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Roderick Hudson, by Henry James

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I. Rowland
II. Roderick
III. Rome
IV. Experience
V. Christina
VI. Frascati
VII. St. Cecilia's
VIII. Provocation
IX. Mary Garland
X. The Cavaliere
XI. Mrs. Hudson
XII. The Princess Casamassima
XIII. Switzerland

CHAPTER I. Rowland

Mallet had made his arrangements to sail for Europe on the first
of September, and having in the interval a fortnight to spare,
he determined to spend it with his cousin Cecilia, the widow
of a nephew of his father. He was urged by the reflection
that an affectionate farewell might help to exonerate him
from the charge of neglect frequently preferred by this lady.
It was not that the young man disliked her; on the contrary,
he regarded her with a tender admiration, and he had not
forgotten how, when his cousin had brought her home on her marriage,
he had seemed to feel the upward sweep of the empty bough from
which the golden fruit had been plucked, and had then and there
accepted the prospect of bachelorhood. The truth was, that, as it
will be part of the entertainment of this narrative to exhibit,
Rowland Mallet had an uncomfortably sensitive conscience, and that,
in spite of the seeming paradox, his visits to Cecilia were rare
because she and her misfortunes were often uppermost in it.
Her misfortunes were three in number: first, she had lost
her husband; second, she had lost her money (or the greater part
of it); and third, she lived at Northampton, Massachusetts.
Mallet's compassion was really wasted, because Cecilia was a very
clever woman, and a most skillful counter-plotter to adversity.
She had made herself a charming home, her economies were not obtrusive,
and there was always a cheerful flutter in the folds of her crape.
It was the consciousness of all this that puzzled Mallet whenever
he felt tempted to put in his oar. He had money and he had time,
but he never could decide just how to place these gifts gracefully
at Cecilia's service. He no longer felt like marrying her:
in these eight years that fancy had died a natural death.
And yet her extreme cleverness seemed somehow to make charity
difficult and patronage impossible. He would rather chop off
his hand than offer her a check, a piece of useful furniture,
or a black silk dress; and yet there was some sadness in seeing
such a bright, proud woman living in such a small, dull way.
Cecilia had, moreover, a turn for sarcasm, and her smile, which was
her pretty feature, was never so pretty as when her sprightly
phrase had a lurking scratch in it. Rowland remembered that,
for him, she was all smiles, and suspected, awkwardly, that he
ministered not a little to her sense of the irony of things.
And in truth, with his means, his leisure, and his opportunities,
what had he done? He had an unaffected suspicion of his uselessness.
Cecilia, meanwhile, cut out her own dresses, and was personally
giving her little girl the education of a princess.

This time, however, he presented himself bravely enough;
for in the way of activity it was something definite, at least,
to be going to Europe and to be meaning to spend the winter in Rome.
Cecilia met him in the early dusk at the gate of her little garden,
amid a studied combination of floral perfumes. A rosy widow
of twenty-eight, half cousin, half hostess, doing the honors
of an odorous cottage on a midsummer evening, was a phenomenon
to which the young man's imagination was able to do ample justice.
Cecilia was always gracious, but this evening she was almost joyous.
She was in a happy mood, and Mallet imagined there was a private
reason for it--a reason quite distinct from her pleasure in receiving
her honored kinsman. The next day he flattered himself he was on
the way to discover it.

For the present, after tea, as they sat on the rose-framed porch,
while Rowland held his younger cousin between his knees, and she,
enjoying her situation, listened timorously for the stroke of bedtime,
Cecilia insisted on talking more about her visitor than about herself.

"What is it you mean to do in Europe?" she asked, lightly, giving a turn
to the frill of her sleeve--just such a turn as seemed to Mallet to bring
out all the latent difficulties of the question.

"Why, very much what I do here," he answered. "No great harm."

"Is it true," Cecilia asked, "that here you do no great harm?
Is not a man like you doing harm when he is not doing positive good?"

"Your compliment is ambiguous," said Rowland.

"No," answered the widow, "you know what I think of you.
You have a particular aptitude for beneficence. You have it in
the first place in your character. You are a benevolent person.
Ask Bessie if you don't hold her more gently and comfortably
than any of her other admirers."

"He holds me more comfortably than Mr. Hudson," Bessie declared, roundly.

Rowland, not knowing Mr. Hudson, could but half appreciate the eulogy,
and Cecilia went on to develop her idea. "Your circumstances,
in the second place, suggest the idea of social usefulness.
You are intelligent, you are well-informed, and your charity,
if one may call it charity, would be discriminating.
You are rich and unoccupied, so that it might be abundant.
Therefore, I say, you are a person to do something on a large scale.
Bestir yourself, dear Rowland, or we may be taught to think
that virtue herself is setting a bad example."

"Heaven forbid," cried Rowland, "that I should set the examples
of virtue! I am quite willing to follow them, however, and if I
don't do something on the grand scale, it is that my genius is
altogether imitative, and that I have not recently encountered
any very striking models of grandeur. Pray, what shall I do?
Found an orphan asylum, or build a dormitory for Harvard College?
I am not rich enough to do either in an ideally handsome way,
and I confess that, yet awhile, I feel too young to strike
my grand coup. I am holding myself ready for inspiration.
I am waiting till something takes my fancy irresistibly.
If inspiration comes at forty, it will be a hundred pities
to have tied up my money-bag at thirty."

"Well, I give you till forty," said Cecilia. "It 's only a word to the wise,
a notification that you are expected not to run your course without having
done something handsome for your fellow-men."

Nine o'clock sounded, and Bessie, with each stroke, courted a
closer embrace. But a single winged word from her mother
overleaped her successive intrenchments. She turned and kissed
her cousin, and deposited an irrepressible tear on his moustache.
Then she went and said her prayers to her mother: it was evident
she was being admirably brought up. Rowland, with the permission
of his hostess, lighted a cigar and puffed it awhile in silence.
Cecilia's interest in his career seemed very agreeable.
That Mallet was without vanity I by no means intend to affirm;
but there had been times when, seeing him accept, hardly less
deferentially, advice even more peremptory than the widow's,
you might have asked yourself what had become of his vanity.
Now, in the sweet-smelling starlight, he felt gently wooed to egotism.
There was a project connected with his going abroad which it was on
his tongue's end to communicate. It had no relation to hospitals
or dormitories, and yet it would have sounded very generous.
But it was not because it would have sounded generous that poor
Mallet at last puffed it away in the fumes of his cigar.
Useful though it might be, it expressed most imperfectly the young
man's own personal conception of usefulness. He was extremely
fond of all the arts, and he had an almost passionate enjoyment
of pictures. He had seen many, and he judged them sagaciously.
It had occurred to him some time before that it would be
the work of a good citizen to go abroad and with all expedition
and secrecy purchase certain valuable specimens of the Dutch
and Italian schools as to which he had received private proposals,
and then present his treasures out of hand to an American city,
not unknown to ; aesthetic fame, in which at that time there
prevailed a good deal of fruitless aspiration toward an art-museum.
He had seen himself in imagination, more than once, in some mouldy
old saloon of a Florentine palace, turning toward the deep embrasure
of the window some scarcely-faded Ghirlandaio or Botticelli,
while a host in reduced circumstances pointed out the lovely drawing
of a hand. But he imparted none of these visions to Cecilia,
and he suddenly swept them away with the declaration that he was
of course an idle, useless creature, and that he would probably
be even more so in Europe than at home. "The only thing is,"
he said, "that there I shall seem to be doing something.
I shall be better entertained, and shall be therefore,
I suppose, in a better humor with life. You may say that
that is just the humor a useless man should keep out of.
He should cultivate discontentment. I did a good many things
when I was in Europe before, but I did not spend a winter in Rome.
Every one assures me that this is a peculiar refinement
of bliss; most people talk about Rome in the same way.
It is evidently only a sort of idealized form of loafing:
a passive life in Rome, thanks to the number and the quality
of one's impressions, takes on a very respectable likeness
to activity. It is still lotus-eating, only you sit down
at table, and the lotuses are served up on rococo china.
It 's all very well, but I have a distinct prevision of this--
that if Roman life does n't do something substantial to make
you happier, it increases tenfold your liability to moral misery.
It seems to me a rash thing for a sensitive soul deliberately
to cultivate its sensibilities by rambling too often among the ruins
of the Palatine, or riding too often in the shadow of the aqueducts.
In such recreations the chords of feeling grow tense,
and after-life, to spare your intellectual nerves, must play
upon them with a touch as dainty as the tread of Mignon when she
danced her egg-dance."

"I should have said, my dear Rowland," said Cecilia, with a laugh,
"that your nerves were tough, that your eggs were hard!"

"That being stupid, you mean, I might be happy? Upon my word I am not.
I am clever enough to want more than I 've got. I am tired of myself,
my own thoughts, my own affairs, my own eternal company.
True happiness, we are told, consists in getting out of one's self;
but the point is not only to get out--you must stay out;
and to stay out you must have some absorbing errand.
Unfortunately, I 've got no errand, and nobody will trust me with one.
I want to care for something, or for some one. And I want to care with
a certain ardor; even, if you can believe it, with a certain passion.
I can't just now feel ardent and passionate about a hospital or a dormitory.
Do you know I sometimes think that I 'm a man of genius, half finished?
The genius has been left out, the faculty of expression is wanting;
but the need for expression remains, and I spend my days groping
for the latch of a closed door."

"What an immense number of words," said Cecilia after a pause,
"to say you want to fall in love! I 've no doubt you have as good
a genius for that as any one, if you would only trust it."

"Of course I 've thought of that, and I assure you I hold
myself ready. But, evidently, I 'm not inflammable.
Is there in Northampton some perfect epitome of the graces?"

"Of the graces?" said Cecilia, raising her eyebrows and suppressing too
distinct a consciousness of being herself a rosy embodiment of several.
"The household virtues are better represented. There are some
excellent girls, and there are two or three very pretty ones.
I will have them here, one by one, to tea, if you like."

"I should particularly like it; especially as I should give you a chance
to see, by the profundity of my attention, that if I am not happy,
it 's not for want of taking pains."

Cecilia was silent a moment; and then, "On the whole,"
she resumed, "I don't think there are any worth asking.
There are none so very pretty, none so very pleasing."

"Are you very sure?" asked the young man, rising and throwing
away his cigar-end.

"Upon my word," cried Cecilia, "one would suppose I wished to keep you
for myself. Of course I am sure! But as the penalty of your insinuations,
I shall invite the plainest and prosiest damsel that can be found,
and leave you alone with her."

Rowland smiled. "Even against her," he said, "I should be sorry
to conclude until I had given her my respectful attention."

