« PreviousContinue »
vice is excellent, thanks to high prices, and the arrangements comfortable; there women may take their lessons and practise without too much publicity. Nevertheless, it is not yet perfection.
For this reason our excellent Prince -this title is enough for any Parisian to know who is meant-is trying to obtain some place on the Polo grounds, in the Bois de Boulogne, where the fashionable world a-wheel will feel at home. There is hardly a château worthy of the name which has not to-day its private bicycle track. Why should Paris not have something equally exclusive?
A fine stable requires expert grooms, and so a new race of servants has come into being-the bicycle groom, who knows all about the care of the machine and is always ready to help the beginner. In great country houses the post is no sinecure, as guests come in droves, and all of them can ride, or think they
Just now the ambition of most women appears to be to ride the man's machine, the diamond frame, a lighter machine than the ordinary woman's wheel; and I
honestly believe that this latter wheel will soon be relegated to the limbo of curiosities. Much the same thing will happen with regard to the present costume. Already the skirt is fast going; another step and it will be but a memory. Here is the orthodox and really fashionable costume: Very full knickerbockers, the folds falling below the knee, the appearance being that of a skirt, and yet without a skirt's inconvenience; the waist may vary, but the most popular, especially with slimwaisted women, is that known as the Bolero. And above all a man's cap or hat, in warm weather of straw, at other seasons of felt. The stockings may be of fine wool, black or dark blue; silk stockings are tabooed, and any color but black or dark blue, such as stripes or "loud" colors, are considered deplorable. Finally, laced or buttoned shoes, but not reaching above the ankle. Gaiters are a blunder, and moreover they are apt to hurt.
All this is highly artistic when properly worn; and yet the height of perfection has not been reached. Hun
dreds of bicyclists, men and women of irreproachable taste, are busy designing something that will be better, and the fashionable tailors are losing sleep in the quest for some successful design. The bievele world awaits with an ovation the man of genius who will suggest a costume at once simple, elegant, appropriate, comfortable, and, last but not least, not yet worn everywhere.
In the meantime the world outside of fashion's domain is not so particular. In order to complete this little account of the bicyclemania in Paris, I must say a word about the excellent people whom one meets by the thousand upon every fair day-mostly men in some sort of improvised costume, with ordinary trousers fastened at the bottom with steel clasps; they are probably tradespeople coming and going from their shops and counting-houses, pedalling along with energy and enthusiasm, and highly indifferent to the call for an unique bicycle costume.
I have used the expression bicyclemania, and in view of the facts, is it anything short of that? No class of
the community is free from the passion, the workers as well as the butterflies. The workers find the exercise helpful. Thus, such painters as Béraud and Roll were among the first to take it up. Most convincing fact of all, the bicycle has invaded the theatre, the court
of last appeal in Paris. Not only our stage celebrities have taken to the wheel by the score, but in a recent piece by Jules Lemaître, produced at the Gymnase Theatre, the chief personages made their first entry upon bicycles.
Coquelin, the younger, is now at work upon a monologue which he proposes to recite from end to end while awheel and working his pedals. Bicycle business," feats of riding, bellringing, and whistle-blowing will vary the recital, at the last words of which bicycle and rider will disappear in the wings.
LIGHTS AND SHADOWS
By Benjamin Paul Blood
THINGS are dark in the light when the Morning is here, And youth turns to the future, in splendor unrolled,Things are dark in the light, for their shadows come near When the sunshine comes up o'er the mountains of gold.
We have lived, we have loved through the glow of the West,
When the sunshine looks back o'er the mountains of gold.
THE RECTOR'S HAT
By Noah Brooks
ILLUSTRATIONS BY C. Y. TURNER
THE STREET OF VICE
HE Reverend Justinian Littlefield, Rector of Trinity, Millbrook, having finished a longdeferred list of parochial calls, hurried homeward in the gathering gloom of the autumnal twilight; a shower was impending and a high wind came before the rain. The reverend gentleman cherished a deep hostility to all dirt and all schismatics. Dirt, he was accustomed to say, is merely matter out of place; and schismatics are wrong-headed people who insist on calling themselves Christians; whereas they are worldly people out of place. Dirt, by scrupulous care, may be avoided. Heretical and disputatious persons, who refuse to accept as final the dogma of the apostolic succession, are among the inevitable evils of society, to be shunned if one would preserve serenity of temper and charity of judgment. Just now, the rector was intent on getting home before the whirling dust should soil his well-nourished and spotless person. He had great respect for his cloth.
