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ST. MARTIN'S SUMMER.
VEVAY, Hotel des Trois Couronnes,
11th January, 185–, E never do anything for the last time con
sciously without sadness, some one has said; and I am feeling a sort of tender mournful
ness as I write the above heading in my new journal.
“ Vevay, Hotel des Trois Couronnes," is put here for the last time, - and the first, too, in this fresh book ; the last time, at all events, for many years, for to-morrow we commence our journey into Italy, and to accomplish our pleasant plan of delightful travel and leisurely study there will keep us from revisiting Suisse for a long while.
I talk of “We” as naturally as if this “ same which was meant on the first pages of the large, closely written volume I packed to-day in the box which is to be sent to America, — that book which contains the sorrowful record of five gloomy years. A lustrum, as those old Romans used to say, — and indeed, it has been a period of purifying and light-giving ; so much light and clearness of mental vision, that I sit sometimes and
grow weary over the thought that, with such light at the beginning, I might have made straight much that was hopelessly crooked and wilful. What use, however, in such a thought ?
6 We can but fill the hour with its best deed,
And now back again to my starting-point of “ We.” First, however, let me notice that Rhone valley, and the Lake, the clear starlit sky, and the beautiful terraced garden beneath my window, which looks like some chateau pleasure grounds of the gay French days of Watteau. Yes, they are all very beautiful, and the memory of them will be delightful; but, according to the opinion of the German lad across the street, at the Pharmacie Mayor, the memory will also be sad.
“Ah, Madame,” he said to me this afternoon, as I was buying some cologne of him, "you will long heartachingly for these Alps. You may think you can leave them as you do other beautiful countries, — but you cannot, Madame. Once live among mountains and they become like kindred, — and when you go away the Heimweh, or home-sickness, is sure to cling to you as well as to the native-born Suisse.”
How strange these Germans are ! There is such a deal of dreamy sentimentality about them, which consorts drolly, like some curious marriages, with their sharp, keen eye to the main chance. This young German looked pensive and sighed most touchingly; but he did not forget to charge me outrageously for the cologne, notwithstanding he could talk so tenderly about the Alpine Heimweh. But the Irishman is forgiven for his wit, therefore let the German's droll romance stand him also in good stead.
Down in the garden I see Janet walking up and down the short slab of stone which forms the landing-place of the broad flight of terrace steps leading to the lake. She is enjoying the loveliness of the night, which is cold, still, and beautiful, and doubtless thinking of the approaching departure -- separation to her - a little solemnly. She leans on the stone parapet, gazing clear off into the dim distance. Like Thekla, over that glorious young Max's grave, she may be murmuring,
4 There where he lies buried Is now the whole earth to me !"
The eye cannot in this dark night trace around the beautiful indentations of the lake shore, nor could it from this window, or that terrace see the enchanting spot where lies Janet's “whole earth.”
Under the shadow of that beautiful old Montreux church is a grave containing two human beings. One, whose life had only a breath, a look, a sigh, and then back again to its native heaven. Another, who lived honorable years, loved, served his kindred nobly, received priceless love in return, lay down to die in the midst of life's best gifts, and is now mourned with a silent unending grief, “too deep for tears."
It is a lovely resting place, that old graveyard. The picturesque church hangs suspended, as it were, from the mountain's side; its fine spire, with ogive piercings, draped with clambering ivy, points upward, and at sunset this stone finger of Hope throws down its protecting, assuring shadow directly over the earth-bed in which lie Janet's best memories.
I stood by it alone yesterday at sundown, and wished I could have Janet beside me to show her how peaceful and happy the place looked; and this afternoon, when she walked off there to makė, as I knew, her last pilgrimage to that dear spot, I prayed that the same soft shadow might rest just as lovingly as it seemed to my eyes, and bring down into her heart the same quiet, soothing thoughts it had to mine.
Music fills the air. Venitia is condescending to use the hotel piano. Her own Erard full-grand has been packed up for a day or só, in order to be sent round by Marseilles and down the Mediterranean to our new home in Parthenope,-as she, with pretty poetic pedantry, calls our intended abiding-place Naples, Neapolis, -- for to us it will be new.
She is capricious to-night, and is playing only broken bits and passages, nothing continuous. Like us she is feeling the breaking-up and departure, but not as we, nor for the same cause ; for she has no past, has had no awakening, and is at that happy age when she feels only the inconveniences of the present, and is free from those sorrowful memories which might make her dread a future, or any change, no matter how hopeful and bright it might look.
And yet her trust in this unknown future is a blind, unconscious feeling, not that trust which arises from wisdom ; for though Venitia has much knowledge, she has but little wisdom.
" Knowledge is of things we see,”
but true wisdom is faith, a faith more than a believing, for belief is a work of reason, faith a result of love, a trust in that which we do not see. But, after