This little profession of ideal chivalry (which closed
the conversation) was not quite so fanciful on Mallet's lips
as it would have been on those of many another man; as a rapid
glance at his antecedents may help to make the reader perceive.
His life had been a singular mixture of the rough and the smooth.
He had sprung from a rigid Puritan stock, and had been
brought up to think much more intently of the duties
of this life than of its privileges and pleasures.
His progenitors had submitted in the matter of dogmatic
theology to the relaxing influences of recent years;
but if Rowland's youthful consciousness was not chilled
by the menace of long punishment for brief transgression,
he had at least been made to feel that there ran through all
things a strain of right and of wrong, as different, after all,
in their complexions, as the texture, to the spiritual sense,
of Sundays and week-days. His father was a chip of the primal
Puritan block, a man with an icy smile and a stony frown.
He had always bestowed on his son, on principle, more frowns
than smiles, and if the lad had not been turned to stone himself,
it was because nature had blessed him, inwardly, with a well
of vivifying waters. Mrs. Mallet had been a Miss Rowland,
the daughter of a retired sea-captain, once famous
on the ships that sailed from Salem and Newburyport.
He had brought to port many a cargo which crowned
the edifice of fortunes already almost colossal, but he had
also done a little sagacious trading on his own account,
and he was able to retire, prematurely for so sea-worthy
a maritime organism, upon a pension of his own providing.
He was to be seen for a year on the Salem wharves, smoking the best
tobacco and eying the seaward horizon with an inveteracy
which superficial minds interpreted as a sign of repentance.
At last, one evening, he disappeared beneath it, as he had often
done before; this time, however, not as a commissioned navigator,
but simply as an amateur of an observing turn likely to
prove oppressive to the officer in command of the vessel.
Five months later his place at home knew him again, and made
the acquaintance also of a handsome, blonde young woman,
of redundant contours, speaking a foreign tongue.
The foreign tongue proved, after much conflicting research,
to be the idiom of Amsterdam, and the young woman,
which was stranger still, to be Captain Rowland's wife.
Why he had gone forth so suddenly across the seas to marry her,
what had happened between them before, and whether--though it was
of questionable propriety for a good citizen to espouse a young
person of mysterious origin, who did her hair in fantastically
elaborate plaits, and in whose appearance "figure" enjoyed
such striking predominance--he would not have had a heavy weight
on his conscience if he had remained an irresponsible bachelor;
these questions and many others, bearing with varying
degrees of immediacy on the subject, were much propounded
but scantily answered, and this history need not be charged
with resolving them. Mrs. Rowland, for so handsome a woman,
proved a tranquil neighbor and an excellent housewife.
Her extremely fresh complexion, however, was always suffused
with an air of apathetic homesickness, and she played her part
in American society chiefly by having the little squares
of brick pavement in front of her dwelling scoured and polished
as nearly as possible into the likeness of Dutch tiles.
Rowland Mallet remembered having seen her, as a child--
an immensely stout, white-faced lady, wearing a high cap
of very stiff tulle, speaking English with a formidable accent,
and suffering from dropsy. Captain Rowland was a little
bronzed and wizened man, with eccentric opinions.
He advocated the creation of a public promenade along the sea,
with arbors and little green tables for the consumption of beer,
and a platform, surrounded by Chinese lanterns, for dancing.
He especially desired the town library to be opened on Sundays,
though, as he never entered it on week-days, it was easy to turn
the proposition into ridicule. If, therefore, Mrs. Mallet
was a woman of an exquisite moral tone, it was not that she had
inherited her temper from an ancestry with a turn for casuistry.
Jonas Mallet, at the time of his marriage, was conducting
with silent shrewdness a small, unpromising business.
Both his shrewdness and his silence increased with his years,
and at the close of his life he was an extremely well-dressed,
wellbrushed gentleman, with a frigid gray eye, who said
little to anybody, but of whom everybody said that he had
a very handsome fortune. He was not a sentimental father,
and the roughness I just now spoke of in Rowland's life dated
from his early boyhood. Mr. Mallet, whenever he looked at
his son, felt extreme compunction at having made a fortune.
He remembered that the fruit had not dropped ripe from
the tree into his own mouth, and determined it should
be no fault of his if the boy was corrupted by luxury.
Rowland, therefore, except for a good deal of expensive
instruction in foreign tongues and abstruse sciences,
received the education of a poor man's son. His fare was plain,
his temper familiar with the discipline of patched trousers,
and his habits marked by an exaggerated simplicity which it
really cost a good deal of money to preserve unbroken.
He was kept in the country for months together, in the midst
of servants who had strict injunctions to see that he suffered
no serious harm, but were as strictly forbidden to wait upon him.
As no school could be found conducted on principles
sufficiently rigorous, he was attended at home by a master who set
a high price on the understanding that he was to illustrate
the beauty of abstinence not only by precept but by example.
Rowland passed for a child of ordinary parts, and certainly,
during his younger years, was an excellent imitation of a boy
who had inherited nothing whatever that was to make life easy.
He was passive, pliable, frank, extremely slow at his books,
and inordinately fond of trout-fishing. His hair, a memento
of his Dutch ancestry, was of the fairest shade of yellow,
his complexion absurdly rosy, and his measurement around the waist,
when he was about ten years old, quite alarmingly large.
This, however, was but an episode in his growth; he became
afterwards a fresh-colored, yellow-bearded man, but he was
never accused of anything worse than a tendency to corpulence.
He emerged from childhood a simple, wholesome, round-eyed lad,
with no suspicion that a less roundabout course might have
been taken to make him happy, but with a vague sense that his
young experience was not a fair sample of human freedom,
and that he was to make a great many discoveries.
When he was about fifteen, he achieved a momentous one.
He ascertained that his mother was a saint. She had always
been a very distinct presence in his life, but so ineffably
gentle a one that his sense was fully opened to it only
by the danger of losing her. She had an illness which for
many months was liable at any moment to terminate fatally,
and during her long-arrested convalescence she removed
the mask which she had worn for years by her husband's order.
Rowland spent his days at her side and felt before long
as if he had made a new friend. All his impressions at this
period were commented and interpreted at leisure in the future,
and it was only then that he understood that his mother
had been for fifteen years a perfectly unhappy woman.
Her marriage had been an immitigable error which she had
spent her life in trying to look straight in the face.
She found nothing to oppose to her husband's will of steel
but the appearance of absolute compliance; her spirit sank,
and she lived for a while in a sort of helpless moral torpor.
But at last, as her child emerged from babyhood, she began to feel
a certain charm in patience, to discover the uses of ingenuity,
and to learn that, somehow or other, one can always arrange
one's life. She cultivated from this time forward a little private
plot of sentiment, and it was of this secluded precinct that,
before her death, she gave her son the key. Rowland's allowance
at college was barely sufficient to maintain him decently,
and as soon as he graduated, he was taken into his father's
counting-house, to do small drudgery on a proportionate salary.
For three years he earned his living as regularly as
the obscure functionary in fustian who swept the office.
Mr. Mallet was consistent, but the perfection of his consistency
was known only on his death. He left but a third of his property
to his son, and devoted the remainder to various public institutions
and local charities. Rowland's third was an easy competence,
and he never felt a moment's jealousy of his fellow-pensioners;
but when one of the establishments which had figured most
advantageously in his father's will bethought itself to affirm
the existence of a later instrument, in which it had been
still more handsomely treated, the young man felt a sudden
passionate need to repel the claim by process of law.
There was a lively tussle, but he gained his case;
immediately after which he made, in another quarter,
a donation of the contested sum. He cared nothing for the money,
but he had felt an angry desire to protest against a destiny
which seemed determined to be exclusively salutary.
It seemed to him that he would bear a little spoiling.
And yet he treated himself to a very modest quantity, and submitted
without reserve to the great national discipline which began in 1861.
When the Civil War broke out he immediately obtained a commission,
and did his duty for three long years as a citizen soldier.
His duty was obscure, but he never lost a certain private
satisfaction in remembering that on two or three occasions
it had been performed with something of an ideal precision.
He had disentangled himself from business, and after the war
he felt a profound disinclination to tie the knot again.
He had no desire to make money, he had money enough;
and although he knew, and was frequently reminded, that a young
man is the better for a fixed occupation, he could discover
no moral advantage in driving a lucrative trade. Yet few young
men of means and leisure ever made less of a parade of idleness,
and indeed idleness in any degree could hardly be laid at
the door of a young man who took life in the serious, attentive,
reasoning fashion of our friend. It often seemed to Mallet
that he wholly lacked the prime requisite of a graceful flaneur--
the simple, sensuous, confident relish of pleasure.
He had frequent fits of extreme melancholy, in which he declared
that he was neither fish nor flesh nor good red herring.
He was neither an irresponsibly contemplative nature nor a sturdily
practical one, and he was forever looking in vain for the uses
of the things that please and the charm of the things that sustain.
He was an awkward mixture of strong moral impulse and restless
aesthetic curiosity, and yet he would have made a most ineffective
reformer and a very indifferent artist. It seemed to him
that the glow of happiness must be found either in action,
of some immensely solid kind, on behalf of an idea, or in producing
a masterpiece in one of the arts. Oftenest, perhaps, he wished
he were a vigorous young man of genius, without a penny.
As it was, he could only buy pictures, and not paint them;
and in the way of action, he had to content himself with making
a rule to render scrupulous moral justice to handsome examples
of it in others. On the whole, he had an incorruptible modesty.
With his blooming complexion and his serene gray eye,
he felt the friction of existence more than was suspected;
but he asked no allowance on grounds of temper, he assumed
that fate had treated him inordinately well and that he had no
excuse for taking an ill-natured view of life, and he undertook
constantly to believe that all women were fair, all men
were brave, and the world was a delightful place of sojourn,
until the contrary had been distinctly proved.

Cecilia's blooming garden and shady porch had seemed so friendly to repose
and a cigar, that she reproached him the next morning with indifference to
her little parlor, not less, in its way, a monument to her ingenious taste.
"And by the way," she added as he followed her in, "if I refused last night
to show you a pretty girl, I can at least show you a pretty boy."

She threw open a window and pointed to a statuette which occupied
the place of honor among the ornaments of the room. Rowland looked
at it a moment and then turned to her with an exclamation of surprise.
She gave him a rapid glance, perceived that her statuette was of
altogether exceptional merit, and then smiled, knowingly, as if this
had long been an agreeable certainty.

"Who did it? where did you get it?" Rowland demanded.

"Oh," said Cecilia, adjusting the light, "it 's a little thing
of Mr. Hudson's."

"And who the deuce is Mr. Hudson?" asked Rowland. But he was absorbed;
he lost her immediate reply. The statuette, in bronze, something less
than two feet high, represented a naked youth drinking from a gourd.
The attitude was perfectly simple. The lad was squarely planted on
his feet, with his legs a little apart; his back was slightly hollowed,
his head thrown back, and both hands raised to support the rustic cup.
There was a loosened fillet of wild flowers about his head,
and his eyes, under their drooped lids, looked straight into the cup.
On the base was scratched the Greek word ;aa;gD;gi;gc;ga, Thirst.
The figure might have been some beautiful youth of ancient fable,--
Hylas or Narcissus, Paris or Endymion. Its beauty was the beauty
of natural movement; nothing had been sought to be represented but
the perfection of an attitude. This had been most attentively studied,
and it was exquisitely rendered. Rowland demanded more light,
dropped his head on this side and that, uttered vague exclamations.
He said to himself, as he had said more than once in the Louvre
and the Vatican, "We ugly mortals, what beautiful creatures we are!"
Nothing, in a long time, had given him so much pleasure.
"Hudson--Hudson," he asked again; "who is Hudson?"