Millbrook is a manufacturing town in which new-fangled mills and their operatives are still struggling with the ancient order of things, when an eminent respectability that verged on aristocracy guarded with mild dignity the interests of the community. The aristocrats are dying out and the newly rich, sons of mere hewers of wood and drawers of water for a former generation, are crowding into the best streets, living in the best houses. The Reverend Doctor Justinian Littlefield viewed these changes with undisguised dismay. It irked him to see his parish gradually
transformed, the prosperous mill men and their numerous progeny taking the places of the fine old families whose day was done, and whose sap had apparently sunk into the ground. That Browns and Whites and Greens should occupy the stately mansions built for the Livingstons, Athertons, and Barnwells was to him a mysterious dispensation of Providence. He accepted the new conditions with inward protest, and with an insolent condescension that irritated the self-love of the newly rich, whose names suggest the colors which their mills wove into fabrics. But, as far as he was able, he avoided the streets and avenues chiefly frequented by the substratum of the new society-the operatives and their swarming broods. So on this threatening autumn eve the good man reluctantly took Red Lane on his homeward way.
The rectory, with its handsome portico and trim gardens, faced Elm Avenue, and its nearest neighbors were the even handsomer homes of Judge Nelson and General Hutchinson. The trim garden smiled genteelly on the avenue; but behind the rectory it sloped steeply down to a retaining wall of stone that closed one end of Red Lane, making it a blind alley. When the village gossips illustrated their talk with the figure of speech, "butting your head against a stone wall," George Barnwell always thought of the rectory wall that closed the end of Red Lane -it was so relentless in its stoniness. To night, in the deepening twilight, the worthy Rector, afraid of being caught out in a shower, and more afraid of meeting the dust-clouds of the broad avenue, took a short cut homeward, braving the repulsiveness of Red Lane that he might thereby gain the steps in the retaining wall, and so reach the rectory by the shortest way.
The Reverend Justinian Littlefield,
contemplating Red Lane from his vineclad and eminently dignified portico above, had marked with discomfort the gradual accretion of rum-shops, billiard-rooms, and other places of dissolute resort, so far below him. These grew and multiplied with the increase of mills and the consequent inflow of an alien population. Although there was less viciousness in Red Lane than the Rector imagined, he had come to regard it as a very den of vice, an habitation of cruelty. And from his loftiness on the floral heights above, he had named this the Street of Vice. Now, with a sense of having taken his life into his own hands, he plunged into the crepuscular dimness of the blind alley, on his way by a short cut to the rectory. Perhaps his trepidation was childish; but it was not unnatural, for the Rector was a timorous man, and he was glad when his footsteps resounded on the loose planks of the bridge that spanned the ravine which cuts Red Lane in twain. The bridge was more than half-way between the evil entrance to the Street of Vice and the rectory wall. He was nearly home.
An uncommonly fierce blast came roaring up the ravine, carrying clouds of yellow dust and striking the Rector full on the crown, blinding his eyes and flapping the wide rim of his apostolic hat exasperatingly over his face. Just then he was startled by the sudden impact of a person on his left side. With the ready instinct of self-defence he struck out in the dusty and stormy twilight, and his hand rudely smote full in the face of a man. He heard what seemed a smothered oath and a saying which he could not understand. He was rapped sharply on the head; a pair of stalwart hands grasped him firmly by the collar of his sacerdotal coat; he felt himself lifted in the air and whirling in the eddying gust, striking the low rail of the bridge, then falling, falling, he knew not whither; he heard a crashing sound at the back of his head, not painful but odd and unusual. Then all was still, and the good Rector, flat on his back among the stones in the bottom of the ravine, lapsed into unconsciousness that resembled death more than sleep.
He was the handsomest man in Millbrook; and his beauty, his generous ways, and his gay humor made him so general a favorite with the good fellows of the village, to say nothing of the factory girls and the coy maidens of the aristocracy, that he was in a fair way to be spoiled. Now that I come to think of it, he was already spoiled. Perhaps if his father, Senior Warden and upright Judge that he was, had been less stern with his son, George Barnwell might have been restrained from the error of his ways. While his mother lived, the lad had gone to her with his cares and troubles, and had been comforted and soothed as well as warned and guided. But, bereft of her, the motherless boy could not bring himself to face his father with confessions and prayers for help. The wayward son could not be won by the rigid and frigid code of morals that underlaid the discipline of the Judge's family government.
Admiring and congenial companions were usually waiting for George Barnwell in the unsavory haunts of Red Lane. When he came home on his college vacations, he was noisily welcomed in resorts that Judge Barnwell knew not of, and whose existence in Millbrook, fine old Millbrook, was unsuspected by him. To-night, on the point of leaving for the fall term, George was having "a good time' with some of his evil mates, drinking, joking, and story-telling in a low-ceiled, noisy, and ill-flavored rum-shop, the Burnt Rag, one of the least disreputable of the dens with which Red Lane was infested.
A thin-faced, wild eyed operative from the print-works, a professed anarchist and a rude-talking fellow, took up his glass of liquor from the sloppy bar, as he was drinking with George Barnwell's companions, though not of them. The others had toasted George and had wished him a speedy return to Millbrook. The sneering son of anarchy lifted high his glass and cried "Down with the courts and damn the Judge!"