Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 2, 1895)
A LITERARY DISCUSSION.
By ANTHONY HOPE.
"And you have just settled in London?" Bhe asked, with an inter
ested air. "What a mental revelation!''
It had never struck mo in that light before. I dare say that 1
looked a littlo uncomfortable.
"I have tried," she continued, "to throw a little light on the dark
ness, to show a thread through the labyrinth. You remember that
I attacked some of the problems in 'Lucifera'?"
I took no notice of this remark; to tell the truth, I was'fcnndering
how she camo to bo so pretty. One does not associate prettiness
and problems, somehow.
"You have read 'Lucifera'?" she asked, in a sweet, cooing voice,
yet tinctured with a certain insistence,
"I am glad to say I have not "' I returned, looking her in the face
which is, I take it, only good manners when one is conversiug."
"Glad!" she cried, clapping her hands in becoming horror. "What
a rude thing to say, Mr. Vancittart!"
"It will bo inucn pleasanter to hear about it from you."
Sho seemed to take this quite seriously.
"Yes, the personality counts," she observed, nodding her head
a head covered (if I may mention it) with the most gleaming brown
"I should rather think it did," I answered; and then looking
around tho conservatory I added: "There's no one to interrupt.
Fire away, Mrs. Knight."
"Oh, but it is so difficult to explain at least, until the listener is
"I'm uncommonly sympathetic, Mrs. Knight,'' I assured ber; and
indeed I felt so. I don't believe she was thirty upon my word I
"My gospel," said she, with a pretty, modest, deprecating smile
for tho big word, "is perfect naturalness."
"I see," paid I. As a matter of fact, I did not see anything except
a remarkably taking mouth and chin.
"If you feel sad, bo sad; if merry, bo merry. What is conventioal
ity, Mr. Vansittart, except a stilling of nature?"
"It is nothing elso in tho world," I agreed.
"Ah, you men," Mrs. Knight went on, with a swing of her fan
through tho air. "You men don't know what the deadning weight
of it is. It is we women who have to bear the burden of it. We
are trammeled and tied at every step "
"It's a burning shame," said I. "Why do you stand it?"
"Well. I have lifted up my voice," said Mrs. Knight. "I have
claimed the right for myself and my sisters to do what our feelings
our feelings, which are nature's guide tell us; as I said in 'Luci
fera,' through my heroine's lips."
"Ch, suy it through your own," I implored.
"I really do believe that you understand what I mean!" cried Mrs.
Knight, in rapture.
"I feel quite sure that I do," said I
"Ah, sometimes, now and then, when I am alono with somebody
who appreciates what I feel, I can speak out yes and through my
own lips. You are not yet spoilt by the world, Mr. Vansittart."
"I hope not," said I leaning my arm on the ba;k of tho settee, and
regarding Mrs. Knight's right ear. I have a liking for a pretty ear.
"Why are my likes and dislikes to be mapped out for me in leaden
rules? Why are 'you must' and 'you mubt not' to meet me at every
turn? If I like a "
"Yes, if you like a man?" I suggested.
"Well, yes then a man " said she, accepting the suggestion
with conscious audacity. "If I like a man, why may I not tell him
"And if ho likes you," I added, "why in tho world should ho not
mention the fact?"
"If it gives mo much pleasure to talk "'
"And it gives him pleasure to look at you "
Mrs. Knight suddendly looked do wn on tho lloor.
"It's all in 'Lucifera,' you know," said sho.
"It would be a pity to let it stay there," said I.
"I've been trying to explain to you what my heroine."
"I have been extremely interested," I remarked, politely.
"Of course, in real life," said Mrs. Lnight, opening her fan and
shutting it slowly again with a careless pressure of her hand, "we
cannot move so quickly. The ground must be prepared beforehand "
"One must, of course, choose the opportunity," I conceded, with a
glance around the empty conservatory.
"Take my own case "' she began.
"It is the best of all to take," I cried.
"Well, or take yours," she amended.
"It comes to just tho same thing," said I.
"We must Lp. careful, you know. If we are to preach the gospel
we must not throw away our inlluence by any indiscretion."
"It would bo most unwise," said I, with another look around.
"We should but rivet the chains closer,"' she urged earnestly.
"That is very true in a sense," said I.
"In every sense," urged Mrs. Knight.
"In more than would be wise," 1 admitted.
"Yet," said she, "wo can progress little by little, and every step
forward is something gained." And her ejes sparkled with enthu
siasm. Perhaps mine were sparkling, too also with enthusiasm.
"Every step forward," I repeated, with conviction, "is something
" 'Lucifera' did something," said Mrs. Knighl.
"Ah, now, what did she do?" I asked, much interested.
"I mean the book had some effect."
"Oh, I beg your pardon of course, of coure."
"But we want something more."
"Yes, we do," said I.
"What precisely it is," said Mrs. Knight, knitting her arched
brows, "I am not quite sure. What is the next thing to bo done,
"To put in action," said I, firmly and without a moment's hesita
tion, "the gospal which you have so nobly preached in Bluesifern."
"Forg've mo Lucifera, Mr. Vansittart."
"Yes, yes Lucifera. I said Lucifera didn't I? At any rate I
meant I say, what are you getting up for, Mrs. Knight.
"I I thought," said Mrs. Knight, with a sudden and most unex
pected timidity, "that it was time we went back to the other room."
Do you tcant to go back to the other room, Mrs. Knight?"
"Oh, well no, Mr. Vansitart. I didn't exactly leant to go. I am
sure I enjoyed our talk very much. But don't you think that per
haps we ought '"
"Ought! " I echoed, scornfully. Where is the 'ought' when neither
of us want it?"
Mrs. Knight stood opposite me for a moment, her folded fan
dangling from her hand. Sho smiled doubtfully at me. I rose to
my feet it is rude to sit while a lady stands and took hold of the
other end of the fan. The fan was quite a small one.
"What, under the circumstances,,' said I, reiterating the gist of
my question, "is the meaning of 'ought'?"
"Oh, the meaning of 'ought'?" murmured Mrs. Knight.
"What is my 'ought' and what is your 'ought" ! What is it, I say?
And where is it!"
A smile appeared on Mrs Knight's face.
"Well, if ou ask me, Mr. Vansitart," said 6he, throwing her lashes
up for an instant and letting them droop swiftly again; "I think my
Highest of all in Leavening Power. Latest U. S. Gov't Report
Powered by Open ONI