might talk them over, eh ?” stepped forward as he entered. “ And then you can make up “This is well; this is friendly,” he your mind what to finish, and
what to publish. May I begin in many particulars. Now he came at once ?”
upon a complete chapter kept to “I don't see why not,” said the gether by an old boot-lace, and now sage; and added after a pause, upon a coverless book full of witty “there are some sketches, I think, or pretty sayings and fragments of and studies of character made when dialogue. A plan of the heroine's I was planning a work of fiction character was disinterred from under some time ago. I was
I was—in fact, I a inassive essay on Evolution, and was a younger man then."
some suggestions for a comic man “Oh, why did not you finish it?" were found among the crumpled asked my friend in a tone of regret. pages of an analysis of Mill's 'Logic.' “ It would be such a great thing for The interest of the searcher was us to see the world as you saw it kept alive partly by the excitement when you were young.
of the chase, and partly by some of Mr Damon slowly shook his head. the passages which he read. Never“My critical labours," he began, theless he found it unusually hard and then stopped as his eye wan- to keep his attention fixed, and was dered absently to the old trunk. annoyed with himself for allowing John regarded him in silence, afraid his thoughts to wander to trivial to break his train of thought. Pre- matters. He found himself waiting sently the great man sank into an for his friend's periodical cough, and easy-chair and took up a book. wondering why so great a man had John glanced at him, and then at acquired the habit of clearing his the trunk. Its lid was open, and throat at such regular intervals. close beside it was a table on which At the same time he became more paper, pens, and ink were placed. and more conscious of a faint furry Concluding that the preparations smell. Presently, as he stooped for were for him, and that he need not another bundle of papers, he condisturb his master, he stepped light- nected that strange odour with the ly across the room, seated himself trunk, which was of a hairy species at the table, and lifted a handful of now happily rare. He observed loose papers from the trunk. For that the hair was generally loose, an hour he worked steadily, read- and had left several bald places. ing, considering, and classifying. His nostril twitched, but he steadied Suddenly it occurred to him that he himself and picked out a bundle. felt a slight oppression. He raised He opened a large sheet of foolshis head and looked about him. cap, and saw that it contained, not He perceived that the great man only the outline of Part III. of the had not stirred. He glanced at the novel, but also a large oblong greasewindows, and saw that they were spot—a shiny and transparent place. both shut. He would have liked He looked at the windows and then to open one of them; but he felt at Mr Damon, who was still reading that it was not for him, who had and did not meet his eye. Then been admitted to the enjoyment of he said to himself that it was weaka privilege, to suggest an alteration ness to be disturbed by trifles; and in his benefactor's habits. He gave then he laid down bis pencil, leaned himself a shake to clear his head, back in his chair, and pressed his and turned again to his work. He hands to his forehead, which was was on the track of his friend's great beginning to ache. He languidly novel, and had already found two thought of last night's enthusiasm, sketches of the plot, which differed and his lips began to murmur a
phrase which he had used so glibly, recent decoration. When the man the atmosphere of culture.” He of culture moved round to the side looked with a dull eye at the hair of the table, his friend's attention trunk. Presently he started at the was caught for the second time by sound of his master's cough, shook a spot of grease, and he began with bimself impatiently, and leaning some earnestness to compare the forward again, spread out his pa- on the coat with the other pers with an air of stern deter- which shone on the foolscap before mination.
him. Two hours had passed since John “Well, well! we shall make entered the room, when his friend something of it, eh?” said Mr laid down his book, rose slowly, Damon. and stood beside him.
John was almost too languid to ported himself by the back of the answer, but he tried to nod cheeryoung man's chair, and, as he bent fully. forward to look at his work, he “ Shall we talk it over to-morpressed so heavily on his shoulders, row?” continued his friend. “I that the active youth had much have promised-well, I have proado to save himself from being mised to go out to luncheon with flattened on to the table. The man somebody-in fact, with my pubof culture was certainly too big for lisher." the room; and John caught him
started up self thinking that this hero, whom briskly, and instantly felt ashamed he had praised as so great and of his alacrity, calm, might be called by a scoffer “At the same time to-morrow, only fat and lymphatic. He dis- eh? We will have a nice long missed the idea. To him this morning,” said the man of culture; man, even though he leaned so and taking the other's hand in his, heavily on his shoulders, was really he began to shake it slowly. great and calm. He would believe “Thanks,” said John, and was in his greatness. What better proof vexed at the dreary tone of his could there bethan indifference to the voice. He looked apologetically at petty details of life, to the perfume his friend, vaguely wondering if he of an old hair trunk, to the oiliness would forget to drop his hand and of a bit of paper, to an unbrushed so keep him there for ever. Precoat? For it could not be main- sently his arm fell heavily by his tained that the coat, which was side; then he stretched it out for pressed against the back of John's his hat; then gasping out some head, had been brushed that morn- incoherent expressions of gratitude ing. Short, perhaps too short for he got himself out of the room, a stout wearer, in colour a faded stumbled down the stairs, fumbled purple, it belonged to that class of at the door, and presently stood in garments which are worn by sed- the street drawing a long breath. entary men only in their studies. Mr Damon brushed his hair with John is fond of simplicity, and he unwonted vigour, and as he went to wished that that coat had never luncheon, caught himself buzzing, been adorned with silk facings and and thought that he was humming a velvet collar. There was a more a tune.
