By Charles Reade
Italics are indicated by the
underscore character. Accent marks are indicated by a single quote
(') after the vowel for acute accents and before the vowel for grave
accents. Other accent
marks are ignored.
"THE Golden Star," Homburg, was a humble
hotel, not used by gay gamblers,
but by modest
At two o'clock, one fine day in June, there were two strangers in the
_salle a' manger,_ seated at small tables a long way apart, and wholly
absorbed in their own business.
One was a lady about twenty-four years old, who, in the present repose
her features, looked comely, sedate, and womanly, but not the remarkable
person she really was. Her forehead
high and white, but a little broader
than sculptors affect; her long hair, coiled tight, in a great many
smooth snakes, upon her snowy nape, was almost flaxen, yet her eyebrows
and long lashes not pale but a reddish
brown; her gray eyes large and
profound; her mouth rather large, beautifully
shaped, amiable, and
expressive, but full of resolution; her chin a little broad; her neck and
white and polished. She was an Anglo-Dane--her father
If you ask me what she was doing, why--hunting; and had been, for some
days, in all the inns of Homburg. She had the visitors' book, and was
going through the names of the whole year, and studying each to see
whether it looked real or assumed. Interspersed were flippant comments,
and verses adapted to draw a smile of amusement
or contempt; but this
hunter passed them all over as nullities: the steady pose of her head,
the glint of her deep eye, and the set of her fine lips showed a soul not
to be diverted from its object.
The traveler at her back had a map of the district and blank telegrams,
one of which he filled in every now and then, and scribbled a hasty
letter to the same address. He was a sharp-faced middle-aged
business; Joseph Ashmead, operatic and theatrical
agent--at his wits'
end; a female singer
at the Homburg Opera had fallen really ill; he was
commissioned to replace
her, and had only thirty hours to do it in. So he
a singer. What the lady was hunting
can never be known,
unless she should choose to reveal it.
Karl, the waiter, felt bound to rouse these abstracted guests, and
stimulate their appetites. He affected, therefore, to look on them as
people who had not yet breakfasted, and tripped up to Mr. Ashmead with a
bill of fare, rather scanty.
The busiest Englishman can eat, and Ashmead had no objection
mouthful; he gave his order in German with an English accent. But the
lady, when appealed to, said softly, in pure German, "I will wait for the
"The _table-d'hote!_ It wants four hours to that."
The lady looked Karl full in the face, and said, slowly, and very
distinctly, "Then, I--will--wait--four--hours."
These simple words, articulated firmly, and in a contralto voice of
and sweetness, sent Karl skipping; but their effect on
Mr. Ashmead was more remarkable. He started up from his chair with an
exclamation, and bent his eyes eagerly
on the melodious speaker. He could
only see her back hair and her figure; but, apparently, this quick-eared
gentleman had also quick eyes, for he said aloud, in English, "Her hair,
too--it must be;" and he came hurriedly
toward her. She caught a word or
two, and turned and saw him. "Ah!" said she, and rose; but the points of
her fingers still rested on the book.
"It is!" cried Ashmead. "It is!"
"Yes, Mr. Ashmead," said the lady, coloring a little, but in pure
English, and with a composure
not easily disturbed; "it is Ina Klosking."
"What a pleasure," cried Ashmead; and what a surprise! Ah, madam, I never
hoped to see you again. When I heard you had left the Munich Opera so
sudden, I said, 'There goes one more bright star quenched forever.' And
you to desert us--you, the risingest singer
"You can't deny it. You know you were."
The lady, thus made her own judge, seemed to reflect
a moment, and said,
"I was a well-grounded musician, thanks to my parents; I was a very
hard-working singer; and I had the advantage
of being supported, in my
early career, by a gentleman of judgment and spirit, who was a manager
first, and brought me forward, afterward a popular agent, and talked
managers into a good opinion of me."
"Ah, madam," said Ashmead, tenderly, "it is a great pleasure to hear this
from you, and spoken
with that mellow
voice which would charm a
rattlesnake; but what would my zeal and devotion
have availed if you had
not been a born singer?"