"A young man of this place," said Cecilia.

"A young man? How old?"

"I suppose he is three or four and twenty."

"Of this place, you say--of Northampton, Massachusetts?"

"He lives here, but he comes from Virginia."

"Is he a sculptor by profession?"

"He 's a law-student."

Rowland burst out laughing. "He has found something in Blackstone that I
never did. He makes statues then simply for his pleasure?"

Cecilia, with a smile, gave a little toss of her head. "For mine!"

"I congratulate you," said Rowland. "I wonder whether he could
be induced to do anything for me?"

"This was a matter of friendship. I saw the figure when
he had modeled it in clay, and of course greatly admired it.
He said nothing at the time, but a week ago, on my birthday,
he arrived in a buggy, with this. He had had it cast at the foundry
at Chicopee; I believe it 's a beautiful piece of bronze.
He begged me to accept."

"Upon my word," said Mallet, "he does things handsomely!"
And he fell to admiring the statue again.

"So then," said Cecilia, "it 's very remarkable?"

"Why, my dear cousin," Rowland answered, "Mr. Hudson,
of Virginia, is an extraordinary--" Then suddenly stopping:
"Is he a great friend of yours?" he asked.

"A great friend?" and Cecilia hesitated. "I regard him as a child!"

"Well," said Rowland, "he 's a very clever child.
Tell me something about him: I should like to see him."

Cecilia was obliged to go to her daughter's music-lesson, but she assured
Rowland that she would arrange for him a meeting with the young sculptor.
He was a frequent visitor, and as he had not called for some days it
was likely he would come that evening. Rowland, left alone, examined the
statuette at his leisure, and returned more than once during the day to take
another look at it. He discovered its weak points, but it wore well.
It had the stamp of genius. Rowland envied the happy youth who, in a New
England village, without aid or encouragement, without models or resources,
had found it so easy to produce a lovely work.

In the evening, as he was smoking his cigar on the veranda, a light,
quick step pressed the gravel of the garden path, and in a moment
a young man made his bow to Cecilia. It was rather a nod than a bow,
and indicated either that he was an old friend, or that he was scantily
versed in the usual social forms. Cecilia, who was sitting near the steps,
pointed to a neighboring chair, but the young man seated himself abruptly
on the floor at her feet, began to fan himself vigorously with his hat,
and broke out into a lively objurgation upon the hot weather.
"I 'm dripping wet!" he said, without ceremony.

"You walk too fast," said Cecilia. "You do everything too fast."

"I know it, I know it!" he cried, passing his hand through his
abundant dark hair and making it stand out in a picturesque shock.
"I can't be slow if I try. There 's something inside of me that drives me.
A restless fiend!"

Cecilia gave a light laugh, and Rowland leaned forward in his hammock.
He had placed himself in it at Bessie's request, and was playing
that he was her baby and that she was rocking him to sleep.
She sat beside him, swinging the hammock to and fro, and singing a lullaby.
When he raised himself she pushed him back and said that the baby
must finish its nap. "But I want to see the gentleman with the fiend
inside of him," said Rowland.

"What is a fiend?" Bessie demanded. "It 's only Mr. Hudson."

"Very well, I want to see him."

"Oh, never mind him!" said Bessie, with the brevity of contempt.

"You speak as if you did n't like him."

"I don't!" Bessie affirmed, and put Rowland to bed again.

The hammock was swung at the end of the veranda, in the thickest
shade of the vines, and this fragment of dialogue had
passed unnoticed. Rowland submitted a while longer to be cradled,
and contented himself with listening to Mr. Hudson's voice.
It was a soft and not altogether masculine organ, and was pitched
on this occasion in a somewhat plaintive and pettish key.
The young man's mood seemed fretful; he complained of the heat,
of the dust, of a shoe that hurt him, of having gone on an errand
a mile to the other side of the town and found the person he was
in search of had left Northampton an hour before.

"Won't you have a cup of tea?" Cecilia asked. "Perhaps that will
restore your equanimity."

"Aye, by keeping me awake all night!" said Hudson.
"At the best, it 's hard enough to go down to the office.
With my nerves set on edge by a sleepless night, I should
perforce stay at home and be brutal to my poor mother."

"Your mother is well, I hope."

"Oh, she 's as usual."

"And Miss Garland?"

"She 's as usual, too. Every one, everything, is as usual.
Nothing ever happens, in this benighted town."

"I beg your pardon; things do happen, sometimes," said Cecilia.
"Here is a dear cousin of mine arrived on purpose to congratulate
you on your statuette." And she called to Rowland to come and be
introduced to Mr. Hudson. The young man sprang up with alacrity,
and Rowland, coming forward to shake hands, had a good look
at him in the light projected from the parlor window.
Something seemed to shine out of Hudson's face as a warning
against a "compliment" of the idle, unpondered sort.

"Your statuette seems to me very good," Rowland said gravely.
"It has given me extreme pleasure."

"And my cousin knows what is good," said Cecilia.
"He 's a connoisseur."

Hudson smiled and stared. "A connoisseur?" he cried, laughing. "He 's
the first I 've ever seen! Let me see what they look like;" and he drew
Rowland nearer to the light. "Have they all such good heads as that?
I should like to model yours."

"Pray do," said Cecilia. "It will keep him a while.
He is running off to Europe."

"Ah, to Europe!" Hudson exclaimed with a melancholy cadence,
as they sat down. "Happy man!"

But the note seemed to Rowland to be struck rather at random,
for he perceived no echo of it in the boyish garrulity
of his later talk. Hudson was a tall, slender young fellow,
with a singularly mobile and intelligent face.
Rowland was struck at first only with its responsive vivacity,
but in a short time he perceived it was remarkably handsome.
The features were admirably chiseled and finished, and a frank
smile played over them as gracefully as a breeze among flowers.
The fault of the young man's whole structure was an excessive
want of breadth. The forehead, though it was high and rounded,
was narrow; the jaw and the shoulders were narrow;
and the result was an air of insufficient physical substance.
But Mallet afterwards learned that this fair, slim youth could draw
indefinitely upon a mysterious fund of nervous force, which outlasted
and outwearied the endurance of many a sturdier temperament.
And certainly there was life enough in his eye to furnish
an immortality! It was a generous dark gray eye, in which
there came and went a sort of kindling glow, which would
have made a ruder visage striking, and which gave at times
to Hudson's harmonious face an altogether extraordinary beauty.
There was to Rowland's sympathetic sense a slightly
pitiful disparity between the young sculptor's delicate
countenance and the shabby gentility of his costume.
He was dressed for a visit--a visit to a pretty woman.
He was clad from head to foot in a white linen suit,
which had never been remarkable for the felicity of its cut,
and had now quite lost that crispness which garments of this
complexion can as ill spare as the back-scene of a theatre
the radiance of the footlights. He wore a vivid blue cravat,
passed through a ring altogether too splendid to be valuable;
he pulled and twisted, as he sat, a pair of yellow kid gloves;
he emphasized his conversation with great dashes and flourishes
of a light, silver-tipped walking-stick, and he kept constantly
taking off and putting on one of those slouched sombreros
which are the traditional property of the Virginian or Carolinian
of romance. When this was on, he was very picturesque,
in spite of his mock elegance; and when it was off,
and he sat nursing it and turning it about and not knowing
what to do with it, he could hardly be said to be awkward.
He evidently had a natural relish for brilliant accessories,
and appropriated what came to his hand. This was visible
in his talk, which abounded in the florid and sonorous.
He liked words with color in them.

Rowland, who was but a moderate talker, sat by in silence,
while Cecilia, who had told him that she desired his
opinion upon her friend, used a good deal of characteristic
finesse in leading the young man to expose himself.
She perfectly succeeded, and Hudson rattled away for an hour
with a volubility in which boyish unconsciousness and manly
shrewdness were singularly combined. He gave his opinion on
twenty topics, he opened up an endless budget of local gossip,
he described his repulsive routine at the office of Messrs.
Striker and Spooner, counselors at law, and he gave with great
felicity and gusto an account of the annual boat-race between
Harvard and Yale, which he had lately witnessed at Worcester.
He had looked at the straining oarsmen and the swaying crowd
with the eye of the sculptor. Rowland was a good deal
amused and not a little interested. Whenever Hudson uttered
some peculiarly striking piece of youthful grandiloquence,
Cecilia broke into a long, light, familiar laugh.

"What are you laughing at?" the young man then demanded.
"Have I said anything so ridiculous?"

"Go on, go on," Cecilia replied. "You are too delicious!
Show Mr. Mallet how Mr. Striker read the Declaration of Independence."

Hudson, like most men with a turn for the plastic arts, was an
excellent mimic, and he represented with a great deal of humor
the accent and attitude of a pompous country lawyer sustaining
the burden of this customary episode of our national festival.
The sonorous twang, the see-saw gestures, the odd pronunciation,
were vividly depicted. But Cecilia's manner, and the young man's
quick response, ruffled a little poor Rowland's paternal conscience.
He wondered whether his cousin was not sacrificing the faculty
of reverence in her clever protege to her need for amusement.
Hudson made no serious rejoinder to Rowland's compliment
on his statuette until he rose to go. Rowland wondered
whether he had forgotten it, and supposed that the oversight
was a sign of the natural self-sufficiency of genius.
But Hudson stood a moment before he said good night,
twirled his sombrero, and hesitated for the first time.
He gave Rowland a clear, penetrating glance, and then,
with a wonderfully frank, appealing smile: "You really meant,"
he asked, "what you said a while ago about that thing of mine?
It is good--essentially good?"

"I really meant it," said Rowland, laying a kindly hand on his shoulder.
"It is very good indeed. It is, as you say, essentially good.
That is the beauty of it."

Hudson's eyes glowed and expanded; he looked at Rowland for some time
in silence. "I have a notion you really know," he said at last.
"But if you don't, it does n't much matter."

"My cousin asked me to-day," said Cecilia, "whether I supposed
you knew yourself how good it is."

Hudson stared, blushing a little. "Perhaps not!" he cried.

"Very likely," said Mallet. "I read in a book the other day that great
talent in action--in fact the book said genius--is a kind of somnambulism.
The artist performs great feats, in a dream. We must not wake him up,
lest he should lose his balance."

"Oh, when he 's back in bed again!" Hudson answered with a laugh.
"Yes, call it a dream. It was a very happy one!"

"Tell me this," said Rowland. "Did you mean anything
by your young Water-drinker? Does he represent an idea?
Is he a symbol?"

Hudson raised his eyebrows and gently scratched his head.
"Why, he 's youth, you know; he 's innocence, he 's health,
he 's strength, he 's curiosity. Yes, he 's a good many things."

"And is the cup also a symbol?"

"The cup is knowledge, pleasure, experience. Anything of that kind!"

"Well, he 's guzzling in earnest," said Rowland.

Hudson gave a vigorous nod. "Aye, poor fellow, he 's thirsty!"
And on this he cried good night, and bounded down the garden path.