VOL CXX.-30. DCCXXIX.
! As the days went by, I saw that one cart, the roses under the cabmy friend became thinner in body bages-great, shapeless, overgrown, and more restless in mind. His sodden cabbages.' Here his face face had a harassed look, and in sank into utter gloom. the morning his eyes wandered “But you are collecting the every moment to the clock. At roses," I cried, eagerly. length Icould no longer bear to watch His voice was low as he anthe change, and I spoke. At first swered, “He likes the cabbages he scarcely attended to my words ; quite as well ; he can't bear to give but gradually he listened more and up a single cabbage." more, and at last, after a hurried “Then what can you do?” I asked. glance over his shoulder, he turned “Nothing," he answered. suddenly towards me, and seizing " And you are wasting all your both
my hands with nervous energy, talent in doingbegan to speak.
“Nothing," he said again. “How can I get out of it?” he « And this man cried, passionately.
to- " I paused astounded at “It is a failure, then ?" I asked. my friend's infatuation.
Then he poured out all his “ He cannot bear me to be a troubles. He spoke of the atmo- moment behind my time!” he said, sphere of culture; of the trunk that and he glanced for the hundredth was growing balder every day; of time at the clock. the papers which their owner dis- “For heaven's sake cut him!” I arranged every evening, and which cried; "the man is a vampire.” every morning were less pleasant “I have taken up my burden," to handle. As he spoke in an said he. awe-struck voice, it seemed like the “You have crept under a featherstory of an evil dream, in which bed," said I. " Come out before some cumbrous Penelope unwove
you are smothered." another's web with clumsy fingers. He smiled faintly, and I was en
“ But the papers themselves ?” I couraged to speak more earnestly. asked ; “surely their contents are At last I thought that I had consome compensation ?"
vinced him. I saw the light of He shook his head sadly. “There hope come back into his eyes, and I are fine things,” he said ; “ bits of heard a brighter tone in his voice. character, scenes like life, great But my time was short. He sudthoughts put tersely; but
denly caught sight of the clock, and But what ?" I asked.
sprang to his feet. It was past He looked at me sadly, and said, eleven. As he dashed down-stairs, “I would not say this to anybody I called from the landing, “Give but you. Those good things are him up! give him up !” He made buried_buried under heaps, mon- no answer. Then I flew to the strous heaps, of loose sentences, loose window and shouted as he rushed thoughts, great masses of undigested across the street. An answer came commonplace. They must have back from the opposite door-step, been done at all times, in all moods which sounded like, “I will try." -some, I feel sure, in sleep. The I sat down with my eyes fixed upon roses and cabbages are all loose in Mr Damon's lodgings.
John found his master staring “And what does it matter if they listlessly at the clock, and in de- don't?” asked the young man, who spair at his secretary's desertion. was once more the eager partisan : He heaved a great sigh of relief "you have done them good-you when the young man entered; but have done them good ; and what his face looked pale and loose, and does their ingratitude matter?” his body very limp in his wide Mr Damon swayed forward tochair. John had determined as he wards the table, and laid his large ran up-stairs to make a rush for head upon his arms. With his face freedom.
thus hidden he said in a gloomy “I am afraid that I can't be of voice, “I can't do without it.” any more use to you," he cried, with « Without what?” a gasp.
“Popularity," said the sage, and * What?" asked the other, in he sniffed ominously. Perhaps his tone of blank dismay.
gloom was partly caused by a heavy “I think I must leave you." cold in the head. John started, and “Leave me!"
looked at the slouching figure before “I am doing no good. I'must him with a certain degree of horror, find something to do. I always which presently struck him as comtold you that I must do something." ical. He smiled, and the smile grew
“Do something !” muttered the pitiful. Then the great man, with great man. “You mean—you mean his face still buried, unburdened his that you are doing no good in help- mind. His confession dropped from ing me?” He spoke with a muffled him as heavy drops of rain-water voice; then suddenly, in an acute gather at the end of a choked pipe, tone he cried, “Is it all bad ?” and so fall one by one. Many
John stepped hurriedly back- times he paused to gasp or to blow ward, and looked at his friend in his nose, but he always began again amazement. Was the great man as if impelled by some slow force. appealing to him?
He said that for years he had felt “Bad !” he cried 1; “there are himself each day more neglected, splendid things in it. I shall al- more lonely: old friends had died ways be grateful to you for letting or gone away; no new ones had me see them. There are bits which
come : people went after fresh idols:
publishers instead of eager inquiries “Which I wrote twenty years gave him cold respect. The young ago."
man listening to him found his eyes “There are splendid things," grow moist, as he thought of some cried John again, alarmed by the old crumbling statue left motionless other's hollow tone. “Anybody in the desert, when the vivid procould carve a fine book from those cession bearing ivory, gold, and peapapers. It only wants a few links cocks, sweet - scented wood, and added and—and form."
many - folded garments steeped in “ Form!” muttered Mr Damon, dyes, had passed away for ever. sinking lower in his chair. By this Presently Mr Damon went on to time his guest was only anxious to tell how he had felt new life thrill cheer the sage by any means. He through him at the coming of a new had forgotten his own melancholy, disciple; how he had hoped again as he cried with warmth, “It would for sympathy, first of this one bright be a fine work, and the public- young nature, and then of others
“ They don't care for me now." won by him. He said that he was