"Why--yes," said Ina, thoughtfully; "I was a singer." But she seemed to
say this not as a thing to be proud of, but only because it happened to
be true; and, indeed, it was a peculiarity
of this woman that she
appeared nearly always to think--if but for half a moment--before she
spoke, and to say things, whether about herself or others, only because
they were the truth. The reader who shall condescend
to bear this in mind
will possess some little clew to the color and effect of her words as
spoken. Often, where they seem simple and commonplace--on paper, they
were weighty by their extraordinary
air of truthfulness as well as by the
deep music of her mellow, bell-like voice.
"Oh, you do admit that," said Mr. Ashmead, with a chuckle; "then why jump
off the ladder
so near the top? Oh, of course I know--the old story--but
you might give twenty-two hours to love, and still spare a couple to
"That seems a reasonable
division," said Ina, naively. "But"
(apologetically) "he was jealous."
"Jealous!--more shame for him. I'm sure no lady in public life was ever
"No, no; he was only jealous
of the public."
"And what had the poor public done?"
"Absorbed me, he said."
"Why, he could take you to the opera, and take you home from the opera,
and, during the opera, he could make one of the public, and applaud
as loud as the best."
"Yes, but rehearsals!--and--embracing the tenor."
"Well, but only on the stage?"
"Oh, Mr. Ashmead, where else does one embrace
"And was that a grievance? Why, I'd embrace
fifty tenors--if I was paid
"Yes; but he said I embraced one poor stick, with a fervor--an
_abandon_--Well, I dare say I did; for, if they had put a gate-post in
the middle of the stage, and it was in my part to embrace
the thing, I
should have done it honestly, for love of my art, and not of a post. The
next time I had to embrace
the poor stick it was all I could do not to
pinch him savagely."
"And turn him to a counter-tenor--make him squeak."
Ina Klosking smiled for the first time. Ashmead, too, chuckled at his own
wit, but turned suddenly grave the next moment, and moralized. He
pronounced it desirable, for the interests of mankind, that a great and
should not love out of the business; outsiders were
wrong-headed and absurd, and did not understand the true artist. However,
having discoursed for some time in this strain, he began to fear it might
be unpalatable to her; so he stopped abruptly, and said, "But there--what
is done is done. We must make the best of it; and you mustn't think I
meant to run _him_ down. He loves you, in his way. He must be a noble
fellow, or he never could have won such a heart as yours. He won't be
jealous of an old fellow like me, though I love you, too, in my humdrum
way, and always did. You must do me the honor to present me to him at
Ina stared at him, but said nothing.
"Oh," continued Ashmead, "I shall be busy till evening; but I will ask
him and you to dine with me at the Kursaal, and then adjourn
to the Royal
Box. You are a queen of song, and that is where you and he shall sit, and
Ina Klosking was changing color all this time, and cast a grateful
troubled look on him. "My kind, old faithful
friend!" said she, then
shook her head. "No, we are not to dine with you; nor sit together at the
opera, in Homburg."
Ashmead looked a little chagrined. "So be it," he said dryly. "But at
least introduce me to him. I'll try and overcome
"It is not even in my power to do that."
"Oh, I see. I'm not good enough for him," said Ashmead, bitterly.
"You do yourself injustice, and him too," said Ina, courteously.
"My friend," said she, deprecatingly, "he is not here."
"Not here? That is odd. Well, then, you will be dull till he comes back.
Come without him; at all events, to the opera."
She turned her tortured eyes away. "I have not the heart."
This made Ashmead look at her more attentively. "Why, what is the
matter?" said he. "You are in trouble. I declare you are trembling, and
your eyes are filling. My poor lady--in Heaven's name, what is the
"Hush!" said Ina; "not so loud." Then she looked him in the face a little
while, blushed, hesitated, faltered, and at last laid one white hand upon
her bosom, that was beginning
to heave, and said, with patient dignity,
"My old friend--I--am--deserted."
Ashmead looked at her with amazement
and incredulity. "Deserted!" said
he, faintly. "You--deserted!!!"
"Yes," said she, "deserted; but perhaps not forever." Her noble eyes
filled to the brim, and two tears stood ready to run over.
"Why, the man must be an idiot!" shouted Ashmead.
"Hush! not so loud. That waiter
is listening: let me come to your table."
She came and sat down at his table, and he sat opposite her. They looked
at each other. He waited for her to speak. With all her fortitude, her
voice faltered, under the eye of sympathy. "You are my old friend," she
said. "I'll try and tell you all." But she could not all in a moment, and
the two tears trickled over and ran down her cheeks; Ashmead saw them,
and burst out, "The villain!--the villain!"