"Well, what do you make of him?" asked Cecilia, returning a short
time afterwards from a visit of investigation as to the sufficiency
of Bessie's bedclothes.

"I confess I like him," said Rowland. "He 's very immature,--
but there 's stuff in him."

"He 's a strange being," said Cecilia, musingly.

"Who are his people? what has been his education?" Rowland asked.

"He has had no education, beyond what he has picked up,
with little trouble, for himself. His mother is a widow,
of a Massachusetts country family, a little timid, tremulous woman,
who is always on pins and needles about her son. She had some
property herself, and married a Virginian gentleman of good estates.
He turned out, I believe, a very licentious personage, and made
great havoc in their fortune. Everything, or almost everything,
melted away, including Mr. Hudson himself. This is literally true,
for he drank himself to death. Ten years ago his wife was left
a widow, with scanty means and a couple of growing boys.
She paid her husband's debts as best she could, and came
to establish herself here, where by the death of a charitable
relative she had inherited an old-fashioned ruinous house.
Roderick, our friend, was her pride and joy, but Stephen, the elder,
was her comfort and support. I remember him, later; he was
an ugly, sturdy, practical lad, very different from his brother,
and in his way, I imagine, a very fine fellow. When the war broke
out he found that the New England blood ran thicker in his veins
than the Virginian, and immediately obtained a commission.
He fell in some Western battle and left his mother inconsolable.
Roderick, however, has given her plenty to think about,
and she has induced him, by some mysterious art, to abide,
nominally at least, in a profession that he abhors, and for which
he is about as fit, I should say, as I am to drive a locomotive.
He grew up a la grace de Dieu, and was horribly spoiled.
Three or four years ago he graduated at a small college in
this neighborhood, where I am afraid he had given a good deal more
attention to novels and billiards than to mathematics and Greek.
Since then he has been reading law, at the rate of a page a day.
If he is ever admitted to practice I 'm afraid my friendship won't
avail to make me give him my business. Good, bad, or indifferent,
the boy is essentially an artist--an artist to his fingers' ends."

"Why, then," asked Rowland, "does n't he deliberately take up the chisel?"

"For several reasons. In the first place, I don't think he more
than half suspects his talent. The flame is smouldering,
but it is never fanned by the breath of criticism.
He sees nothing, hears nothing, to help him to self-knowledge. He
's hopelessly discontented, but he does n't know where to look
for help. Then his mother, as she one day confessed to me,
has a holy horror of a profession which consists exclusively,
as she supposes, in making figures of people without
their clothes on. Sculpture, to her mind, is an insidious
form of immorality, and for a young man of a passionate
disposition she considers the law a much safer investment.
Her father was a judge, she has two brothers at the bar,
and her elder son had made a very promising beginning in
the same line. She wishes the tradition to be perpetuated.
I 'm pretty sure the law won't make Roderick's fortune,
and I 'm afraid it will, in the long run, spoil his temper."

"What sort of a temper is it?"

"One to be trusted, on the whole. It is quick, but it is generous.
I have known it to breathe flame and fury at ten o'clock in the evening,
and soft, sweet music early on the morrow. It 's a very entertaining
temper to observe. I, fortunately, can do so dispassionately,
for I 'm the only person in the place he has not quarreled with."

"Has he then no society? Who is Miss Garland, whom you asked about?"

"A young girl staying with his mother, a sort of far-away cousin;
a good plain girl, but not a person to delight a sculptor's eye.
Roderick has a goodly share of the old Southern arrogance;
he has the aristocratic temperament. He will have nothing
to do with the small towns-people; he says they 're 'ignoble.'
He cannot endure his mother's friends--the old ladies and
the ministers and the tea-party people; they bore him to death.
So he comes and lounges here and rails at everything and every one."

This graceful young scoffer reappeared a couple of evenings later,
and confirmed the friendly feeling he had provoked on Rowland's part.
He was in an easier mood than before, he chattered less extravagantly,
and asked Rowland a number of rather naif questions about
the condition of the fine arts in New York and Boston.
Cecilia, when he had gone, said that this was the wholesome effect
of Rowland's praise of his statuette. Roderick was acutely sensitive,
and Rowland's tranquil commendation had stilled his restless pulses.
He was ruminating the full-flavored verdict of culture. Rowland felt
an irresistible kindness for him, a mingled sense of his personal
charm and his artistic capacity. He had an indefinable attraction--
the something divine of unspotted, exuberant, confident youth.
The next day was Sunday, and Rowland proposed that they should
take a long walk and that Roderick should show him the country.
The young man assented gleefully, and in the morning,
as Rowland at the garden gate was giving his hostess Godspeed
on her way to church, he came striding along the grassy margin
of the road and out-whistling the music of the church bells.
It was one of those lovely days of August when you feel the complete
exuberance of summer just warned and checked by autumn.
"Remember the day, and take care you rob no orchards," said Cecilia,
as they separated.

The young men walked away at a steady pace, over hill and dale,
through woods and fields, and at last found themselves on a grassy
elevation studded with mossy rocks and red cedars. Just beneath them,
in a great shining curve, flowed the goodly Connecticut.
They flung themselves on the grass and tossed stones into the river;
they talked like old friends. Rowland lit a cigar, and Roderick
refused one with a grimace of extravagant disgust. He thought them
vile things; he did n't see how decent people could tolerate them.
Rowland was amused, and wondered what it was that made this ill-mannered
speech seem perfectly inoffensive on Roderick's lips. He belonged
to the race of mortals, to be pitied or envied according as we view
the matter, who are not held to a strict account for their aggressions.
Looking at him as he lay stretched in the shade, Rowland vaguely
likened him to some beautiful, supple, restless, bright-eyed animal,
whose motions should have no deeper warrant than the tremulous delicacy
of its structure, and be graceful even when they were most inconvenient.
Rowland watched the shadows on Mount Holyoke, listened to
the gurgle of the river, and sniffed the balsam of the pines.
A gentle breeze had begun to tickle their summits, and brought
the smell of the mown grass across from the elm-dotted river meadows.
He sat up beside his companion and looked away at the far-spreading view.
It seemed to him beautiful, and suddenly a strange feeling of prospective
regret took possession of him. Something seemed to tell him that later,
in a foreign land, he would remember it lovingly and penitently.

"It 's a wretched business," he said, "this practical quarrel of ours
with our own country, this everlasting impatience to get out of it.
Is one's only safety then in flight? This is an American day,
an American landscape, an American atmosphere. It certainly has
its merits, and some day when I am shivering with ague in classic Italy,
I shall accuse myself of having slighted them."

Roderick kindled with a sympathetic glow, and declared that America was good
enough for him, and that he had always thought it the duty of an honest
citizen to stand by his own country and help it along. He had evidently
thought nothing whatever about it, and was launching his doctrine on
the inspiration of the moment. The doctrine expanded with the occasion,
and he declared that he was above all an advocate for American art.
He did n't see why we should n't produce the greatest works in the world.
We were the biggest people, and we ought to have the biggest conceptions.
The biggest conceptions of course would bring forth in time the
biggest performances. We had only to be true to ourselves, to pitch
in and not be afraid, to fling Imitation overboard and fix our eyes upon
our National Individuality. "I declare," he cried, "there 's a career
for a man, and I 've twenty minds to decide, on the spot, to embrace it--
to be the consummate, typical, original, national American artist!
It 's inspiring!"

Rowland burst out laughing and told him that he liked his practice
better than his theory, and that a saner impulse than this had
inspired his little Water-drinker. Roderick took no offense,
and three minutes afterwards was talking volubly of some humbler theme,
but half heeded by his companion, who had returned to his cogitations.
At last Rowland delivered himself of the upshot of these.
"How would you like," he suddenly demanded, "to go to Rome?"

Hudson stared, and, with a hungry laugh which speedily consigned our National
Individuality to perdition, responded that he would like it reasonably well.
"And I should like, by the same token," he added, "to go to Athens,
to Constantinople, to Damascus, to the holy city of Benares, where there
is a golden statue of Brahma twenty feet tall."

"Nay," said Rowland soberly, "if you were to go to Rome,
you should settle down and work. Athens might help you,
but for the present I should n't recommend Benares."

"It will be time to arrange details when I pack my trunk," said Hudson.

"If you mean to turn sculptor, the sooner you pack your trunk the better."

"Oh, but I 'm a practical man! What is the smallest sum per annum,
on which one can keep alive the sacred fire in Rome?"

"What is the largest sum at your disposal?"

Roderick stroked his light moustache, gave it a twist, and then
announced with mock pomposity: "Three hundred dollars!"

"The money question could be arranged," said Rowland.
"There are ways of raising money."

"I should like to know a few! I never yet discovered one."

"One consists," said Rowland, "in having a friend with a good deal
more than he wants, and not being too proud to accept a part of it.

Roderick stared a moment and his face flushed. "Do you mean--
do you mean?".... he stammered. He was greatly excited.

Rowland got up, blushing a little, and Roderick sprang to his feet.
"In three words, if you are to be a sculptor, you ought to go
to Rome and study the antique. To go to Rome you need money.
I 'm fond of fine statues, but unfortunately I can't make them myself.
I have to order them. I order a dozen from you, to be executed
at your convenience. To help you, I pay you in advance."

Roderick pushed off his hat and wiped his forehead, still gazing
at his companion. "You believe in me!" he cried at last.

"Allow me to explain," said Rowland. "I believe in you,
if you are prepared to work and to wait, and to struggle,
and to exercise a great many virtues. And then, I 'm afraid
to say it, lest I should disturb you more than I should help you.
You must decide for yourself. I simply offer you an opportunity."

Hudson stood for some time, profoundly meditative.
"You have not seen my other things," he said suddenly.
"Come and look at them."


"Yes, we 'll walk home. We 'll settle the question."

He passed his hand through Rowland's arm and they retraced their steps.
They reached the town and made their way along a broad
country street, dusky with the shade of magnificent elms.
Rowland felt his companion's arm trembling in his own.
They stopped at a large white house, flanked with melancholy hemlocks,
and passed through a little front garden, paved with moss-coated
bricks and ornamented with parterres bordered with high box hedges.
The mansion had an air of antiquated dignity, but it had seen
its best days, and evidently sheltered a shrunken household.
Mrs. Hudson, Rowland was sure, might be seen in the garden
of a morning, in a white apron and a pair of old gloves,
engaged in frugal horticulture. Roderick's studio was behind,
in the basement; a large, empty room, with the paper peeling off
the walls. This represented, in the fashion of fifty years ago,
a series of small fantastic landscapes of a hideous pattern,
and the young sculptor had presumably torn it away in great scraps,
in moments of aesthetic exasperation. On a board in a corner
was a heap of clay, and on the floor, against the wall, stood some
dozen medallions, busts, and figures, in various stages of completion.
To exhibit them Roderick had to place them one by one on
the end of a long packing-box, which served as a pedestal.
He did so silently, making no explanations, and looking
at them himself with a strange air of quickened curiosity.
Most of the things were portraits; and the three at which he looked
longest were finished busts. One was a colossal head of a negro,
tossed back, defiant, with distended nostrils; one was the portrait
of a young man whom Rowland immediately perceived, by the resemblance,
to be his deceased brother; the last represented a gentleman with
a pointed nose, a long, shaved upper lip, and a tuft on the end
of his chin. This was a face peculiarly unadapted to sculpture;
but as a piece of modeling it was the best, and it was admirable.
It reminded Rowland in its homely veracity, its artless artfulness,
of the works of the early Italian Renaissance. On the pedestal
was cut the name--Barnaby Striker, Esq. Rowland remembered that this
was the appellation of the legal luminary from whom his companion
had undertaken to borrow a reflected ray, and although in the bust
there was naught flagrantly set down in malice, it betrayed,
comically to one who could relish the secret, that the features
of the original had often been scanned with an irritated eye.
Besides these there were several rough studies of the nude,
and two or three figures of a fanciful kind. The most noticeable
(and it had singular beauty) was a small modeled design for
a sepulchral monument; that, evidently, of Stephen Hudson.
The young soldier lay sleeping eternally, with his hand on his sword,
like an old crusader in a Gothic cathedral.

