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and down and still cropping up in the last proof, she declares:
“Tragedy ! how could it have come about? I'd give my spectacles to know."
Probably nobody so unspoiled and humble in willingness to share the common lot, or with less respect for the subterfuge called temperament, ever had less practical acquaintance with the domestic functions exalted into dull shibboleths, or was more irreconcilably estranged from the art of the modiste and the rites whereby the incomprehensible gods of "style” are commonly propitiated. If you could boil an egg acceptably and enliven it with an agreeable quota of salt and pepper, she would have made you cordon bleu on the spot. That the sleeve of a garment could be removed by the simple adjunct of a pair of scissors and replaced again with a symmetry more conformable to the arm, was a mystery before which she frankly quailed, and any force of self-confidence she might have brought to bear went down like ninepins. Running rivers of verse, pinnacles of
dates, names, cosmogonies of thrones, principalities and powers, found room in that exquisitely ordered world which was her brain : yet you could throw her into a cold sweat of apprehension by confronting her with some homely task or implement as familiar to the Marthas of civil life as the use of fork and spoon.
And this was no affectation of sensi. tiveness to crumpled rose leaves, no arrogance of privilege. She had an appetite as responsive to good things as if their chemistry had not been as dark to her as that of lost elixirs, and for some inconspicuous ribbon of her dress she would cherish an af. fection almost poignant in its childlike intensity. She was herself alternately petrified and convulsed by accumulating instances of her unfitness for the monstrous requisitions of a concrete world. Returning again and again to the assault, she is uniformly worsted. She sees, with an eye momentarily sharpened to recognition, in a modest kitchen, the commonest adjuncts to dishwashing, and leaves early that she may buy the duplicates of the
magic implements and set them up before the gods of home. And forthwith she writes, in a rollicking delight:
“And behold! their like had been in this house from of old, and I was subject to much
Helpful kindness itself, she dashes into town to buy a flannel wrapper for an exacting old lady for whom she has a kindness and who is sick and destitute, and next day explains, between helpless gusts, "those spectacles" dashed with tears:
"And lol it should have been a female garment and I bought a male."
And these things are to be remembered of her, not because the ox may take brute pleasure in deploring the delicacy of his brother, the race-horse, not only that they made her an irresistibly fascinating blend of power and helplessness, but because her natural inability to deal with the drudgery that smooths the way of life bore hard upon her in those later years when she was like a butterfly bound upon the wheel of this difficult world.
She was simply a creature of highly
specialized aptitudes, and the eyes of her mind, they that needed no fortifying lenses, were set so steadily upon the brightness of an inward achieving that they could never be focused for the clear perception of a certain type of immediate needs. To the inequalities of the road of usage over which her feet obediently traveled, she was blind, unless indeed the road began to wave green branches, and there were vistas of beauty, and the birds sang. Then the human awoke in her and also sang in untrammeled lustihood and she was at once that earth spirit who gathered iris and squandered and forgot it, yet knew all such forgettings should be hers in Paradise. But even then she was the vagabond of the road as she conceived it: a matter of smoothly running caravans and magic camp fires,-not corners of ingenious torment where one shaped garments and
And this antagonism was inevitable: for the earth, as it is made, is forever hostile to that other earth, immortal, invisible, where alone the highly imaginative can live without
nostalgia. If they have to fight the rude conditions of the visible world, they do it pining "for what is not." The imps of time and place have an implacable enmity for the angels of thought and pure imagination and hinder them at every step. They devote their mischievous activities to the clipping of wings, especially of pinions tipped with rose or gold. And the facts of the case are forever on their side. Man must be fed. And unless he has been born the darling of sheer luck, he must set his hand to wresting from the earth the bare right to live. The product of Louise Guiney's genius was not, in any large sense, marketable. The most fantastically hopeful of partisans could not have predicted for her work any valid recognition whatever, save from the few who have themselves caught the gleam of Hesperidean fruit and know by natal wisdom that this is no gold to be minted into coin. Inevitably she was
"delicate spirits pushed away
In the hot press of the noonday.” And she had the open palm. Money ran