"No, no," said she, "do not call him that. I could not bear it. Believe
me, he is no villain." Then she dried her eyes, and said, resolutely, "If
I am to tell you, you must not apply harsh words to him. They would close
my mouth at once, and close my heart."
"I won't say a word," said Ashmead, submissively; "so tell me all."
Ina reflected a moment, and then told her tale. Dealing now with longer
sentences, she betrayed her foreign half.
"Being alone so long," said she, "has made me reflect
more than in all my
life before, and I now understand many things that, at the time, I could
not. He to whom I have given my love, and resigned the art in which I was
advancing--with your assistance--is, by nature, impetuous
He was born so, and I the opposite. His love for me was too violent
last forever in any man, and it soon cooled in him, because he is
inconstant by nature. He was jealous
of the public: he must have all my
heart, and all my time, and so he wore his own passion
out. Then his
great restlessness, having now no chain, became too strong for our
happiness. He pined for change, as some wanderers pine for a fixed home.
Is it not strange? I, a child of the theater, am at heart domestic. He, a
gentleman and a scholar, born, bred, and fitted to adorn the best
society, is by nature a Bohemian.
"One word: is there another woman?"
"No, not that I know of; Heaven forbid!" said Ina. "But there is
something very dreadful: there is gambling. He has a passion
for it, and
I fear I wearied him by my remonstrances. He dragged me about from one
gambling-place to another, and I saw that if I resisted he would go
without me. He lost a fortune while we were together, and I do really
believe he is ruined, poor dear."
Ashmead suppressed all signs of ill-temper, and asked, grimly, "Did he
quarrel with you, then?"
"Oh, no; he never said an unkind
word to me; and I was not always so
forbearing, for I passed months of torment. I saw that affection, which
was my all, gliding gradually away from me; and the tortured will cry
out. I am not an ungoverned woman, but sometimes the agony was
intolerable, and I complained. Well, that agony, I long for it back; for
now I am desolate."
"Poor soul! How could a man have the heart to leave you? how could he
have the face?"
"Oh, he did not do it shamelessly. He left me for a week, to visit
friends in England. But he wrote to me from London. He had left me at
Berlin. He said that he did not like to tell me before parting, but I
must not expect to see him for six weeks; and he desired me to go to my
mother in Denmark. He would send his next letter to me there. Ah! he knew
I should need my mother when his second letter came. He had planned it
all, that the blow might not kill me. He wrote to tell me he was a ruined
man, and he was too proud to let me support him: he begged my pardon
his love, for his desertion, for ever having crossed my brilliant
like a dark cloud. He praised me, he thanked me, he blessed
me; but he
left me. It was a beautiful letter, but it was the death-warrant of my
heart. I was abandoned."
Ashmead started up and walked very briskly, with a great appearance of
business requiring vast dispatch, to the other end of the _salle;_ and
there, being out of Ina's hearing, he spoke his mind to a candlestick
with three branches. "D--n him! Heartless, sentimental
him! D--n him!"
Having relieved his mind with this pious ejaculation, he returned to Ina
at a reasonable
pace and much relieved, and was now enabled to say,
cheerfully, "Let us take a business view of it. He is gone--gone of his
own accord. Give him your blessing--I have given him mine--and forget
"Forget him! Never while I live. Is that your advice? Oh, Mr. Ashmead!
And the moment I saw your friendly face, I said to myself, 'I am no
longer alone: here is one that will help me.'"
"And so I will, you may be sure of that," said Ashmead, eagerly. "What is
"The business is to find him. That is the first thing."
"But he is in England."
"Oh, no; that was eight months ago. He could not stay eight months in any
country; besides, there are no gambling-houses there."
"And have you been eight months searching Europe for this madman?"
"No. At first pride and anger were strong, and I said, 'Here I stay till
he comes back to me and to his senses.'"
"Yes; but month after month went by, carrying away my pride and my anger,
and leaving my affection
undiminished. At last I could bear it no longer;
so, as he would not come to his senses--"
"You took leave of yours, and came out on a wild-goose chase," said
Ashmead, but too regretfully to affront
"It _was,"_ said Ina; "I feel it. But it is not one _now,_ because I have
_you_ to assist
me with your experience and ability. You will find him
for me, somehow or other. I know you will."