Rowland made no haste to pronounce; too much depended on his judgment.
"Upon my word," cried Hudson at last, "they seem to me very good."

And in truth, as Rowland looked, he saw they were good.
They were youthful, awkward, and ignorant; the effort,
often, was more apparent than the success. But the effort
was signally powerful and intelligent; it seemed to Rowland
that it needed only to let itself go to compass great things.
Here and there, too, success, when grasped, had something masterly.
Rowland turned to his companion, who stood with his hands in his
pockets and his hair very much crumpled, looking at him askance.
The light of admiration was in Rowland's eyes, and it speedily
kindled a wonderful illumination on Hudson's handsome brow.
Rowland said at last, gravely, "You have only to work!"

"I think I know what that means," Roderick answered.
He turned away, threw himself on a rickety chair, and sat for some
moments with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands.
"Work--work?" he said at last, looking up, "ah, if I could only begin!"
He glanced round the room a moment and his eye encountered on
the mantel-shelf the vivid physiognomy of Mr. Barnaby Striker.
His smile vanished, and he stared at it with an air of concentrated enmity.
"I want to begin," he cried, "and I can't make a better beginning than this!
Good-by, Mr. Striker!" He strode across the room, seized a mallet
that lay at hand, and before Rowland could interfere, in the interest
of art if not of morals, dealt a merciless blow upon Mr. Striker's skull.
The bust cracked into a dozen pieces, which toppled with a great crash
upon the floor. Rowland relished neither the destruction of the image
nor his companion's look in working it, but as he was about to express
his displeasure the door opened and gave passage to a young girl.
She came in with a rapid step and startled face, as if she had
been summoned by the noise. Seeing the heap of shattered clay
and the mallet in Roderick's hand, she gave a cry of horror.
Her voice died away when she perceived that Rowland was a stranger,
but she murmured reproachfully, "Why, Roderick, what have you done?"

Roderick gave a joyous kick to the shapeless fragments.
"I 've driven the money-changers out of the temple!" he cried.

The traces retained shape enough to be recognized, and she gave a little
moan of pity. She seemed not to understand the young man's allegory,
but yet to feel that it pointed to some great purpose, which must
be an evil one, from being expressed in such a lawless fashion,
and to perceive that Rowland was in some way accountable for it.
She looked at him with a sharp, frank mistrust, and turned away through
the open door. Rowland looked after her with extraordinary interest.

CHAPTER II. Roderick

Early on the morrow Rowland received a visit from his new friend.
Roderick was in a state of extreme exhilaration, tempered, however, by a
certain amount of righteous wrath. He had had a domestic struggle,
but he had remained master of the situation. He had shaken the dust
of Mr. Striker's office from his feet.

"I had it out last night with my mother," he said.
"I dreaded the scene, for she takes things terribly hard.
She does n't scold nor storm, and she does n't argue nor insist.
She sits with her eyes full of tears that never fall, and looks at me,
when I displease her, as if I were a perfect monster of depravity.
And the trouble is that I was born to displease her.
She does n't trust me; she never has and she never will.
I don't know what I have done to set her against me, but ever
since I can remember I have been looked at with tears.
The trouble is," he went on, giving a twist to his moustache,
"I 've been too absurdly docile. I 've been sprawling all my
days by the maternal fireside, and my dear mother has grown used
to bullying me. I 've made myself cheap! If I 'm not in my bed
by eleven o'clock, the girl is sent out to explore with a lantern.
When I think of it, I fairly despise my amiability. It 's rather
a hard fate, to live like a saint and to pass for a sinner!
I should like for six months to lead Mrs. Hudson the life
some fellows lead their mothers!"

"Allow me to believe," said Rowland, "that you would like nothing of
the sort. If you have been a good boy, don't spoil it by pretending you don't
like it. You have been very happy, I suspect, in spite of your virtues,
and there are worse fates in the world than being loved too well.
I have not had the pleasure of seeing your mother, but I would lay you
a wager that that is the trouble. She is passionately fond of you,
and her hopes, like all intense hopes, keep trembling into fears."
Rowland, as he spoke, had an instinctive vision of how such a beautiful
young fellow must be loved by his female relatives.

Roderick frowned, and with an impatient gesture, "I do her justice,"
he cried. "May she never do me less!" Then after a moment's
hesitation, "I 'll tell you the perfect truth," he went on.
"I have to fill a double place. I have to be my brother as well
as myself. It 's a good deal to ask of a man, especially when
he has so little talent as I for being what he is not.
When we were both young together I was the curled darling.
I had the silver mug and the biggest piece of pudding,
and I stayed in-doors to be kissed by the ladies while he made
mud-pies in the garden and was never missed, of course.
Really, he was worth fifty of me! When he was brought
home from Vicksburg with a piece of shell in his skull,
my poor mother began to think she had n't loved him enough.
I remember, as she hung round my neck sobbing, before his coffin,
she told me that I must be to her everything that he would have been.
I swore in tears and in perfect good faith that I would, but naturally
I have not kept my promise. I have been utterly different.
I have been idle, restless, egotistical, discontented.
I have done no harm, I believe, but I have done no good.
My brother, if he had lived, would have made fifty
thousand dollars and put gas and water into the house.
My mother, brooding night and day on her bereavement,
has come to fix her ideal in offices of that sort.
Judged by that standard I 'm nowhere!"

Rowland was at loss how to receive this account of his friend's
domestic circumstances; it was plaintive, and yet the manner
seemed to him over-trenchant. "You must lose no time in making
a masterpiece," he answered; "then with the proceeds you can
give her gas from golden burners."

"So I have told her; but she only half believes either in masterpiece
or in proceeds. She can see no good in my making statues;
they seem to her a snare of the enemy. She would fain see me
all my life tethered to the law, like a browsing goat to a stake.
In that way I 'm in sight. 'It 's a more regular occupation!'
that 's all I can get out of her. A more regular damnation!
Is it a fact that artists, in general, are such wicked men?
I never had the pleasure of knowing one, so I could n't
confute her with an example. She had the advantage of me,
because she formerly knew a portrait-painter at Richmond,
who did her miniature in black lace mittens (you may see it on
the parlor table), who used to drink raw brandy and beat his wife.
I promised her that, whatever I might do to my wife, I would never beat
my mother, and that as for brandy, raw or diluted, I detested it.
She sat silently crying for an hour, during which I expended
treasures of eloquence. It 's a good thing to have to reckon
up one's intentions, and I assure you, as I pleaded my cause,
I was most agreeably impressed with the elevated character of my own.
I kissed her solemnly at last, and told her that I had said
everything and that she must make the best of it. This morning she
has dried her eyes, but I warrant you it is n't a cheerful house.
I long to be out of it!"

"I 'm extremely sorry," said Rowland, "to have been the prime
cause of so much suffering. I owe your mother some amends;
will it be possible for me to see her?"

"If you 'll see her, it will smooth matters vastly;
though to tell the truth she 'll need all her courage to face you,
for she considers you an agent of the foul fiend. She does
n't see why you should have come here and set me by the ears:
you are made to ruin ingenuous youths and desolate doting mothers.
I leave it to you, personally, to answer these charges.
You see, what she can't forgive--what she 'll not
really ever forgive--is your taking me off to Rome.
Rome is an evil word, in my mother's vocabulary, to be said
in a whisper, as you 'd say 'damnation.' Northampton is in
the centre of the earth and Rome far away in outlying dusk,
into which it can do no Christian any good to penetrate.
And there was I but yesterday a doomed habitue of that repository
of every virtue, Mr. Striker's office!"

"And does Mr. Striker know of your decision?" asked Rowland.

"To a certainty! Mr. Striker, you must know, is not
simply a good-natured attorney, who lets me dog's-ear his
law-books. He's a particular friend and general adviser.
He looks after my mother's property and kindly consents
to regard me as part of it. Our opinions have always been
painfully divergent, but I freely forgive him his zealous attempts
to unscrew my head-piece and set it on hind part before.
He never understood me, and it was useless to try to make him.
We speak a different language--we 're made of a different clay.
I had a fit of rage yesterday when I smashed his bust,
at the thought of all the bad blood he had stirred up in me;
it did me good, and it 's all over now. I don't hate him any more;
I 'm rather sorry for him. See how you 've improved me!
I must have seemed to him wilfully, wickedly stupid, and I 'm sure
he only tolerated me on account of his great regard for my mother.
This morning I grasped the bull by the horns. I took an armful
of law-books that have been gathering the dust in my room for
the last year and a half, and presented myself at the office.
'Allow me to put these back in their places,' I said.
'I shall never have need for them more--never more, never more,
never more!' 'So you 've learned everything they contain?'
asked Striker, leering over his spectacles. 'Better late
than never.' 'I 've learned nothing that you can teach me,'
I cried. 'But I shall tax your patience no longer.
I 'm going to be a sculptor. I 'm going to Rome.
I won't bid you good-by just yet; I shall see you again.
But I bid good-by here, with rapture, to these four detested walls--
to this living tomb! I did n't know till now how I hated it!
My compliments to Mr. Spooner, and my thanks for all you
have not made of me!' "

"I 'm glad to know you are to see Mr. Striker again,"
Rowland answered, correcting a primary inclination to smile.
"You certainly owe him a respectful farewell, even if he has
not understood you. I confess you rather puzzle me.
There is another person," he presently added, "whose opinion
as to your new career I should like to know. What does
Miss Garland think?"

Hudson looked at him keenly, with a slight blush.
Then, with a conscious smile, "What makes you suppose she
thinks anything?" he asked.

"Because, though I saw her but for a moment yesterday,
she struck me as a very intelligent person, and I am sure
she has opinions."

The smile on Roderick's mobile face passed rapidly into a frown.
"Oh, she thinks what I think!" he answered.

Before the two young men separated Rowland attempted to give
as harmonious a shape as possible to his companion's scheme.
"I have launched you, as I may say," he said, "and I feel as if I ought
to see you into port. I am older than you and know the world better,
and it seems well that we should voyage a while together.
It 's on my conscience that I ought to take you to Rome, walk you
through the Vatican, and then lock you up with a heap of clay.
I sail on the fifth of September; can you make your preparations
to start with me?"

Roderick assented to all this with an air of candid confidence
in his friend's wisdom that outshone the virtue of pledges.
"I have no preparations to make," he said with a smile,
raising his arms and letting them fall, as if to indicate his
unencumbered condition. "What I am to take with me I carry here!"
and he tapped his forehead.

"Happy man!" murmured Rowland with a sigh, thinking of the light stowage,
in his own organism, in the region indicated by Roderick, and of the heavy
one in deposit at his banker's, of bags and boxes.

When his companion had left him he went in search of Cecilia.
She was sitting at work at a shady window, and welcomed him to a low
chintz-covered chair. He sat some time, thoughtfully snipping tape with
her scissors; he expected criticism and he was preparing a rejoinder.
At last he told her of Roderick's decision and of his own influence in it.
Cecilia, besides an extreme surprise, exhibited a certain fine displeasure
at his not having asked her advice.

"What would you have said, if I had?" he demanded.

"I would have said in the first place, 'Oh for pity's sake don't
carry off the person in all Northampton who amuses me most!'
I would have said in the second place, 'Nonsense! the boy is doing
very well. Let well alone!' "

"That in the first five minutes. What would you have said later?"

"That for a man who is generally averse to meddling, you were
suddenly rather officious."

Rowland's countenance fell. He frowned in silence.
Cecilia looked at him askance; gradually the spark of irritation
faded from her eye.

"Excuse my sharpness," she resumed at last.
"But I am literally in despair at losing Roderick Hudson.
His visits in the evening, for the past year, have kept me alive.
They have given a silver tip to leaden days. I don't say
he is of a more useful metal than other people, but he is
of a different one. Of course, however, that I shall miss him
sadly is not a reason for his not going to seek his fortune.
Men must work and women must weep!"

"Decidedly not!" said Rowland, with a good deal of emphasis.
He had suspected from the first hour of his stay that Cecilia had
treated herself to a private social luxury; he had then discovered
that she found it in Hudson's lounging visits and boyish chatter,
and he had felt himself wondering at last whether, judiciously viewed,
her gain in the matter was not the young man's loss.
It was evident that Cecilia was not judicious, and that her good sense,
habitually rigid under the demands of domestic economy, indulged itself
with a certain agreeable laxity on this particular point.
She liked her young friend just as he was; she humored him, flattered him,
laughed at him, caressed him--did everything but advise him.
It was a flirtation without the benefits of a flirtation.
She was too old to let him fall in love with her, which might
have done him good; and her inclination was to keep him young,
so that the nonsense he talked might never transgress a certain line.
It was quite conceivable that poor Cecilia should relish a pastime;
but if one had philanthropically embraced the idea that something
considerable might be made of Roderick, it was impossible not
to see that her friendship was not what might be called tonic.
So Rowland reflected, in the glow of his new-born sympathy.
There was a later time when he would have been grateful if Hudson's
susceptibility to the relaxing influence of lovely women might
have been limited to such inexpensive tribute as he rendered
the excellent Cecilia.

"I only desire to remind you," she pursued, "that you are likely
to have your hands full."

"I 've thought of that, and I rather like the idea; liking, as I do, the man.
I told you the other day, you know, that I longed to have something on
my hands. When it first occurred to me that I might start our young friend
on the path of glory, I felt as if I had an unimpeachable inspiration.
Then I remembered there were dangers and difficulties, and asked myself
whether I had a right to step in between him and his obscurity.
My sense of his really having the divine flame answered the question.
He is made to do the things that humanity is the happier for!
I can't do such things myself, but when I see a young man of genius
standing helpless and hopeless for want of capital, I feel--and it 's
no affectation of humility, I assure you--as if it would give at least
a reflected usefulness to my own life to offer him his opportunity."

"In the name of humanity, I suppose, I ought to thank you.
But I want, first of all, to be happy myself. You guarantee
us at any rate, I hope, the masterpieces."

"A masterpiece a year," said Rowland smiling, "for the next quarter
of a century."

"It seems to me that we have a right to ask more: to demand
that you guarantee us not only the development of the artist,
but the security of the man."

Rowland became grave again. "His security?"

"His moral, his sentimental security. Here, you see,
it 's perfect. We are all under a tacit compact to preserve it.
Perhaps you believe in the necessary turbulence of genius,
and you intend to enjoin upon your protege the importance
of cultivating his passions."

"On the contrary, I believe that a man of genius owes as much deference
to his passions as any other man, but not a particle more, and I confess I
have a strong conviction that the artist is better for leading a quiet life.
That is what I shall preach to my protege, as you call him, by example
as well as by precept. You evidently believe," he added in a moment,
"that he will lead me a dance."

"Nay, I prophesy nothing. I only think that circumstances,
with our young man, have a great influence; as is proved
by the fact that although he has been fuming and fretting here
for the last five years, he has nevertheless managed to make
the best of it, and found it easy, on the whole, to vegetate.
Transplanted to Rome, I fancy he 'll put forth a denser leafage.
I should like vastly to see the change. You must write me
about it, from stage to stage. I hope with all my heart
that the fruit will be proportionate to the foliage.
Don't think me a bird of ill omen; only remember that you
will be held to a strict account."

"A man should make the most of himself, and be helped if he needs help,"
Rowland answered, after a long pause. "Of course when a body
begins to expand, there comes in the possibility of bursting;
but I nevertheless approve of a certain tension of one's being.
It 's what a man is meant for. And then I believe in the essential
salubrity of genius--true genius."

"Very good," said Cecilia, with an air of resignation which
made Rowland, for the moment, seem to himself culpably eager.
"We 'll drink then to-day at dinner to the health of our friend."

* * *

Having it much at heart to convince Mrs. Hudson of the purity of
his intentions, Rowland waited upon her that evening. He was ushered into
a large parlor, which, by the light of a couple of candles, he perceived
to be very meagrely furnished and very tenderly and sparingly used.
The windows were open to the air of the summer night, and a circle
of three persons was temporarily awed into silence by his appearance.
One of these was Mrs. Hudson, who was sitting at one of the windows,
empty-handed save for the pocket-handkerchief in her lap,
which was held with an air of familiarity with its sadder uses.
Near her, on the sofa, half sitting, half lounging, in the attitude
of a visitor outstaying ceremony, with one long leg flung over the other
and a large foot in a clumsy boot swinging to and fro continually,
was a lean, sandy-haired gentleman whom Rowland recognized as the original
of the portrait of Mr. Barnaby Striker. At the table, near the candles,
busy with a substantial piece of needle-work, sat the young girl
of whom he had had a moment's quickened glimpse in Roderick's studio,
and whom he had learned to be Miss Garland, his companion's kinswoman.
This young lady's limpid, penetrating gaze was the most effective
greeting he received. Mrs. Hudson rose with a soft, vague sound
of distress, and stood looking at him shrinkingly and waveringly,
as if she were sorely tempted to retreat through the open window.
Mr. Striker swung his long leg a trifle defiantly. No one, evidently,
was used to offering hollow welcomes or telling polite fibs.
Rowland introduced himself; he had come, he might say, upon business.

"Yes," said Mrs. Hudson tremulously; "I know--my son has told me.
I suppose it is better I should see you. Perhaps you will take a seat."

With this invitation Rowland prepared to comply, and, turning,
grasped the first chair that offered itself.

"Not that one," said a full, grave voice; whereupon he perceived
that a quantity of sewing-silk had been suspended and entangled
over the back, preparatory to being wound on reels.
He felt the least bit irritated at the curtness of the warning,
coming as it did from a young woman whose countenance he had
mentally pronounced interesting, and with regard to whom
he was conscious of the germ of the inevitable desire to produce
a responsive interest. And then he thought it would break
the ice to say something playfully urbane.

"Oh, you should let me take the chair," he answered, "and have the pleasure
of holding the skeins myself!"

For all reply to this sally he received a stare of
undisguised amazement from Miss Garland, who then looked
across at Mrs. Hudson with a glance which plainly said:
"You see he 's quite the insidious personage we feared."
The elder lady, however, sat with her eyes fixed on the ground
and her two hands tightly clasped. But touching her Rowland
felt much more compassion than resentment; her attitude
was not coldness, it was a kind of dread, almost a terror.
She was a small, eager woman, with a pale, troubled face,
which added to her apparent age. After looking at her for some
minutes Rowland saw that she was still young, and that she must
have been a very girlish bride. She had been a pretty one, too,
though she probably had looked terribly frightened at the altar.
She was very delicately made, and Roderick had come honestly
by his physical slimness and elegance. She wore no cap,
and her flaxen hair, which was of extraordinary fineness,
was smoothed and confined with Puritanic precision.
She was excessively shy, and evidently very humble-minded;
it was singular to see a woman to whom the experience
of life had conveyed so little reassurance as to her own
resources or the chances of things turning out well.
Rowland began immediately to like her, and to feel impatient
to persuade her that there was no harm in him, and that,
twenty to one, her son would make her a well-pleased woman yet.
He foresaw that she would be easy to persuade, and that a benevolent
conversational tone would probably make her pass, fluttering,
from distrust into an oppressive extreme of confidence.
But he had an indefinable sense that the person who was testing
that strong young eyesight of hers in the dim candle-light was less
readily beguiled from her mysterious feminine preconceptions.
Miss Garland, according to Cecilia's judgment, as Rowland remembered,
had not a countenance to inspire a sculptor; but it seemed
to Rowland that her countenance might fairly inspire a man who
was far from being a sculptor. She was not pretty, as the eye
of habit judges prettiness, but when you made the observation
you somehow failed to set it down against her, for you had
already passed from measuring contours to tracing meanings.
In Mary Garland's face there were many possible ones,
and they gave you the more to think about that it was not--
like Roderick Hudson's, for instance--a quick and mobile face,
over which expression flickered like a candle in a wind.
They followed each other slowly, distinctly, gravely, sincerely,
and you might almost have fancied that, as they came and went,
they gave her a sort of pain. She was tall and slender,
and had an air of maidenly strength and decision.
She had a broad forehead and dark eyebrows, a trifle thicker than
those of classic beauties; her gray eye was clear but not brilliant,
and her features were perfectly irregular. Her mouth was large,
fortunately for the principal grace of her physiognomy was
her smile, which displayed itself with magnificent amplitude.
Rowland, indeed, had not yet seen her smile, but something
assured him that her rigid gravity had a radiant counterpart.
She wore a scanty white dress, and had a nameless rustic air
which would have led one to speak of her less as a young lady
than as a young woman. She was evidently a girl of a great
personal force, but she lacked pliancy. She was hemming
a kitchen towel with the aid of a large steel thimble.
She bent her serious eyes at last on her work again, and let
Rowland explain himself.

"I have become suddenly so very intimate with your son,"
he said at last, addressing himself to Mrs. Hudson, "that it
seems just I should make your acquaintance."

"Very just," murmured the poor lady, and after a moment's hesitation was
on the point of adding something more; but Mr. Striker here interposed,
after a prefatory clearance of the throat.