Let a woman have ever so little guile, she must have tact, if she is a
true woman. Now, tact, if its etymology is to be trusted, implies a fine
sense and power of touch; so, in virtue
of her sex, she pats a horse
before she rides him, and a man before she drives him. There, ladies,
character [´kæriktə] n.特性；性质；人物；字 (初中英语单词) accent [´æksənt, æk´sent] n.重音；口音 vt.重读 (初中英语单词) humble [´hʌmbəl] a.谦卑的 vt.贬抑 (初中英语单词) modest [´mɔdist] a.谦虚的；朴素的 (初中英语单词) forehead [´fɔrid] n.额，前部 (初中英语单词) affect [ə´fekt] vt.影响；感动；假装 (初中英语单词) resolution [,rezə´lu:ʃən] n.决心；坚决；果断 (初中英语单词) amusement [ə´mju:zmənt] n.娱乐；文娱设施 (初中英语单词) female [´fi:meil] a.女(性)的 n.女人 (初中英语单词) singer [´siŋə] n.歌手，演唱者 (初中英语单词) replace [ri´pleis] vt.放回；复置；取代 (初中英语单词) therefore [´ðeəfɔ:] ad.&conj.因此；所以 (初中英语单词) objection [əb´dʒekʃən] n.反对；异议；缺点 (初中英语单词) snatch [snætʃ] v.&n.抢，夺取，抓住 (初中英语单词) softly [´sɔftli] ad.软化地；柔和地 (初中英语单词) firmly [´fə:mli] ad.坚固地，稳定地 (初中英语单词) volume [´vɔlju:m, ´vɑljəm] n.卷；书籍；体积；容量 (初中英语单词) remarkable [ri´mɑ:kəbl] a.值得注意的；显著的 (初中英语单词) eagerly [´i:gəli] ad.渴望地，急切地 (初中英语单词) speaker [´spi:kə] n.演讲人；代言人 (初中英语单词) reflect [ri´flekt] v.反射；反响；表达 (初中英语单词) advantage [əd´vɑ:ntidʒ] n.优势；利益 (初中英语单词) career [kə´riə] n.经历；生涯；职业 (初中英语单词) manager [´mænidʒə] n.经理；管理人；干事 (初中英语单词) spoken [´spəukən] speak的过去分词 (初中英语单词) devotion [di´vəuʃən] n.献身；忠诚；热爱 (初中英语单词) extraordinary [ik´strɔ:dinəri] a.非常的；额外的 (初中英语单词) reasonable [´rizənəbəl] a.合理的；有理智的 (初中英语单词) jealous [´dʒeləs] a.妒忌的 (初中英语单词) embrace [im´breis] vt.&n.拥抱；采纳；信奉 (初中英语单词) honestly [´ɔnistli] ad.诚实地，老实地 (初中英语单词) desirable [di´zaiərəbəl] a.向往的；极好的 (初中英语单词) absurd [əb´sə:d] a.荒谬的，可笑的 (初中英语单词) abruptly [ə´brʌptli] ad.突然地；粗鲁地 (初中英语单词) adjourn [ə´dʒə:n] v.休会；延期；移居 (初中英语单词) grateful [´greitful] a.感谢的；令人愉快的 (初中英语单词) faithful [´feiθfəl] a.忠实的；可靠的 (初中英语单词) overcome [,əuvə´kʌm] vt.战胜，克服 (初中英语单词) beginning [bi´giniŋ] n.开始，开端；起源 (初中英语单词) amazement [ə´meizmənt] n.惊愕；惊奇 (初中英语单词) sympathy [´simpəθi] n.同情，怜悯 (初中英语单词) violent [´vaiələnt] a.强暴的；猛烈的 (初中英语单词) passion [´pæʃən] n.激情；激怒；恋爱 (初中英语单词) domestic [də´mestik] a.家庭的；本国的 (初中英语单词) scholar [´skɔlə, ´skɑ-] n.学者；奖学金获得者 (初中英语单词) dreadful [´dredful] a.可怕的；讨厌的 (初中英语单词) affection [ə´fekʃən] n.友爱；慈爱 (初中英语单词) pardon [´pɑ:dən] n.&vt.原谅；饶恕；赦免 (初中英语单词) brilliant [´briliənt] a.灿烂的；杰出的 (初中英语单词) accord [ə´kɔ:d] n.&vi.符合 vt.给与 (初中英语单词) assist [ə´sist] v.协助；援助；搀扶 (初中英语单词) ability [ə´biliti] n.(办事)能力；才干 (初中英语单词) virtue [´və:tʃu:] n.美德；贞操；长处 (初中英语单词) repose [ri´pəuz] v.&n.(使)休息；安息 (高中英语单词) contempt [kən´tempt] n.轻蔑；受辱；不顾 (高中英语单词) sweetness [´swi:tnis] n.甜蜜；芳香；亲切 (高中英语单词) apparently [ə´pærəntli] ad.显然，表面上地 (高中英语单词) musician [mju:´ziʃən] n.音乐家，作曲家 (高中英语单词) tenderly [´tendəli] ad.娇嫩地；柔和地 (高中英语单词) mellow [´meləu] a.芳醇的 v.(使)成熟 (高中英语单词) thoughtfully [´θɔ:tfuli] ad.深思地；体贴地 (高中英语单词) peculiarity [pi,kju:li´æriti] n.特色；特性；怪癖 (高中英语单词) chuckle [´tʃʌkl] vi.&n.轻声笑；暗自笑 (高中英语单词) ladder [´lædə] n.梯子；阶梯 (高中英语单词) strain [strein] vt.拉紧 vi.拖 n.张力 (高中英语单词) injustice [in´dʒʌstis] n.不公正，不公平 (高中英语单词) faintly [´feintli] ad.微弱地，软弱无力的 (高中英语单词) dealing [´di:liŋ] n.交易；来往 (高中英语单词) grimly [´grimli] ad.严厉地；坚强地 (高中英语单词) torment [´tɔ:ment] vt.(使)痛苦，折磨 (高中英语单词) denmark [´denmɑ:k] n.丹麦 (高中英语单词) dispatch [di´spætʃ] vt.&n.发送；派遣；调度 (高中英语单词) hearing [´hiəriŋ] n.听力；听证会；审讯 (高中英语单词) comely [´kʌmli] a.秀丽的；文雅的 (英语四级单词) reddish [´rediʃ] a.带红色的；微红的 (英语四级单词) beautifully [´bju:tifəli] ad.美丽地；优美地 (英语四级单词) amiable [´eimiəbəl] a.亲切的，温和的 (英语四级单词) theatrical [θi´ætrikəl] a.戏院的；戏剧(性)的 (英语四级单词) waiter [´weitə] n.侍者，服务员 (英语四级单词) hurriedly [´hʌridli] ad.仓促地，忙乱地 (英语四级单词) composure [kəm´pəuʒə] n.镇静，沉着 (英语四级单词) evermore [,evə´mɔ:] ad.永远，始终 (英语四级单词) applaud [ə´plɔ:d] v.鼓掌赞成；称赞 (英语四级单词) grievance [´gri:vəns] n.不平；冤情；抱怨 (英语四级单词) unkind [,ʌn´kaind] a.不客气的；不和善的 (英语四级单词) parting [´pɑ:tiŋ] a.&n.分离(的) (英语四级单词) blessed [´blesid] a.享福的；神圣的 (英语四级单词) briskly [´briskli] ad.轻快地；活泼地 (英语四级单词) sentimental [,senti´mentl] a.感伤的；多愁善感的 (英语四级单词) admirably [´ædmərəbli] ad.令人钦佩地；极妙地 (英语六级单词) middle-aged [´midl´eidʒid] a.中年的 (英语六级单词) hunting [´hʌntiŋ] n.打猎 (英语六级单词) affected [ə´fektid] a.做作的；假装的 (英语六级单词) munich [´mju:nik] n.慕尼黑 (英语六级单词) condescend [,kɔndi´send] vi.屈尊；堕落 (英语六级单词) fortitude [´fɔ:titju:d] n.坚忍；刚毅 (英语六级单词) resolutely [´rezəlju:tli] ad.坚决地；果断地 (英语六级单词) impetuous [im´petjuəs] a.急促的；猛烈的 (英语六级单词) desertion [di´zə:ʃən] n.离开，遗弃；潜逃 (英语六级单词) affront [ə´frʌnt] vt.&n.(当众)侮辱 (英语六级单词)