"I should like to take the liberty," he said, "of addressing you
a simple question. For how long a period of time have you been
acquainted with our young friend?" He continued to kick the air,
but his head was thrown back and his eyes fixed on the opposite wall,
as if in aversion to the spectacle of Rowland's inevitable confusion.

"A very short time, I confess. Hardly three days."

"And yet you call yourself intimate, eh? I have been seeing Mr. Roderick
daily these three years, and yet it was only this morning that I felt
as if I had at last the right to say that I knew him. We had a few moments'
conversation in my office which supplied the missing links in the evidence.
So that now I do venture to say I 'm acquainted with Mr. Roderick!
But wait three years, sir, like me!" and Mr. Striker laughed, with a closed
mouth and a noiseless shake of all his long person.

Mrs. Hudson smiled confusedly, at hazard; Miss Garland kept her eyes on
her stitches. But it seemed to Rowland that the latter colored a little.
"Oh, in three years, of course," he said, "we shall know each other better.
Before many years are over, madam," he pursued, "I expect the world
to know him. I expect him to be a great man!"

Mrs. Hudson looked at first as if this could be but an insidious
device for increasing her distress by the assistance of irony.
Then reassured, little by little, by Rowland's benevolent visage,
she gave him an appealing glance and a timorous "Really?"

But before Rowland could respond, Mr. Striker again intervened.
"Do I fully apprehend your expression?" he asked.
"Our young friend is to become a great man?"

"A great artist, I hope," said Rowland.

"This is a new and interesting view," said Mr. Striker, with an assumption
of judicial calmness. "We have had hopes for Mr. Roderick, but I confess,
if I have rightly understood them, they stopped short of greatness.
We should n't have taken the responsibility of claiming it for him.
What do you say, ladies? We all feel about him here--his mother,
Miss Garland, and myself--as if his merits were rather in the line
of the"--and Mr. Striker waved his hand with a series of fantastic
flourishes in the air--"of the light ornamental!" Mr. Striker bore
his recalcitrant pupil a grudge, but he was evidently trying both
to be fair and to respect the susceptibilities of his companions.
But he was unversed in the mysterious processes of feminine emotion.
Ten minutes before, there had been a general harmony of sombre views;
but on hearing Roderick's limitations thus distinctly formulated to
a stranger, the two ladies mutely protested. Mrs. Hudson uttered a short,
faint sigh, and Miss Garland raised her eyes toward their advocate
and visited him with a short, cold glance.

"I 'm afraid, Mrs. Hudson," Rowland pursued, evading the discussion of
Roderick's possible greatness, "that you don't at all thank me for stirring
up your son's ambition on a line which leads him so far from home.
I suspect I have made you my enemy."

Mrs. Hudson covered her mouth with her finger-tips and looked
painfully perplexed between the desire to confess the truth
and the fear of being impolite. "My cousin is no one's enemy,"
Miss Garland hereupon declared, gently, but with that same fine
deliberateness with which she had made Rowland relax his grasp
of the chair.

"Does she leave that to you?" Rowland ventured to ask,
with a smile.

"We are inspired with none but Christian sentiments,"
said Mr. Striker; "Miss Garland perhaps most of all. Miss Garland,"
and Mr. Striker waved his hand again as if to perform an introduction
which had been regrettably omitted, "is the daughter of a minister,
the granddaughter of a minister, the sister of a minister."
Rowland bowed deferentially, and the young girl went on with her sewing,
with nothing, apparently, either of embarrassment or elation
at the promulgation of these facts. Mr. Striker continued:
"Mrs. Hudson, I see, is too deeply agitated to converse with
you freely. She will allow me to address you a few questions.
Would you kindly inform her, as exactly as possible, just what you
propose to do with her son?"

The poor lady fixed her eyes appealingly on Rowland's face
and seemed to say that Mr. Striker had spoken her desire,
though she herself would have expressed it less defiantly.
But Rowland saw in Mr. Striker's many-wrinkled light blue eye,
shrewd at once and good-natured, that he had no intention of defiance,
and that he was simply pompous and conceited and sarcastically
compassionate of any view of things in which Roderick Hudson
was regarded in a serious light.

"Do, my dear madam?" demanded Rowland. "I don't propose to do anything.
He must do for himself. I simply offer him the chance. He 's to study,
to work--hard, I hope."

"Not too hard, please," murmured Mrs. Hudson, pleadingly,
wheeling about from recent visions of dangerous leisure.
"He 's not very strong, and I 'm afraid the climate of Europe
is very relaxing."

"Ah, study?" repeated Mr. Striker. "To what line of study is he to direct
his attention?" Then suddenly, with an impulse of disinterested curiosity
on his own account, "How do you study sculpture, anyhow?"

"By looking at models and imitating them."

"At models, eh? To what kind of models do you refer?"

"To the antique, in the first place."

"Ah, the antique," repeated Mr. Striker, with a jocose intonation.
"Do you hear, madam? Roderick is going off to Europe to learn
to imitate the antique."

"I suppose it 's all right," said Mrs. Hudson, twisting herself
in a sort of delicate anguish.

"An antique, as I understand it," the lawyer continued,
"is an image of a pagan deity, with considerable dirt
sticking to it, and no arms, no nose, and no clothing.
A precious model, certainly!"

"That 's a very good description of many," said Rowland,
with a laugh.

"Mercy! Truly?" asked Mrs. Hudson, borrowing courage from his urbanity.

"But a sculptor's studies, you intimate, are not confined to the antique,"
Mr. Striker resumed. "After he has been looking three or four years
at the objects I describe"--

"He studies the living model," said Rowland.

"Does it take three or four years?" asked Mrs. Hudson, imploringly.

"That depends upon the artist's aptitude. After twenty years
a real artist is still studying."

"Oh, my poor boy!" moaned Mrs. Hudson, finding the prospect,
under every light, still terrible.

"Now this study of the living model," Mr. Striker pursued.
"Inform Mrs. Hudson about that."

"Oh dear, no!" cried Mrs. Hudson, shrinkingly.

"That too," said Rowland, "is one of the reasons for studying in Rome.
It 's a handsome race, you know, and you find very well-made people."

"I suppose they 're no better made than a good tough Yankee,"
objected Mr. Striker, transposing his interminable legs.
"The same God made us."

"Surely," sighed Mrs. Hudson, but with a questioning glance at her
visitor which showed that she had already begun to concede much
weight to his opinion. Rowland hastened to express his assent
to Mr. Striker's proposition.

Miss Garland looked up, and, after a moment's hesitation:
"Are the Roman women very beautiful?" she asked.

Rowland too, in answering, hesitated; he was looking straight
at the young girl. "On the whole, I prefer ours," he said.

She had dropped her work in her lap; her hands were crossed
upon it, her head thrown a little back. She had evidently
expected a more impersonal answer, and she was dissatisfied.
For an instant she seemed inclined to make a rejoinder,
but she slowly picked up her work in silence and drew
her stitches again.

Rowland had for the second time the feeling that she judged him
to be a person of a disagreeably sophisticated tone. He noticed
too that the kitchen towel she was hemming was terribly coarse.
And yet his answer had a resonant inward echo, and he repeated
to himself, "Yes, on the whole, I prefer ours."

"Well, these models," began Mr. Striker. "You put them into
an attitude, I suppose."

"An attitude, exactly."

"And then you sit down and look at them."

"You must not sit too long. You must go at your clay and try
to build up something that looks like them."

"Well, there you are with your model in an attitude on
one side, yourself, in an attitude too, I suppose, on the other,
and your pile of clay in the middle, building up, as you say.
So you pass the morning. After that I hope you go out and take
a walk, and rest from your exertions."

"Unquestionably. But to a sculptor who loves his work there is no time lost.
Everything he looks at teaches or suggests something."

"That 's a tempting doctrine to young men with a taste for sitting
by the hour with the page unturned, watching the flies buzz,
or the frost melt on the window-pane. Our young friend, in this way,
must have laid up stores of information which I never suspected!"

"Very likely," said Rowland, with an unresentful smile, "he will prove
some day the completer artist for some of those lazy reveries."

This theory was apparently very grateful to Mrs. Hudson, who had
never had the case put for her son with such ingenious hopefulness,
and found herself disrelishing the singular situation of seeming
to side against her own flesh and blood with a lawyer whose
conversational tone betrayed the habit of cross-questioning.

"My son, then," she ventured to ask, "my son has great--
what you would call great powers?"

"To my sense, very great powers."

Poor Mrs. Hudson actually smiled, broadly, gleefully, and glanced
at Miss Garland, as if to invite her to do likewise.
But the young girl's face remained serious, like the eastern
sky when the opposite sunset is too feeble to make it glow.
"Do you really know?" she asked, looking at Rowland.

"One cannot know in such a matter save after proof, and proof takes time.
But one can believe."

"And you believe?"

"I believe."

But even then Miss Garland vouchsafed no smile.
Her face became graver than ever.

"Well, well," said Mrs. Hudson, "we must hope that it is all for the best."

Mr. Striker eyed his old friend for a moment with a look of
some displeasure; he saw that this was but a cunning feminine
imitation of resignation, and that, through some untraceable process
of transition, she was now taking more comfort in the opinions
of this insinuating stranger than in his own tough dogmas.
He rose to his feet, without pulling down his waistcoat,
but with a wrinkled grin at the inconsistency of women.
"Well, sir, Mr. Roderick's powers are nothing to me," he said,
"nor no use he makes of them. Good or bad, he 's no son of mine.
But, in a friendly way, I 'm glad to hear so fine an account of him.
I 'm glad, madam, you 're so satisfied with the prospect.
Affection, sir, you see, must have its guarantees!"
He paused a moment, stroking his beard, with his head
inclined and one eye half-closed, looking at Rowland.
The look was grotesque, but it was significant, and it
puzzled Rowland more than it amused him. "I suppose you 're
a very brilliant young man," he went on, "very enlightened,
very cultivated, quite up to the mark in the fine arts
and all that sort of thing. I 'm a plain, practical old boy,
content to follow an honorable profession in a free country.
I did n't go off to the Old World to learn my business;
no one took me by the hand; I had to grease my wheels myself,
and, such as I am, I 'm a self-made man, every inch of me!
Well, if our young friend is booked for fame and fortune,
I don't suppose his going to Rome will stop him.
But, mind you, it won't help him such a long way, either.
If you have undertaken to put him through, there 's a thing
or two you 'd better remember. The crop we gather depends upon
the seed we sow. He may be the biggest genius of the age:
his potatoes won't come up without his hoeing them.
If he takes things so almighty easy as--well, as one or two
young fellows of genius I 've had under my eye--his produce
will never gain the prize. Take the word for it of a man who has
made his way inch by inch, and does n't believe that we 'll
wake up to find our work done because we 've lain all night
a-dreaming of it; anything worth doing is devilish hard to do!
If your young protajay finds things easy and has a good time
and says he likes the life, it 's a sign that--as I may say--
you had better step round to the office and look at the books.
That 's all I desire to remark. No offense intended.
I hope you 'll have a first-rate time."

Rowland could honestly reply that this seemed pregnant sense,
and he offered Mr. Striker a friendly hand-shake as the latter withdrew.
But Mr. Striker's rather grim view of matters cast a momentary shadow
on his companions, and Mrs. Hudson seemed to feel that it necessitated
between them some little friendly agreement not to be overawed.

Rowland sat for some time longer, partly because he wished to please
the two women and partly because he was strangely pleased himself.
There was something touching in their unworldly fears and diffident hopes,
something almost terrible in the way poor little Mrs. Hudson
seemed to flutter and quiver with intense maternal passion.
She put forth one timid conversational venture after another,
and asked Rowland a number of questions about himself, his age,
his family, his occupations, his tastes, his religious opinions.
Rowland had an odd feeling at last that she had begun to consider him
very exemplary, and that she might make, later, some perturbing discovery.
He tried, therefore, to invent something that would prepare
her to find him fallible. But he could think of nothing.
It only seemed to him that Miss Garland secretly mistrusted him,
and that he must leave her to render him the service, after he
had gone, of making him the object of a little firm derogation.
Mrs. Hudson talked with low-voiced eagerness about her son.

"He 's very lovable, sir, I assure you. When you come to know him
you 'll find him very lovable. He 's a little spoiled, of course;
he has always done with me as he pleased; but he 's a good boy,
I 'm sure he 's a good boy. And every one thinks him very attractive:
I 'm sure he 'd be noticed, anywhere. Don't you think
he 's very handsome, sir? He features his poor father.
I had another--perhaps you 've been told. He was killed."
And the poor little lady bravely smiled, for fear of doing worse.
"He was a very fine boy, but very different from Roderick.
Roderick is a little strange; he has never been an easy boy.
Sometimes I feel like the goose--was n't it a goose, dear?"
and startled by the audacity of her comparison she appealed to Miss
Garland--"the goose, or the hen, who hatched a swan's egg.
I have never been able to give him what he needs. I have always
thought that in more--in more brilliant circumstances he might
find his place and be happy. But at the same time I was afraid
of the world for him; it was so large and dangerous and dreadful.
No doubt I know very little about it. I never suspected, I confess,
that it contained persons of such liberality as yours."

Rowland replied that, evidently, she had done the world but scanty justice.
"No," objected Miss Garland, after a pause, "it is like something
in a fairy tale."

"What, pray?"

"Your coming here all unknown, so rich and so polite, and carrying
off my cousin in a golden cloud."

If this was badinage Miss Garland had the best of it, for Rowland almost
fell a-musing silently over the question whether there was a possibility
of irony in that transparent gaze. Before he withdrew, Mrs. Hudson
made him tell her again that Roderick's powers were extraordinary.
He had inspired her with a clinging, caressing faith in his wisdom.
"He will really do great things," she asked, "the very greatest?"

"I see no reason in his talent itself why he should not."

"Well, we 'll think of that as we sit here alone," she rejoined.
"Mary and I will sit here and talk about it. So I give him up,"
she went on, as he was going. "I 'm sure you 'll be the best
of friends to him, but if you should ever forget him, or grow
tired of him, or lose your interest in him, and he should come
to any harm or any trouble, please, sir, remember"--And she paused,
with a tremulous voice.

"Remember, my dear madam?"

"That he is all I have--that he is everything--and that it would
be very terrible."

"In so far as I can help him, he shall succeed," was all Rowland could say.
He turned to Miss Garland, to bid her good night, and she rose and put
out her hand. She was very straightforward, but he could see that if
she was too modest to be bold, she was much too simple to be shy.
"Have you no charge to lay upon me?" he asked--to ask her something.

She looked at him a moment and then, although she was not shy, she blushed.
"Make him do his best," she said.

Rowland noted the soft intensity with which the words were uttered.
"Do you take a great interest in him?" he demanded.


"Then, if he will not do his best for you, he will not do it for me."
She turned away with another blush, and Rowland took his leave.

He walked homeward, thinking of many things. The great Northampton
elms interarched far above in the darkness, but the moon had
risen and through scattered apertures was hanging the dusky
vault with silver lamps. There seemed to Rowland something
intensely serious in the scene in which he had just taken part.
He had laughed and talked and braved it out in self-defense;
but when he reflected that he was really meddling with
the simple stillness of this little New England home,
and that he had ventured to disturb so much living security
in the interest of a far-away, fantastic hypothesis, he paused,
amazed at his temerity. It was true, as Cecilia had said,
that for an unofficious man it was a singular position.
There stirred in his mind an odd feeling of annoyance with
Roderick for having thus peremptorily enlisted his sympathies.
As he looked up and down the long vista, and saw the clear
white houses glancing here and there in the broken moonshine,
he could almost have believed that the happiest lot for any man
was to make the most of life in some such tranquil spot as that.
Here were kindness, comfort, safety, the warning voice of duty,
the perfect hush of temptation. And as Rowland looked along
the arch of silvered shadow and out into the lucid air of the
American night, which seemed so doubly vast, somehow, and strange
and nocturnal, he felt like declaring that here was beauty too--
beauty sufficient for an artist not to starve upon it.
As he stood, lost in the darkness, he presently heard a rapid tread
on the other side of the road, accompanied by a loud, jubilant whistle,
and in a moment a figure emerged into an open gap of moonshine.
He had no difficulty in recognizing Hudson, who was presumably
returning from a visit to Cecilia. Roderick stopped suddenly
and stared up at the moon, with his face vividly illumined.
He broke out into a snatch of song:--

"The splendor falls on castle walls

And snowy summits old in story!"

And with a great, musical roll of his voice he went swinging off
into the darkness again, as if his thoughts had lent him wings.
He was dreaming of the inspiration of foreign lands,--of castled crags
and historic landscapes. What a pity, after all, thought Rowland,
as he went his own way, that he should n't have a taste of it!

It had been a very just remark of Cecilia's that Roderick would change
with a change in his circumstances. Rowland had telegraphed to New York
for another berth on his steamer, and from the hour the answer came Hudson's
spirits rose to incalculable heights. He was radiant with good-humor,
and his kindly jollity seemed the pledge of a brilliant future.
He had forgiven his old enemies and forgotten his old grievances,
and seemed every way reconciled to a world in which he was going to count
as an active force. He was inexhaustibly loquacious and fantastic,
and as Cecilia said, he had suddenly become so good that it was only
to be feared he was going to start not for Europe but for heaven.
He took long walks with Rowland, who felt more and more the fascination
of what he would have called his giftedness. Rowland returned several
times to Mrs. Hudson's, and found the two ladies doing their best
to be happy in their companion's happiness. Miss Garland, he thought,
was succeeding better than her demeanor on his first visit had promised.
He tried to have some especial talk with her, but her extreme reserve
forced him to content himself with such response to his rather urgent
overtures as might be extracted from a keenly attentive smile.
It must be confessed, however, that if the response was vague,
the satisfaction was great, and that Rowland, after his second visit,
kept seeing a lurking reflection of this smile in the most unexpected places.
It seemed strange that she should please him so well at so slender
a cost, but please him she did, prodigiously, and his pleasure
had a quality altogether new to him. It made him restless, and a
trifle melancholy; he walked about absently, wondering and wishing.
He wondered, among other things, why fate should have condemned him
to make the acquaintance of a girl whom he would make a sacrifice
to know better, just as he was leaving the country for years.
It seemed to him that he was turning his back on a chance of happiness--
happiness of a sort of which the slenderest germ should be cultivated.
He asked himself whether, feeling as he did, if he had only himself
to please, he would give up his journey and--wait. He had Roderick
to please now, for whom disappointment would be cruel; but he said
to himself that certainly, if there were no Roderick in the case,
the ship should sail without him. He asked Hudson several questions
about his cousin, but Roderick, confidential on most points,
seemed to have reasons of his own for being reticent on this one.
His measured answers quickened Rowland's curiosity, for Miss Garland,
with her own irritating half-suggestions, had only to be a subject
of guarded allusion in others to become intolerably interesting.
He learned from Roderick that she was the daughter of a country minister,
a far-away cousin of his mother, settled in another part of the State;
that she was one of a half-a-dozen daughters, that the family was
very poor, and that she had come a couple of months before to pay
his mother a long visit. "It is to be a very long one now," he said,
"for it is settled that she is to remain while I am away."

The fermentation of contentment in Roderick's soul reached its climax
a few days before the young men were to make their farewells.
He had been sitting with his friends on Cecilia's veranda,
but for half an hour past he had said nothing. Lounging back against
a vine-wreathed column and gazing idly at the stars, he kept caroling
softly to himself with that indifference to ceremony for which he always
found allowance, and which in him had a sort of pleading grace.
At last, springing up: "I want to strike out, hard!" he exclaimed.
"I want to do something violent, to let off steam!"

"I 'll tell you what to do, this lovely weather," said Cecilia.
"Give a picnic. It can be as violent as you please, and it will
have the merit of leading off our emotion into a safe channel,
as well as yours."

Roderick laughed uproariously at Cecilia's very practical
remedy for his sentimental need, but a couple of days later,
nevertheless, the picnic was given. It was to be a family party,
but Roderick, in his magnanimous geniality, insisted on inviting
Mr. Striker, a decision which Rowland mentally applauded.
"And we 'll have Mrs. Striker, too," he said, "if she 'll come,
to keep my mother in countenance; and at any rate we 'll have
Miss Striker--the divine Petronilla!" The young lady thus
denominated formed, with Mrs. Hudson, Miss Garland, and Cecilia,
the feminine half of the company. Mr. Striker presented himself,
sacrificing a morning's work, with a magnanimity greater
even than Roderick's, and foreign support was further secured
in the person of Mr. Whitefoot, the young Orthodox minister.
Roderick had chosen the feasting-place; he knew it well and had
passed many a summer afternoon there, lying at his length on
the grass and gazing at the blue undulations of the horizon.
It was a meadow on the edge of a wood, with mossy rocks protruding
through the grass and a little lake on the other side.
It was a cloudless August day; Rowland always remembered it,
and the scene, and everything that was said and done,
with extraordinary distinctness. Roderick surpassed himself
in friendly jollity, and at one moment, when exhilaration
was at the highest, was seen in Mr. Striker's high white hat,
drinking champagne from a broken tea-cup to Mr. Striker's health.
Miss Striker had her father's pale blue eye; she was dressed as if
she were going to sit for her photograph, and remained for a long
time with Roderick on a little promontory overhanging the lake.
Mrs. Hudson sat all day with a little meek, apprehensive smile.
She was afraid of an "accident," though unless Miss Striker
(who indeed was a little of a romp) should push Roderick
into the lake, it was hard to see what accident could occur.
Mrs. Hudson was as neat and crisp and uncrumpled at the end
of the festival as at the beginning. Mr. Whitefoot,
who but a twelvemonth later became a convert to episcopacy
and was already cultivating a certain conversational sonority,
devoted himself to Cecilia. He had a little book in his pocket,
out of which he read to her at intervals, lying stretched at her feet,
and it was a lasting joke with Cecilia, afterwards, that she
would never tell what Mr. Whitefoot's little book had been.

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